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- Jane Allen: Junior - 3/37 -
make beds yet. That comes of your notion not to have ready-to-wear beds in our suite. And you can just see how much fun it is to drag things out on tired nights." Jane sprang up from the divan and tried to yank the sleepy girl after her. "Come on, Pally," she implored. "I'll do most all the fixing, only I really demur at the disrobing. You know my hatred for buttons and fastenings. I wouldn't leave one snap to meet its partner. Come on Judy," the feet were again on the rug, "we will be simply dead in the morning, and we have got to be very much alive. We do miss the Weatherbee. I don't see why we let her go. Dear, prim, prompt Weatherbee! Now we know we loved her. Her successor is too young to be motherly."
"Jane Allen, you're a pest," groaned Judith. "I can't hear a thing but words, and I suppose you are calling me names. Who's this guy Bed, I heard you mention? Lead me to her," and whether the collapse was assumed or real Judith rolled over twice and once more stretched out on the long runner at Jane's feet.
"Have it your own way. Stay there if you insist and sneeze your head off, but I'm going to bed," decided Jane helplessly.
"That's the girl. Her name is Bed. I want to meet her. Heard so much about her. Jane dear introduce me, there's a dar--link," Judith muttered.
"Someone is coming and I just hope it is Prexy or Proxy. I'll open the door wide as I can," declared the outraged Jane.
She stepped over the long girl but even the tap on the door did not disturb Judith.
"It's I--are you up, Jane?" The voice came as the tap subsided.
"Yes Dozia. Come along in. I can't get Judy to bed. Just look at her!"
"Poor child," commiserated Dozia, surveying the figure on the floor very much as a policeman looks upon an ambulance case. "We ought to help her. Is the day bed translated?"
"Yes, I got it ready. But Judy won't undress," Jane protested.
"Why need she? If I ever slept like that I would murder a disturber. Just get hold of that rug Janie, and we'll dump her into bed."
Judith was actually sleeping when the two compassionate friends picked up the rug, hammock fashion, and proceeded to "dump her into bed." She never moved voluntarily. Judith Stearns knew a good thing when it came her way, and what could be better than this?
"She'll ruin her skirt," suggested Jane as they drew the rug out from under the blue accordion pleats.
"What's a mere skirt compared with that?"
Dozia stood aside to admire the unconscious Judy, but striking a statuesque pose she caught the critical eye of Jane and was rewarded with a most complimentary smile.
"Where did you get that wonderful robe, Dozia?" Jane asked. "You simply look like--like some notable personage in those soft folds and with your hair down. What a pity we must make ourselves ugly to be conventional."
"Ain't it now," mocked Dozia, abusing language to make comedy. She swung the velveteen folds about her and spun around to wind them tighter. "Like this? Do I resemble a movie queen? That's what brought me, Janie. This nocturnal visit is consequent upon a disaster. My hammer, the one I put my queens up with, fell through the mirror. Silly little hammer. You know how this house staff feels about breaking looking-glasses."
"Yes, spoils the set of course. You are not insinuating anyone here might be superstitious? I am awfully sorry you broke the mirror. How did it happen?"
"Sissh!" Dozia sibilated, pointing to Judith who had actually turned over. "Don't wake her, this really is a secret. Girlie," dragging Jane down into a chair, "have you noticed that ugly, fat, common country girl, with the wire hair and gimlet eyes? Well, she came in, pushed her way in really, and squatted down plumb in my best Sheraton chair. The size of her!" (This with seething indignation.) "I was so provoked--why, Jane, what is the matter? You are frightened or nervous or something. Have you seen a ghost anywhere?" broke off Dozia.
"Oh no, but I am so tired," Jane edged away from the suspector. "After all I do believe Judy is sensible, see her slumber."
"Jane Allen, you are a fraud," pronounced the girl in the velveteen robe. "You are smothering some mystery and I must have stepped on the spring," guessed the inquisitive caller. "Was it the tack hammer or the spindle chair or the fat girl? Not she, you have had no chance to do uplift work yet. Land knows that farmer will need your greatest skill, but dear, don't waste it on her. She's incurable."
"Bad as all that?" asked Jane colorlessly. "But what happened? You did not try to hit her with the hammer I hope?"
"I didn't try to hit her, I did hit her. It fell accidentally on her fat head and she tossed it through the mirror. Now what can a girl do in a case like that?"
The haunted look, so foreign to the face of Jane, shaped itself again.
"Is she--did you hurt her?"
"I hope so," dared Dozia. "It would be a charity to send her home. Her name is Shirley Duncan and she's from some country town. But Jane, if she gets really horrid, I mean more horrid than she is now, I want you to stand by me. That's what I came for."
"All right Dozia," said Jane, "but I hope it won't have to go as far as that."
"Me too," responded the carefree Dozia. "But there's no telling what Shirley may do."
For some moments after Dozia glided out Jane stood there, her gray eyes almost misty.
"Of all the tragedies!" she was thinking. Then with a jerk she pulled herself up. "But I guess I can handle it," she declared finally, and when she succeeded in rousing Judith no one would have suspected anything new amiss.
Jane Allen might have worries but they could not dominate her. Sunny Jane, with sunny hair and gray eyes, was no mope. It would take fight to conquer this new condition, she realized, but Jane could fight, and her dreams on this first night back in college were strangely confused with school-day battles.
More than once she awoke with a start, as if some danger were impending, and a sense of uneasiness possessed her. Each time it seemed more difficult to fall back into slumber, and all this was new, indeed, to happy Jane.
"Daddy!" she murmured. "It's because of daddy's----"
She was finally sound asleep.
THE MISFIT FRESHMAN
Yes, they were back in college and work was waiting. This thought invaded confused brains and stood out like a corporal of the guard, shouting orders into lazy ears on Wellington campus next morning.
Jane Allen threw first one slipper and then another at Judith Stearns' bed across the room from her own. But still Judith's hand ignored the hair brush on the chair at her elbow.
"Judy," called Jane, "the warning bell has warned. Turn down the corner on that dream and wake up." Each word of this climbed a note in tone until the last was almost a shout. Then Judith's hand moved to Jane's slipper on her own (Judith's) forget-me-nots, the little floral pieces that adorned a very dainty garment with the embroidery on Judith's chest--arms and neck ignored in the pattern.
"What say?" she muttered sleepily.
"Up," answered Jane. "Ever hear that little word before?"
"Yep, pony riding," drawled Judith. "Up, up, one, two, three, go!" and at this Judith sprang up with such vigor and volume (in point of scope) that she sprang over the neighboring bed and swooped down on Jane's hat box! Her black hair now fell fearlessly over the embroidered forget-me-nots, and her bare feet shot in their usual skating strike.
"Good thing that hat box is the new kind," commented Jane, "but even at that it will hardly serve as a divan. Still, I am glad you are up. Do you know where you are, Judy Stearns? And what you are expected to do today?"
"All of those things and additional horrors are seething through my poor brain," moaned Judith, "but a moment ago I was having a fast set of tennis with adorable Jack St. John--Sanzie they call him. Have I told you about him, Jane darling?" Judith gathered herself and her feet up from the black enameled box and glided over to her own corner.
"No, Judy, I do not recall Sanzie," replied Jane, who was already armed with soap and towel for the lavatory. "But keep the story. I shouldn't like to get interested in boy tennis just now. We must forget--" proclaimed Jane in tones so dramatic a poet calendar on the wall trembled in the vocal waves. "Forget! forget----" and Jane was outside the door with a sweeping wave of her big fuzzy towel and a rather alarming thrust of her fist full of soap.
"Ye-eah," groaned Judith, "forget is the word, Sanzie and tennis." She glanced at the tiny clock on a shelf of the bracket type. It was Jane's idea the clock should not be cluttered with surroundings.
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