Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Managerñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
Barbara did far worse at puff eating than Phyllis. Her frantic efforts to keep the cream within the bounds of its crisp brown shell sent her companions into shrieks of laughter. Worse still for them, Jerry had decreed that they could not wipe either hands or faces until she gave the word.
In the midst of the fun Marjorie obeyed a sudden impulse to leave the room and stand in the hall outside the door for a moment. She slipped away unnoticed, anxious to ascertain how plainly the laughter and talk of her companies sounded from outside. She and Jerry had hung three heavy portieres which Miss Remson had given them before the door leading into the hall and before the doors of the two dress closets. The manager had assured her that the portieres would serve to a great extent to deaden sounds from within the room.
She smiled her relieved satisfaction after she had listened intently for three or four minutes. She could hear only faintly the sounds of conversation mingled with laughter. She was of the opinion that such sounds would not be disturbing to any student on the same floor.
“Watchman, tell us of the night,” hailed Jerry as Marjorie again stepped into the room. “I know what you’ve been doing. You’ve been listening to how noisy we are.”
“Right-o, Jeremiah. And we haven’t been disgracefully noisy, after all,” Marjorie gaily assured. “While the girls were laughing loudest at Barbara and Phil I stole out of here into the hall. I wanted to find out, if I could, just how noisy we were. That heavy curtain we hung over the door shuts the sound in beautifully. You can only hear it faintly from the hall.”
“Good work, Bean; good work.” Jerry patted Marjorie on the back. “We’ve two more stunts to put Phil and Barbara through yet and the crowd is getting hilariouser and hilariouser. Listen to them now.”
A fresh gale of mirth testified to the truth of Jerry’s remarks. It assaulted Marjorie’s critical ears with almost dismaying force. Reminded of what she had just proven to her own satisfaction she grew reassured. Since that day, early in the fall, when Doris Monroe had reported the joyful little welcome party in Gussie Forbes’ room to Miss Remson as disturbing to her peace Marjorie and Jerry had been expecting the same dire fate would overtake them. Their room was the Travelers’ headquarters as well as a favorite haunt of the five Bertram girls. “It’s our positive good fortune that we escaped thus far,” Marjorie had more than once told Jerry.
In itself to have been reported to Miss Remson as disturbers would not have troubled Marjorie and Jerry. Understanding between them and the brisk little manager of the Hall was complete. It was their standing as post graduates, their college honor which they prided themselves upon. As post graduates they would be first to be weighed in the balance. They ardently desired not to be found wanting even in small things.
What Marjorie had not known when she returned to Room 15 after her brief moment of listening in the hall was that she had been observed.
Across the hall from Room 15 two interested sophomores had kept diligent watch since the Travelers had come upstairs from dinner. With their own door a few stealthy inches ajar they had heard, or imagined they heard, what they had been longing to hear – noise enough from “those tiresome, interfering P.G.’s” to warrant prompt action on their part.
A LEADING QUESTION
Action came while Phil and Barbara were engaged in removing at least a third of the creamy contents of the puffs from faces, hands, necks and even hair. They “cleaned up” amidst the laughter and gay raillery of their friends.
“How much more must we endure?” demanded Barbara as she dried her cleansed features with a Turkish towel and began lightly powdering them at the mirror.
“Oh, not so much,” tantalized Jerry. “There are a few more little stunts that – ” Two imperative raps on the door sent Jerry hurrying to it. She pushed the portiere to one side; swung open the door to confront the tall, squarely-built sophomore whom she had nicknamed the Prime Minister.
“Good evening,” she said in level tones. Her keen eyes were missing nothing. Her mind leaped at once to the nature of the other girl’s intrusion, for such it was.
“Good evening.” Her salutation was returned with haughty aggression. In fact every line of the sophomore’s broad face and stiff, unyielding figure spelled aggression. Her peculiarly round black eyes, blacker in contrast to the unhealthy white of her skin, resentfully searched Jerry up and down.
“I wish to speak to Miss Dean at once,” she demanded. “I know she is here.” She eyed Jerry belligerently, as though to forestall a denial on her part.
“Of course she is here. We are entertaining our friends.” Jerry’s matter-of-fact reply brought a dull flush to Miss Peyton’s pale cheeks. “Will you come in?” The concise invitation had a certain restraining effect upon the frowning caller.
“No, I will not,” she refused, her own inflexion rude. “Ask Miss Dean to come to the door. I wish to speak to her, and to you.”
“Very well.” Jerry appeared non-committal. “Just a moment.” She turned away from the door and beckoned to Marjorie.
Marjorie left Barbara and Phil, whom she had been assisting in the removal of the sticky traces of the puff test, and walked quickly to the door. In that brief second on the way to it a flash of dismay visited her. It drove from her eyes the light of laughter occasioned by Phil’s and Barbara’s complaining nonsense as they scrubbed faces and hands.
“What is it, Jerry?” she asked as she reached her room-mate.
Jerry opened the door wider and made room for Marjorie in the doorway beside her. “Miss Peyton has something she wishes to say to us.” Jerry’s round face was enigmatic. Marjorie had but to glance at it to read there what others might not.
Within the room the buzz of conversation had lessened to a mere murmur. Muriel had been entertaining her chums with a flow of her funny nonsense. Even she had run down suddenly, seized by the same surmise which had occurred to her companions. Too courteous to stare boldly toward the door, canny conjecture as to the caller’s errand temporarily halted the will to talk.
“Good evening, Miss Peyton.” Marjorie’s straight glance into the soph’s smouldering eyes was courteously inquiring. Ordinarily she might have followed the greeting with a pleasantry. What she read in Julia Peyton’s face held her silent; waiting.
“I have come to speak to you and Miss Macy about the noise you have been making this evening,” blurted the sophomore, dropping all pretense of courtesy. “It is not only tonight I speak of. Almost every other night we have been annoyed by the noise in your room. It makes study impossible. We have endured it without complaining, but we have had every reason for reporting it. Tonight you and your friends have been more annoying than usual. I decided the time had come to let you know it.”
Before she could say more Marjorie broke in evenly with: “It is true that there is a larger party of girls than usual in our room tonight. We have been conducting an informal meeting of a club of which we are members. We spoke to Miss Remson beforehand, asking permission to hold the meeting in our room. We – ”
“Oh, Miss Remson!” was the contemptuous exclamation. “She cannot be depended upon for fairness. We understand where her sympathies lie. We have spoken to her – ” The sophomore stopped abruptly, caught in a contradiction of her own previous statement of not having complained.
“Pardon me. I understood you to say that you had not complained.” Jerry could not resist a lightning opportunity to discomfit the other girl.
“I should have said that we had not – that we – that we had not reported you to President Matthews,” amended Miss Peyton, glancing angrily at Jerry. Aggressive from the start she was fast losing her temper.
“I cannot allow you to accuse Miss Remson of unfairness without offering my strongest defense in her behalf.” Righteous indignation lent sternness to Marjorie’s clear tones. “She is never unfair. She is always dependable. Since you have said that you reported us to her, I must believe you. She has not mentioned the matter to us. That means she does not consider us at fault.”
“Oh, certainly she doesn’t,” was the sarcastic retort accompanied by a significant shrug of the square shoulders. “That is precisely the trouble.”
“Please allow me to finish what I had begun to say to you.” Marjorie made a dignified little gesture. “On the day when Miss Monroe reported Miss Forbes and a few of us who were in her room welcoming her back to college, we talked things over with Miss Remson. Since then we have been more careful not to give offense to other students at the Hall than at any time during our past four years at Hamilton. Miss Remson gave us heavy portieres to hang before the doors when we expected to entertain a number of girls. These deaden the sound. You can see for yourself how heavy and closely-woven this one is.” Marjorie took hold of a fold of the portiere. “I purposely went into the hall tonight and closed the door after me to find out if we were too noisy. I was surprised at the small amount of noise that came from our room.”
“I am surprised to hear such statements from a post graduate.” Julia Peyton gave a discomfited sarcastic laugh. “Frankly, Miss Dean, I have been so disappointed in you. When first I came to Hamilton I had the greatest respect for you. I regret that I should have been obliged to change that opinion.” Julia believed she had said something extremely telling. “Yes; and I do not approve of the way your post graduate friends have tried to run Wayland Hall. It surely does not add to Miss Langly’s credit as a member of the faculty,” she ended in malicious triumph. She was inwardly furious at Marjorie’s and Jerry’s quiet but determined defense of their own conduct.
“Your harsh opinion of our friends is not justified.” Marjorie’s curt proud tones contained censure. “Let me advise you to be careful and not repeat such opinions on the campus. Our friends would not suffer as a result. They are known to be true to the traditions of Hamilton. You would merely succeed in creating unpleasantness for yourself.”
“I don’t care for your advice.” Miss Peyton blazed into sudden wrath. “You are only trying to frighten me into not reporting you and your friends. You meant yourself, too, but you were clever enough not to include yourself in your remarks. I shall report the whole affair to President Matthews; not later than tomorrow morning.” She whirled angrily; started across the hall.
“Wait a minute.” Something in Jerry’s tone arrested the miffed soph’s progress. “I’d like to ask you a question.”
“Well?” Miss Peyton put untold frost into the interrogation.
“Why” – Jerry paused – “if you and your room-mate were so greatly disturbed by our noise, did you not close your door? That would have at least helped considerably to shut out the noise.”
“Our door was – ” began the soph furiously.
“Partly open,” supplied Jerry. “I am quite sure it was,” she continued sweetly, “because I happened to go into the hall and saw for myself.”
LITTLE HOPE FOR P. G.’S
“Stung, and by the truth!” Jerry gave an exultant skip into their room behind Marjorie and hastily closed the door. Miss Peyton, confronted by unassailable truth, had no defense ready. She glared wrathfully at Jerry and Marjorie and hurriedly disappeared into her room.
“We can guess what it’s all about,” greeted Muriel Harding. “We ought to be shocked and amazed, Marvelous Manager, at you for fussing. We might expect it of Jeremiah.”
“You might; you bet you might. I’d have done all the fussing this time if Marjorie hadn’t begun answering that trouble hunter first. Believe me Leila, the first attack in the Battle of Wayland Hall was made right at our door. I’m happy to announce that the enemy was sent fleeing across the hall with one good hot shot fired by the Travelers’ friend, J. J. G. Macy. I’m the one.” Jerry proudly thumped her chest.
“Could you hear what we were saying?” Marjorie glanced interestedly about the half circle of girls, eagerly formed around her. “I know you would try not to listen.”
“We could hear only a word now and then,” Vera made haste to answer. “Of course it was a complaint about us. What is the matter with these sophs? They weren’t so obstreperous last year as freshies?”
“I took Miss Peyton to the freshman hop last year,” said Lillian Wenderblatt. “As a Traveler in the midst of Travelers I may say she was very ungracious to me. I accepted her rudeness as not having been intentional; laid it to her natural manner. Since I’ve heard her rated as the rudest student on the campus.”
“Gussie Forbes says that the freshies who made life hard for her and her pals last year are the sophs who are trying to do it again this year,” said Phyllis Moore.
“Gussie is a wise child. And with Muriel’s celebrated Ice Queen to add to the snarl what hope is there for a few poor old P. G. ladies who had hoped to live out their days in peace on the campus? Oh, wurra, wurra!” Leila crossed her hands over her breast, clutched her shoulders with her fingers, thrust out her chin and rocked herself to and fro with the appearance of a mourning old woman.
“What a dandy old woman you make, Leila. I’m going to cast you for an old hag part in a melodrama, if I can find a good one. The campus is howling for a truly lurid one with outlaws, an abducted child, a lost heiress, an old hag and various other nice pleasant little characters.” Robin was always on the lookout for features. “We can ask three dollars a seat for a zipping old ‘dramer’ and crowd the gym.”
“It’s a good deal more pleasant to talk of shows than fusses,” Marjorie declared, smiling at Robin’s latest ambition. Glancing up at the wall clock she gave a quick exclamation. “Jerry,” she cried, “we’ll have to trot out the spread instanter!”
“Don’t I know it. I’ve already begun.” Jerry made a dive toward her closet.
“What about those two stunts for the candidates?” Lucy Warner caught Jerry by an arm.
“Why, Luciferous, how you do like to see people get into trouble, don’t you?” grinned Jerry.
Lucy’s grave, studious face relaxed into the wide, utterly pleased smile which Muriel and Jerry both enjoyed calling to it. She broke into the funny little half giggle, half gurgle which was always productive of laughter in others.
“The idea, Luciferous, of your calling attention to poor Barbara and me after all we’ve suffered!” Phil turned reproachful blue eyes on Lucy.
“Oh, I’m not so mean as you think me,” Lucy’s odd greenish eyes flashed warm lights of fun. “It was a case of either stunts or eats. It’s going to be eats, so good night stunts.”
“‘Good night stunts,’” repeated Muriel. “You never learned them words from Prexy Matthews, Luciferous.”
“I should hope not,” chuckled Lucy. “All the slang I know I learned from you and Jeremiah. Kindly remember that.”
“I wish to forget it immediately,” Muriel looked askance at the accusation.
With the hands of the clock pointing to ten minutes to ten Marjorie and Jerry, with Leila’s and Vera’s help rushed the eatables for the spread to the center table. Leila had furnished a box of Irish sweet crackers and a case of imported ginger ale. The ginger ale had arrived only the day before from across the ocean. Sweet pickles, stuffed olives, stuffed dates, salted almonds and small fancy cakes comprised the lay-out. There had been no time to make sandwiches.
Supplied with paper napkins and paper plates the guests helped themselves to the spread. They formed in an irregular group on each side of Jerry’s couch which held its usual four of their number. Marjorie and Jerry seated themselves on the floor in front of the couch bed. Unintentionally they formed the center of the group.
“At last you can tell us what was said at the door,” sighed Robin. “It isn’t curious to want to know, since we are concerned in it, too.”
“I wish you to know,” Marjorie reflectively bit into a maccaroon. “I’ll try to repeat as exactly as I can what was said. Then you’ll understand the situation better.” She recounted the conversation which had taken place at the door between herself and Miss Peyton.
“Report us to Prexy; the idea!” scoffed Lillian Wenderblatt. “She is an ambitious trouble hunter. She’ll find plenty of troubles if she carries any such tale to him.”
“I should say as much!” was Vera’s indignant cry. “Imagine a soph reporting P. G.’s and double P. G.’s and faculty and the P. G. daughter of Professor Wenderblatt! Not to mention Prexy’s own indispensible private secretary! And for what? No vestige of a reason.”
“If she does report us, Prexy’s own indispensible private secretary will take action,” threatened Lucy. “I’d be the first person the president would ask about it. If Miss Peyton went to see him in person I’d hear of it from him afterward; I’m sure. If she wrote him, I’d see the letter and take the answer he dictated. I’d ask him if I might tell you girls about it, too.” The light of devotion shone strongly in Lucy’s face.
“Who’s Prexy? We’re not in awe of him with our Luciferous on the job,” was Ronny’s confident declaration. “Long may she flourish.” She held up her glass of ginger ale. The others followed her example, careful, however, to “Drink her down” with repressed enthusiasm.
“I ought to be ashamed to face my classes tomorrow with the sword of Miss Peyton’s disapproval hanging over my head,” Kathie remarked in the pleasant lull that followed the drinking of the toast to Lucy.
“But are you?” quizzed Muriel. “I’m afraid from your tone that you aren’t.”
“Your fears are well grounded,” laughed Kathie. “The sophs and freshies at the Hall, judging from accounts, seem to be positively childish,” she continued in a more serious way. “They’re not snobs as the Sans were. There’s some hope for them. I’ll venture to say that before next June Marvelous Manager will have managed them.” Her prediction was one of confident affection.
“Such a foolish name; and you will say it,” scolded Marjorie and not quite in jest. “A fine manager I am. I can’t even manage my own affairs. I can’t decide whether to go home for Thanksgiving, or stay here,” she added in self-derision.
“One thing we must decide before we separate,” Ronny said with energy. “Where shall we meet tomorrow night? Remember we shall be twenty-nine strong. We can’t hold the meeting in one of our rooms. We must have plenty of space for our new Travelers. The living room down stairs isn’t private enough. Has anyone a really brilliant suggestion. No other kind is desired. Save your breath.”
“I have. Hold the meeting in our library,” proposed Lillian Wenderblatt. “I’ll put a sign on the library door before dinner tomorrow night: ‘Professor Wenderblatt: Keep Out,’ and lead Father to the door to look at it. Then he won’t bolt into the room with maybe two or three other professors in the middle of our meeting.”
Lillian’s proposal was received with approbation and accepted with alacrity. Leila, Vera, Robin and Lillian were chosen to notify the fortunate seniors of the honor in store for them. The rest of the details of the meeting were quickly arranged. Ten-thirty was not far off.
“Don’t imagine for a minute that you have seen the last of your initiation,” Jerry informed Phil and Barbara, a threatening gleam in her eye. “There are still those two degrees, you know.”
“Oh, forget them. We shall,” Phil made untroubled return.
“You may forget, but I – nevv-vur.” Jerry struck an attitude.
“Nor I.” Muriel dramatically tapped her chest and glared at Phil. “’Sdeath to all quitters,” she hissed.
“Oh, glorious for my melodrama!” admired Robin. “You and Jeremiah shall be the villains.”
“I choose to be the principal, double-dyed scoundrel of the show,” stipulated Muriel, “or else I’ll refuse to see your play. I spurn anything and everything but complete villainy.”
“Give me a better part than Muriel or I won’t act,” balked Jerry.
“I’m going to fly before any more actors go on a strike,” Robin raised a protesting hand. “I must look out for Page and Dean’s melodramer.”
“Only birds, insects, aviators and ‘sich’ fly,” criticized Phil. “I simply must get back at you for not giving me a cousinly warning of what was in store for me tonight.”
“Seniors, P. G.’s and faculty will add to the flying classification or lose what shreds of reputation for integrity they have left,” laughed Kathie.
“An added word of warning: – Hotfoot it lightly.” Jerry’s forceful if inelegant injunction sent the initiation party down the hall dutifully smothering their easily summoned mirth. Jerry accompanied the party to the head of the stairs. She returned to the room, keeping an alert watch as she walked on a certain door across the hall. This time she noted with satisfaction that it was tightly closed.
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