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- Jane Allen: Junior - 9/37 -


fellow," interrupted Inez.

"Yes, I know, but that is not essential now, we must get to Judith," declared Dozia, showing irritation. "Judith ran--"

"But the policeman darted out from the elderberry clump--"

"Winifred, please!" implored Dozia. "I will not forget to tell that, but if you think you can do it all more intelligently or quickly--"

"Pardon me, Dozia, please, I am just too excited--"

"Did Judith go to help the officer?" demanded Jane impatiently.

"No," fired back Dozia. "It was old Sour Sandy, who always declares we are up to mischief, and when the big boy ran, Judith chased after him while Cop Sandy ran after both. We stood still--"

"He was muttering and threatening so," ventured Janet.

"Were you afraid of him?" charged Jane.

"No, but we could not decide instantly that we should run after Judith. It was all so sudden," said spokesman Dozia. "And of course we realized any more commotion would really get us all in trouble; that old officer is such a crank."

"But to let Judith face it all alone," challenged Jane.

"I really haven't told the one important detail," Dozia vainly attempted to explain. "I was walking with Judith and two other girls were just a little ahead. They were Shirley Duncan and that pretty little thing, Sarah--something--"

"Howland," Jane flung in.

"Yes," went on Dozia. "And Judith seemed so intent on watching them she hardly answered me intelligently."

"There is something up between those two," declared Winifred Ayres. "I know it, and I guess Judy knows it too."

"But what have they to do with the fighting messengers?" demanded Jane, now utterly bewildered from the snarled account.

"The messenger, who got the package from Tiny Tim, shouted at Shirley and she waited. Then, when he could get near enough he threw the paper box to Shirley and she raced off toward the Beauty Shop. When we saw the last of it we couldn't tell whom Judith was chasing, but she ran right into Dol Vin's shop," declared Dozia, "and of course Cop Sandy was not long in doing the same thing. We knew we would be helpless to do anything there if Dol were in, so we came back to see what you would suggest," ended Dozia with a trail of relief in the last few words.

"I suggest that we go after Judith," promptly ordered Jane, and if precious time had been wasted in the recital, the loss was atoned in the pace taken by that rescuing squad as they followed Jane in her race toward Dol Vin's Beauty Shop.

CHAPTER VIII

TO THE RESCUE

The Beauty Shop was presently besieged by an excited crowd of girls, and to give due credit to the purely human element it must be admitted the girls were delighted to be there--at the forbidden post.

"Thrilling!" whispered Velma Sigsbee, and she "said it" for all the others.

The redoubtable Dol Vin (short for Dolorez Vincez) appeared at the quaint square paned door. She was gowned in a very close fitting and striking black satin "clinger" gown. Her hair was done in the most modern of styles, like a window show for her hair dressing parlor, and her foreign face, with its natural olive tones, was very much fixed up with many touches of peach and carmine, as well as darker hints under the eyes; and her lashes--well, perhaps Dolorez had been crying inky tears; that was the effect one gathered from a glance at the vampish make-up.

"Is Miss Stearns here?" asked Jane authoritatively. She and Dol had clashed glances before, and Jane had no idea of condescending to the apostate of Wellington.

"Miss Stearns here!" repeated the highly colored lips. Then shoulders shrugged and scorn fairly sizzled through an indescribable sneer. "I do not check up the patrons. She may be in a chair within. Will you enter?"

The girls surrounding Jane tittered audibly. Since when had plain Dol Vin become so foreign?

"En--ter!" drawled Dozia. "Yes, let's," to Jane. This little hiss was intended as a reactionary simper.

"Miss Stearns would not be here on professional business," retorted Jane. "And she would never occupy one of your treatment chairs." Jane hated to dignify anything in the beauty shop with that description, but acid terms were elusive just then; and besides Jane was now getting anxious about Judith.

"Oh, indeed!" more shoulder shrugging and a futurist pose of the black satin "clinger," "What else, then, might the Lady Stearns be doing at my place?"

"Dol Vincez, you just stop that nonsense," flared Dozia Dalton, stepping up to the fancy little door defiantly. "We saw Judith Stearns run in here after Shirley Duncan, and you know very well that old officer Sandy came in after her. Now where is Judith?"

"Isn't it lovely to have you all here? And begging me for something?" Hands on hips, then a shift of the right hand to a very black ball of hair bunched out where the human ear usually reposes. "I am delighted I am sure with this visitation, and I'd love to ask you all in only I'm busy. You will have to excuse me," and with a very Frenchy bow, the Queen of the Beauty Shop got behind the squared glass door and pushed it shut till the latch clicked.

"Shut the door in our faces," growled Velma, as if everyone had not seen the insulting act.

Jane stood for a moment, thinking seriously and swiftly. She was not concerned with the girls about her; neither had she any of their curiosity about the interior of the shop. She was wondering what it all meant, and how she could trace Judith. A brilliant thought captured her. Why not go inside for a shampoo?

She turned to her companions. "I suppose it is perfectly proper under the circumstances to go inside--somehow. I'll apply for a shampoo!"

"But the rest of us?" wailed the curious Velma.

"Ask for something else," suggested the resourceful Jane.

"Perhaps she won't answer the ring," parried Janet.

"Then we'll knock," threatened Jane, as she pressed the little button over the "treatment hours" sign.

They waited. There were Jane, Dozia, Velma, Winifred, Janet and Inez, six palpitating girls, each taking inventory of her possible beauty spots that might need touching up. Even Dol Vin would succumb to such an onslaught of orders, but--

"Suppose she charges us some dreadful price--like five dollars each?" gasped Velma.

"Can't do it," declared Jane. "We'll go by her price list. But no one seems to answer."

"Peeking out, I'll bet," whispered Janet. "Ring three times, Jane, and she'll know we mean business."

Jane followed that advice, but still no answer.

"There's a side door," suggested Dozia, critically inspecting the long, low old stone building that had been put up originally as a rendezvous for Wellington faculty who might want to get away from the buzz of girls and college. It seemed no one had that sort of disease, however, and the rest cure "went to the wall" for want of patronage. Just what company was now financing the rather expensive venture of Dol Vin no one knew, but it must have taken a lot of money even to buy the window scrim, the porch cretonne and the gold lettering on window and door glass. These details were visible from the exterior, and what, oh, what might the interior look like to correspond?

"The side door," agreed Jane, "for all but one or two. Then perhaps we'll get an answer here."

The ruse worked beautifully, for hardly had the tread of feet--eight of them, four pairs--passed down the steps than in answer to a very lady-like ring of Jane's a colored maid drew open the door.

"May I get a shampoo?" asked Jane sweetly, stepping inside as she spoke and covertly motioning Dozia to follow.

"This way, please," said the white-capped and white-frocked, black- faced maid. And behold! Jane and Dozia were within the mysterious parlor!

Neither spoke. Both were listening. Someone was sobbing in the next room and Dol Vin's voice was remonstrating.

As if suddenly realizing the situation the colored maid hurried out. The sobbing ceased instantly and so did the talking. A step through the hall indicated the coming of Dolorez.

"What does this mean?" she demanded angrily, stepping up to Jane with blazing eyes. "How dare you force your way in here?"

"Is not this a public shop?" fired back Jane, equally angry. "Have you not openly solicited Wellington patronage?"


Jane Allen: Junior - 9/37

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