“Rumpus night” came at last. Little time was taken for the dining room
ceremonies, for everyone had her share to get ready for the initiation
of new members of the school, and for merry-making for those who had
gone through the same ordeals, two or three years before.
The corridors seemed alive with whispers, the rooms fairly quaked with
secrets, and if there was one girl not on a committee, she must have
been the manager of one.
The “T’s” were all new members, and Jean Faval was their leader. The
“Glens” depended upon Cologne, or more properly speaking for this
important occasion, she was Miss Rose-Mary Markin.
Dorothy had overcome her embarrassment and was, as usual, helping
Tavia, who, instead of remaining in during the afternoon, to arrange
her things, had found more pleasure and mischief in training for the
boat race in her canoe.
At seven o’clock the big gong sounded in the hall, and the lights were
turned on in the recreation room. Everybody got in there, although
just how, it would have been hard to tell, for there seemed to be no
confusion, nor excitement.
Mrs. Pangborn opened the ceremonies with a greeting to her pupils, and
her kindest wishes for a happy and successful term at Glenwood.
Then came the school chorus. Somewhere there were mandolins, banjos,
and other stringed instruments, and their chords came sweetly from
various corners and nooks, while the girls sang the tribute to their
school. After that two new teachers were introduced, Miss Cummings and
“Now, young ladies,” said Mrs. Pangborn, “we leave you to your
merry-making, and we trust you will be as discreet and thoughtful to
one another’s feelings as you have always been. Remember, we have some
young strangers with us, and there may be a great difference in their
ideas of fun, and ours.”
When the applause died out the lights went with it. Only a flickering
gas jet over the “throne” gave the location of the room, so that while
figures moved around, and voices buzzed, the programme could not be
Five minutes of suspense passed, then the lights were flashed on again.
The “throne,” a big couch covered with umbrellas and parasols
supporting all sorts of colored divan covers, gave the effect of an
ancient chair of state, or royal seat.
Cologne reclined there as if she had been wafted from Greece, all the
way through these common centuries. She seemed made to be a queen. Her
costume was as wonderful as it was gorgeous, the most prominent feature
being the beaded portiers from Edna’s room, and they fell so gracefully
over the robe of cheese cloth, donated by Molly Richards. Her crown was
golden, real, good paper-of-gold, and this was studded with as many gem
hatpins as could be purloined, or borrowed.
It was at once suspected that the very dark “slave,” who waved a
feather duster over the queen’s head was Tavia, because there were no
sleeves in her wrappings, and she wore on her feet a pair of grass
slippers, taken from the wall of a stranger. This costume, indicating
comfort, betrayed Tavia, while, on the other side of the royal seat,
Ned could be discerned, because her brown grease paint, or salve, was
carelessly left off over one eye.
The chief slave was tall and masterful. In “his” hands he held the
numbers of the “victims,” written on slips of paper, ready to call them
off to the queen. “His” costume was another of those draperies, the
absence of which from windows and doors, left rooms drafty that night,
and “his” helmet was a rubber hat, of the rain order, that went down
under the chin, and covered the ears and which, incidentally, belonged
to the bell boy.
To describe all the “get-ups” and “make-ups” would bring the affairs
far into the night, whereas the fun should be over by ten sharp,
according to school rules, so we proceed.
“Enter!” called the slave, and then the vestal virgins trouped in,
doing their best not to trip up in the bed sheets they trailed.
The waving feather dusters rested. The queen lolled effectively.
A “classic” speech was made that didn’t mean anything, then “number
one” was called. The first vestal stepped up to the throne.
“Prostrate thyself!” ordered she, who did not dare to turn, lest the
beaded portiers should scatter.
The aspirant did as she was commanded, but alas! she was heard to
This was a real offense, and it is a wonder she did not at once turn
into a cyclops, or a goat, for the queen was really displeased.
“Take thyself to the rocks, and join the maids there who sing forever.
See that thy song shall bring riches to my kingdom or—-”
The queen paused, but was taken up by one of the feather duster girls.
“Make it crabs,” she said. “Crabs are getting scarce, and the other
fishermen wear smelly clothes. Our Lorelei always go for the crabbers,
or lobster men.”
The absurd comparison brought forth applause. But the stage folks did
The next called was plainly little Zada Hillis, for even the long
trailing sheet could not disguise her. She was nervous, and tripped as
she stepped on the platform.
“Child of the sea,” spoke the queen, “we shall show you the wonders of
our land-home. Tell me what lights the depths?”
Zada hesitated. Then she ventured. “The gleam of our mermaids’
eyes–the light of purity, and the glow cleanliness.”
This was applauded, for indeed it was not a bad speech for a frightened
“Thou shalt sit near my throne,” spoke the queen, “and thou shalt be my
This was an honor, and was interpreted to mean that the little stranger
would be taken into the “Glens” with open arms. Some of the others
awaiting their sentence moved uneasily, but one slave (Tavia of course)
asked if the handmaid knew where the spring was, as she would like a
good drink of real water.
Truly the brown coffee on her face was running down, looking for cups,
and sugar, and the evening was not so cool but that the hangings over
the throne caused air congestion.
There was no mistaking the next number called. Only Jean Faval walked
that way–with the fashionable stride–and only Jean held her head so
“Circe,” called the queen, “mix thy cup.”
The slave fetched a bowl, with a whole bunch of lighted Chinese “punks”
smoldering into incense.
Jean looked at it disdainfully. Evidently she did not enjoy this form
of initiation, and made no move to comply. Her manner caused surprise,
as the “haze” was most innocent, and in no way stronger than that given
“Dost not comply?” called the queen.
Jean put a whistle to her lips and blew it. Immediately all her club,
some ten or twelve, rushed to the throne, tore down the hangings, and
paraded off with the paraphernalia, singing something about “T’s and
turn-outs, the real Glenwood scouts!”
For some moments a panic threatened. The senior “Glens,” who by rule
and right, had always conducted this little affair, were indignant to
the point of battle.
A teacher on guard in the outer hall heard the confusion and entered.
She called to the “mutineers” to stop, but they sang and yelled, as if
it were a victory to break up the night’s entertainment.
Suddenly one of the raised paper parasols touched an open gas light. It
was carried by a stranger, named Cecilia Reynolds. Seeing it blaze she
frantically tossed it away, and it fell on the prompter’s chair where
Dorothy still sat waiting for the trouble to be over.
Everyone screamed! Dorothy jumped up, and grasping the blazing thing,
threw it out of an open window.
In her costume, of prompter, Dorothy affected the pure white robes of
Clio, and in her hand she held the scroll of history. It was this open
paper that caught a spark, and in stamping it out Dorothy knew the risk
to her thin white dress.
Tavia and Edna, besides the teacher and Cologne, rushed to her, while
the others, filled with terror at the thought of fire, fled from the
It all happened so quickly–Dorothy’s skirt was torn from her and that,
with the piece of parchment, were soon on the ground below the open
window, where the burning paper umbrella still smoldered.
“Are you burned, Dorothy?” Tavia asked, anxiously.
“Oh, no. I don’t think so, but my head–feels queer. I guess I
was–frightened,” Dorothy said, haltingly.
“You must go to your room at once,” advised the teacher, who happened
to be Miss Cummings. “If you keep very quiet you may not feel the shock
so much. It was most unfortunate,” and she, in leading Dorothy away,
motioned to her companions that they were not to follow.