Marjorie Dean, Marvelous ManagerŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
ďWho?Ē Jerry looked up in mock alarm from the translation into French which she was in indifferent process of making. ďI hope you didnít mean me, Bean.Ē
ďNo, not you.Ē Marjorieís merry laugh was heard. ďI donít know who. I wonít allow myself to label Leslie Cairns as dangerous. In the past she usually overreached herself every time she started trouble.Ē
ďYou are living in the present, Bean,Ē Jerry staidly corrected, ďand Les, as her pals used to call her, is living in our village, too, and right on the job. Sheís like an epidemic. No one knows how or when she may break out. Things were whizzing along on wheels when we went home at Thanksgiving. Next day it rained and the busses all stopped running. They arenít running yet. Now we canít blame Les for the rain, but what about the busses?Ē
ďIíll answer that question when I come back from Barettiís. Iím sure that is what Signor Baretti wishes to talk about.Ē Marjorie had that morning received a note from the Italian asking her and Robin to come to the restaurant at three oíclock that afternoon. ďBye, Jeremiah. See you later. Truly Iíll be back to dinner.Ē
She encountered Robin when within a few steps of the inn looking her prettiest in a mink-trimmed suit of brown and the smartest of mink hats.
ďSuch magnificence!Ē Marjorie exclaimed. ďWhy didnít you tell me there was to be a display of fashion on the campus this P. M.?Ē
ďDidnít know it myself until I went over to the Hall after I left the Biology laboratory this afternoon. There I found a big box on purpose for Robin. I ordered this suit in New York just before I came back to Hamilton. I had to write two hurry-up letters to the tailor about it, but Ė here it is at last.Ē Robin took a jaunty step or two ahead of Marjorie better to display her new costume.
ďItís a work of art,Ē Marjorie smilingly told her with her ready graciousness. ďGuiseppe wonít realize that Iím present when you burst upon him in all your glory.Ē
ďWell Ė not quite so bad as that,Ē Robin disagreed, chuckling. ďHeíll probably say, first thing, that if you had been here the busses wouldnít have stopped running.Ē
ďThatíll do. I think weíre even now.Ē Marjorieís eyes were dancing. She was a lovely picture of blooming girlhood, the dark green of her long coat with its wide collar and bands of black fox bringing out more fully the apple blossom tint of her rounded cheeks.
ďSo, Miss Dean, you come back again. I am glad.Ē Baretti had hastened from the far end of the room to greet his callers. ďYou have the nice time at home? Your father and mother, they are well?Ē he asked with polite interest. ďI think I never know before two such nices ones as your father, your mother.Ē The Italian had been introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Dean during the previous June when they had come to Hamilton to attend the Commencement exercises.
ďThey are very well, thank you, Signor Baretti. I have brought back their best wishes to you. They especially asked me to tell you that they appreciated your message to them.Ē The innkeeper had sent them a message of good will in his sincere, if broken English.
ďThat is good; verra good for me.
When you write the letter, perhaps you have the time say my good wishes once more to them,Ē he asked, slightly hesitant. ďNow come, both of you. I have the fine maple mousse today. My Italiano boys in the kitchen make. None can make better than these.Ē
ďWe adore the maple mousse your boys make!Ē Robin assured Baretti. Marjorie echoed her warm praise of the dainty.
They obediently followed him to one of the vacant tables and seated themselves in the chairs he pulled out for them. He stood for a moment ceremoniously waiting for one or the other of them to ask him to join them.
ďI hope you arenít too busy to sit down at the table for a few minutes and tell us about the busses,Ē Marjorie cordially paved the way.
ďWhat you think, Miss Page; Miss Dean?Ē the little proprietor leaned earnestly forward. An apple-cheeked Italian waitress had been sent for the maple mousse. ďSabani send me the word he donít run the busses Ė not if I say so hundred times. Ha, ha, ha!Ē Baretti threw back his head with a derisive laugh.
ďHow encouraging!Ē Marjorie exclaimed with light mockery. In spite of the difficulties that had overtaken Page and Dean she could not resist smiling over the child-like message of defiance Sabani had sent to Baretti.
The Italian understood her tone and said. ďNow you only make the fun of me, Miss Dean.Ē
ďWhat does Sabani intend to do about sending busses over the campus route?Ē Robin asked anxiously. ďWhy has he cut the campus out? All the answer weíve ever received from him to those two questions is that two of his busses are laid up for repairs and the third is running entirely on the Bretan Hill route.Ē
ďA-a-ah; he only makes the talk. He donít tell nothiní true. Nev-ver-r Sabani tell the truth. He say me the same he say you, Miss Page. I say him: ĎLook you; this my eye.í Put my finger to my eye like this. ĎI see two your busses run in town yesterday.í Then he is verra mad, but he tell me verra smart: ĎOh, yes; you see. That one bus make only one trip to West Hamilton, then break down again.í I tell him I am not foolish. I know what I see. I say: ĎWhat is the matter you donít want to give the dorm girls the service?íĒ
ďThat was straight from the shoulder.Ē Marjorie nodded her approbation.
ďGood for you, Signor Baretti.Ē Robin lightly clapped her hands.
ďHe give me the verra queer look. Mebbe he is the little scared. I speak to him verra quick Ė look me so mad.Ē Baretti straightened in his chair and gave an illustration of his idea of stern, offended dignity. ďThen he say he donít know what I mean. I tell him he will know soon, aní he wonít like. Then he is more scare. He say he tell me somethiní verra private. This is it. He donít like take the dorm girls to the campus in the bus for he is mad because they ride too much in Marianiís taxies. Mariani is the nemico to him. That mean hate verra hard. I laugh at him. I say him that is the mosí biggesí lie he tell yet.Ē
ďWhat an excuse!Ē Robin turned disgustedly to Marjorie. ďItís so flimsy it hardly holds together in the telling. The dormitory girls hardly ever patronize the taxies on account of the expense, Signor Baretti,Ē she explained to their host. ďSabani appeared well pleased in the beginning to have those seventy-two fares twice a day, not to mention the extra campus traffic he received. I never trusted that man.Ē Robin shook a disapproving head.
ďNaw.Ē Baretti forgot manners and indulged in his pet ďNawĒ by way of expressing his contempt. ďWell, I say him, ĎNev-ver-r you miní, Sabani, I know the way to do.í I laugh and go way from him. I think of Floroni who drive one the busses. I know he donít like Sabani. I go in the street watch for him. He is drive the bus to Breton Hill. I have to wait long time for him. I drive my car out on the pike, wait for him there. I say to him come to my restaurant tonight after he make last trip. That is ten of the clock. He say he will.Ē
ďAnd did he keep his word?Ē Marjorie asked eagerly. Two pairs of bright eyes fixed themselves upon the Italian. Neither girl had missed the note of triumph which had sprung into his voice.
ďYes, oo-h, yes,Ē was the instant reply. ďFloroni is my friení. Now he is my driver for my truck. I give him this place. He tell me he doní want work morí for Sabani, for he is no good. He say he canít give up the place when he has the family to work for. Then I say him: ĎYou donít like Sabani. You say me: Why he treat the dorm girls so bad; donít give them any service with the busses?íĒ
Baretti made an eloquent pause as his black eyes sent a triumphant gleam toward one then the other of his listeners. They watched him in expectation.
ďFloroni say: ĎYes, I tell you, Sabani donít tell me nothiní. I see aní hear myself. Sabani get plenta mona becausí he donít run the busses to the campus.íĒ
ďPlenty of money because he doesnít run the busses?Ē cried Robin her eyes widening with surprise. ďI canít see how that Ė Ē
ďYes-s;Ē the little proprietor interposed, a trace of excitement ruffling his quick, stolid assent. ďHe get that mona becausí Miss Car-rins give to him. She go to his garage two days before Thanksgiving; talk to him there. It is in the morning verra early. Floroni and the other drivers take out the busses. Floroni happen walk by her. He hear her tell Sabani this: ĎWhat you care, aní I make worth the time.í He donít know then what she mean. Day beforí Thanksgiving Sabani say him, ĎI give you holiday tomorrow; mebbe more days. Two the busses need the repairs. I pay you jusí same as when you drive but you stay in the garage. You wash the cars; do such things.í And so it is. He donít like, but he need the monaí.Ē The Italian spread his hands with a deprecating gesture. ďHe say, Miss Car-rins make all the trouble.Ē
Listening to Barettiís information concerning the bus trouble it occurred to both Robin and Marjorie in the same instant that they might have expected to hear the name of Leslie Cairns as the real power of malice. Robinís flash of surprise at Barettiís first accusation against Sabani instantly died out. She knew that it was not the first time that Leslie Cairns had bribed her way to her objectives.
ďThen there is no certainty as to when the busses will begin running again,Ē Marjorie said, brows contracted in a reflective little frown. ďWhat ought we to do, Signor Baretti?Ē She glanced appealingly at the little man.
ďAh, that is the way I like! I am the one to help you. It is already done. Tomorrow you see the busses run to the campus again with the dorm girls.Ē Baretti made this promise almost gleefully.
ďTomorrow!Ē two voices rose simultaneously.
ďYes-s.Ē Baretti surveyed the amazed firm of Page and Dean with his broadest, most beaming smile. ďThis morning I have go to Sabani. Aa-h-h, but we have the fight; but not with the hand.Ē He doubled a fist and shook his hand. ďIt was the fight talk. I scare him; make him think I know all he say to Miss Car-rins; all she say him. Then I tell him I will go to the mayor of Hamilton aní tell the mayor what he have done. The mayor will take away his license for the bus line. ĎI make you many troubles, for you deserve, you donít run the busses to the campus tomorrow.í After while he say he will do it. He say Miss Car-rins tell him it was the joke she want play on the dorm girls. I say him it is the poor joke, but not so bad as the joke I will play on him if he doní run the busses to the campus tomorrow.Ē
AN EVIL INSPIRATION
Due to the heavy rain storm on Thanksgiving Day, Leslie Cairnsí plans had gone considerably ďaglee.Ē To parade the Dazzler, the white car she had loaned Doris, with Doris in it and clothed in expensive white furry finery, had been an impossibility. In consequence a very much disgruntled Leslie Cairns had telephoned Doris that ďit was all offĒ and to meet her instead at the Colonial at two oíclock.
Before the two girls had reached their Thanksgiving dessert they had come perilously near quarreling. Leslie was in bad humor because of the inclement weather. She had the fierce hatred of being disappointed common to utterly selfish persons. The news that Doris would grace the hop on the Saturday evening following Thanksgiving Day and take charge at the door of the admission fee to the frolic had not pleased Leslie.
ďYou should have known better than to take that job, even though it does give you a chance to show off your looks,Ē she had upbraided Doris in a surly tone. ďYou say you canít endure Bean and her crowd. Then Ė bing!†Ė you whirl about and let them make a silly of you. Page is Beanís partner and one of the celebrated Beanstalks. That didnít hinder you from being as sweet as cream to Page and saying, Ďyes,í in a hurry when she asked you to be a little pet donkey and collect the fees at the hop.Ē
ďLeslie!Ē Doris had said in a low, furious voice, ďyou shall not talk to me in that tone, or call me a donkey. I wonít stand it. You are simply in a rage with everything and everybody today because things didnít go to suit you. Besides, it was Miss Wenderblatt not Miss Page who asked me. You are rude and boorish.Ē
ďIíll say what I please. Iíve a perfect right to express an opinion.Ē Leslie had flung back with equal fury. ďWhat youíll have to do is to go and tell that smug Dutch prig, Wenderblatt, that you wonít be able to do the tax-collection stunt Saturday night. You have another engagement. You have, you know. One with me. Weíll go to the Lotus to dinner and wander into that select rube recreation palace known as the Hamilton Opera House.Ē
ďI do not intend to tell Miss Wenderblatt any such thing,Ē Doris had retorted with belligerent independence. ďJust remember she is Professor Wenderblattís daughter. This stunt I am to do at the hop will boom me a lot on the campus. I have a perfectly ducky dress to wear. Besides Miss Peyton and Miss Barton are going to try to start a beauty contest at the hop. There is no doubt but that I shall win it.Ē
ďYour chances are fair since Beanís taken her precious self to dear Sanford, the place where Beans and Beanstocks grow,Ē Leslie had sneered.
ďYou are so impossible today, Leslie. I shaínít lower myself by quarreling with you,Ē had been Dorisís ultimatum, delivered in offended haughtiness.
ďYouíd never win a prize for amiability. Youíre the most selfish proposition, Doris Monroe, that Iíve ever met,Ē Leslie had retaliated.
ďGet acquainted with yourself,Ē Doris had sarcastically advised.
The ending of their Thanksgiving dinner had been punctuated freely with other similar pleasantries. The two self-willed girls had left the Colonial hardly on speaking terms. It was nearing half past three oíclock when they had stepped outside the tea room. The rain having stopped Doris had sulkily announced her intention to walk to Wayland Hall instead of allowing Leslie to run her there in the car. Leslie had snapped back: ďDonít care what you do. Youíre too selfish to consider me. You know I counted on you to help me amuse myself tonight in that dead dump of a town. Go to the dance. I hope you have a punk evening.Ē
ďIn going to the hop Iím only doing what you asked me to do quite a while ago. You told me then that you wanted me to make myself popular on the campus. Well; this is the way to do it. Think it over. Youíll find Iím right,Ē had been Dorisís parting shot as she separated from her ill-humored companion.
Determining to teach Doris a lesson, Leslie let the rest of the week go by without holding any communication with the sophomore. She had spent a lonely Thanksgiving evening and blamed Doris heavily because of it. She was also dreadfully miffed at the partial failure of her contemptible plot against the dormitory girlsí welfare. When she had awakened on Thanksgiving morning, to see violently weeping skies that promised an all-day deluge, she had smiled contentedly. She had effectually blocked Beanís plans for the day. And for a good many days to come! Such was her belief, when, after having posted herself in the palm-screened window of the floristís shop to see that Sabani kept his word and ran no busses, she had frowningly witnessed the arrival of Phil, Barbara and Robin on the scene and what followed as a result of their timely arrival.
When Leslie had had the galling experience of seeing the Thanksgiving part of her plot far on the way to failure she had flung out of the floristís in a rage, jumped into her car and set off for the campus without any definite reason whatever for going there. The main point had been to keep ďrag, tag and bob-tail,Ē as she had ironically named the off-campus girls, from getting to the ďfree feedĒ at the ďdagoís hash house.Ē She had failed to do this. The ďbeggarsĒ had managed to reach Barettiís in spite of the rain. They would return to town in the same way that they had come. Leslie felt particularly spiteful toward Robin Page. So very spiteful that she indulged her rancor in ďsplashingĒ Phil and Robin when the opportunity chanced to offer itself.
On the Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving while the Travelers, old and new, had gathered in Marjorieís room in serious confab over the momentous happenings of the Thanksgiving holiday, Leslie Cairns had sat lazily stretched in an easy chair in her hotel room, eyes half closed, her dark mind wholly concentrated on an idea which had just introduced itself to her. It was an evil inspiration, born of a group of headlines she had glanced at in one of the Sunday papers.
ďI wonder why I never thought of that before,Ē she had said half aloud as she dipped a hand into a box of nut chocolates on the table beside her and thoughtfully nibbled a cream nut. ďI wish I dared ask him to help me. He could do what I want done as quickly as a wink. He couldnít kick, either, for he has handled more than one such stunt. I think Iíll write him. ĎNothing venture nothing have.í Iíll wait a few days until I see how the bus scheme works out, then Iíll write. Iíve never written him since he Ė since he Ė .Ē Leslieís voice had faltered. She had sat staring into the ruddy embers of the open fire looking less like a malicious mischief-maker and more like a sorrowful young woman than ever before. There was only one person in the world who had ever commanded Leslieís respect and tenderness. That one was her father.
A BUSY INVESTIGATOR
On Monday, Leslie, now elated by her newest plan, relented and called Doris Monroe on the telephone. While she had been ready to condemn Doris for going to the hop, nevertheless she had a thriving curiosity to know what had happened at the dance.
The two girls met by appointment at the Colonial and in a far pleasanter frame of mind than that of the preceding Thursday.
ďI may go to New York,Ē Leslie announced, directly they had found a table to suit their difficult fancy and seated themselves. ďIím expecting a letter or a telegram fromĒ Ė Leslie checked herself abruptly Ė ďfrom a dear friend,Ē she continued. ďEven if I shouldnít hear from this friend I may go anyway.Ē
ďAnd, of course, I canít get leave of absence to go with you.Ē Doris spoke pettishly, dissatisfaction looming large on her perfect features. ďWe made a mistake in not going there at Thanksgiving. You could have gone. It rained too hard for you to attend to any business about your garage site.Ē
ďThatís all you know about it,Ē Leslie indulged in one of her silent laughs. ďI was very busy in town on Thanksgiving morning. Donít get New Yorkitis, Goldie. Weíll go to little old N. Y. for the Easter vacation. Maybe our house will be open then,Ē she predicted hopefully. She felt signally cheered even by the remote prospect.
Leslie had already begun the composition of a letter to her father. She wrote, crossed out and re-wrote. She had not yet evolved from her labor the letter she hoped would soften her fatherís unforgiving heart.
ďWhen will you go to New York?Ē Doris showed signs of mollification. The promise of an Easter vacation in New York with Leslie to show her the metropolis was something to be gracious over.
ďDonít know. Not for a week. Perhaps not for two.Ē Leslie donned her most indifferent air. She had volunteered as much as she thought wise to Doris concerning her New York trip. ďTell me about the hop,Ē she said craftily, switching the subject from herself to her companion.
ďOh, it was so, so.Ē Doris shrugged lightly. ďMy pale blue frock was sweet. A lot of fuss was made over me. There wasnít a Beauty contest.Ē Her face registered disappointment. ďJulia Peyton said sheíd start one, but she couldnít make it go. The crowd was crazy to dance.Ē
ďShe is a big bluff, and her pal, red-headed Miss Carter is a stupid. Look out for both of them,Ē was Leslieís succinct criticism. She had been introduced to the two sophs by Doris and had mentally decided against both.
ďThey have been awfully sweet to me,Ē Doris returned half offended. She did not enjoy having her admirers belittled. ďSo were Miss Page, Miss Moore and the rest of that new sorority. Miss Page is charming. What a pity she throws herself away on that horrid Sanford crowd. I was glad they werenít at the hop. Iíd not have taken charge of the admission fee if they had been.Ē
ďYou would if it had happened to suit you,Ē Leslie coolly told her. Then she laughed. ďDonít bristle and get ready to throw quills at me, Goldie. I know you thoroughly. I must say Iím surprised to hear you raving over Page when you know Page and Bean are my special abomination.Ē
ďYou never said a word about Miss Page,Ē Doris flashed back.
ďSheís a Beanstalk. Wasnít that enough to let you know what I thought of her? Arenít she and Bean always together?Ē
ďIím not crazy about Miss Page,Ē Doris jerked out angrily. She purposely avoided answering Leslieís questions.
ďIíll say youíre not. Thereís only one person you are crazy about. Thatís Doris Monroe,Ē Leslie said with savage emphasis.
ďThatís not fair, nor true,Ē sputtered Doris. Unguardedly her clear cold tones rose higher than she knew. ďIím not crazy about myself Ė or anyone else. Iíd like you best of all, Leslie, if you werenít so awfully bullying. I wonít be bullied. Thatís all there is to it.ĒŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
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