MARJORIE’S GOOD TURN

After her talk with John, Marjorie felt as if she could not endure
the days of waiting, until she would have a chance to put her hopes
to the test. Three days previous she had wished that the summer, with
its glorious days of riding, might never come to an end; now, it
could not pass quickly enough. She was restless and excited, unable
to carry on a connected conversation with any of the girls. Several
times she found herself on the point of confiding her hopes to Lily or
Daisy; but, recalling how small were the chances of the girl’s proving
to be Olive, she resolutely restrained herself. The other scouts
noticed her preoccupation and smiled knowingly; they attributed her
absent-mindedness to the presence of John Hadley.

She lost no time, however, in telling them of Mrs. Hadley’s invitation.
Alice and Lily were wild with delight, and most of the others seemed
pleased. Only Daisy was doubtful about accepting it.

“I hardly see how I could, Marj,” she said. “You know public school
begins the eighth of September, and I have to be on the job at the very
start. Now we don’t get home till the fourth, and you know how much
there always is to do. I’m afraid I can’t very well arrange it, much as
I should like to.”

Marjorie showed her disappointment plainly. Was her whole plan to fall
through, then, and was she not to know with certainty whether her
expectancy was to be fulfilled? She resolved to try in every way to
persuade Daisy to reconsider her decision.

“But you won’t be working over the week-end!” she pleaded.

“No, but it’s pretty far from where we live to Cape May. I mean, that
after this summer’s vacation, I really can’t afford the expense.”

Marjorie searched her mind for a method of persuasion.

“Would you consider coming as my treat?” she said. “It would make my
good time so much greater to have you. Please!”

But Daisy shook her head firmly.

“It’s impossible, Marj, thank you just the same! Even if it weren’t
for the expense, I really oughtn’t to leave mother. It’s been hard
enough for her already.”

Reluctantly, Marjorie accepted her refusal, for she could not help
seeing that Daisy was right. As she said, it would be selfish of her
to leave her mother again; and Daisy was never selfish. Perhaps, too,
it might be better. If the girl were not Olive, there would be no use
in dragging Daisy away from her home; and if she should turn out to be
the missing sister, it might even be wiser to break the news to both
girls less abruptly. Such a shock might prove disastrous to either or
both of them, coming as it would, after the long strain.

So the rest of the scouts discussed the invitation and decided that
the first week-end after they had returned to the East would be most
suitable. Accordingly, Marjorie wrote to Mrs. Hadley immediately.

The evening before the scouts were to leave, Kirk Smith asked Marjorie
and Daisy to go out with him to see the moon. Marjorie surmised that he
wanted a little last talk with them privately.

“Daisy,” he began, as soon as they were away from the cabin, “suppose
we don’t write to each other? It would be too much–I couldn’t bear the
excitement of getting a letter from you and finding no news of Olive.
And I’m sure you would feel the same, if you heard from me. So, let’s
agree not to write, unless we have something definite to communicate.
Is it a bargain?”

“Yes,” murmured Daisy, sadly.

Kirk turned to Marjorie.

“On the contrary, Marjorie, I should be glad to hear from you about the
scouts, and whatever news you can find for a lonely man here on the
ranch. When you decide to announce your engagement–” his eyes twinkled
mischievously for a moment–“be sure to tell me about it. And by the
way, I think he’s mighty fine!”

Marjorie blushed in embarrassment.

“Don’t, Kirk–there’s nothing to it–now, at any rate. I’ll be at
college four years, and all sorts of things can happen during that
time.”

It was all Marjorie could do to keep from telling them both of her
hopes, but again she resolutely suppressed the desire. Both Daisy
and Kirk realized that she was unusually happy, but both supposed
it was because of her own joyful existence. Neither realized that
it took something deeper than that to stir the very depths of the
girl’s nature. So she managed to talk of indifferent things, and soon
suggested that they go in, to spend the rest of their time with the
Hiltons.

With the exception of the latter and Kirk Smith, everyone was leaving
the ranch on the morrow. The Melville boys were going East to college,
and their parents were to board their train at St. Paul. So the scouts
were assured of a chaperone.

With the additional members to the party, the journey proved even more
delightful to the girls than the trip out. Only Daisy and Marjorie
were particularly anxious to reach home.

They arrived at New York on Tuesday, and were to separate until the
following Saturday, when they were to go to Cape May.

“Are you going to tell your mother about our secret?” whispered
Marjorie, as she said goodbye to John.

“Yes, I would if I saw her, but I won’t see her before you do–on
Saturday. Because I don’t feel as if it were the sort of thing to
communicate in a letter,” he added.

“No, neither do I,” agreed Marjorie.

“And after all, we have only four days to wait!”

Four days! Marjorie kept repeating the words over and over to herself,
as if in some way she might learn patience from them. Hardly was she in
her own house when she told her mother the whole story, and would talk
of nothing else. It seemed as if the ranch and the summer’s pleasures
were forgotten; her only thought was to solve this mystery about Olive,
and to render this inestimable good turn to Kirk and the members of
Daisy’s family. She displayed no interest at all in shopping, or in
preparing for college. After one day passed, she decided that she could
not possibly wait until Saturday to know the best–or the worst. She
must go to Cape May, immediately; she could not sleep until she had
found out.

“I’m going to telegraph Mrs. Hadley,” she told her mother on Thursday
morning. “I hardly slept at all last night, and I am so restless I
can’t do anything in the day time.”

“But my dear,” remonstrated her mother, “there really isn’t one chance
in a hundred of this girl’s being Olive Gravers. There are so many of
these amnesia victims–you read about them every day in the papers. Or
this Snyder girl might be an escaped criminal, hiding under some such
pretence.”

Marjorie looked hurt at her mother’s words.

“And besides–there’s the dressmaker. It’s very important for you to be
here to get your new clothes ready for college.”

“Bother clothes!” cried the girl, with her usual indifference. “I’m
going to Cape May–this very afternoon–unless you forbid it!”

“Do as you like,” sighed Mrs. Wilkinson with resignation.

Mrs. Hadley received Marjorie’s telegram while she was at luncheon. She
read it and handed it to Dorothy.

Dorothy scanned it, frowned, and half closed her eyes. The name sounded
strangely familiar.

“Marjorie Wilkinson?” she repeated. “Where have I heard that name
before?”

“You’ve probably heard John and me speak of her,” said Mrs. Hadley.
“Now what do you suppose she wants? I wonder if John proposed–”

But Dorothy was not listening.

“I’ve heard you speak of a Marjorie, but you never mentioned her last
name. What school did she go to?”

“She graduated from Miss Allen’s Boarding School last June,” replied
Mrs. Hadley.

“Yes, yes, of course. That is familiar too. Somebody I knew went
there–some relative of mine–”

“Yes?” said Mrs. Hadley, now giving the girl her undivided attention.
Perhaps the presence of Marjorie Wilkinson would help to make her
remember who she was. “Can’t you recall the name of the relative?”

“No, but she was a near one. Oh, I wish–” But Dorothy’s voice trailed
off sadly; her mind had come up against a blank wall.

“Well, cheer up!” said the other, encouragingly. “Marjorie can probably
tell you the name of every girl in the school–for I believe it isn’t a
very large one. And then surely you will know.”

Dorothy’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“I believe I’ll stay home from work, and go to meet Miss Wilkinson, if
you will let me,” she said.

“Of course, dear,” replied Mrs. Hadley, kindly.

It would indeed have been hard to tell which was more eager to have
that train reach its destination–Marjorie or Dorothy. Both girls felt
that so much depended upon the meeting; both girls so dreaded the
possibility of a disappointment.

Marjorie sat in the first car, and was the first person to get out of
the train. Spying Mrs. Hadley almost immediately, she rushed excitedly
forward. To her joy, the girl was with her; a girl who, though without
the high color Daisy had described, fitted well to the description of
Olive. Mrs. Hadley introduced the girls, and they began to walk towards
the cottage.

“I was awfully glad you could come,” remarked Mrs. Hadley, just as if
she, instead of Marjorie, had done the inviting. “Can you stay until
the house party?”

“Oh, thanks, but I’m afraid not. I’m having the dressmaker, but I
was so bored and tired that I longed for a breath of sea air. Mother
wouldn’t let me go alone to a hotel, so I just begged to descend on
you. Mother thought it was an awful imposition.”

Thus she explained her visit.

“Not at all,” said Mrs. Hadley. “I am only too delighted to have you.
It’s so quiet here now, that if it weren’t for Dorothy, I simply
couldn’t stay.”

When Marjorie went to her room, she asked the other girl to go with
her. Dorothy was only too thankful to accept the invitation.

At first Marjorie talked of the seashore, the ranch, and the Girl
Scouts, tactfully leading up to the mention of the name of the girl
whom she hoped to be Dorothy’s sister.

“I just graduated from Miss Allen’s this summer, and I was so tired,”
she explained. “By the way, that reminds me–did you ever know a girl
named Daisy Gravers?”

Marjorie pretended to say this casually, as she unfastened the strap of
her pump, but really her hand was trembling so that she could hardly
accomplish it. To her joy, Dorothy jumped suddenly to her feet, and,
glancing up, Marjorie saw that her face was deathly white.

“Daisy Gravers–_my sister!_” she gasped. “And I’m Olive!”

Overcome by the realization, she sank to the floor in a dead faint.

Overjoyed as Marjorie was at the discovery, she was terrified at the
effect on Olive. Suppose she became sick again, and lost her memory
after this brief moment of recollection? She shuddered at the idea;
such a thing would be ghastly! But at least it would be something to
have found her. Then, suddenly, Marjorie pulled herself together; there
was no time now for the indulgence of such feelings. She must act, and
act quickly.

Summoning Mrs. Hadley to her aid, she succeeded in getting Olive in
bed. Then, while the older woman called a doctor, Marjorie sat at the
bedside, watching her patient gradually regain consciousness. When at
last she opened her eyes, she smiled faintly at Marjorie, but she made
no attempt to talk.

After the doctor had gone, and the patient had slipped into a peaceful
sleep, Marjorie told Mrs. Hadley the whole story.

“And now,” she concluded, “it will remain to be seen whether she
retains her memory, and pieces together her former life. What do you
think would be the best course for us?”

“Wait, I should advise,” replied Mrs. Hadley, “until she refers to it
herself. Then draw her out very carefully.”

Fortunately, Marjorie did not have to wait long for her opportunity.
Early the next morning, when she carried Olive’s tray up to her, the
girl herself opened the conversation.

“Tell me about Daisy,” she said, as she unfolded her napkin. “What has
she been doing all summer?”

“She was with our patrol of scouts on the ranch this summer,” replied
Marjorie. “But she was so worried about you; for none of the family
knew where you were.” She hesitated a moment, as if she did not wish to
be too abrupt. “Won’t you please, Olive, tell me what you can remember
about the last five months?”

“Well,” answered the girl, slowly, “I got into a temper with
somebody–” she thought hard for a minute–“a man–I guess it was
dad–and flew out of the house. My head was aching terribly–but I
walked–and walked. I–I spent a night on the ground–my, but it was
cold and damp–and the next thing I knew I wakened up–in a ward–in a
hospital–and the nurse told me I was getting better. They asked me my
name, and I said Dorothy Snyder–I don’t know why–and they looked as
if they didn’t believe me–because I didn’t believe it myself, I guess.
So, as soon as I was well enough, I ran away. I found I had been in
Cape May. I wandered down to the ocean, and sat down in a pavilion. But
I felt very weak and ill; I guess I cried. Then Mrs. Hadley found me,
and you know the rest.”

“But this man you quarreled with–you think it was your father–didn’t
you love him very much?”

Again Olive thought hard.

“Yes, I did…. No, it wasn’t dad…. He was young, and handsome. Could
I–could I have been engaged?”

“Or married?” suggested Marjorie, fearfully, in a whisper.

“_Tommy!_” cried Olive, triumphantly. “Tommy! My husband!” She seized
Marjorie’s hand in her ecstasy. “Oh, I’m so happy–so thankful to you!”

“Then–then shall I telegraph Mr. Smith, and your family, to come?”
asked Marjorie.

“Yes! Yes! If you know where they are!”

“I do!” replied Marjorie, almost beside herself with joy.

Then, quietly, she went out to perform the greatest good-turn of her
scout career.

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