Betty Wales, Sophomore
Part 1 out of 4
Produced by Jason Kwong, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
[Illustration: THE "SHOW" WAS A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS]
BETTY WALES, SOPHOMORE
A STORY FOR GIRLS
BY MARGARET WARDE
"Betty Wales, Freshman"
"Betty Wales, Junior"
"Betty Wales, Senior"
"Betty Wales, B.A."
EVA M. NAGEL
I MOVING IN
II ELEANOR'S FRESHMAN
III PARADES AND PARTIES
IV ELEANOR WATSON, AUTHORESS
V POINTS OF VIEW
VI ON AMBITION
VII ON TO MIDYEARS
VIII THE "FIRST FOUR"
IX THE COMPLICATIONS OF LIFE
X IN THE "ARGUS" SANCTUM
XI A PROBLEM IN ETHICS
XII A BRIEF FOR THE DEFENSE
XIII VICTORY OR DEFEAT
XIV A DISTINGUISHED GUEST
XVI DORA CARLSON'S "SUGARING-OFF"
XVII A MAY-DAY RESOLUTION
XVIII TRIUMPHS AND TROUBLES
THE "SHOW" WAS A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS
"DON'T PUT THAT GREEN VASE THERE"
"WELL" SAID MISS FERRIS, "THAT WON'T BE
"LET US MAKE A FAIR START," HE SAID
THE GREEN LINE WAS SHOUTING ITSELF HOARSE
ELEANOR DID NOT ANSWER
"NEVER MIND THAT NOW," SAID BETTY
Readers who did not make the acquaintance of Betty Wales and her friends
while they were freshmen may like to know that there were nine girls in
all who spent their first year together at Mrs. Chapin's. Two of them,
however, took very little part in the life of the house and left college
at the end of the year. Katherine Kittredge, "of Kankakee," was the fly-
away of the group, Rachel Morrison its steadiest, strongest member. Shy,
sensitive Roberta Lewis found her complement in a volatile little
sophomore, the only one in the house, named Mary Brooks. Mary had a
talent for practical jokes and original methods of entertainment, and
supplied much of the fun and frolic at the Chapin house. It was she who
put Betty's picture into the sophomore "grind book," who let out the
secret of the Mountain Day mishap, and who frightened not only the Chapin
house freshmen but the whole class with an absurd "rumor" of her own
invention. Helen Adams, Betty's roommate, was a forlorn, awkward little
body, who came to college expecting to study all the time, and was amazed
and disappointed at what she considered the frivolity of her companions.
Betty Wales, in particular, with her fascinating, merry ways, her love of
fun, and her easygoing fashion of getting through her work, was a
revelation to Helen. She began by placing her roommate rather scornfully
in the category of pretty girls, who, being pretty, can afford to be
stupid, and ended by loving her dearly, and fully appreciating what Betty
had done to make her more like other girls and so happier in her
In spite of her beauty and cleverness, Eleanor Watson was not a favorite
with the Chapin house girls. She was snobbish and overbearing, intent
upon making herself prominent in class and college affairs, and utterly
regardless of the happiness of other people, as well as of the rules and
moral standards of Harding. Betty, who was unreasonably fond of Eleanor,
though she recognized her faults, unconsciously exerted a great deal of
influence over her. How she finally managed at the instigation of her
upper-class friend, Dorothy King, and with the help of Miss Ferris, a
very lovable member of the faculty, to extricate Eleanor Watson from an
extremely unpleasant position, and finally to make her willing and even
eager to finish her course at Harding, is told at length in "Betty Wales,
Freshman." There are also recorded many of the good times that she and
her house-mates and a few other friends had during the first of their
four happy years at Harding College.
The story of what Betty did at Harding and elsewhere will be found
continued in "Betty Wales, Junior," "Betty Wales, Senior," and "Betty
Wales, B. A."
Betty Wales sat down on the one small bare spot on the floor of her new
room at the Belden House, and looked about her with a sigh of mingled
relief and weariness.
"Well," she remarked to the little green lizard, who was perched jauntily
on a pile of pillows, "anyhow the things are all out of the trunks and
boxes, and I suppose after a while they'll get into their right places."
She looked at her watch. Quarter to eight,--that left just about two
hours before ten o'clock. Somebody rapped on the door.
"Come in," sang Betty.
It was Eleanor Watson. Betty leaped over a motley collection of cups and
saucers, knocked down a Japanese screen--which fortunately landed against
a bed, instead of on the cups and saucers--and caught Eleanor in her
"Isn't it great to be back?" she said when she could speak, meanwhile
setting up the screen again, and moving trunk-trays so they might sit
down on the bed. "Are you settled, Eleanor?"
"A little," said Eleanor, surveying Betty's quarters with amusement.
"Quite settled compared to this, I should say. Why do you take everything
out at once, Betty?"
"Oh, then they're all right where I can get at them," returned Betty
easily. "I hate to keep stopping to fish something out of the bottom of a
box that I haven't unpacked."
"I see," laughed Eleanor. "Did you have a lovely summer?"
"Perfectly lovely. I can swim like a fish, Eleanor, and so can Emily
Davis. You don't know her much, do you? But you must. She's lots of fun.
Did you have a good time too?"
"Beautiful," said Eleanor, eagerly. "Father is coming east before long to
see Jim and me, and he and Jim are coming on together from Cornell.
You'll help me entertain them, won't you, Betty?"
"I should think I would," Betty was saying heartily, when there was
another bang on the door and Rachel and Katherine appeared. Then there
was more leaping over teacups, more ecstatic greetings, and more
readjustment of Betty's belongings to make room for the newcomers.
"Where's Helen?" demanded Rachel, when everybody was seated.
"Coming the first thing to-morrow morning," explained Betty. "You see she
lives so near that she can come down at the last minute."
"It's lucky she's not here now," laughed Katherine. "There's no room for
her, to say nothing of her things."
"I should think not," agreed Betty, tragically. "Girls, these campus
rooms are certainly the smallest places! This isn't half as big as ours
at Mrs. Chapin's. And see the closet!" She picked her way across the
room, and threw open a door, disclosing a five-by-three cupboard. "I ask
you how we're going to get all our clothes into that."
"Helen hasn't many clothes," suggested Katherine, cheerfully.
"She has plenty to put on half those hooks," answered Betty, with
finality, closing the door on the subject, and coming back to sit between
Eleanor and Rachel.
"Isn't the Chapin house crowd scattered this year?" said Katherine. "Let
me see. You and Helen and Mary Brooks are here. Has Mary come yet?"
Betty shook her head. "Her steamer isn't due till to-morrow morning.
Didn't you know she'd been in Ireland all summer?"
"Won't it be fun to hear her tell about it?" put in Rachel.
"You three here," went on Katherine, intent on her census, "and you're at
the Hilton, aren't you, Eleanor?"
"Yes," answered Eleanor with a grimace. "I wanted to be here, of course,
but Miss Stuart wouldn't manage it. Which house are you in, Rachel?"
"I'm off the campus," answered Rachel, quietly, "at the little white
house just outside the gate. It's a dear, quaint place, and delightfully
quiet. Of course, I'd rather have been on the campus, but father couldn't
afford it this year."
"Make way, make way for us!" sang a noisy chorus out in the hall. There
were shouts and shrieks and bangs and more shrieks, and then the din died
away suddenly into an ominous stillness that evidently heralded the
approach of some dreaded power.
"It's lucky one of us lives in a quiet place, where the rest of us can
take refuge occasionally," said Eleanor.
"Isn't it?" chimed in Katherine. "I'm at the Westcott myself, and I never
heard anything like the racket there was, when the girls began to come in
from the eight o'clock train."
"Our crowd seems to have been on hand early," said Rachel.
"You know Betty's father doesn't like her to travel alone," jeered
Katherine, "especially after dark. Did he telegraph the registrar again
this year, Betty?"
"Please don't," begged Betty, blushing prettily. "Weren't we green little
freshmen though, at this time last fall?"
"And isn't it fun to be coming back as sophomores?" asked Rachel.
"We haven't quite finished with the residences of the Chapin house
girls," said Eleanor. "How about Roberta?"
"She's going to stay on at Mrs. Chapin's, I think," answered Katherine.
"She couldn't get in here at the Belden, and she and Mary want to be
"And the Riches aren't coming back, I believe," added Rachel. "And now I,
for one, must go back and finish unpacking."
Katherine and Eleanor rose too, astonished to find how fast the evening
had slipped away, and how little time there was left in which to get
ready for the busy "first day" ahead of them. When they had all three
gone, Betty lay back on the bed, her head pillowed on her arms, to rest
for a moment longer. She was tired. The journey from Rockport had been
hot and disagreeable, and some of her box covers had been nailed on with
disheartening thoroughness. But besides being tired, she was also very
happy--too happy to turn her attention again at once to the trying
business of getting settled. In spite of the "perfectly lovely" summer at
the seashore, she was glad to be back at Harding. She was passionately
fond of the life there. There had been only one little blot to mar her
perfect enjoyment of freshman year, and that was Eleanor's unexplainable
defection. And now Eleanor had come back, fascinating as ever, but
wonderfully softened and sweetened. The old hauteur had not left her
face, but it was in the background, veiled, as it were, by a
determination to be different,--to meet life in a more friendly spirit,
and to make the most of it and of herself. Betty could have hugged her
for her cordial greetings to Katherine and Rachel, and for the kindly
little speech about Rachel's boarding-place. The other girls had been
tactful too, ready to meet Eleanor half-way and to let bygones be
bygones. It was all "just lovely."
Betty was picking herself up, intent upon clearing Helen's half of the
room at least, before she went to bed, when another tap sounded on the
door. "Come in," she called eagerly, expecting to see Roberta, or perhaps
Alice Waite, or even Dorothy King. Instead, a tall, stately stranger
opened the door, and entering, closed it again after her.
"May I come in and talk to you?" she asked. "I live next door--that is,
my trunks aren't here, so I haven't begun living there to any great
extent as yet. Don't stop working. I'll sit and watch; or I'll help, if I
can. There seems to be plenty doing."
And she sat down calmly in the place that Betty had just vacated.
Betty was not easily embarrassed, but the strange girl's perfect
composure and ease of manner disconcerted her. She did not know many
upper classmen in the Belden House, and she could not remember ever
having seen this one before. And yet she surely was not a freshman.
"Yes, I--I am busy," she stammered. "I mean, I ought to be. But I've had
callers all the evening long. Oh, dear! I didn't mean that. I'm truly
glad to have you come, and I will keep on working, if you don't mind."
The stranger's eyes twinkled. "Which class are you?" she asked.
"Sophomore," answered Betty promptly. "And you're an upper-class girl,
The stranger shook her head.
"No?" questioned Betty in bewilderment. "Why, I'm sure you're not a
sophomore--I know all the girls in my class at least by sight,--and of
course you're not a freshman."
"Why not?" demanded the new girl gaily.
Betty laughed. "I know," she said, "but I don't believe I can explain.
You seem too much at home, and too sure of yourself somehow. Now, are you
The stranger laughed in her turn. "Technically, yes," she said, "really,
no. This is my first year here, but I've passed up all the French and
Spanish and Italian that the institution offers, and some of the German.
I think myself that I ought to rank as a graduate student, but it seems
there are some little preliminaries in the way of Math, and Latin and
Logic that I have to take before I can have my sheepskin, and there's
also some history and some English literature which the family demand
that I take. So I don't know just how long I may hang on here."
"How--how funny!" gasped Betty. "Where do you live?"
"Bohemia, New York," answered the new girl promptly.
Betty looked puzzled.
"Why, you see," explained her mysterious friend, "it's no use saying one
lives in New York. Everybody--all sorts and conditions of people--live in
New York. So I always add Bohemia."
"Bohemia?" repeated Betty helplessly.
"Yes, Bohemia--the artistic New York. We have a studio and some other
rooms up at the top of one of those queer old houses on Washington
Square--you know it,--funny, ramshackle old place. Father has afternoons,
and mother and I feed the lions and the lesser animals with tea and
strawberry jam. It's very good fun, living in Bohemia."
"And how did you learn so many languages?"
"Oh, a little from tutors, but mostly from living abroad. We're not in
Bohemia, New York, very much. We have a villa near Sorrento--awfully out-
at-elbows, but still a villa; and we've been in Spain a good deal, and
once father illustrated a book on Vienna--that was where I learned my
German Let me see--oh, it's French that I haven't accounted for. Well, we
have some French relatives. They love to have us visit them at their
funny old chateau, because mother mends their moth-eaten tapestries
beautifully, and father paints the family portraits."
"And what do you do?" inquired Betty, much impressed.
"I? Oh, I teach the girls American slang. It doesn't amount to much,
teaching French girls slang, because they never have any chance to get it
off on the men. But they always like it."
"Don't you know any other languages?"
"No--why, yes I do, too. I know Bengali. When Mademoiselle asked me that
very question this noon I forgot Bengali. I learned one winter in India.
I guess I'll telephone her--or no--I'd rather see her august face when I
remind her of my humble linguistic existence. My name is Madeline Ayres.
Now it's your turn," ended the new girl suddenly.
"But I haven't anything to tell," objected Betty, "except that I'm Betty
Wales, in the sophomore class, and live in Cleveland. Please go on. It
sounds exactly like a fairy tale."
Madeline Ayres shook her head. "It may now," she said, "but when you come
to think it over, you'll decide that I talk too much. Don't put that
green vase there. It belongs on the bookcase. It just litters your desk
and spoils the effect of that lovely water-color. Do you mind my telling
It was ten o'clock when Miss Ayres took her departure. Between them, she
and Betty had made astonishing progress toward bringing order out of the
chaos that had reigned supreme an hour earlier.
"It's so pretty, too," declared Betty, alone once more with the little
green lizard. "Whatever she touches goes right into place. I suppose
that's because she's always lived with artists. Oh, dear, I wish I could
do something interesting!"
There was a tap on the door, and Betty sprang for her light, for she had
the new girl's terror of breaking the ten-o'clock rule, which is supposed
by outsiders to be kept to the letter on the campus. However, it wasn't
the matron, but only Nita Reese, who had a single room on the fourth floor
and had come to say that the three B's were spending the night with her,
and that they wished Betty to hurry right along and help eat up the food.
[Illustration: "Don't put that green vase there."]
"Lights don't count on the first night, they say," explained Nita, who,
like Betty, had spent her freshman year off the campus. "So we've got to
make the most of it."
"But what are the B's doing over here?" demanded Betty in perplexity.
"Have they moved away from the Westcott?"
Nita laughed. "No indeed, but the rest of their floor hadn't come, and
they felt lonely and came over to see me. They say their matron won't
miss them the first night, and I'm sure I hope ours won't find them here.
They seem to think it's all right."
Betty pulled on her gray kimono, brushed the hair out of her eyes, and
followed Nita through the hall and up-stairs to the fourth floor. There
was a wilderness of trunks in the narrow passages. Every girl must have
three at least, Betty thought. And their owners appeared to be in no
haste about unpacking; the serious business of the hour was conversation.
They stopped to talk with their neighbors to greet newcomers, to help or
hinder other workers with questions and suggestions. Betty and Nita felt
lost and rather friendless in the big house, and were strangely glad to
see one familiar face down the corridor and to get a brisk little nod
from a senior hurrying past them on the stairs. But on the fourth floor
the B's pranced gaily out to meet them.
"Poor little lambs, just come on the campus," sang Babe.
"'Fraid to death of the matron," jeered Bob.
"We've come to cheer you up," ended Babbie.
"Girls," said Betty, when the five-pound box of chocolates that Bob's
father had thoughtfully provided was nearly empty, "wouldn't it be
dreadful if we didn't know each other or anybody? How did we ever manage
"Oh, you can always do what you have to," returned Bob practically.
"One mattress is too narrow for four, though," announced Babbie, somewhat
irrelevantly. "I'm going down to sleep with you, Betty. Come along."
Thus ended Betty's first evening on the campus.
It was early in the afternoon of the great day of the sophomore reception
that Betty Wales ran up two flights of stairs at the Hilton House, and
bursting into Eleanor's "extra-priced" corner single, flung herself, hot
and breathless, into Eleanor's Morris chair.
"Oh, but I'm tired," she said, as soon as she could speak. "And dirty,"
she added, looking ruefully at the green stains on the front of her pink
"You also seem to be in a hurry," observed Eleanor, who was always vastly
entertained by Betty's impetuous, haphazard methods.
"I am," said Betty. "We're awfully behind with the decorating, and I
ought to rush back to the gym this very minute, but I--" she paused, then
finished quickly. "I wanted to see you."
"That was nice of you," said Eleanor absently, sorting over the pages of
a theme she had just finished copying. "I helped wind the balcony
railings with yellow cheese-cloth all the morning, and I thought I'd
better finish this before I went back. I'm bound not to get behind with
my work this year."
"Good for you," returned Betty, cheerfully. "But I'm glad you're through
now. I was hoping you would be."
"Did the chairman send you after me?" asked Eleanor, fastening her sheets
together, and writing her name on the first one.
"Oh, no," said Betty, quickly. "She didn't at all. I wanted to see you
Eleanor was too preoccupied to notice Betty's embarrassment. "Who is it
that you're going to take to-night?" she asked. "You told me, but I've
forgotten, and I want to put her name on my card."
"I asked Madeline Ayres--" began Betty.
"You lucky thing!" broke in Eleanor. "She's the most interesting girl in
her class, I think, and she's going to be terribly popular. She's a class
officer already, isn't she?"
"Yes, secretary. I'm glad you like her, because I came over to see if you
wouldn't take her, in my place."
"I?" said Eleanor, in perplexity. "Why, I'm going to take Polly Eastman,
--Jean's freshman cousin, you know. Do you mean you want me to take Miss
Ayres too? Are you sick, Betty?"
"No," said Betty, hastily, "but Polly Eastman is. She's got the mumps or
the measles or something. Jean told me about it, and an A. D. T. boy was
just leaving a note for you--from Polly, I suppose--when I came up.
She's gone to the infirmary."
"Poor child," said Eleanor. "She missed the freshman frolic, and she's
been counting on to-night. I had such a lovely card for her, too. Pity
it's got to go to waste. Well, she can have her violets all the same.
I'll go down and telephone Clarke's to send them to the infirmary. But I
don't see yet why you want me to take Miss Ayres, Betty."
"Because," said Betty, "we've just discovered a left-over freshman. She
lives way down at the end of Market Street, and she entered late, and
somehow her name wasn't put on the official list. But this morning she
was talking to a girl in her Math. division, and when the other girl
spoke about the reception this one--her name is Dora Carlson--hadn't
heard of it. So the other freshmen very sensibly went in and told the
registrar about it, and the registrar sent word to the gym. And then Jean
said that her cousin was ill, so I came over to see if you'd take
Madeline, and let me take Miss Carlson. Now please say 'yes' right off,
so that I can go and change my dress and hurry down and ask the poor
Eleanor got up and came over to sit on the arm of the Morris chair.
"Betty Wales," she said, with mock severity, but with an undertone of
very real compunction in her voice, "do you think I'd do that? Have I
ever been quite so mean as you make me out? Did you really think I'd take
Miss Ayres and let you take Miss Carlson? You're absurd, Betty,--you are
absurd sometimes, you know."
"Yes, I suppose I am," began Betty, "but--"
"It's perfectly simple," broke in Eleanor. "You go straight back to the
gym and work for the two of us, while I go and invite Miss Carlson to go
with me to the reception Where did you say she lives?"
"Number 50 Market Street. Oh, Eleanor, will you really take her? She's
probably--oh, not a bit your kind, you know," ended Betty, doubtfully.
"Trust me to give her the time of her life all the same," said Eleanor,
decidedly, putting on her hat.
"Oh, Eleanor, you are a gem," declared Betty, excitedly. "I'll go and get
Helen to take your place at the gym. Good-bye." And she was off.
As Eleanor went down the steps of the Hilton House, she looked
regretfully over at the gymnasium. They were dumping another load of
evergreen boughs at the door. The horse was restless. It took three girls
to hold him, and three more, with much shouting and laughter, to unload
the boughs. Through one window she could see Rachel and Alice Waite
stringing incandescent lights into Japanese lanterns. Katherine Kittredge
was standing behind them in her gym suit. She had evidently been hanging
lanterns along the rafters. It had been bad enough to stay at home and
copy her theme. Now the decorating would be finished and the fun almost
over, before she could get back. Eleanor shrugged her shoulders and
turned resolutely away, trying to remember whether Market Street was just
above or just below the station.
Before she had reached the campus gate, she heard some one calling her
name. It was Jean Eastman.
"What's your hurry?" panted Jean. "Did you get Polly's note? And why
aren't you at the gym?"
"Yes, I got the note," answered Eleanor. "I'm more than sorry for Polly,
and for myself, too. I shall get back to the gym as soon as I can, but I
have to ask another freshman to the reception first."
"Who?" demanded Jean.
"Miss Carlson," answered Eleanor simply.
"Oh, that! Don't you think, Eleanor, that you're getting a little
quixotic in your old age?"
Her scornful tone was very exasperating, and Eleanor straightened
haughtily. "I don't think either of us need worry about being too
charitable just yet awhile," she began. Then she caught herself up
sharply. "Don't let's get to bickering, Jean. You know I ought to ask
her, and you know how much I want to. But I'm going to do it, and I
expect every girl on my program to help make her have just as good a time
as if she were one of us." And Eleanor was off down the hill, leaving
Jean gazing amazedly after her.
Jean had no clue to the new Eleanor, whose strange toleration of the
world in general annoyed the "Hill girls" (as those who had come from the
Hill School were called) more than her high-handed attempts to run her
own set, and her eventual wrecking of its influence, had done the year
before. But the Hill girls appreciated Eleanor's ability, and they had
resolved among themselves to wait a little and see what happened, before
declaring open war.
Somebody came to call just before dinner, and Betty was consequently late
in dressing for the reception. But in the midst of her frantic efforts to
make her own toilette and help Helen with hers, she had time to wonder
what Dora Carlson was like and how she and Eleanor would get on together.
She knew that Eleanor was equal to any emergency, if she cared to exert
herself, but the question was: would Dora Carlson in the concrete arouse
the best--or the worst--of her nature? Betty loved Eleanor in spite of
everything, but she had to admit to herself that a timid little freshman
might infinitely prefer staying at home from the sophomore reception to
going in Eleanor's company, if she happened to be in a bad mood. And
furthermore, as Betty lost her temper over Helen's girdle, which would go
up in front and down behind, completely spoiling the effect of an
otherwise pretty evening dress, she was in a position to realize that
trying to help is by no means the soul-inspiring thing that it sometimes
seems in contemplation.
But she need not have worried about Dora Carlson, who, having lived alone
with her father on a farm in the environs of a little village in Ohio,
and kept house for him ever since she was twelve years old, was
abundantly able to take care of herself. She was not at all timid, though
she was not aggressive either, and she had a quaint way of expressing
herself that would have interested almost any one. But it was the frank
good-nature with which she accepted her eleventh hour invitation that
appealed most to Eleanor, newly alive to the charm that lies in
courageously making the best of a bad matter. For half an hour Eleanor
devoted herself to finding out something about Miss Carlson and to making
her feel at ease and happy in her company. Then she went off to order a
carriage and twice as many violets as she had sent to Polly Eastman, and
to find a maid who would press out her white mull dress,--this in spite
of her decision, an hour earlier, that the white mull was much too pretty
to waste on a promiscuous crush like the sophomore reception.
As a result of all these preparations, Dora Carlson arrived at the
gymnasium in a state of mind that she herself aptly compared to
Cinderella's on the night of her first ball. She had a keen appreciation
of the beautiful, and she had never seen any one so absolutely lovely as
Eleanor in evening dress. It was pleasure enough just to watch her, to
hear her talk to other people, and to feel that she--Dora Carlson--had
some part and lot in this fascinating being, who had suddenly appeared to
her as from another world. But Eleanor had no intention of keeping her
freshman in the background. All through the reception that preceded the
dancing she took her from group to group, introducing her to sophomores
whom she would dance with later and to prominent members of her own
class. Eleanor Watson might be considered odd and freakish by the Hill
girls, and very snobbish by the rest of the college; but nobody of either
persuasion cared to ignore her, when she chose to make advances. And
there was, besides, a good deal of curiosity about the short, dark little
freshman, with the merry brown eyes, the big, humorous mouth, and the
enormous bunch of Parma violets pinned to the front of her much-washed,
tight-sleeved muslin. Why in the world had the "snob of snobs" chosen to
bring her to the reception? Eleanor knew how to utilize this curiosity
for Miss Carlson's advantage. She took pains, too, to turn the
conversation to topics in which the child could join. She was determined
that, as far as this one evening went, the plucky little freshman from
Ohio should have her chance. Afterward her place in the college world
would of course depend largely on herself.
"Do you dance?" asked Eleanor, when the music for the first waltz began.
And when Miss Carlson answered with a delighted "yes," Eleanor, who always
refused to lead, and detested both crowds and "girl dances," resolutely
picked up her train and started off.
Betty Wales and Jean Eastman, who had taken their freshmen up into the
gallery, where they could look down at the dancers, saw her and exchanged
"More than she's ever done for me," said Jean, resignedly.
"Isn't it nice of her?" returned Betty, with enthusiasm.
And Jean, meditating on the matter later, decided shrewdly that Betty
Wales was somehow at the bottom of Eleanor's unexplainable change of
heart, and advised the Hill girls to make a determined effort to
monopolize Eleanor's time and interest, before she had become hopelessly
estranged from their counsels. But to all their attentions Eleanor paid
as little heed as she did to the persistent appeals of Paul West, a
friend at Winsted College, a few miles away, that she should give up
"slaving over something you don't care about and come over to our next
dance." To the Hill girls Eleanor gave courteous but firm denials, and
she wrote Paul West that once in three weeks was as often as she had time
"And you really had a good time?" said Eleanor, riding down to Market
Street to see Miss Carlson home.
"Splendid!" said Miss Carlson, heartily. "I'm sorry your first partner
was sick, but I guess I enjoyed it fully as much as she would. Your
friends were all so nice to me."
"I'm glad of that," said Eleanor, relieved to find that Dora had not
apparently noticed Jean Eastman's insolent manner, nor the careless self-
absorption of one or two of her other partners. "And now that you've met
the girls," she added practically, "you mustn't let them forget you.
Making friends is one of the nicest things about college."
"Yes, isn't it?" responded the little freshman, quickly. "I quite agree
with you, but I don't expect to make any. I guess it's like other gifts.
It doesn't come natural to some people. But," she added, brightening, "I
came here to learn Greek and Latin, so that I can teach and support my
father in his old age. And the good time I've had to-night is enough to
last me for one while, I guess."
Eleanor put out a slim, white hand and caught Miss Carlson's hard, brown
one impetuously in hers, "Don't," she said. "That isn't the way things
are here. Good times don't have to last, because one always leads to
another. Why, I know another that's coming to you very soon. I've had a
good deal of company for dinner lately and I can't ask for a place again
right away, but the first Sunday that I can arrange it, you're coming up
to have dinner with me at the Hilton House. Will you?"
Jean Eastman had a great deal to say about Eleanor's freshman crush, as
she called Dora Carlson. It was foolish, she said, and not in good taste,
to send a bunch of violets as big as your head to a perfect stranger,
whom you never expected to see again. Later, after Dora's appearance at
the Hilton for Sunday dinner, Jean declared that it was a shame for
Eleanor to invite her up there and make her think she really liked her,
when it was only done for effect, and she would drop the poor child like
a hot coal the minute she felt inclined to.
Even Betty Wales failed to understand Eleanor's interest in the quaint
little freshman, and she and the other Chapin house girls rallied her
heartily about Miss Carlson's open and unbounded adoration.
"Please don't encourage the poor thing so," laughed Katherine, one day
not long after the reception. "Why, yesterday morning at chapel I looked
up in the gallery and there she was in the front row, hanging over the
railing as far as she dared, with her eyes glued to you. Some day she'll
fall off, and then think how you'll feel, when the president talks about
the terrible evils of the crush system, and stares straight at you."
Eleanor took their banter with perfect good-nature, and seemed rather
pleased than otherwise at Miss Carlson's devotion.
"I like her," she said stoutly. "That's why I encourage her, as you call
it. Now, Helen Adams doesn't interest me at all. She keeps herself to
herself too much. But Dora Carlson is so absolutely frank and
straightforward, and so competent and quick to see through things. She
ought to have been a man. Then she could go west and make her fortune, As
it is--" Eleanor shrugged her shoulders, in token that she had no
feasible suggestion ready in regard to Dora Carlson's future.
To Betty, in private, she went much further. "You don't know what you did
for me, Betty, when you made me ask that child to the reception. Nobody
ever cared for me, or trusted me, as she does--or for the reasons that
she does. I hope I can show her that I'm worth it, but it's going to be
hard work. And it will be a bad thing for her, and a worse thing for me,
if I fail."
PARADES AND PARTIES
It was surprising how well the girl from Bohemia fitted into the life at
Harding. She had never experienced an examination or even a formal
recitation until the beginning of her freshman term. She had seldom lived
three months in any one place, and she had grown up absolutely without
reference to the rules and regulations and conventions that meant so much
to the majority of her fellow-students. But she did not find the
recitations frightful, nor the simple routine of life irksome. She was
willing to tell everybody who cared to listen what she had seen of French
pensions, Italian beggars, or Spanish bullfights. It astonished her to
find that her experiences were unique, because she had always accepted
them as comparatively commonplace; but her pity for the girls who had
never been east of Cape Cod nor west of Harding,--there were two of them
at the Belden,--was quite untinged with self-congratulation.
She was very much amused and not a little pleased, by her election to the
post of class secretary.
"They did it because I passed up four languages," she explained to Betty.
"Somehow it got around--I'm sure I never meant to boast of it--and they
seemed to think they ought to show their appreciation. Nice of them,
wasn't it? But I fancy I shan't have a large international
correspondence. It would have been more to the point if they'd found out
whether I can write plainly." And the girl from Bohemia chuckled softly.
"What's the joke?" inquired Betty.
"Nothing," answered Madeline, "only I can't. Miss Felton made me spell
off every word of my Spanish examination paper, because she couldn't read
it, and I can't read my last theme myself," and she laughed again
"Let's see it," demanded Betty, reaching for the paper at the top of the
pile on Madeline's desk.
"That's next week's," said Madeline. "I thought I'd do them both while I
was at it. But this week's is funnier."
"This week's" proved to be an absurd incident founded upon the
illegibility of Henry Ward Beecher's handwriting. It was cleverly told,
but the cream of its humor lay in the fact that Madeline's writing, if
not so bad as Mr. Beecher's, was certainly bad enough.
"Maybe Miss Raymond can make out what he really wrote, but I've forgotten
now, and I can't," said Madeline, tossing the theme back on the pile.
"And I didn't try to write badly either. It just happened."
Everything "just happened" with Madeline Ayres. Betty had said that
things fell into place for her, and people seemed to have a good deal the
same pleasant tendency. But if they did not, Madeline seldom exerted
herself to make them do her bidding. She admired hard work, and did a
good deal of it by fits and starts. But she detested wire-pulling, and
took an instant dislike to Eleanor Watson because some injudicious person
told her that Eleanor had said she was sure to be popular and prominent
"What nonsense!" she said, with a flash of scorn in her slumberous hazel
eyes. "How it spoils life to count up the chances like that! How it takes
the fun out of everything! The right way is to go ahead and enjoy
yourself, and work your prettiest, and take things when they come. They
always come--if you give them a little time," she added with a return of
her usual serenity.
So it was wholly a matter of chance that Madeline Ayres should have
succeeded in turning Helen Chase Adams into an athlete. Helen had come to
college with several very definite theories about life, most of which had
been shattered at the start. She had promptly revised her idea of a
college in conformity with what she found--and loved--at Harding. She had
decided, with some reluctance, that she had been mistaken in supposing
that all pretty girls were stupid. But she still believed that genius is
an infinite capacity for taking pains--laying no very stringent emphasis
on the "infinite"; and she was determined to prove the truth of that
bold, if somewhat elusive, assertion, at least to the extent of showing
that she, Helen Chase Adams, could make a thoroughgoing success of her
Success may mean anything. To Helen Adams it had meant, ever since the
day of the sophomore-freshman basket-ball game, the ability to write
something that would interest her classmates. It might be a song that
they would care to sing, or a little verse or a story that Miss Raymond
would read in her theme class, as she had Mary Brooks's version of the
Chapin house freshmen's letters home, and that the girls would listen to
and laugh over, and later discuss and compliment her upon. It was not
that she wanted the compliments, but they would measure her success.
Helen admired the girl from Bohemia because she could write--Betty had
told her about the Henry Ward Beecher theme,--also because she was quick
and keen, seldom hurried or worried out of her habitual serenity, and
finally because Betty admired her. Madeline Ayres, for her part, thought
of Helen chiefly as Betty's roommate, noticed the awkward little forward
tilt of her head just as she had noticed the inharmonious arrangement of
Betty's green vase, and commented upon the one in exactly the same spirit
that she had called attention to the other.
"You ought to go in for gym," she said one afternoon when she had
strolled into Betty's room and found only Helen. "It would straighten you
up, and make you look like a different person. I'm going in for it
myself, hard. I'm hoping that it will cure my slouchy walk, and turn me
out 'a marvel of grace and beauty,' as the physical culture
advertisements always say. Let's be in the same class, so that we can
practice things together at home."
"But I should take sophomore gym and you'd be with the freshmen,"
"Why don't you take freshman gym too? You can't do the exercises any too
well, can you?"
"No," admitted Helen, frankly. "I cut a lot last year, and I couldn't do
"Don't you hate to struggle along when you're not ready to go?" asked the
girl from Bohemia.
Helen agreed that she did, and a moment later they were comparing
schedules and deciding upon a class which they could both join. It came
directly in the middle of the afternoon, and Helen Adams had always
considered gym at any hour a flagrant waste of time; but she did not say
so. There had been something in Madeline's outspoken reference to her
awkward carriage that, without hurting her, had struck home. Helen Chase
Adams aspired to literary honors at Harding; to this desire was suddenly
added a violent ambition to be what Madeline had termed "a marvel of
Betty was amazed, when she came in a little later, to find Helen trying
on her gym suit.
"What in the world are you doing?" she demanded. "Gym doesn't begin for
two weeks yet."
"I know it," said Helen, "but the neck of my suit never was right. It's
awfully unbecoming. How would you fix it?"
"You frivolous thing!" laughed Betty, squinting at the unbecoming neck
for a moment. "It's too high behind, that's all. Rip off the collar and
I'll cut it down. And I have an extra blue tie that you can have--it
needs a tie. But I thought you'd manage to get an excuse from gym, when
you hate it so."
"Perhaps I shan't hate it this year," ventured Helen, and neither then
nor later did Betty exactly understand her roommate's sudden devotion to
parallel bars, ropes, the running track, and breathing exercises. But in
time she did thoroughly appreciate the results of this physical training.
Helen Chase Adams was never exactly "a marvel of grace"; but she was
erect and supple, with considerable poise and dignity of bearing, when
she left Harding.
Another thing that Madeline Ayres "happened upon" was the Republican
parade. Presidential elections had been celebrated in various ways at
Harding. There had been banners spread to the breeze, songs and bells in
the night-watches, mock caucuses and conventions, campaign speeches, and
Australian balloting, before election time. But the parade was of
It was about eight o'clock on the evening after election day that she
appeared in Mary Brooks's door--she had made friends with Mary almost as
easily as Betty had.
"I say," she said, dropping off her rain-coat and displaying a suit of
manly black beneath, to match the short brown wig above. "Let's have a
Republican parade. Who'll be the defeated candidate, in chains?"
Then she smiled broadly, displaying rows of even white teeth, and Mary
grasped the situation in a moment.
"I'm with you, Roosevelt," she said. "Nita Reese can be the defeated one.
I'll go and get her."
"And you be leader of the band," said Madeline. "You get combs and I'll
get tin pans."
"Let's take up a collection and have ice-cream later," proposed Mary.
"All right. I'll tell Betty to see to that. I've got to lead a strenuous
life finding clothes for Fairbanks," and "President Roosevelt"
disappeared down the hall.
Promptly at nine the parade assembled on the third floor corridor. The
president elect was drawn in an express wagon, except down the stairs
between floors. Out of consideration for the weight of his chains the
defeated candidate was allowed to ride in a barouche, alias a rocking-
chair. But he objected to riding backward, and the barouche would not
move the other way round, so he accepted the arm of the leader of the
band and walked, chains and all. The vice-president walked from the
start. At intervals of five minutes one or both of the successful
candidates made speeches. The defeated candidate wished to do likewise,
but the other two drowned him out. Between times the band, composed of
all the Belden House who could play on combs or who could find tin pans,
discoursed sweet music. Those who could not do either formed what Mary
Brooks called "a female delegation of the G. O. P. from Colorado," and
closed in the rear of the procession in a most imposing manner.
The vice-president elect wanted to make a tour of the campus houses, but
the twenty minutes to ten bell rang, and there was only time to eat the
The fact that Roberta Lewis, who happened to be in Mary's room when the
president made his first call, laughed herself into hysterics over the
parade, proves that it was funny. The further fact that she had firmly
decided to leave college at Christmas time, but changed her mind after
she had seen the parade, shows that even "impromptu stunts" are not
always as silly and futile as they seem.
But before the Republican parade came Hallowe'en, and Hallowe'en on the
campus is not a thing to pass over lightly. Each house has some sort of
party, generally in costume. There is a good deal of rivalry, and as
every house wishes to see and judge of the achievements of its neighbors,
the most interesting encounters are likely to take place midway between
houses, on the journeys from one party to another.
In Betty's sophomore year the Belden had a masquerade ball, under the
direction of Mary Brooks and the girl from Bohemia. The Hilton House
indulged in an old-fashioned country Hallowe'en, with a spelling match,
dancing to "Roger de Coverley" and "Money Musk," apple-bobbing and all
the other traditional methods of finding out about your lover on All
Saints' Eve. The Westcott gave a "spook" party, one of the other houses a
play, still another a goblin dance, to which everybody carried jack-o'-
lanterns, and the rest celebrated the holiday in other characteristic and
amusing ways. The campus resembled a cross between the midway at a
World's Fair and the grand finale of a comic opera; for ghosts consorted
there with ballet dancers and Egyptian princesses, spooks and goblins
linked arms with pirates in top-boots and rosy farmers' daughters in
calico, and nuns and Puritan maidens chatted familiarly with villainous
and fascinating gentlemen, who twirled black mustaches and threatened to
By nine o'clock everybody had seen everybody else, and congratulations
for successful costumes, clever acting, and thrilling ghost stories were
nearly all distributed. Toward the end of the evening there were a good
many small gatherings, met to talk over the fun in detail and enjoy the
numerous "spreads" that had been sent on from home,--for the college
girl's family becomes almost as expert in detecting a festival afar off
as is the girl herself.
Nan never let the Wales household forget its duty in such matters, and a
merry party was assembled in Betty's room to eat the salad, sandwiches,
jelly, olives, cake, candy, nuts, and fruit that her mother had provided.
"How time flies," observed Mary Brooks sagely, helping herself to another
sandwich. "I suppose you gay young sophomores don't realize it, but it's
almost Christmas time."
"And after Christmas, midyears," wailed a freshman from her corner.
"And after midyears what?
"'To be or not to be, that is the question,'" quoted Katherine
"But for sophomores who survive the midyears," went on Mary, "the next
thing of importance is the society elections."
"That's so," said Betty eagerly. "We can get into your wonderful
societies after midyears, if we're brainy enough. I'd forgotten all about
"Then I'll wager you're about the only sophomore who hasn't thought of
them occasionally this fall," announced Mary. "And now I'm ready for some
"Tell us how to go to work to get into those societies, can't you?" asked
Bob from her place beside the salad bowl.
"Work hard and write themes," said Mary briefly, and the subject was
Betty thought no more about Mary's remark then, but when she and Helen
were alone it came back to her.
"I suppose some girls do think about the societies a lot, and plan and
hope to get in," she said.
"I suppose so," returned Helen. "I shan't have to. I am perfectly safe to
"Oh, so am I, as far as that goes," said Betty carelessly.
Helen, watching her closely, wondered how any popular girl could be as
unconscious as Betty seemed. She had overheard a Belden House senior
telling Mary Brooks that Betty Wales was sure to go into a society the
minute she became eligible. Helen opened her mouth to convey this
information to Betty, but stopped just in time.
"For she's not unhappy about it," thought Helen, "and it would be
dreadful if they should be mistaken. But they can't be," concluded Helen
loyally, watching Betty's face as she read a note that her mother had
tucked in among the nuts. Most pretty girls might be stupid, but the best
of everything was none too good for Betty Wales, so thought her roommate.
ELEANOR WATSON, AUTHORESS
Eleanor Watson leaned back in her Morris chair, her eyes fixed absently
on the opposite wall, her forehead knit in deep thought. "Somehow there
isn't enough of me to go round," she reflected. "I don't see why,--the
other girls, no quicker or brighter than I, seem to get on all right. I
wonder why I can't. I can't give up everything in the way of recreation."
It was easy enough for an outsider to analyze her difficulty. Never
before had Eleanor tried to "go round," as she put it. She had always
done what she pleased, and let alone the things that did not appeal to
her. Now she had suddenly assumed responsibilities. She really wanted to
do her college work, all of it, as it deserved to be done, and to do it
honestly, without resort to any of the various methods of deception that
she had employed almost unconsciously hitherto. She wanted to make life
pleasanter for Dora Carlson. She wanted to write the long, newsy letters
to Jim and to Judge Watson; letters that brought characteristic replies,
confidential from Jim, genially humorous from her father, but both
equally appreciative and as different as possible from their cold, formal
notes of the year before. On the other hand, she wanted, both for selfish
and unselfish reasons, to enter into the social life of the college. She
had not lost her worldly ambitions in one summer; and she had not gained,
at a bound, the concentration of mind that enabled other girls to get
through an amazing amount of work and fun with perfect ease. She knew
infinitely less of the value of time than Betty Wales; she had less sense
of proportion than Helen Adams; and she was intensely eager to win all
sorts of honors.
So it was natural that she should stare at the wall opposite for some
little time before she came to the conclusion that sitting empty-handed,
thinking about her troubles, while the morning took to itself wings, was
not the best way to mend matters. And when she did finally come back to
earth, it was only to give an angry little exclamation, pick up a
magazine from the table at her elbow, and go to reading it. At the end of
half an hour, however, she tossed it aside, and sitting resolutely down
at her desk, wrote diligently until lunch time.
"Have you done your theme, Eleanor?" asked Alice Waite, overtaking her on
the way down to the dining-room.
Eleanor nodded curtly. "Did it between twelve and one."
"Really?" Alice's brown eyes grew big with admiration. "Oh, dear, it
takes me days to do mine, and when they're done they're nothing, and
yours are just fine. I do think it's queer--"
"Nonsense," interrupted Eleanor crossly. "You don't know anything about
my themes. You never saw one."
"Oh, but Betty Wales says--" began Alice eagerly.
"Now what does Betty Wales really know about it either?" inquired Eleanor
a trifle more amiably.
"Why, I don't know," returned Alice helplessly, "but I'm sure she's
right. Is your theme a story?"
"Oh, and is it about a man and a girl? Betty says your man-and-girl
stories are great, specially the love parts. Now I could no more write
"Well, there's no love-making in this one," interrupted Eleanor crossly,
"and it's not great at all. It's so poor that I'm not even sure I shall
hand it in. So please don't say any more about it."
All through luncheon Eleanor sat silent, wearing the absent, harassed
expression which meant that she was deciding something--something about
which her better and her worse selves disagreed.
Just as she was leaving the lunch-table, Christy Mason rushed up to her
in great excitement.
"Now, Eleanor," she began, "don't say you can't come, for we simply won't
let you off. It's a construction car ride. Meet at the Main Street corner
at four--right after Lab., if you have it. It's positively the last ride
of the season and an awfully jolly crowd's going,--Betty and Jean and
Kate Denise and the three B's, and Katherine Kittredge and Nita Reese,--
oh, the whole sophomore push, you know. Now, say you'll come, and give me
twenty cents for the supper."
"Give me time to breathe," laughed Eleanor. "Now seriously, Christy, why
should I go off on one of those dirty, hard, bumping flat-cars, on a
freezing night in November--"
"It's moonlight," interrupted Christy, "and we must have your guitar to
help with the singing."
"We shall nickname you dig, if you don't come," declared Bob, who had
danced up in the midst of the colloquy. "Now, how will you like that--Dig
Eleanor laughed good-naturedly. "Don't be ironical," she said. "I'll
come. I hadn't any intention of not coming. I only wanted to know why you
will persist in lugging those horrid flat-cars into all your fun."
"Stunty," explained Christy.
"Different," added Bob.
"But since you're coming, we can argue about it to-night," concluded
Christy, decidedly. "What I want now is your twenty cents."
It was half past three when Eleanor started over to the main building to
deposit her theme in one of the tin boxes which Miss Raymond and her
assistants opened at specified hours on specified days,--not, as Mary
Brooks explained, because they wanted what was in the boxes, but because
they wished to discover what was not in them, in order that they might
make life a burden for those whose themes were late.
Just ahead of Eleanor a little freshman walked up to the box and slipped
in a stamped envelope.
"Pardon me, but this isn't a mail-box," explained Eleanor.
"Why, it says 'Collections made at 6 P.M. Tuesdays and Thursdays,'"
gasped the little freshman. Then she glanced at the heading, "'Themes of
Second Class, L to Z.' Oh, I thought of course that said United States
"Evidently you're fortunate enough not to have elected themes. When you
do, remember that the collections are as prompt as the postman's," said
Eleanor. "Come back at six, and you can get out your letter."
But the freshman, blushing as red as her scarlet cap, had vanished down
Then, instead of dropping in her theme and hurrying home, as she had
intended, to get into an old skirt and a heavy shirt-waist before four
o'clock, Eleanor sat down on the lowest step of the broad stairway, as if
she had decided to wait there until six o'clock and rescue the freshman's
letter herself. Five--ten--fifteen minutes, she sat there. Girl after
girl came through the hall to deposit themes, or consult the bulletin
boards. Among them were one or two of the "sophomore push," as Christy
had called them.
"Aren't you a lady of leisure, though," called Christy, dashing through
the hall at quarter to four. "I have to go ahead and see about the ice
cream. Don't you be late, Eleanor."
Eleanor looked after her wistfully; Christy was one of the girls who
always "went round." Then she shrugged her shoulders, got up, and dropped
her theme into the box.
"What's the odds, anyhow?" she muttered, as it fell with a soft little
swish on the top of the pile inside. "It's too late to write another
now." And she hurried after Christy down the hill.
The construction car ride was a great success. The night was decidedly
balmy for November, and the moon rode, full and glorious, in a cloudless
sky. If the car bottom made a hard seat, the passengers' spirits were
elastic enough to endure all the bumps and jolts with equanimity.
Hatless, though bundled in ulsters and sweaters, they laughed and sang
and shouted in the indefatigably light-hearted fashion that is
characteristic only of babies and collegians off on a frolic.
Eleanor's story of the absent-minded freshman was the hit of the evening,
and the tinkle of her guitar added the crowning touch to the festivity of
the occasion. As they rounded the last corner on the homeward stretch,
she turned to Betty Wales, her eyes shining softly and her hair blown
into distracting waves under her fluffy white tam.
"It is fun, Betty," she said. "Flat-car and all,--though why it should
be, I'm sure I don't see, and last year it wasn't--for me."
Then her face grew suddenly sombre, and she settled back in her corner,
dropping into a moody silence that lasted until the car had dumped its
merry load, and the "sophomore push" was making its way in noisy twos and
threes up the hill to the campus.
"Come over for a minute, can't you, Eleanor?" asked Betty, when they
reached the Belden House gate.
"Why, yes--no, I can't, either. I'm sorry," said Eleanor, and was
starting across the grass toward home, when Jean Eastman overtook her.
"Come over to the Westcott and warm up with coffee," said Jean.
Eleanor repeated her refusal.
"Why not?" demanded Jean with her usual directness.
"Because I want to see Miss Raymond a minute," returned Eleanor, coolly.
"Well, you can't do that to-night," said Jean. "She's entertaining
Professor Morris of New York. I don't suppose you care to break into
that, do you? She's probably having a select party of faculty stars in
for a chafing-dish supper."
"Oh, dear!" There was genuine distress in Eleanor's voice. "Then I'm
going home, Jean. You're perfectly certain that she'll be engaged? You're
sure this is the night he was coming?"
Having duly assured Eleanor that Professor Morris and Miss Raymond had
taken lunch at the Westcott House and that Miss Mills had been invited
out to dinner with them, Jean went home to inform her roommate that
Eleanor Watson was in more trouble over her English work--that she was
rushing around the campus at nine in the evening, trying to find Miss
Eleanor, left to herself at last, turned and went slowly back to the
Betty looked up in astonishment when she appeared in the door. "How'd you
happen to change your mind?" she asked.
"Fate was against me," said Eleanor shortly. "I wanted to see Miss
Raymond about a theme, but she's busy."
"Won't morning do?" asked Betty, sympathetically.
"Yes, I suppose so, only I wanted to have it off my hands."
"I don't wonder," agreed Betty. "She's none too agreeable about late
"It's not a late theme. I want to get back the one I handed in to-day. It
ought never to have gone in."
Betty stared at Eleanor for a moment in speechless amazement, then she
danced across the room and pulling Eleanor after her, tumbled back among
the couch cushions. "Oh, Eleanor, you are the funniest thing," she said.
"Last year you didn't care about anything, and now I believe you're a
worse fusser than Helen Chase Adams. The idea of worrying over a theme
that is done and copied and in on time! Come and tell Madeline Ayres.
She'll appreciate the joke, and she'll give us some of her lovely sweet
chocolate that her cousins sent her from Paris."
But Eleanor hung back. "Please don't say anything about it to Miss Ayres.
I'd really rather you didn't. It may be a joke to you, but it's a serious
matter to me, Betty."
So more people than Eleanor were surprised the next afternoon to find
that the clever story which Miss Raymond read with great gusto to her
prize theme class, and commented upon as "extraordinary work for an
undergraduate," should prove to be Eleanor Watson's.
As early in the morning as she dared Eleanor had gone over to get back
her theme "that should never have gone in," and to ask permission to try
again. But Miss Raymond had been up betimes, working over her new batch
of papers, and she met Eleanor's apologies with amused approval of
sophomores, who, contrary to the popular tradition about their cock-
sureness, were inclined to underestimate their abilities, and imagine,
like freshmen before midyears, that their work was below grade. So there
was nothing for Eleanor to do but submit gracefully and leave the theme.
It did not occur to her to caution Miss Raymond against reading it to her
In spite of hard struggles and little disappointments like Helen Adams's,
it really takes very little to make a college reputation. One brilliant
recitation may turn an unassuming student into a "prod."; and on the
strength of one clever bit of writing another is given the title of
"genius." This last distinction was at once bestowed on Eleanor. She was
showered with congratulations and compliments. Her old school friends
like Lilian Day and Jean Eastman hastened to declare that they had always
known Eleanor Watson could write. Solid, dependable students like Dorothy
King and Marion Lawrence regarded her with new respect; awed little
freshmen pointed her out to one another as "that awfully pretty Miss
Watson, who is a perfect star in themes, you know"; and her own class,
who had cordially disliked her the year before, and not known what to
think of her recent friendliness, immediately prepared to make a class
heroine of her and lauded her performance to the skies.
But Eleanor would have none of all this "pleasant fuss," as Mary Brooks
called it. Suddenly and most inexplicably she reverted to her sarcastic,
ungracious manner of the year before. She either ignored the pretty
speeches that people made to her, or received them with a stare and a
haughty "I really don't know what you mean," which fairly frightened her
admirers into silence.
"I hope," said Mary Brooks to Betty, after having received a particularly
scathing retort, "that hereafter Miss Raymond can be induced not to
approve of the lady Eleanor's themes. I've heard that prosperity turns
people's heads, but I never knew it made them into bears. She's actually
more unpleasant than she was before she reformed. And the moral of that
is, don't reform," added Mary sententiously.
Betty Wales was completely mystified and bitterly disappointed by
Eleanor's strange behavior.
"Eleanor dear," she ventured timidly, "don't be so queer and--and
disagreeable about your theme. Why, you even hurt my feelings when I
spoke to you about it, and the other girls think it's awfully funny that
you shouldn't be pleased, and like to have them congratulate you. The
theme must have been good, you see. Miss Raymond knows, and she liked it
ever so much. She told the class about your rushing over to get it that
morning, and she thought it was such a good joke. Do cheer up, Eleanor.
Why, I should be so proud if I were you!"
Eleanor was silent for a moment, then she smiled suddenly, her flashing,
radiant smile. "Well, I'll try to be pleasant, Betty, if you want me to,"
she said. "There's no use crying over spilt milk. I am queer--you know
that--but I hadn't meant to hurt people's feelings. You're going to the
library, aren't you? Well, Dora Carlson's up there. Tell her, please,
that I was tired when she came in just now--that I didn't intend to be
disagreeable, and that I love her just the same. Will you?"
So when, just after Betty had left, Dorothy King came in and plunged at
once into the familiar "I want to congratulate you on that story, Miss
Watson," Eleanor smiled pleasantly and murmured, "It's nothing,--just a
stupid little tale," in conventional college fashion.
"And of course," went on Dorothy briskly, "we want it for the 'Argus.'
I'm not a literary editor myself,--just business manager,--but Frances
West is so busy that she asked me to stop in and see you on my way to a
meeting of the Editorial board. Frances is the editor-in-chief, you
A dull red flush spread itself over Eleanor's pale face. "I'm sorry, Miss
King, very sorry, but--but--I can't let the 'Argus' use my story."
Dorothy stared. "We can't have it? Why--well, of course it's very good.
Were you going to try to sell it to a regular magazine?"
Eleanor shook her head. "No," she said with an odd little laugh. "No, I'm
not going to try to sell it."
Dorothy looked puzzled. "Most people are very glad to get into the
'Argus.' We don't often have to ask twice for contributions. And we want
this very, very much. Miss Raymond likes it so well and all. Can't I
persuade you to change your mind?"
"No," said Eleanor curtly.
In spite of her poise and her apparently even temper, Dorothy King was a
rather spoiled young person, used to having her own way and irritable
when other people insisted, without reason, upon having theirs. She
disliked Eleanor Watson, and now Eleanor's manner nettled her beyond
endurance. She rose suddenly.
"Oh, very well, Miss Watson," she said. "But I really don't understand
why you should raise such a tempest in a teapot over a theme. You make me
quite curious to see it, I assure you. It must be a very strange piece of
Eleanor's face went white instantly. "I beg your pardon, Miss King. I
didn't mean to be either rude or disobliging or even--queer. Here is the
story, and if the 'Argus' can really use it, I shall be delighted, of
On the campus Dorothy met Betty Wales. "I've got it," she cried, waving
the theme aloft in triumph. "She didn't want to give it to me at first,
and I lost my temper--she is so trying--but later she was lovely, and I
apologized, and now we're fast friends."
Betty was on her way to gym, but she stole five minutes in which to run
up and see Eleanor.
"Hurrah for you!" she cried. "I saw Dorothy and she told me the great
news. Eleanor, you'll be on the Argus board yourself, if you're not
"Would you mind not staying now, Betty?" asked Eleanor, who was lying
buried among her pillows. "I have a dreadful headache, and talking makes
POINTS OF VIEW
During the first part of their year at the Chapin house Betty and her
friends had taken very little interest in the Harding Aid Society. It had
been to them only a name, about which Mary Brooks, who was a member of
the aid committee of her class, talked glibly, and in behalf of which she
exacted onerous contributions, whenever the spirit moved her. But at the
time of the valentine episode, when Emily Davis and her two friends
suddenly appeared upon Betty's horizon, Betty and Katherine realized all
at once what the Aid Society must mean to some of their classmates.
During the rest of the year they seconded Mary's efforts warmly, and the
whole house got interested and plied Mary with questions about the work
of the society, until, in sheer desperation, she admitted that she knew
very little about it, and set herself to get some definite information.
The head of the committee, pleased with Mary's sudden enthusiasm, sent
her to one of the faculty trustees, and for a few days Mary, who was
entirely a creature of impulse, could talk of nothing but the splendid
work of the Harding Aid Society in helping the poorer members of the
college to meet their expenses.
It was perfectly marvelous how little some girls got along on. To many of
them a loan of twenty-five dollars actually meant the difference between
going home and staying in college a year longer.
"Now fancy that!" interpolated Mary. "It would mean just about the price
of a new hat to me."
And each dollar helped an endless chain of girls; for the society made
loans, not gifts; and the girls always paid up the moment they could get
the money together.
"One girl paid back two hundred dollars out of a five hundred dollar
salary that she got for teaching, the year after she graduated. Imagine
that if you can!" said Mary.
The Aid Society managed the bulletin boards in the gymnasium basement. It
ran an employment agency, a blue-print shop, and a second-hand book-
store. It was astonishing, said Mary, with a mysterious shake of her
head, how many splendid girls--the very finest at Harding--the society
was helping. Confidentially, she whispered to the valentine coterie that
Emily Davis and her two friends had just been placed on the list of
beneficiaries. Her eloquence extorted a ten dollar contribution from
Roberta, and smaller amounts from the rest of the girls. But then came
spring term, and the Harding Aid Society was forgotten for golf,
bicycling, the bird club, and the other absorbing joys of the season.
But it was only natural that Mary, casting about for a "Cause," in behalf
of which to exercise her dramatic talent, should remember the Aid
Society, and the effort it was making to complete its ten-thousand-dollar
loan fund before Christmas. Mary was no longer on the aid committee, but
that was no reason why she should not help complete the fund, for which
everybody,--alumnae, friends of the college, and undergraduates,--were
expected to work. Mary was a born entertainer, never so happy as when she
was getting up what in college-girl parlance is called a "show." She had
discovered how to utilize her talent at Harding, at the time of the
Sherlock Holmes dramatization. It had lain dormant again until the
Hallowe'en party brought it once more to light, and the election parade
kindled it into fresh vigor.
In all her enterprises Mary found a kindred spirit in Madeline Ayres.
Madeline had taken part in amateur theatricals ever since she could talk.
"And I've always been wild to do men's parts," she said. "I hope I can up
"Of course you can," returned Mary, promptly. "Do you know any actors or
"Oh, two or three," answered Madeline, carelessly. "Or at least father
does--he knows everybody that's interesting--and I've talked to them. And
once I 'suped.' It was a week when I'd been to the theatre three times,
and I didn't want to ask father for any more money. So I went to the
manager and got a chance to be in the mob--that's the crowd that don't
have speaking parts, you know. And the people who'd promised to take me
home forgot and went off to supper without me, and the leading lady heard
about it and took me home in her carriage. So mother asked her to tea,
and she came, and was a dear, though she couldn't act at all. I forget
her name. But the family wouldn't let me go on again. They said it
wouldn't do, even in Bohemia."
"Goodness!" exclaimed Mary, excitedly. "Wasn't that a lark! Madeline, do
let's get up a play."
"But how can we?" objected Madeline, lazily. "Hallowe'en is over, there
aren't any more elections or holidays coming, and we're not either of us
on the committee for house plays. We can't just walk in and offer our
services, can we?"
Mary stared at her absently. "That's so," she said. "That's the bother of
being on the campus, where they have committees for everything. Oh, dear!
Isn't there something we can have a play for?" Then her face lighted
suddenly. "The Harding Aid! The very thing!" she shrieked, and seizing
the stately Madeline around the waist, she twirled her violently across
"I haven't the ghost of an idea what you are talking about," said
Madeline, gravely, when she had at last succeeded in disentangling
herself from Mary's bearish embraces. "But I'm with you, anyway. What
shall it be?"
"Why, a--a play."
"Don't you like vaudeville shows better?" inquired Madeline, "and
circuses, and nice little stunts? Girls can do that sort of thing a lot
better than they can act regular plays. And besides it brings in a bigger
cast and takes fewer bothering old rehearsals."
This time Mary danced a jig all by herself.
"Come over to Marion Lawrence's," she commanded, breathlessly. "She's
chairman of the big Loan Fund Committee. She'll make us two a special
entertainment committee, and tell the rest to let us go ahead and do what
But Madeline shook her head. "I loathe committees," she explained. "You
go along and see Miss Lawrence and be on your committee, if you like. And
when you want some help with the stunts or the costumes--I have a lot of
drapery and jewelry and such stuff--why, come and tell me, and I'll do
what I can."
And no amount of persuasion on the part of Mary, Marion Lawrence, or the
Loan Fund Committee _en masse_, could induce Madeline to change her
mind. "Why, I can't be on a committee," she said. "I get around to
recitations and meals and class meetings, and that's all I can possibly
manage. You don't realize that I'd never had to be on time for anything
in all my life till I came here, except for trains sometimes,--and you
can generally count on their being a little late. No, I can't and won't
come to committee meetings and be bored. But all that I have is yours,"
and Madeline tossed a long and beautifully curled mustache at Mary, and a
roll of Persian silk at Marion. "For the circus barker," she explained,
"and the Indian juggler's turban. I'll make the turban, if the juggler
doesn't know how. They're apt to come apart, if you don't get the right
twist. And I'll see about that little show of my own, if you really think
it's worth having."
So, though her name did not appear on the list of the committee or on the
posters, it was largely due to Madeline Ayres that the Harding Aid "Show"
was such a tremendous success,
"The way to get up a good thing," she declared, "is to let each person
see to her own stunt. Then it's no trouble to any one else. And you'd
better have the show next week, before we all get bored to death with the
These theories were exactly in accordance with Harding sentiment, so next
week the "Show" was,--in the gymnasium, for it rapidly outgrew the Belden
House parlors, where Mary and Madeline had at first thought of holding
it. It was amazing how much talent Madeline and the committee, between
them, managed to unearth. The little dressing-rooms at the ends of the
big hall had to be called into requisition, and the college doctor's
office, and Miss Andrews' room, and even the swimming tank in the
basement (it leaked and so the water had all been drained off), with an
improvised roof made by pinning Bagdad couch-covers together. All along
the sides of the gymnasium hall there were little curtained booths, while
the four corners of the gallery were turned respectively into a gypsy
tent, a witch's den, the grotesque abode of an Egyptian sorceress, and
the businesslike offices of a dapper little French medium, just over from
You could have your fortune told in whichever corner you preferred,--or
in all four if your money lasted. Then you could descend to the floor
below, and eat and drink as many concoctions as your digestion could
stand, sandwiching between your "rabbits," Japanese or Russian tea,
fudges, chocolate, and creamed oysters, visits to the circus, the
menagerie, the vaudeville, and the multitude of side-shows. "Side-show,"
so the posters announced, was the designation of "a bewildering variety
of elegant one-act specialties." Mary Brooks was very proud of that
Mary herself was in charge of the menagerie. "Not to be compared for a
single instant with the animals of the biggest show on earth," she
shouted through her megaphone, accompanying her remarks with impressive
waves of her riding-whip.
Then the white baby elephant walked forth from its lair. It was composed
of one piece of white cheese-cloth and two of Mary's most ardent freshman
admirers. There was a certain wobbly buoyancy in its gait and a
jauntiness about its waving white trunk,--which was locked at the end, as
Mary explained, to guard against the ferocious assaults of this terrible
man-eater,--which never failed to convulse the audience and put them in
the proper humor for the rest of the performance. The snake-charmer
exhibited her paper pets. The lion, made up on the principle of the one
in "Midsummer Night's Dream" pawed and roared and assured timid ladies
that she was not a lion at all, but only that far more awful creature, a
Harding senior. And finally Mary opened the cage containing the Happy
Family, and there filed out a quartette of strange beasts which no
Harding girl in the audience failed to recognize as the four "class
animals,"--the seniors' red lion, the juniors' purple cow, the green
dragon beloved by the sophomores, and the freshmen's yellow chicken.
"They dance" announced Mary in beatific tones, and the three four-legged
creatures stood on their hind legs and, joining paws and wings with the
chicken, went through a solemn Alice-in-Wonderland-like dance. This was
always terminated abruptly by some animal or another's being overcome by
mirth or suffocation, and rushing unceremoniously back into the cage to
recuperate. When the Happy Family was again reunited, Mary announced that
they could also sing, and, each in a different key, the creatures burst
forth with the "Animal Song," dear to the hearts of all Harding girls:
"I went to the Animal Fair; the great Red Lion was there.
The Purple Cow was telling how
She'd come to take the air.
The Dragon he looked sick, and the little Yellow Chick,
Looked awfully blue, and I think, don't you,
He'd better clear out quick--quick!"
At the end of this ditty, the chick hopped solemnly forward, gave vent to
a most realistic cluck, scratched vigorously for worms, and the Happy
Family vanished amid an uproar of applause, while Mary piloted her
audience into the circus proper, managed by Emily Davis.
Here Mlle. Zita, beautiful in pink tarleton,--only her skirt had been
mislaid at the last moment and she had been compelled to substitute the
Westcott House lamp shade,--Mlle. Zita balanced herself on a chair, and
gave so vivid an imitation of wire-walking, on solid ground all the time,
that the audience was actually fooled into holding its breath. Then Bob's
pet collie did an act, and the juggler juggled, in his turban, and some
gym "stars" did turns on bars and swings. And there was an abundance of
peanuts and pink lemonade, and a clown and a band; and Emily's
introductions were alone well worth the price of admission.
At the end of her performance Emily stated that this circus, being modern
and up-to-date in all respects, had substituted for the conventional
after-concert, "a side-splitting farce which would appeal to all
intelligent and literary persons and make them laugh and cry with mirth."
So everybody, wishing to appear intelligent and literary, went in to see
the little play which Madeline Ayres had written. It was called "The
Animal Fair," and three of the class animals appeared in it. But the mis-
en-scene was an artist's studio, the great red lion was a red-faced
English dramatist, the chick a modest young lady novelist attired in yellow
chiffon, and the dragon a Scotch dialect writer. The repartee was
clever, the action absurd, and there were local hits in plenty for those
unliterary persons who did not catch the essential parody. Everybody was
enthusiastic over it, and there were frequent calls for "Author!" But
"Who wrote it? Oh, some of the committee, I suppose," said the
doorkeeper, carelessly. "Perhaps Marion Lustig helped--they didn't tell
me. No, the actors don't know either. Did you give me fifty cents or a
quarter? Please don't crowd so. You'll all get in in a minute."
Meanwhile Madeline, having seen through the first performance of her
farce, in her capacity of stage manager, had left the actors to their own
devices, and wandered off to explore the other attractions. Betty met her
at the vaudeville.
"Come and get some fudge and see the sleight-of-hand stunts in the
swimming tank," whispered Madeline. "These songs are all too much alike."
It was half-past nine. The sleight-of-hand performance was being given
for the tenth and last time to an audience that packed the house. When it
was over Betty, who had been a ticket-taker at the circus all the
afternoon and evening, hurried Madeline back to see how much money Emily
"Fifty dollars," said Emily, with shining eyes. "Think of it! I've helped
to make fifty dollars for the Aid Society that's helping me through
"Splendid!" said Betty, too tired to be very enthusiastic over anything
Madeline led her to a deserted corner of the gallery, and they sank down
on a heap of pillows that had composed the gypsy queen's throne.
"I suppose I ought to care about the money," said Madeline, when they
were seated, "but I don't much. I care because it's all been so funny and
jolly and so little trouble. We can help to make money for good causes
all our lives, but most of us will forget how to make such good times out
of so little fuss and feathers when we leave here."
Betty looked at her wonderingly. Madeline's philosophy was a constant
source of interest and amazement to all her friends. She had a way of
saying the things that they had always thought, but never put into words.
"That's so," she agreed at last, "but I don't see how you knew it. You
haven't been here a term yet. How do you find out so much about
Madeline laughed merrily. "Oh, I came from Bohemia," she said, "and the
reason I like it up here is because this place isn't so very different
from Bohemia. Money doesn't matter here, and talent does, and brains; and
fun is easy to come by, and trouble easy to get away from. But not for
everybody," she ended quickly.
Eleanor Watson, still in her gypsy fortune-teller's costume, was hurrying
up to the big pile of pillows, six devoted freshmen following close at
"Hop up, girls," she called gaily to Betty and Madeline. "My faithful
slaves have come to empty the throne room."
"Aren't you tired, Eleanor?" asked Betty. "You've been at it since three
o'clock, haven't you? I should think you'd be dead."
Eleanor shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, I'm a bit tired," she answered,
indifferently, "But I couldn't stop. The girls simply wouldn't let me,
though Blanche Norton was willing to take my place. I was a goose to tell
them that I could read palms. Look out for that white satin pillow,
Maudie. Yes, the yellow one is mine, but I can't carry it. I'm too done
up to carry anything but myself."
"Now that," said Madeline, decidedly, as soon as Eleanor was out of
hearing, "that is all wrong,--every bit of it. It's not the fun she
wants. She doesn't even care about the money for the good cause. It's the
honor and the chance to show off her own cleverness that she's after."
Madeline waited a moment. "Is she so clever, Betty?"
"Oh, yes," cried Betty eagerly. "Don't you remember her theme?"
"To be sure." Madeline's eyes twinkled. "I'd forgotten her wonderful
theme. Oh, well, then I suppose she is clever--but I'm sorry for her."
"Why?" asked Betty quickly. Surely Madeline could not know anything about
Eleanor's stepmother, and nowadays her career at Harding was a series of
delightful triumphs. More reason why Madeline should envy, than pity her,
"Oh, for lots of reasons," answered Madeline easily, "but chiefly because
she's so anxious about getting things for herself that she can't enjoy
them when she's got them; and secondly because something worries her.
Watch her face when she isn't smiling, and when she thinks nobody is
noticing her. It's so wonderfully sad and so perfectly beautiful that it
makes me pity her in spite of myself," ended Madeline with a sudden rush
of feeling. "But I can't love her, even for you, you funny child," she
added playfully, pulling one of Betty's curls.
"I'm not a child," retorted Betty, with great dignity. "I'm a sophomore
and you're only a little freshman, please remember, and you have no
business pulling my hair."
"Lights out in two minutes, young ladies," called the night-watchman from
below, and freshman and sophomore raced for the stairs.
"It was awfully good of you to come and take me out for a walk, little
sister. My head ached and I knew I ought to get some fresh air, but I
hadn't the resolution to start off alone."
Betty and Miss Hale, the "faculty" who was an intimate friend of Betty's
older sister, had been for a long, brisk tramp through the woods. Now
they were swinging home in the frosty December dusk, tired and wind
blown, and yet refreshed by the keen air and the vigorous exercise.
Betty turned off the path to scuffle through a tempting bed of dry
leaves. "I think it's you who are awfully good to let me come for you,"
she said, stopping to wait for Miss Hale at the end of her run. "I do get
so tired sometimes of seeing nobody but girls, and such crowds of them.
It's a great relief to have a walk and a talk with you. It seems almost
like going home."
"But you still like college, don't you, Betty?"
"Oh, yes!" assented Betty eagerly. "I just love it." Then she laughed
merrily. "You and Nan told me the summer before I came here that all nice
girls liked college, so it's hardly polite of you to ask me now if I like
Then Miss Hale laughed in her turn. "And who are your friends this year?"
she pursued. "Has your last year's crowd broken up?"
"Oh, no! We're all too fond of one another for that. Of course we're in
different houses now, some of us, and we've all made lots of new friends
down on the campus. Do you know Madeline Ayres?"
Miss Hale nodded. "I'm glad you know her, Betty; she's a splendid girl.
And how is your protege, Miss Watson, getting on nowadays?"
"Beautifully." Betty launched into an enthusiastic account of Eleanor's
literary triumph, her softened manner, her sudden popularity, and her
Miss Hale listened attentively. "That's very interesting," she said. "I
had no idea that Miss Watson would ever make anything out of her college
course. And do you see as much of her as ever, or has she dropped her old
friends now that she has so many new ones?"
"Oh, dear!" said Betty sadly. "You don't like her one bit, do you, Ethel?
I'm so sorry. Nan didn't like her either. Of course I know she has her
faults, but I do love her so--"
"I'm glad of that," broke in Miss Hale heartily. "She would have left
Harding in disgrace last June, if she hadn't had such a loyal friend in
you. We can't help people unless we care for them, Betty,--and sometimes
not then," added Ethel soberly. "The only way is to take all your
opportunities, and then if you fail with one, as I did with Miss Watson,
you may succeed with some one else. And it's the finest thing in college,
Betty, or in life,--the feeling that you really mean something to
somebody. I wish I'd learned to appreciate it sooner."
They walked on for a while in silence, Betty wondering if she did "really
mean something" to Eleanor or to Helen Adams, Miss Hale harking back to
her own college days and questioning whether she and her set had ever
spared a thought for anything beyond their own fun and ambitions and
successes. She blushed guiltily in the dark, as she remembered how they
had snubbed Nan Wales, until Nan actually forced them to recognize her
ability, and later to discover that they all wanted her for a friend.
"I wonder if Nan's forgotten," she thought. "I wonder if she's told Betty
anything about it, and if that's why Betty is so different."
Thinking of Nan finally brought Miss Hale out of her reverie. "Little
sister," she said, "I mustn't forget to ask you about Nan. Isn't that
European trip of hers almost over? She wrote me that she should surely be
back in time for Christmas."
"Yes," assented Betty, "she will. Her steamer is due on the eighth."
"The eighth--why that's to-day," said Miss Hale. "Isn't she going to stop
here on her way west?"
"I'm afraid not," answered Betty, sadly. "Will is going to meet her in
New York, and when I wrote home and wanted them to stop, he wrote back
that he didn't propose to come up here to be the only man among a
thousand girls. And I suppose Nan will be so tired of traveling around
sight-seeing that she won't care about stopping, either."
They had reached Miss Hale's boarding-place by this time, and Betty said
good-night and hurried back to the campus, full of excitement over Nan's
"Just think," she told Helen, as she dressed for the Hilton House dance
to which Alice Waite had invited her that evening, "Nan's ship came in
to-day, and I pretty nearly forgot all about it. Oh, dear! it seems as if
I must see her right off, and it's two whole weeks to vacation."
Just as she spoke, there was a knock at the door, and a maid held out a
telegram. "For Miss Wales," she said.
"Oh, it's from Nan," cried Betty, snatching at the bit of yellow paper.
"And she's coming to-night," she shrieked so loudly that the whole third
floor heard her and flocked out into the corridor to see what in the
world was the matter.
The message was provokingly short:--
"Meet the 7:10 to-night.
"Oh, I wonder if he's going to stop too," said Betty, dropping the
telegram into the wash-bowl and diving under the bed for her gold chain,
which she had tossed there in her excitement. "How long do you suppose
"I don't see that you can tell about that till they come," said Helen,
practically. "Are you going to wear that dress to the station to meet
Betty stopped short in her frantic efforts to fasten her belt, and stared
blankly at her filmy white gown and high-heeled satin slippers. Then she
dropped down on the bed and gave a long despairing sigh. "I haven't a bit
of sense left," she said. "Tell me what else I've forgotten."
"Well, where are they going to sleep?"
"Goodness!" ejaculated Betty. "I ought to go out this minute and hunt for
"And what about the Hilton House dance? Oughtn't you to send word if
you're not going?"
"Gracious!" exclaimed Betty. "Of course I ought. Alice has a card all
made out for me."
Just then Mary Brooks and Madeline Ayres sauntered in. "Don't worry,
child. You've got oceans of time," said Mary, when she had heard the
great news. "We'll get you some rooms. I know a place just around the
corner. And Helen can go and tell the gentle Alice Waite that you'll be
along later in the evening with your family. If you want your brother to
fall in love with Harding, you must be sure to have him see that dance.
Men always go crazy over girl dances. And if I was offered sufficient
inducement," added Mary, demurely, "I might possibly go over to the
gallery myself, and help you amuse him--since none of my Hilton House
friends have invited me to adorn the floor with my presence."
So Mary and Madeline departed in one direction and Helen in another,
while an obliging senior who roomed across the hall put Betty's half of
the room to rights--Helen's was always in order,--a freshman next door
helped Betty into a white linen suit, which is the Harding girl's regular
compromise between street and evening dress, and somebody else telephoned
to Miss Hale that Nan was coming. And the pleasant thing about it was
that everybody took exactly the same interest in the situation as if the
guests and the hurry and excitement had belonged to her instead of to
Betty Wales. It is thus that things are done at Harding.
As a matter of fact, Will did not wait until he had seen the Hilton House
dance to become enamored of Harding College. When he and Nan arrived they
announced that they had only stopped over for the evening, and should go
west on the sleeper that same night. But as they were sitting in the
Belden House parlor, while Nan and Betty discussed plans for showing Will
as much as possible of the college in one evening, Mary Brooks sauntered
through the hall, ostensibly on her way to do an errand at the Westcott
House. Of course Betty called her in, and five minutes later Will
announced that he couldn't think of not occupying the room which Miss
Brooks had been good enough to engage for him; and he and Mary went off
to the gymnasium gallery, which is as near as man may come to the joys of
a "girl dance" at Harding. There Betty promised to join them as soon as
Miss Hale arrived to spend the evening with Nan. And Miss Hale had no
sooner appeared than Nan telephoned for her trunks and made a dinner
engagement that would keep her until the next night at least. In the
morning Will remembered that John Parsons was still at Winsted, and
announced that he should spend the following day on an exploring tour
over there. And Mr. Parsons insisted that you could not see Winsted
properly unless you had some Harding girls along, and as the first snow
of the season had just fallen, he organized a sleighing party, with Nan
and Miss Hale as chaperons. Then Will gave a return dinner at Cuyler's,
which took another day, so that a week sped by before Betty's guests
could possibly get away from Harding.
"And now" said Betty to Will on the afternoon before the one set for
their departure, "I think you'd better stay another week and see me."
"Wish we could" said Will absently. "I haven't had time to call on Miss
Waite. I've only been snow-shoeing once with Miss Ayres, and I've got to
have another skate with Miss Kittredge. She's a stunner on the ice. I
say, Betty, you don't suppose she'd get up and go before breakfast, do
you? I'd ask her to cut chapel, only I promised to take Miss Brooks."
"Indeed!" said Betty, with feigned indignation. "I guess that on the
whole it's a good thing you're going to-morrow."
"Now why do you say that? Haven't I behaved like a scholar and a
gentleman?" demanded Will gaily.
"It's your conduct as a brother that I object to," returned Betty
severely. "Nobody pays any attention to me. Nan's gone off sleighing with
Roberta, and you're only enduring my society until Dorothy King finishes
her Lab, and you can go off walking with her. Then I shall be left to my
"To your studies you mean, my child," corrected Will. "Do you think that
Nan and I would be so inconsiderate as to come down here and break up the
regular routine of your college work?"
"How about the regular routine of Dorothy King's work?" inquired Betty
saucily. "And Mary Brooks's?"
Will took out a card from his pocket and consulted its entries
industriously. "I have only one date with Miss Brooks to-morrow, and none
at all with Miss King, more's the pity."
"It's queer," said Betty reflectively. "You never can prophesy what girls
men will take to. Now I should have supposed that you'd like Nita Reese
and Eleanor Watson best of all the ones you've met. They're both so
"That's all right," said Will severely. "We men don't go so much by looks
as some of you think we do. And anyhow Miss Brooks and Miss King are
good-lookers too. Miss Reese is a nice girl, but she's a little too quiet
for me, and Miss Watson--let's see, she was at that dance the first
night, wasn't she? I didn't see much of her, but I remember she's a
"She's one of my best friends," said Betty, proudly. "Oh, here comes
Dorothy," she added, glancing out the window. "I hope you'll have a nice
"See here, little sister," began Will, blocking Betty's progress to the
door. "You weren't in earnest about my having run off and left you so
Betty laughed merrily. "I should think not," she said. "If you must know
it, I'm awfully proud of my popular family. I hope you understand that
Mary Brooks and Dorothy King don't take the trouble to entertain
everybody's brother. Now hurry up, or she'll get way into the house
before you can catch her."
"Wait a minute," commanded Will. "Have we anything on for to-night?"
"Nan has, but you and I haven't."
"Then let's eat a nice little dinner at Cuyler's," suggested Will. "Just
you and I and one more for variety. You ask any one you like, and I'll
call for you at six."
"Lovely! Don't you really care whom I ask?"
"Pick out a good-looker," called Will, striding off to meet Dorothy.
Betty had no trouble in choosing the third person to make up the dinner
party. It should be Eleanor Watson, of course. Will would like her--men
always did. She had been tired and not in a mood to exert herself the
night of the Hilton House dance; and one thing or another had interfered
with her joining in any of the festivities since.
"But she'll be all ready for a celebration to-day, with her story just
out in the 'Argus,'" reflected Betty, and started at once for the Hilton
Eleanor was curled up in her easy chair by the window, poring over a mass
of type-written sheets. "Studying my part for a little play we're giving
next Saturday night," she announced gaily, as Betty came in. "So
remember, you're not to stay long."
"I don't believe there's anything you can't do, Eleanor," declared Betty,
admiringly. "I'm awfully proud of knowing such a star. I read your story
in the 'Argus' the first thing after lunch, and I thought it was
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