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POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
Author of "Polly's First Year at Boarding School," "Polly's Summer Vacation," etc.
Illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn
New York Barse & Hopkins Publishers
BOOKS FOR YOUNG GIRLS
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THE POLLY PENDLETON SERIES
By Dorothy Whitehill
1 POLLY'S FIRST YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL 2 POLLY'S SUMMER VACATION 3 POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
(Other volumes in preparation)
Barse & Hopkins Publishers New York
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Copyright, 1917, by Barse & Hopkins
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Polly's Summer Vacation
I SENIORS! 9
II A CLASS MEETING 21
III FANNY 32
IV BASKET-BALL ELECTION 44
V THANKSGIVING 58
VI MAUD 72
VII A SENIOR DISPUTE 80
VIII AN EVENTFUL STRAW-RIDE 93
IX A STARTLING DISCOVERY 108
X A SURPRISE TO MANY 121
XI THE CONCERT 130
XII CHRISTMAS 144
XIII POLLY'S LETTER 156
XIV MAUD'S DISAPPEARANCE 166
XV THE JUNIOR PROM 179
XVI MUMPS 193
XVII SPRING 205
XVIII FIELD DAY 219
XIX THE SENIOR DANCE 232
XX COMMENCEMENT 244
Apparently, she had made little or no progress in unpacking her suitcase, for nothing was put away Frontispiece
Polly was standing on a chair which threatened every minute to topple from its precarious position on her bed 21
They cut it down, dragged it to the sleigh and bore it home in triumph 147
Polly felt that she had not really earned the cup when it was presented to her at the close of the game 198
Polly Pendleton and Lois Farwell returned to Seddon Hall as seniors.
Up the long hill that led from the station their carriage crawled as it had done on every other opening day.
From the summit of the hill the low, red-roofed buildings of the school smiled a welcome from their setting of blazing Autumn leaves, and all around them girls were calling out greetings.
There was a marked change in the two girls' outward appearances—their hair was up and their skirts were longer, their whole bearing was older. They were different from the two youngsters whose Freshman year has already been recorded. That is, they looked different, and if you had asked them about it they would have assured you that they were indeed different.
But, the old-time twinkle in Polly's eyes and Lois' sudden merry laugh gave you a comforting feeling that, after all, in spite of assurances and looks, they were still the same Polly and Lois.
Nothing very eventful had happened in either one of their lives, during the past years. They had spent their Winters at Seddon Hall and their vacations at Polly's old home in New England with Mrs. Farwell. Polly's uncle, Mr. Pendleton, and Dr. Farwell, had come up on visits when they could. Bob, Lois' big brother, had come, too, but less frequently of late. He was at college now and working very hard.
They had made new friends, but, what is more important, they had kept their old ones.
This well ordered way of living, however, had to change. Time had gone on slowly, but steadily and now, suddenly, they were Seniors. It was an exhilarating thought and Polly and Lois hugged each other whenever it struck them afresh.
Their carriage finally reached the door. In a second they were in the reception room, and, after they had greeted Mrs. Baird and the faculty, they dashed up the front stairs—a privilege only accorded the Seniors—and found their room, a big corner one, which they were to share in Senior Alley. Rooming together was another Senior privilege.
"Poll, we're back." Lois threw her suitcase without regard to contents on one of the beds and looked around her.
"Yes, we're back, and we're Seniors and, what's more, we've the best room on the Alley," Polly answered, enthusiastically. "We'll put your window box there." She indicated a broad bow window, overlooking the campus and gym. "And we'll—"
"Oh! don't let's fuss about the decorations now," Lois interrupted. "Let's find Betty and the other girls. I'm dying to know who's back."
"I am too, sort of," Polly agreed reluctantly, as they left the room and started for the Assembly Hall. "Do you know, Lo, I always feel funny about the new girls."
"Oh, I can't exactly explain, but I don't like them; I wish they hadn't come. We were so all right last year. Why couldn't just the old girls come back and go on where we left off?"
"Why, you silly," Lois laughed. "Some of last year's girls were new and you liked them. Anyway, cheer up, and don't worry about it now. Listen to the racket they're making in the hall."
Polly gave herself a little shake, a trick she had when she wanted to dismiss a thought from her mind, but her face failed to reflect Lois' smile of anticipation. She was a queer puzzle, was Polly. Uncle Roddy once described her as a tangle of deep thoughts, completely surrounded by a sense of humor. And Mrs. Farwell always insisted that she discussed the weightiest problems of life when she was running for a trolley. Lois was the exact opposite, an artist, a dreamer of dreams, who, when her mind was off on some airy flight, was maddeningly indifferent to everything else. They were ideal friends, for they acted as a balance, the one for the other. They were so much together that no one ever thought of them singly.
A shout of welcome from the old girls, and eager silence from the new ones, greeted their entrance into the Assembly Hall. There was a hubbub of hellos for a minute, and then Betty descended upon them.
Betty, the freckled face—she wasn't a bit changed. She still wore a ribbon on her hair, and her nose was as snubbed and impudent as ever. Of course, she was taller and her skirts were longer, but no one realized it. That was the difference. With Polly and Lois the years had really added themselves and marked a change, but Betty was still Betty and years mattered not at all.
"Jemima!" she exclaimed, joyfully, "but I'm glad you've come. What under the sun did you wait until the late train for. I've been here all day and I've felt like a fish out of water. There's a raft of new girls, but no Senior specials, thank goodness. The two Dorothys are here,"—she paused and wrinkled her nose just the least little bit in disapproval, and then rushed on. "I'm rooming with Angela, you know. Isn't it mean Connie isn't back? Ange misses her already."
Constance Wentworth, of whom she spoke, was one of the old girls and Angela Hollywood's chosen companion. She had not returned this year because her music professor had insisted upon her starting in at the Conservatory of Music, for she was a remarkable pianist. The girls realized that no one would ever quite fill her place.
"Where is Ange?" Lois inquired, when Betty paused for breath.
"In her room, I mean our room; she's moping," Betty answered. "She said three distinct times that she wished Connie were back, and so I left. I'm not sensitive, but—" Betty left the rest unsaid, but her look expressed volumes.
"Poor Ange!" Polly said with exaggerated feeling. "I don't blame her; let's go find her; she must need cheering up; besides, I'm tired of meeting new girls."
Angela answered their knock a few minutes later with a "Come in," uttered in her own particular drawl. She was sitting on her bed in the midst of clothes. Apparently, she had made little or no progress in unpacking her suitcase, for nothing was put away.
Angela had always been, and was still, the unrivaled beauty of Seddon Hall. Her complexion was as soft and pink as a rose petal, and her shimmering golden hair and big blue eyes made you think of gardens and Dresden china. She was never known to hurry, and she spoke with a soft lazy drawl, which, curiously enough, never irritated any one. She had won quite a renown as a poet, but was too quiet to be generally popular.
"Hello, you three!" she greeted, as the girls entered. "I'm awfully glad you're back. Isn't this a mess?" She included the room with a wave of her arm. "I don't know where to begin."
"It's exactly the way it was when I left you," Betty exclaimed with pretended wrath.
"I know it; but you've been so piggy with the dresser drawers and the wardrobe that there's no room for my things," Angela teased back.
She was apparently willing to leave the argument so, for as the girls dropped into comfortable positions on the floor and window seat, she discarded the shoe she was holding, stuffed a pillow behind her and folded her hands. Her guests stayed until dinner time and talked. It was almost a class meeting; for it was a well established fact that when these four girls decided anything the rest of the class agreed with an alacrity that was very flattering to their good judgment.
It was not until Mrs. Baird, who sat at the Senior table the first night as a special favor, asked them if they had discovered any homesick new girls, that they realized that as Seniors, holding responsible positions in the school, they had failed already.
After dinner they stopped to consult on the Bridge of Sighs—the covered way that connected the two main buildings of the school.
"Well, what's to be done?" inquired Lois. "Instead of deciding what color shoes we'd wear at commencement we should have been drying somebody's eyes."
"Quite right," Betty mimicked Lois' righteous tones. "We were very selfish; in fact, I'm ashamed of us. Let's go to Assembly Hall and be giddy little cheerers up."
"Oh, Bet, be sensible! Hasn't your observation in the past taught you that homesick girls don't go to Assembly Hall to cry? They tuck their silly heads under their protecting pillows in their own room. Let's go to Freshman Lane."
"Why Freshman?" Angela inquired softly. "Freshmen are too young and excited to be homesick so soon. Let's go to the Sophs quarters."
They went, tapping gently at every door all the way down the corridor, but received no response.
"They're a heartless lot," Betty declared at the last door. "Not one of them in tears. It's not right, they're entirely too cheerful for so young a class." And she scowled wrathfully as an indication of her displeasure.
"Never mind, Bet," Lois laughed, "maybe we'll have better luck with the Juniors."
Betty took heart and led the way.
Lois was right, though the doleful sobs that met their ears at the door of Junior Mansions—nicknamed the year before because the present Seniors had been so very elegant—could hardly be called luck.
"Jemima!" Betty exclaimed. "A deluge, our search proves fruitful at last."
Polly went to the door through which the sounds came and pushed it open.
The room was dark. The light from the hall cast a streak over the bare floor and discovered a heap of something half on, and half off the bed. At one side of the room a wicker suitcase stood beside the dresser, its swelling sides proclaimed it still unpacked. A hat and coat were flung on the chair—but these were minor details. The heart-breaking sobs filled every corner of the room, and the figure on the bed heaved convulsively with each one.
Polly was the first to speak.
"What's the matter, homesick?" she asked cheerfully as she pressed the electric button and flooded the room with light.
On closer inspection they saw that the girl had heaps of black hair that had become unfastened and lay in a heavy coil on the bed. Also, she had on a crumpled silk waist and a dark green skirt.
Lois and Betty helped her on to the bed and Polly bathed her face with cold water. Angela was tongue-tied, but she patted her hand and murmured incoherent things. Finally the sobs stopped.
"We've got to get her out of here," Lois whispered. "Don't you want to do up your hair and come down to the Assembly Hall?" she said aloud. "Everybody's dancing."
The new girl—she was still just the new girl, for she had refused to tell her name, or say one word—sat up and smoothed her waist.
Betty sighed with relief.
"Come on, that's right," she said encouragingly. "Don't mind about your eyes, all the other new girls will have red ones too. Why when I was a new girl," she said grandly, "I cried for weeks."
Polly and Lois and Angela gasped. Betty had never been known to shed a tear. As for weeks of them, that was a bit extravagant. But the fib had the desired effect. The new girl turned her large, drenched gray eyes on Betty and studied her carefully.
"I reckon you looked something like a picked buzzard when you got through," she said with a broad Southern accent.
There was an astonished silence for a second, then the girls burst into peals of laughter. It was contagious, happy laughter, and the new girl, after a hesitating minute, joined in. After that, it was an easy matter to make conversation and to persuade her to leave her room.
The girls found out that she was Fanny Gerard, and had come straight from South Carolina. Her father—she had no mother—had brought her to school and then returned to the city by the next train. Unfortunately, it had been Miss Hale, the Latin teacher—nicknamed the Spartan years before by Betty, the only unpopular teacher in Seddon Hall—who had shown Fanny to her room.
"She just opened the do' and pointed at that little old plain room with her bony finger and said: 'This is you alls room, Miss Gerard,' and left me. I tell you I like to died."
The tears threatened to burst forth again. Betty and Polly hastened to explain that the Spartan was not even to be considered as part of Seddon Hall. And they brought back the smiles when they explained that the Bridge of Sighs was so named because the Spartan's room was at the end of it.
All together, they made a very satisfactory cure and when they left Fanny for the night, after having unpacked her suitcase for her, she was quite bright and contented.
"What do you think of her?" Polly demanded, when she and Lois were alone, after the good night bell.
Lois considered a minute.
"She's rare, and I think she's going to be worth cultivating. Certainly she's funny," she said.
"Seddon Hallish, you mean?" Polly inquired.
"No, not exactly."
"She couldn't take Connie's place for instance?"
"Never in a thousand years!"
"You're thinking about the same thing I am."
"What are you thinking of?"
"The five boy's pictures she brought in her suitcase."
"Yes, I was. Sort of silly of her. Maybe they are her brothers."
"They're not, she's an only child."
"Well, all Southern girls are sentimental." Polly was almost asleep.
"Maybe we can cure her," she said.
"Maybe," Lois answered drowsily.
"We're Seniors, Lo."
"Yes. This is the first night of our last year."
"I know, pretty much all right rooming together, isn't it?"
A CLASS MEETING
"Really Lo, I think its downright inconsiderate of you to be for Princeton." Polly was standing on a chair which threatened every minute to topple from its precarious position on her bed and she was struggling with a huge Harvard banner. She made the above statement with spirit.
Lois, on the other side of the room, was in nearly the same position, only she was struggling with a Princeton banner.
"I don't see why," she answered Polly's remark casually, and went on tacking.
"Because that awful orange color simply fights with my crimson. We can't have them in the same room."
Lois descended to the floor and surveyed the two banners.
"No, we can't," she said decidedly. "Mine goes better with the room than yours, don't you think?" she asked, after a pause, with just a little too much show at indifference.
"No, I don't." Polly's reply was prompt. "Color scheme doesn't matter to me anyway, but Bob's flag is going up somewhere."
Fortunately, at this moment Betty burst into the room.
"News, good news," she exclaimed. "The Art teacher has just arrived and I've met her. She's a duck. Hello, what's the matter?" she inquired, suddenly interrupting herself. "Is this flag day, and do you really mean you are going to hang both those banners?"
"No, we're not," Lois answered, and Polly laughed.
"The trouble is, Bet, we can't decide which one we will hang. Lo, of course, with her artistic ideas, thinks the orange would go better with the browns of the rug and screen, and I want my Harvard banner up through sentiment. Bob gave it to me and he'll probably make the track this year and anyway, he's Lois' brother and she's always been for Harvard until Frank decided on Princeton and gave her that." Polly gazed with resentment on the banner and Lois both.
"Did Frank give Lo that? Jemima! I didn't know they were such good friends."
Frank Preston was a cousin of Louise Preston, an old Seddon Hall girl Lois and Polly had met him three summers before, while they were visiting Louise, and Lois and he had kept up the friendship ever since.
"Of course he gave it to me, and Polly you know he had a thousand and one good reasons for going to Princeton. Harvard is not the only college."
"Only one I'd go to if I were a boy," Polly answered airily. "But what will we do? I can't hold this up all day."
Betty had a sudden inspiration.
"I'll tell you," she announced. "Take turns, Poll, you put yours up this week and Lo can have hers next, and there you are." She looked proud at having solved the difficulty.
"Bet, you're a genius!" Polly exclaimed, and Lois added her quota of praise.
"Put yours up first, Poll," she said.
But Polly protested.
"No, yours is up already; leave it, and mine can go up next week." So it was decided.
"Now, stop work and let's talk," Betty suggested. "Haven't you anything to eat?"
"Jam, crackers and peanut butter in the window box," Lois told her. "Get them out and tell us about the Art teacher; I'm going to go on hanging pictures."
"Well, she's a duck, I told you that, and an old friend of Mrs. Baird; her first name is Janet. I was standing in the hall when she arrived and I carried her bag to her room. She has the one next to the Spartan's, poor soul!"
"Well how do you know she's nice?" Polly insisted.
"Because she's something like Mrs. Baird."
"Oh, well, of course that's enough; she couldn't be just as nice."
"No, naturally not. There's only one Mrs. Baird, which reminds me—there's a young child"—Betty said the words with emphasis—"A Freshman, I think, who needs serious attention. I heard her fussing to-day; something was wrong and she said 'Mrs. Baird made her sick.'"
Lois looked horrified, but Polly only shrugged her shoulders.
"She won't last long," she said indifferently, and Betty felt ashamed of having bothered to give the child a lecture.
"When do we have a Class meeting?" she asked, to change the subject. "We've got to do something about the welcome dance."
"Why not now?" Lois stopped hammering. "Let's get the Seniors all in here."
It was only a matter of a few minutes before this was accomplished, for Betty went to rout them out.
Angela came first to be followed by the two Dorothys, then Mildred Weeks and Evelin Hatfield, two girls who had come to Seddon Hall the year before. Betty followed them.
"Everybody here?" she asked. "Don't you think we'd better elect officers first off? Then some one will be able to start things. Here's some paper," she added, tearing off sheets and passing them around.
But things were not to run so smoothly. One of the Dorothys rose to protest.
"Don't you think it would be more formal if we held a real meeting in one of the classrooms with Mrs. Baird there," she said. "Then we could have a ballot box and do the thing properly."
Polly and Lois exchanged glances. The Dorothys had always been dissenting voices ever since Freshman days.
Betty tore her hair in secret behind the wardrobe.
It was Angela's slow drawl that settled the question.
"It would be more formal," she agreed, "but what would be the use? Mrs. Baird is much too busy to come, the classrooms are always stuffy after school and besides, we couldn't take the jam along, it's against the rules."
Mildred and Evelin, who had been rather inclined to favor the Dorothys, were won over by this and the point was carried.
The meeting stayed where it was and the vote was cast. Lois was elected President; Angela, Treasurer; Betty, Editor of the school paper; and Polly, Secretary. When the congratulations were over they started with their plans for the welcome dance.
"Do let's have it different," beseeched Betty. "Last year it was awful. All the new girls cried and there wasn't enough ice cream."
"How can we make it different? There's nothing to do but dance." Dot Mead protested. She was not altogether happy over the election.
"Let's make more of a feature of the new girls," Mildred said shyly. "Last year I know Evelin and I felt awfully out of it. Couldn't we—"
"You've hit the nail on the head," Polly exclaimed. "We'll find some new idea of doing things so that the new girls will really feel it's their dance. Everybody think."
While these preparations were going on in the Senior Alley—another meeting, less important in character, but equally heated as to discussion, was raging in Freshman Lane.
Jane Ramsey, who had been at Seddon Hall for three years in the lower school and had at last reached the dignity of Freshman, was giving an admiring group of new girls some advice.
There were five of them, Catherine and Helen Clay, two sisters—Catherine a Freshman and Helen a Sophomore, Winifred Hayes, another Sophomore, and Phylis Guile. Phylis Guile could hardly be classed with the rest of the new girls. Her big sister Florence, who had been a Senior three years before, had told her all about Seddon Hall, and the thought of going anywhere else had never entered her head. She knew so much about everything, that Jane, whose ideas of being a Freshman meant having a chum, took to her at once, and they vowed eternal friendship.
Jane, whose hair was black, almost as black as her eyes, contrasted strangely with Phylis' dazzling fairness. At present, they were doing most of the talking.
"Do the new girls vote for Captain too?" Phylis asked. "Florence has told me of course, but I've forgotten."
"Yes, all the upper school," Jane told her.
They were talking of the coming basket ball election.
"But how do we know who to vote for?" demanded Helen. "We've never seen them play."
"You ask an old girl," Jane replied loftily. "As it happens, this year they'll all tell you the same thing."
"Oh, I know," Phylis answered eagerly. "They'll tell you to vote for Polly Pendleton. Florence told me she played a wonderful game, and to be sure and vote for her."
"She does, too," Jane agreed with enthusiasm, "but so does Lois Farwell. I can't make up my mind which to choose, and it's awfully important."
"Is Polly the one that sits next to Mrs. Baird on the right," Catherine asked, "with the brown hair?"
"Yes, that's Polly."
"Well, I love her; she's so pretty; and, anyway, I'm going to vote for her," she finished.
"Who's the beautiful Senior with golden hair?" Winifred inquired. "I'd like to vote for her."
Jane laughed heartily. Sometimes news of the upper school leaked into the lower, and she had heard Angela's views on all strenuous sports.
"That's Angela Hollywood; she's awfully funny, but, oh dear, she can't play basket ball; why she's never even made the team."
"Tell us who'll make it this year?" Helen asked. "Do new girls ever get on?" she added wistfully.
"Polly was the only one who made it; that is for five years," Phylis explained; "she was a new girl and a Freshman. My sister's best friend, Louise Preston, was captain that year. I wish it would happen again; but no fear, I guess we'll have to wait."
"If we sit here talking about it, I'll begin to hope," and Jane jumped up and began brushing her hair. "It's time to dress anyway."
Her guests took the hint and departed, all except Phylis.
"That spoils it all," she said, when the door closed.
"All what?" Jane inquired.
"Why, I'd picked some flowers, and I was going to give them to Polly, but now if she's going to be the captain—it looks—"
"Nonsense; it does not," Jane contradicted. "Send them but don't be silly about it, Polly wouldn't think of letting you have a crush on her."
"Will you put your name on the card, too?" Phylis asked.
Jane considered. "I will if you send them to Lois, too," she said, thereby giving away a secret she had hoped to keep.
After the Senior meeting Polly decided she needed air.
"I'm going now, this minute," she declared. "I'm suffocated."
Lois, who had thrown herself down on the bed between laughter and tears, murmured a vague promise to follow. She changed her mind later and decided on a cold shower instead.
As she went down the stairs to Roman Alley, she heard some one stumble, and then the thud, thud, of falling boxes.
"Who is it, did you hurt yourself?" she called, and hurried around the turn of the stairs. A remarkably pretty woman looked up from a waterfall of canvases.
"No; but I deserved to, for carrying a lazy man's load," she laughed.
"Let me help," Lois offered, starting to pick up the canvases, "you must be Miss Crosby. Oh, but that's nice," she added suddenly, holding out a sketch at arm's length.
Miss Crosby smiled.
"Do you like it? I did it this summer. Are you interested in drawing?" she asked.
"Oh, yes!" Lois's tone was surprised—as if any one could doubt such a well known fact.
"Then you must be Lois Farwell," she said.
"Why, I am."
Miss Crosby's smile broadened. "I thought you were; you see Mrs. Baird told me—" she hesitated, "well it doesn't matter what. If you'll help me up with these things I'll be ever so grateful."
Together they carried all the pictures up to Miss Crosby's room, and Lois stood them up against the bed and walls, and then admired them.
Miss Crosby made her talk, and understood what she said, which was difficult for most people when Lois talked art. In fact she completely forgot she was Senior President, and had barely time to scramble into her dress and reach the platform to announce to the assembled old girls the plans for the coming dance.
It was not until after study hour that Polly and she returned to their room and found the flowers. Polly almost stepped on them as she opened the door.
"What under the sun?" Lois turned on the light. "Flowers? do look! To Polly and Lois from Jane and Phylis."
"Crushes," gasped Lois, "how awful!"
Then they looked at each other and laughed.
Sundays, that is to say, Boarding School Sundays, are apt to be longer than any of the other days in the week.
Certainly it was so of Seddon Hall. Mrs. Baird thought the girls needed "time off to think," as she expressed it, so that, after the morning service in the little village church, the rest of the day was free.
It had always proved a good idea, for after a week spent in obedience to bells, a whole day to do as you please in, has an exhilarating effect.
But this particular first Sunday looked as if it were going to disprove the efficiency of the plan.
It was the day after the Welcome Dance to the new girls, and it was raining. Not a nice, heavy pouring rain, but a dreary persistent drizzle. The girls wandered aimlessly about the corridors in the most woe-begone fashion, for there was no chance of getting out of doors for a walk.
The dance the night before had proved a great success. Instead of each old girl taking a new girl, as had formerly been the custom, Polly's versatile brain had decided on a far better plan.
The new girls arrived in a body in Assembly Hall and were received by their class and formally introduced to one another. Then a daisy chain started and was so arranged that before it was over, every one had met and spoken to every one else in the school. By the time the refreshments arrived, all the girls were in a gale and not a tear was shed.
Sunday, however, was a different matter. Everybody felt damp and cold in church, and the sermon had been very long. Even Betty was out of sorts.
"Do you know," she said, crossly—she and Angela were in Polly's and Lois' room the early part of the afternoon. "I'm tired of us. We are all so afraid of letting anybody else into our select company that we are growing positively stuck up. Deny it, if you can," she persisted, as Polly looked up in surprise. "Here we sit like graven images, when we ought to be in Assembly Hall. Come on."
"Oh, Bet, you're so energetic," Angela drawled, "and we're so comfy."
"Assembly Hall won't be any fun," Polly protested. "I'm crazy to do something too, but—"
"Let's go get Fanny," Lois suggested. "She's bound to make us laugh. I was talking to her before church this morning. She was fussing about having to carry so many subjects; when she got to geometry she waxed eloquent. 'I declare there's no use my wasting my time on arithmetic,' she said, and when I told her there was a slight difference between the two, she wouldn't have it. 'It's all the same thing; maybe one's a tiny bit more elaborate than the other, but what's the use of proving all those angles equal. I don't reckon I'll ever be a carpenter; so there's just no sense in it.' I had to laugh at her," Lois finished.
"Oh, Fanny's rare," Betty agreed. "Let's go see if she's in her room instead of asking her down here. I'm tired of Senior Alley."
Polly and Lois agreed with alacrity, but Angela insisted she had letters to write and they left her knowing quite well there would be no jam left when they returned.
Fanny was in her room, but instead of opening the door to Polly's knock, she called out:
"Who all's there?"
"We are," Lois answered for them. "May we come in?"
The annoyed tone vanished from Fanny's voice.
"Oh, you all," she called; "come in, of course;"—and as they entered—"I thought maybe it was some of those impertinent young Freshmen coming to give me advice, and I just couldn't be bothered with them. That's why I didn't sound too cordial."
She was sitting on the floor in the middle of her room, surrounded by letters and bands of every color ribbon.
"I hope we're not disturbing you?" Polly said, rather taken aback at the sight of her. She couldn't quite understand all the letters, but she had her suspicions.
Betty found a place to sit, or rather perch, on the bed.
"Playing postoffice?" she asked with a grin.
But Fanny refused to be teased. She continued to sort out her letters, while she explained their presence.
"You see," she began dreamily, "these here notes are all from my boy friends; some of them are three years old."
"The friends?" queried Lois.
"No, stupid, the letters," Betty said hastily in an aside. "Yes, go on," she encouraged Fanny.
"And every now and then I like to read them over; some of them are awfully sweet, especially Jack's."
"Who's Jack?" her listeners demanded in chorus.
"Oh, Jack's my favorite admirer," she admitted, rather than stated. "He's crazy about me, or so he says. I reckon I'll just have to marry him one of these days. He's so handsome—" She paused, a sentimental smile of remembrance wreathing her face.
"How thrilling! do tell us," Betty begged. She was gurgling with joy inside, and like Polly and Lois, she was highly amused. They were all laughing at Fanny, rather than with her, which was unkind and inexcusable, as they had encouraged the recital, but her sentimental attitude was beyond their understanding.
Boys figured largely in all their thoughts, it's true, but in a totally different way. Polly, for instance, quite frankly admired Bob Farwell. She endowed him with every virtue. He was tremendously clever. He was the most wonderful athlete, and he loved dogs—especially Polly's dogs—in fact he was altogether perfect in her eyes—but she couldn't imagine tying up his letters in baby blue ribbons and keeping them in her top drawer.
And Lois, who was quite extravagantly fond of Frank Preston, would have repudiated and emphatically denied any suggestion of his being a suitor.
As for Betty—the idea of liking a boy just because he was handsome, was too foolish to even consider. The fact that Dick Saxon—supposedly her arch enemy, but really her best friend—had flaming red hair and was undeniably homely—may, of course, had something to do with her disgust for good looks. Like lots of other girls, The Three judged boys by their ability to do; while the road to Fanny's heart was by way of graceful and charming compliments.
"You were saying—" Polly interrupted Fanny's dream.
"Why, let me see—about Jack? He's really stunning in his uniform—he goes to military school—I have a lot of buttons off his coat."
At this point, Lois, much to the disgust of Polly and Betty, instead of waiting for more of Jack, inquired:
"Why have you all these colored ribbons to tie up your letters? I thought all love letters had to be tied in blue?"
Fanny picked up the various bands, looked at them while she went over in her mind whether or not she would tell them her special system. It was a clever idea, so she decided she would.
"Blue is for love letters," she told Lois, "because blue is true. I tie all Jack's letters in blue. Yellow means fickle—" She paused. "Well, there is a boy," she proceeded reluctantly, "down home, who used to like me until he met a cousin of mine, and she just naturally cut me out; so I tie his letters with yellow ribbon. This here green," she took up two letters tied with a narrow piece of baby ribbon, "is for hope."
"Hope?" Lois stifled a laugh. "Do you mean you hope for more?"
Fanny had heard the giggle and looked up in surprise. A little hurt look stole across her face.
"I reckon you all think I'm silly," she said, slowly, "but you see, down home, there's not much to do between holidays, when the boys come, except write letters and wait for mail, and all the girls I—"
She stopped; a big lump rose in her throat, and her eyes filled with tears.
The Three felt properly ashamed of themselves. Polly finally broke the embarrassed silence.
"We don't think you're silly at all," she fibbed consolingly. "If you want to keep your letters, why shouldn't you tie them up in appropriate colored ribbons?"
"But you wouldn't keep yours," Fanny replied with more insight than they had given her credit for.
"Well, no; I wouldn't, that is, I don't," Polly answered, lamely. And Betty seized the first opportunity to change the subject.
"What did you say about the Freshmen bothering?" she asked, when Fanny was in smiles again.
"They most certainly did, two of them, Jane and Phylis. They came in and wanted to know if I was homesick." Fanny looked indignant. "I told them no. Then they looked at all the pictures on my bureau, and Jane, the sassy little thing, told me if I wanted to get along at Seddon Hall, I'd have to stop being boy crazy. I just told them to go on about their business, right quick, and they went," she finished triumphantly.
"Jemima! the little—" Betty stopped from sheer astonishment. Polly and Lois exchanged understanding glances.
The next day all the girls assembled in the gym, a round building about a hundred feet from the school. A basket ball court took up most of the floor space. A balcony for spectators ran around three sides of the room. Every possible device hung from the ceiling, rings, ladders, trapezes and horizontal bars, but for the most part, these were dusty and disused.
Seddon Hall centered all its faculty on basket ball. Twice a year, in February and June, the team played outside schools and almost always came out victorious.
To-day, because it was raining still, most of the girls entered for the first try out. The Seniors sat in the balcony and watched, while every girl had a chance to pass the basket ball and try for a basket.
"Not a very likely crowd," Polly mused, "hardly a decent play."
"It's too early to tell, in all this mob," Lois answered.
"I'm dizzy watching them. I see that little imp of a Jane with Phylis Guile over in the corner. Let's go and thank them for the flowers?" she suggested.
Polly groaned—"All right, come on; you know we've got to put our foot—I mean feet down now hard, and I suppose we should talk to them about being so rude to Fanny. What do you suppose they really said?"
Jane and Phylis were sitting in front of the lockers. They saw the two Seniors coming towards them, but, because they were very much embarrassed, they pretended they didn't.
Lois started the conversation, rather abruptly. She was afraid to let Polly say much. Polly was a little bit too frank in her opinion, and Lois dreaded hurt feelings above all things.
"We found your flowers in our room Saturday night," she said, smiling. "They were very pretty, and we want to thank you for them."
"But you mustn't send any more," Polly put in, quite gently for her. "We really appreciate the thought, but— Well, you both know how easy it is for all the rest of the girls to cry— Crush— Crush."
"Oh, but we didn't, haven't," Jane and Phylis blurted out, "really, Polly."
"Of course you haven't a crush," Lois said, soothingly. "We know that you don't believe in them, or you would never have lectured Fanny so about sentimentality, yesterday."
Polly gasped; was Lois really sarcastic—personally—she preferred the direct attack.
"You know," she began firmly, "you had no right to talk that way to a Junior—it was disrespectful, and Fanny had a right to be angry."
Jane and Phylis hung their heads.
"I know it; we didn't really mean to be fresh," Jane said, apologetically. "We just thought maybe Fanny was homesick, and we'd cheer her up."
"We were going in to advise her who to vote for as captain, really," Phylis took up the tale, "but she wouldn't give us a chance. After we hinted that she shouldn't be boy crazy she sent us out. It doesn't really matter; she'll vote for you—" Phylis stopped. Tears of mortification came to her eyes. "Anyway," she finished, hastily, "we won't send you any more flowers, if you don't want us to, and, honestly, we won't have a crush."
Polly laughed good naturedly and put her arm around Phylis' shoulder.
"That's all right; we don't want you to; but, I'll tell you something. If you would really like to do something we would like—learn to play a good game of basket ball. You might be needed some day."
"Poll, what made you hold out hopes to those children?" Lois asked later, as they waited for their tubs to fill. They had played basket ball with some of the old girls after they had left Jane and Phylis.
"Because I thought they needed something to think about besides hurt feelings; I don't think they'll get their hopes up for the team."
"Well, you may have been right," Lois agreed slowly. "Anyway our little lecture did them good. Fanny stopped me after practice and told me they had apologized."
Polly said: "Oh, did they?" indifferently, and went to her tub to turn off the water.
Her head was in a whirl, and, suddenly, tempting hopes ran riot. She stood looking at the water a minute and shivered in anticipation of the plunge.
"Captain of the basket ball team," she whispered. "I wonder—"
BASKET BALL ELECTION
As Senior President, Lois was a decided failure. It was not through any lack of interest on her part in the class and its affairs, but rather because the fairies at her christening had failed to bestow upon her the gift of leadership with which Polly was so richly endowed.
She just couldn't think of the hundred and one practical things that needed attending to. Perhaps Miss Crosby was partly to blame. She had taken a decided interest in Lois from their meeting on the stairs, and had given her permission to use the studio at any time. She had criticized her work and gave her helpful points not infrequently in her own room, where Lois often dropped in at tea time.
But progress in art, though beneficial to Lois, was of no use to the Senior class. Polly was at her wit's end. Lois had called a class meeting the day before and forgotten to come to it. School had been running smoothly for over a month by now, and all the strangeness of the first few weeks had worn off. With Thanksgiving in sight, the girls felt that they were well into the year.
To-day was Friday. After dinner the election for the basket ball captain was scheduled and nothing was arranged.
Polly, after looking in the gym and some of the classrooms for Lois, returned to Senior Alley. She was excited about the election, but she was more deeply concerned about Lois. She was thinking and she walked slowly in consequence. As she entered the corridor Dot Mead's voice, high pitched and angry, made her stop abruptly.
"Not a thing planned, the slips not ready, and here it is Friday afternoon. Lois wasn't like this last year. If she accepted the office of president why doesn't she act up to it! Why, even the Freshmen are criticizing." Her voice subsided into a grumble of displeasure.
Polly shook her head slowly and went quietly into her own room. The Dorothys were growling as usual. She had to admit that this time there was a little cause, too.
What had come over Lois. Polly realized with a sudden drawing together of her eyebrows, that she was seeing less and less of her all the time. "Art!" she said, aloud, and laughed. Then she went out to find Betty.
"Something's got to be done," she announced, when she found her with Angela, "and we've got to do it. Ange, you print the notice of the election in red ink, and put it on the bulletin board. And, Bet, you make the ballot box. There's a big square wooden box under my bed—you can cut a hole in it. I'll go and find Phylis and Jane and get them to help me tear up paper slips. They'll love it, and they'll keep quiet about it."
"What'll we tell the rest?" Angela asked. "They ought to appreciate our saving them this trouble, but they won't," she added dryly.
Polly hesitated a moment.
"We'll post a notice on the board for a meeting to be held at two fifteen," she said boldly.
"But it's three o'clock," Angela protested, but Betty understood.
"I'm ashamed of your deceit, Polly," she said with pretended scorn, adding: "It's a bully idea."
"No, it's not; I hate it; it's really a written fib, but— Well, I'd do a lot more than that for Lo," Polly answered.
"Do you mean put up the sign so that the other girls will think we had a meeting, and they didn't come?"
Angela was flabbergasted at the idea.
"Oh, I see. They'll be awfully cross we didn't send for them, and I love the two Dorothys when they're mad. But, Poll, for goodness' sake give Lois a lecture; we don't want this to happen too often, one fib's enough," she finished with a yawn. "Now, I'll go paint the sign."
Jane and Phylis were only too anxious to help make the slips—hero worship shone from their eyes as they took the sample from Polly.
"Aren't you excited?" Phylis asked. "Landy, I'd be standing on my head if I thought—" She stopped and clapped her hand over her mouth.
Phylis' frank adoration really amused Polly. She found it very hard sometimes to face it with the proper Senior dignity. The excited little Freshman reminded her of herself at the same age. She almost wished the youngsters could make the sub team as she and Lois had done.
"I'm not excited, because I don't think I have much chance," she answered, which was exactly what both girls had expected her to say.
"Bring those slips down to my room when you've finished, and don't say that you helped, will you? It wouldn't do for any one to think that the Seniors had favorite helpers," she said as she left them.
After she had gone, Jane and Phylis locked their door and talked in whispers, while they worked.
Polly went down stairs, printed out the notice of the class meeting and pinned it on the bulletin board. She had an uncomfortably guilty feeling, tinged with pride and a certain amount of satisfaction when it was up. For it took real courage for Polly to lie, even for Lois. Then she went to Betty's room, helped her with the box and did several other things.
It was time to dress for dinner before she returned to her room. She was brushing her hair before the dresser when Lois burst in upon her.
"Polly!" she exclaimed. "Isn't this awful! I forgot about to-night and all the things there were to do. I was painting in the studio—oh, a duck of a picture, the corner of the house that you see from the window, and I forgot all about the time. What, under the sun, will I do?"
Polly's chance had come, and she had no intention of letting it escape her.
"Rather late to do anything, don't you think?" she asked indifferently, still brushing her hair.
Lois was taken by surprise. "But, Poll, you've got to help me," she begged, "think how furious the Dorothys will be."
"Can you blame them?" Polly held her brush in mid air. "As an organized and governing class we are rather a joke, and the Dorothys don't like to be laughed at," she finished, cuttingly.
This was too much for Lois. She had been working hard all afternoon over her picture and she was tired. She threw herself down on her bed and burst into tears.
"Polly," she sobbed, "don't act like that. I know I'm no good as a president. I'll resign to-night, only—oh, dear—" The rest was muffled in the pillow.
Polly made a start forward, stopped, made a last effort to be severe, and gave in.
"Lois, dear, don't," she pleaded, kneeling beside the bed, "don't cry any more, sit up and listen to me. Everything's all right." Lois dabbed at her eyes. "We've had a class meeting, the box is ready, the slips are fixed and the notice is up. We're supposed to have had a meeting, that is, I put a sign up that there'd be one at two-fifteen, only—" Polly hesitated. "I put it up at three o'clock. The Dorothys and Evelin and Helen will think we had it without them."
"Polly!" Lois was beginning to understand. "You deliberately did that to save me. You darling, I promise I'll resign to-night."
"Resign!" Polly stood up, a sparkle in her eye. "Lois Farwell, if you resign, I'll never, never speak to you again. I mean it."
Lois was apparently frightened into submission, for she said:
"All right, Poll, I won't." Very meekly.
That evening the two Dorothys were astonished and not a little put out with the ease with which the election was gone through with. They had seen the class meeting sign, and with Evelin and Helen accepted it without a doubt, which added considerably to Polly's discomfort.
Lois, now that she was really awake to the necessity, acted the part of senior president, and announced and directed, quite properly.
The votes were cast in the Assembly Hall. Each girl wrote the name of her choice for captain on a slip of paper and put it in the box. Then, all the girls who had been on the big team the year before, with the assistance of the Seniors, counted the votes.
The whole thing on this particular evening was gone through with in deadly silence, which was nerve racking, particularly to Polly. Not for worlds would she have confessed what it meant to her, but ever since her Freshman year, she had wanted to be captain. She had condemned the wish as foolish, but she had continued to hope.
After what seemed an endless wait, the names were sorted and counted, written on a sheet of paper and presented to Lois. She looked at it, gave a shout of joy, jumped up from her seat, and then, remembering the two Dorothys' love of form, she said quietly: "I have the honor to announce that Polly Pendleton has won the election by a sweeping majority."
And so it happened—
When the school heard it a little later everybody said:
"Why, of course. We knew it; no one else had a chance," and hurried to Polly to congratulate her. She said: "Thank you" to them all, and tried hard to fight down the silly, but uncontrollable longing to cry.
Lois slipped away the very first chance she got and went down stairs. On her way she met Betty.
"Where are you going?" she demanded.
Lois smiled, mysteriously.
"To send a telegram to Bob," she answered. "He made me promise I would."
The next day at luncheon, Polly found a yellow envelope at her place at table.
"What under the sun!" she demanded, looking at it. "Who do you suppose it's from?"
"Opening it would be a good way to find out," Betty suggested.
Polly tore open the envelope.
"Why it's from Bob! Lois, you wretch, listen!"
And she read the message. "Lois wired me the good news. Hearty congratulations, and good luck. Bob."
"Don't call me a wretch." Lois protested, with a wicked grin. "Bob made me vow I'd wire him the minute little Polly was elected."
For the rest of the meal Polly was teased unmercifully.
After school the three held council, while she took down Lois' Princeton banner—for a week was up—and triumphantly put up her own.
"I don't envy you your job, Polly," Betty began, "who are you going to choose for your team?"
"Isn't it a blessing the Dorothys don't play?" Lois laughed, "or we'd have to have them."
"Why the main team is easy," Polly said. "There's you and Bet, and Evelin and myself already on it, and all Seniors; that only leaves two more to choose, and they'll have to be Juniors. Let's get Evelin and go over to the gym and see what's doing."
They found sweaters and caps, called Evelin, and started off. Angela met them on the way.
"I'm going, too," she insisted; "even if I can't play, my advice is invaluable."
When they reached the gym a game was under way, and much to their surprise, Fanny Gerard was in the thick of it.
"Jemima! look at that!" Betty exclaimed, as she made a difficult basket. "Now who'd have thought it!"
They had not seen much of Fanny in the last month. They had no idea she had taken their ridicule to heart. She had rebelled against it at first, and then, gradually, other interests had blotted out her resentment. Lately she had been playing basket ball every day.
Evelin was the only one of the girls watching who was not surprised.
"She's the right build," she said, "and I know she's been at it all the time—but, of course, she doesn't expect to make the team."
"She ought to. Look at that!" Lois drew attention to another play. "Imagine any one apparently as slow and dreamy as she is, playing such a rattling game. Let's put her down for a sub, anyway."
Polly, who had not been paying much attention to the rest, said suddenly:
"We'll have to put her on the main team. We need two girls, and there's only one other Junior besides Fanny who can play, and that's Eleanor Trent. She was on the team at the school where she went last year. There she is, the girl with the auburn hair. She's used to boys' rules, but otherwise she's a good player."
"Jemima! two new girls!" Betty said dolefully. "Well, it can't be helped. Certainly the old ones are a hopeless lot."
"When do we tell them?" Evelin inquired. "Let's do it now. Goodness! I remember how thrilled I was when I was put on last year."
"Let's call them out of the game; that'll make them feel so important," Lois suggested.
So Polly asked permission from Miss Stewart, the gym teacher, and Fanny and Eleanor came over to them.
Polly, as captain, told them they had been chosen for the big team. Eleanor had rather expected it. She was a good player, but she was delighted and promised to try and make good.
But Fanny! No words can express her excited raptures. She couldn't believe her good luck, and she sent the girls into peals of laughter by solemnly asking Polly to take her oath on it.
"I knew she'd be rare," Betty exclaimed on their way back to school. "I was sure she'd weep for joy."
"I hope it's all right," Lois said, doubtfully. "I wish she wasn't quite so excitable." Lois played basket ball with her head.
"Oh, she'll be all right if she doesn't go at it too hard," Polly said, assuringly. "Wonder if we have any mail?" She stopped before the Senior letter box. "One for you, Lo, from your mother, and one for me. Let's go in English room and read them. Mine's from Bob."
The other girls found their mail, and went up to their rooms.
Lois and Polly, left alone, opened their letters and read them through.
"Mother's is awfully short," Lois said, before Polly had finished hers. "She says she knows something awfully nice that's going to happen Thanksgiving, but she has promised Bob not to tell. What's yours about?"
"Oh, Lo! poor Bobbie has sprained his ankle and he can't run any more." Polly's voice trembled. "I'll read you what he says:
"Dear Old Polly:
"Telegraphing congratulations is no good. It costs too much to be eloquent. Besides, I've a lot of things I want to say, but, first of all, Three Cheers for you. Seddon Hall is darn lucky to have such a corking little captain—and you'll lead them to victory and have your name on the cup. Make them put it on extra large."
"Old tease," Polly laughed, and Lois said: "Just like Bob."
"And now, I'm going to talk about myself. Two weeks ago I sprained all the ligaments in my foot, and—well, there's not much use my trying to be cheerful about it—not to you anyway. It means I probably won't be able to run again—and so, good-by to my hopes of winning my H. Remember the long talks we used to have about it? I guess instead of watching me cross the tape from the grand stand, you'll sit beside me next May and listen to me groan while some other fellow runs in my place, which reminds me:
"I've planned a surprise for you and Lois on Thanksgiving. I don't like to boast, but it's rather nice—even mother says so.
"Drop me a line, Miss Basket Ball Captain, and tell me you'll accept.
"How exciting! What do you suppose it is?" Lois demanded, as she followed Polly upstairs. "It's a shame about Bobbie's foot. Vacation begins next week. Isn't it thrilling! I do hope he has sense enough to bring home some one nice—but I suppose it will be his roommate, Jim Thorpe, as usual, and I don't like him much." They had reached their room by now.
"I'll bet the surprise is a football game, don't you?" Lois persisted.
"Oh, keep still, Lo!" Polly said, crossly, "and leave me alone."
Lo glanced up in surprise, and suddenly decided to look for Betty. She left Polly standing before the Crimson banner, blinking hard.
Thanksgiving vacation started with the confusion and excitement always necessary when a school breaks up even for so short a time.
Polly and Lois could hardly wait until the Seddon Hall special pulled into the Grand Central station on Wednesday morning. The vacation began on Wednesday and the girls were expected to be back Sunday evening.
They were the first to jump to the platform as the train stopped.
Mrs. Farwell was waiting for them.
"Darling children!" She hugged and kissed them both. "How well you look!"
"Well? Why we're robust, Aunt Kate," Polly laughed, "and bursting with excitement."
"What's the surprise, Mother? Please tell us," Lois begged.
Mrs. Farwell only shook her head mysteriously. "Not a word until after luncheon. We must shop this morning." She looked at the girls despairingly. "How do you manage to wear out your clothes so? You both need everything new, particularly hats; the ones you have on are sights."
Uncle Roddy's car was waiting for them, and they got in it and were whirled away to the shops.
It was not until luncheon that they had a chance to breathe.
"There, that's settled." Mrs. Farwell viewed them with satisfaction. She was proud of them both. Lois' delicate handsomeness and Polly's clear cut beauty. She had chosen dark blue for the one and hunter's green for the other.
"Won't you girls ever take an interest in your clothes?" she asked, wonderingly. She couldn't believe they were quite as indifferent to the charming pictures they made in the very becoming hats and sporty topcoats as they pretended.
"Poor, darling mother, we are interested," Lois protested, "but we're—"
"Fussed." Polly finished for her, looking decidedly self-conscious, as she tilted her hat a tiny bit more over one ear.
Uncle Roddy and Dr. Farwell met them for luncheon, and then they heard the plan.
"It's Bob's idea," Uncle Roddy explained, "and here's the schedule. You," he was looking at Polly and Lois, "and Mrs. Farwell leave for Boston this afternoon. Bob will meet you and take you to dinner, and to-morrow you'll go to the game. Harvard plays Princeton."
"That's hard on you, Lois," Dr. Farwell laughed; he never stopped teasing for one minute.
"What do you think about it, Tiddledewinks?" Uncle Roddy asked.
"It's a perfect plan," Polly said, enthusiastically. "I'm crazy to see Bob. Isn't it a shame about his foot?"
The doctor looked grave.
"Yes, it's too bad; he was laid up for quite a while. Of course, it's all right now, but he lost time, and he's had to make up a lot of work."
"Oh, of course." Polly suddenly realized that Bob's father was not looking at it from quite the same angle that she was.
After luncheon they hurried to the hotel where the Farwells were staying, repacked their bags and were back at the Grand Central in time for their train.
Lois and Polly talked and planned ahead all the way to Boston. They thoroughly enjoyed the coming fun in anticipation; but, of course, they never guessed for a second that the real surprise was still ahead.
"There's Bob," Polly exclaimed, as they followed the porter through the gates. "I can see him; he's way at the end of that line of people, and Lois, look who's with him!"
Lois looked. A tall, heavily set fellow, with a very broad pair of shoulders, was waving his hat.
"Frank Preston! Why how do you suppose—" But the rest of the sentence was cut short by the meeting.
"Hello, Mother!" Bob began, "how are you?" He turned to the girls. "Here's a friend of yours, Lo." Then he squeezed Polly's hand till it hurt.
"How do you do, Mrs. Farwell?" Frank shook hands hurriedly and turned to Lois.
"Isn't this bully luck? Gee, I'm glad to see you!" he said, eagerly.
Bob looked in admiration. He wished he had Frank's courage. Why he couldn't even kiss his mother and Lois in public, without blushing, and as for Polly, well, he would have to wait until they were alone before he could tell her how glad he was to see her. But he comforted himself with the thought that he'd be more artistic about it when the time came than Frank had been.
They found their hotel, the same one they had stayed at on their first memorable trip to Boston, and Mrs. Farwell, tired out from her strenuous afternoon, ordered tea at once.
Lois and Frank sat down on a sofa at one end of the room, and Frank explained how Bob had wired him to meet him.
"Of course, I came," he said.
"You are not in the game to-morrow?" Mrs. Farwell asked from behind the tea urn.
"No, worse luck," Frank told her. "I'm only a sub; of course, there's a chance; I may be needed."
"But if you're a sub, how did you manage to get here?" Polly inquired.
"Oh, I managed that all right. I won't break training, though I'm tempted to." He eyed the tea cakes longingly, "and I'll be on hand to-morrow. So that's all right. It's awfully jolly of you people to ask me," he smiled, engagingly, at Mrs. Farwell.
"Why, we're delighted to have you, Frank," she assured him.
Bob, who had been looking out of the window all this time, turned abruptly.
"Mother, Polly doesn't want any tea, and there's loads of time for a walk; do you mind?" he asked.
His mother laughed. "Not if Polly doesn't, but I should think she'd be tired."
But Polly was not tired. She insisted that she wanted some exercise after the trip on the cars. So Bob took her out.
The sun was just getting ready to set, and they walked towards the river.
"Polly!" Bob said, after they had walked a block in silence.
"I think this is pretty much O. K., don't you?"
"What, this street?" Polly was very happy and she felt like teasing.
Bob tightened his grip on her arm, started to protest, and then changed his mind.
"Yes, of course, this street; I think it's a lovely street—in fact it's a great favorite of mine," he said instead.
Then Polly was sorry. After a while she said, softly:
"What did you really mean, Bobby?"
"Why, the street."
"Oh, very well, if you don't want to tell me."
"Ha, ha! but I do; I think it's great having you here for the game, and mother and Lois. Wasn't I clever to get Frank to amuse Lo to-night? We're going to the theater, you know, something musical. I wish he could stay longer, but, of course, he can't; he'll have to return with the defeated team."
"Will they surely be defeated?" Polly asked, seriously. "Bob, I think I'll just die if Harvard doesn't win."
"Don't worry, we will," he assured her with perfect confidence. Then followed another pause. They had reached the river, and Polly stopped.
"What is it?"
"I'm awfully sorry about your foot; I can't tell you how sorry, because words are so stupid; the right ones never come when you really want to say something. But I feel about it, oh, awfully! Isn't there even a chance?"
"Yes, a little one," Bob said; "but not enough to matter. I can't start training, and I'll be too stiff to do any good by Spring.
"Tough luck!" Polly laid her hand unconsciously on his arm. "Don't give up, though. You may make good if you work awfully hard. May's ages off."
"Gee!" Bob delivered this inelegant exclamation with feeling. "Poll, you're the best little sport I ever knew. You always understand. Any other girl would have said that running was bad for my heart, and expected me to be consoled."
Polly was overcome by such frank praise. She tried to think of something to say, and finally decided on:
"Oh, rot! Isn't it time to go back?"
The theater that night was very amusing. Lois and Frank were in gales of laughter every minute.
"If you laugh any more," Lois said, between the acts, "you'll never be able to play to-morrow."
"But I won't have to play," Frank protested, "unless an awful lot of awful things happen. Anyway, don't let's talk about it, honestly, Lois." He lowered his voice, "I get cold all over when I think of it. I'm almost sure I'd lose my nerve if I had to go in."
"You never would," Lois admonished, crisply. "You'd find it, any amount of it, the minute you heard the signals. I hope—oh, how I hope you have to play."
"Well, if I do," Frank grumbled, "it won't do me any good to remember you're on the Harvard side."
"Now, you're silly," Lois teased. "What difference does it make where I sit, so long as I root for Princeton?"
"Do you mean that?" Frank demanded. "Do you honestly want us to win? Gee, that's great! I sort of thought, because of Bob—"
"Oh, Bob! Well, you see there's Polly," Lois said, demurely, just as the curtain rose for the last act.
Thanksgiving morning was all glorious sunshine. There was not a single cloud in the sky, and the air was just the right football temperature.
"Everything O. K., so far," Bob said, joyfully, as he joined his mother and the girls at breakfast. "What'll we do this morning to kill time?"
"Lois wants to go to the Library and see the Abbey pictures," Mrs. Farwell answered.
Bob looked his disgust—he appealed to Polly—but for the first time she deserted him.
"I'm going too, Bobby. I guess you'll have to find something to do until luncheon," she said.
Mrs. Farwell and the girls wandered about the Library all morning, and returned to the hotel ten minutes later than the time set by Bob for luncheon.
He and his roommate, Jimmy Thorpe, were waiting for them in the lobby.
"I knew you'd be late," Bob greeted them. "We'll have to dash through lunch. Did you enjoy the pictures?" he asked, sarcastically.
"Darling Bobby, are we late? We're so sorry. How do you do, Jimmy? It's awfully nice you can be with us." Mrs. Farwell was so contrite and charming that Bobbie's momentary huff disappeared as it always did before his mother's smile.
"Well, we didn't have to hurry so very much," she said, when luncheon was over and they were preparing to start. "Now are you sure we are going to be warm enough?"
Bob and Jim looked at each other, over the sweaters and steamer rugs they were loaded down with, and winked.
"Here's the taxi," Jim announced. "Come on, Lois."
After a considerable time lost in stopping and threading their way among the other hundreds of cars, they reached the Harvard Stadium at last.
"Bob, how wonderful and how huge it looks to-day," Polly exclaimed, as they entered their section, and she caught sight of the immense bowl, and the hundreds of people.
They had splendid seats, near enough to really see and recognize the players. Jim and Bob explained the score card, talked familiarly about all the players and pointed out the other under graduates who had won importance in other sports.
"Oh, but I wish I were a boy," Polly said, longingly. "Imagine the thrill of being part of all this. Why it makes school look pale and insignificant in comparison."
"I don't wish I were a boy," Lois said decidedly. "I'd much rather be a girl, but, I'll admit, football does make basket ball look rather silly."
"Oh, I don't know!" Jim said, condescendingly. "Basket ball's a good girls' game."
Polly was indignant.
"Jim, what a silly thing to say. You know perfectly well that just as many boys play it as girls. The only difference is that when we play we have to use our minds—while boys—"
"Yes, we know, Poll," Bob interrupted, "boys have no minds; therefore their rules must be less rigid. But don't be too hard on us."
"I judge Polly plays basket ball." It seemed to be Jim's day for blunders.
"Plays basket ball—oh, ye Gods!" Bob wrung his hands. "Why, Jim, surely I told you that she was no less than captain of her team. Personally, I think she deserves the title of general."
Polly laughed in spite of herself.
"Bob, you're a mean tease. But just wait. I'll ask you both up for field day, and—"
"Sh—! here they come," Bob warned as a prolonged cheer announced the arrival of the teams.
The game was on.
Everybody stood up and shouted. And then a tense silence followed, as the first kick-off sent the pigskin hurtling into the air.
Any one who has seen a football game knows how perfectly silly it is to attempt a description of it. Polly and Lois could both tell you all the rules and explain the most intricate maneuvers, if you gave them plenty of time to think it out; but with the actual plays before them, they were carried away by excitement and gave themselves up completely to feeling the game, rather than understanding it. They watched the massed formation with breathless anxiety, thrilled at every sudden spurt ahead which meant a gain; groaned when the advance was stopped by one of those terrifying tackles, and experienced the exultant joy only possible when the pigskin sails unchecked between the goal posts.
Between periods they had to appeal to Jim and Bob for the score. At one point in the game, Bob turned hurriedly to Lois.
"Watch out for Frank," he said, excitedly; "He'll be on in a minute."
"How do you know?" Lois demanded. "Oh, Bobby, I wish they wouldn't; he, he—said he'd lose his nerve." Lois had suddenly lost hers.
"You watch that man," Bob pointed, "they'll take him out, see if they don't; he's all in. Frank will play next period."
He was right. When the whistle blew, Frank, after a few hurried words with the coach, tore off his sweater and ran out to the field.
Lois' eyes were glued to him whenever he was in sight, and during one tackle when he was completely lost under the mass of swaying arms and legs, she forgot her surroundings and the fact, most important in Bob's and Jim's eyes, that she was on the Harvard side—by shouting lustily.
"Stop it, stop it! Get off, you'll smother him!"
Mrs. Farwell quieted her.
"Lois, you mustn't, dear child," she laughed. "They can't hear you, you know. Do sit down and don't look if it frightens you."
By this time Frank was up and doing wonders. Lois gave a sigh of relief.
"Football's a savage game," she said, indignantly. And Mrs. Farwell agreed with her. She had been thankful beyond words that Bob had not gone out for the team—running was sufficiently dangerous. It was to her lasting credit that she had thought of Bob's feelings first, instead of her own, when news came of his hurt foot.
Putting Frank in the game made a decided difference. The Orange and Black began to gain. They fought and contested every inch, but the Crimson triumphed.
Polly's eyes reflected the light of victory as the last longed for whistle blew. She shouted and went quite mad with all the rest.
"What a game! Oh, Bob, what a game!" she cried as they started for their exit. "I'll never be able to thank you enough for taking me. I'm nearly dead from excitement, though."
Bob, in his exuberance, slapped her on the back.
"Good for you, Polly; you ought to have been a boy, shouldn't she, Jim?" he demanded.
"Why, I can't see that there's any room for improvement, if you ask me," Jim said gallantly. And Bob gnashed his teeth.
They all had dinner at the hotel that night, and went to the theater again, but it is a question whether any of them could tell you what they saw, for the music acted only as a sort of fitting background as they went over and over again, each play of the wonderful game.
That is, Polly and Bob and Jim. Lois had only one comment to make:
"Princeton lost," she granted them, "but it was only because they hadn't the sense to put Frank in sooner." And Bob admitted there might be a degree of truth in what she said.
The rest of Thanksgiving vacation was so pale in comparison with the game that it is not worth recounting. Only one thing of lasting importance occurred.
Sunday morning, while Lois and Polly were still in bed—Lois was staying with Polly at Uncle Roddy's apartment on Riverside Drive—the bell rang. Mrs. Bent the housekeeper opened the door and Mrs. Farwell walked in.
"Good morning," she said hurriedly—and catching sight of Mr. Pendleton in the library—added, "I know I'm much too early for dinner, Roddy—the doctor said you wouldn't be up, but I have such exciting news for the girls. Where are they?"
"Still in bed. I think they're having breakfast. You might go see. Tell me about the excitement first," Uncle Roddy answered, as he helped her with her coat.
"I found a letter from Mrs. Banks, when I got home from the theater last night," Mrs. Farwell explained. "It had been forwarded from Albany. They are back from Canada."
"The Banks, eh! How is Maud?" Uncle Roddy inquired with sudden interest.
"Very well, and Mrs. Banks wants to send her—but I must tell the girls," she interrupted herself, and hurried down the hall.
The Banks need a word of explanation to those who have not read the story of the first summer that Polly and Lois spent in the former's old home in New England, where they lived in Polly's own house left to her by her Aunt Hannah Pendleton. It was a big, rambling place and quite a distance from the village. The only other house on the hill was the mysterious Kent place—said by the natives for miles around—to be haunted.
It was with the greatest surprise that Polly, on her arrival, learned that this summer it was tenanted by a Mrs. Banks and her daughter, Maud. But instead of the occupants completely dispelling the mystery of the house, the Banks added to it.
It was soon evident, that there was something queer about them. Maud was very shy, and more like a frightened, wild animal, than a healthy, normal child. It was Dr. Farwell, who, towards the end of the summer, discovered that she was suffering from a severe nervous shock, caused by the tragic death of her father in India.
He had sent her away for treatment and when she returned, Polly and Lois had tried to complete the cure. Polly had almost succeeded in persuading her to return with them to Seddon Hall, but Maud's timidity had barred the way. She could not make up her mind to face the one hundred girls.
Mrs. Banks had taken her daughter to Canada to visit friends that winter, and apart from an occasional postal, Polly and Lois had heard no further news of them.
Mrs. Farwell's letter was a great surprise. When she entered the girl's room they both sat up. They had finished breakfast and were just being happily lazy.
"Jemima! What time is it?" Lois demanded, at sight of her mother. "Are you and Daddy here for dinner already?"
Mrs. Farwell laughed. "No, you lazy bones, it's not quite as late as that. I came before Daddy, because I have news for you—such news!"
"Tell us," Polly demanded, quite thoroughly awake. "News of what?"
Mrs. Farwell sat down on the edge of the bed and began:
"I've had a letter from Mrs. Banks, she and Maud are in New York and—"
But the girls interrupted her with a flood of questions.
"Mrs. Banks in New York! How's Maud? Did she say where she was going to school?"
"Is she still so awfully nervous?"
"I wonder what she's like now."
"Do listen," Mrs. Farwell begged, "and I'll tell you. Mrs. Banks wrote that she was considering sending Maud to Seddon Hall. She is fifteen now, you know, and apparently, from what her mother writes—eager to go."
Polly said: "Well, I never! It's taken her two years to make up her mind."
Lois groaned, and fell back on her pillows. You will remember, she was never as interested in Maud, as Polly was.
"Another younger girl to look after," she said dolefully. "I wonder if there'll be room for her. When are you going to answer Mrs. Banks' letter, mother?"
Mrs. Farwell thought for a minute.
"Why I think I'll 'phone her. You see the letter was sent to Albany, so it was delayed in reaching me. I have their address here."
"Look!" Polly bounded out of bed. "Call her up now Aunt Kate, and ask her to bring Maud to tea this afternoon. Then we can talk about school and see Maud. Get up, Lo, and do show a little interested enthusiasm," she admonished, as Mrs. Farwell went back to the library to tell Uncle Roddy the rest of the story, and to 'phone to Mrs. Banks. "Aren't you excited?"
"No!" Lois got up slowly and struggled to find her slipper. "I am not," she said slowly but distinctly.
Mrs. Banks was delighted to accept Mrs. Farwell's invitation, and at four o'clock they arrived, she and Maud.
The girls could hardly restrain a gasp of surprise at the sight of Maud. It is hard to realize that other girls grow up as well as yourself, and Polly and Lois still remembered the shy little girl in a pinafore, with straight flaxen hair and blue eyes that Maud had been two summers before. They were totally unprepared to meet the new Maud.
In the first place, instead of looking down at her they had to look up, for she had grown until she was a half head taller than either Polly or Lois. Her arms and legs were lanky and her hair was now brushed severely back from her forehead and hung in a heavy braid down her back. She wore a very plain black velvet dress with a broad white collar and cuffs, and with her clear blue eyes and straight features she made a strikingly handsome picture, and although she spoke in her same soft melodious voice—all trace of shyness was gone. After the greetings were over, and everybody was comfortably settled, the talk turned to school.
"Where have you been the past two years?" Polly asked. "I'm so tickled to think you've really decided to go to Seddon Hall at last."
"I've had governesses, most of the time," Maud answered.
"But you went to a small private school too, dear," Mrs. Banks reminded her.
Maud glanced at her mother and then back to Polly.
"Not for long, though; you see I was expelled," she said, with such unexpected bluntness, that they all laughed.
"Expelled! What for?" Lois asked, without intending to be rude.
"For drawing a picture of the music professor. It wasn't a very flattering picture, so!"
"You weren't really expelled, dear," Mrs. Banks said apologetically. "The Principal just thought you might be happier somewhere else. You didn't fit in; you see it was a very small school, and—"
"All the girls were little gentlewomen," Maud interrupted, without appearing rude, "and I was too noisy." She chuckled to herself—probably at the memory of past pranks. "I didn't mean to be, but the Principal—" She stopped abruptly. She was a little embarrassed at so much undivided attention—for though she was noisy, and rather unmanageable, she had no desire to show off. For the rest of the visit, the older people did the talking.
An hour later, as the girls were packing their bags, in Polly's room—they discussed Maud. It was decided that she was to go to Seddon Hall as soon as Mrs. Banks could arrange with Mrs. Baird, and the girls were wondering just what difference her coming would make.
"She'll be some one anyway," Polly said thoughtfully, "Whether she's popular or not, she's sure to make herself felt."
"I think she'll make a hit," Lois replied, slowly. "She's awfully different. I wonder if she'll start drawing pictures of the faculty."
"It doesn't matter if she does, no one will pay any attention to it," Polly said, with a grin. "Maybe she'll put some ginger into things."
"Bet will be pleased if she does," Lois laughed, as she packed her football score card. The sight of it made her exclaim:
"Poll, I meant to write Frank to-day! I haven't congratulated him yet. We've been so busy." She hurried to the desk. "I'll have time to tear off just a line before we start."
Polly was suddenly reminded of an unanswered letter at the same time. In a second their pens scratched in unison, and Maud was completely forgotten.
A SENIOR DISPUTE
The last bell was three minutes late in ringing. Betty knew it was, because she had watched the clock tick out each one with growing impatience. When it did ring at last, she threw her latin book into her desk, banged down the lid, and gave vent to her favorite exclamation.
"Jemima! Thank goodness that's over." She went to the window and looked out.
A heavy snow had been falling all morning, and the grounds of Seddon Hall were sufficiently covered to assure good coasting.
Polly finished the last couple of sentences of her latin prose with little or no regard to the context and joined Betty.
"Looks bully, doesn't it?" she asked. "I hope it stays long enough to pack."
"It's wonderful," Betty agreed, "but don't let's stand and look at it any longer. Come on out, quick."
"Coming, Lo?" Polly inquired, stopping beside Lois' desk.
"No, not just yet. I've got to speak to Miss Crosby, over in the studio. Don't wait for me. I'll come as soon as I can," she promised. As she saw Polly's look of disapproval, adding by way of apology, "I simply must finish that sketch, Poll. It won't take long."
So Polly and Betty left her and went out together. They found their sleds from the year before, in the gym cellar, and pulled them to the top of the hill.
The snow had drifted into the road, and was so deep that the coasting was slow at first.
"Let's wait awhile," Betty suggested, "until the other girls have packed it down a little; this is no fun."
"All right, let's take a walk. I wish I knew how to snowshoe," Polly said as she sank to her knees in a drift.
"When's that friend of yours coming?" Betty inquired, as they started off towards the pond.
"Who, Maud? I don't know, sometime soon. We've got to be good to her, Bet. She's really all right in some ways."
"I remember her only that first summer," Betty said thoughtfully. "She didn't make much of an impression then."
"Did you ever see her ride?" Polly demanded. "We used to go out in the back pasture and try and tame a couple of colts we had. Maud was a wonder. Perhaps Mrs. Baird knows when she's coming."
"Let's go ask her." Betty turned back toward the school. "My feet are soaked anyway."
Mrs. Baird was standing on the Senior porch when they came up the drive. She called to them.
"Did Jane find you?" she asked, as they reached the steps. "I sent her to look for you."
Polly laughed. "Why no," she said surprised. "We were just coming to find you."
"What about?" Mrs. Baird put an arm around each girl. "Come inside, first," she said, shivering, for she was without hat or coat.
"Perhaps it was about the same thing," Betty said. They followed her into the office and Polly asked:
"Have you heard anything from Mrs. Banks? We're wondering when Maud is coming."
"To-morrow, and I meant to tell you and Lois, but it slipped my mind," Mrs. Baird told her.
"Then you wanted us for something else?" Betty asked.
Mrs. Baird walked over and looked out of the window.
"Yes," she said, hesitating. "I am worried about the coasting this year. We have so many new girls and I don't want any accidents. Of course I couldn't forbid them to coast, so I thought up a scheme. You two girls have been here for a long time and know all about the hill. By the way, where's Lois?" she asked abruptly.
"Up in the studio," Polly said with a shrug of her shoulders, which meant to convey the idea that Lois had taken up her permanent abode there.
Mrs. Baird frowned. "She must not work so hard," she said, finally. "She should be out on such a glorious day. I'll speak to her about it."
"Oh, she'll come out in a little while," Betty hastened to say. "She's just talking to Miss Crosby."
"Oh, well! I'll leave you two to see that she does," Mrs. Baird said severely. "And now, about the coasting. I want you three girls, and any of the other Seniors, of course,"—she added, on second thought—"to watch every new girl go down the hill once, then if she is really not fit to coast, you must tell her. I'll leave the decision to you."
"You mean that if we don't think they really know enough about it, that we are to tell them they must keep off the big hill?" Polly asked. The idea struck her as a very good one—new girls were always a nuisance at first—but she wished the decision had been left to some one else.
"They can use the little hill, can't they?" Betty asked. "No one could hurt themselves on that."
Mrs. Baird nodded her head. "That I leave to you; you're much the better judge. Only do make haste, I am so afraid some one will be hurt. I saw little Phylis Guile almost run into a tree."
Polly and Betty promised to start at once. They went up to the studio and made Lois put away her brushes and join them. Then they told the Dorothys and Evelin and Mildred. Polly stationed them along the hill—Betty at the top, to judge of the start—the others along the way, while she and Lois watched the curve at the end.
They stayed at their posts all the afternoon, every now and then jotting down some girl's name and quietly telling them that they would have to do the rest of their coasting on the little hill. Sometimes they met with protests, but, for the most part their Senior dignity upheld them.
"What under the sun will we do about Jane and Phylis?" Polly asked. "They'll kill themselves if they go down again, and if we just tell them they can't it will break their hearts."
Lois considered. "I've got it. We'll make it seem a favor to us."
"But how?" Polly demanded, as the two younger girls came flying recklessly around the turn.
"Leave that to me," Lois whispered. "Oh, Jane, will you and Phylis come here a minute? Polly and I have the greatest favor to ask of you. I wonder if you'll help us out?" she asked.
"Of course we will," they answered promptly. "We'll do anything."
Lois felt like a hypocrite, but she went on to explain:
"It's about coasting," she said. "You see, Mrs. Baird has asked us to tell all the new girls that are not used to such a dangerous hill, that they must coast on the small hill by the pond. Of course some of them are not even able to do that, and they ought to be watched." Lois stopped—took a long breath and looked appealingly at Polly.
"We thought you might be willing to go over and coast there, and sort of keep an eye out that no one is hurt," Polly said, coming to her rescue. "We'll be so busy here."
"Why we'd love to," Jane said eagerly.
"We don't mind a bit," Phylis protested. "Are we to tell them to stop if we see any one that's reckless?"
"Mercy! No!" Lois exclaimed. She had a sudden vision of these two youngsters using their authority at every possible excuse. "That would hurt their feelings. Just use lots of tact and perhaps show them what to do, but not in a—in a—"
"I know," laughed Jane. "You mean don't be fresh the way we were to Fanny. We won't."
"Oh," Polly sighed when they had hurried off. "What a wonder you are, Lois, and they really will help."
"Of course they will. Good gracious! Here comes Fanny."
From where they stood they could see the long stretch of the hill, just before the curve. Fanny, sitting bolt upright, an unforgivable sin—in Polly's eyes—was whirling down it. She had apparently lost all control of her sled. Polly and Lois held their breath.
On one side of the curve, a big rock jutted out at right angles to the road, and on the other a cobble stone gutter offered almost as dangerous an alternative. Fortunately, Fanny, or rather Fanny's sled, chose the latter. There was a second of flying snow mixed up somehow with Fanny's arms and legs, and then quiet. Polly and Lois dashed to the spot.
"Are you hurt?" Lois demanded.
Fanny sat up. "Well I never did," she said wonderingly. "What do you suppose happened to that little old sled?"
Polly's sudden relief took the form of anger.
"You had no right to try this hill," she said severely. "Did Betty see you start?"
Fanny stiffened. "Yes, she did if you want to know," she said. "And she told me not to. But—" She paused to give her words better effect. "Betty and you and Lois are not the only Seniors at this school, though you do act most mighty like you thought you were. I got my permission from the two Dorothys," she finished with a triumphant toss of her head.
Polly and Lois looked at each other in amazement. Something had come over Fanny of late. They had noticed it, but other matters had made it seem unimportant. She had always been on hand for basket ball practice, but her attitude had been sullen and she had spent most of her time with the Dorothys and Evelin.
Polly realized that this was an important point and must be dealt with. She wasn't angry at Fanny, for she knew to just what extent her classmates were to blame.
"Did Dot Mead know Betty had told you not to coast on this hill?" she asked finally.
"She certainly did." Fanny was still triumphant.
Polly bit her underlip and half closed her eyes. Lois saw these unmistakable signs of danger, and tried to make peace.
"Are you sure?" she asked hopefully.
"I am." Fanny was ridiculously solemn.
"Then the Dorothys went beyond their authority," Polly said coldly. "And their permission counts for nothing. You can see for yourself that you can't manage on this hill; you nearly hurt yourself just now."
"I did no such a thing," Fanny interrupted lamely. But Polly paid no attention to her.
"As captain of the basket ball team, and Senior head of athletics"—the title rolled from her lips importantly—"I forbid you to coast on this hill again, no matter who gives you permission," she said with unmistakable decision. Then, without another word she turned on her heel and went up the hill with Lois.
Half way to the top, they found Betty in heated argument with Dot Mead. Now when Betty was angry she stormed. At this present moment, she was more than angry, she was furious.
"You had no right whatever to do it," she raged, as Polly and Lois joined them. "You didn't do it because you thought Fanny really knew how to coast; you just thought it was a good chance to get even with me. You've a fine idea of class dignity to do anything so petty. If you ever do a thing like that again—Jemima, I'll— You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You're jealous. That's—"
"Steady, Bet," Polly said quietly, "and do save your breath. Dot can't do it again. I've just told Fanny she must not use this hill and she quite understands."
"Then we will tell her she can." Dorothy Lansing spoke for the first time.
Betty and Lois looked at Polly. She picked up the rope of her sled and started up the hill.
"Tell her anything you like," she said over her shoulder, "but she won't coast again."
When the three reached Senior Alley, they met Angela. They were full of indignation and would have told her all about it, but Angela had news too. She greeted them excitedly.
"Girls! what do you think, Connie comes to-night. She'll be here on the five-eleven. She 'phoned Mrs. Baird from New York. Did you ever hear anything so thrilling? Just imagine Connie back again!"
"For good?" Polly demanded.
"No, just for a visit, she's going back day after to-morrow."
"Jemima! I'm glad," Betty exclaimed. "Won't it be natural to have her around again?"
"We've always missed her," Lois added. "Can't we have something special for her to-night?"
"How about a straw ride?" suggested Betty; "Mrs. Baird would let us—it's Friday."
"Oh, let's, and just ask the old girls who knew her," Angela hurried on—her drawl for once discarded. "We'll get Mrs. Baird to chaperone, if we can."
"I'll go ask her," Betty volunteered. "You go get the girls.
"I suppose all the Seniors will go," Angela said, none too enthusiastically, and Polly and Lois suddenly remembered that she had not heard about the Dorothys. Lois told her.
"Polly just mounted her dignity and oh, Ange, it was rare," she finished, laughing. "But I suppose they must be asked."
"Let's tell Bet she has to do it," Polly suggested. "She's so raging at Dot Mead, that she wants to box her ears."
"You'll really have to, Ange," Lois said.
"Not I, you're Senior president," Angela protested, adding nonchalantly: "Besides, if I ask, they might accept. Were Evelin and Helen in it?"
"No, they must go to-night; the Senior class must not be divided equally against itself," Polly said, thoughtfully. "I'll ask them now, and I'll make them go." She went off to find them.
A few minutes before study hour they all met in Study Hall.
"Mrs. Baird says we may go, of course," Betty began, "and she's told McDonald to bring around the sleigh at seven-fifteen."
"Will she chaperone?"
"No, she's got an awful lot to do. She suggested Miss Crosby. So I asked her. She said she'd love to— I'd rather have had Miss Porter, on account of Connie—but I didn't like to say so."
"Evelin and Mildred will come; they were a little cold at first," Polly said, "but they're all right now, and crazy to see Connie."
"How about the Dorothys, Lo?" Betty demanded.
Lois chuckled wickedly.
"They have made other plans for this evening, and will be unable to go," she said, sadly. "I didn't urge them."
"Good; that leaves about fifteen—just the right number for the wagon." Angela consulted her list. "I've got enough crackers and chocolate for everybody," she added.
"Look at the time!" Betty exclaimed. "Who keeps study hour to-night?"
"Oh, Lordy! Well, I'll have to be late. Somebody tell her I have Mrs. Baird's permission, if she misses my smiling face."
"Where are you going?" Polly asked.
"To get my clothes and take them to the guest room. Mrs. Baird said Connie would sleep with Ange while she's here. I'm off."
"Betty, you darling!" Angela exclaimed—but Betty was half way down the hall.
AN EVENTFUL STRAW-RIDE