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- Jane Allen: Junior - 20/37 -


alone hunting for spooks," Judith said loyally. "Better let two girls take our places if you insist on staying out."

"Oh, no, dear. I'm only going to look around for some sort of trap entrance to Lenox. Besides, you know Dozia doesn't ride, and she'll be here."

"All right, love, I'll leave you with Dozia if you insist. She's big enough to take care of you at any rate. Do you imagine Miss Gifford has materialized some domestic enemy in her change of staff? And that this super-conscious fired janitor or furnace man is operating against her?"

"I don't know, Judy," sighed Jane. "Looks to me more loosely organized than that. Besides, even a fired furnace man would keep union hours at one fifty per. No, I think you'll find the eternal female back of that racket, it's too temperamental for masculine action."

CHAPTER XVI

THE HIDDEN CHAMBER

Was this Wellington and was Jane Allen, the darling of the gym and the record maker for basket-ball, now so prone on solving a perplexing noise mystery that her games were cancelled and even her riding hours filled in with mundane matters, while her companions flew away to gather mountain nuts and wonderful complexions?

Jane's defiant laugh answered this very personal question. She was proud and she was fiery, and someone had been trying to discredit her father's scholarship. Of course that "someone" was Dolorez Vincez, the expelled junior of the previous year. Every clue pointed its accusing finger at Dol Vin. She it was who brought those two freshmen, Shirley and Sarah, together at her beauty shop. It was she also who "took care" of Shirley's folks when they came in to see the "darter," and everyone who knew Dol knew, also, that these little attentions must have been rather costly to the country folks, for Dol always made things pay.

In the back of Jane's mind there was growing the germ of suspicion toward that same triangle in the spook alarms. Dol, Shirley and Sarah must be somewhere in that demonstration, but Jane had to admit the clues were not developing with such speed as she usually counted on in college mysteries.

But perhaps this one more day would unearth something tangible. At any rate, the parties and teas and sorority dances were getting into swing, and even a fascinating ghost would soon have to be turned over to the proper authorities, thought Jane, if he did not quickly become more co-operative with the juniors.

Work was serious and exacting. Every period had a record of its own, and while Jane was specializing in sociology she was also keeping up with the regular college course for her A. B. degree.

Promptly after logic dismissed, at two-thirty, she sought out Dozia. "Come along, Doze," begged Jane, "don't let us waste a moment. The girls are all busy now, and perhaps we can make a survey without having a ballet de follies dancing around." Dozia made her notebook safe and swung into Jane's trot for Lenox. Warburton Hall, one of the larger buildings, was just emptying a class from lecture but Jane and Dozia made a complete detour of it to escape attention.

Lenox was deserted, but in less than half an hour it was sure to be swarmed with freshmen running in after classes for a change of blouse, or some other requirement of the day now three-fourths spent.

"Let us get a line on that old tower," suggested Jane, surveying the secretive old building. "I know the racket was in that wing, and see how the round tower begins here and shoots up past all that outside plumbing? I know Lenox was one time a show building here, but freshies have got to have some place to sleep, hence the retrogression."

"Things are pretty well trodden down around here," reported Dozia, sending a critical eye over the little terrace that supported the old stone tower. "Squirrels do not usually wear French heels. See those footprints, Jane?"

In the strong sun a film of soft earth showed the impress of something quite like the pivoted French heel. This was in a small space from which floral bulbs had been removed and where the sheltering round tower had kept off the early winter frosts.

"Seems to me," said Jane, "there is some sort of cubby hole under here." She was poking around the vine-roped foundation.

"Oh, you see they take cellar stuff out that window," explained Dozia. "It saves steps. See the trail of ashes over there?"

"Yes, but that doesn't come from this point, that does come from the window. But I mean this spot here," she was tapping on a frame in which the squares formed the foundation of the building, and where the wooden arches had been originally painted a contrasting color for the sake of trimming.

"You can always push those lattice pieces in," said Dozia. "That was the charmed spot for hide and seek I'll guess, when Wellington was in rompers."

"Just look here!" ordered Jane in a very definite tone of voice. "This is more than a cubby hole." She was pulling at a piece of rope strung through a broken staple. Nothing remained but the iron loop over which the old time outside padlock was usually snapped. Jane pulled so vigorously she opened the hidden door and toppled over backward with the broken rope in her hand. Dozia was in front of the opening before Jane could get to her feet.

"Well, of all--things!" she drawled. "If here isn't some sort of old elevator!"

"A dumb-waiter!" cried Jane. "There are my groaning ropes. Pull, Doze, and let's see if it carries a car."

A couple of jerks at the big cables and the car came down to earth with a bump.

"Now!" exclaimed Jane gleefully. "There's the mystery. This airship goes right up into that tower!"

"But don't you dare ask me to make the ascent," warned Dozia. "The tower may be thick with ghosts as a chimney with swallows."

"But think of it," rattled on Jane. "That old hidden dumb-waiter! Why have we never discovered it before?"

"Didn't need it," said Dozia. "Wouldn't have a bit of use for it now except to save you from getting gray headed and daffy over spooks. Come along indoors and look at the tower from the other end. This elevator must have a 'last stop, all out' platform some place," drawled Dozia, as calmly as if a great part of the mystery had not just been successfully cleared up.

"But I'm not afraid to go up," declared Jane, almost dancing with excitement, "and the elevator works by pulling the ropes from the inside."

"Don't you dare, Jane Allen!" cautioned the imperturbable Dozia. "You might get half way up and stick in a smoke stack, or a rope might break or anything of a large variety of possibilities might occur. I can't be a party to your suicide pact. Walk right up the red carpeted stairs with little bright-eyed Dozia, and view the tower from the objective." She took Jane's arm and dragged her around to the side door, which stood invitingly opened.

By way of the red carpeted stairs they went as far as the attic flight, and from that point tramped plain unvarnished and well worn "treads" which Dozia took two at a time.

In the attic, daylight dispelled many of the night's fancies. For instance, the big black things in the corner were only stored trunks, those shadowy forms hanging from rafters were Miss Gifford's best summer togs in their tailored moth bags, and the thing that glistened in the moonlight like horrible eyes in a ghastly face, were almost that very thing, for some hallow'een trappings hung right under the window, a veritable trap for spectral moonlight.

Jane smiled. "These things had Judy and me scared blue last night. They actually seemed to point long bony fingers at us, but behold! nothing more sinister than a lot of storage stuff."

Dozia was over in the other end of the low raftered room looking for the dumb-waiter "objective," but there appeared to be nothing of the sort either in bricked chimney wall or along weather-boarded partitions.

"I can't see where that tower ends," she said, "See, Jane, this is nothing but a straight wall, and the tower surely is built round."

Jane surveyed the brown boarded wall. "But this is not all the attic," she exclaimed. "See how narrow this room is and gauge the size of the building. There must be another attic back of those boards and that fire brick wall. Now, how do you suppose one reaches the other side?"

"Via dummy," said Dozia. "But no little jaunt in that flivver for me. No indeed, Janie, not even to bag a real, live, active, untamed spook." They were both tapping along the boarded partition but had found no evidence of an opening. "Say, Jane," whispered Dozia, her brown eyes wide with pretended fright, "suppose some awful creature is hidden in there and that she has her meals served from the old dumbwaiter?"

Jane howled at this and danced around in cruel imitation of a possible "awful creature." That she tore a hole in her skirt from contact with an unfriendly nail mattered little, for the dance took in the length of the attic between trunks, boxes, disabled chairs and even dodged an ancient sewing machine.

"An attic party is attractive under certain conditions," Jane repeated. "I thought once I saw something move over this way. Let me look there more carefully."

"Look away," replied Dozia, falling limply into a very uncertain old


Jane Allen: Junior - 20/37

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