Chase Josephine.

Marjorie Dean's Romance





You are to do as you please, Marvelous Manager. Miss Susanna smiled into the beautiful, colorful face so near her own. If you wished to publish the journal verbatim, Id not gainsay you.

I know you wouldnt, Goldendede. Marjorie returned the smile with interest. I dont wish him to be misunderstood. He was not intentionally selfish. He was simply wrapped in his own great dream. The world, were it to read that journal, might call him hard-hearted. Even he reproached himself after he found that he loved Angela. I will leave out anything that I should not care to say of him myself. I pledged friendship with him in the beginning, you remember.

I am glad you feel as I do about his love affair. Miss Susanna said with a grateful little nod. I have always thought mention of it, at least, important in a biography of him. I was not sure what to do. I had thought, at the time when I talked with President Burns of having it prepared for publication, of submitting only a brief paragraph or two about Angela Vernon. I leave the matter contentedly to you.

Thats enough to bring back my lost inspiration, was the blithe declaration. Come on, both of you. Marjorie sprang to her feet. She stretched an inviting hand to both her mother and Miss Susanna. I shall proceed to hustle you about the rest of the grounds before luncheon. Im going to the study to work this afternoon. Dont dare lock it up. She laid energetic command upon Miss Hamilton.

Whats to become of my sight-seeing tour? doughtily demanded Miss Susanna.

Corporal Macy will conduct it. Order her to it, and promise her a commission of major, Marjorie merrily proposed.

Yes, genius is really beginning to burn again, Miss Susanna teasingly commented. Jerry shall earn her commission. As she spoke she had allowed Marjorie to pull her to her feet.

Lets walk down by the gate, Marjorie proposed. I wish Captain to see that wonderful Chinese white lilac bush that once grew in the royal Chinese gardens.

They were not more than halfway across the space of lawn intervening between the rustic seat and the white, feathery plumed lilac bush when the eyes of all three picked up the trim lines of a small black roadster which had stopped at the entrance gates. There were two persons in the roadster. One of them, a tall, broad-shouldered man in gray tweeds and motor hat to match, was already out of the car. He had turned to give an assisting hand to a young woman who vaguely resembled him. She smiled happily at him as she stepped lightly to the ground. The two turned their backs on the car and approached the gates.

Its Leslie Cairns! Marjorie said in a low, astounded tone.

Its Can it be? Miss Susanna shaded her eyes from the sun with a small, sturdy hand. I believe it is Peter Carden!

CHAPTER XXV
UNDER THE TULIP TREE

Well, Peter, the years have dealt lightly with you, was Miss Susannas greeting as she held out a hand to Alec Cardens runaway son.

She had heard from Marjorie of the recent agreeable change in Leslie Cairns.

Marjorie had felt it only fair to Leslie to acquaint Miss Susanna with that change. The old lady now divined that Peter Carden had come to the Arms on a friendly errand. Her quick brain had instantly arrived at the truth as she glanced from Leslie to Peter Carden. Leslie was his daughter. Followed immediately the recollection of the financiers altered name.

So you changed your name to Cairns, and this is your daughter, she continued with abruptness. In her astonishment she momentarily forgot to make introductions.

Yes. Peter Cairns showed admiration of the intrepid little woman who had successfully fought off his bullying father and a college board largely composed of rascals. His keen eyes registered an expression of deference which he seldom accorded either men or women. This is my daughter, Leslie, Miss Susanna. He drew Leslie gently forward. She came to meet you and to see Miss Dean. I came to see you.

Im glad you have. I might not have said that years ago, but I can say it now. Miss Susanna introduced Peter Cairns and Leslie to Mrs. Dean, and the financier to Marjorie. The latter and Leslie had already exchanged friendly salutations.

Marjorie thought she had never before seen Leslie look so well. Beauty, even prettiness of the regulation type she would never have. There was a new expression of light and animation on her face, however, which made her what her father had often called her as a child: his ugly beauty. The loose, unprepossessing droop to her mouth which Marjorie had formerly most disliked in her features was gone. A half humorous little quirk had taken the place of the ugly droop. It brightened her face wonderfully. Always of extremely symmetrical figure she was at her best today in a pale blue broadcloth dress. The softening grace of a wide summer fur draped her shoulders. Every detail of her apparently simple toilet had been carefully chosen. Leslie was a model of smart attiring.

I dont feel much older than when I was Peter Harum-scarum, as John used to call me, smiled the financier. I have had many a good and many a bad time at the Hedge. It has been mine for two years. I bought it from John. I am glad old Alec died. A hard thing to say of ones own father, perhaps. He had a hard hand, and a hard nature. I was glad to hear that you fought things to a finish with him.

You may say what you please to me about Alec Carden, Peter. I know it will be the truth. I dislike to hear a man who was detested by his children while he lived hypocritically mourned by them after Providence has mercifully removed him from their midst, Miss Hamilton declared with candid relish. Come up to the house and have luncheon with us. I hear you are a king of finance. Your history after you ran away from home must be interesting. You werent more than twenty-four when you went, were you?

Twenty-five. Peter Cairns laughed, a short bitter sound. Thank you for the invitation, Miss Hamilton. Some other day well accept with pleasure. We have a business engagement today with a man named Peter Graham. He and Leslie looked at each other and laughed.

Her glance toward him was a vivid brightening of feature which Marjorie thought beautiful. Wont you come over and sit down under the big tulip tree? she invited winningly. We have been sitting there in the sunshine loving the spring outdoors.

Yes, do. Peter, go and bring that seat over here under the tulip tree with the other, directed Miss Susanna pointing out a nearby rustic seat.

Yesm. The usually silent, taciturn man, who kept his large office force in a state of continual awe, ran like a boy to bring up the rustic bench and place it under the tulip tree opposite the other.

Now, Peter, what in the world prompted you to come to see me? the old lady inquired briskly, as she re-seated herself on the bench. Mrs. Dean courteously excused herself and walked on to the house. She decided that the four she had left would get along better without her. Miss Susanna and Leslie sat on one seat. Marjorie and Peter Cairns on the other.

Oh, a number of things, Peter Cairns replied with an odd little duck of the head which Miss Susanna recalled him as a boy.

You two, she indicated father and daughter, are full of pleasant mystery. Your faces give you away.

It is pleasant mystery; very pleasant, he replied with friendly conviction. This is what its all about. In his short-cut fashion he quickly outlined what he had already informed Leslie regarding the ownership of the site she had chosen on which to build the garage.

I took the property away from Leslie because I was not pleased with her, he continued frankly. Saxe refunded the money. He was entirely innocent in the matter. I took the sixty thousand dollars refund and invested it for Leslie. It was her money. She had paid far too much for the site. As the site belonged to the Carden estate and the Carden estate belonged to me I took over the whole garage enterprise. Leslie had to bear the loss of the money she had used for construction and other foolish purposes. I wanted to show her what a flivver shed made.

We agreed to tell this tale together. Ive told my part of it. Now Leslie will tell hers. Your turn, Cairns II, he raised his heavy brows meaningly at Leslie.

My father told me if I could think up a good reason for having my garage site back again, he would give it to me. The requirements were that whatever I wanted it for must benefit Hamilton College and all connected with it. He said it must be an original reason. Leslie came to the point with the same celerity as was Peter Cairnss habit.

I tried at first to think of something that would work out with your plans, Miss Dean, she now addressed Marjorie. I knew you had long since provided against emergency. Every time I thought of the word originality I thought of Leila Harper. I used to think when I was at Hamilton that she was originality. Leslie smiled briefly. Miss Monroe raves over her. She says she is a dramatist, stage manager, actor and so forth. This is my idea. Id like to build a theatre on the garage site. Id call it the Leila Harper Playhouse. Id present it to Hamilton College with the proviso that Miss Harper should always control the theatre and the policy of the plays. I would like to will her to Hamilton College as a rare dramatist, actor and manager. Leslie paused. Once fairly started on her proposal she had grown more and more animated.

You take my breath! Marjorie gave a little rapturous gasp. I should say your plan was original. I think its the very heart of gracious generosity. I love Leila, Miss Cairns, and wish more than I can say to have her appreciated and honored at Hamilton.

She ought to be appreciated. She is going to be. You see a theatre will be of benefit to all the campus folks. It will be a source of amusement and pleasure to all. The money resulting from the plays should go to help the dormitory along. It will train girls who have histrionic ability for the stage. It will encourage students to play-writing. There will be prizes offered, so many each year for the best in plays, perhaps for exceptionally fine acting. My father will endow it. I shall put a part of my money into the endowment provided my idea is accepted by the Travelers. My name is not to be mentioned in it. My father doesnt wish his to be, either.

None of the Travelers could or would refuse such an offer, Miss Cairns. Remember it is first of all for Leila. She has worked so hard to give the campus good plays. Not to mention all the splendid things shes done for Hamilton as a Traveler. Marjorie sang Leilas praises with a high heart. Yet none of us would wish yours or your fathers name to be withheld. It would be our grateful pleasure to tell others of your splendid gift.

You make it seem the thing for us to do I dont know. Let me come again and talk with you about it. My father and I are partners now, she threw him a fond comradely glance. He and Miss Susanna had listened and let youth talk out its own matters of interest.

It was an hour later when Peter Cairns and Leslie left the Arms, happy in the long step that had been taken that day toward the partnership of which they had talked and dreamed in bygone years in New York.

Miss Susanna has changed more than any other person I ever knew, were the financiers first words to Leslie as they drove away from Hamilton Arms. She was a sweet woman until after she had so much trouble with my father and that rascally board. I was only a little boy then. I never saw her again after I left Carden Hedge until a few years ago when I came up here to see John. She looked like a fierce, sullen little creature of the wild, ready to snarl at a word. Now she is charming. She looks as though she had found what we have happiness.

Blame it on Bean, Leslie said with a shadow of her old satiric smile. She can change anything. She even put over the great transformation on me.

Back at the Arms Jerry, who had successfully put dozens of plump dahlia tubers into the soft brown earth under Jonass somewhat critical eye, was now racing across the lawn to the tulip tree.

I saw the company from afar. Who were they? she called out when within a few feet of the rustic benches where Miss Susanna and Marjorie had reseated themselves. No one I ever saw before. I couldnt label either one of them.

You have seen them both before, Jeremiah, Marjorie calmly assured. The young lady was Leslie Cairns. The man was our gasoline bogie.

What-t? Has one hob-goblin wed another. Dont tell me the grand Hob-goblin is married! Jerry looked ridiculous consternation.

Who said anything about being married. The gasoline bogie is Leslie Cairnss father.

Then he must be a house robber. What was he doing around the Carden estate at that hour of the night? Jerry demanded.

He is not a house robber. Marjorie was now laughing. He is a house owner. He owns Carden Hedge, and his name is Peter Carden. He is the Carden son who ran away from home and changed his name to Peter Cairns.

Good night. Her eyes on Marjorie, Jerry went to sit down on the end of one of the two benches. She missed the bench and sat down forcefully on the soft grass.

Can you beat it? she giggled as she scrambled to her feet and dropped down beside Marjorie, this time in the middle of the bench. Can you blame me for that flivver? Ive heard of being overcome by astonishment. It just happened to Jeremiah.

CHAPTER XXVI
THE IRISH MINUET

The Travelers presented The Knight of the Northern Sun at the Hamilton Concert Hall on the evening after that of the re-opening day of college following the Easter vacation. Lucy Warner had asked and received President Matthewss hearty permission to use the hall for the Norse play and afterwards for any other attractions which Page and Dean might wish to offer.

The Norse play was the most ambitious drama the Travelers had yet undertaken. They had gone to great trouble and pains to costume and produce the play inexpensively, but with realism. Nor was the audience which crowded the large hall to the doors composed entirely of students. Since the presentation of the first show by Page and Dean almost two years previous, interested citizens of the town of Hamilton and residents of Hamilton Estates had shown flattering eagerness to obtain seats for Page and Deans shows.

Augusta Forbes scored heavily as Godoran, the Norse hero, who, until he met the fair Nageda, boasted that he had looked earnestly at no womans face save his mothers. Doris was the lovely, golden-haired Nageda, who fell in love with Godoran at sight but was carried off as a hostage by barbarian hordes on the day of her initial meeting with her hero.

The play netted the dormitory fund over a thousand dollars. Augusta and Doris stepped into the spot light of campus admiration and were f?ted by their friends for upwards of a week afterward. Marjorie attended the presentation of the drama with her mother, Jerry, Miss Susanna and Jonas. It was her mothers last evening at the Arms and this sad knowledge put her in a rather forlorn mood. Then, too, she could not help thinking of Hal. She had suggested the title of the play as a result of seeing the costume of polar knight Hal Macy had worn at the merry-making in Sanford on Christmas Eve. Now she saw Hal as the knight, rather than Gussie.

She wondered vexedly why she always thought of Hal in connection with the sentimental. It was because he had told her he loved her, she supposed. She watched fascinatedly the progress of the play and listened with half impatient sadness to the impassioned words of love which Katherine Langly, who knew nothing about love, had put into the mouth of Godoran.

Following the play and her mothers departure for Sanford, Marjorie returned with conscientious interest to the work of the biography. Since the love story of Brooke Hamilton had entered into it she had revolutionized her whole idea of the plan. Now she plunged once more into the journal, working at it diligently. She tried to use every sentence of it which did not touch too personally on the side of the great mans romance which belonged to him and not to the world.

After a time it seemed to her that she knew every line of the journal by heart. She worked steadily on through the bright spring weather until she had arranged the delicate matter to suit her critical mind. Miss Susanna was greatly pleased over Marjories arranging of the sentimental part of her great-uncles history. She had taken a notion to edit the garden letters herself, and the two friends worked together in the study at the long library table, each with the same fond spirit toward the man in the portrait.

On the campus Leila Harper in fancy had ceased to be a post graduate. Instead she was living through an exciting period of Irish history as she rehearsed the heroic part of Desmond ODowd. As the time drew near for the presentation of the Irish drama she grew more pleased with the work of the cast than she had ever been with that of any other group of actors whom she had formerly used in her plays. Vera, as Mona of Lough Gur, the Irish maid from County Limerick, promised to be the chief attraction.

One thing to perfect her production Leila lacked. She needed a real man, one with an exceptionally sweet tenor voice to sing words to the minuet tune that accompanied the Irish minuet she and Vera were to give in the first act of the play. As the hero it was really Leilas place to sing the quaint words as she danced. Not being possessed of a tenor voice she could not carry out this part of the program. She decided after much thought to place a singer in the wings to voice the pretty Irish words.

Next difficulty was to obtain the singer. Following a brief season of despairing calculation as to whether a church singer in Hamilton might not undertake the solo, Leila hit upon another plan that brought a true Cheshire cat grin to her keen Celtic features. She hastily mailed a very ragged piece of Irish music to Hal Macy with a short accompanying letter, and buoyantly awaited results.

Leilas plan to bring Hal from Sanford to sing behind the scenes for her on the night of her play was not entirely one of self-interest. She had often thought Marjorie was nothing less than a sleeping beauty slated to awaken suddenly from a dream of life to reality and a lovers kiss. She had long guessed for herself that Hal loved Marjorie. She had also been the only one besides Marjorie who had seen Hals heart-broken expression as he had stood before Marjories portrait.

Of late Leila had shrewdly thought she had noticed signs of absent-minded dreaming on Marjories part which might or might not have to do with Hal. Miss Susanna had decreed that Marjorie might tell the original Travelers of the journal if she wished. Leila had listened to Marjories sad account of it and her wistful remarks afterward with her head on one side. She had there and then made up her mind to try out an experiment of her own upon Hal and Marjorie.

In due time Hals answer returned. Yes, he would be pleased to help her with her play in any way he could. He would make it a point to keep out of sight until after the performance. This Leila had also requested. He had learned the Irish song and thought it very pretty. Leila was tempted more than once to tell Jerry. She triumphantly fought off the desire and cannily kept her own counsel.

Now wholly engaged in what promised to completely outdo The Knight of the Northern Sun, Leila paid little attention to anything else. As she worked steadily and patiently toward perfecting the various actors in the difficult Celtic characters they were to represent she did not dream that she had already been selected as an object for honor.

Leslie Cairns had determined that Leila should receive her gift, and her fathers, of a theatre on the last day of chapel. Leslie had always remembered and been impressed by the various honor citations which she had witnessed when a student at Hamilton. She believed that Leila would prefer to be honored in the company of her fellow students in chapel than at the regular Commencement exercises. She argued that the gift she wished to offer Leila was germane to the traditional side of the college.

While Leila was carrying on a lively correspondence with Hal, Marjorie was wondering now and then why she had not heard from him. With Hal so much in her mind of late it was not strange that she should notice his delay in writing. She had written him over a month ago. He had not written to Jerry, either. Perhaps he had been away, or had been ill. No; if he had been ill Jerrys mother would have mentioned it to Jerry in a letter. Marjorie realized, all of a sudden, that she had grown quite concerned in the matter. She chided herself for being silly, and dismissed Hal from her thoughts until he happened to walk into them again.





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