Ruthe Wheeler.

Janet Hardy in Radio City

Thats something that will keep, said Helen. See you later.

On the way home Janets father and mother told her how proud they were of her work and she felt a real sense of elation, for compliments from them meant more than from anyone else.

It was well after midnight when she finally went to sleep in the bed in her own attractive room. Tomorrow there would be the trip to Corn Belt U. and then on to New York in a few days.

Chapter Sixteen

The next morning both the Hardy and the Thorne households were up early for it had been decided to make the trip to Newton, the seat of Corn Belt U., during the morning. The girls could complete their plans for registration during the afternoon and in the evening they could return home in good time.

Janet was nearly through breakfast when an express messenger called at the door.

Package for Miss Janet Hardy, he announced. Air express, too.

Janet signed for the package. It was long and unusually well wrapped and when she saw the return address, Ace Motion Picture Corp., Costume Department, she tingled all over, for she knew that inside were the dresses George Roddy, or Adoree as he was know professionally, had created for her.

Janets mother helped her rip aside the heavy brown paper with which the cardboard box was wrapped. Inside were layers of tissue and then they gazed upon the first dress, a sport outfit of green wool in lines so plain that its daring was startling. The jacket fitted snugly with a tie about the throat and the ends extended over Janets shoulders.

After that came an afternoon dress, a rich brown velvet that caught and threw back at them the morning light. The skirt was plain with the upper half of the dress in a Russian blouse design with the plain roll collar of cloth of gold.

Why, its the most gorgeous thing Ive ever seen, exclaimed Janets mother. How did this all happen?

Briefly, Janet told how Roddy had taken an interest in them and in seeing that they had attractive and striking clothes.

There was one more dress, a garment designed for classroom wear. This was a corduroy a deep blue that was dazzling in its intensity.

Before Janet could get it completely out of its heavy tissue wrappings the telephone rang and when she answered Helens excited voice came tumbling over the wire. She, too, had received her box from Roddy a sports outfit, an afternoon dress and another dress for classroom wear.

Lets wear one of our new dresses when we go to the university to register, said Helen, and Janet agreed. Each of them had corduroys and they decided to wear these.

Janet took the last garment, the corduroy one, from its wrappings and hurried upstairs to try it on. Her mother hastened after her, as eager as Janet to see how the new dress fitted and looked.

Janet wriggled into the cool, smooth garment and whirled to face her mother. Her hair was a bit touseled and her cheeks flushed from the excitement and the vivid blue of the dress only heightened her youthful charm.

You look beautiful, dear, breathed her mother.

Ive never seen anything more lovely.

Janet turned back to her mirror and gazed at the dress Roddys agile mind had conceived for her. It was striking.

The blue corduroy hung well, fitting closely around her slim hips and opening at the throat with a semi-military cut. A neat little pocket was placed just above her heart. The sleeves were wrist length, rather full at the shoulders and tapering to a close fit just above her hands where they were caught and tied with two silver bands.

Someone came pounding up the stairs. It was Helen, who burst into the room like a young hurricane. Like Janet, she was attired in one of her new dresses. It was corduroy, but of an umber hue that was set off to perfection by Helens dark hair and the olive coloring of her face. There was just enough difference in the two dresses to make them varied, yet at a glance an observer could tell that they had been created by the same master hand.

Helen even had on brown hose and shoes that matched her dress.

Where are your new shoes? she demanded.

Janet delved further into the box. At the bottom was a shoe box and she opened it with shaking fingers. This was more than she had ever dared imagine. She drew forth a pair of blue kid slippers and tucked in them were three pairs of blue hose to match her dress and shoes. She changed shoes and hose and stood up again, whirling in front of the mirror. The costume now was perfection itself. She ran a comb through her golden hair and knew the thrill that comes from knowing a costume is perfect.

Do you suppose well be asked to join a sorority at school? asked Helen.

If they see you in these dresses I imagine you can join any or all of them, smiled Mrs. Hardy. Come now, we must be ready when the men want to start.

On the echo of her words a horn sounded below. Janet dabbed a little powder on her face and joined Helen as they hurried down stairs. Even their fathers were elated over the new dresses and both girls felt that their cups of happiness were filled to overflowing.

Honestly, confided Helen, I hate to wear this in the car. Id like to take it off and then put it on when we get near school.

I suppose youd like to ride all of the way wrapped up in a blanket or something, chided Janet. But Ill admit that I hate to sit down in this dress.

It was a beautifully clear morning and John Hardy sent his big car speeding over the paved road at a fast pace. They were in Newton in ample time to drive around the university grounds and have a leisurely lunch before going to the office of the dean of women to take the first steps in registering.

The campus of Corn Belt U. was lined with stately elms that had watched over the destiny of the school for more than three quarters of a century. The main buildings were of Indiana limestone with a few of the older ones of red-faced brick, now well covered with a rich growth of English ivy.

Janet knew that she would enjoy going to school here. There was a spirit of calm and dignity about the campus that appealed to her.

At lunch they talked of plans for school and of what they would take.

Im going to get all of the dramatics and English I can absorb, declared Helen. Perhaps a little history, too.

How about you, Janet?

I think my major courses will be journalism, and perhaps just a little in the way of dramatics.

Not thinking about going back to Hollywood and joining Billy Fenstows company when youre through, are you? chided the director.

Well, I might have that idea in mind if no newspaper will take me on as a reporter, conceded Janet.

Luncheon over they went directly to the administration building where, after a short wait, they were ushered into the office of the dean of women.

Mrs. Laird was a pleasant woman of about fifty and Janet saw her keen eyes take in every inch of their costumes in a glance and she thought she saw just a trace of suspicion arise in the deans eyes.

Janets father explained their mission, pointing out that because of their coming trip to Radio City they would be late in taking up class work.

Its a little unusual to arrange registration in this way, said the dean, but I believe you can be accommodated.

For an hour they went over class schedules, the dean advising them on the courses best suited to what they had in mind. She assisted them in filling out the final registration cards and paused at one question.

Do you hope to join a sorority? she asked.

We wont be here in time for the rushing parties, replied Janet. Perhaps that had better wait until another semester, that is, if any of the groups should want us for membership.

The deans cool eyes surveyed the fashionably dressed girls.

I rather imagine you could take your pick of the sororities right now if the girls were here, she said.

The registration was over. The girls were to have rooms in Currier Hall, an old but comfortable dormitory.

The dean seemed a little cool, said Helen.

I noticed that, too, Janet said. Evidently she doesnt think much of the plans which call for us hurrying away to New York.

Cant be helped; were going, said Helen.

When they returned home a telegram was waiting for Henry Thorne.

This interests you girls more than it does me, he said, handing the message to his daughter.

Helen read it eagerly.

Have Janet and Helen report next Monday morning at Radio City at ten oclock, she said.

That means well have to leave here Saturday night. Why, thats only tomorrow night! gasped Janet.

Chapter Seventeen

They were so busy until after dinner that night that Janet had no time to scan the evening paper. When she picked up the Times it was with pleasant surprise for in the middle of the front page was a story by Pete Benda, reviewing Water Hole and describing the r?les Janet and Helen played.

Miss Hardy gave a most pleasing portrayal in the r?le of the heroine, Pete had written, and a good many local people will enjoy this picture to the utmost. It is far above the average western.

Near the end was a line. Cora Dean and Margie Blake, local girls who were also in the picture, may be seen in a crowd scene at the village. Janet smiled as she thought of the humiliation that Cora would feel. Well, it had been a mean trick of Coras to write Pete Benda that she and Margie had leading r?les.

Helens father made complete plans for their trip to New York for the Ace company was paying all expenses as well as salaries to Janet and Helen while they were in the east.

Both Janet and Helen packed the new dresses Roddy had sent them in the large bags which they were taking with them. There might be little actual opportunity to wear them, but they wanted to be prepared.

Their train for Chicago left at ten oclock and they arrived at the station in ample time, Janets father conveying them there. He had reserved a drawing room for them and they felt elated over that.

The Chicago Limited was on time to the minute, the puffing locomotive drawing its long string of Pullmans to an easy stop. The girls had drawing room A in car fifty-seven. The porter took their bags as they turned to say good-bye to their parents.

Got plenty of money? Janets father asked in a whisper.

Plenty, Dad. And Ill get paid while Im in New York.

But he slipped her a small, black book that resembled a check book.

Put this in your purse. It will come in handy if you have an emergency, he said.

Calls of Bo-o-oard, rang along the train. Final good-byes were said and the girls stepped into the vestibule of their car. The train started easily and they waved to their parents. Then they were out of the train shed, picking up speed rapidly for the remainder of the night run to Chicago.

They retired to their drawing-room, finished in restful tones of rose and gray, and slipped into pajamas. Both being tired, they went to bed at once, Janet in the upper berth and Helen in the lower.

The car was air conditioned and they slept restfully, neither one of them awakening until they were in the outskirts of Chicago.

What are you going to wear today? asked Helen, stretching luxuriously between the crisp, cool sheets.

My corduroy dress, said Janet. Its excellent for travel; comfortable and it wont muss easily.

That appeals to me, replied Helen, slipping out of bed and starting to dress while Janet lowered herself out of the upper.

The train was past Englewood by the time they were dressed and their porter came in to take their bags.

Going to wear a hat? asked Janet.

Not with this dress; I havent anything that goes well with it.

Janet tipped the porter and a red cap, waiting on the platform, took their bags. Their New York train was only four tracks away and would depart within an hour so their bags were taken directly to the Pullman, where another drawing room had been reserved for the Chicago-New York trip.

After making sure that their bags were in the drawing room, Janet and Helen went into the great, high ceilinged dining room in the station. They enjoyed a hearty breakfast of delicious country ham and eggs with crisp toast and a cool glass of milk.

Janet bought several morning papers and they returned to the train shed. Trains which had been rushing across the plains all night in their dash for Chicago were still arriving, while on other tracks long strings of coaches, ready to start carrying passengers away from the city, were being backed down the tracks.

Re-entering their New York train, they found seats in the luxurious limousine-lounge car at the rear of the train where the observation platform was enclosed in glass. A radio was tuned softly and all of the latest magazines were available.

Travel was light that day and at the start of the trip they were the only ones in the lounge car as the train rolled smoothly out of the station.

There was a brief pause at Englewood, then they were off again, picking up speed as the train skirted the southern edge of Lake Michigan where great industrial plants were perched along the shore and lake freighters seemed to spring out of the prairie as the rails crossed canals.

At lunch time they were well into Indiana. Only a few more passengers had boarded the train and they had the dining car practically to themselves.

As the afternoon advanced they dipped into Ohio and stops were more frequent. By late afternoon the train was well filled and space in the lounge car was almost at a premium.

Janet and Helen went to bed early that night for the coming day promised to be an unusually busy and exciting one for them they would have their first glimpse of New York, visit Radio City, and receive their assignments for the radio play they were to be in.

What are you going to wear tomorrow? asked Helen as she snuggled down between the crisp sheets.

I dont know, perhaps the corduroy dress I had on today, replied Janet. Its so comfortable and I think its becoming.

I guess Ill vote that way, too, said Helen, and a minute later both girls were asleep.

They were up early the next morning, breakfasting as the train sped out of the Jersey hills and straightened out for its dash across the tidewater flats to Jersey City. They shot past commuter trains at almost regular intervals for their limited had the right of way.

As they neared the terminal, the porter took their bags and Helen handed him a tip. Her father had deliberately routed them over a line which ended in Jersey City so that they might have their first real glimpse of the towering New York skyline from a ferryboat.

The passengers poured off the train and onto the nearby ferry. Bells clanged, smoke rolled from the twin stacks, and the bulky boat nosed out into the river.

Helen crowded close to Janet as the full majesty of the skyline was unfolded. To their right was the lower city with its cluster of skyscrapers while to their left was mid-town with the Empire State towering almost into the clouds. A little beyond that the sharp spire of the Chrysler building rose skyward.

On the New York side of the Hudson liners were sandwiched into the docks and Janet grabbed Helens arm and pointed to one. It was the Europa, famed speed liner. A little further along was the Rex, pride of the Italian merchant marine.

Then the ferry was nosing into its pier. Gates clanged, their baggage was loaded aboard a taxi, and almost before they knew it they were whirling away toward the heart of the city. Helen had given their hotel address.

Up onto an elevated roadway sped their cab where it rocketed along at forty-five miles an hour. Then they shot onto an incline and eased down into a street below. Traffic lights slowed them up now, but in less than ten minutes after leaving the ferry they were in Times Square, the very heart of the throbbing city, where Broadway and Seventh Avenue cross to form a great triangular opening.

At the hotel desk Janet registered for both of them.

We were to have reservations, she said.

The clerk checked the registration list and marked their names off. Then they were whisked away to their rooms, high up and on the inside, where they could sleep in something like quiet. They had two rooms with a connecting bath.

Well, what do you think of the city? asked Helen.

Im still a little breathless, admitted Janet. Los Angeles was large but New York it just seems to swallow you up.

They dressed carefully in preparation for their trip to Radio City and at nine-thirty oclock went down stairs and inquired the best way to reach their destination. The clerk on duty suggested that they walk.

Its only a short distance. Go one block to Sixth Avenue, turn to the left, and continue six blocks to Radio City.

The morning air was clear and cool as they set forth, walking briskly and taking in everything about them. On Sixth Avenue elevated trains rumbled overhead, but up the street they could see the towering building which housed Radio City and their steps quickened.

They reached their destination in a few minutes and turned to the right to the entrance which led to the offices of the World Broadcasting Company, the chain which was to put their program on the air. The lobby was of chromium and black and they stepped into a modernistic elevator that whisked them upward so rapidly they were breathless.

They stepped out at the twenty-seventh floor and into a luxuriously furnished lobby where there were comfortable chairs and restful lights. A young woman at the reception desk looked up as the girls advanced.

Were to join the company from the Ace studios, Janet explained.

Your names? The inquiry was purely impersonal.

Janet Hardy and Helen Thorne.

The young woman checked their names and called a page.

Take them to studio K, she directed.

Janet and Helen turned and followed the page, who was leading them to a new chapter of their lives one more thrilling than they could have imagined even in their deepest dreams.

Chapter Eighteen

The page ushered them into the studio and the first person they saw was Curt Newsom, the tall cowboy star who had also had a part in Kings of the Air.

Curt hastened to greet them.

When did you get in? he asked.

This morning, replied Janet. My, but its good to see you again. I didnt know you were going to be in this promotional unit.

The cowboy flushed and grinned somewhat sheepishly.

Well, to tell the truth, Ive always wanted to try broadcasting a little and I finally pestered the general manager out on the coast until he sent me along and ordered them to give me a part. Come on and meet the director of this unit.

Curt led them over to a small group where a rather slender, dark-haired man was speaking. He turned to face them as they approached and Janet noted that he wore unusually thick glasses, indicating that his eyes were in need of heavy correction.

This is Mr. Ben Adolphi, said Curt, by way of introduction. Mr. Adolphi has been assigned by the World Broadcasting Company to handle this promotion work.

He introduced each of the girls to the radio director and Mr. Adolphi smiled pleasantly.

I shall get at your parts presently, he said. Please be seated.

They found comfortable chairs at one side of the studio and Janet enjoyed the opportunity to look around the room for it was here that they would put on their radio show. The ceiling was high and evidently covered with a cloth which absorbed sound readily. The walls were also covered with a cloth of heavy texture and the carpet on the floor felt an inch thick.

At the rear of the room was a low platform which might be used for an orchestra and to the left, through a heavy plate glass window, was the control room where the engineers regulated the volume of the program and fed it out on the air. Near the door was a desk with a microphone on it for the announcer, and beyond that was a tall steel stand with several microphones, attached to adjustable arms, on it. These could be placed in any portion of the room to pick up the program to the best advantage.

Mr. Adolphi joined them within a few minutes. He carried a handful of script with him and handed one section to Janet and another to Helen.

You understand that this company is comparatively small when you think of the one used in the production of the picture? he reminded them. It will be necessary for you to take several parts, but all of them will be minor r?les since I understand neither of you have had any experience in broadcasting.

The girls nodded their understanding, and the director plunged on.

We are going to give only the high spots of the film story over the air, but in addition we are going to weave in some of the actual drama and the thrills attached to the shooting of the picture some of the behind-the-scenes incidents. Understand?

Again they nodded.

We have not been able to get all of this material that we desired and Mr. Newsom has informed me that you have a fair ability at writing.

This was aimed at Janet and she replied promptly.

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