MARJORIE DEAN COLLEGE SOPHOMORE
By Pauline Lester
Author of "Marjorie Dean, College Freshman," "Marjorie Dean, College Junior," "Marjorie Dean, College Senior," and The Marjorie Dean High School Series
A. L. BURT COMPANY Publishers—New York
The Marjorie Dean College Series
A Series of Stories for Girls 12 to 18 Years of Age
By Pauline Lester
Marjorie Dean, College Freshman Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore Marjorie Dean, College Junior Marjorie Dean, College Senior
Copyright, 1922 By A. L. BURT COMPANY
MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE SOPHOMORE
Made in "U. S. A."
MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE SOPHOMORE
"Hamilton, at last!" Marjorie Dean's utterance expressed her satisfaction of the journey's near end.
"Yes; Hamilton, at last," repeated Muriel Harding. "This September it doesn't matter a particle whether or not we are met at the station. We are sophomores. We know what to do and where to go without the help of the celebrated Sans Soucians." Muriel's inflection was one of sarcasm.
"All the help they ever gave us as freshmen can be told in two words: no help. Forget the Sans. I hate to think of them. I hope not one of them is back. The station platform will look beautiful without them." Jerry Macy delivered herself of this uncomplimentary opinion as she began methodically to gather up her luggage.
"How very sad to see two Hamiltonites so utterly lacking in college spirit." Veronica Lynne simulated pained surprise.
"Yes; isn't it?" retorted Jerry. "Whose fault is it that Muriel and I haven't last year's trusting faith in reception committees? Recall how we stood on the station platform like a flock of dummies with no one to bid us the time of day or say a kind word to us. No wonder my love for the Sans is a minus quantity."
"You aren't following your own advice," calmly criticized Lucy Warner. "You said 'Forget the Sans' and went right on talking about them."
"'And thou, too, Brutus!'" Jerry dramatically struck her hand to her forehead. "It is getting to the point where one can't say a single word around here without being called to account for it. This distressing state of affairs must stop." She frowned portentously at Lucy, who merely giggled. "You may blame Ronny for egging me on to further cutting remarks about the Sans. I was prepared to forget them until she undertook to call Muriel and I down. Then I simply had to defend our position."
"What position?" innocently queried Ronny. "I was not aware that you and Muriel——"
"The train has stopped. Didn't you know it?" was Marjorie's amused interruption. "Stop squabbling and come along." She was already in the aisle and impatient to be on the move. "Helen Trent is out on the platform, Jeremiah. I just caught a glimpse of her. I hope Leila and Vera are out there, too. Let me assist you into the aisle." Marjorie playfully gripped Jerry's arm in a vain effort to draw her to her feet.
"Thank you. I can assist myself. I am not yet aged enough to require your services. You may carry my suitcase, if you like. It's as heavy as lead."
"Charmed, but unfortunately I have one to carry equally heavy," Marjorie hastily declined. "I only offered to haul you up from the seat. My offer didn't include luggage carrying."
"You are a fake." Jerry rose and prepared to follow Marjorie down the aisle. As she went she peered anxiously out of the car windows for a first glimpse of her particular friend, Helen Trent.
The eyes of the other four Lookouts were also turned eagerly toward the station platform in search of their Hamilton friends.
A year had elapsed since first the Five Travelers, as the quintette of Sanford girls had named themselves, had set foot in the Country of College. Each was recalling now how very strangely she had felt on first glimpsing Hamilton station with its bevy of laughing, chatting girls, not one of whom they knew. Then they had been entering freshmen, with everything to learn about college. Now they were sophomores, with a year of college experience to their credit. What befell Marjorie Dean and her four Lookout chums as freshmen at Hamilton College has already been recounted in "Marjorie Dean, College Freshman."
"Hooray!" rejoiced Jerry, from the top step of the train, waving her handbag, a magazine and a tennis racket, all of which she clutched in her right hand. This vociferous greeting was for Helen, who was making equally vociferous signals of jubilation at the descending travelers.
Marjorie had also caught sight of Leila Harper and Vera Mason, and was waving them a welcome. Lucy's eyes were fixed on Katherine Langly, whom she knew had come down to the station especially to meet her. Veronica and Muriel were exchanging gay hand salutations with a group of Silverton Hall girls prior to greeting them on the platform. An instant and the Five Travelers were free of the train and surrounded.
"And is it yourself?" Leila Harper was hugging Marjorie in an excess of true Irish affection. "Vera had a hunch this morning that you would be here today. I said it was too early; that you wouldn't be here until the first of next week. She would have it her way, so we drove down to meet this train. Now I know she has the gifted eye and the seeing mind, as we Irish say."
"It is a good thing for us that she had that hunch," declared Marjorie, turning to Vera and holding out both hands. "I was hoping you would both be here to meet us. I would have wired you, Leila, but was not sure that you would be back at Hamilton so early. We are here a week earlier than last year. We wanted to be at home as long as we could, but we felt that, as sophomores, we ought to come back earlier to help the freshies. We had such a lonesome time on our freshman appearance at Hamilton, you know."
"Yes, I know," returned Leila significantly. "That was one of the Sans' performances which was never explained. Away with them. This is no time to think of them. The rest of your Lookouts are running off and leaving you, Beauty." This last had been Leila's pet name for Marjorie since the latter had won the title at a beauty contest given the previous year at the freshman frolic.
"They'd better not run far. I am going to take you all back to college in my car," Vera hospitably informed Marjorie. "Leila brought Helen Trent, Katherine, Ethel Laird and Martha Merrick to the station in her car. Ethel expects a freshman cousin from Troy, New York. Martha came along because she had nothing else to do. She said she would like to see if my hunch came true. She had never yet heard of one that amounted to a row of pins. She was sure you would not be on the 5.50 train. Oh, wait until I catch sight of her! She's circulating around the platform somewhere."
"So are my pals." Marjorie glanced about her, endeavoring to locate her chums. None of them were far away. Lucy and Katherine Langly were already approaching. Muriel and Ronny were still engaged with the group of Silverton Hall girls. Neither Robina Page nor Portia Graham were among them. It was quite likely they had not yet returned to Hamilton.
"Just as soon as we can collect your crowd, Marjorie, we'll spin you along to the Hall. Then, I beg to inform you, you are needed at a grand rally at Baretti's. Let us have faith in the stars that those four pals of yours have not recklessly accepted invitations to other celebrations. And if they have, I shall be in a high temper. I warn you." Leila showed her white teeth in a smile that was certainly no indication of ill-temper.
"They haven't, Leila," Marjorie happily assured. She was thinking what a joy it was to see Leila again. "On the train we all agreed not to accept any invitations to dinner on this first evening. Our plan was to take you and Vera, Helen and Katherine and Hortense Barlow to Baretti's for a feast, provided you were all here. If some of you were missing, then we thought we would take those of you who had come back to the Colonial, and wait until you all arrived for the other celebration. You see, it is to be what you might call a 'first friends'' party. Helen was the first girl we met. Now she and Jerry are college pals. Katherine is Lucy's first friend. Muriel is so fond of Hortense, and Ronny and I look upon you and Vera as nearer than any of the others. I am fond of Robin Page, and Portia Graham, too. They really ought to be included. Are they here, and how long have you and Vera been back?"
Marjorie made her explanations and asked her questions almost in the same breath.
"We have been here three days. We have been really busy though. We had our unpacking to do, and we changed the furniture around in our room. We spent one whole afternoon playing golf. We both adore the Hamilton links. The time has gone fast, although we have missed our own particular cronies, especially in the evenings. Now we can have a few jollifications before college starts." Vera answered for Leila, who had turned to greet Lucy Warner.
Presently Muriel and Ronny joined them, to be warmly welcomed by the two juniors. Jerry and Helen Trent were the last to arrive. With their appearance among the group of staunch comrades, the entire party began a slow walk down the platform and toward the stairs which led away from the station.
"If you are in search of information as to who's where and when you may expect them, ask Helen. As I used to say of myself, 'I know everything about everybody,' I now pass on that same saying to my esteemed friend, Miss Trent." Jerry beamed on Helen with exaggerated admiration.
"Now, Jeremiah, don't you think that a rather sweeping statement? There may be just a few students at Hamilton I don't happen to be informed about. You will give our friends here the impression that I am a busybody. Remember I am now a junior. Try to treat me with more respect." Helen smiled indolent good nature as she thus admonished Jerry.
"I'll try, but that's all the good it will do. The whole trouble is, you don't command my awe and respect," complained Jerry.
"Neither do you inspire such feelings in me," placidly returned Helen. "We'll simply have to go on being disrespectful to each other," she ended, with a chuckle which Jerry echoed.
"Let us see." The little company had reached the place where Leila and Vera had parked their cars. Leila now cast speculative eyes over the group. "Martha is missing. Ethel must have found her cousin, surely. If she did not find her she was to go back to the campus with us. I lost track of her after the train whistled in. Martha is probably with Ethel; helping to impress the freshman cousin with junior estate," Leila made whimsical guess. "I think we are ready to start. Nine of us; that's four to your car and five to mine, Midget."
"All right," returned Vera. "Choose your five, or, better, let your five choose you. The sooner we start, the sooner we will reach the Hall. That means a longer time to celebrate tonight."
"Delighted to ride with either of you," assured Muriel. "The main feature of this occasion is the beautiful fact that we are cherished enough to be actually met at the station and asked to ride in folks' automobiles."
"Muriel can't get over the freezing-out we met with last September," commented Ronny.
"Neither can I. I feel chilly every time I think of it. Br-r-r!" Jerry made pretense of shivering.
"Well, we all know whose fault that was," shrugged Leila.
"Precisely what I said just before we left the train," nodded Jerry. "We couldn't understand for a long time why those three Sans should have taken it upon themselves at all to meet our train. We have a clear idea now of why it was. Tonight, at the celebration, I'll hold forth on the subject. Let us not mar the sweet joy of meeting by gossiping," she ended with an irresistibly funny simper.
"No; let us not," echoed Leila dryly. "Be quick with your choosing now. Time will keep on flying."
Five minutes later, Marjorie, Ronny, Helen and Jerry were leaving the station yard in Leila's car. Muriel, Lucy, Katherine and Vera occupied the latter's smart limousine. In comparison with the subdued almost sad little party they had been on the previous September, the Five Travelers were now a very merry company of adventurers in the Country of College.
On the front seat of Leila's roadster, beside Leila, Marjorie was silent for a little, as Leila skilfully guided the trim roadster in and out of the considerable traffic of Herndon Avenue, Hamilton's main thoroughfare.
"Have you seen any of the Sans yet, Leila?" she presently questioned. The car was now turning into Highland Avenue, which led directly to Hamilton Estates. Marjorie glimpsed, in passing, the same wealth of colorful leaf and bloom she had so greatly admired when driving through the pretty town the previous autumn.
"No signs of them yet," Leila made reply. "I am not grieving. I am wondering if they will be at the Hall again this year. Miss Remson doesn't want them; that I know. After they made the trouble for you, she declared she would not let them come back if she could help it."
"I know." Marjorie was silent for a moment. "I had a talk with Miss Remson in June, just before college closed," she said slowly. "I asked her not to make a complaint to President Matthews on my account. I told her it would not make any difference to me if they stayed at the Hall. I did not believe it would make any to the rest of the girls. None of us had spoken to them since the meeting in the living room. None of us were in the least afraid of them. We had as much right to be at the Hall as they. She finally promised to leave me out of it entirely, but she intended to make complaint against them on her own account."
"Then they will soon be here, lug and luggage," predicted Leila with a groan. "It is the way they treated you that would have counted against them. Our president is a stickler for honor. He might readily expel them for that very performance."
"That is what I was afraid of. I should not wish a student expelled from Hamilton on my account. It was hard enough to have to call them to account, as we did last March."
"They have had all summer to get over the shock. They'll be planning new trouble this fall." Leila spoke with the confidence of belief. "Leslie Cairns never gives up. Are you ready to fight them again, Beauty?" Leila eyed Marjorie quizzically. She asked the question in the odd, level tone she had used on first acquaintance with Marjorie.
"I think this: Our best way to fight the Sans is by influence. Their influence, founded as it is on money values, is not beneficial to Hamilton College. Ours should be founded strictly on observing the traditions of Hamilton. We must make other students see that, too. We can't lecture on the subject, of course. It will have to be a silent struggle for nobler aims. I hardly know how to explain my meaning. I only wish everyone else here had the same feeling of reverence for Hamilton that I have."
Marjorie paused, quite at a loss to put into words all that was in her heart. As they talked, the roadster had been spinning rapidly along through Hamilton Estates. Suddenly the campus, of living velvety green, appeared upon their view. The old, potent spell of its beauty gripped the little lieutenant afresh. She had a desire to rise in the seat and shout a welcome to her first Hamilton friend. A verse of a forest hymn she had learned as a child in the grade schools sprang to her memory. It was so well suited to the campus.
"I've always loved the campus, Leila," she began. "I call it my first friend and the chimes my second. Those two things meant the most to me when first we came to Hamilton and felt so out of the college picture. Just now I happened to recall a verse of a song we used to sing in school. It is a hymn to the forest, but it describes Hamilton campus and all the college itself should stand for." Marjorie repeated the verse, her eyes on the rolling emerald spread:
"Who rightly scans thy beauty, a world of truth must read; Of life and hope and duty; our help in time of need. And I have read them often, those words so true and clear, What heart that would not soften, thy wisdom to revere."
A CELEBRATION AT BARETTI'S.
The Lookouts' plan to entertain their friends at either Baretti's or the Colonial on their first evening at Hamilton was over-ruled by Leila and Vera. As Hortense Barlow, Robina Page and Portia Graham were still missing from their circle of friends, they agreed to postpone their own celebration until the missing ones should have returned to Hamilton. Thus Vera and Leila gained their point and were in high glee over it. Privately they were glad to have the Lookouts to themselves for the evening, with the addition only of Katherine and Helen.
The warm September day had vanished into a soft, balmy night, garnished by a full, silvery moon. The road to Baretti's was light as day and the nine girls, clad in delicate-hued summer frocks, added to the pale beauty of the night. They were in high spirits, as the incessant murmur of their voices, punctuated by frequent ripples of light laughter, amply testified.
Entering the quaint, stately restaurant, the Lookouts stopped to pay courteous respects to Guiseppe Baretti, the proud proprietor, a small, somber-eyed Italian. Their frequent patronage of Baretti's during their freshman year had made them very welcome guests. Signor Baretti's solemn face became wreathed with smiles as he greeted them.
"It is certainly good to be here again!" exclaimed Jerry. By appropriating two extra chairs from a nearby vacant table, the nine diners had managed to seat themselves without crowding at one table.
"Isn't it, though?" Vera Mason glanced happily around the circle. "I miss Baretti's dreadfully during vacations. There is really no other restaurant quite like it."
"We missed it too, this summer. Our main standby in Sanford was Sargeant's. You and Leila made its acquaintance when you were in Sanford last Easter. We used to go there so often after school. I wonder we ever had an appetite for dinner when we went home. Of course it can't be compared with Baretti's, as it is merely a confectioner's shop. We had happy times there, though," Marjorie concluded.
"It was a regular conspirator's shop," Jerry supplemented. "Whenever we had anything special to talk over, the watchword was, 'On to Sargeant's.'"
"We settled a great many weighty affairs of state at Sargeant's." Muriel smiled reminiscently. "I suppose Baretti's will grow dearer to us as we plod along our college way. I like it better than the Colonial, which lacks the air this place has. Besides, the Sans monopolize it so that I had rather come here."
"Why did the Sans turn from Baretti's to the Colonial?" Lucy asked tersely. Her analytic mind had not for an instant lost sight of Vera's earlier remark concerning the proprietor. "What happened?"
"Oh, it took a large number of straws to break the camel's back. When it broke——"
"Bing!" obligingly supplied Jerry. "I can picture the wrath of an outraged Baretti."
"He was wrathful more than once before he said a word. The Sans used to be awfully noisy when they dined or lunched here. Guiseppe did not like that. They used to reserve tables by telephone, then, when they reached here for dinner, they would claim he had not reserved the tables they had asked for. That was a trick of Leslie Cairns. She would tell him that he ought not charge extra for the tables as he had not complied with her order properly. There were all sorts of little points like that which the Sans used to argue with him. They used to tease him purposely to see him get angry. When he is very angry he says not a word. He clenches his hands and his face turns fiery red. His eyes snap and he looks as though he would like to turn inside out. He half opens his mouth, then turns on his heel and scuttles off.
"One evening in February," Vera continued, "Leila and I came here for dinner. One of the sophs had a birthday and she was giving a dinner to eighteen of her classmates. Remember, Leila? They had those three tables over there." Vera nodded toward the opposite side of the room. "The room was quite well filled, when in came Leslie Cairns, Joan Myers and Natalie Weyman with three girls who had come from a prep. school to spend a week-end with Joan. There wasn't a single table at which they all could sit. Instead of calling Guiseppe, Leslie Cairns walked straight to the soph who was giving the dinner, and claimed she had taken a table which Joan had reserved by telephone. The soph should simply have stayed away upon her dignity and called Signor Baretti. She was indignant, naturally, and began to argue the matter with Miss Cairns. They both grew furious and talked so loudly you could hear them all over the room. Natalie Weyman undertook to champion Leslie, and Leslie told her to shut her mouth and mind her own affairs. She is so uncouth when she loses her temper. Honestly, a regular pow-wow went on for a few minutes."
Vera stopped her narrative to laugh as she recalled that very stormy altercation. Leila was also laughing. Nor could the other listeners fail to be amused.
"I can imagine how that poor soph felt to be jumped on so unexpectedly, when she was playing the agreeable hostess at her own birthday party." Jerry's sympathy for the injured sophomore did not prevent her from laughing. The funny side of such tragedies invariably struck Jerry first. "How did the pow-wow end?"
"Very likely an enraged Baretti swooped down on them and read them the law in broken and indignant English," guessed Ronny, with a glance toward the cashier's desk, where the stolid little proprietor sat counting the day's receipts.
"Did he?" emphasized Vera. "He crossed the floor as though he had wings attached to his shoes. He stopped directly in front of Leslie Cairns. We couldn't hear what he said to her. It wasn't more than half a dozen sentences. They must have been strictly to the point. She glared at him and he glared back. Then she said loudly enough to be heard all over the room: 'Come on, girls. Let the dago have his hash house. I hope it burns down tonight.' The six of them went out of the restaurant, laughing. Guiseppe was wild. He swore they should never be allowed to set foot in this place again. They stayed away until after Easter. Gradually they drifted back, and he didn't reopen the quarrel. They have been on their good behavior here since then."
"Quite a collegiate performance. What?" Leila gave an exact imitation of Leslie Cairns' manner of uttering the interrogation. "Take the truth from me, our freshie year was full of just such scenes put over by those girls."
"The soph who had the fuss with Leslie Cairns is a senior this year. You may believe the Sans will get no favors from her and her party crowd. The Sans will find out some day that they can't sow tares and expect to reap flowers," concluded Vera with some warmth.
"Yes, but it will take them such a very long time to find it out," Muriel said impatiently. "If we don't stand up for the honor of our Alma Mater, who will?"
"Well, we've done some good," sturdily asserted Jerry. "We wouldn't allow the Sans to rag Katherine. The Beauty contest was an awful damper to them, especially Miss Weyman. It put a crimp in her sails. She needed to be suppressed. Then came the trouble about basket ball. The Silverton House girls deserve most of the credit for that coup de grace. It certainly brought the freshman class together with a snap. There are only about twelve or fifteen of the present sophs who are Sans worshippers. Miss Reid won't dare interfere with sports this year."
"A strong blow you freshies struck for fairness in college sports," commended Leila. "They will be properly managed this year."
"Miss Reid is to have only light gymnastics and folk dancing from this on," announced Helen. "There is to be a new gym instructor; a young man. He is a physical culture expert and an acrobat. He is to teach bar and trapeze work."
"You don't mean it!" Leila puckered her lips into a soft whistle. "What is to become of Miss Bailey? She is a better teacher of folk dancing than Miss Reid. Who told you, Helen?"
"Miss Bailey herself. I came up from town with her the other day in a taxi. She seems pleased with the new arrangement. She is to assist both Miss Reid and the new instructor. You know she is an athletic wonder for a woman. She does very difficult acrobatic work and understands teaching balance. That is so difficult to teach."
"Who knows? This may be Miss Reid's last year with us," Leila said with a tinge of laughing malice. "It is said a change of that kind for a teacher at college generally precedes a violent drop. If true, we must try to bear our loss. It takes time to recover from such losses. How we do ramble from the subject. Let us be turning back to our freshies' good works."
"Muriel stopped at that basket ball affair last winter," prompted Katherine. "I'll mention it before Lucy has a chance. She isn't the only one who can keep tab on things."
"I see I shall have to keep you in the background." Lucy bent a severe eye on Katherine. "You are out to steal my glory."
"Just tell her to subside, a la Leslie Cairns," suggested Helen. "What a shame that I missed that lovely party row at Baretti's. I heard echoes of it on the campus for a week afterward. Let me tell you, I admire Ronny for the way she wound up that tale the Sans started against Marjorie last March. It was the best thing that could have been done."
"Something had to be done." Ronny's gray eyes grew flinty. "Those particular girls took an unusually bold stand against her. I am surprised that they did not attempt to haze her earlier in the year."
"It probably did not occur to them," was Vera's opinion. "If it had, they might have tried it. It is strictly forbidden here. The hazers would certainly be expelled. President Matthews is down on it with both feet. A niece of his was hazed at college and contracted pneumonia. She died of it and he has been doubly opposed to it since then."
"I am glad I was saved midnight visits from sheeted ghosts or some such eerie horror," laughed Marjorie. "It wouldn't have done them any good if ever they had hazed me. I would have refused to do one single thing they told me to do. It wouldn't have been a specially pleasant experience to waken suddenly and find the room inhabited by spooks. Still I wouldn't have been afraid of them. I am glad to be a soph. I am past the grind and hazing stage. Do tell the girls about Row-ena Farnham, Jeremiah. You promised them you would."
"And so I will," affably consented Jerry. "I think I'll save it for dessert, though."
"I think you won't," quickly objected Leila. "Be nice and tell us now. Dessert is afar off. The sherbet and the salad stand between it."
Having come to a speedy selection of their dinner, immediately they were seated at table, they were now finishing the toothsome old-fashioned chicken pot-pie and its palatable accompaniments which was one of Baretti's most popular specialties.
"All right children, I will humor you," Jerry made gracious concession, as other protesting voices arose. "Understand this is no news to the Lookouts here assembled."
"We don't mind hearing it again. We're the pattern of amiability," Muriel made light assurance.
"Charmed, to be sure," beamed Ronny.
"I'll take your word for it." Jerry did not appear specially impressed by such overwhelming forbearance. "To begin with, the Macys spend their summers at Severn Beach. The Farnhams have a regular castle at Tanglewood, a resort about ten miles from Severn Beach. It is needless to say that Row-ena and I do not exchange visits. I am happy to say I never saw her at Severn Beach. Think what the beach has been spared."
"One afternoon Hal took me to Tanglewood in his sailboat. He went to see a couple of his chums about arranging for a yacht race. I didn't care to go with him to the cottage. I knew they didn't want me butting in while they planned their race. I stayed down on the sands near the boat. Hal had promised to be back by four o'clock.
"I watched the bathers for a while. There were only a few in the water that day," Jerry continued. "Finally, I thought I would go up to a large pavilion at the head of the pier for an ice. I sat in the pavilion eating a pineapple ice as peacefully as you please. All of a sudden I realized someone had stopped beside my chair; two someones by the way. One of them was Row-ena Quarrelena Fightena Scrapena; the other," Jerry paused impressively, "was our precious hob-goblin, Miss Cairns."
"Really!" came in surprised exclamation from Vera.
"Hmm! What a congenial pair!" was Helen Trent's placid reception of the information.
"Like walks with like." Leila's tones vibrated with satirical truth. "Knaves fall out, but to fall in again."
"I know it," agreed Jerry. "One would naturally suppose that Miss Cairns would have no use for Row-ena after the net she led her into. Not a bit of it."
"It must have been a shock, Jeremiah, to look up suddenly and find yourself in such company." Helen could not repress the ghost of a chuckle.
"It was. They were lined up for battle. I saw that at a glance. Row-ena was half laughing; a trick of hers when she is all ready to make a grand disturbance. Leslie Cairns looked like a Japanese thundercloud. I never said a word; just sat very straight in my chair. I went on eating my ice as if I didn't know they were there. Like this."
Jerry gave an imitation of her manner and facial expression on the occasion she was describing.
"I thought they might give it up as a bad job and go away, but they stayed. Then Row-ena started in with a regular tirade about Marjorie and all of us. I can't repeat what she said word for word. Anyway, she called us all liars. I don't remember what I said, but it must have been effective. I certainly handed Row-ena my candid opinion of herself. She saw she was getting the worst of the argument and declared she wouldn't stay and be so insulted. She started out of the pavilion, calling Miss Cairns to come along. The fair Leslie wouldn't budge. She told Row-ena to go on, that she had something to say to me. That was the first remark she had made. Then she asked me in her slow, drawling way if I would listen to something she had to say to me. I said I would not. I had heard too much as it was. I got up and beat it and left her standing there. I was so sore I forgot to pay for my ice. I had to send Hal back with the money. As I started away from the pavilion, I saw Row-ena getting into a dizzy-looking black and white roadster. I think the car belonged to Miss Cairns. It looked like her. I suppose she and dear Row-ena had been out for a ride and simply happened to run across me in the pavilion.
"Now comes the most interesting part of the story." Jerry glanced from one to another of her attentive little audience. "Three days afterward the postman left me a letter. The address was typed, so was the letter. When I opened it, I soon knew the writer. Here it is." Jerry produced a letter from a white kid bag she was carrying. "The distinguished writer of this letter is Leslie Cairns. I brought it along to read to you because what she has to say includes all of us. It's what I would call an open declaration of war. Listen to this:
"'Since you refused to listen to me the other day, I must resort to pen and ink to make you understand that when I have anything to say to a person I propose to say it. It isn't a case of what you want. It is a case of what I want. To begin with, I knew all about you and your pals before ever you came to Hamilton. My friend, Miss Farnham, heard that you were to enter Hamilton and warned me against all of you. I had you looked up, as I have powerful ways and means of doing this.
"'As your friend, Miss Dean, the lying little hypocrite, had made my friend, Miss Farnham, so much trouble at high school, I decided to even her score for her. At first I did not intend to allow you to enter Hamilton at all. When I say "you" I include those dear chums of yours. My father could easily have arranged to keep you out of Hamilton. Then I concluded it would be better to let you come here and make things lively for you.
"'I proposed that call on you ninnies on your first evening at college. We arranged matters so as to fuss you self-satisfied freshies a little and keep you from your dinner. We didn't care anything about meeting you, but we thought we might as well look you over. Miss Weyman gave it out that she would meet your party with her car on purpose to keep other students away. We wanted you to be a little bit lonesome. When you said in your room, that you saw Miss Weyman's car at the station, we thought perhaps you might have seen through the joke. But you were so thick. You didn't.
"'Miss Weyman had no intention of wasting good gasoline on you. She loaded her car with girls on purpose. There was no room to spare. She stopped it above the station yard and stayed there until after the train had come in. After a while she drove into the yard and out again. Not one of us set foot on the platform. It was a clever bluff and served you precisely right.
"'I haven't either the patience or the will to tell you all the clever stunts we put over on you simpletons last year. Believe me, when I say, it isn't a circumstance compared to what we intend to do this year. You came back at us in March in a way we will not forget or overlook. You think you are pretty strongly intrenched because you and your crowd are quite pally with certain upper class students who pose as wonders of smartness. Well, don't build too much on your popularity. Popularity sometimes has a habit of vanishing over night.
"'It seems too bad to be wasting time and paper on you, but I am square enough to let you have the truth straight from the shoulder. You girls have made us trouble from the start, and I predict that it will not be long before Hamilton will be too small to hold your crowd and mine. Your crowd will be the one to go; not the Sans. I am not afraid to tell you this, because there is nothing in this letter that you can get me on.
"That is so like Leslie Cairns." Leila's blue eyes flashed their profound contempt. "She loves to boast of her own ill-doing. She thinks it gives her a standing among her friends. She poses as being afraid of nothing and no one.
"That is truly an outrageous letter!" Vera's voice rang with shocked indignation. "I wonder at her boldness in writing it."
"Ah, but consider! It is a typed letter. Would you mind letting me look at the signature, Jerry?" Helen requested.
"With pleasure." Jerry willingly surrendered the typed letter to Helen.
The latter studied the signature shrewdly. "I don't think this is Leslie Cairns signature," she said, shaking her head. "That is about the way I thought it would be."
"Humph!" Leila had evidently caught Helen's meaning. The others looked a trifle mystified.
"But Leila just now said the letter sounded like Leslie Cairns!" Jerry exclaimed. "She wrote it. I am sure of that. Her name is signed to it. Why then——" Jerry stopped. "Oh, yes," she went on, in sudden enlightenment. "I begin to understand."
"Of course you do," returned Helen. "In the first place," she explained to her puzzled listeners, "this letter has neither date nor place of writing. It is typed and signed 'Leslie Cairns,' but I am almost positive she did not sign it. She has either disguised her hand or another person has signed her name to it at her request, you may be sure. Object—if Jerry decided to make her any trouble at Hamilton over the letter, she would say she had nothing whatever to do with the writing of it."
"It would take a whole lot of nerve to do that. After what happened last year, she could hardly hope to be believed." This was Muriel's view of the matter.
"Still, if the letter were typed and not signed by her, there would be no proof that she wrote it unless someone had seen her write it." Helen argued. "We are positive she wrote it, because the contents of the letter tally with the Sans' attitude and actions toward Marjorie and you Sandfordites. Yet, what would hinder her from saying that some friend of yours, to whom you had told your troubles, or, that even one of you five girls wrote that letter, simply for spite? I do not say that she would do so. I only say she might. She is capable of it."
"I agree with you, Helen. Leslie Cairns would stand before President Matthews and declare up and down that she never dreamed of writing such a letter, if it pleased her to do it." Leila spoke with conviction. "She took chances, of course, of being called to account for the statements she made in the letter. Undoubtedly, she had her whole course of action planned out before ever she wrote it. While she couldn't be sure you wouldn't make a fuss about it, because of the way Ronny brought the Sans to book last March, she could plan the best way to brazen it out if she got into difficulties over it.
"Just imagine! She had a grudge against the Lookouts before ever she met them. Leila and I were always suspicious of the way Natalie Weyman acted about meeting you at the station. We could not fathom the object of such a performance. We both thought there was more to it than appeared on the surface." Vera nodded wisely.
"And all on account of the maliciousness of Row-ena Farnham. Why, none of us had seen her for over two years! We supposed she belonged to our departed high school days." Muriel's tones betrayed decided umbrage.
"You can make up your minds that I don't intend ever to serve on any reform committees—object, the betterment of the heathen; the Sans, I mean." Jerry made this announcement with a shade of belligerence. Unconsciously she turned her eyes toward Marjorie.
Marjorie laughed. "I know what you are thinking, Jeremiah," she said, with quiet amazement. "Don't worry. I shall not suggest a reform movement here for the Sans' moral benefit."
"Glad of it. Imagine me laboring patiently with that benighted heathen, Leslie Cairns, to help her to see herself as others see her," grumbled Jerry.
"How much the Sans would enjoy being called the heathen," interposed Katherine Langly.
"It's appropriate. When people behave like savages, they class themselves as such. It is a pity that we should be obliged to consider fellow students as enemies!" Jerry continued with vehemence. "Why should petty spite be carried to the point where it is a menace to the whole college? An institution for the higher education of young girls in particular should be free of such ignobility."
"Fights and fusses are not conducive to the cultivation of a scholarly mind," Helen Trent agreed with mock solemnity.
"They are not," returned Leila, with a strong Celtic inflection of which she, in her earnestness, was entirely unconscious.
Naturally it evoked laughter. Leila's occasional slight lapses into a brogue were invariably amusing to her chums.
"Laugh at my brogue if you wish, I will not break your bones," she said good-humoredly, making use of an ancient Irish expression. "I am most Celtic when serious. Ah, well! Perhaps it is petty in us even to be discussing the Sans, since we can say nothing good of them."
"That is their fault; not ours," Lucy Warner said incisively.
"The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in their stars, but in themselves, that they are underlings," Vera aptly applied with a change of pronouns.
"Quite right, my child. They began it. Not one of us, before the Lookouts came here to Hamilton, raised a voice against the Sans. We know the Lookouts did not. This letter Leslie Cairns wrote to Jerry means war to the knife, all this year. Unless, by good fortune, Miss Remson has won her point and they are not to come back to the Hall. With them out of Wayland Hall we might hope for peace. Put them in other campus houses, they would soon lose track of you girls and turn their bad attentions to or on someone else. Miss Remson has a strong case against them on account of the way they treated Marjorie." Such was Helen's opinion.
Marjorie flushed at mention of the Sans' bad treatment of herself. She glanced at Ronny, who returned the glance with an enigmatical smile. Leila was staring at Marjorie, her face also a study.
"Girls," Marjorie began, in her clear resonant enunciation, "I shall have to tell you something that only Ronny and Leila know. I told Leila only this afternoon. I asked Miss Remson not to mention the Sans' treatment of me in her complaint to the president. I had a long talk with her last June before college closed. I asked Ronny if she cared if I did so, because she had gone to the trouble of getting Miss Archer here and spared no pains to help me. All of you helped me, too, but Ronny and Miss Remson did the hardest part. Ronny said I must do whatever my conscience dictated. I felt that I did not wish to have anything to do with their leaving the Hall. If Miss Remson wins or has won her point against them, that's different. Last March, before we held the meeting in the living room, it seemed as if I could not endure being under the same roof with them. That feeling passed away. They were so utterly defeated. Miss Remson says she has enough insubordinate and really lawless acts on their part against them to warrant their being transferred to another campus house. She said it had been done occasionally in past years with beneficial results."
"That means the Sans will be at the Hall again this year." Resentment burned briefly in Helen's eyes. Slow to anger, she was slower to forgive.
"We don't know that yet," resumed Ronny. "All this happened last June. Miss Remson made her complaint then, I believe. She intended to, at any rate. Naturally, we could not ask her about the result, and she said nothing more about it before we went home. I think she will mention it to Marjorie and me. If she does we will ask if we may tell you girls who were interested in the affair of last March."
"We'll know anyway, if the Sans appear bag and baggage," put in practical Lucy.
"Yes; but I mean Miss Remson will tell us the details," returned Ronny.
"Wherever the Sans live on the campus, our best way is to go on about our own affairs regardless of them. I hate to think of Hamilton College as a battle ground. I will fight for my rights, if I must, but I will ignore a worthless enemy as long as I can. We must make our plans for a happier Hamilton, which does not include the Sans. We must create a spirit of unity here that will discount cliques." Marjorie argued with deep earnestness. "If we fight, shoulder to shoulder, for the best, in time we shall attain it. It's our influence that will count. It may not be felt at once; gradually it will be. We need not expect the Sans will change their views. We must put them in the background by being true and kindly and honorable. Then their false standards will count for nothing."
AN INVITATION TO AN "OFFICE PARTY."
"I'm very, very sleepy, Jeremiah, but I shall try to keep awake for the chimes. It would be unkind not to greet my second friend tonight." Marjorie made these whimsical statements between yawns.
"Wait for 'em, then, if you can," returned Jerry. "The minute my head touches the pillow I shall be dead to the world. You'll never keep awake. You are yawning now."
"I shall," firmly avowed Marjorie. Tired out by the long railway journey, her eyes would close. Nevertheless she slipped into a silk negligee and curled up on the floor beside a window, to wait for the welcoming voice of her loved friend. The light in the room extinguished, the white moonlight touched her sweet face, lending it a new and wistful beauty. From her post at the window she could see Hamilton Hall, a magnificent gray pile in the moonbeams. The campus stretched away on all sides of it like an enchanted emerald carpet full of lights and shadows.
Marjorie momentarily forgot her desire for sleep as she looked on the silent loveliness which night had enhanced. It filled her with all sorts of vague inspirations which she could sense but not analyze. She could only understand herself as being earnestly desirous of showing greater loyalty to her Alma Mater than ever before.
Then upon her inspirited musings fell the voice of her old, familiar friend, clear and silvery as ever. She sat very still, almost breathlessly, listening to the clarion, welcoming prelude. Followed the measured stroke of eleven. "I am so happy to hear you again, dear friend. Good night." Marjorie rose, and, with a last, sleepy, but loving, glance at the fairylike outdoors trotted to her couch bed. She had scarcely found its grateful comfort before she was fast asleep.
She awoke the next morning with the sunshine pouring in upon her to find Jerry, kimono-clad, standing meditatively beside her couch.
"Why—um—what—where——" she mumbled. "Oh, goodness, Jerry! have I overslept? What time is it? That wall clock stopped last night just after we came in, and I forgot to wind it and set it again." She sat up hastily.
"Be calm," replied Jerry, with a reassuring grin. "It is only five minutes to seven. I was wondering whether I could let you sleep fifteen minutes more. I'd decided to call you when you woke of your own accord."
"I'd rather be up." Marjorie arose with her customary energy and reached for her negligee. "I have a lot to do today. Our trunks will be here by noon, I hope. I want to unpack and be all straightened out before the five o'clock train. Leila and Vera are anxious for us to go with them to meet it. We ought to meet it at any rate. We are both on the sophomore committee for welcoming freshies."
Marjorie made this reminder with open satisfaction. During Commencement week, the previous June, the sophomore class elect had gathered for a special meeting. Its object had been to discuss ways and means of helping entering freshmen at the re-opening of college in the fall. Marjorie and Jerry had been appointed to it as Wayland Hall representatives, together with two students from Acasia House and three from Silverton Hall.
"I imagine we are the only ones on that committee who have come back to Hamilton," Marjorie continued. "Oh, no; Ethel Laird is on it. Let me see. Grace Dearborn was the other Acasia House girl appointed. Blanche Scott, Elaine Hunter and Miss Peyton were the three from Silverton Hall. Ronny said none of them had returned."
"I am almost sorry I did not make arrangements to have a car here this year." Jerry looked slightly regretful. "It would come in handy now. Still, I believe it is more democratic to do without one. Besides, I ought to walk rather than ride. It keeps my weight down. There is Ronny. She could have a dozen cars here if she wanted them. She won't have one. She is a real democrat, isn't she?"
Marjorie nodded. "She is the most unassuming very rich girl I have ever known. I think if the Sans really knew her circumstances they would try to take her up, even after what happened last spring."
"They would give it up as too hard a job about five minutes after Ronny found out what they were trying to do," predicted Jerry. "I have an idea that the Sans think we don't amount to much financially. My father is worth a whole lot of money, yet it's not generally known in Sanford. He never tried to keep it a secret, but you see we have never gone in for anything but the quiet family life. So people don't think much about us, except that we are old Sanford residents."
"That is a fine way to live," thoughtfully approved Marjorie. "Well, I couldn't afford to have a car here if I wanted one ever so much. The majority of the girls at Hamilton are probably from families in about the same circumstances as the Deans. Leila said yesterday that about a third of the girls here last year had their own automobiles. She said she would have been terribly lonely during her freshman year if she had not had her car. She didn't send for it for quite awhile after she entered college. Vera sent for hers, too, and hardly drove it. Most of the freshmen they were friendly with had their own cars, so they seldom needed to drive both cars at the same time."
As she talked, Marjorie had been leisurely but steadily gathering up her toilet accessories preparatory to making her morning ablutions. Jerry, who stood idly watching her chum, suddenly realized that time was on the wing.
"Good gracious!" she exclaimed. "Here I stand like a dummy when I ought to be hiking for the lavatory myself. We'll both be late for breakfast, in spite of my early rising, if we stop to talk any longer. After breakfast we had better 'phone the baggage master about our trunks. Otherwise they may forget all about us and not deliver them before tomorrow. I haven't the trusting faith in baggage masters that I might have."
In the lavatory they encountered Muriel and Ronny. Lucy had already preceded them and gone to pay Katherine a morning call. Presently the Five Travelers and Katherine trooped down the wide stairway to breakfast, their bright, youthful faces and clear, laughing tones lending new life to staid Wayland Hall. At the foot of the stairway they met Miss Remson and hailed her with a concerted "Good morning."
Her small, shrewd eyes softened, as she received the gay salute with a smile and returned it. Her liking for this particular sextette of students was very sincere.
"Girls," she began abruptly, her smile fading, to be replaced by an expression of sternness, "Will you come into my office after breakfast? I have something to show you and also something to tell you." Her lips tightened to grimness as she made this announcement. "That's all." With a little nod she passed them and hurried on up the staircase.
As she had been busily engaged with the affairs of the Hall on their arrival of the preceding afternoon, they had had opportunity only to greet her and be assigned to their old rooms and places at table.
Entering the dining room, Vera and Leila called "Good morning" from the next table to their own.
"Be with you in a minute," Leila informed them. "I've something to report, Lieutenant." This directly to Marjorie. During the Easter visit she and Vera had made Marjorie, she had taken delightedly to the army idea as carried out by the Deans. Afterward she frequently addressed Marjorie as "Lieutenant."
"I know what it is," promptly returned Jerry. "So have we. We just saw Miss Remson. Is that what you are driving at?"
"It is. Now what shall I do to you for snapping my news from my mouth?" Leila asked severely.
"Maybe I don't know as much as you do, so you needn't feel grieved," conciliated Jerry. "Come over here and we will compare notes. I may know something you don't know. You may know something I don't know. Think what a wonderful information session we shall have."
Hurriedly finishing her coffee, Leila rose and joined the Lookouts. "I won't sit down," she declined, as Ronny motioned her to draw up a nearby chair. "Miss Remson asked Vera and I to stop at her office after breakfast."
"She asked us, too. There, I took Jerry's news away from her. That pays up for what she did to you." Muriel glanced teasingly at Jerry.
"Oh, go as far as you like." Jerry waved an elaborately careless hand. "Like the race in Alice in Wonderland: 'All won.' Perhaps one of you wise women of Hamilton can tell us if anyone else is invited to Busy Buzzy's office party."
"Silence was the answer," put in Marjorie mischievously, as no one essayed a reply to Jerry's satirical question.
"Helen ought to be," Jerry said stoutly. "She was with us to the letter last spring. I guess she'll be there. Miss Remson is fond of her."
One and all the eight girls were experiencing inward satisfaction at the summons to Miss Remson's office. Confident that it had to do with the readmittance or denial of the Sans to Wayland Hall, they were glad that the odd little manager had chosen to give them her confidence.
"I'm going over to the garage to see if the new tire is on my car. It blew out yesterday while I was driving it to cover after I left you girls. I'll be back by the time you girls have finished breakfast. Going with me, Midget?" Leila turned to Vera.
"No, Ireland," she declined, with the little rippling smile which was one of her chief charms. "I am still hungry. I want another cup of coffee and a nice fat cinnamon bun. By the time I put them away you will be back."
As Leila went out, Helen Trent appeared, a slightly sleepy look in her blue eyes. Her arrival was greeted with acclamation. Aside from Vera and Leila, the long pleasant dining room was empty of students when the Lookouts and Katherine had entered it. In consequence, they were more free to laugh and talk. The presence of the Sans in the room during meals quenched the spirit of comradarie that was so marked at Silverton Hall.
"Have you seen Miss Remson?" was hurled at Helen in chorus. She dimpled engagingly and nodded her head.
"I saw her last night after I left you girls. I had to have a new bulb for one of my lights."
"Glad of it." Jerry beamed at Helen. She had not wished her junior friend left out of Miss Remson's confidence. "If she had not told you, I was going to ask her if you might be in on it," she assured.
"Faithful old Jeremiah." Helen reached over from where she had paused beside the Lookouts' table and patted Jerry on the shoulder.
"One might think you were addressing a valued family watch dog," remarked Lucy Warner. Helen's dimples deepened. "You don't say much, Luciferous, but what you say is amazin'. I hadn't the slightest intention of ranking my respected pardner, Jeremiah, as an animal friend. With this apologetic explanation, I shall insist that you drop all such thoughts."
"Oh, I did not say I thought so," calmly corrected Lucy. "I merely said, 'One might think.'" Lucy's features were purposely austere. Her greenish eyes were dancing. Long since her chums had discovered that her sense of humor was as keen as her sense of criticism.
Leila presently returned to find the breakfasters feasting on hot, old-fashioned cinnamon buns. These buns were a specialty at Wayland Hall, and, with coffee, were a tempting meal in themselves. Another ten minutes, and they left the dining-room en masse, bound for the little manager's office, there to learn what they might or might not expect from the Sans during the coming college year.
LETTER NUMBER TWO.
"Come in!" called a brisk, familiar voice, as Ronny knocked lightly on the almost closed door. Filing decorously into the rather small office, the nine girls grouped themselves about the manager's chair.
"Take seats, friends," she invited. "Four of you can use the settee. There are chairs enough for the others. Will you see that the door is tightly closed, Helen. This matter is strictly confidential. It's rather early for eavesdroppers," she added, with biting sarcasm.
"The door is closed, Miss Remson." Having complied with the manager's request, Helen seated herself beside Jerry on a wide walnut bench which took up almost a side of the room.
"Thank you. You know, my dear young friends," Miss Remson began, with out further preliminary, "that, last March, after Miss Dean's trouble with the Sans Soucians, I expressed myself as being heartily sick of their lawless behavior. I stated then that I should take up the matter with President Matthews. I believed he would respect my point of view. I had made up my mind that I did not wish them to return to the Hall this year. Wayland Hall is the oldest and finest house on the campus. Naturally, it is hard to obtain board here. I have been here longer than any other manager of any other Hamilton campus house. I have rarely made complaint against a student. Miss Dean was anxious that I should not put her case before President Matthews. I could only respect her wishes, as the matter was strictly personal. There were many other reasons why the Sans Soucians, as they call themselves, were undesirable boarders."
Miss Remson ceased speaking momentarily, as she separated a letter from two or three others on her desk.
"These girls, of whom I disapproved, made the usual application to retain their rooms. I made a list of the undesirables and went over to the president's house to have a confidential talk with him. I have known him and his family for years. Unfortunately, he was not at home. He had been invited to make an address at the Commencement of Newbold, a western college for women, and would be away for a week. As his return would be so near Commencement here, I decided to write him and ask for an early appointment. I wrote to him as soon as he returned. He answered my note personally and made an appointment with me.
"I laid my complaint before him," she continued, "and he was indignant at the way I had been treated. He asked me to leave with him the names of the young women against whom I had made complaint. He promised they should be reprimanded by him and notified to make other arrangements for this college year. Further, they would also be warned that any new complaints against them from another manager would mean a second summons to his office, with a more severe penalty attached.
"I waited, expecting a storm when these girls received their notification and learned what I had done. I had not given them an answer regarding their rooms for next year, as I was waiting for Doctor Matthews to act. Judge my surprise when, five days after I had talked with the doctor, I received a cool note, dictated to his secretary, stating that he was inclosing a typed copy of a letter which he had received. He went on to say that, as there seemed to be as much complaint against me, by the young women of whom I had complained, he would suggest that we get together and try to adjust the matter at the Hall. He believed that the course I had requested him to pursue would result in such useless ill-feeling that he preferred not to adopt it. He had no doubt that an internal friction, such as appeared to exist at Wayland Hall, could be easily adjusted by me, if I adopted the proper methods. He wished the subject closed."
"Why, that isn't a bit like Doctor Matthews!" exclaimed Helen. "He has the reputation of being a stickler for justice."
"My dear, I know it," replied Miss Remson, in a hurt voice. "I felt utterly crushed after I had read his note. There was nothing more to be done unless I resigned. I did not wish to do so. I have every right to retain my position here. It is my living and I do a great deal for my sister's two sons, whom I am helping put through college. The copy of the letter, inclosed with the president's note, was written by Miss Myers. I shall read it to you verbatim."
Unfolding the copied letter which she held in her hand, she hastily read the formal heading then went on more slowly:
"Dear Doctor Matthews:
"It has been intimated us that we are not to be granted the privilege of remaining at Wayland Hall during our junior year. We understand the reason for this injustice and wish you to understand it also. Miss Remson, the manager of the Hall, has taken sides with a certain few students in the house who have a fancied grudge against a number of young women whose interests I am now representing. Miss Remson has allowed these students to place us in the most humiliating of positions; has even aided and abetted them in putting us in a false light. She has also reprimanded us frequently for offenses of which we are not guilty. We are willing to overlook all this and try even more earnestly in future to please Miss Remson. This, in spite of the harsh way in which we have been treated by all concerned. We are not willing to leave the Hall. We came here to live as freshmen and we object to being thrust from it after two years' residence in it. We have been given to understand that complaint against us is to be lodged with you by Miss Remson. Will you not take up the matter summarily with her and see that we obtain justice?
"Yours sincerely, "Joan Myers."
A united gasp arose as Miss Remson finished the reading of Joan Myers' letter and laid it on the desk.
"Can you beat that?" inquired Jerry, in such deep disgust everyone laughed. "Of all the cast-iron, nickle-plated nerve, commend me to the Sans."
"Outrageous!" Leila's black brows were drawn in a deep scowl. "And they are clever, too," she nodded with conviction. "That letter is the kind a man of Doctor Matthews' standing detests. It gives the whole affair the air of a school-girl quarrel. Very hard on your dignity, Miss Remson," she glanced sympathetically at the little manager.
"Not only that. I am practically cut off from my old friendly standing with the president." Miss Remson's usually quick tones faltered slightly. "I would not appeal to him for justice again if these lawless girls brought the Hall down about my ears. You can understand my position."
She appealed to her youthful hearers In general. "It was my belief that you should be told this by me, as I had assured you last spring that I would not have these trouble-making, untruthful students at the Hall this year, if I could help it. They are coming back wholly against my will. We were into Commencement week last June when this occurred, so I said nothing to any of you. It would have been an annoyance to you during the summer every time you happened to recall it."
"Who told the Sans that you weren't going to allow them to come back to the Hall?" was Marjorie's pertinent question. "I can answer for every one of us in saying that we never repeated a word outside of our own intimate circle."
"That is a question I have pondered more than once during the summer," Miss Remson responded with alacrity. "I did not suspect one of you for an instant. I do not see how anyone could have overheard the remarks I made on the subject, as I made them in this office with the door always closed. President Matthews is, of course, above suspicion. His secretary would not dare repeat his official business, even to an intimate friend. I mailed my letter to the president. It went through the postoffice. This precludes the possibility of it having been tampered with."
"Perhaps the Sans guessed that you would refuse them admittance to the Hall this year because you called the meeting in the living room," was Muriel's plausible surmise. "You had had a good deal of trouble with them and they knew they were in the wrong; that you disapproved of them. They may have scented disaster and taken the bull by the horns. They calculated, perhaps, that you might appeal to President Matthews and thought they would secure themselves by reporting us and accusing you of favoritism."
"That would be typical of the Sans," agreed Leila energetically. "Not so much Leslie Cairns. She bribes and bullies her way to whatever she wants. Joan Myers wrote the letter. She is considered very clever among her crowd. She may have made the plan. Dulcie Vale is too stupid and Nat Weyman is wrapped up in herself."
"A clever letter, contemptible though it is," pronounced Veronica. "The writer has put a certain amount of force in it which passes for sincerity."
"It reads as though she had been informed that Miss Remson was going to turn the Sans down and was honestly sore over it." Jerry added her speculation to Ronny's.
"It is too bad!" exclaimed Helen Trent, indignantly. "I mean for you, Miss Remson. You can soon find out for yourself whether they simply guessed you were down on them or really had information. When the Sans come back to the Hall, if they are snippy and insolent from the start, that will mean, I think, that they had warning of it. If they are rather subdued and fairly civil, for them, then they only made a daring bluff and are not sure, up to date, whether their suspicion was correct."
"Great head!" laughingly complimented Jerry. "There is nothing the mater with Helen's reasoning powers."
Miss Remson nodded slowly as she considered Helen's words. "That is very likely the way it will be," she said. "The matter will have to remain closed, because President Matthews wishes it to be so. I shall not adopt his suggestion of a personal talk with these girls." A glint of belligerence appeared in her eyes. "I have been here at the Hall many years and seen many young women come and go. I am not a bad judge of girl character and motive. It will not take me long to fathom these girls' deceit in this affair, if the letter Miss Myers wrote was based on supposition. If, in some unprecedented manner, they really received information, then they must have learned the outcome of the affair from the same source. All I can do is to remain mute on the subject. They will, undoubtedly, ridicule me behind my back. If they attempt to belittle me to my face, I shall resign my position here." The humiliated little manager's lips compressed into a tight line.
"I think the whole business is shameful; simply shameful!" burst forth Vera, her blue eyes flashing. "Imagine President Matthews taking such an extremely unjust stand!"
"It is too bad you cannot go to him and have the matter out with him. No; I understand that you wouldn't, under the circumstances," Jerry added quickly, as Miss Remson made a hasty gesture of dissent. "I wouldn't either, if I were you."
"I believe there is more to this than appears on the surface," Marjorie gave steady opinion. "We hardly know President Matthews, as we were merely freshies last year. Still he seems to be such a fine man. A man in his position ought to be above anything even touching on injustice."
"There you are! 'Seems to be,' and 'ought to be,'" repeated Leila cynically. "May I ask you, Miss Remson, do you know the signature to the president's letter to you to be by his own hand? I would not hesitate to set a trumped-up letter down to the Sans' mischief-making bureau."
"Yes; it is President Matthews' signature; unmistakably his," answered Miss Remson. "I am satisfied Doctor Matthews wrote the letter. It is written much as he would write if he were thoroughly annoyed. Neither Miss Myers nor her friends could write it. You spoke of there being more to this than appears on the surface, Miss Dean. Pardon me for disagreeing. I hardly think so."
Marjorie never forgot the hurt look that crept into the manager's usually cheerful face as she bravely disagreed. It was as though she had caught a glimpse of the plucky little woman's grieving soul. She realized that Miss Remson had found it hard to give even them her confidence. She guessed also that the manager would be grateful if left to herself.
"I know what it means to feel dreadfully hurt over something untrue that has been said of one, Miss Remson," she consoled in her sincere, gracious fashion. "That's the way it was with me last March. Thanks to my friends, the clouds blew away and the sun came out again. We are your true friends, and we would like to do as much for you as we know you have done for me, and would do for any of us who needed your support. We solemnly promise," she went on, turning to her chums for corroboration, "to regard your confidence as binding. Not one of us will forget the hurt that has been dealt you. We shall do our best to make it easier for you at the Hall by keeping clear of the Sans."
"Miss Remson, I feel positive that Doctor Matthews will realize, later, what a serious mistake he has made. Sometimes the very finest men make just such blunders because they are irritated by something else entirely." Katherine spoke with deep conviction. "I acted as secretary one summer to a naturalist who was of that type."
"There is one thing I intend to do." Lucy Warner spoke for the first time since entering the office. She had listened with the gravity and attention of a judge to all that had been said. "I shall make it a point to see what President Matthews' secretary looks like. A secretary has a good deal of opportunity to make trouble, if she chooses to make it. She knows so much of her employer's private affairs. I've been a secretary long enough to tell you that. She might have quietly told the Sans of Miss Remson's letter to the president, asking for an interview."
"But, my dear child, I did not mention the object of my interview in my note to President Matthews," declared the manager. "The secretary would have nothing to tell these girls of any moment. She would naturally attach no importance to such a letter."
"That is true." Lucy looked abashed for an instant. Her old shyness seemed about to settle down on her. She cast it off and sat up very straight, her green eyes gleaming with her initial purpose. "I believe I will look her up, at any rate. She might be a friend of the Sans."
"Hardly," differed Muriel. "The Sans don't make a friend of a girl under the million mark, Lucy."
"Unless it happens to suit their purpose," flatly contradicted Lucy, with no intent to be rude. "They are the very persons who would pretend friendship with a poor girl if they thought she would be useful to them. There are girls who would feel highly flattered to be taken up by them. I can't pass opinion upon this secretary until I have seen her. Perhaps not until I have seen her a number of times."
"Luciferous Warniferous, the world's great private investigator." Despite the seriousness of the occasion, Muriel could not refrain from venturing this pleasantry.
"You needn't make fun of me." Lucy laughed with the others. "It won't do any harm, at least, to view her from afar."
"I thank you all for your interest in me and for your promise." Miss Remson surveyed the group of youthful sympathizers through a slight mist. "Don't keep this in mind, girls," she counseled. "It is better forgotten. I shall try to get along with this disagreeable flock of students with the least possible friction. If they take advantage of this victory, which they have gained unfairly, and attempt to override my authority at the Hall, I shall resign at once."
THE GENUS "FRESHMAN."
Leaving the manager's office, soon afterward, the nine girls would have liked nothing better than to repair to one of their rooms and discuss the subject of Miss Remson's grievances at length. All had the liveliest sympathy for the kindly official and longed to do something to prove it. Unfortunately, nearly all of them had work to do or engagements to keep. The Sanford contingent had their trunks to unpack as soon as they should arrive. They hoped that would be very soon. Katherine had made an engagement with Lillian Wenderblatt to go for a long walk. Leila and Vera were going to drive to the town of Hamilton to buy the where-withal for a spread to be given that evening in honor of Nella and Selma, who were expected on the five o'clock train. Helen being the only one with time on her hands, Leila advised her to join them on their quest for the most toothsome "eats."
Contrary to Jerry's wet-blanket and extravagant prediction that the trunks would probably be delivered "around midnight," they arrived shortly before eleven o'clock, and an industrious season of unpacking set in. Determined to finish arranging their effects before four o'clock, they labored at the task with commendable energy and speed, stopping only for luncheon, which was eaten in some haste.
"We certainly have hustled," Jerry congratulated, as she lifted the last remaining articles from the bottom of one of her two trunks and found place for them in her chiffonier. "I'm glad the job is done. We shall have lots of time to take it easy. Here it is, only Wednesday. College doesn't open officially until next Tuesday. We have nearly a week to ourselves."
"We'll begin today to look after the freshies," planned Marjorie. "Then we must meet one train a day, if not two, until we are not needed any longer. I shall stick rigidly to that work on account of the welcome we were cheated of last September."
"What are you going to wear to the train this afternoon?" Jerry inquired, critically inspecting two or three frocks she had laid out on her couch bed. She was uncertain which one to wear.
"That one." Marjorie nodded toward a chair over which hung a one-piece frock of fine white linen. "I think white looks nicest when one is going to the station. I love to wear my white dresses as late in the fall as I can."
"Then I'll wear white, too." Jerry immediately selected a pretty lingerie gown and sighed relief to have that matter off her mind. "I am going the rounds and tell the gang to wear white, by order of the Board of Suitable Suits for Auspicious Occasions. Back in a minute."
Glancing at the clock, which showed ten minutes past four, Marjorie hurriedly slipped out of the pink gingham dress she had been wearing and took the white linen frock from the chair. She had been making leisurely preparations for the trip to the station while Jerry finished unpacking.
"I can plainly see my finish." Jerry presently entered the room with a bounce, seized a towel from the washstand and bounced out again. She returned as breezily within a few minutes and continued her toilet at the same rate of speed. Leila had said: "Not one minute later than four-thirty," and Jerry did not propose to be left behind.
"Are the rest of the crowd going to wear white?" Marjorie asked, giving her wealth of curly hair a final touch before the mirror.
"Yes; but it's just a happen-so. Most of them were dressed for the auspicious occasion when I arrived on the scene. Their suits were suitable, so I beat it back here in a hurry. Please tie my sash for me, Marjorie, while I labor some more with my aggravating hair. I swear I will have it cropped like Robin Page's."
"She'll have hers done up when she comes back," commented Marjorie, deftly complying with Jerry's request. "It was almost long enough to do up last June and she was proud of it."
"I hope Robin comes in on the five o'clock train. I'd like to see her. Next to Helen, I like her best of the Hamiltonites."
The entrance of Ronny, also in white linen, with the information that Muriel and Lucy had gone on down stairs to the veranda, cut short Jerry's remarks. The three girls reached the veranda at precisely four-thirty, to find Leila's and Vera's cars on the drive in readiness to start.
Through the glory of late afternoon sunlight the two cars, each with its winsome freight of white-gowned girls, sped down the smooth pike past beautiful Hamilton Estates and on toward the station. Happy in the fact that she was now so perfectly at home at Hamilton, Marjorie smiled as she compared last year with the present. Yes; it was good to be a sophomore. Her new estate stretched invitingly before her. It was all so very different from the previous September. The splendor of the sunlit sky and the warm fragrance of the light breeze seemed indicative of pleasant days to come. Because she had missed a welcome on her arrival at Hamilton, she was ready to welcome doubly some other freshman stranger within Hamilton's gates.
"Train 16, late, 40 minutes," was the dampening information which stared them in the face from the station bulletin board.
"Forty minutes! Who cares to eat ice cream? Back into the buzz wagons, all of you. I like the taste of ice cream in my mouth better than the feel of those station boards under my feet for a long stretch of forty minutes. We can go to the Ivy, that little white shop on Linden Avenue. It is only two blocks from the station. We shall have time and to spare."
Leila called the latter part of her remarks over her shoulder. Immediately she had read the notice she turned and started for the station yard. Her companions followed her with alacrity. They were no more in favor than she of a tedious wait on the platform for a belated train.
"One of us had better call time," wisely suggested Helen, as they flocked into the pretty white and green tea room. "Otherwise we are likely to overstay our limit. We must be out of here ten minutes before the train is due. You had better, Luciferous. You are infallible."
"Much obliged." A faint pink crept into Lucy's fair pale skin. Lucy was secretly proud of her own reliability. Turning her pretty gold wrist watch on her wrist so that she could see the face of it, she watched it with an eager eye from then on. The watch had been a gift to her from Ronny the previous Christmas, and was her most valued possession.
Fortune favored them with prompt service on the part of a waitress. They had only comfortably finished their ice cream, however, when Lucy announced that it was time to go. Returning to the station platform, they found only a sprinkling of students awaiting the coming train.
"What has become of Ethel Laird, I wonder?" asked Jerry. "I hope she hasn't forgotten she is on this welcoming committee. Suppose about twenty or thirty freshmen stepped off the five o'clock train. It would keep Marjorie and me busy chasing up and down this old board walk handing out welcomes."
"Now where do you suppose we would be during that time?" demanded Leila.
"Oh, you would be a help, undoubtedly," conceded Jerry, with a boyish grin. "I forgot about you folks. I was merely thinking of us from our committee standpoint. We'll have to guess whether these arrivals are freshies or not. I don't know all the Hamilton students and where they belong. It will be about my speed to walk up to some timid-looking damsel and gallantly offer my assistance only to find out she is a proud and lofty senior."
"There are few faces at Hamilton which I don't know," Leila assured. "Behave well and stick to me and I'll promise you will not do anything foolish. I can pick a freshie from afar off."
"Miss Remson told me yesterday that she understood there were one hundred and ten freshmen applications this year," said Katherine. "We are to have three freshies at Wayland Hall."
"One hundred and ten democrats would help our cause along," remarked Lucy. "Only we need not expect any such miracle."
"With the start we now have, if even half of the freshmen were for college equality, it would be a hard blow to the Sans. I wish it might be like that." Vera clasped her bits of hands, an unconsciously pretty fashion of hers when she earnestly desired something to come to pass.
"The Sans will fight for every inch of the ground this year. See if they don't," Katherine Langly spoke with half bitter conviction. "Do you think for an instant that they will sit still and see democracy win? Leslie Cairns loves power. Joan Myers is determined to have her own way. Natalie Weymain is vain. Dulcie Vale is vindictive. Evangeline Heppler and Adelaide Forman are thoroughly disagreeable. Margaret Wayne is malicious and scandalously untruthful. There! That is my candid opinion of those seven students. I have always longed to express it."
"I see you have found your tongue. I congratulate you." Leila beamed approval of such refreshing frankness on the part of quiet little Katherine.
"We had better enter a conspiracy to spend our spare time rushing freshies," proposed Helen. "When they are with us they will be out of mischief."
"First catch your hare," advised Muriel. "Maybe the freshies would not take kindly to the continuous round of pleasure we arranged for them. I don't believe there is any one infallible method of winning them over."
"Oh, I wasn't serious," Helen said, with her roguish, indolent smile. "While I don't object to helping the great cause along, I am not yearning to become a polite entertainer. I'd probably be a most impolite one before the end of a week, if I had to rush freshies as a steady task. I am afraid few of them would turn out to be as amiable, beautiful, jolly, delightful, agreeable and companionable as good old Jeremiah here."
"An awful waste of adjectives," was Jerry's terse reception of this extravagant tribute to herself. "Here comes the train." Despite her lack of sentiment, she flashed Helen a smile of comradeship.
The belated express thundered into the station with a force which shook the platform. Instinctively the scattered groups of persons on the platform drew back a trifle as the first three coaches shot past. It was a long train and it did not take more than a second glance down its length to note that the last coach was quite different from the others.
"Private car!" Leila's low exclamation held more than surprise. It was sarcastically significant. "Behold the Philistines are upon us," she continued in pretended consternation.
"We needn't mind a little thing like that," Jerry assured with a genial smile. "They won't be met and fussed over by us. I wonder where the mob is who ought to be at the station to greet these celebrated geese?"
"They certainly chose a poor day for a triumphal return." Muriel indulged in a soft chuckle at the Sans' expense. She broke off in the middle of it with a jubilant cry of, "Girls; there's Hortense just getting off the train three coaches up the platform!"
"Hooray! Nella and Selma are with her!" This from Leila, whose eyes had picked up dignified Hortense Barlow descending the car steps immediately. Muriel had cried out. Following her were the two juniors of whom Leila and Vera were so fond.
The unwelcome Sans entirely forgotten, Leila, Muriel and Vera headed an orderly rush up the platform. All of the station party were anxious to give the three juniors a hearty reception. Marjorie and Ronny happened to be the last of the little procession. The former bore in mind her chief object in coming-to the station and kept a sharp lookout for freshmen.
Just as they reached the edge of the group which had closed in about the three arrivals, Marjorie's searching eyes spied a small, flaxen-haired young woman with wide-opened blue eyes and a babyish expression, coming toward her. The latter was burdened with a heavy seal traveling case and a bag of golf sticks. She had evidently emerged from the coach behind the one from which Nella and her two companions had come. As she advanced, she gazed about her with a slightly perplexed air.
"Pardon me." Marjorie had stepped instantly to her side. "Are you a freshman? I am Marjorie Dean, of the sophomore class, and hope I can be of service to you. I am one of a sophomore committee to welcome arriving freshmen."
"Oh, thank you. Delighted, I'm sure, to know you, Miss Dean." The newcomer's conventionally courteous tone conveyed no particular enthusiasm. "Yes; I am a freshman. At least, I hope so. I have one exam. to try. I flunked in geometry at the prep school I attended last year. Had a tutor all summer. Guess I'll scrape through this time."
"I hope you will," Marjorie made sincere return. She half offered a hand to the other girl. The latter did not appear to see it. She clung tightly to her bag of golf sticks and traveling case. Far from paying undivided attention to Marjorie, her wide blue eyes roved over the platform, the light of curiosity strong within them.
"Hamilton must be a slow old college if it can't show more of a station mob than this," she remarked, almost disdainfully. "I mean it must be rather well—humdrum. I was at Welden Prep last year. It is a mighty lively school. It takes the Welden girls to properly mob the station. Oh, we were a gay crowd, I can tell you! Awfully select, you know, but really full of life."
"You will find Hamilton lively enough, I believe. It is early yet. A few of us are back earlier than usual. Not more than a fifth of the students have returned yet." Marjorie's tone was kindly. She made a patient effort to keep reserve out of it. Her first impression of the dissatisfied freshman was not pleasing.
"Oh, I see, I am glad there is hope." The girl gave a vacant little laugh. "I do so hate anything slow or poky or stupid. I had supposed Hamilton to be very smart and exclusive, or I wouldn't have chosen to come here."
"It is a very fine college. There is no better faculty in the country, and the college itself is ideally located. You cannot help but love the campus. At which house are you to live?" Marjorie chose not to discuss Hamilton from the freshman's point of view.
"Alston Terrace. Is it an interesting house to live in? Where do you live? Are the garage accommodations good? I shall have my own car here; perhaps two. How far is it from the station to the campus?"
The stranger hurled these questions at Marjorie all in a breath. The latter's inclination toward secret vexation increased rather than diminished. Her freshman find was showing somewhat Sans-like tendencies.
"All the campus houses are interesting. I live at Wayland Hall. There are several garages in the vicinity of the college. It is about two miles from the station to Hamilton. If you will come with me, I will introduce you to some of my friends. A number of us came to the station together; some of us to meet friends expected on this train. Miss Macy, my room-mate, and myself are on the committee. Let me help you with your luggage."
Marjorie deftly possessed herself of the bag of golf sticks which the freshman now surrendered willingly, and led the way to the part of the platform where her companions had gathered around the three juniors.
"Here she is!" exclaimed Vera, as she approached. "Aha! Now I know why you left us all of a sudden!" She smiled winningly at Marjorie's companion, who allowed the barest flicker of a smile to touch her slightly pouting lips.
"Girls, I would like you to meet Miss——" Marjorie stopped, her color rising. The stranger had not volunteered her name at the time when Marjorie had introduced herself. She turned to the freshman with an apologetic smile. "Will you tell me your name?" she asked pleasantly.
"Oh, certainly. My name is Elizabeth Walbert." As she spoke her restless eyes began an appraisement of the group of girls whom Marjorie had addressed.
"Miss Walbert, this is Miss Mason, Miss Lynne, Miss Harper——" Marjorie presented her friends in turn to the newcomer, then said: "Please make Miss Walbert feel at home among us, while I greet our famous juniors."
"Oh, we knew you wouldn't forget your little friends," laughed Selma, "particularly the Swedish dwarf." Selma, who stood five feet nine, had bestowed this name upon herself, she being the tallest of the four girls who had chummed together since their enrollment at Hamilton.
Having warmly welcomed the trio, Marjorie realized Jerry was missing. She glanced quickly up and down the platform in search of her. She finally spied her coming down the platform with a plainly-dressed girl whose pale face, under a brown sailor hat, bore the unmistakable stamp of the student. In one hand she carried a small black utility bag of very shiny material. The other hand grasped the handle of a large straw suitcase. Jerry carried the mate to it. Her plump face registered nothing but polite attention to what her companion was saying. She was marching her freshman along, however, at a fair rate of speed. Not so far to their rear the Sans had detrained. Their high-pitched talk and laughter could be heard the length of the platform, as they gathered up their luggage and prepared to march on Hamilton. Jerry proposed to be safely in the bosom of her friends with her find before that march began.
"Come along, children. Let's be going. The choo-choo cars are getting ready to choo-choo right along to the next station. Look as I may, I see no more arriving freshies—except the one Jeremiah is now towing toward us." Leila added this as she saw Jerry. "We'll delay our going in honor of the freshie."
Next instant Jerry had joined them and was introducing Miss Towne, of Omaha, Nebraska, as the stranger had shyly declared herself. Amidst the crowd of dainty, white-gowned girls, she looked not unlike a dingy little brown wren. Miss Walbert eyed her with growing disapproval and gave her a perfunctory nod of the head. Immediately she turned her attention to the on-coming Sans whom she had already noticed. Her face brightened visibly as she watched them. While she had reluctantly decided that her new acquaintances were as well dressed as she, and carried themselves as though of social importance, their kindly reception of a girl who was clearly a dig and a nobody displeased her. The very manner in which the other group of girls were advancing made strong appeal to her. They were more the type she had known at Welden.
Marjorie felt an imperative tug at her arm. "Who are those girls? They came from that private car. They are so much like my dear pals at Welden." Elizabeth Walbert's babyish features were alive with animation.
"They are juniors. I have met a few of them. I can't really say that I have an acquaintance with any of them." Marjorie could think of nothing else to say of the Sans. She did not care to go into detail regarding them.
"We go down those steps over there to reach the yard where two of my friends have parked their cars," she continued, with intended change of subject. Her companions were already moving toward the flight of stone steps. Miss Walbert still stood watching the approaching company of smartly-dressed girls.
"Pardon me. What did you say?" The absorbed freshman spoke without looking at Marjorie. "I think I have met one or two of those girls. Summer before last, at Newport, I met a Miss Myers and a Miss Stephens. We had quite a lot of fun together one afternoon at a tennis tournament. Yes, I am sure those are the same girls. I met them afterward at a dinner dance."
By this time the party had come within a few feet of where Marjorie and her annoying freshman find were standing. Marjorie felt the warm color flood her cheeks as a battery of unfriendly eyes was turned upon her. Her chums had already disappeared down the stairway, unaware that she had been left behind. She could hardly have conceived of a more disagreeable situation. Miss Walbert, however, was quite in her element. She had done precisely what she had intended to do.
"Excuse me, I must really speak to my friends. I'll probably go on to the college with them. Thank you so much."
With this Miss Walbert stepped hurriedly forward and addressed Joan Myers. "How do you do? You are Miss Myers whom I met at the Newport tennis tournament, I believe. So surprised to see you here and so pleased."
Joan Myers stared hard at the speaker before replying. She recognized her as the girl she had met at Newport on the occasion mentioned. She also recalled the second meeting at the dance and acted accordingly.
"How are you?" she returned affably, extending her hand. "Of course I remember you. Strange I can't recall your name. I met you at the Newport tournament and afterward at Mrs. Barry Symonds' dance. Are you going to enter Hamilton? So pleased, I am sure. Won't you join our party? You seem to be—er—well out of your proper element." Joan added this with insulting intent.
Marjorie had stepped back as Miss Walbert had stepped forward. Her first impulse, in consideration of the cavalier dismissal she had received, had been to turn and walk away. Courtesy prompted her to wait a moment, thus making sure the freshman was accepted as an acquaintance by Joan Myers and Harriet Stephens. She had barely turned away as she heard Joan Myers say, "Won't you join our party?" She could, therefore, hardly help hearing the remark which followed.
She went without attempting even a farewell nod. She was not hurt over the ill-bred manner in which she had been treated. She was disgusted with the other girl's utter shallowness. She was also visited by a sense of dull disappointment. Hurrying to overtake her own party, she discovered she was still carrying the freshman's golf bag. In the annoyance of the moment she had forgotten all about it. Bravely she decided to return it at once and have it off her hands immediately. She was half way down the steps when she made this resolve. She quickly remounted the stairs. From the top step she could see the Sans, standing where she had left them. Four or five juniors whom she had seen on the platform before the train came in, were with them now.
"Is this the way to the station yard?" inquired a soft little voice at her elbow. "Can I get a taxi there that will take me to Hamilton College?"
Marjorie turned quickly to meet the questioning gaze of two velvety black eyes. The owner of the soft voice and black eyes was a girl no taller than Vera. She had a small, straight nose and a red bud of a mouth. Her hair, under the gray sports hat which matched her suit, was a blue black, so soft as to be almost feathery. As she surveyed the pretty stranger, Marjorie's recent pang of disappointment left her. Here, at least, was a freshman more after her own heart.
THE SANS' NEW RECRUIT.
"If you will wait just a moment or two I will show you the way to the station yard. I am Marjorie Dean, of the sophomore class. I am down here today purposely to help incoming freshmen. I had one in tow a few minutes ago, but she met some acquaintances of hers and joined them. I carried off her golf bag and must return it. She is over there." Marjorie nodded toward the group. "Pardon me. I'll return instantly."
"Thank you, ever so much. I shall be glad to wait for you," sweetly responded the newcomer. "I am Barbara Severn, of Baltimore."
Marjorie stopped to acknowledge the introduction, then onerous as was the task, she went staunchly to it. Luckily for her, Miss Walbert stood at the edge of the group, momentarily neglected by her chosen acquaintances. They were busily engaged with their junior classmates.
"Here is your golf bag, Miss Walbert. I forgot to give it to you when I left you." Her tone evenly impersonal, it carried a note of reserve which the other caught.
"Oh, thank you. I—that is—I forgot about it, too." She attempted a smile as she reached out to take it from Marjorie's hands.
"You are welcome." A slight inclination of the head and Marjorie was gone.
Elizabeth Walbert watched the graceful figure in white across the platform. Certainly this Dean girl was awfully good style, she reflected.
"What did mamma's precious pet want with you?" For the first time, since acknowledging an introduction to Elizabeth, Leslie Cairns had condescended to address her.
"Nothing, except to return this. She carried it and forgot to give it to me when I shook her. I am glad she didn't wait and bring it over to Alston Terrace. I don't care much for that type of girl. She's priggish and goody-goody, isn't she?" Miss Walbert promptly took her cue from Leslie.
While the babyish-looking freshman regarded Leslie with a perfectly innocent expression, there was lurking malice in her wide blue eyes. She had not liked the dignity Marjorie had shown when returning her property. It rankled in her petty soul. With the gratitude of the proverbial serpent, she was quite ready to sting the hand which had befriended her.