LETTERS

What could Jean Faval have to do with that investment company?

Dorothy wondered, bewildered at the sudden discovery. Perhaps this was
why Jean showed such hatred for her. Perhaps–but Major Dale could
never do anything to defraud one–he could have nothing to do with the
possibility of a Faval’s loss, if the family did lose.

Tavia bounded around the room as if in high glee. “Now Doro, we’ve got
it,” she declared. “Jean knows about the company, and, my word for it
if there is anything wrong it’s among her folks, not with your father.
Makes me feel more positive than ever that it will come right for the
Major, for they have got to come to light. I am just waiting for Jean
to be lighted up here. Wait!” and Tavia gave Dorothy a hug, “wait until
her uncle stops sending money. Then we will see where the haughty Jean
will be!”

But Dorothy was stunned. “She knows my position,” she said dolefully.
“Perhaps she has already begun to shun me as one too poor to be in her
set.”

“Doro!” Tavia was determined to turn the matter into hope instead of
anxiety. “You know perfectly well that she never had a set. Also you
know that she–couldn’t even use the single letter ‘D’ that belongs to
a Dale.”

Dorothy smiled. “You are improving, Tavia. By essay day you will be
able to do something surprising. But I cannot sit moping. There’s study
to do.”

Turning to her little table, Dorothy got out her books and note book.
Her head was not very clear for her work, but it would work when she
wanted it to, and she set about her task willingly. Not so with Tavia.
Anything but to do a thing on time. Always that just one minute more,
for Tavia.

“I’ll run out for a few minutes,” she said. “I am afraid Ned has gone
into joyful hysterics over the doggie.”

Closing the door, Tavia noticed a bit of paper in plain sight on the
floor outside. She never could resist reading another person’s letters.
Picking it up she saw it was a torn envelope addressed to Jean Faval.

“Whew!” she breathed. “More news!” and she crushed it in her hand.

In a safe spot she looked at the contents of the torn envelope. What
she read caused her to gasp.

There was no beginning, neither was there an end, for the
superscription as well as the signature had been torn off.

But the few sentences were legible!

She read.

“Everything’s gone, but we’ll have Dale—-” Then there was a break,
and another bit could be read.

“In court within a few days!”

“In court! Major Dale!” gasped Tavia. “It’s an outrage!” and she
breathed hard, as if to control the emotion she felt.

“I won’t tell Dorothy,” she concluded. “Talk about school rivals! Ugh!
That Jean!”

Dorothy had helped Tavia through many a hard problem in her life. In
fact whatever was reasonable in the girl had been developed through
Dorothy’s efforts, or Tavia’s love for Dorothy, since it is said
nothing new can be put into a character, but the good or bad there
simply developed. Now it was Tavia’s turn. She knew exactly what
Dorothy would do had she been in the other’s place.

“I’ll look this up,” decided Tavia, in true detective fashion. “That
Jean might be writing letters to herself.”

Then it occurred to her that Dorothy’s mail might bring the same news.
Could she intercept that?

Quick as a flash she thought of the evening post. She could get Ned to
go with her, and reach the office before the carrier started out. Ned
would have to go, or Tavia would tell all about the dog. Tavia didn’t
care, but Ned did.

Without any explanation, she physically dragged the other girl from the
porch and started her along the path.

“Come on! You have got to go. Why? Because you must!” was the way she
accomplished the feat, all but the dragging. That she did with a strong
and determined arm.

“What on earth—-” began Edna, as soon as they were out of hearing
distance of the others.

“No, it isn’t the dog. He’s gone, and good riddance! But it’s Jean.
She is not gone, and _bad_ riddance,” said Tavia. “I’m not afraid to
go to the post-office now for I know the woman won’t be there with the
sheriff. All the same, Ned,” and she lowered her voice appropriately,
“I do think there is some mystery in that miniature hound. Dorothy
never jokes that far.”

“No,” said Ned, in her economical way.

“I’d love to tell you, Neddie,” said Tavia excitedly, “but you are such
a dunce.”

“Thanks,” said Ned. “I’m a dunce, surely, for getting into your
scrapes. Now I’m going back. I know it’s another hold-up, or
kidnapping, and I refuse—-”

“Oh, Ned dear, you know I did not mean that. But one does get so tired
of using good language in school, that’s it’s a positive comfort to
‘slang’ once in a while, and nobody appreciates my mental efforts in
that direction as you do.” She slipped her hand into that of Edna with
a meaning pressure.

“All right Tave, but mind you keep your word! My folks would never go
my bail. That is a family motto. ‘Right for right and—-’”

“‘Bad for bad,’” finished the facetious one. “What would have happened
to me if that had been our coat of arms? But here we are. Just peek, so
as we don’t run into the woman of the doggie!”

In spite of her protests, Edna was sure to do exactly as Tavia asked
her to, and she did peek through the dingy window of the post-office.

“Clear coast,” she announced, and, lest anything should obstruct the
coast, Tavia instantly darted in. The Glenwood box was private, of
course, and Tavia did not have the key. The old post-master looked at
her keenly before he handed her one letter for herself, and two for
Dorothy.

Neither of Dorothy’s was from home, and as Tavia saw this she gave a
skip of relief. It may be noticed that when a school girl is happy she
gives a little skip–that was Tavia’s way.

“What was so important?” demanded Edna. “I hope you got it, Tavia.”

“I did. This is an invitation, I am sure,” and she opened her mail.
“No, it’s a bill. Well, it will have to wait a day or two.”

“Tell me, what did you expect?” asked Edna. “Dragging me off this way,
and then keeping all the news to yourself,” and she pouted prettily.




“Hush! There’s Jake. Let’s wait till he is past. I’m afraid of him.
Aren’t you?”

“A little,” admitted Edna. “But see. He is coming right for us.”

“Say there,” Jake called, almost forgetting he was addressing two
Glenwood young ladies. “Wait a minute! I have something to say to you.”

Tavia wanted to run, and so did Edna, but there was no escape.

“Well, what is it?” asked the latter.

“Did you take that little dog?” he asked.

Neither girl answered.

“If you did, don’t be afraid to own up, for it’s all right now. Look at
that.”

The man held out a slip of paper. It was the check he had just received
in reward for the return of Ravelings!

“One hundred dollars!” exclaimed both girls.

“Yes, and never was it more needed. The woman who owned the dog told
me all about his pranks. It seems he always wants to jump out of the
automobile, and this is his third try at it. She says he jumped when he
got on the hill.”

“And that was the secret!” Tavia exclaimed. “Dorothy didn’t tell us!”

“It was she who fetched him back though. I never knew what happened to
the creature, but I suspected you two,” and he shook his head. “Then,
when I saw her come up to the stable, with him in her arms—-”

“And now we have a joke on her,” Edna put in. “We know about the
reward, and she doesn’t.”

“She doesn’t? Why she saw the sign in the post-office, and told me
about it. This is a great tangle anyway,” and Jake laughed heartily.

“I should say it was,” Tavia remarked. “But since it ended so well, we
won’t complain.”

“Not me,” finished Jake, just as they entered the school grounds. “But
it seems to me your friend Dorothy does not look as she did. Is she
sick?”

“No,” Tavia replied, “just too busy with books, I guess.”

The thought of Jean’s letter, that one found at Dorothy’s door, took
the smile from Tavia’s face.

“Seems as if all the girls are losing interest in sports just now,”
said Edna. “Even our tennis game ended in a frizzle.”

“It’ll all come back to you,” Jake assured them. “Young girls don’t
hold to troubles long. Tell Miss Dorothy to run up to see me when she
can. I want to show her this check before it gets soiled.”

“Oh, we’ll tell her,” Tavia answered, glad to think that she would
really have the good news for her.

“But I don’t think we should,” said Edna. “She wouldn’t tell us.”

Tavia wondered how she could find out the truth about the torn letter.
Could it be possible that Major Dale was really in danger of being
arrested? If so perhaps she ought to tell Dorothy.

But, somehow, it did seem like a trick–to find the letter directly at
their door.

“I’ll wait, at any rate,” she concluded, and then she left Edna to give
Dorothy the mail that she hoped would bring her chum cheering news.