Chase Josephine.

Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Manager





CHAPTER VII
JERRY SPEAKS HER MIND

The ten-thirty rule will have to chase itself merrily around the campus, Jerry made airy disposition of that time-honored regulation as she entered the room which Marjorie was already beginning to set to rights. With her usual energy the stout girl gathered up the glasses, tucking them one inside another and setting them in a compact row at one end of the study table.

I agree with you, Jeremiah. I have letters to read that must be read, ten-thirty rule or no. Marjorie whisked an armful of crumpled paper napkins and empty paper plates into the waste basket. There; she cleared the table of crumbs; thatll do for tonight. Thank goodness, all the eats were eaten.

I can count on my fingers the times weve defied old ten-thirty, Jerry declared as she reached in the table drawer for her two letters.

Ten times in four years, Marjorie commented. Thats a good record.

True, Bean, true. When we stop to consider the past how wonderful we are! Jerry simpered self-appreciatively at Marjorie as she sat down under the drop light with her letters.

How can I help but believe it when you say it like that? rallied Marjorie. Anyway, youre a gem, Jeremiah. I was never more agreeably surprised than when you turned the tables on Miss Peyton tonight. I hadnt noticed that their door stood open. But you had, smart child. I had no idea youd been out in the hall on a tour of discovery.

I went directly after you were out there. I had a hunch that the Ice Queen would start something. So she did through those two geese. They had that room last year and didnt appear to mind our occasional soirees. But theres still another and a chief disturber Leslie Cairns. Shes back of the Ice Queen.

I think so, too, Marjorie admitted with reluctance. I have seen them together several times. Leslie Cairns has other friends on the campus, too. Muriel and I saw her and Miss Monroe coming out of Craig Hall this afternoon.

You did? Jerry showed surprise. Ill investigate that. I may find out something interesting. Miss Morris, that nice senior youve heard me speak of, who came to the campus last fall from Vassar, says there are only seniors and juniors at Craig Hall this year. Perhaps it was the Ice Queens friends she and Leslie Cairns were calling upon.

That may be, Marjorie agreed. I wonder if Miss Monroe likes Leslie Cairns? Perhaps she cares more about cars and expensive clothes and spending money than anything else. We dont know her, so we cant even guess what sort of girl she is at heart.

I know what will happen to her if she puts any dependence in Leslie Cairns, Jerry said grimly. Dont waste your sympathy on her, Marjorie. She isnt worthy of it.

I dont know why I feel so sorry about her, but I do, Marjorie confessed. Whenever I see that beautiful face of hers I forget shes been so ungracious to us. Shes not a namby-pamby kind of pretty girl.

She has a high, royal kind of beauty. Ive not given her up yet, Jeremiah. Im going to try popularity for her against Leslie Cairns money. Im going to put her in the first show we have. Ill have Robin ask her. Ill stay in the background for awhile.

Nil desperandum, Jerry encouraged with an indulgent grin. Mignon La Salle reformed just to please Marvelous Manager. Why not others? Besides theres always the pleasant possibility that the Hob-goblin and the Ice Queen may squabble and part.

So Muriel says. I mean about those two girls disagreeing. You may make fun of me all you please, Jerry. Just the same if we could win Miss Monroe over to our side it would gradually put everything straight here at the Hall. If Miss Monroe became our friend, she would probably become friends with the Bertram five. Shes friends already with the other sophs and freshies here. Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other, you know. Leslie Cairns friendship cannot be beneficial to her. I am sure of that. Yet to warn her against Miss Cairns would be contemptible. Excuse me, Jeremiah, for keeping you from your letters! Marjorie exclaimed in sudden contrition. Itll be midnight before Ive read all these. She flourished the handful of letters before Jerrys eyes.

Go to it, or it may be morning. Why waste precious time flaunting your letters in my face? Why should your five to my two make you vainglorious?

Whos vainglorious? Marjorie made a half threatening move up from her chair. She dropped back again, laughing, as Jerry nimbly put the length of the table between them.

Lots of people are vainglorious. Jerry wisely grew vague. Dont bother me, Bean. I hope to read my letters in peace and quiet. Yes?

So do I, emphasized Marjorie.

The chums exchanged good-humored smiles, born of perfect understanding and settled down to the patiently deferred reading of their letters.

Jerry read Helens letter first. She knew it would be long and absorbing. Hals would be his usual brief note. It was his weekly offering. Long since Jerry had made him promise to write once a week and had pledged herself to do the same by him. A strong devotion lived between brother and sister which had deepened year by year. Hal did not pretend to understand Jerry from the standpoint of girlhood. To him she was a good comrade; the squarest kid going. Jerry was of the private belief that she knew Hal better than he knew himself.

Her one sorrowful concern in life was the knowledge that Marjorie couldnt see old Hal for a minute. She would have tried to further Hals unflourishing cause with Marjorie, but there seemed to be no way of accomplishment. She knew only too well Marjories utter lack of sentimental interest in Hal; her rooted aloofness to love as Hal had hoped she might experience it. A regular stony heart, Jerry had secretly characterized her.

Jerry had shrewdly divined for herself the true state of affairs between the two. Neither had ever spoken intimately to her of the other. Nevertheless when Marjorie had left Severn Beach for her midsummer journey to Hamilton during the summer previous, Jerry had been convinced that she had turned Hal down. She had wondered then, and since, how Marjorie could fail to love her big, handsome brother not because he had been devoted to her since their first meeting but for himself.

The expression of good-natured amusement which had visited her face during the reading of Helens letter remained until she had read Hals note several times. Then concern replaced it, making her round face very solemn. She shot a covert glance at Marjorie who was deep in Mary Raymonds letter. She had already devoured the contents of her Generals and Captains letters. Both had been comparatively short and loving inquiries as to whether they might hope for her gracious presence at Castle Dean over Thanksgiving. Neither superior officer had made a point of asking her to come home. Unselfishly, as ever, they deferred to her judgment.

Marjorie had gulped down her rising emotions as she had read and realized afresh her fathers and mothers breadth of spirit. She had taken up Marys letter, feeling that she must go home at all events for the holiday. Mary had the long and astonishing confidence to impart that she had fallen in love, was engaged to be married the following September and that her engagement was soon to be announced at a formal luncheon to be given for her by her mother.

Oh, Jerry! Marjorie looked up brightly from her letter. Marys going to be married. Ill tell you all she writes about the great event while we are getting ready for bed. I havent time now. Her hands were busy opening the letter from Constance as she spoke. Again she dropped into silence and the perusal of Connies letter. Isnt it too bad? she soon cried out. Connie and Laurie are not going to be in Sanford for Thanksgiving. Laurie promised a composer friend of his to be present at the first performance of his new opera The Azure Butterfly. He and Connie are going to New York.

That settles it for me. Therell be one distinguished mug missing on the campus. Im going home for Turkey Day. Marjories news concerning Constance and Laurie had crystalized Jerrys wavering resolve to go to Sanford. Poor old Hal! A fine time hed have with all of us away!

A swift flood of crimson deepened the glow in Marjories cheeks; rose even to her white forehead. She stared self-consciously at Jerry for an instant. Without a word she laid down Connies letter and took up the envelope addressed to her in Charlie Stevens straggling hand.

First exploration of its contents and she broke into a low amused laugh: Do listen to this, Jerry, she begged.

Jerry raised her eyes from Hals letter, at which she had been soberly staring. She was provoked with herself for having mentioned Hal to Marjorie as an object for sympathy.

Occupied with the letter from Charlie, Marjorie did not notice Jerrys gloomy features. Mirthfully she read:

Dear Marjorie:

I think your last letter to me was a dandy. I read it twice and I was going to read it again only I lost it. Maybe I lost it on the football ground or in the street. But if anyone finds it theyll see your name on the end of it and guess that I am the right Charlie it belongs to. Then I might get it again. I know you wont be mad cause I lost it. I couldnt help it.

Connie is going to New York with Laurie for Thanksgiving. She has to go because he is her husband. We are very sorry. I dont mean we are sorry because Laurie is her husband but because they are going away. The band is coming to our house for a party on Thanksgiving evening. I am going to play an awful hard piece on my fiddle that Father Stevens composed just for me. Youd better come home and then you can come to see us that night. I like you, Marjorie, quite a bit better than Mary Raymond. Connie says Mary is going to be married. I used to say when I was real little that I was going to marry her. I dont say it now. I didnt know any better then.

I hope there will be snow and ice on Thanksgiving. Will you go skating on the pond with me if there is? I can skate fine and make a figure eight and a double loop on the ice. Hal Macy took me to the Sanford ice rink last Saturday afternoon. He showed me how to make the figure eight. He is a dandy fellow, only he doesnt talk much. You ought to see him play basket ball. He has all the Sanford fellows beat. I like him because he always goes around with the fellows and not the girls. He thinks you are quite nice. I let him read your letter before I lost it and he said I was a lucky kid. I could write some more but I cant think just what to write. I will write some more some other time. You had better come home soon. You and me and Hal Macy will go skating. It is all right for you to go with him. He would just as soon go any place with you because he has been to your house lots of times to parties and you have been to his house and thats the way it is. I have to go and practice an hour on my fiddle so good-bye Marjorie and I send you my love. Hurry up home.

From your best friend,
Charlie Stevens.

Good for that kid! The cry of approbation came straight from Jerrys heart. Old Hal has had a lonesome time in Sanford for the past two years. He could have gone into business for himself in New York after he was graduated from college, but he knew Father needed him in his business. Jerry checked herself with the reminder that Hal would not wish her to glorify him, especially to Marjorie.

Hal is splendid. Marjorie was always first to give Hal his due, impersonally. I know it has been lonesome for him in Sanford without the old crowd and and he must miss you so, Jerry, she finished rather lamely. She meant it in all earnestness. She understood perfectly the bond between Hal and Jerry.

Not half so much as Im sure he misses you. Jerry grew bold for once. This is what he has written me. You can see for yourself what a good sport he is. She did not look at Marjorie as she read:

Dear Jerry:

Yours of last week appreciated. You havent yet said what you are going to do about Thanksgiving. That I suppose will depend on the way matters stand at Hamilton. If you dont come home I will keep Father and Mother busy looking after me so they wont miss you too much. Connie and Laurie will be in New York over Thanksgiving so I must cheer up Charlie by taking him to the football game between the Riverside Giants and the Sanford High team. I have been coaching the Sanford fellows a little. Its going to be some game. Hope youll be on hand to see it.

Just remind Marjorie that I wrote her last. Tell her she can square herself with me by coming home for Thanksgiving. Connie told me yesterday she had written to Marjorie. Hard lines to have Connie and Laurie away on the grand old day. Better try and see what you can do for me. With love. Good night old kid.

Hal.

Why, I dont owe Hal a letter! Marjorie regarded Jerry in surprise. He owes me one.

He does? Jerry showed more surprise than had Marjorie. Well, I believe both of you. Its a plain case of all have won. Meanwhile where is that latest glowing proof of a flourishing correspondence?

Lost in the mail, perhaps, Marjorie guessed. She became silent for a moment. Im doubly sorry about it. I shouldnt care to have Hal think Marjorie paused; looked away from Jerrys keen blue eyes, so like Hals, in confused embarrassment.

You know what to do. Jerry kindly ignored the embarrassed slip. Go present him with your regrets in person. Ill give a hop, and invite you to it. Wont that be nice? Old Hal wont care if you are the only one invited. She could not refrain from a side-long glance at Marjorie.

Imagine Hal and me dancing solemnly around your big ball room together, the only guests at your hop. Marjorie forced a laughing tone of raillery.

Nothing would please him better, Jerry stoutly maintained. It was the nearest to an opinion concerning Hals and Marjories non-progressive love affair that wary Jerry had ever ventured.

CHAPTER VIII
TWO THINGS SHE KNEW ABOUT LOVE

This time the blue and brown eyes met squarely. Marjories expression was a mixture of tolerance, vexation and resignation.

I said it. Jerry read the glance aright. Ill say it for myself, too. Nothing would please me better. You know the rest. Its the first, last and only appearance of Jeremiah as a buttinski. I knew that someday, somehow, somewhere Id say something about you and Hal. Scuse me, Bean, scuse me. Jerrys apology was half joking, half earnest.

Why I why Jerry! Marjorie stammered. She grew rosy from white throat to the roots of her curly hair. Concerning Hals avowal of love, her captain had been her only confidant. Even Constance did not know the circumstances of that bright summer afternoon which she had spent with Hal aboard the Oriole. Why Jurry-miar! She used Danny Seabrookes nickname for Jerry, with a rather tremulous laugh. Who I never

Nope; of course not. Jerrys reply was comfortingly positive. Both you and Hal belong to the high inner order of the tight-shell clam. I can only guess how you stand with each other. I know he loves you. Never think he told me that. I knew it almost as soon as we first met you. Its the same true love, broadened and deepened, that hes giving you today. I wish you cared about him even one-half as much as he cares about you. Youd be loving him some. But Im afraid you dont. And thats flat.

No, Jerry I dont, and it is a relief to be able to say it frankly to you. Marjories recent confusion was clearing away. Her grave serenity of tone robbed her candid confession of all harshness.

Ive always hated to believe you didnt for Hals sake. I was pretty sure of it last summer at the beach, was Jerrys sober answer.

Im never going to marry, Jeremiah, Marjorie informed her room-mate with a kind of pessimistic solemnity. If I couldnt love Hal enough to be his wife, knowing how splendid he is, surely I couldnt marry any other man. Dont think me selfish because I put my work at Hamilton above love. It is life to me my highest, most complete ideal.

Jerry surveyed her chums lovely, but very dignified features for an instant. She was divided between a desire to admire Marjories lofty purpose in life and shake her soundly for her deliberate repudiation of Hal and his warm true love.

I Im not sorry you spoke to me of Hal. Id like you to know that that were not betrothed nor never will be. Marjories voice dropped on the last four words. Only Captain and General know. Not even Connie. I dont think I have the right to tell her. If Hal tells Laurie, he may ask Laurie to tell Connie. I hope so.

I know old Hal wouldnt tell me. Jerrys voiced conviction was emphatic. Jerry was more disturbed than she then realized by the wallop which Marjorie had managed to hand old Hal somewhere along the road of time from the date of Connies wedding. She was inwardly convinced that the turn-down had come at the beach.

I shall tell him that I have told you, Jerry, Marjorie quietly announced. It is Hals privilege to tell Laurie and your father and mother. It was mine to tell either you or Connie as my closest girl friend. I have chosen to tell you. You are as dear to me as Connie; but not dearer. Only in this you have the first right to know.

Marjorie smiled very tenderly on Jerry. Her plump, but not over-plump, partner in the journey through the land of college sat abstractedly scribbling on the back of one of her envelopes, head bent low. She was not far from tears. Jerry loathed tears when, on rare occasions, she had been what she termed cry-baby enough to shed them.

Much obliged. She now spoke gruffly to hide her threatened flow of emotion. I I wish you felt differently about Hal, Marjorie. I I always looked forward to having you for my sister in that way. Jerry absently turned the envelope over and continued to write on its under side.

Oh, Jeremiah, youre just as much my sister now as you would be if I were Marjorie suddenly checked her impulsive assurance. Her honest nature compelled her to desist. No; it was not the same. She knew that no declaration of sisterhood to Jerry on her part could compare with the delight which would be her chums were they to become sisters through her marriage with Hal.

Not the same, Bean; not the same. Jerry shook a positive head.

I know it isnt. I knew it almost as soon as I said it, Marjorie admitted rather humbly. I love you a lot, Jerry. Most of all because you have always loved me and wanted me for your sister. Im glad you spoke to me about Hal. Theres one thing I can do for him. Go to Sanford and help you give him a jolly Thanksgiving. We owe it to him to please him; more than we do to please the dormitory girls. Hes the one most in need of good cheer this Thanksgiving.

Ha-a-a-a! Jerry sat up very straight and drew a long relieved breath. Youre the best little sport, Marjorie Dean! I was afraid you might not care to see poor old Hallelujah on account of having turned him down.

I shant mind seeing Hal, Marjorie said slowly, for truly, Jerry, in my own way I like him as well as ever. I havent changed toward Hal. My attitude toward him is purely that of friendship. But he has changed. Were like two persons, standing on opposite banks of a broad river, trying to call across to each other. Neither of us can understand the other. I wonder why true friendship cant content Hal. He wonders why I cant understand love. She cast an almost mournful glance toward Jerry which Jerry did not forget for many days afterward.

I only know two things surely about love, Marjorie continued after a brief silence. One is that I have never been in love. The other is that without love no marriage can be happy. And now lets not talk of love any more, ever again, Jeremiah, she ended in a whimsical tone which made Jerry smile.

All right. Anything to please you, Bean, she replied. She was secretly elated over Marjories decision concerning Thanksgiving. Nothing could please Hal more she was sure. Its midnight, anyway. Time we put a curb on our talk fest. She rose to begin preparations for sleep. She would have liked to assure Marjorie of how glad old Hal would be, but had agreed to Marjories taboo.

Marjorie gathered up her handful of letters from the table, a contented little smile showing at the corners of her red mouth. She was glad that she and Jerry were going home; that the momentous decision had been made. Picking up the last envelope left on the table she saw it was not one of hers, but Jerrys. A fresh flood of scarlet flew to her cheeks as she saw scribbled across the envelope in Jerrys hand: Marjorie Dean Macy.





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