THE START

Dorothy’s blue eyes looked out of the car window, but she saw nothing.
All her faculties were bent upon thinking–thinking of something that
evidently was not pleasant. Tavia fussed around in the next seat,
scattering books, candy boxes, wraps, gloves and such “trifles.” She
finally left the things to their fate and climbed in with Dorothy.

“We’ll soon be back to the old Glen, Doro,” she said, “and I know
you’ll be glad. As for me, I count this my last hour of freedom, and
feel as if I were going to—-”

“Now, Tavia, you know perfectly well that you are just as fond of
Glenwood as I am,” replied Dorothy, with something akin to a smile.
“But of course, you have to get your fun out of growling. Really, I
think this time you won’t be able to get it out of me. I am–glum!”

“That will be the best fun ever. To have you glum! Have you been to a
fortune teller, or anything like that, Doro?”

Dorothy looked harder than ever out of the window, and did not bother
to reply.

“Because, Doro,” went on Tavia, “if she told you a friend is going to
be married it’s me. If she said you would get a letter, asking for
money, that’s from me. If she said a very dear friend was going to
get in some new kind of trouble, that will also be me, and last, if
she said you were going to cross water, it will be on account of _my_
health. I love fortune tellers, they pick out such good news,” and
Tavia glanced across the aisle at a rather good-looking young man, who
was reading a theatrical paper.

Dorothy touched Tavia’s hand. “There,” she said, “I am not going to
have any more blues. I can’t manage well with them, and I have to
manage you, Tavia.”

“Now, have you only just discovered that? Well, all I can say is that
I am glad the other girls did not get these seats. They are–ahem–so
convenient!”

“But there is one vacant place just back of the young man whom you are
watching,” said Dorothy, teasingly.

“And there comes one of our girls,” exclaimed Tavia. “I wager she flops
into it.”

The prediction was correct. A new girl, with very up-to-date apparel,
and very flashy jewelry, had taken the vacant seat. The book she
carried showed its title plainly, and was, of course, one of “the best
sellers.”

“Next she’ll drop the book under his seat, and he’ll have to speak to
her in returning it,” said Tavia. “Now, why didn’t I think of trying
that? Such a chance!”

Dorothy was interested in the new girl and paid little attention to the
talk that Tavia was making for her benefit, for, though Tavia always
loved to do absurd things, she would not have spoken to the stranger.

“She is the young lady we were introduced to on the depot platform,”
Dorothy remarked. “Her name is Jean Faval.”

“Ought to be Bean Flavor,” said Tavia, trying to pun on the name. “She
looks sort of–canned.”

“I think her very stylish, but that skirt _is_ tight. I wouldn’t wear
one like it myself,” Dorothy replied.

“And a Dutch neck on the train,” continued Tavia, looking at the very
white neck of the new girl, who wore no collar. “I believe she wears
slippers, and the very thinnest silk hose.”

“It’s warm enough for both, and I shouldn’t mind having forgotten my
heavy walking shoes,” Dorothy said.

Just then the book dropped. Tavia almost jumped out of her seat. She
actually gasped. The young lady across moved her foot, and the book
came out in the aisle.

In an instant Tavia had it in her hands, and was passing it back.

“Oh, thank you so much!” spoke the owner, in a suspicious tone. “I
could have gotten it.”

“It was not the least bit of trouble,” and Tavia uttered a false note
that caused the young man to turn and observe her.

“Anything I can do?” he asked, politely. “Have you lost anything?”

Both girls answered in the same words.

“Oh, no; thank you.”

He glanced over at Dorothy, then resumed his paper. Miss Faval found
her place in her book, and Tavia turned to her chum.

“Didn’t I tell you? Am I not a prophet? But I spoiled it, and I am
dying laughing from head to foot.”

“She will think you rude,” cautioned Dorothy.

“I hope she thinks me the entire conjugation, and the worse ones on the
last page. I can see some fun with her at Glen.”

“Please, Tavia,” begged Dorothy, “don’t try to get into trouble before
we arrive there. You have plenty of time during the term,” and she
looked bored–quite unlike the real Dorothy.

“Say, Doro,” exclaimed Tavia, “I actually believe you want to get rid
of me. I’ll run off and leave you to your dismals. I know Dick and
Ned have a brand of chocolates I am particularly fond of, and your
own Cologne always tips the porter for ice water. So be good, and,”
she added in a whisper, “don’t miss any of the circus,” nodding her
head toward the other side of the aisle. “Be sure to render me a
satisfactory and full report.”

Tavia flaunted off, and Dorothy again pressed her pale face to the
window pane. The hills and vales were rolling away, and of course
the fast train seemed to be standing still. The wonderful changes of
scenery, that had never failed before to interest her, she now scarcely
saw.

In the rear of the car were a number of her companions, but she was
really glad to be alone. There was Rose-Mary Markin, known as Cologne;
Edna Black, called Ned Ebony; Molly Richards, titled just Dick, and
others picked up along the route to Glenwood School, in the mountains
of New England.

Dorothy was not sick. She was gloomy, and whatever caused this gloom
had occurred just before the girls left for school, for up to that time
she had been the same vivacious, sprightly girl who had ever been
a favorite with her acquaintances and companions. The change in her
manner was, therefore, so marked that even the reckless Tavia noticed
it instantly, as did the other girls, who were wise enough (on advice
of Cologne, Dorothy’s most intimate friend after Tavia) to let Dorothy
alone, and not bother her.




The sun was fading into shadows, and soon the train would pull into
the familiar little Glenwood station. Then what a time there would be!
Dorothy thought of it, and again determined to be cheerful. Tavia would
be, as Tavia herself had declared, “on top of the heap,” for while
there was no hazing allowed, something that made a splendid imitation
was ever practiced on the first night, the “fun” not being confined to
new scholars, either.

The car attendant came through the train, and turned on the lights. The
strange gentleman with the paper across the aisle asked him if they
would get in on schedule and he replied they had lost a little time,
but were making it up now.

“Thought you had an extra clip on,” commented the stranger.

Scarcely were the words uttered than Dorothy and everyone else was
thrown from their seats, and then there was a terrific crash.

Instantly there followed screams and commotion. The lights went out,
and many passengers rushed for the doors. Dorothy realized she was
not hurt. Next, the other girls from the rear of the car were hanging
around her, displaying very little of the common sense that had been
drilled into them at Glenwood.

“Oh, Dorothy, what is it?”

“Oh, Dorothy, my arm is broken!”

“Oh, Dorothy, I am sure we will all be killed!”

“Doro, are you all right?”

This last was from Tavia, while the other gasps came from various
girls, too intermixed to separate.

It seemed a long time, but was, in reality, only a few seconds, until
the conductor and porter made their way to the girls’ car, and assured
them that nothing at all had happened, more than the rather too sudden
stopping of the train, made necessary by a special and unexpected
signal. The lights were again turned on, and everyone might see that
there really had been no accident. The seats were as straight and as
smooth as ever, and most of the frightened passengers were gathering up
their trinkets from the floor, and replacing them in the holders and
seats.

Edna Black was rubbing her arm, and wincing.

“Is your hand hurt?” Dorothy asked.

“I’m afraid it is. I got quite a jolt against the seat arm. But I
guess it isn’t much,” Edna replied.

Tavia gazed across the aisle. The young man was looking at Edna. The
new girl was groaning dramatically. She was also trying to get back
into her skirt, that had, in the excitement sprung up like a deep
girdle around her waist.

“Can’t flop nicely in a skirt tight as that!” Tavia whispered to Molly
Richards. “I wish it had all ripped to pieces. Wouldn’t it be sport for
her to have to get out in a buttoned raincoat?”

“She’s pretty,” Mollie said, simply.

“That’s why I hate her,” replied Tavia. “I always hate what I can’t
have–even beauty.”

“Strange you get along so well with–well, with some people,” answered
Molly, casting an appreciative glance at Tavia, with the hazel eyes,
and the shade of hair every one loves–no color in particular but all
combined in one glow. “Every one envies you, Tavia.”

Dorothy was examining Edna’s wrist.

Meanwhile the new girl kept exclaiming, “Oh, my!” Finally the young man
turned to her.

“Are you hurt?” he asked kindly.

Tavia gripped Molly’s arm.

“Oh, I don’t know,” whimpered Miss Faval, “but I am so–nervous.”

It was the greatest wonder in the world that Tavia did not shout
“hurrah” or something equally absurd.

“You are shaken up,” said the stranger, “but nerves soon adjust
themselves, when there is not any real injury. I see some one else has
trouble.” He crossed to Dorothy and Edna. “Can I help you?” he asked.
“I know something of medicine.”

“And he was reading a theatrical paper!” Tavia managed to get in line
with Molly’s ear. “I’ll wager he turns out to be a baseball player.”

“My friend has hurt her arm,” Dorothy told the young man, who had
already taken the trembling hand of Edna in his own firm grasp. “She
fell against the arm of the seat.”

All eyes were upon them. Of course Tavia was whispering: “Wouldn’t be
_my_ luck! Just like Ned! Do you suppose he will need help to set it?
I’ll get a glass of water–that’s safe,” and off she raced, making
jolly remarks to the frightened ones, as she made her way to the water
cooler.

“I’m afraid it is sprained,” said the man, holding Edna’s hand, “but I
have some bandages in my grip.”

Tavia had returned with the glass of water before he found the bandages.

“I’m so sorry, Ned dear,” said Tavia truthfully. “I’m so sorry it is
not _my_ arm. Isn’t he handsome!”

Edna smiled, and Dorothy held the water to her lips. As the young man
with the antiseptic cloth crossed the aisle Dorothy motioned Tavia to
stand back and make room for the work to be done. Tavia stepped back,
and just then the train gave one, single jerk.

The contents of Tavia’s glass of water went over the “Dutch neck” of
Jean Faval.

“Oh, mercy!” screamed the girl.

Tavia recovered herself from the jerk and was just about to apologize
when Amy Brooks rushed up to them.

“Whatever do you think, girls?” she blurted out. “The railroad bridge
is down, and we can’t leave this spot to-night!”