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- Jane Allen: Junior - 37/37 -
am positive, think the matter one inspired by the noble effort you made" (to Shirley) "to keep your brother in college. Bobbie, you did want to come to college, that is always a laudable ambition, and think of the thousands who fail every year?"
"But they don't come," persisted the still doubting Bobbie. "But you did. And if you WERE a little rebel at first, doesn't that explain it? Your preparation was all wrong--you heard Deanie say so. Come on, now, I'll walk and let you lead Firefly, Bobbie. I know it will be a treat to you to even lead him. Sorry you can't ride in that tight skirt."
"Wait a minute," demanded Bobbie, stopping short, "do you mean to say, Miss Allen--"
"All right," with a smile. "Do you mean to say, Jane, that the dean would ever understand and condone all this?"
"What are deans for?" asked Jane, the miracle worker. "I'm just wild over the whole thing and daddy will want to adopt you both. It is simply thrilling! You have doubled the value of the scholarship."
"But if we did come back and the girls knew it? Our change of names?" queried the real Shirley, apprehensively.
"Don't you see how simple it is? We will just explain that you exchanged identities to try out how one girl could work on another girl's reputation. That you both intended to go back to your real selves at the half year--"
"So we did," declared Bobbie. "Shirley was to be transferred to Breslin and I expected to--withdraw."
"But you don't want to?"
"No," hesitating, "but I can't see--"
"I can. The whole thing is a wonderful story and when we give the girls the one fact, that you simply exchanged places for a lark, and then didn't know how to get out of it, that will be enough for them. Come along there, Firefly, meet my two college chums. And now, Bobbie, talk to him once in a while, so he will remember you when you dash over the hills of Montana."
"Sort of--fairy story," breathed Shirley, a little tragically.
"And Teddy is your brother?" asked Jane. "However did he keep the lark up at the dance?"
"He thought it was only a lark," replied his sister.
"And so it was," suddenly declared Bobbie. "Jane Allen has made it so and I'm for a full A.B. course at old Wellington! Let gossips do their worst," and she capered ahead to the playful clip-clap of Firefly, every step indicating the relief she was experiencing.
"If Bobbie feels that way I am sure I should not hold out," relented Shirley. "In fact, both Ted and I have our own incomes now. We only had to wait for an adjustment, but at the time we were simply panic- stricken. I wanted to pay Bobbie back last month, but have not succeeded in getting her to take the money as yet."
"I think it is all perfectly delicious!" declared Jane. "Won't Judy and Dozia just howl? Of course no one need know about the loan. That is purely a personal matter." (More miracles.)
"Jane," called back Bobbie, "don't you remember how you used to question that name Shirley? Didn't seem to think it fitted me. Well, you see how you were right. I should have been plain old-fashioned country Sarah."
"Nevertheless," insisted Jane, "you have proven how well you can act. Take care we don't cast you for a leading role in some of our masquerades!"
They turned into the campus again, happy in their new-found security, for what Jane undertook she was sure to accomplish, and even this complication melted away into a fascinating story under her skillful guidance.
"Hurry! Hurry!" she prompted, "we must account for this little race. There's Judy. Run on ahead and tell anyone you meet--tell them we're coming," she ended foolishly to Bobbie. "Your turn to think."
"Tell them we had a race, and with a good handicap, Kitten won," suggested Bobbie, responding quickly to Jane's suggestion.
"But what about all our things? Our hats and coats?" demurred the real Shirley.
"They'll be too interested to notice that detail," said Jane. "I'm so happy, happy, happy! Run along Firefly--there's Jim waiting. Now, come girls, after we deliver Firefly to his keeper we are going right up to the hall--Judy! Judy!" she broke off, for Judith evidently had not seen them come in the gate. "Over here Judy!" she shouted again, and this time Judy responded.
She rushed up to the culprits and likewise confronted Jane.
"Don't you three dare to deceive me!" she stormed with good nature sufficient to hide the girl's evident embarassment. "Where have you been and what have you been doing?"
"I wouldn't attempt to deceive you Judith," said Bobbie bravely, "we were running away!"
"Why?" the question was put seriously.
"Because we have both been deceiving you all, and no matter how generous you two friends try to be, I am at least going to set that matter straight before the whole college. I am Sarah Howland and this is Shirley Duncan." She placed her hand on little Shirley's arm.
Judith was dumfounded! They expected she would be, naturally, but she now stood there speechless.
"Be a good sport Judy," urged Jane, "and help us stage a real happy ending. Don't you want to jump on Firefly and ride him over to the stable?"
"I don't. Why has Shirley become Bobbie?"
Jane wanted to laugh, but Bobbie's face was very serious, and Shirley's lip was quivering. Jane released her horse and watched him canter over to the stable.
"We'll all be late for tea, but never mind," she said. "Let us tell Judy all about it. She'll die of curiosity if we don't. Look at her poor face."
"Jane Allen if I knew a big secret I'd tell you," declared the abused one.
"Here's a seat; there, now listen," began Jane. "Shirley Duncan exchanged places on the scholarship certificate with Sally Howland, that's Bobbie, because Sally couldn't get in otherwise, and Shirley- -"
"Needed the money," confessed Shirley, insisting on having a part in the confession.
"But it was for her brother Ted, you know," interrupted Bobbie loyally.
"Is that Teddy your brother? And Bobbie you blushed so when you danced with him, and I accused you--" It was Judith's turn to talk quickly now, and she made good use of the opportunity.
Finally something like order was restored.
"You must help us Judy--" pleaded Jane. "I insisted the girls should come right along and simply tell their story frankly to Deanie. You know how splendidly she came to the rescue of our friends last year."
"You need not be afraid to tell her your story girls," agreed Judith. "In fact I think she'll be just tickled to death to have two such little Trojans in our midst. But what about the others?"
"Oh, I don't want to face it," faltered Shirley nearly in tears. "Why can't we withdraw and do as we planned, Bobbie?"
"Because we won't let you," insisted Jane. "Just now you are bound to feel a little frightened, but if you could see it as I do; as Judy does," she hurried to add. "I tell you girls the others will just want to carry you around on their shoulders, they'll be so proud of you," finished Jane a little breathlessly.
"Carry us around?" questioned Bobbie. "If you hadn't caught us we would be making pictures of ourselves with our faces pressed to the damp window panes of that train you hear whistling now," she declared, with a flash of her natural humor. "Kitten's face wouldn't be pretty either, if she puckered it that way."
Jane knew the battle was won, now that Bobbie joked and smiled, so she jumped up quickly and urged them along.
"Come on everyone, there's a light in the office," she said. "We will just have a few minutes to talk to Deanie."
The girls went back, and when the holiday finally came both freshmen were hailed as the particular friends of Miss Allen and were to spend their vacation at her father's ranch in Montana.
* * * * * *
The next volume of this series will sustain Jane's reputation for unmatched personality in her Wellington record as "Jane Allen: Senior."
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