DOROTHY’S WORRIES

It did look strange. Dorothy had gone out before any of her companions
were about, and now, after being away two hours she was found returning
in the company of a young man.

It might have been different if Tavia, and the girls who had met Mr.
Armstrong on the train, had chosen to go toward the depot instead of
seeking Dorothy in the opposite direction; but when Jean Faval met
her, there were with Jean three of the new girls, and of course, they
neither knew Dorothy nor her companion.

Small things grow quickly when they have plenty of room, and Dorothy’s
escapade, being the one thing worth talking of at Glenwood, soon
amounted to a sensational story, fanned by the gossips and nurtured by
her rival in the school.

What girl has gone through school without some such similar experience?
And does it not always occur at the most unexpected times?

Are there always, and everywhere, “school rivals?”

Mr. Armstrong said good-bye to Dorothy at the tanbark path that led
to Glenwood Hall. Excited over her strange experience, Dorothy had no
thought of what others might wonder! Where had she been? Why did she
leave the grounds so early? What was Dorothy worrying about?

“See here, Doro,” Tavia confronted her, as together they prepared
for breakfast–late at that. “What ails you? You promised to tell me
to-day.”

“What ailed me, Tavia, does not exactly ail me now. I have just learned
how some girls have to make a living.”

Saying this Dorothy sank back, rather unlike herself, for the morning
had been warm, and her duties anything but refreshing.

“Dorothy, tell me, what is it?” demanded Tavia.

“You look at me as if I were a criminal,” replied the blonde Dalton
girl. “I can never be coerced,” she finished.

“Dorothy, you are so unlike yourself. And you have no idea how much
trouble that Jean Faval can make,” insisted Tavia, with more spirit
than she usually showed.

Dorothy stopped in her hair-fixing. “Tavia,” she said, emphatically,
“I have friends enough here,” and she glanced at the school-girl
picture-lined wall, “and I am not afraid of Jean Faval.”

Dorothy was always pretty, sometimes splendid, and again tragic–Tavia
decided she was one in all at that moment.

“Good!” declared her champion. “Don’t worry, Dorothy, but if you could
just tell me—-”

Dorothy stopped and looked into the glass without seeing anything.

She was worried, but since she had tried to run a lunch room, and had
discovered how hard some girls, as young as herself, had to work, the
thought that some day she too, might have to do something to earn
money, did not seem so appalling. Should she tell Tavia?

“I am waiting, Doro,” Tavia said. “Now confess.”

“It’s really nothing so very serious, dear,” she replied, “but you
know father is getting old and–he has put all his money into the
Marsall Investment Company, of New York. Just before I left home father
heard–that the money may be–lost!”

“All your money?”

“Yes, isn’t that dreadful? Of course, if it is lost we could never live
with Aunt Winnie. We would be too proud, although she and the boys have
always been so lovely to us. Yet to have no home makes it different.”

“But, Dorothy, I can’t believe that will happen. Your father has always
been so wise,” and Tavia smoothed the ribbon on Dorothy’s light hair.
“If it should happen—-”

“If it should, I would certainly go to work,” Dorothy declared,
firmly. “I should never let Joe leave school, and stay on here myself.
Besides, Joe could not do very much,” she sighed. “I am so afraid for
father–afraid the crash would—-”

“Now, Doro, it is not like you to plan trouble,” Tavia interrupted, “so
let us forget it. I am afraid you will have some queer eyes made at you
when you go down to breakfast,” Tavia finished.

“It certainly was rather an unfortunate start for the first morning,”
Dorothy agreed. “But, Tavia, I wish you could have seen me. If Mr.
Armstrong had not just come along then, I would have run away, and left
the whole place to those greedy men. I could not have stood it five
minutes longer.”



“It must have been funny. I’ll have to take my lunch down there some
early morning. Maybe another nice Mr. Armstrong might come along. But
say, Doro, did you hear about the hall table candy?”

“No; what happened to it?”

“It seems that Jean got it mixed up in her satchel with some hair
tonic that leaked from a bottle. She says she left it on the table,
because there was no scrap basket there–in the hall, and she didn’t
know where to put it. When I took the hair tonic-soaked candy away Jean
declares she thought one of the maids had thrown it out, as you could
easily smell the hair tonic. I didn’t smell it, neither did Ned, but
there was quite a time about it, as Jean got worried when she thought
it over. That was why she came out the second time. But then they were
gone–perhaps some of the girls took them. You never heard so much talk
over a little spill of hair tonic.”

“Did Jean ask Mrs. Pangborn about it?”

“Of course, and Mrs. Pangborn was more frightened than Jean, for she
said the stuff might have a poison in it. Now everyone is waiting to
see who will drop dead,” and Tavia laughed as if such an occurrence
would be very funny.

“Let’s hurry. We will get the second table now, and it’s such a
beautiful day to be out,” Dorothy said. “I feel better, really, for
having told you about my worries. Perhaps I will get a letter with good
news.”

“I hope so. But let me tell you something. If we really need money I’ll
advertise the little dog. Jake says he’s a thoroughbred.”

“He may be some child’s pet, and you ought to advertise him, anyhow,”
Dorothy said. “There are Cologne and Edna. They have finished.”

They stopped at the door of the breakfast room.

“Oh you little runaway!” exclaimed Cologne to Dorothy. “We thought you
were on your honeymoon by this time.”

“That was a neat trick,” Edna added jokingly, “to go out before
daylight, and come back with such a yarn! You ought to hear what the
girls are saying about you!”

“Let’s eat, at any rate,” Tavia suggested. “I’m starved!”

“Didn’t happen to see anyone taken sick yet; did you?” asked Edna. “I
hope the medicine fell into the other camp. You know Jean is already
organizing.”

As Tavia and Dorothy entered the room Jean Faval and several girls
passed out. Some of them said good morning, and some of them did not.
But Jean was heard to remark something about “cooks and classes.”

“She means the lunch wagon,” Dorothy whispered to Tavia.

“She’s mean enough to mean anything,” replied Tavia. “I can’t see why
she has such a grudge against you, Doro.”

“Never mind. We can get our club together and then our rivals may club
by themselves,” said Dorothy.

As they finished breakfast, a waitress handed Dorothy a note.

“Mrs. Pangborn wants to see me,” said Dorothy, rising.

Then Tavia’s hope, that the morning’s gossip had escaped the ears of
the school principal, vanished.

“Don’t mind if she asks queer questions,” Tavia remarked, as Dorothy
left. “You know those new girls have to be kept busy.”