Marjorie Dean's Romanceñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
Leslie won the race. Peter Cairns was not familiar with the short cut she took. It bumped her car over a stretch of uneven paved street but brought her triumphantly to the entrance of the Hamilton House at least a minute ahead of her father’s car.
“Why did you pick Hamilton of all places to come back to?” Peter Cairns was presently demanding of her. The two had seated themselves opposite each other in a deserted corner of the lounge.
“Probably the scene of my many crimes held a fascination for me,” Leslie advanced with a reflective air that completely upset the financier’s hitherto carefully preserved gravity. He laughed outright.
“What did this Miss Dean against whom I understand you had so much spite ever do to you that was unfair or dishonorable?” His alert features had quickly returned to their customary aloof cast.
“Not a blamed thing, Peter,” she said in a tone of sober humiliation. “You were right. I am several kinds of idiot, bound in one volume. The war’s over. I surrendered this afternoon, just before I met you. Whatever you know about Bean and me is probably true.”
“Who is Bean?” demanded Peter Cairns.
Leslie enlightened him. At the same time she quoted Marjorie’s own recent remarks on the subject. “You can see from that why I quit,” she said. “There was nothing else to do. Some day, when I’ve really put over a good square business enterprise I’ll tell you the story of Bean, her Beanstalks and Leslie Adoree.”
“Your first business ought to be to repair the mischief you made,” was the severely judicial response. “Unfortunately you can’t undo the anxious, troubled hours which your malice has imposed upon others. You have taught me a lesson. I needed it. My code of finance has been that of a hawk. I have revised it on more humane lines. I’d rather not have learned it from your mistakes. But it’s been learned now. I am not sorry I cut you off from me. Perhaps it was not the way to do. I don’t know. I loved you very tenderly as a child, Leslie. I was proud of you as a youngster. I should like to be proud of you as a young woman. What are the prospects?”
“Good, Peter. The best since the days when I was your pal and we planned to conquer the universe together. I’m trying to think of a way to make amends.” She met her father’s measuring glance with an air of patience quite foreign to her old wayward self. “I like it up here. I’ve a girl friend on the campus. I really like her. I want you to meet her. Gaylord approves of her. What more can you ask?”
“I’ll take you at your word.” For the first time since meeting her father he held out his hand. Leslie placed her right hand in his strong fingers. Her left reached out very timidly and covered the hand she held. It was the silent ratification of affection between Peter and Peter Cairns’ daughter.
“How did you know I was here?” she asked after a brief silence.
“I told Wilkins, my secretary, to keep track of you. I made only a flying trip to Europe.
He told me you were here. I drove here soon after leaving the steamer. I had business at Hamilton Estates.”
“What are you going to do with my garage flivver?” A gleam of intense curiosity lived in Leslie’s eyes. “You said in your letter that some day I’d know why I had no business to buy the property for the site. Is today the day?”
“It may as well be.” Peter Cairns looked away, his mind evidently engaged in choosing the words for his next utterance. “My name isn’t Peter Cairns,” he said deliberately. “It’s Peter Carden. Alec Carden was my father. I ran away from him and his harsh tyranny. I changed my name to Cairns. The old Scotch name of our family was Cairrens. It became Carden in James the First’s time.”
“What?” Force of surprise brought out Leslie’s habitual monosyllable. She wondered if she were awake or dreaming. Had her father, a lord of finance, once been a hot-headed rebellious boy who had changed his name and run away from Carden Hedge?
“Yes, what?” her father repeated half ironically. “My father left Carden Hedge to John, along with all he had. He disinherited me. When I went I took with me a bundle of bonds from the safe. They were mine; left me by my mother. I went to New York and made good. All this by the way of explaining about the garage site. You paid John Saxe sixty thousand dollars for a site that belonged to the Carden Estate. Not a foot of it belonged to the Saxe Estate. I had it surveyed and proved the Carden right to it. Saxe refunded the money. He was innocent in the matter.”
Leslie’s downcast reception of this last crushing surprise touched her father. “Buck up, Cairns II.,” he said in the hearty, affectionate tone which Leslie had been dreading, yet longing, to hear. “I know I handed you a hummer. Now there’s not much more to say, except that I bought Carden Hedge over two years ago of John. I’ve let him live there off and on, simply to have someone look after the property a little. I thought once of living there myself. I changed my mind. It’s a pretty country up here. I liked it when I was a boy, and do still. I must be on my way tomorrow. How long would you like to stay in Hamilton?” He questioned with the old deference he had formerly observed to her wishes.
“I’d rather go back to New York with you.” Leslie fought to keep her voice steady. “I can’t. I want to stay on here a little and try to find a way to do something for the dormitory, or the college or the students – anything I can do to make up for – ” She paused, regained composure, went on. “I’m to blame for keeping you out of happiness. I cheated myself, too. How could you care to live at the Hedge after what I did at Hamilton? I have learned the big lesson this time. I’d go back to college and begin all over again in spite of what might be said, if I could, Peter. I’d do it for you.”
Peter Cairns saw a white-winged evanescent grace called happiness flit before his eyes. It had whisked away the day he had learned of Leslie’s expulsion from college. “Perhaps we’ll yet live at the Hedge, Leslie,” he said. “We can do that much, if we can’t go back in other ways. Now I’ll make a bargain with you. If you can find any good and original reason for keeping your flivver I’ll give the whole business to you as it stands. It must be original, though. That’s the chief requirement. And it must be something that will benefit Hamilton College students, faculty, dormitory – in fact the whole aggregation. Go to it. You perfect the plan. I’ll finance it for you. Nothing but the best will be accepted by me in the idea line. I’m going to try to prove that my girl has as good a brain as there is going.”
A GREAT DAY FOR THE CAMPUS
Julia Peyton could have forgiven Doris Monroe for disagreeing with her. To be told by Doris that she was an object of dislike to the lovely sophomore was not to be borne. She held frequent indignant consultations with her roommate, Clara Carter, on the double subject of the ingratitude of Doris and the snippiness of Marjorie Dean. Julia had not forgiven Marjorie for her “interference” at the Rustic Romp.
Thus far she had not voiced the gossip on the campus that the foolish-faced farmer at the hop had been Leslie Cairns. She was a little afraid that such a bit of gossip on her part might bring down upon her Marjorie’s displeasure. She knew in her heart that she was the only one of the four girls who would be likely to spread the story. Later on, when the Romp had been forgotten she would tell her friends about that horrid Miss Cairns and how she had stealthily slipped into the social side of Hamilton under cover.
Finding the desire to gossip irresistible she and Clara Carter entertained a soph with the tale one evening in their room. The soph, Lena Marsden, a quiet studious girl, had a flourishing crush on Doris. She promptly acquainted Doris with the ill news under promise of secrecy. “If some one like Miss Mason or Miss Harper, or any of the P. G.’s who have poise and influence would reprimand Miss Peyton, maybe she’d not talk about it any more.” was Lena’s opinion.
Leslie’s repeated unkind and untruthful estimate of Marjorie had tended to destroy Doris’s confidence in her, at least. Julia herself had spoken slightingly of Hamilton’s most popular post graduate. Doris decided that of the seven post graduates she knew the two most likely to command the difficult silence of Julia were Veronica Lynne and Leila Harper. Her final choice fell upon Leila. She and Leila had grown quite friendly as the rehearsals of “The Knight of the Northern Sun” progressed. As her Norse lover, Godoran, Augusta Forbes and Doris had also progressed from stiff civility to real friendliness.
“Will you come to my room this afternoon about five, Miss Harper?” Doris requested on the day before that of a complete rehearsal of the play. In the act of leaving the dining room after luncheon Doris paused for an instant behind Leila’s chair.
“With pleasure. I may be a little late, but I won’t fail to come,” Leila assured. Supposing Doris’s request had something to do with the approaching rehearsal, Leila thought nothing further about it. It was twenty minutes past five that afternoon when she knocked on the door of Doris’s room. It was the first time she had been asked to enter it by Doris. Muriel never entertained her chums there, “for fear of freezing them,” she always said.
“There’s something I must ask you, Miss Harper,” Doris opened the conversation with an anxious little rush. She went on to lay the case of Julia’s spite against Leslie before Leila. “I am sorry to have to mention Miss Cairns’s name even to you. There seemed only this one way. I know I can trust you. I know you can suggest something.”
Leila listened with laughter in her blue eyes. She had already been agitating her resourceful brain on the matter of Julia’s garrulity. The plan she had dimly formed on the day when she and Marjorie had driven to Orchard Inn had developed better even than she had expected.
“I think I have a way of managing her,” she said with a flashing smile of confidence.
“She is not easy to manage,” warned Doris. “It will take something unusual to make an impression on her. She is envious and jealous and that blinds her to see much good in any one.”
“I will see her when I leave you. I have seen Miss Cairns, Miss Monroe. Miss Dean and I met her on the way from Orchard Inn several days ago. She spoke to Miss Dean in my presence of the Romp. She is your friend, I believe, and is anxious that you shall not be blamed for anything. That is really all I wish to say in the matter.” Leila gave Doris a straight, significant glance.
Doris settled back limply in her chair, “I – I – am surprised,” she stammered. “I wish you – no, I don’t, either. I’ll ask Leslie. She will tell me what it’s all about. I like Leslie, Miss Harper.”
“I like her myself better than I used to,” was Leila’s careful answer.
“Have you – ”
Doris did not finish. The door was flung open and a breezy, delighted shout of “Leila Greatheart!” ascended as Muriel Harding rushed upon Leila and hugged her. “Welcome to our cubicle! Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to see me?”
“I cannot tell a lie. I didn’t come here to see you at all, at all. I came to see Miss Monroe. Now I must be going. You may both come to see Midget and me this evening.”
“Oh, I can’t – that is – not this evening,” Doris protested weakly. She dearly wished to accept the invitation.
“She means she won’t come if I do,” Muriel cheerfully supplied. Muriel’s tone did not accord with her feelings. She was actually hurt, but gamely refused to show it.
“I meant nothing of the sort,” Doris contradicted. Instantly she reflected that she had meant precisely that. “I beg your pardon,” she addressed Muriel stiffly. “I did mean that. I don’t now. I will come this evening, Miss Harper.”
“Good night! I shall expect you both.” Leila flashed out of the door, hurriedly closing it after her. Left to themselves the two girls might effect an understanding. She knew that Muriel was still vague as to why Doris had suddenly turned against her.
“Suppose we have it out this time, just to see how wrathful we can be,” Muriel proposed, a shade of satire in the proposal. “That’s the only way I know to break up a situation that’s been hard on both of us. I’ve always thought the wires were crossed somewhere in Harding’s and Monroe’s last fight, but I couldn’t prove it. Harding’s and Monroe’s last fight! Doesn’t that sound thrilling? It makes one think of Indians, cowboys, rattlesnakes, buffaloes, prairies and – geese,” she ended with a laugh.
“I hope it will be Harding’s and Monroe’s last fight,” Doris said with sudden energy. “I know now that a certain other person was to blame for most of it. I know that you were not trying to be kind to me or belittle me. I’m not so sure about Miss Dean.”
“She loves you, Doris Monroe.” Muriel sprang into affectionate defense of Marjorie. “You never had a more faithful crush. She is the one who started the name of the fairy-tale princess for you. She has adored your beauty and wanted you to be in theatricals so that you could be seen and admired. She was the judge who delivered the adjuration to Beauty at the beauty contest. She is the best friend you have on the – ”
Muriel stopped at sound of an odd little murmur from Doris. The fairy-tale princess had dropped into a chair with her golden head pillowed on one arm. Muriel’s torrent of loving defense had fallen upon Doris like verbal hailstones. In fending for Marjorie she had forgotten her own side of the estrangement.
While the two were deep in amiable and verbose adjustment of their disagreement Leila was calling upon Julia Peyton. As she afterward confided to Vera: “I was there, Midget, with my tongue in my cheek.”
Her interview with moon-eyed Julia appeared to be eminently satisfactory. She soon left the garrulous sophomore’s room, followed by Julia to the door. Leila managed to walk down the hall to her own room after the interview with an air of dignity becoming to a post graduate. She was well aware that Julia stood in the doorway of her room watching her. When she was safely within the walls of her own domicile she astonished Vera by making a laughing dive for her couch bed. She flung herself upon it and gave way to merriment.
“You should have been with me, Midget,” she gasped. “I have had a lively time with the Screech Owl and the Phonograph. I have written a part for Miss Peyton in my new Irish play of ‘Desmond O’Dowd.’ It is that of Derina, the village gossip. She has not read it yet. When she does, I may have the part but no Screech Owl to play it. If you wish to tie your enemy’s hands, offer him an honor. I have written the part of Derina especially to show this soph what she is. By the time she has rehearsed the part several dozen times she will wish to be any body but this one. I shall give her my personal attention. You know what that means. She may need a rehearsal every day. Hard on Leila. But think of the good to humanity!”
“Ingenious, you old star worshipper,” laughed Vera. “Do you know she is, I believe, almost the only gossip on the campus. That’s fine for Hamilton, isn’t it? Every day we are growing better and better. Speaking of goodness reminds me of our own Marjorie. She and Jerry are coming over this evening.”
“And I am expecting company; Matchless Muriel and the Ice Queen. Are they not a fine combination?” Leila cast a sly smile of triumph toward Vera. “How do you like my news, Midget?”
“I’m flabbergasted. Honestly, Leila, have those two patched up their quarrel?” Vera exhibited delighted wonder.
“Honestly, they have. Know, Midget, that I am always honest.” She drew down a disapproving face. “How can you ask me such a question?” Immediately her engaging smile broke forth. “I have certainly a cheering budget of news for Beauty tonight. What with the thawing of the Ice Queen and the taming of the Screech Owl this has been a grander day on the campus than that of the Kerriberry Fair, in County Kerry, ould Ireland.”
THE HAPPIEST PERSON
Easter vacation brought Captain Dean to Hamilton Arms and tumultuous happiness to Marjorie’s heart. Greatly as she had come to love the Arms for its stately marvelous beauty and comfort, the loving devotion of Miss Susanna and the fact that it had been the home of Brooke Hamilton, she now loved it more strongly because it was graced by her adored captain’s presence.
Since the morning when she had read the journal of Brooke Hamilton she had not written another word of his biography. “I can’t write,” she plaintively complained to Miss Susanna. “Spring and Captain and Brooke Hamilton’s journal have all got into my brain and won’t be shoved back. I’ll have to get all over the strenuousness of them before I can go on writing.”
“I think I shall lock up the study for a while, anyway,” Miss Susanna threatened. “The Army owes a duty to its superior officer. I shall order Lieutenant Dean out on guide duty to Captain Dean. Ensign Hamilton and Corporal Macy will go along for company.”
“Corporal Macy.” Jerry elevated her nose in deep disgust. “I’m a lieutenant myself. Kindly remember it. An ensign doesn’t belong to the Army. An ensign belongs properly to the Navy.”
“I shall be the great exception,” persisted Miss Susanna, laughing. “Ensign sounds well with ‘Hamilton.’ It is not seemly for youth to scornfully contradict age.”
“First show me age,” retorted Jerry. “There ain’t no such animal around here.”
“I’m going to take Captain for a walk around the estate this morning,” Marjorie announced. “There are oceans of things I want to show her and talk about. Almost every bush or tree at the Arms has an interesting history, all its own. Ensign Hamilton and, ahem, Corporal Macy are cordially invited to join the walk around.”
“Lieutenant Macy doesn’t regret that she has an engagement with Major Jonas Kent to plant dahlias this morning. Major Kent is far more polite than certain other officers of the detachment of far lesser rank,” Jerry declined with significance.
“I ought to be, and I am, the happiest person in the world, I believe.” Marjorie later voiced this fervent opinion as she sat on a rustic bench between her Captain and Miss Hamilton.
The three had seated themselves in the sweet spring sunlight at indolent ease after a long ramble about the magnificently kept grounds of the Arms. Under their feet the young green grass wove a soft living carpet. Over their heads spread the iron-strong branches of a mammoth tulip tree.
“Just because I am so happy, every once in a while I think of Mr. Brooke, Miss Susanna. Then I grow sad for a little. How beautiful it would have been for Angela and him to live here year after year in the perfect happiness of love! I often wonder how he had the courage to go through so many weary years after she left him. He chose such a patient, brave-hearted way.”
“Perhaps he accomplished more of good because of such a sorrow than he might have wrought without it,” sighed Miss Hamilton. “From the time of Angela’s death he centered himself more than ever on the founding of Hamilton College. It might well be called a monument to the two women he loved. The nobility of plan and execution were inspired by his mother. But the beauty of nature which he cultivated and carried out with such rare taste and sentiment on the campus is his tribute to Angela. Day after day, early and late, he busied himself with enhancing the beauty of that overgrown grass plot. Perhaps his spirit communed with hers as he worked. This was before my time. You will find a packet of what he named, ‘My garden letters,’ among the data. If you haven’t already been over it, you have a joy in store for you.”
Miss Susanna stared absently out over the sea of living green splashed with the pale pinks, yellows and scarlets of early blooming shrubs. Mrs. Dean had taken no part in the conversation, preferring to listen. Marjorie’s wistful observation regarding Brooke Hamilton and Angela Vernon had raised a feeling of surprise in her mind. It was the most sentimental word she had ever heard Marjorie utter.
Since her arrival at the Arms she had been permitted by Miss Hamilton to read the journal over which she had heard the Lady of the Arms and her lieutenant have several long discussions. Jerry had also been permitted to read it. She had at first cried over it, then impatiently characterized stately Brooke Hamilton as a “lovable old stupid” for not “getting it across” first thing that Angela was in love with him.
“I have a perfectly celostrous idea, children.” Marjorie thus gaily designated the two beside her. “It came out of what you just said of Mr. Brooke and the campus.” She lightly clasped Miss Susanna’s arm. “I’ll put Mr. Brooke’s love idyl in ‘Realization,’ together with his nature work on the campus. That will do away with having to write of how he made Angela unhappy for so many years because he didn’t know he loved her. I will state only that they met first when very young, and without knowing their own hearts. I think I will keep the entry about her riding down to the station with the picture to say good-bye to him.” Marjorie turned to Miss Susanna, her eyes questioning.ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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