Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Managerñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“I doubt if I shall be here to see it,” Leila made skeptical reply. “You are feeling most optimistic because you have succeeded in wishing your beauty reputation onto someone else.”
Marjorie merely smiled. “I’m a venerable P. G. now. I’m beyond such vain frivolousness.”
“I see no signs of it,” Leila told her discouragingly. “I am sorry now that I hid you on the judges’ stand.”
“Too late,” Marjorie’s merry little laugh rippled out. Her mood was decidedly optimistic as a result of the successful way in which clever Leila had carried on the Beauty contest.
As the president of the sophs, Augusta Forbes had signed the notice of the coming contest which Leila had first posted on the main bulletin board. This fact had appeared to point to the sophs as the promoters of the Beauty contest. Privately directed by Leila, Gussie had next called a class meeting for the express purpose of arousing sophomore interest and had tactfully suggested that the contest should be held under sophomore auspices.
While the sophs were still divided into two factions, as a result of the fall elections, basket ball had done something to mitigate their wrath against one another. It seemed the irony of fate that Louise Walker and Augusta Forbes, rival centers and unfriendly classmates, should have each admired the other’s basket ball prowess. Such, however, was the situation between them. More, they were hovering on the verge of friendly acquaintance.
This marvel Marjorie had already faintly divined by a curious mental process of deduction which had developed within as a result of long-patient working and waiting. She also saw signs which pointed to a re-united sophomore class in the not far distant future. Her conviction was borne out in this respect by the eager good-will with which the sophs boosted the Beauty walk beforehand and confidently paraded themselves around the gym for the judges’ inspection on the fateful night.
The girls of the other three classes were no less anxious to take part in it. Even the dormitory girls made an extra trip from town so as to be in the fun. Of the old Travelers only Ronny and Muriel competed. Vera had not yet returned to Hamilton. As manager Leila had a good excuse for staying out of it. Jerry demanded also to be a judge. She gave Leila such a strenuous sample of the strength and volume of her tones that Leila promptly accepted her. The senior class furnished the third judge; a stentorian-voiced senior who often acted as referee at basket ball games, and had developed amazing lung power as a result.
While the Forbes faction of the sophs was supposedly hostile of attitude toward Doris Monroe, its members had agreed among themselves that, as a possible winner of the Beauty contest, she was “the sophs’ best bet.” In consequence they suddenly began exhibiting toward her a new friendliness which warmed with the near approach of the contest. This put Doris on her mettle as nothing else could have done.
She had been saving the crystal-beaded frock for what she might deem a really great occasion. She now felt the occasion had arrived. Her one disturbing thought was that Marjorie Dean would undoubtedly enter the contest. She resolved that she must, yes, she would completely outshine her.
When the much-heralded contest was finally over and Doris stood triumphant in front of the judges’ stand, the light gleaming on her wavy golden hair, her strange green eyes dark with excitement, her white, graceful arms laden with the long-stemmed pink roses, she might have been posing as lovely summer in her early rose-decked beauty. The faint, fascinating smile that came and went on her red lips gave no clue to what was going on in her mind. Her slow, occasional careless glances about the gymnasium were motivated by the distinct secret purpose of locating Marjorie. Nor did she learn until long afterward that the clear, vibrant voice of the judge who spoke the final charge to Beautye brighte, reverence in its intonation, was that of the girl she affected to despise. Having enjoyed the contest incognito Marjorie had disappeared during the first congratulatory rush toward Doris.
She found remembrance of last night’s contest lingering persistently in her mind as she and her chums essayed the round of the shops. None of the party knew what they wished to buy for Muriel. They were in a wondrous merry mood and had difficulty in settling down to a selection of gifts. As they trooped, chattering, out of the town’s one art store with arms full of birthday bundles a familiar white car shot past them down the street, disappearing into a side street. The occupants of the white car were Doris Monroe and Leslie Cairns.
Marjorie gave a kind of disappointed gulp as she glimpsed the stunning white car and its passengers. It was the first time she had either seen or heard of these two as having been together since before Thanksgiving. Augusta Forbes and her two chums had later confidentially reported to Marjorie the occasion at the Colonial when Leslie and Doris had quarreled. Marjorie had hoped then that the breach between the two girls might widen. Robin’s assurance that Doris had been “perfectly sweet” to her at the old-fashioned hop was a hopeful sign. Freed from Leslie’s pernicious influence, Doris’s college future was likely to be rosy.
Now it appeared that Doris was not estranged, perhaps did not desire to be free from Leslie. Marjorie felt chagrin and disappointment take hold of her. She half concluded that her chums were correct in holding the opinion that further effort to win over the ungracious and ungrateful sophomore would be a useless expense of time and spirit. Should she, now that through her private effort Doris had been acclaimed the college beauty, allow Doris to continue her college journey without further solicitude on her part? Her generous soul instantly rebelled against the thought. She had the principle to consider in the peculiar task she had whimsically set for herself. So far as she knew the work of moulding beautiful Doris Monroe “nearer to the heart’s desire” had only begun.
SUNSHINE FROM SHADOW
“Look here!” Jerry, who had gone with Leila to the garage to put away the car, bounced into the room flourishing two letters.
“Why, where did they come from? There wasn’t a sign of mail in our divisions when I came upstairs. That was not more than half an hour ago. Besides that was the last mail.” Marjorie’s eyes had opened to their widest extent at sight of the letters.
“Ah-h-h! There’s a reason; and it took yours truly to find it.” Jerry gave a self-appreciative crow. “Here’s your letter.” She tendered one of the two to Marjorie. She made no effort to open the other.
Marjorie’s color heightened as she glanced at the writing on the envelope. “It’s from Hal. You know that. Something unusual must be happening in Sanford. This is the second letter I’ve had from him within a week.”
“When you open it kindly gaze at the post-mark,” Jerry directed with a knowing smile.
“Why, Jerry!” Marjorie had already obeyed the direction. “November third! Where did it come from? This is another mysterious mystery.” She read Hal’s brief letter, a puzzled frown knotting her forehead. “This is the letter Hal thought I did not answer. I had to explain to him when I went home that I had not received it. Well, of all surprises.”
“The end of them is not yet. Here’s another belated missive. I thought I’d let you get over the shock of the first before handing you another jolt.”’
“So kind in you, Jeremiah.” Marjorie’s gratitude was of a very casual order. “You mean you wanted to be teasing. This is from Miss Susanna,” she announced after a hasty inspection. “It was” – again her voice achieved astonished height – “mailed last Monday. The time has come, Jeremiah for you to prove your worth as a great investigator and throw light upon this mystery.”
“It was that treacherous, deceiving old bulletin board,” emphasized Jerry, then giggled. “D is on the top row, you know. The back piece of the board gapes away from the face of it a little, just at the D section. One of the maids must have tucked Hal’s letter into the wrong place and there it stayed. Another of the maids must have done the same thing recently. I found both letters there. I was peeking and peering disconsolately at that empty D space when through a tiny crack at the back of it I saw a bit of white. I went fishing with a hat pin and finally got hold of a corner of Miss Susanna’s letter. Pretty soon I had fished up both of them. What I’m wondering is this. Did anyone cache them for spite? I trust not.” Jerry put on a look of virtuous horror. “I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had.”
“Suspicious old Jeremiah.” Marjorie raised a reproving finger at her chum. Her ready smile contradicted intent to reprove. “Miss Susanna wants to see me. In this note she asked me to dinner at the Arms on last Wednesday evening. Here it is the Saturday after! What must she think of me. I’ll hurry downstairs this instant and telephone her.”
Marjorie darted from the room and took the stairs at what she used at home to call a gallop. She blessed telephone service with all her heart as she quickly got Jonas on the wire and asked him to call Miss Susanna to the telephone. It was not a long conversation she presently exchanged with the mistress of Hamilton Arms. Miss Susanna was not fond of talking on the telephone. But it was a most happy little talk. Marjorie turned from the ’phone wondering a little why Miss Susanna had laid stress on inviting her alone of the Travelers to dinner at the Arms the next evening. The mistress of the Arms had not said she wished to be alone with Marjorie, but she had intimated it vaguely.
Turning mechanically toward the stairs Marjorie crashed squarely against a young woman who had just descended the last step. Both girls apologized first; took stock of each other afterward. Marjorie drew a quick breath. She was facing Louise Walker. Obeying an impulse she cried out:
“Oh, Miss Walker, I have been trying to see you for several days. Would you be willing to come upstairs to Miss Macy’s and my room? We have something to show you which is important to you.”
“I – certainly I will come.” Miss Walker’s intonation was remarkably gentle and friendly. “Will you lead the way? I am not often at Wayland Hall and know very little about it.” She motioned Marjorie to precede her up the stairs. “I had been calling on a sophomore, Miss Vinton.”
“She is such a clever girl,” Marjorie said admiringly. “We have had many interesting talks about chemistry experiments we have made.” Her winsome smile drew an answering smile from Miss Walker. The sophomore was wondering if Marjorie had heard any of the cutting remarks she had made about her and Robin Page, early in the fall, when Page and Dean had championed the cause of Augusta Forbes. She was astonished now to find Marjorie so friendly.
“For goodness sake!” In the act of nibbling a large three-cornered piece of peanut brittle Jerry let it fall to the rug at sight of Marjorie and her visitor. She bent to retrieve it, took an unintentional step forward and planted one foot firmly upon it. Such a disaster called for mirth which was quick in coming. Marjorie merrily seated the guest and offered her peanut brittle from a box. Jerry loudly mourned the loss of “the biggest, best bit of brittle in the brittle box,” as she gathered up the sticky fragments of it from the rug. She made short work of the task. She was eager to join the pair of girls on the other side of the room.
Marjorie kept the conversation centered upon impersonal topics until Jerry completed the trio. Then she began in her candid fashion: “Miss Walker, we hope you will not feel, after you have heard what I am going to tell you, that we have not been fair to you in not having told you before. Will you please bring the letters, Jerry?”
Jerry complied with alacrity. Meanwhile Marjorie had gone steadily on with the account of the receipt of the first letter, bearing Miss Walker’s signature. The latter sat listening in genuine mystification. She stared in bewilderment at the outrageous letter which Jerry placed in her hand.
“Why, this is dreadful!” she cried as she read it, her fair skin flooding with indignant red. “That’s not my writing! Why didn’t you come to me and ask me about it?”
“How could I?” Marjorie said rather sadly. She had expected the question. “You see, I didn’t know your handwriting. I didn’t know – Please let us not talk about that part of it. We were so glad when Jerry received the letter from you about the handkerchief. Then we knew you had not written that hateful letter.” She pointed the tip of a scornful finger at the forgery. “Since things have worked out so well, let’s be thankful, and friends.”
“I’d love to be,” Louise answered with sincerity. “First you must forgive me for being so disagreeable last fall. I’ve been sorry for quite a while, but there seemed no opportunity to tell you so. I understand Miss Forbes now, too. I like her, but I’m afraid she doesn’t like me; nor never will.”
“Go and call on her very soon. She’d be so pleased. I’m sure she would. She admires your basket ball playing.” This affably from Jerry who was far more favorable impressed with the sophomore that she had expected to be.
“There’s one thing I believe I ought to tell you to clear my slate,” Miss Walker said presently in a half hesitating tone. “It’s about Miss Peyton and Miss Carter. I mention them frankly because I intend to tell them that I have seen you, and of our talk.” Her voice strengthened into one of resolution. “May I ask you? Has Professor Matthews ever reprimanded you and Miss Macy for being unduly noisy in your room?” She stared anxiously at Marjorie.
“Why, no.” Marjorie cast an enigmatical glance at Jerry. Then the two laughed. “Please pardon us for laughing,” she apologized. “Last fall Miss Peyton threatened to report us to President Matthews. About two weeks later a letter came to me in the president’s hand. It really took courage to open it. Oh-h-h,” she drew a soft laughing breath, “it was an invitation to dinner at his home to meet one of his nieces who had come from the west to visit the Matthews. Jerry and I thought then that perhaps Miss Peyton had decided against reporting us to him.”
“I wish she had, but she didn’t. I advised her against such petty spite,” Louise declared disgustedly. “I am glad President Matthews ignored the report. She made it in person. She told me as much, but she would not tell me what he said to her in the matter. I suspect Prexy was very unsympathetic.” Louise’s gray, long-lashed eyes sparkled with quiet humor. “Anyway, I’m free from that worry. I wanted to tell you that as much as you wanted to tell me about the letter.”
Frank confession from caller and guests banished the strain which had marked the beginning of the interview. Presently Louise had been invited to remain at the Hall to dinner and afterward hob-nob with the chums in Ronny’s and Lucy’s room where a newly-arrived fruit cake sent Lucy by her mother was to be the center of attraction at a jollification.
The three girls were making rapid strides toward friendship when a knock at the door revealed Gussie Forbes and Calista Wilmot as demanding the hospitality of Room 15. It was the satisfying climax to a mutual admiration society which had sprung up between Louise and Gussie on the very field of battle. It was a case of when “soph meets soph.” The two distinguished centers found so much in common to talk about they blissfully forgot Marjorie, Jerry and Calista for the time being, greatly to the delight of these three.
Shortly before Louise Walker went to her own campus house she said to Marjorie in a low tone: “Will you come with me now to your room. My wraps are there. I will bring them in here, but I wish to say something very quietly to you.”
“We’re going into my room for a minute or so, gang,” Marjorie called to the others as she and the sophomore went out the door.
“It’s about Miss Monroe I wish to speak,” began Louise hurriedly. “Could you – do you know what ought to be done to keep her away from that Miss Cairns? The freshies seem to admire them as a stunning combination, plus the white car. But the sophs are decidedly against Miss Cairns. A good many stories about her dishonorable ways while she was a student at Hamilton have drifted down to us from friends and older sisters who have been graduated from here. We have been told that she was expelled from Hamilton, together with a crowd of her chums. She was here when you entered college, was she not?” Louise asked earnestly.
“She was a sophomore when we were freshies. She was expelled from Hamilton at the end of her junior year,” Marjorie said evenly. “I know of a great many things she has done that she should not have done, yet she is somewhat like another girl I know whose mother died when she was a baby and who grew up believing she must always have her own way. The girl I mention suddenly faced about and made herself over. Perhaps Leslie Cairns will do the same. I think it would be far better if Miss Monroe had nothing whatever to do with her. The trouble is – no one but Miss Monroe can decide that. All we can do is to help her by our good will.”
“I understand. You mean if Miss Monroe has enough interests to keep her occupied and happy on the campus she won’t turn to Miss Cairns for entertainment.”
“Yes,” Marjorie returned. “We Travelers have been watching over her. She is not only beautiful. Her room-mate is Muriel Harding, you know. Muriel says she is brilliant in her subjects. She can draw, paint, play the piano and knows a good deal about outdoor sports. We can’t afford to have such good material go to waste, can we?”
“No, we can’t.” Louise’s hand reached for Marjorie’s. The two looked into each other’s eyes and made a wordless compact which had to do with the deliverance of the enchanted princess from the power of the wicked wizard.
While the discussion concerning herself was going on between Marjorie and Louise Walker, the enchanted princess and the wicked wizard were amicably eating dinner at the Colonial. Leslie was listening with acute attention to Doris’s unemotional account of the Beauty contest related in the drawling English diction which she had used since childhood.
“You think you’re it, don’t you, Goldie?” she said with a slow grin when Doris had finished her recital.
“Yes; why shouldn’t I?” countered Doris, unruffled by the slangy question. She was very desirous of going to New York with Leslie for the Christmas holidays. She had no intention of quarreling with her and thus defeating her own ends.
“I’ve no objection,” Leslie amiably assured her. “You haven’t told me where Bean was, though. Certainly she wasn’t in the gym or you’d never have got away with the prize. She must have purposely effaced herself. She has it put all over every other girl I ever saw when it comes to Beauty. I hate the ground she walks on, yet Bean is beautiful Bean. Don’t let it worry you, though.”
Doris smiled rather condescendingly at Leslie. “You know it doesn’t worry me, Leslie. You are absurd. No, Miss Dean was not at the contest. Some of her friends were, but she was no where to be seen. Don’t you think the contest itself is very quaint? Miss Harper is really immensely clever.”
“Next to Bean, I hate her.” Leslie’s face lowered. “Don’t mention her to me ever. Since Bean handed over the college beautyship to you, make the most of it. You’d better give a dinner to some of the sophs who belong to the best families. They’re the ones who count in college. They can either make you or break you.”
“I – I haven’t decided just what I’d best do after Christmas to keep up my reputation as the college beauty.” Doris experienced a sudden violent dislike for Leslie. She wished she had never seen her. She wished she had not promised to go to New York with her. She had had a taste of real girl happiness, spontaneous and free from the plotting and planning which seemed ever to attend Leslie’s movements. Once again she was hearing the quaint adjuration to Beautye “to say a prayer of thankfulness at even for the gifte of Beautye by the grace of God.” Once again that clear, resonant voice rang in her ears. Though her new, unbidden mood soon left her, it would come again. The leaven had begun to work.
On the way up the main drive to Wayland Hall the following afternoon she came face to face with Marjorie. She bowed with less coolness than was her wont. “Good afternoon, Miss Monroe,” Marjorie said sedately, looking neither smiling nor serious. She was on her way to Hamilton Arms to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening with Miss Susanna.
Doris had a faint impression of having known someone else whose voice was like Marjorie’s. She could not recall any such person. She grudgingly admitted to herself that Leslie’s rude appraisal of Marjorie’s good looks was not without foundation. Doris was fundamentally sound of judgment and honest enough not to deceive herself.ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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