Chase Josephine.

Marjorie Dean's Romance





You are too sweet for words. Jerry broke in upon her train of reflection. She purposely simpered so as to hide her pleased embarrassment of Marjories compliments.

Am I? Marjorie was not even seeing Jerry now. She was seeing Jerrys brother who refused to retire from her somber reflections. No; she valued Hals friendship as dearly as she did Leilas, Jerrys or that of any of her chums. Her adoration was for her captain and her general only. Now that she had a clearer understanding of Hals disappointment she felt a more personal sorrow toward him. She had glimpsed the desolation of a strong mans soul. The revelation had awakened in her a truer sympathy for him.

Come out of it. Jerry had paused directly in front of the chair on which Marjorie was leaning her elbows. She waved her arms making vigorous passes before the day-dreamers face. What is the matter, Bean? Two minutes ago you were one grand sweet smile. Now your expression is werry sad. You have not lost your last friend, Bean. Take heart. Jeremiah is here. Ah! I have it! Nothing like Bean Jingles to put the chee in chirk. Here we go!


Celostrous day; rip whoop-ter-ray;
We celebrate with zest:
Your feathers preen, resplendent Bean,
All dressed up in your best.

According to your jingle resplendent Bean must resemble a vain, strutting peacock. Marjorie came out of her retrospective reverie with a giggle.

No, indeed. I never meant to suggest such a thing. Regard yourself as a bird of Paradise, dear Bean, Jerry corrected.

I am not so conceited. Besides, Im not dressed up in my best. This particular set of feathers is far from gorgeous; and not even my second best.

Have a heart. Remember the claim of poetic license, and respect it. Your practical, unpoetic criticism is so discouraging. Dont put on the brake. There are more rhythmic inspirations to come. I feel them whirling madly in my gifted brain. I merely stopped for breath. Whir-r-r-r! Buzz-z-z-z! Im off again.


Oh, forth well hike, upon the pike,
Beyond the campus wall;
Well tread the green, sweet, agile Bean,
Until we hit the Hall.


A charming pair, well mount the stair;
Dear one, then take my arm:
Safe to fifteen, bewitching Bean
Ill guide you without harm.

CHAPTER IV
THE SPRINGTIME OF THE HEART

And you will please trouble yourself to recite that jingle again before it vanishes into nothingness, commanded a laughing voice from the doorway of the large, old-fashioned sleeping room. Leila Harper stood in the half-opened door, an attractive figure in the newest of English leather motor coats and sports hats.

Leila Greatheart, what a dandy coat and hat! Marjorie cried. She came forward, hands outstretched to meet Leila.

Here I come with a fine Irish dash. Leila made a funny cat-like leap into the room and caught Marjories welcoming hands in hers.

It is a hundred years since I saw you; or so it seems, she said in her whimsical way. Now I shall say not a word more until I have taken down Jeremiahs jingle. I happen to have a pencil, and bewitching Bean herself will furnish her Celtic friend with a bit of paper.

At your service. Let me conduct you to the writing desk, Marjorie took Leilas arm and escorted her to an open antique mahogany desk. She motioned Leila into the mahogany chair before it. There you are. She indicated several sizes of pale gray note paper bearing the monogram of the Arms. Isnt this beautiful paper, Leila? she commented. Miss Susanna put it here on purpose for us. She never uses it. She prefers white. This was Mr. Brooke Hamiltons own stationary.

You are two lucky children in a fairy castle, Leila declared. Now say me the jingle, Jeremiah. Then we will talk about everything and anything.

Ahem. Jerry coughed importantly. I may have to depend upon bewitching Bean to help me. I never remember my own ravings inspirations, I should say. Inspiration is it is well, it just is.

Is it? Leila inquired with raised brows and an engaging grin.

It certainly is, Jerry responded with a difficult solemnity. It broke up in an amused high-keyed chuckle. Merely to glance at Leila, posed in an attitude of expectant and ridiculous affability was to laugh.

After one or two hitches and a little prompting from Marjorie who also had designs on Jerrys funny effusions, Leila managed to record the three jingles, though she had arrived in time to hear only the last one of them.

Now we have a beginning. She exhibited open satisfaction of the penciled copy of Jerrys lively doggerel. She folded it twice and placed it in a pocket of her leather motor coat. I shall expect you to take down and save me all future jingles of Jeremiah, Beauty, since you are the inspiration. Never fail to do so. Now you may talk to me about anything. I am so gracious.

I have copies of two jingles that Jeremiah spouted last week on an occasion when I brought her four letters from the mail-box. Ill mail you copies of them tomorrow. Where is Midget? I know she cant be far away.

Marjorie glanced inquiringly at Leila.

She is lost somewhere in space downstairs. She is but a small doll in this great house. And you now promise me two more jingles. Two and two are four, and four is better than two. Soon we shall have a book. It must have a green crushed Levant binding with a portrait of Jeremiah reciting one of her own jingles as a frontispiece and the story of her life printed in gold letters on the front cover.

It looks as though I might become as famous as Bean, Harper, Page or any other campus high light if that crushed Levant edition doesnt flivver, Jerry said hopefully.

Full of their usual light-hearted raillery the trio of girls presently went downstairs to find not only Vera Mason in the sitting room with Miss Hamilton. Ronny Linde, Muriel Harding, Lucy Warner and Robin Page as well were there, clustered around Miss Susanna. They greeted Jerry and Marjorie with a concerted shout and rushed them affectionately.

How did the four of you manage to keep so quiet? Jerry demanded. Im amazed.

You neednt be. You were so noisy yourselves you didnt hear us. But we heard you, Vera assured. We heard three different varieties of giggle, all going at once. Leila was told to hurry upstairs and bring you down instantly. Instead She cast an accusing glance at Leila.

Ah, but you were in good company, so I may be forgiven. Leila made a gallant bow to Miss Susanna.

You certainly are a fine Irish gentleman with your lordly manner and nice leather overcoat, complimented Miss Susanna, her brown eyes dancing.

Am I not? modestly agreed Leila. What I need most to make me impressive is a pair of green leather boots and a chimney pot hat.

Ill cast you as the romantic Irish hero of a play in precisely that costume. See if I dont, Robin Page laughingly threatened.

Who will write the play? Leila quizzed interestedly.

You of course. Robin leveled a designating finger at Leila. Thats a bully idea; to give a romantic Irish play. And for once you may act as well as be stage manager. So glad I happened to see you this afternoon and hear about your green leather boots and chimney pot hat.

As you will not require anything of me but to write the play, manage the stage and play the leading part Ill not change your gladness to sorrow by snubbing you. Still I am wondering where I am to find the boots and the hat. And let me add a condition of my own. I will not be stage manager, actor or playwright unless Miss Susanna will promise to come to the show. Leila launched this proviso with her most ingratiating smile in Miss Hamiltons direction.

Ill come, the old lady obligingly promised. Now that she had surrendered, as she humorously termed her change of heart toward Hamilton College she was almost as eager as her girls to have some part in campus fun and enterprise. Will it be a house play?

No it will not. Marjorie and Robin spoke the same words, and almost together. They looked at each other and laughed. The same thought had prompted the same answer.

Wise Page and Dean. They see money in featuring Leila as the hero in her green boots and chimney pot hat, was Ronnys light explanation of the exchange of eye messages.

Do we? Well, rather! Marjorie said with warmth.

Uh-huh, emphasized Robin. The campus dwellers will mob the gym to see Irish Leila as an Irish hero in an Irish play. Well reap a bully harvest of dollars for the dormitory.

You and Vera can do that Irish contra dance you danced at Page and Deans first show when we were junies. Muriel grew animated. In itself its worth the price of admission.

Oh, do have it in the play, Leila, rose the general plea.

Leila bowed, hand over her heart. How celebrated Midget and Leila are! That means Midget must play the part of the maid from Lough Gur, of the county Limerick. That is the place in Ireland where the fairies yet hold their invisible revels. And I think Midget might be taken for one of the Lough Gur fairy queens, she said fancifully. I am afraid to invite her home with me to Ireland for fear the fairy folk may steal her and shut her up in a mountain.

Not if I see them first, Vera was positive upon this point.

Midget is small, but valiant. Leila rolled laughing eyes at her friends. Ah, but you would not see the fairies, Midget, when they slipped you away. You would not see them until you were safe inside the mountain.

Then Ill keep far from Ireland. Ill be Irish in plays only, Vera vowed.

Be sure and save a good part for Luciferous Warneriferous, was Muriels next thoughtful request. She simply loves to act.

Oh, I do not. Lucy looked alarmed. A gale of laughter went up at her horrified denial. I cant act. You know that, Muriel Harding.

You should learn to act, Muriel said with severity. It is your duty. I am giving you good advice. These persons are laughing at you.

Who made them laugh? Keep your advice. Im furious with you. Br-r-r-r! Lucy shook her head savagely, thrust her chin forward and fixed her greenish eyes upon Muriel in a frozen glare which convulsed that delighted wag. She thoroughly enjoyed teasing dignified Lucy to the point of retaliating.

Oh, splendid! You look every inch a villain! Muriel simulated profound admiration. You have true histrionic ability, Luciferous. Let my flattering opinion sink deep, and encourage you.

Ill let it go in one ear and out the other, was Lucys derisive retort. Dont dare choose me even for a villager in your Irish play, Leila Harper. Ill be far more useful as a press agent. Ill get up a handbill about the play, and mimeograph it.

Bully idea, Luciferous. Be sure and hit all the high spots. When you have the handbills ready you may stand outside Hamilton Hall and distribute them to the campus dwellers. Jerry patted Lucy on the shoulder with force.

Ouch! Thats one of my high spots you just hit. Lucy dodged out of Jerrys reach, rubbing her assaulted shoulder. Id rather give out handbills any time than act, she declared with a defiant glance at laughing Muriel.

Be calm, Luciferous, soothed Leila with an assuring grin. I would rather have the handbills than you on the stage as a villain. It is Matchless Muriel who may have the pleasure of playing that part. She will have plenty of lines to learn. Leila nodded significantly toward Muriel who merely continued to smile.

Biographers, bill posters, stage managers, actors, et cetera; attention! Vera called out. She pointed to the tall floor clock, imperturbably ticking off the minutes. Its five minutes to six. Too bad I always have to be time crier for this reckless aggregation. She heaved a dismal sigh. What would you do without me?

Be laggards all the rest of our lives, faithful Midget. You are one of the worlds finest institutions. Leila beamed patronizing appreciation on her diminutive chum.

I know my own worth. I am surprised to find you have an inkling of it, Vera retorted with complacent dignity.

A dignified Midget is so impressive, murmured Leila. See how wrapped up in her small self she is. She has forgotten about being town crier. I see I must .

Dont trouble yourself. Im still on the job. Its now five minutes later than it was five minutes ago, Vera hastily announced.

Come, good Travelers. Muriel took the middle of the floor in a stiff recitative attitude. Raising one arm she declaimed in a high stilted voice: Let us journey with all speed toward shelter ere dark night oertakes us.

Something like that, was Ronnys ultra modern agreement. With so much talk and so little action it may be midnight ere we see the Hall. Im not speaking of myself, or of Miss Susanna. Were not loquacious.

You only miss being loquacious because you havent happened to start an argument with Matchless Muriel. I should hope you werent speaking of Miss Susanna. Jerry put on a shocked expression.

Dont squabble over me, Miss Hamilton said in a meek little voice. Followed a burst of ready laughter. She said as it died out: Im going to send you home now, children. Come back tomorrow evening to dinner. Bring Kathie and Lillian with you. Robin, please invite Phil and Barbara. Tell Phil to bring her fiddle. I will invite Peter and Anne Graham, and Signor Baretti. He will like to come to our party. He and Peter will be company for Jonas. I shall make Jonas sit at the table with us.

The Travelers thought Miss Susannas sisterly regard for Jonas one of her finest characteristics. While he had been a youthful servitor of the Hamiltons during Brooke Hamiltons declining years, he had filled the triple role of brother, servitor and friend to the Lady of the Arms during her long lonely reign in the great house. He was many years older than Miss Susanna, but still a strong, sturdy man.

Jonas looked upon Miss Susanna as an empress, to be reverenced and obeyed. Miss Hamiltons oft repeated assertion to him: You are a direct importation of Providence, Jonas, willed me by Uncle Brooke, had made a deep impression on him at first utterance. As a consequence, his one aim in life was that of faithful service. Rarely could she coax him to appear socially at the Arms, even among the few friends who knew his worth.

Youre always thinking up something perfectly, splendidly hospitable! As she rose from her chair to see the Travelers to the front door Marjorie pounced lovingly upon the Lady of the Arms, wrapping both arms around her.

A hold up, a hold up! cried Jerry. Im going to join in it. She made a playful attempt to pry Marjories arms loose from about the old lady. The others gathered around the pair, mischievous and laughing. They put Miss Susanna through a gentle wooling which left her with ruffled hair, her lace collar awry and her cheeks pink from the loving salutes of fresh young lips.

The Travelers went down the wide stone walk from the house looking back, waving and calling gay good-byes to the small, alert woman at the head of the veranda steps. The gate reached, Marjorie turned to wave her hand again. She mentally contrasted Miss Susannas happy expression of the present occasion with the sharp, doubting, half resentful gaze the mistress of the Arms had turned upon her when she had first been ushered into the library by Jonas to meet Brooke Hamiltons kinswoman. Where there had once been shadow, somber silence, loneliness, was now light of love, gay friendly voices, sympathy, companionship.

It had been Miss Susannas wish that Marjorie and Jerry should be at the Arms to greet the return of Spring. Remembering this a rare, rapturous flash of exaltation swept over Marjorie. She was thinking as she waved her hand to the little old lady on the veranda that Spring had not only returned to the Arms. It had miraculously returned to Miss Susannas heart.

CHAPTER V
FOR THE GOOD OF THE DORM

Whats on your mind, Leila Greatheart? Youve thrown out tantalizing little scraps of what Id call non-information ever since we left the Arms. Now stand, and deliver. Marjorie made her plea for enlightenment as Leila closed the door of her room and favored her chums with one of her bland, wide smiles.

Dinner over at the Hall, the eight Travelers had lingered in Miss Remsons snug office to talk to the little manager for a pleasant half hour. They had just made port in Leilas and Veras room for what promised to be a most interesting session.

Whats on my mind, Beauty? Leila regarded Marjorie owlishly. More than you might think, should you judge by appearance, she said with mock seriousness. I am enchanted with myself because of my own schemes. Sit in a circle around me and listen to the golden runes of Leila, the witch woman. I see gold, gold, gol-l-d.

She made a sudden forward sweep of the arm toward Jerry who was about to seat herself on Veras couch beside Lucy Warner. Jerry raised a mild shriek of surprise, flopped against Lucy who was near the end of the couch. Unprepared for such a jolt, Lucy rolled off the end of the couch to the floor. Jerry clutched wildly at her arm. Her balance upset she followed Lucy to the floor and sat down upon her amid shouts of merriment from the six gleeful spectators to the double mishap.

Now see where you put me. Jerry still sat on the floor regarding Leila with an air of deep injury. Lucy had scrambled to her feet and made for a chair. The very least you can do is help me up. Give me your hands, and dont dare let go. Jerry held up her hands to her still mirthful hostess.

Leila essayed the task of raising Jerry to her feet. Laughter robbed her of power to lift Jerry. It also robbed Jerry of power to raise herself from the floor. After three separate attempts at co-operation, all mirthfully unsuccessful, Jerry was hoisted to her feet by the combined efforts of Marjorie, Ronny and Muriel.

You are an awful hostess. Jerry opened her mouth widely on awful and ducked her head violently forward at Leila. First you scare your guests by making wild sweeping swoops at them. Then you laugh at them when they come to grief. This time Ill choose the middle of the couch, and be safe. Very cautiously she re-seated herself on the couch, squarely in the center.

Well sit one on each side of you, Jeremiah, so that you cant fall off the couch again. Ronny plumped down on the couch on one side of Jerry. Muriel obligingly seated herself on the other side.

I was shoved off that couch and sat upon by Jeremiah, yet no one appears to remember it, Lucy mournfully complained.

I remember it. You tipped me off your lap, accused Jerry.

But you tipped me off the couch first, reminded Lucy. I forgive you, but never again will I sit on a couch beside you.

I always try to look upon everything that happens as for the best, Jerry returned with angelic sweetness.

There were no bones broken, but there was plenty of fuss made. Leila thus summed up the accident. Now pay attention to me, and let us have no more nonsense. Whereupon she burst out laughing, thus starting her companions merriment afresh.

Quiet finally restored she began again. This time with the fine earnestness which she could readily summon when occasion demanded.

Travelers, dear, she addressed the now attentive seven, we have left only six days of March, then April, May and the early part of June in which to earn money for the dormitory. We must give as many shows as we can manage between now and Commencement. We must give the Irish play the first week in May. I shall write it in one week. It will be nothing startling, but it will be a play, I grant you that. I shall have a sorry siege to make the cast learn their lines in two weeks. It must be done. We must rehearse four nights in a week. Vera will make cunning Irish token cards and we shall sell them for a silver quarter apiece.

First I had heard of my new job, but I accept. May I inquire into the mystery of an Irish token card? Vera asked with an assumption of profound respect.

You will draw many little pictures of the cast, Midget, on many little cards, was Leilas somewhat indefinite answer. You will learn more about my Celtic schemes when I am not so busy.

Oh, very well. See that you dont interrupt any of my busy hours. If you see me put up a busy sign on my side of the room, respect it, warned Vera.

See that you do not again interrupt me, flung back Leila, scowling portentously at her diminutive roommate.

Everyone else interrupted, however, and Leila had to come to a laughing stop in her harangue until she had enlightened the party regarding Irish token cards.

Like her artist father, Vera was gifted with the ability to draw. Leilas idea of having small, head-and-shoulder, pen-and-ink sketches of the various characters in the play drawn on oblong cards, three by one and a half inches, was decidedly interesting from an artistic as well as a financial standpoint. Below the sketch would appear the stage name of the character, the true name and the date of the play.

Vera wont be able to do many cards, Leila. She wont have time. She cant make the rough sketches until we have our costumes and know ourselves how we are going to look, was Ronnys doubtful view of the feature.





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