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- Jane Allen: Junior - 30/37 -
your height and figure are in such splendid accord with that American Beauty! Whew, girl! I can see who shall charm the partners tonight."
"Do I honestly look--well?" persisted the other. "I wish my hair were long enough to turn up."
"I don't. It is so becoming in that halo just as round as a crown, and more curly every minute. If all misfortunes really have their compensations, then, Bobbie, put down the curls opposite your accident."
The big girl peered closer to the mirror. She never could be vain but just now she might be pardoned a flicker of satisfaction. She did look well, the American Beauty satin made such a startling background for her peculiarly true American type.
"Now, if we are all primped and preened, suppose we rehearse," said Bobbie, powdering the last finger of her left hand to a finish. "You are sure Ted has his lesson all clear and that our--masquerade will not be spoiled?"
"He was just wild about the lark, and wrote a whole page of effusions such as boys always indulge in," replied Sally. "He says he may stick to Barrett for a name, it has such a twangy sound, whatever that may mean; and he also promised to be led by us even to the extent of breaking his own gay heart."
"Nice boy. I hope our little skit won't spoil his fun. It is just for that, you know, little chum, I have agreed to postpone my flight. But be sure of one thing--I shall fly before I ever face that wonderful crowd of girls we were with last night, after the discovery."
"Does it all seem so hideous still?" asked Sally. "I have felt as if some of the black horror were wearing off."
"Mine is turning green--a dark, dark moldy green of envy. Why didn't I know four months ago just a few of the precious things I see so vividly now?" Bobbie sat down at the risk of spoiling some of her preening. Also she ruffed her long (now well cared for) fingers through her short hair with distracting indifference, but not a ringlet showed any ill effects, each fell back on her broad, low forehead in its original place, without a kink of disorder in the line.
"I have learned more than the Wellington course offered," said Sally, "and one thing I am now sure of. Our small towns may offer advantages in freedom and security, but they restrict us in a choice of friends and companions. How could we possibly have guessed that the very girl and her group we expected to antagonize should be our deliverers?"
"I don't quite get your flow of words, Kitten, but I do agree with their meaning. Yes, small towns can turn out gigantic specimens of conceited ego. And that conceit is like a paraffine coating; air tight against personal progress, absorbent for the poisons of jealousy and envy. There, that sounds as if I have learned a little English, doesn't it? But it isn't enough to face Miss Robert's exams."
"It's after eight. There are the girls slamming doors in the first jazz number," said Sally. "Come along, Bobbie, and smile your warmest. Then we shall defy fate for a few more happy hours at least."
Swallowed up immediately in the swirl of young students heading for the dance "Kitten and Bobbie" were presently on the high road to defying fate as per schedule. The music from the dance room was just feeling its way out of brilliantly lighted windows, and the grand old campus seemed very proud of itself indeed, as it stretched out and made a background for the entire picture.
Flocks of automobiles were nestling along the drives, and many a Wellington heart skipped its regular beat at the preliminary thought:
"I wonder if he came yet?"
From companion colleges the boys were making their way into old Wellington, and the students of Yorktown were apt to be especially plentiful. It was from this big college that Ted Barrett--alias Ted- -somebody's brother, was expected.
In contrast to the usual line for receiving, such as so often makes a farce of the formal social event, the seniors and juniors had formed themselves into a ring that surrounded the entrance, and through this ring each guest was forced to pass in at one end and out at the other in initiation to Wellington. Jane was chosen to form one "clasp" of the circlet, with two tall seniors at her side. She gave the welcoming pass-word for the juniors, and in her hand clasp delivered the secret sign.
As the girls from Lenox entered, the eyes of our two special friends immediately sought out Jane. Not even the possible presence of Teddy offered a distraction, for it seemed now as if their fate rested more fully than ever in the hands of the girl whose father had given them the much abused scholarship.
"How sweet!" breathed Sally. "Like a pansy."
"Exactly," answered Shirley. "Did you ever see anything prettier?"
Jane's appearance supported this flattery in every detail. She wore a flowered frock, georgette with pansies sprinkled over it, and in her coppery hair a small bunch of the same velvet flowers was clustered. Among all the others this flowered gown seemed distinctive, although Dozia in her ruffles (to cut her height), and Judith in her sea foam green (to give her color), were indeed highly attractive.
The indescribable jazz music was see-sawing in and out of harmony, and if there were anything actually shy on the score it was more than plentifully supplied by the "ukes," mandolins and banjos of the visiting college boys.
Sally and Shirley had scarcely crossed the circle and were melting into the crowd, when someone tapped Sally on the shoulder.
"Teddy!" exclaimed both girls at once.
"The same, your obedient coz," replied the good looking young fellow, eager to show at once how well he had learned his lesson.
"Come over here," breathed Sally. "I am just dying to speak to you."
"No fair," cautioned Shirley. "Don't forget your lines, Kit."
"Say, girls, tell me," implored the youth, letting his critical eye scale the crowd of pretty girls, "what's this your name is? You're--" to Sally.
"I'm Sally," she replied, twinkling prettily, "and this is Shirley," indicating Bobbie.
"Shirley?" he echoed increduously.
"Yes, and please don't ask any more questions just now, Cousin Ted. I have promised to introduce you to half of Wellington." This was said so that more than one girl standing near overheard; one was Nettie Brocton and she quickly took the cue.
"Just look at that?" she said to Ted Guthrie. "Sally acts as if the Teddy were her especial cousin."
"Yes, and Shirley is all but blushing."
"Queer," commented Ted Guthrie.
Presently the music suggested a One Step and without waiting for further coaxing Shirley and the handsome Ted floated out among the assembling dancers.
He was handsome, and, although that fact seems trite just here, it may better be known and reckoned with. He was tall, light, nimble and flexible as a young birch, as he swayed in and out leading the excited Bobbie.
"Guess I'll have to call you Bobbie, too," he said in his partner's ear, after more than one girl had pointedly called out, "Hello, Bobbie!"
"Yes, do, please," replied Bobbie. "I am getting so accustomed to it I rather feel it is really mine."
"Suits you splendidly," said Ted, with a boy's idea of compliments being put on thick at dances. "And I am sure I would give the game away if I ever tried on the Shirley."
Bobbie acquiesced just in time to feel Judith Stearns' black eyes demanding to know Teddy. The dancers stopped, and after an introduction Bobbie was swept off her feet by a new partner, while Judith glided off with Teddy.
"Where is Sally?" asked Judith, not seeing the little butterfly on the floor.
"Sally?" repeated the bewildered Ted. Then he recovered himself. "Oh, yes, Cousin Sally. She's just over there," pointing to Jane's "Bosky Dell" in a far corner.
"Your cousin?" repeated the shrewd Judith.
"Yes, little coz, I allus calls her," he lisped, to cover any possible attempt at piercing his disguise.
"But she said she was not related to Bobbie?" persisted the irrepressible Judith.
"She isn't," frankly offered Ted. "She is only related to me. Oh, I say, Miss Stearns," he broke off. "Who's the golden girl over by the punch bowl?"
"I knew it," trilled Judith. "No one could possibly miss her. She's Jane Allen."
"Jane Allen!" he almost interrupted. "She whose pater is a benefactor of Wellington?"
"Yes, the only Jane," answered Judith glibly. "Come over and meet
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