Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Managerñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“That’s what you call Ruffle when you are trying to coax him to jump through your arms. You can’t hope that I’ll be much impressed by such blarney,” Ronny pointed out with hastily assumed dignity. “I’m going to leave you now. I came here for a purpose, but I’ve forgotten what it was. I’ll have to go back to our room and consult Luciferous. Luckily, I confided in her before starting out.” Ronny flitted from the room in her graceful, light-footed fashion.
“I wish I could see fluffy old Ruffle and squabble with him and General for our favorite chair.” Marjorie’s eyes grew suddenly wistful. “And, Captain! I miss her most of all. More so this year than I did before I was graduated.”
“I miss Father and Mother sometimes, but Hal is the one I miss.” Jerry’s color heightened a little as she mentioned her brother’s name to Marjorie. “You know Hal and I were pally at home. Outside the house he was always with the boys, but inside we spent many hours together. He taught me to box, fence, swim and ride. And during the past two summers at the beach you’ve seen for yourself how much we have been together.”
During the short Thanksgiving vacation in Sanford Jerry had been faintly encouraged by Marjorie’s warmly cordial manner to Hal. The strain between them which her keen intuition had detected when at the beach had vanished. As a matter of fact, Marjorie welcomed the four days of pleasure and happiness at home as a release from responsibility. She wished to think of nothing but home and its charms. She hailed Hal frankly as her cavalier of old and treated him with all the gay graciousness of her first acquaintance with him.
Hal was too deeply in love with Marjorie not to understand her. He knew that she was not behaving toward him according to some carefully laid plan of her own. Her overflowing gaiety was spontaneous. She was like a blithe, lovely child, full of the joy of living, who looked to him to be her playmate. So Hal made a Herculean effort to crowd the love she did not want into his heart and close the door upon it. He resolutely forbade himself to think of her as other than his old-time “girl.”
“Hal is the finest young man I ever met, or ever expect to meet,” Marjorie said with an energy of enthusiasm far removed from love. “I hope he will find a girl who is as splendid as he is, and marry her. I wish Hal would fall in love with Ronny, and Ronny with Hal. They would be worthy of each other.”
Marjorie laughed as she caught the variety of expressions struggling for place on Jerry’s round face. “You look so funny, Jeremiah.”
“Can you wonder? Ronny never occurred to me in the light of a sister-in-law.” Jerry’s variegated expression dissolved in a broad smile. “You take my breath. I’ll have to mention it to her when she comes in again. Her views on the subject might give me another shock.”
“Jerry Macy, if you do, I’ll – I’ll – ” Marjorie caught Jerry by her well-cushioned shoulders and began to shake her with playful force.
“Don’t you dare, Jeremiah.” She emphasized her words with little shakes. “Promise me you won’t.”
“What do you take me for?” Jerry asked reproachfully. “I’d never have the nerve to mention old Hal to Ronny. No, Marvelous Match Maker, you’ll never be able to marry Hal off so easily as that. There are scads and oodles and slathers of lovely girls in the world, but there’s one grand reason why none of them will ever give me a glad hand as a sister-in-law. Hal saw you first.”
“Yes, little girls, I’m so glad to be home again! I’ve been outdoors tramping around the estate since early this morning. Do give me another cup of tea, Jerry.” Miss Susanna had ordered the dinner dessert served in the tea room with tea as an after-dinner beverage instead of coffee.
“Yours truly.” Jerry refilled the thin priceless cup, it belonged to the famous Chinese tea set, and offered it to Miss Susanna.
“It has seemed so strange without you, Miss Susanna.” Marjorie bent affectionate eyes on the upright little figure in black silk. “Not to see you for six weeks during the college year is a long time now.”
“So it is; so it is,” nodded the old lady. “I had no intention of leaving the Arms for that shrieking demon of noise, New York. The last time you had tea with me, Marjorie, was just before Hallowe’en. I was thinking then about having a Hallowe’en frolic for you girls. Then Jonas brought me a letter from an old friend of mine who lives in New York. In the letter he mentioned something so interesting that it set me to thinking hard. The upshot of it was I told Jonas I intended to go to New York. He nearly collapsed with amazement.” Miss Susanna chuckled at the recollection of Jonas’s unbelieving surprise. “When I went on to tell him why I was going he was as much pleased with my plan as I was.”
Miss Hamilton paused. Her alert dark eyes were dancing with some secret of her own which gave promise of being signally amusing. Jerry and Marjorie knew the signs. Miss Susanna was on the verge of imparting to them something in the nature of a pleasant surprise. Jerry’s surmise of the afternoon that the last of the Hamiltons had gone to New York in the interests of the dormitory flashed into the minds of both girls.
“The odd feature of the whole affair is, Jonas has been elected to go to New York, now that I’ve returned to the Arms.” Miss Susanna’s gleeful, child-like chuckle was heard. “Poor Jonas. He looked so horrified when I informed him of what I had in store for him.”
“Shall we inquire what it’s all about?” Jerry flashed Marjorie the pretense of a bewildered glance.
“It’s the only way we’ll ever find out,” sighed Marjorie in an exaggeratedly hopeless tone. “Unless we pounce upon Jonas in the hall and bully him into telling us.” She turned the merest fraction of a glance on Miss Hamilton as she proposed this violent means of obtaining information.
“A good plan,” heartily approved Jerry. “I’ll improve upon it. I suggest that we rush him, or anyone else around here who may happen to know something we don’t, but would like to know. Let’s begin now.”
“Come on.” Marjorie rose and brandished two bare, smooth, dimpled arms threateningly in Miss Susanna’s direction. Jerry followed suit, even more menacing of gesture. Her ridiculous, desperado thrust of chin, the slow, determined advance of the pair upon the little, bright-eyed figure in the chair further added to the astonishment of Jonas as he suddenly appeared in the tea room to refill the tea-pot.
“I guess I got here just in time,” he slyly declared, his mouth drawing into a humorous pucker as he picked up the tea-pot to refill it with fresh tea.
“In time to land yourself in difficulties; not to save me,” Miss Susanna told him between chuckles. “We’re both threatened with attack, Jonas, unless we stand and deliver our great secret.”
Miss Susanna had thrown herself into the spirit of the bit of by-play with the merry zest of a child. Since she had known Marjorie and the light-hearted, fun-loving coterie of Hamilton girls she had appeared to grow younger and younger. That particular, congenial galaxy of youth Miss Susanna had taken to her heart as a charm against crabbed old age.
“Maybe we’d better not make any resistance, Miss Susanna,” Jonas advised with a timid air. It reduced the two desperadoes to a state of giggles which utterly broke up their threatening aspect.
“Maybe we hadn’t,” the old lady agreed with brisk amusement. “You sit down at the table with us and have a cup of tea, Jonas. There’s safety in numbers.” She graciously waved Jonas into the one vacant chair of the four around the table. Had he been her elder brother instead of her major-domo of many years she could not have treated him with more kindly affection.
“It’s mean in me to tease you children,” she said, flashing her guests one of her bright smiles. “Forgive me. I’m really going to tell you all about it now.”
“The past is forgot,” Jerry moaned ungrammatically.
“Thank you,” Miss Susanna responded gratefully. “I was hoping it might be. Now for the tale of my adventures in New York. My lawyer, who was young when I was, left Hamilton many years ago and established himself in New York. His name is Richard Henry Garrett. He never married. During our younger days we lost track of each other. Later we met again and after Uncle Brooke’s death I engaged him to attend to the legalities of the estate. Uncle Brooke’s lawyer died shortly after my great uncle’s decease.
“Since the laying of the dormitory corner stone last fall,” Miss Susanna continued, “I have often wondered what I could give the girls who are to live there that would be of use and benefit to all. When the dormitory is completed I shall carry out a certain wish of Uncle Brooke’s of which at present I prefer not to speak. What I was anxious to do was something personal for the girls’ welfare. In the midst of my quandary I received my old friend Richard’s letter. I had not finished reading it when the very idea I was seeking came to me. Let me read you the paragraph of his letter which furnished my inspiration.”
Miss Susanna drew from an ornamental ruffled silk pocket of her skirt the folded sheets of a letter. She unfolded them; hunted them for the desired paragraph. She quickly found it and read in her brisk tones:
“‘Since you used to be greatly interested in old and rare books you will remember the Ellerton’s fine private library which I once took you to see when you were in New York. It is to be sold soon, at auction, as a whole. The elder Ellertons have died and the heirs to the Ellerton estate prefer to convert the library into cash. It appears to be the chief aim of the rising generation to convert everything of beauty and worth, which has a monetary value, into dollars, regardless of tradition. So that splendid monument to learning, Steven Ellerton’s library, will come under the auctioneer’s hammer next month.’”
“I’m sure the Ellerton library couldn’t be finer than the Hamilton Arms’ library,” Marjorie said in loyal defense of the remarkable collection of volumes gathered together by Brooke Hamilton.
“It is not as complete, if I remember rightly,” Miss Susanna said, looking pleased at Marjorie’s staunch opinion. “Uncle Brooke has some rare Chinese and Japanese books and a collection of Spanish incunabula which I know the Ellerton library lacks, as well as a good many other rare and curious books of which he possessed the only known copies.”
Miss Susanna’s face broke into a little, amused smile as she glanced from one to the other of the two girls.
“You girls must surely understand by this time what my inspiration was. You both look a trifle bewildered. Can’t you add two and two, children?” she asked playfully. “You ought to know the result.”
“But it’s such an overwhelming result, Miss Susanna!” Marjorie drew a long breath. “Two, which stands for the dormitory girls, plus, two, which stands for the Ellerton library make – ” Marjorie paused. She gazed at Miss Hamilton, her eyes bright as stars. “It’s too wonderful even to think about; – until I grow more used to the idea. It’s too great a gift, Miss Susanna, after all you’ve already done for the dormitory project.”
“Nonsense. Nothing is too great for me to give, provided I have it to give, and feel like giving it,” declared the old lady brusquely. “I like the idea of the dormitory having its own library. I have only one request to make concerning it. I’d like to have the library named the Brooke Hamilton Dormitory Library.”
“Just as though we could give it another name!” Marjorie exclaimed with fond fervor. “I’d say it ought to be named for you but I know you would rather use Mr. Brooke’s name.”
“Of course I should.” Miss Hamilton gave an emphatic little nod of the head. “I shouldn’t like the ‘Susanna Hamilton Dormitory Library,’ as a name. Should you, child?”
“Yes; I should,” Marjorie disagreed with affectionate frankness. Jerry echoed the opinion.
“You’re a couple of nice children. I appreciate your loyal approval,” Miss Susanna told them. Her tones took on an odd grimness as she added: “My name shall not appear in connection with a Hamilton College movement, however worthy it may be. In the case of his name, there’s a difference. He had the right to hope that his name might be perpetuated in the college his genius and benevolence raised up.”
“‘The college his genius and benevolence raised up,’” Marjorie meditatively repeated. “How beautiful that would be in a biography of Mr. Brooke Hamilton.” She flushed, but looked bravely at Miss Susanna. She had, in thus speaking, obeyed an irresistible impulse.
Answering color signals displayed themselves in the old lady’s cheeks. A frown sprang to her brows. It disappeared almost instantly. Her alert dark eyes grew tender. “It was a fortunate day for Hamilton when a certain curly-haired little girl first set foot on the campus. Why not call the new dormitory the Marjorie Dean Dormitory? The dream dormitory that Marjorie Dean’s unselfish work made a reality. That’s what Uncle Brooke would say if he were here.”
“How I love you for saying that, Miss Susanna, about Mr. Brooke Hamilton!” Marjorie cried happily. “But I think Robin has done more hard work than I to make the dormitory a reality. It should be named for her.”
“Don’t you ever believe it, Miss Susanna.” Jerry laid emphasis on each word. “Marvelous Manager began it. Robin is a close second, though. The ‘dorm’ ought to be called the Page and Dean Dormitory. Sounds something like a business directory, but it tells the story. And the great beauty of it is this: – it includes both distinguished promoters.” Jerry directed a refulgent smile at Marjorie, who promptly made a saucy mouth at her.
“The Page and Dean Dormitory,” repeated Miss Susanna with a humorous glance at Jerry. “I rather like the sound of the combination. You’re right about it, Jerry. When one has two such retiring persons to deal with as Marjorie and Robin it becomes necessary to drag them both to the front. So be it. Now for Uncle Brooke’s study and our library catalogues. Only a limited number of them were issued. I wish you had been with me at the auction. There was some very brisk bidding at first. There were perhaps a dozen wealthy New York men interested in the auction. Richard Garrett represented me. I had nothing to do but keep quiet and listen to the bidding.”
Miss Hamilton continued to relate in her abrupt, lively way the interesting circumstances of the auction as they left the Chinese room and stepped into the lift which Jonas manipulated for them.
“Send Selma to clear away the tea things, Jonas,” she ordered as she stepped from the tiny elevator. “Then come to the study. You must go over the catalogues with us. Nothing like familiarizing yourself with the books you are going to pack.”
Jonas disappeared with alacrity. He returned as speedily to the study, an utterly pleased smile decorating his placid, old face. He was immensely proud of being invited to make a fourth member of the group in the study.
The four friends sat at the massive, claw-legged library table and were soon deep in exploring the copies of the auction catalogue with which Miss Hamilton had supplied them. They read by snatches, browsing avidly here and there among the descriptive pages; exclaiming exultantly over one rare book or another which they discovered listed there.
“I’m positively dizzy with pride and vanity over the dormitory’s wonder of a present!” Marjorie’s eyes gleamed like stars. There was a wealth of feeling in her gratefully gay utterance. Presently, she allowed the catalogue to drop from her hands to the table. She sat gazing at the erect little figure on the opposite side of the table with boundless affection. “I’m sure you must love the dream dormitory that you helped make a reality as dearly as we Travelers do,” she said fervently.
“We’ll say I have nothing against it,” Miss Susanna said dryly. “Why should I? It’s not on the campus.” She cast a defiant glance about her. “But we’ll not go into that subject. Back to our library. Having acquired it, the next thing to do is to get it here.” The independent donor declined to hear of her own generosity. “You’d best start for New York in the morning, Jonas,” was her next terse remark.
“What train, Miss Susanna?” Jonas inquired imperturbably.
“An early morning train. One that will bring you into New York, it ought to be called New Pandemonium Let Loose, while daylight lasts,” the old lady pithily replied.
Jerry and Marjorie were both smiling openly at the sudden imperative order Miss Susanna had launched at Jonas, and its tranquil reception.
“Yes, Jonas, for goodness sake don’t get lost in the wilds of New York after dark,” Jerry warned with a chuckle. “I hope you know who’s who, what’s what and where’s where in the metropolis.”
“I don’t; but I suppose I’ll have to learn.” Jonas echoed the chuckle. His highly cheerful expression evidenced the coming detail as being quite to his taste. “New York’s not much like it was when I was a young man and Mr. Brooke took me there with him once for a trip.”
Two pairs of bright eyes were turned on Jonas with an expression which bordered on reverence. It was something to marvel at – that this stately old man with his crown of thick, snowy hair had been the chosen traveling companion of Brooke Hamilton on a trip to New York. Miss Susanna watched them understandingly, experiencing a secret happiness in the unconscious girlish tribute offered her distinguished kinsman.
“It won’t take Jonas long to find his bearings,” she confidently predicted. “With the help of two or three workmen he can pack the library in short order. It will have to be stored at the Arms when it arrives, until the dormitory is completed. Jonas will see to having it shipped to the Arms by motor van. That will save time and extra handling. I want it here and off my mind before Christmas. I have received an invitation from a dear friend to spend Christmas with her and her family. I am thinking of accepting it.”
Miss Susanna peered mysteriously over her glasses at Marjorie and Jerry. She did not offer to divulge the name of the friend. Jonas raised a hand to his mouth as though to brush away a smile that flickered briefly upon his lips.
“Truly, Miss Susanna?” Marjorie cried out her pleasure of the announcement. Each year since she had come to know the old lady well she had invited her to spend the Christmas holidays at Castle Dean. On each occasion Miss Susanna had flatly refused to leave the Arms over the holidays, declaring that she would not consider the idea of passing Christmas Day away from her ancestral home.
“Yes, truly. You won’t need to worry this Christmas about my being lonely, child. I’m going back on my vow of years’ standing. I’ve found something stronger even than my love for the Arms. I’ve found the love of friends.” There was exultant triumph in Miss Hamilton’s forceful speech.
“I’m so glad,” Marjorie assured with hearty sincerity. Her cheery smile further conveyed her unenvious spirit at the news. She could only be glad because Miss Susanna had found such a boon. She surmised that through the friendly offices of Richard Garrett Miss Hamilton had come in touch again with the woman friend of whom she had just spoken. They had of course met in New York.
“Did you meet your friend in New York, Miss Susanna?” Jerry’s surprised curiosity got the better of her. “I don’t mean to be an old curiosity shop,” she instantly apologized, half laughing. “I scented an interesting story. I thought you might have met a girl chum whom you hadn’t seen for years and years.”
“No, Jerry; I did not meet my friend in New York.” Miss Susanna tried vainly to keep a sober face. The battery of bright, wondering eyes turned upon her proved too much for her. She laughed; a high, joyful little laugh in which Jonas’ deeper notes of amusement mingled. “I first met my friend on the road to the Arms; not such a long while ago,” she said with tender pride. “The interesting story of our friendship began with a broken basket handle and a young girl’s gracious courtesy toward a crusty old woman. I was very fortunate in meeting her. She turned out to be a royal young person who lived in a castle in the far country of Sanford. Since I’ve known her she’s often invited me to spend Christmas at Castle Dean. I’ve stayed at the Arms when I might have been happy in the royal palace of the King and Queen of Dean. I – ”
“Miss Susanna!” Marjorie and Jerry were now on their feet with a concerted jubilant shriek.
“Wait a second.” Miss Hamilton briefly warded off the impending, tumultuous embrace of two energetic pairs of arms. “One more remark; then you may hug me hard. Like all the rest of the world, I hope to be happy at Christmas time. I know I shall be – at Castle Dean.”
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