A SCRAP OF PAPER

“Tavia!” pleaded Dorothy, “Do tell me about that letter father has
written–” she hesitated, “there is grave danger of a great loss to
him. Tell me all you know about it.”

“All I know about it? Why, Dorothy!”

“Yes. You did find a letter! It was written to Jean. Tell me Tavia. I
will not wait to know that I must leave school–I am going to-morrow!”

“Going to-morrow! Then I will go with you,” declared Tavia. “I would
never have seen Glenwood if it had not been for you.”

The girls were looking over their lessons for the day. Dorothy had just
received a letter from home. Brave as she wished to be, and fearful as
she had been, of that investment company, when her father wrote, in his
careful way, that there might be trouble, Dorothy at once prepared to
go to him, and to her two small brothers.

“Dorothy, I would have told you but really I felt it was a trick.”

“A trick! On such a serious matter?”

“You believe every one to be as noble as yourself,” said Tavia, “but
there are people in this world born without the sense of kindness, or
the instinct of charity. We seem to have a few such girls around here.”

Dorothy looked fondly at her friend. There was no use trying to use
logic on the subject on which her head and heart were now centered.

“Tavia, tell me what was in the letter you found at my door! Or I shall
go to Jean, and demand to know.”

“Never,” said Tavia. “I’ll give you the old letter. It isn’t worth
looking at, and I am sure the writer is a–cheerful–well you would not
let me say fabricator; would you?”

Tavia went to her desk and soon found the torn script that had so
disturbed her, until she made herself believe that it was some sort of
a forgery.

“There,” she said, “if Jean did not write that to herself she got
someone else to write it.”

Dorothy took the paper with trembling hands. Unfortunately Tavia
did not think to cross out the words concerning Major Dale, and the
possibility of his arrest.

Nerving herself to know all she should know, Dorothy sat down to
decipher the note. Suddenly her eyes fell upon these words:

“We may have the proud Major in the toils within a short time.”

Dorothy glanced for a moment at Tavia, and then fled from the room, her
head held high, and her eyes flashing.

“Goodness!” exclaimed Tavia, “I wonder what she is going to do? I have
always heard that a quiet girl ‘riled’ is worse than I am. But I don’t
believe I will follow her. Dear Doro!” and the frivolous one’s eyes
filled. “I would give anything to save her from all of this.”

Dorothy, leaving her room, had gone straight to the office of the
principal. Delicate girl that she was, when a question of family honor
arose, she had more courage than some who might boast of power.

She found Mrs. Pangborn looking over papers.

“Good morning, Dorothy,” she was kindly greeted. “What’s the trouble
now? For I see trouble in your face.”

“Yes, Mrs. Pangborn, this is trouble. I fear I shall have to leave
Glenwood.”

“Leave Glenwood!” exclaimed Mrs. Pangborn. “Why?”

Then Dorothy told what she could of the tangled affair. Told how the
Major had written that it was now a serious financial question, but for
her to keep up her courage.

[Illustration:

DOROTHY TOOK THE PAPER WITH TREMBLING HANDS.
_Dorothy Dale’s School Rivals Page_ 195]

“It cannot be possible that my old friend Major Dale would do anything
unwise,” said the teacher. “You must have patience child, and not think
of such a thing as leaving school. Why, you are just getting to be one
of our best pupils.”

In spite of herself Dorothy’s eyes filled.

“Yes, and I love it here, but I feel it is my duty to be ready to help
father, and I have no idea what I should be able to do in business,”
she replied.

“Go to business! Your Aunt Winnie would never allow it,” declared the
other.

“But Aunt Winnie has had a great deal to do lately. She has had to make
a long trip abroad, and then the boys have not finished college yet. I
would insist upon doing my part,” answered the girl very seriously.

“But if that is all the information you have–that in your father’s
letter—-”

“It is not,” Dorothy admitted. “A letter was found at my door. It was
evidently intended that I should find it. This letter said–father
was–threatened with–arrest!”

“Arrest! Impossible! What could he have done to deserve such an
indignity?”

Dorothy drew her hand across her eyes, but did not reply.

“To whom was the letter addressed?” asked Mrs. Pangborn.

“To Miss Faval,” replied Dorothy, “and I should not have looked at it
except–I overheard–a remark. Then I knew it contained some serious
news.”




“Who has that letter now?”

“I have it. I could not return it to her. I could not risk having it
shown to anyone else.”

“Will you go and bring it to me? I must see about this. What could Miss
Faval know of your family affairs?”

“I cannot tell,” replied Dorothy. “But she seems to know a great deal.
Tavia first found an envelope with the name of father’s company on the
corner. Then–this comes.”

“Well, get me the letter, dear. I shall do all I can, both to help you,
and to help Major Dale. This is certainly a remarkable affair.”

Dorothy went to her room, and soon returned with the scrap of paper.
She left it with Mrs. Pangborn without further conversation, except
that the principal assured her that there was no need to worry, as
Dorothy had been doing.

But that word “arrest” would neither leave the heart, head, nor eyes of
the discouraged girl. Tavia did all she could to reassure her, but the
facts were now too apparent to hide, and Dorothy was determined to be
prepared for the worst.

It took some time for her to feel that she could enter the classroom.
As she took her place, her eyes met those of Jean Faval, and in the
latter’s was a glance so scornful, and so full of meaning that a shiver
ran through Dorothy.

Little Zada tugged at Dorothy’s skirt, and, with eyes almost pleading,
whispered:

“I want to see you at recess. Come out by the lake.”

Cologne and Molly Richards were late, and entered with flushed faces.
They had evidently been running.

“Young ladies, you must be punctual,” warned the English teacher.
“There is no excuse for this tardiness.”

Tavia pulled a wry face for the girls to see, but not intended for the
teacher. Miss Cummings, however, noticed it, and asked Tavia to report
to her at recess.

That almost settled Tavia’s work for the morning, as she, with a number
of others, had planned how they were going to spend the hour of this
beautiful day, when the frost was already in the air, and the leaves
almost all off the trees.

And there were Tavia, Molly and Cologne to remain in, at least for a
“lecture” which meant that the hour would be passed listening to their
“sins,” as Tavia would have put it.

Whenever any of the original Glens were under the ban the “T’s” were
jubilant, and Jean could now scarcely repress her smiles.

The morning had almost passed, when there came a summons for Jean to
report to the office!

Then the tables were turned.