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- Jane Allen: Junior - 4/37 -


"Gee-whiz! It is late, and this the first day. Glad the others on this corridor are all nice and punctual."

In bathrobe and slippers Judith soon followed Jane down the long hall. Neither dallied long in the plunge, for Judith was wide awake now, and presently, after dressing and patting herself and belongings into place, she confronted Jane with this: "I heard Dozia Dalton last night. And I know there will be trouble about the farmer girl. Jane, tell me, is she the scholarship?"

"Yes," almost gasped Jane the irreproachable. "And to think that I, in any way, should be responsible for bringing her to college!"

"But you are not, Janie dear," soothed Judith. "That your father should give this college a scholarship each year is a noble thing, and how can you tell who may win it? That girl is--well, a bit raw," she ground her mouth around the word, "but we have nothing to do with that. She doesn't belong among the juniors, and just leave it to little Judy to steer her off. Don't go trying any uplift; just cut her dead and watch her wilt. From the ashes there may arise a nice little green thing, even if it is of the common garden variety of onion. Now Jane, you have got to do exactly that. Keep Shirley Duncan on her own grounds. Shoo her out of junior haunts."

"You are right, Judy. I have been tortured with the idea that I would have to play fairy godmother to that--that 'hoodlum.' Honestly, did you ever see so ordinary a girl in Wellington?"

"Never. But then she may be a genius. I have read such descriptions of them. There's the first breakfast bell. Smile now and disappoint the horde. They think you have been crossed in love and the old maid depression has settled upon you. You acted that way yesterday," teasingly.

Jane's laugh pealed out at this. It was like ragging a down scale, that rippling crescendo, and Judith needed no other assurance of her friend's good humor.

But the day's tasks left little time for trifles. College work is serious and exacting, each day's programme being carefully and even scientifically marked out to make the round year's schedule complete. Jane and Judith, juniors, with a reputation made in their previous years, "buckled" down to every period with that intelligence and determination for which both had been credited.

Everything was so delightful and the autumn air so full of promise! Jane could not find a true reason for the haunting fear that seemed to follow her in the person of that crude country girl, who somehow had won the Alien scholarship.

It was in free time late the next afternoon that this fear took definite shape. Jane and her contingent were leaving the study hall when Shirley Duncan brushed up through their arm linked line.

She was garbed in a baronet satin skirt of daring hue with an overblouse of variegated georgette. This as a school frock! At first glance Jane almost recoiled, then the possibility of delayed baggage suggested itself and softened her frown.

"Don't notice her," whispered faithful Judith.

Jane's glance just answered when the unpopular freshman broke through the line, grasped Jane's hand and deliberately forced a folded slip of paper into it. Then, with a mocking smile that ran into an audible sneer, she turned and sped away. Her awkward gait and frank romping so close to Wellington Hall brought questioning glances from the line of juniors.

"What's that, Jane Allen?" asked Janet Clarke good-naturedly. "I hope you are not doing uplift for anything like that this year?"

"The merry little mountain maid," mocked Inez Wilson, doing a few skips and a couple of jumps in demonstration.

"How on earth did she ever make Wellington?" demanded the aristocratic Nettie Brocton, disapproval spoiling her leaky dimples.

"Girls, you are horrid!" declared Judith to the rescue. "You all know the freaks love Jane. It's her angel face," and Judith playfully stroked the cheek into which streaks of bright pink threatened admission of guilt--that Jane really knew the uncouth country girl.

"She's a stranger to me," said Jane truthfully, "but in spite of that I must respect her confidence." The crumpled note was thereat securely tucked into the pocket of Jane's blouse.

Winifred Ayres tittered outright, but the advent of Dozia Dalton furnished a welcome interruption.

"Girls," she panted, "what ever do you think? Dol Vincez, our dangerous adversary of last year, runs the beauty shop beyond our gate! Can you comprehend the audacity?"

"We can when you say Dolorez," replied Jane. "Do you actually mean to say she has set up the College Beauty Shop at our very door?"

"She has!" declared the excited Dozia. "Who would dare trust a live and workable phiz to that--traitor?"

"Not I," said Velma Sigsbee.

"Nor I," from Maud Leslie.

"My face must serve me this term," added Inez Wilson, twisting her features to make sure they worked well.

"All the same," demurred Judith, "the temptation is not to be laughed at. Just imagine real dimples speared in," with a finger poked in Maud Leslie's cheek, "and long silky lashes tangles in one's violet gaze----" This was too much even for staid juniors and the race that followed almost justified Shirley's much criticised romp. With this difference: Wellington Hall was now out of the shadows made by the swaying stream of laughing students darting in and out of the autumn sunshine that lay like stripes of panne velvet on the sward, but Shirley's run had begun at the very steps.

Recreation had its limits and that day was counted lost into which a race over the pleasure grounds had not been crowded. It might be for tennis, or even baseball, or yet to the lake, but a run was inevitable. And so they ran.

CHAPTER IV

THRILLING NEWS

Did you read your note, Dinksy?" Judith asked Jane, using the particular pet name adopted because of its very remote distance from the original.

"You know I did, Pally." This was from Pal, of course.

"A bomb threat?"

"Not quite." Jane's hair was rebellious this morning and just now received a real cuffing at its owner's hands.

"How perfectly peachy you would look bobbed, Dinksy. That color and those smooth silky curls! How the angels must have loved you. Know this line?

"'Methinks some cherub holds thee fair, For kissing down thy sunny hair I find his ringlets tangled there!'"

"You would," interrupted Jane sacrilegiously. "More than his ringlets tangled here this morning," with a final jab of the strongest variety of golden bone hair-pin. "Aunt Mary always said my mood (she meant temper) affected my hair. And I am sure she was always right about it."

"Well, you don't have to tell me about the note if you don't want to, Janie," pouted Judith. "But my idea is, you need counsel and I am as ever the expert."

"Fair Portia, thou shalt be my counsel ever. I had no thought of hiding the little note," insisted Jane, "but it is horribly disappointing. Wait until I rescue it from the basket. There's always a charm about the original." "Don't bother, please, Jane," begged Judith. "We are almost late and I hope for a set of tennis before class. I need it every day to keep off the heartbreak. Darlink Sanzie," she sniffled. "To think he will nary again bat a ball in my black eye."

"Why never again? There are other vacations."

"But no more Jacks like Sanzie. He is unique and has opened a law office by now. Can't you see his stenographer kicking his shapely shins as he dictates? They always do that in the movies, and Sanzie is so up to date, even as to shins. Now, Janie dear, let's along. En route you may tell me about the bomb threat. The corridors are clear."

"She simply wants a chance to talk to me, that's all----"

"But she can't have it," declared Judith. "As your counsel I forbid it. Just give that girl a chance and she will bind you over, body and soul; refined blackmail, you know. Don't you dare answer that note until I dictate the reply," Judith swung her arm around Jane's waist in the most all-embracing manner. "Please, Dinksy," she almost whispered, "wait until we are free this afternoon."

Thus they separated; Judith for her tennis and Jane for a turn on Bowling Green.

But Jane had a deeper problem to solve than even her chum suspected. There was the broken mirror in Dozia's room and the fact that Dozia had actually hit Shirley on the head with a hammer!

"A pretty record that--and made on the first night in college," Jane reflected.

Undoubtedly the freshman's demand that Jane "see her at once" had to do with the outrage. And the interview would be granted, of course, that very afternoon unless Judith interfered.


Jane Allen: Junior - 4/37

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