Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Managerñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“You’re a wonder and a comfort to my distracted old age, Phil.” Robin showed grateful relief. “Watch me start on the trail of those taxies. Never mind the expense.” She darted back to the telephone booth she had recently left. Phil followed her; slipped into an adjoining booth and proceeded to call Lillian Wenderblatt on the telephone.
Among the waiting company of girls a loud buzz of dismayed conversation had now risen concerning the non-appearance of the busses. Anna Towne, Florence Wyatt and Marian Barth, seniors and members of the new Travelers’ sorority, were anxiously discussing the situation with a group of their particular friends.
At least a third of the off-campus students who had lived in the old houses, which had been demolished to make place for the dormitory, now in process of building, were seniors. While they, with the students of the lower classes, had been familiarly termed by the Travelers among themselves as the “dormitory girls,” they hardly hoped to have the pleasure of living even a few weeks in the dormitory before their graduation from college. Far from being disappointed at this prospect they did not stop to consider themselves but showed only the utmost satisfaction in the good fortune which would fall to the other two-thirds of the off-campus contingent.
In themselves the dormitory girls were the finest student element at Hamilton. Originally brought together, and gradually welded into a congenial, self-governing body by the efforts of Marjorie, Robin and the Travelers, these earnest, capable girls were daily living up to the Hymn to Hamilton.
As president of the senior class sunny-faced, easy-going Phil Moore was their idol, Barbara, as her chum and intrepid co-worker, was hardly less worshiped. The moment Barbara left Phil to make her way back to the window she was eagerly surrounded and plied with concerned questions.
“Don’t give up this ship, children,” she gaily declared, raising her voice above the flood of questions which assailed her. “Robin is ’phoning for taxies from the station and Phil is ’phoning for Miss Wenderblatt and her car. We shall manage O. K. without the busses.”
Barbara’s assurances were received with jubilant cries of acclamation from the effervescently happy girls. While she was in the midst of them she happened to glance toward the back of the store. Phil was just emerging from the ’phone booth a pleased smile on her face. She paused before the booth which held Robin and peered in through the glass panel. Robin was still busy ’phoning, it appeared. Phil turned, saw Barbara looking toward her and waved a re-assuring hand. It signified that her part of the telephoning had been successful.
A false alarm of: “Here comes a bus!” caused a surging of the crowd to the window. Through the rain a large dark red milk truck had been mistaken for one of the busses. When Barbara finally turned away from the window it was to find Phil and Robin beside her. Phil was no longer smiling.
Her blue eyes were full of resentment. Robin’s face was a mixture of dismay, indignation and perplexity.
“What do you think?” she blazed forth to Barbara. “That miserable Mariani person won’t let us have a single taxi! He claims they are all in use and will be the rest of the day. He was so hateful to me. He asked me very sarcastically why we did not use the busses today since we used them every other day instead of his taxicabs.”
“We certainly are in a pickle. Uh-h-h.” Barbara simulated collapse. “I’d forgotten all about it, but someone told me long ago that those two Italians, Mariani and Sabani have been at daggers drawn for years. Sabani once had the station jitneys, and all to himself. Then came Tony Mariani with a better looking lot of cars, and ran Sabani out. Then Sabani built a garage and ran that, but he swore never to accommodate anyone who patronized Mariani. The bus line belongs to Sabani. I suppose he has registered the same vow against Mariani.”
“Then we might as well count them both out,” was Robin’s dispirited ultimatum. “Did you ever know worse luck? To have all our plans upset because a couple of Italianos are ready to swear a vendetta!”
“If only we could capture a truck. I’d drive it myself,” Phil valiantly declared. “But it’s a holiday,” she added with a hopeless shrug of her shoulders.
“That milk truck is the only one I’ve seen today,” said Barbara mournfully.
“We’ll have to deliver the guests to Baretti in private cars,” was Robin’s undaunted decision. “Thus far we have two; ours, and Lillian’s is likely to be here any minute. I’ll start at once with seven girls. You two stay here and start Lillian’s car back with seven more the instant she comes. It’s twelve o’clock now. We have exactly one hour. Phone Gussie Forbes and Calista Wilmot. They both have cars. They will help us out. So will Laura Mead and Norma Buchanan. I almost forgot our new Travelers. If those four girls can make one trip apiece, each taking seven or eight girls to a car, Lillian and I can make a trip and a half apiece in an hour. We simply must.”
To think was to act with Robin. She had hardly finished sketching her plan to her chums before she had begun to marshal seven of the dormitory girls to the door.
“Follow me,” she laughingly directed. “I’m going to make a rapid sprint for my car. You do the same. Never mind your umbrellas. You’ve not time to hunt them out now. I’ll bring them to the campus later in the car.”
Across the walk she dashed, an intrepid little leader, and opened the door of the car nearest to her. Her followers, close at her heels, merrily stowed themselves into the automobile. A moment or two and Robin was in the seat and had started the car.
The palm-screened window of a florist’s shop across the street afforded an excellent view of Robin and her party of girls to an interested spectator. Leslie Cairns had gone to the pains of donning leather coat, knickers, rubber hood and high-laced boots, and actually walking in the downpour from the Hamilton House to the florist’s shop opposite the bus stand. Her idea was not that of taking a rainy-day constitutional. Leslie had posted herself behind the barrier of leafy green for the express purpose of watching the working out of a little plan of her own.
THE WILL AND THE WAY
While Phil hastily telephoned Wayland Hall and sent out her emergency call for Gussie and Calista, Barbara busied herself with getting into communication with Laura Mead and Norma Buchanan of Silverton Hall. Anna Towne had been posted to watch at the window for Lillian. The latter arrived shortly after Robin had gone. She quickly took on her load of passengers and whizzed off as speedily as she had come.
Arrived at the inn with her first installment of guests, Robin found Signor Baretti a most sympathetic listener to the report of the calamity which had overtaken the off-campus girls. Mindful of the fact that the nationality of the two warring garage proprietors was the same as Baretti’s she made her report a strictly impersonal one.
“This is no way for Mariani an’ Sabani to do. Verra bad,” was the little proprietor’s wrathful criticism of his countrymen. “I know these verra well. They are the Italianos. But they are not much good. They are too craza get the money. Each steal the business of the other. To get mad at the people; that is the verra bad business. The people don’t ride, Sabani an’ Mariani get no mona.”
“It was very bad business for us,” Robin assured him with a rueful smile. “I think now that we’ll be able to bring the girls to the inn almost on time. We can’t avoid being a little late.”
“You don’t speak of that. It is the all right,” protested Baretti.
“Thank you so much, Signor Baretti. But we must not delay your Thanksgiving arrangements.” Robin made a movement as though about to depart.
“You listen one minute.” Up went one of the Italian’s hands for attention. “You don’t worry about nothin’, Miss Page. Your frien’s come pretty soon in the cars with the dorm girls. The dinner is a little late, I don’t care. These frien’s who have the cars take the dorm girls to town, to the campus, all the day when they need to go?”
“Yes, the same girls will help us if they haven’t any special engagements for the afternoon and evening. The dormitory girls are to see the basket ball game in the gym this afternoon. Then they have to go to town to get ready for a dance in the gym this evening. After the dance they must be taken back to town again. We don’t wish to disappoint them if we can help it.” A worried pucker appeared on Robin’s white forehead.
“I know what I do.” Baretti treated Robin to a brilliantly encouraging smile. She had never before seen him look so utterly genial. “You wait – you see.” He nodded at her mysteriously.
“You’ve done so much for us already,” she demurred, answering the smile with her own charming one.
“I do more,” he promised heartily. He trotted along at her side as she hurried to the door, repeatedly assuring her of his help.
Robin had sprung hastily into her car and headed it for the town of Hamilton when Lillian Wenderblatt drove up with a second load of girls.
“Hurray! Never say die!” Lillian hailed triumphantly. “We’re here, because we’re here!”
The girls in the car took up the cry and shouted it joyfully.
“You made quick time,” Robin said to Lillian with grateful warmth. “Gussie, Calista, Laura Mead and Norma Buchanan have been phoned for. Phil and Barbara are at that end of the job. Did you meet any of our rescue motorists on the way?”
“Yes; I passed Gus and Calista not far from the Arms. They were speeding along, splashing up the water like sixty. They were having a race to see which one could keep in the lead.”
“Thank goodness for such glorious news!” exclaimed Robin energetically. “Do you mind making another trip, Lillian?”
“I’d love to. I’ll dump my cargo of dorms, as our friend Guiseppe likes to call ’em, instanter. Then I’ll beat you back to town.”
“Oh, no you won’t. Good-bye. I haven’t time to say much obliged.” Robin promptly started her car and sped away through the fine misting rain into which the heavier downpour had at last merged.
“This is one way to spend Thanksgiving,” she reflected, a touch of mockery in her smile, as she sent the car ahead at the highest speed she dared employ. “I know three Silvertonites who are going to be away late for dinner at the Hall, too. But it’s our traditional obligation to see the dorms within Baretti’s hospitable gates first and consider our own turkey dinner last. Just the same I hope there’ll be lots of turkey left. I’m so hungry.” Robin sighed audibly.
She forgot her hunger when she suddenly spied Gussie and Calista coming up, a pair of highly enthusiastic, if somewhat reckless chauffeurs, each driving a car filled with dinner guests.
“You can always rely on the Bertram Taxi Company,” Gussie called at top voice. She was in the lead and radiant with the opportunity which had fallen to her to make herself useful.
Robin rewarded Gussie with a gay salute. “Seen the others?” she cried.
“Laura and Norma? Met them just as we turned out of Linden Avenue,” the reply floated back to Robin’s gratified ears.
When within a short distance of the bus stand she had the good luck to encounter Laura and Norma. They had enthusiastically hailed the detail as a fine opportunity to prove their mettle as Travelers. They had also pressed Adeline Raymond, another of the new Travelers, into service with her car. Twenty-six passengers made up the jubilant aggregation of the three cars which the trio of Travelers had brought to the emergency.
Robin shouted and waved her encouragement of the overflowing carloads of girls as the machines shot past her own. She did not attempt to stop the three willing drivers who had responded so promptly to the call. She had not more than reached the drug store and sprung from her car when Lillian drove up, laughingly sounding her own praises as a high-speed motorist.
“We have met the obstacle and surmounted it,” Phil emphasized her joyful boast with a flourish of the arm. She and Barbara had rushed out of the drug store at sight of the returned pair of P. G.’s. “Only sixteen more girls to go to the inn. Speed up, and you can get them there by a little after one. Then you can come back for us. I’ve ’phoned Silverton Hall that we may be late for dinner. It will be all right.”
“You’re a collection of jewels, all of you.” Robin made an affectionately inclusive gesture. “What about Thanksgiving dinner at your house, Lillian?” she turned to her classmate.
“Not until four o’clock. I’ve barrels of time to squander,” Lillian declared extravagantly.
“Come on, friends and fellow-citizens!” Robin was now beckoning briskly to the sixteen girls of the dormitory group who had followed Phil and Barbara outside the store. “Please accept my profound apologies for having to pack you in, eight to a car. It will have to be done.”
“Try to regard the experience from the stoical standpoint of a sardine,” Phil advised comfortingly, but in a comfortless tone.
Her advice was received with a buzz of retaliating sallies from the giggling aspirants for sardine experience. Neither dark weather nor mishaps can long suppress the exuberant spirit of youth. It bubbles up like a magic spring at the first intimation of trouble ended and good fortune nigh. What might have been a most vexatious disappointment had been averted in the nick of time. In consequence, Baretti’s dinner guests were in high feather at the triumph of Robin, Phil and Barbara over calamitous circumstances.
Robin’s heart responded to the rollicking happy disturbance the double octette of girls were making as they piled themselves into the two waiting cars. She did not know what the rest of the day might bring forth but she was greatly inspirited by Signor Baretti’s promise to help.
“I must hurry away again, Signor Baretti. I must go back to town for Miss Moore and Miss Severn,” Robin explained a little later to the Italian as she saw the last of the dormitory girls ushered high and dry into the inn. “I’ll stop here on my return trip with the girls’ umbrellas. They’ll need them when they are ready to go over on the campus. I don’t believe it will ever stop raining.” Standing in the open door of the inn she made a grimace of mock despair.
“It rain, oh, way late tonight, mebbe,” prophesied Baretti. “I have look at the sky verra hard. Well, it is not that much to be sad to me if I have not many more than the dorm girls for the dinner. After the dinner, Pedro, my man, stay here at the restaurant. I am the one to go to the town and see Sabani. I know him. I speak the verra cross words to him. He knows how I can be verra mad. I make him send the busses to the campus after the ginnasio for the dorm girls.”
AN UNEXPECTED SHOWER
It seemed to Robin as though the road between Baretti’s and the town of Hamilton was never ending. While she and Marjorie counted the odd little inn-keeper as their friend and a sincere advocate of the dormitory project, she was amazed at this latest proffer of friendship. She had little doubt as to what would be the result of his call upon Sabani, a fat, taciturn fellow with a surly, hang-dog manner. Among the sprinkling of Italians who lived in or near the town of Hamilton, Guiseppe Baretti was held in the light of an uncrowned monarch by his humbler countrymen.
“Baretti’s,” as his restaurant was familiarly called, had been for years the favorite rendezvous of the students of Hamilton College. Like the inn, its silent, keen-eyed proprietor had found lasting favor with the campus dwellers. From faculty to freshmen the little man was known and liked. His interest in the Travelers and their ambitious plans for a free dormitory had been awakened on the evening when Marjorie, Robin, Phil and a group of their boon companions had, in a spirit of mischief, serenaded him. Since that memorable evening, when he had entertained them with a story of his own miseries as an emigrant in New York City, his interest in their work and accomplishment had grown greater. The Travelers now numbered him as one of their staunchest allies.
“At last!” Robin exclaimed half aloud as the familiar turn into Linden Avenue appeared, only a few rods ahead. She sent the car fleeing down the wet avenue, bent on reaching the drug store at the earliest moment. She had hardly begun slowing down as the car neared the store when Phil and Barbara issued from it and ran down to the edge of the walk to meet her.
“You made dandy time,” Phil called out. “Are you sure you weren’t speeding?”
“It seemed as though I’d never reach here,” Robin declared. “I spun the car along as fast as I dared. I’ve come for you and the girls’ umbrellas.” Robin hopped agilely from the car and landed on the walk between Phil and Barbara. “We must start back in about three minutes. We’ll be late for dinner, but not too late. I’m famished. I left Lillian at the inn, starving. She’s saving her appetite for Thanksgiving dinner at home, and it won’t be served until four o’clock.”
The three promoters of happiness swung gaily up the walk, oblivious to the drizzling rain, entered the store and made an energetic onslaught upon the two make-shift racks of damp umbrellas. With the help of the proprietor and a ball of heavy twine the umbrellas were made into several bundles and deposited on the floor of the car. Barbara volunteered to keep them company on the back seat of the machine.
“You may sit on the front seat, Phil. You’ve something to tell Robin. I resign the place of honor in favor of you. I am too considerate to join the front seat party by sitting on you. I’m going to roost among the bumbershoots.” Barbara climbed in among the piles of umbrellas and settled herself cosily on the back seat, her feet tucked under her.
“Roosting among the bumbershoots,” laughed Phil. “That sounds almost scientific; as though the bumbershoots might be a species of rare bird, or maybe a savage tribe. Oh, but it’s good to be on the move again.” She straightened in the seat and drew a deep breath of satisfaction. “Those two hours of watchful waiting that Barbara and I put in will last us for a long time to come. Weary watchful waiters waitfully watching the weather. We weren’t the only waitful watchers, either.” Phil’s merry tones gave place to a more forceful accent.
“What do you mean, Phil?” Robin cast a quick, side-long glance toward her cousin.
“Leslie Cairns was across the street in the florist’s shop watching us. She was standing at the back of the window that had the palms in it. She had on a leather motor coat with a hood. The hood was drawn over her head and she wore knickers and high-laced boots. She looked more like an aviator than a motorist. I happened to get a good view of her. Most of the time she kept out of sight behind the palms. I think she was there for a purpose,” was Phil’s distrustful surmise.
“Oh, she may only have happened in the shop, either to order flowers or to hunt shelter from the rain,” Robin made charitable allowance. “Very likely she has a dinner date with Miss Monroe or one of the Acasia House girls. What possible interest could she have in the dormitory girls? You know what a snob she used to be. I daresay she hasn’t changed.”
“She has nerve,” grumbled Phil who had always detested Leslie Cairns with the full strength of her democratic soul. “If I had been expelled from Hamilton, even unjustly, I’d never set foot on the campus again. The idea of trying to gain a social footing on Hamilton campus after the hateful way she fought against everything fair, honest and ennobling!”
Robin, busy guiding the car through the thin, gray mist, nodded her sympathy of Phil’s impulsive outburst. “Did you see her leave the florist’s shop,” she asked.
“Yes; just before you came back this last time. She dodged out of the store like a streak, jumped into a little black car she’d parked in front of the shop, and away she drove like the wind.”
“Hm-m. That sounds rather suspicious. She may have had some dark and desperate motive.” Robin was half smiling. “More likely she simply happened to go into the shop, saw the crowd across the street and curiosity got the better of her.”
“I don’t think so,” Phil frowned and shook a doubting head. “She had an object in view. She isn’t half so much interested in getting ready to build a garage on that property she snatched from you and Marjorie as she might be. I believe she bought it purely for spite; as an excuse to keep her near the campus. She’s rich in her own right, and a law unto herself. It’s the old story of idle hands and mischief. She has no worthy object in life. She’s the kind of person who has to have something to hammer away at. So she’s settled herself near the campus to see what she can do to tear down what Page and Dean have built up.”
Phil’s voice rang out resentfully on the last sentence. She had felt suspicion rise within her the instant she caught sight of Leslie Cairns. “There!” she declared with some vehemence. “I’ve told you plainly what I think of Leslie Cairns. You know I’ve never said much about her before now. I don’t mean to be a back-biter. But I think she’s more likely to try to make mischief now than ever. She’s vindictive. She’s shown that. She likes to blame Marjorie, instead of herself, for the trouble she and the Sans had that wound up their B. A. prospects at Hamilton. I won’t forgive her for misjudging Marjorie purposely.”ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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