AN AFTERNOON CALL

“OH, two rooms!”

“Oh, a fireplace!”

“Oh, a _window-seat_!”

“_Two_ window-seats!”

These exclamations fell swiftly and explosively from the lips of Dotty
Rose and Dolly Fayre, as they leaned over the table at which Mr. Rose
was drawing plans.

And such plans! And for such a purpose! Why, the whole project was
nothing more nor less than a house, a real little house for those two
fortunate girls! All their own, with fireplaces and window-seats and
goodness knows what all delightful contrivances.

It had come about because of the fact that the girls had to study pretty
hard, now that they were in High School, and both found difficulty in
finding just the right place to study. Dolly declared that Trudy was
always having company, and the laughter and chatter was so permeating,
she couldn’t find a place in the house to get out of hearing the noise.
While Dotty said little Genie was always carrying on with her young
playmates, or else Mother and Aunt Clara were having Sewing Society or
something, and she never could be quiet in the library. The girls, of
course, had their own bedrooms, but both mothers objected, on hygienic
grounds, to using those for sitting-rooms.

So Mr. Rose had cooked up a most fascinating scheme, and after a
discussion with Mr. Fayre, he elucidated it to the girls. It seemed Mr.
Fayre fully approved of it, and was quite willing to pay his share of
the expense, but he was too busy to look after the details of building,
and begged Mr. Rose to attend to all that.

Mr. Rose, who was cashier of the Berwick Bank, had plenty of leisure
time, and, moreover, had a taste for architecture, so the plans were in
process of drafting. As the house was to be exceedingly simple, he felt
he could plan it all himself, and thus save the expense of an architect.

“You see,” he said to his interested audience, “it is really nothing but
a summer house, only it is enclosed, so as to be—”

“A winter-house!” interrupted Dotty. “Oh, Daddy, it is too perfectly
scrumptiousiferous! I don’t see how I can live through such joy!”

Dolly’s blue eyes sparkled, but her pleasure was too deep for words, and
she expressed it in long drawn sighs, and occasional Oh’s!

“Say twenty feet by fifteen for the whole house,” Mr. Rose said,
musingly. “Then divide that in halves. Thus we have a front room, a sort
of living room, ten by fifteen. Quite big enough, for in addition we can
have a deep window-seat at each end.”

“Where we can curl up in to study!” cried Dotty. “Oh, Dollyrinda, did
you ever _dream_ anything so perfect?”

“I never did! And what is in the other room, Mr. Rose?”

“Well, a sort of dining-room, say ten by ten of it, and that will leave
a neat little five by ten for a bit of a kitchenette.”

“Ooh—eeh—I can’t take it all in! A kitchenette! Where we can make
fudge and cook messes—oh, Dad-dy!” Dotty threw her arms around her
father’s neck, and in her great gratitude, Dolly did too.

“Well, of course, the dining-room isn’t exactly for an eating room
exclusively, but I know you will enjoy having little teas there with
your friends, or taffy pulls or whatever the fad is nowadays.”

“Oh, indeed we can,” said Dolly; “we can all go there after skating and
have hot chocolate and sandwiches! Maybe it won’t be fun!”

“But it is primarily for study,” warned Mr. Rose. “I don’t think though,
you two bookworms will neglect your lessons.”

He was right, for both Dolly and Dotty were studious, and now, being in
the High School, they were most anxious to make good records. They
studied diligently every evening, and though Dotty learned her lessons
more quickly, Dolly remembered hers better. But both were fond of fun
and frolic, and they foresaw wonderful opportunities in the new house.

“Oh, a piazza!” squealed Dotty, as under her father’s clever fingers a
wide piazza showed on the paper.

“Yes, of course; this will be a summer house also, you know, and a
piazza is a necessity. Perhaps in the winter it can be enclosed with
glass. All such details must come later. First we must get the
proportions and the main plan. And here it is, in a nutshell. Or,
rather, in a rectangle. Just half is the living-room, and the other half
is two-thirds dining-room and one-third kitchen. The kitchen includes
kitchenette and pantry.”

“What is a kitchenette, exactly?” asked Dolly.

“Only what its name implies,” returned Mr. Rose, smiling. “Just a little
kitchen. There will be a gas stove,—no, I think it would be better for
you to have it all electric. Then you can have an electric oven and
toaster and chafing-dish, and any such contraptions you want. How’s
that?”

“Too good to be true!” and Dolly sighed in deep contentment. “How long
will it take to build it?”

“Not long, if I can get the workmen to go right at it, and I hope I can.
Now, suppose we plan the living-room, which is, of course, the study.”

“Let’s call it the Study,” said Dolly. “Sounds sort of wise and
grown-up.”

“Very well. Here then, in the Study, suppose we have the door right in
the middle of the front wall, and opening on the front veranda. Then a
small window each side of the door, and a big square bay, with cushioned
seat, at each end of the room.”

“Glorious!” and Dolly danced about on one foot. “Then we can each have
one of them to study in, every afternoon after school.”

“With a blazing wood fire—where’s the fireplace, Daddy?”

“Here, opposite the entrance door. Then you see, one chimney in the
middle of the house, will provide for a fireplace in each room. I’m not
sure this will give you heat enough. If not, you must depend on gas
logs. We can’t be bothered with a furnace of any sort. Perhaps in the
very coldest weather you can’t inhabit your castle.”

“Oh, that won’t matter,” and Dolly’s good-natured face smiled brightly;
“if we have it most of the time, we’ll willingly study somewhere else on
extra cold days. And at one side of the fireplace, the door through to
the dining-room—oh, yes, I see.”

“Right, my child. And on the other side of the fireplace, in the Study,
a set of built-in bookshelves, and in the dining-room, a built-in glass
closet.”

“But we haven’t any glass!” and Dotty looked amazed at the idea.

“Well, I dare say the mothers of you will scout around and give you some
old junk from the attics. I know of a gorgeous dish you can have.” Mr.
Rose’s eyes twinkled, and Dotty broke into laughter: “I know! you mean
‘The Eyesore’!”

This was a hideous affair that some one had sent Mrs. Rose as a
Christmas Gift, and the family had long since relegated it to the
oblivion of a dark cupboard. “No, thank you!” Dot went on, “I’d rather
have things from the ten-cent store.”

“They have some awfully nice things there,” suggested Dolly, “and I know
Mother has a lot of odds and ends we can have. Oh, when the house is
built, it will be lots of fun to furnish it. Trudy will make us lovely
table-covers and things like that. And we can have paper napkins for our
spreads.”

“And Aunt Clara says she will make all the curtains,—whatever sort we
want.”

“That’s lovely of her! I know we’ll have lots of things given to us, and
we’ll find lots of things around our homes—and the rest we’ll do
ourselves.”

“Yes, and Thomas will bring wood for us, and take away the ashes. We
must have enormous wood-baskets or wood-boxes. Oh, it’s just like
furnishing a real house! What loads of fun we’ll have!”

“Then, in the kitchen,” Mr. Rose went on, drawing as he spoke, “we’ll
have a tiny sink, all nice white enamel, and a wall-cupboard for your
dish-towels and soap and such things. Also a sort of a small—a very
small—kitchen cabinet for your pepper and salt, with a place underneath
for pans and kettles.”

“You think a lot about the kitchen, Daddy. I believe you expect to come
there sometimes to join our feasts.”

“I certainly shall, if I’m invited. Then, you see, the dining-room can
have a deep window, and if you don’t care for a window-seat there, how
about a window-box of bright flowers?”

“I don’t know about that, Mr. Rose,” demurred Dolly. “If the house isn’t
always warm, the poor posies would freeze, wouldn’t they?”

“Right you are, Dollykins. Cut out the growing plants, then, and have
now and then a vase or bowl of flowers on the table. Now, let me see. An
electric light over the table in the dining-room, and perhaps a side
light or two. Then in the Study, a reading light for each, and one or
two pretty fixtures beside.”

“Why, will we use it so much at night, Mr. Rose?”

“If you choose to. And anyway, in the winter time, you’ll need lights by
five o’clock, or on dark days, even earlier.”

“That’s so; how thoughtful you are. I s’pose some days we won’t go in
the house at all, and others we’ll be there all the afternoon and all
the evening.”

“And all Saturdays,” said Dotty; “we’ll always spend Saturdays there,
and we can make things for the house or make our Christmas presents, or
make fudge and have the girls and boys come over—”

“Or just sit by the fire and read,” interrupted Dolly.

“Oh, you old kitten! You’d rather lie by the fire and purr than do
anything at all!”

“Well, then I’ll do that. We’re to do whatever we please in our own
house, aren’t we, Mr. Rose?”

“Yes, indeed, Dolly. But amicable always. No, I don’t think you two are
inclined to quarrel, but you do have little differences now and then,
and I’d hate to have the charm of this little nest disturbed by foolish
squabbles.”

“I’ll promise, for one, _never_ to scrap,” said Dolly, eagerly, and
Dotty said with equal fervour, “Me, too!”

“We’ll have nice, plain, hard floors,” continued Mr. Rose, “and I’m sure
your mothers can find some discarded rugs.”

“Oh, we can make those,” exclaimed Dolly. “Don’t you know, Dot, that new
way your Aunt Clara told us about? You take rags, you know, and sew them
in pipings, and then crochet them,—oh, it’s just lovely!”

“Yes, I know. We’ll each make one of those, it’ll be fine!”

“And we’ll put them in the Study, one on each side of the room. Yours on
my side, mine on yours.”

“All right. Which side do you want?”

“I’ll take the side next my house and you the side next yours. Then if
our mothers call us, we can hear them.”

“Good idea,” said Mr. Rose. “I think we’ll put the house just on the
dividing line between your father’s ground and mine.”

“And Mother can hang a red flag out the window if she wants me in a
hurry. Or if dinner is ready.”

“We might have a telephone,” suggested Dotty.

“We’ll see about that later,” said Mr. Rose. “You must remember that the
expenses are counting up, and Mr. Fayre and I are not millionaires. But
we want you to have a good substantial little nook for yourselves. Then,
later, if we see fit to add a telephone or a wireless apparatus or an
airship garage, we can do so.”

“All right,” returned Dotty with a satisfied grin. “Say, Doll, shall we
bring our desks from our bedrooms?”

“No,” Mr. Rose answered for her. “Those are too flimsy and dainty; and
besides, you’ll need them where they are. I shall ask the privilege of
contributing two solid, sensible Mission desks of greenish tinge, with
chairs to match. Then if you want to curl up on your window cushions to
study you may, but there will be a place to write your compositions.”

“Lovely, Father! How good you are!” and Dotty fell on his neck, while
Dolly possessed herself of his hand and patted it.

The two girls were equally fond of their fathers, but Mr. Rose was more
chummy in manner than Mr. Fayre. The latter was devoted to his children,
but was less demonstrative of his affection.

But Dolly well knew that her father would not be outdone in kindness or
generosity and that he would give an equally welcome gift, as well as
pay his share of the building expenses.

“All right, Mr. Rose,” she said, “if you do that, I’m sure father will
furnish the dining-room with whatever we want.”

“There won’t be much needed for that, just a table and chairs, which can
doubtless be snared in our attics. But your father, Dotty, offered the
whole kitchenette outfit, which, I can tell you, is a noble gift.”

“Indeed it is!” cried Dotty. “I’m crazy to get at that electricky-cooky
business!”

“So’m I,” declared Dolly. “When will it be all done, Mr. Rose?”

“Can’t say exactly. If all goes well you ought to get in by the last of
October.”

“About Hallowe’en, then,” said Dolly. “We might have a kind of
Hallowe’en party for a house-warming.”

“Gay!” cried Dotty. “We’ll get all our treasures in it by that time.”

“Let’s call it our Treasure House,—how’s that for a name?”

“Pretty good,” said Mr. Rose. “I’ve been wondering what to call it.
Treasure House isn’t bad at all. Makes you think of Treasure Island.”

“Yes, so it does,” and Dolly’s blue eyes sparkled at the name of one of
her best-loved books. “Oh, won’t it be fun to arrange our bookshelves.
I’m glad to move some of my books, my shelves at home are overrunning.”

“Then, you see, children,” Mr. Rose was still adding to his drawings,
“in the summer, you can have hammocks on the veranda, and piazza-boxes
with flowers—”

“Yes, Daddy, dear, you _shall_ get those flower-boxes set up as soon as
the gentle Spring gets around.”

“Well, I do love flowers,” and Mr. Rose smiled, for his family well knew
his great fondness for gardening. “Now you girls won’t have any too much
time to get your flummerydiddles ready. For after the house is built and
papered and painted, you ought to have your furnishings all ready. And
to make curtains and cushions and lace whatd’y’callums—tidies? will be
a few weeks’ work,—won’t it?”

“Yes, indeedy. But all our beloved lady relatives will help us and among
our sisters and our mothers and our aunts, I ’spect we’ll accumulate
about enough housekeeping stuff to stock a hotel.” Dotty danced around
the table as she talked, and catching Dolly in her arms, the two
executed a sort of triumphal hoppity-skip that expressed their joy and
relieved their feelings.

“And now,” sighed Dolly, suddenly looking thoughtful, “I’ve got to go
right straight, smack home and do my Geometry for to-morrow.”

“Oh, my goodness! me too!” exclaimed Dotty. “Dear! how I wish Treasure
House was done, and I could go there to study. It’s an awful long time
to wait.”

“But we can make things every chance we get. Oh, Dotty, I’m going to
make a birch-bark scrapbasket. I’ve got a lot of that bark left that I
brought down from Crosstrees. Won’t it be fine?”

“Great! Shall we have two?”

“No, only one scrapbasket and such things. It’s more cosy. But two of
everything that we use separately. Like two desks, you know.”

“Only one set of bookshelves.”

“Well, there’ll be nooks for books, beside the fireplace, and beside the
window casings,” said Mr. Rose, “in addition to the regular shelves. I
haven’t half fixed those things up yet.”

“Oh, it will be just heavenly!” sighed Dolly. “But I must scoot to my
Geometry now. See you to-morrow, Dot. Good-bye.”

“All right. Good-bye.”

WHEN the two D’s reached school next morning, they found a group of
their friends giggling and whispering in a corner of the Recreation
Room.

“What’s the joke?” asked Dotty as they drew near.

“Hello, Two D’s,” cried Tod Brown. “How are you, Toodies? Just wait till
you hear what’s up! The greatest sell ever! The biggest joke of the
season. Oh, me, oh, my!”

“Tell us,” begged Dolly. “Tell us, Tod, what is it?” She was taking off
her hat and coat as she talked, and as she stepped into the coatroom to
hang them up, Celia Ferris slipped in and whispered to her. “Now don’t
jump on the scheme, Dolly Fayre. You’re such a goody-goody, I’m half
afraid to let you in on it.”

“Why, is it mean?” and Dolly’s blue eyes flashed, for she hated a mean
joke.

“No, it isn’t mean, at least no meaner than she deserves. But I wish
they wouldn’t tell you; you’re an old spoilsport, and I know you’ll say
you won’t join in.”

“Join in what? Do tell me, or I can’t say _what_ I’ll do.”

“Come on out. Tod will tell you,” and the two girls joined the others.

“What is it, Tod?” asked Dolly, as she came up to the laughing boy.

“Now, Dollykin, do be real nice and don’t be a horrid old Miss Prim! You
see, Miss Partland, the Geometry teacher, is so cross and horrid and
unjust to us, we’re going to pay her out. And we’ve thought up the
greatest scheme! Just listen!”

“No, let me tell her,” said Joe Collins; “you’ll make it seem worse’n it
is. Why, Doll, it’s only this. You see, Miss Partland isn’t looking very
well, and we are all going to tell her so. She ought to know the truth.
And she keeps a lot of us in every afternoon, and we don’t want her to.
So we’re each going to tell her, as we get the chance, that she looks
sort of ill, and then, we think she’ll want to go home early, herself,
and she won’t stay to keep us in. Isn’t that all right?”

“Why, that doesn’t seem very bad,” said Dolly, dimpling as she smiled.
“How are you going to bring it in?”

“Oh, just casually, you know. If you have a chance, you just say,
‘Aren’t you feeling well, Miss Partland?’ or something like that.”

“I’d just as lieve say that, if she looks ill; but I won’t if she
doesn’t,” returned Holly, very decidedly.

“All right; you’ll find she looks ill. Why, the poor lady is on the
verge of nervous prostration, and so will we all be, if she is so hard
on us.”

“Did she keep you in, yesterday?”

“Yep; just ’cause I had a little mite of a mistake in one example! Oh,
she’s the limit, she is!”

“And do you think she’ll be any sweeter-natured if we sympathise with
her for feeling bad?”

“Well, maybe; you never can tell.”

“I think it’s a grand scheme!” declared Dotty. “She’s an old fuss
anyway. She found fault with my examples because I didn’t take a
separate sheet of paper for each one. I’d just as lieve, only I didn’t
know she wanted me to.”

“How’s your house comin’ on, Dot?” sang out Lollie Henry.

“Perfectly great! It’ll be done by Hallowe’en, and maybe we won’t have
one rollicking good time!”

“Won’t we just! You want to look out, you know Hallowe’en is the time
for tricks, and I dunno what the boys will get off.”

“Not in our new house! If anybody takes our doors off of their hinges or
does anything mean, I won’t stand it, that’s all!” and Dotty shook her
curly black head and her dark eyes sparkled with anger at the thought of
such desecration.

“Well, look out, that’s all,” said Lollie, teasingly, and then the bell
called them to the schoolroom.

Soon after they all trooped to a classroom for the Geometry lesson. As
he passed the teacher’s desk, Tod Brown tripped against her platform,
and nearly fell over on it.

“What a clumsy boy!” exclaimed Miss Partland, frowning, and indeed the
stumble was an awkward one. Small wonder, as it was done entirely on
purpose!

Tod straightened himself up, made a nice, boyish bow, and said, “Please
excuse me, Miss Partland. Oh, don’t feel alarmed, I’m not hurt.”

“And I’m not alarmed, you silly boy! I am annoyed at you, not sorry for
you.”

“Yes’m. But, Miss Partland, you’re so white. Why, you look quite ill!
Mayn’t I get you a glass of water?”

“Go to your seat!” Miss Partland turned scarlet, both from irritation at
Tod’s speech, and a sudden nervous fear for herself.

Tod went to his place, and when it was Tad’s turn to go to the
blackboard, he paused a moment, and looked straight into the teacher’s
face. “Why, Miss Partland,” he whispered to her, “don’t you feel well?
You look awful queer!”

“Go to the board,” she said, but she was evidently disturbed at his
remark.

Tad went obediently, and did his work well, then, as he returned to his
seat, he gave Miss Partland a long, searching look, and gravely shook
his head. The other pupils saw him, and saw, too, that the teacher
looked worried. The joke was working. Surely, she would not stay
to-night to keep anybody in.

Next was Dotty’s turn. She went toward the blackboard, but on the way,
she stopped in front of Miss Partland, and looked at her. Then, with an
anxious look on her face, she stepped up on the platform, and whispering
in the teacher’s ear, said: “If you’re not feeling well, Miss Partland,
why don’t you go to the rest room for a while?”

“I’m perfectly well, child, what’s the matter with you?”

“You don’t look so,” said Dotty, shaking her head, and looking back at
her victim, as she moved slowly to the board.

Several others did similarly; some not commenting on the teacher’s
looks, but merely staring at her, and then looking away quickly.

Dolly Fayre had not noticed much of the whole performance, for she was
behind with her lesson, and was struggling with a refractory problem,
hoping to get it done before she had to go to the blackboard to
demonstrate it.

And so, when she rose from her seat, she was surprised and shocked to
see how alarmed Miss Partland looked. Indeed the poor lady was all upset
with bewilderment at the observations made by her pupils. She had begun
to think there must be something serious and noticeable the matter with
her. She was trembling with nervous apprehension, and was on the verge
of tears. And so, Dolly, who had forgotten Tod’s joke, said, most
honestly, “Why, what _is_ the matter, Miss Partland? You look awfully
ill!”

The other pupils, hearing this, chuckled silently, thinking what a good
little actress Dolly was.

But to Miss Partland it was the last straw.

“I am ill,” she cried out; “very ill. Help me, Dolly, to the rest room.”

Leaning on the shoulder of Dolly, who was pretty well frightened, Miss
Partland stumbled along to the rest room,—a place provided for any one
suddenly indisposed.

Dolly assisted her teacher to lie down on a couch, and dipping her
handkerchief in cold water, held it to her forehead.

“Let me call somebody,” said Dolly. “I don’t know what I ought to do.”

“No, I feel better now,” said Miss Partland. “But I can’t go back to the
classroom. I think I must go home. You may go to Mr. Macintosh, Dolly,
and tell him I went home, ill.”

“Yes, Miss Partland,” replied Dolly, and then it suddenly came to her,
that this was the result of Tod’s joke! “Were you ill this morning?” she
asked.

“No, not in the slightest. It is a sudden attack of some sort. Perhaps I
shall die!”

“Oh, no. You’ll be all right in an hour or so. What sort of pain do you
feel, Miss Partland?”

“Not any definite pain. But queer all over, as if some illness were
impending.”

I do believe, thought Dolly to herself, that it’s all the fault of those
horrid boys, telling her she looked ill! And then she suddenly
remembered that she herself had told Miss Partland so, too, and very
emphatically. But she had told her in earnest, while the others had been
carrying out their jest.

However, her comment was just the same as theirs, and doubtless helped
to produce this effect. She wondered what to do. At first, she thought
she would tell the whole story, and let the boys and girls take the
consequences of their ill-timed joke. Then, she feared it might so
enrage Miss Partland to know of it, that it would make her worse.

She decided not to tell at present, anyway, and she helped the teacher
on with her hat and coat, and went with her to the door.

“Tell Mr. Macintosh I am quite ill,” she said as she went away. And
Dolly went to the Principal’s room to do her bidding.

“Did Miss Partland say what the trouble was?” asked the surprised man.
“Is she subject to these attacks?”

“She didn’t say, Mr. Macintosh, and I have never known her to be ill
before. I think she will be all right, to-morrow.”

“You seem to know a great deal for a miss of your age! Have you had much
experience with heart attacks?”

“I didn’t say it was a heart attack,” said poor Dolly, torn by her
knowledge of what had really caused the trouble.

“It must have been, from what you say. That’s what I mean, you are too
young and inexperienced to attend alone on a suffering victim of heart
disease. Why didn’t you call some help?”

“I did want to, sir, but Miss Partland wouldn’t let me.”

“You may go. Return to the class and tell them they are dismissed. Let
them all go to their next recitation at the proper time.”

“Yes, Mr. Macintosh.”

“Stop a minute.” Dolly turned. “Do you know anything more about this
affair than you have told me?”

Dolly hesitated. What should she do? She did know more about it; she
knew of the joke the boys had made up, and she felt almost sure that it
was owing to this foolish jest that Miss Partland had imagined she felt
ill so vividly, that at last she really did feel so. And yet, if Dolly
“peached” on the boys, she well knew what they would think of her! It
was a hard position. But, she thought quickly, it couldn’t help Miss
Partland to tell of the joke now, and then again the illness might not
have been caused by the joke after all, Dolly had been so engrossed with
her difficult problem that she had not seen the successive boys and
girls look at Miss Partland with such evident sympathy, anxiety and even
consternation.

Her hesitation naturally made the Principal think she was withholding
some information of importance, and he said so.

“No, Mr. Macintosh,” said Dolly, firmly; “I do not feel sure that I am.
The only thing I know, is not positively connected with Miss Partland’s
illness, although it may be. But as I am not sure, I am not justified in
even speaking of it to you.”

The Principal looked at her attentively. “You’re a queer child,” he
said.

“Yes, I am,” replied Dolly, thoughtfully. “But I’m trying to see what is
my duty, and I can’t say anything till I find out.”

“At any rate, you’re an honest little girl, and I don’t believe you know
anything that you really ought to tell, or you’d tell it.”

“Oh, thank you, sir. That’s just it. I _don’t_ think I ought to, or I
_would_.”

Dismissed from the room, Dolly returned to the class and told them the
lesson would not be resumed that day, as Miss Partland had gone home
ill. She looked reproachfully at the boys who had been ring-leaders in
the “joke” and at Celia Ferris, too, who had also been a party to it.

But as there were many in the class who knew nothing about it, no word
was said then and there, nor could there be until after school.

Then Dolly told what had happened. “And to think,” she concluded, “that
Miss Partland was not ill at all, but so many remarks on her looking
poorly, made her think she was,—and then—she was!”

“Pooh, nonsense!” said Lollie Henry; “you can’t make a lady ill by
telling her she doesn’t look quite up to the mark.”

“Yes, you can,” declared Dolly. “It’s what they call auto-suggestion, or
something. Just the same way, if you tell anybody they look well, why,
then they get well. I’ve heard Mother talk about it.”

“Well, then,” said Tod Brown, “all we’ve got to do, is to go around to
Miss Partland’s house and tell her she’s looking as blooming as a
peach!”

“Sure!” said Tad. “That’s dead easy. Come on.”

“No,” said Dolly, “you can’t rush off like that! You’d probably make her
worse.”

“Well, what does she want, then?”

“Oh, Tad, you’re so silly!” and Dolly couldn’t help laughing at him.

“I think you’re silly, Dolly,” said Celia. “I don’t believe it was our
joke that upset her, at all. I believe she’d been sick anyway.”

“No, she wouldn’t. She said she was perfectly well this morning. You
know, Celia, that it was your speeches, one after another, that scared
her into thinking she was ill. And it was enough to, too! Why, I wasn’t
noticing at the time, I was studying, but Dot told me afterward, how you
all told her she looked so terrible, and you pretended to be scared to
death!”

“Well, you said the same thing to her!”

“Yes, but I meant it! By the time I went up to the board, you had all
frightened her so, she was white and shaky-looking. I was sure she was
going to faint.”

“Yes, Dolly was in earnest,” said Dotty. “If we did any harm, Doll can’t
be included. When she said that to Miss Partland, it was true. When we
said it, it wasn’t.”

“Oh, I’m not sticking myself up,” began Dolly. “And I’m not blaming the
rest of you. I think it was a mean joke, but never mind that now. What
I’m thinking of is what we ought to do. Seems if we ought to set matters
right somehow.”

“I don’t think so,” said Celia. “It’s always better to let well enough
alone, my mother says. I bet that by to-morrow morning, Miss Partland
will be all right and will have forgotten all about this foolishness.”

“I bet she will too,” said Lollie. “Say, Dolly, don’t worry over it. It
wasn’t your fault anyway. And I don’t believe it will make old Party
really ill. It couldn’t. And it may make her more sweet-tempered if she
thinks she’s subject to—what d’y’ call em?—heart attacks.”

“How do you know it was a heart attack?” demanded Dolly.

“I heard Mr. Macintosh tell another teacher that Miss Party had gone
home because she had a heart attack in the classroom.”

“I don’t believe it was her heart at all,” said Dolly slowly. “Why
should any one think so? It was only nervousness, caused by your foolish
trick. I’m sorry for Miss Partland. If she isn’t all right to-morrow,
I’m going to tell her the whole story.”

“Meany!” cried Celia; “it’s awful mean to tell tales.”

“Not so mean as to play tricks!” retorted Dolly, and then she and Dotty
had reached their homes, and went in, while the others went on their
way.

DOLLY worried a good deal over her teacher’s illness, and when Miss
Partland was not at school the next day, she decided to go to see her,
on the way home. The boys tried to dissuade her, but Dolly was firm.

“No use trying to steer off Dolly Fayre, if she’s made up her mind,”
said Lollie Henry. “If she has a bee in her bonnet, she sticks to it
like a puppy to a root.”

They all laughed at this, but Dotty said, earnestly, “Don’t go, Doll;
you’ll have to tell on the boys and girls, and that will be awful mean.”

“No, I won’t. I’ve a plan of my own, and I won’t say a word about your
playing a joke, or anything about any of you. But I do think, Lollie,
and you Tad and Tod too, that it’s a mean, horrid thing to play
practical jokes, and I think you _ought_ to be told on,—but I won’t
tell on you.”

“Ah, now, Dolly, Towhead Dolly, don’t be hard on us,” said Tad, in such
a wheedlesome way that Dolly had to laugh. “We didn’t mean any real
harm, and she _has_ been awfully cross to us, and we’re not such angels
of goodness as you are—”

“I’m not an angel of goodness, Tad Brown, and I’ll thank you to stop
making fun of me! But I do believe in being decent to a teacher, even if
she is strict in her rules.”

“Come on, Dolly,” said Dotty, as they neared the street where Miss
Partland lived; “if you’re going, I’ll go with you.”

“Oh, ho!” jeered Lollie, “_two_ little angels of goodness, little white
angels, with shiny wings! Well, fly into old Party’s house, and see
what’s the matter with her,—mumps or measles!”

The two girls went to the house, and were invited to go up to the
teacher’s room.

They found Miss Partland, sitting in an easy chair, looking disconsolate
indeed.

“How do you do, girls?” she said, listlessly; “won’t you sit down?”

The two D’s sat down, and Dolly said, at once, “Oh, I’m glad to see you
looking so much better, Miss Partland! You’re not really ill, are you?”

“I don’t know, Dolly,” and the poor lady looked sadly distraught. She
was not an interesting invalid in appearance. She had on an old grey
flannel wrapper, and her hair was untidy. A bowl of broth, cold,—and
one or two bottles were on her table, and the whole room had an unkempt,
uncared-for air. “You see,” she went on, “I didn’t know I had heart
trouble, and it worries me terribly.”

“Do you know it yet?” asked Dolly. “Have you had a doctor?”

“I’ve sent for him, but he hasn’t come yet. But several people have
called or telephoned, and they all speak of my heart attack, so I think
it must have been that.”

Dotty looked very serious, and blushed a little as she realised to what
a pass their thoughtless joke had brought the teacher.

“Miss Partland,” Dolly went on. “I don’t believe it was your heart, or
you’d be sicker now. You don’t feel bad, do you?”

“N-no,—I guess not,—I can hardly tell.”

“Well, you look real well to me—”

“Oh, do I? I’m glad to hear you say so. I thought myself, if it were
anything serious, I’d feel worse than I do. I haven’t any real pain, you
know.”

“That’s good; and I believe all you want is to brace up and forget it.
Forget that little bother of yesterday, I mean.”

“Say, Miss Partland,” broke in Dotty, “won’t you let me do your hair in
a new way that I’ve just tried on mother’s? I often do her hair for her,
and she says it rests her a lot. And this new way—”

“Mercy, child, I never had anybody touch my hair in my life!”

“Then you don’t know how it helps. Just let me try. Where’s your comb?
and hairpins? Oh, here they are. No, don’t face the mirror, I want you
to be surprised.”

Dotty bustled around, and almost before Miss Partland knew it, she was
having her hair dressed by the skilful little hands. The hair was not
long or luxurious, but it was of fine texture, and when released from
the tight little knob it was wound in, proved slightly wavy. Dot made
the most of it, and drawing it up in a soft French twist, she puffed it
out at the sides, and made a most becoming and transforming coiffure.

“There!” she said, “you’re real pretty now, and I’d like to see anybody
say you look sick!”

Miss Partland looked in the glass and was astounded. The unwonted
performance had brought the colour to her cheeks, and interest to her
eyes, and when she saw the whole effect in the mirror, she fairly beamed
with delight.

“Now, haven’t you a nicer kimono, or dressing gown? This isn’t very
pretty for afternoon, and the doctor coming and all.”

Miss Partland looked amazed. “I never thought about it,” she said; “I
haven’t any other,—or, that is—yes, I have one my sister sent me for
Christmas, but I’ve never worn it. It’s too nice.”

“Mayn’t we see it?”

Miss Partland went to the closet and brought out a big box. From it she
took a beautiful Japanese kimono of pale blue silk, embroidered with
pink chrysanthemums.

“There,” she said, “you see I couldn’t wear that.”

“Why not?” cried Dolly. “It’s lovely! And it just suits your blonde
colouring.”

This was stretching the point a little, for Miss Partland’s blondeness
was of the type known as ash, and her faded complexion and dull light
blue eyes hardly deserved the name of colouring.

But Dolly was sincere, and she meant to make the most of what little
natural vanity the lady possessed.

“Yes, indeed,” chimed in Dotty. “That’s too pretty to be buried in an
old dark closet! Put it on, quick, before the doctor gets here!”

A little bewildered, Miss Partland hurried into the robe, and the girls
were astounded at the becomingness of it.

“Well, well!” cried Dotty. “Try our plans, and you will be surprised at
the result! Why, Miss Partland, you’re a hummer! A regular peach! Isn’t
she, Doll?”

“Yes-sir-ee!” And Dolly patted the blue silk approvingly. Then they
wound the blue sash, that belonged to the robe, round about her, and
tucked the ends in in Chinese fashion.

“You must put that on every day after school,” said Dotty, “it’s lovely
on you.”

“But it’s too nice. I never dreamed of wearing it—”

“No matter, just you wear it, and when it’s worn out I ’spect sister’ll
give you another.”

“Of course she would, she’s awfully fond of me.”

“She’d be fonder, if she could see you now. Clothes make a heap of
difference,” and Dotty nodded her head sagely. “My goodness, here’s the
doctor! I hear his automobile stopping. Yes, it is,” as she peeped from
the window. “Shall we go home, Miss Partland?”

“No, just go in the next room, and after he’s gone, I’ll tell you what
he said.”

“Oh, thank you, I do want to know,” said Dolly, and the two ran into the
next room and shut the door.

A little time later, Miss Partland opened the door and summoned them.
She was smiling and so happy looking that she was almost pretty,—a word
rarely used in connection with the Geometry teacher.

“Come in, girls,” she said. “The doctor says I have no heart trouble of
any sort, and that I am as sound as a dollar!”

“Did he say what ailed you yesterday?”

“He said I was probably nervous over some trifle, but he said it had
left no trace, for my nerves are all right now. And, what do you think?
He said that as I had enough interest in life to take some pains with my
toilette, I was in no danger of nervous prostration! And just think!
Before you two came in, I was wondering whether I’d better go to a
sanitarium!”

“Oh, Miss Partland! Not really!”

“Yes, really. I thought my whole nervous system was shattered. Everybody
said I looked so ill, and they gave me such commiserating glances—”

“Well, they won’t any more,” interrupted Dotty, who was cut to the soul
by these remarks. Well she knew whose suggestions and whose glances had
brought about the sad state of things.

“And now,” said practical Dolly, “I’m going to straighten up this room a
little. You may have more callers.”

She whisked away the bowl and bottles into the bathroom. She
straightened the shades, dusted a little, and with a few deft touches
here and there, she made the room tidy and neat. She found a glass vase
which she washed, and setting it on the table, said, “We must go now,
Miss Partland, but I’m going to send you a few flowers, and I want you
to put them in this vase, and set them right here on the table, will
you?”

“Indeed I will, you dear child. You’re dear little girls, both, and I
can’t tell you how grateful I am to you for your pleasant call. I can’t
promise to wear this elaborate gown every day, but I will buy myself one
that is more presentable than the one I had on when you came.”

“And have it pretty, Miss Partland,” begged Dolly; “pretty things keep
you from getting sick.”

“I wonder if they do, you little rascal; how do you know?”

“Well, maybe they wouldn’t keep you from getting chicken pox, they
didn’t me, but I’m just sure they’re good for nervous prostration.”

“I shouldn’t wonder a bit,” and Miss Partland smiled brightly as she
bade the girls good-bye.

“Now I’m going to get her some flowers,” said Dolly as they reached the
street. “I haven’t much left of my allowance, but I can get her half a
dozen carnations or two roses. Which would you, Dot?”

“Carnations, I guess. They last longer. I’m going to get her a couple of
fruits. Say, a grapefruit and an orange, how’s that?”

“Fine! I’m glad you thought of it. It’ll cheer her a lot. I say, Dot, we
did do her some good.”

“I should say we did! But it was all your doing, I just went along.”

“Nonsense! You did as much as I did. Why, I don’t know how you ever
thought of fussing up her hair! It was just the thing, but it never
would have occurred to me.”

“I dunno myself how I happened to think of it. But her old head looked
so frowsy and untidy, I wanted to see if it would make a difference. And
it did!”

“I should say so! Here’s the fruit store. Going in?”

“Yes, come on.”

They went in, and Dotty made a judicious selection of two oranges and a
bunch of white grapes, as they were not sure Miss Partland cared for
grapefruit.

“And if any one _doesn’t_ like it,” said Dotty, making a wry face, “they
don’t like it all over! _I_ can’t abide it!”

“I love it,” returned Dolly, “but as you say, Dot, if people don’t like
it they don’t. Grapes are much safer. Now, come on to the flower shop.”

A half dozen carnations of an exquisite shade were available for the
money Dolly had, and it was with great satisfaction she saw them put in
a box and sent off at once to Miss Partland.

“I say, Dolly, you’re an awful trump!” declared Dotty, as they walked
along. “I never should have thought of going to fix things up with old
Party. And now, I’m awful glad we did. Why is it, you always have these
good thinks and I never do?”

“I dunno. Sometimes it makes me mad though when the boys call me
goody-goody. And Celia Ferris said I was a spoilsport. That isn’t very
nice to be called, Dot, is it?”

“No; but you always come out all right. You see, I’m full of the
dickens, and when the boys want me to cut up jinks, I go into it head
over heels without thinking. You hesitate, and think it over and then
you do the right thing.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Sometimes I think maybe I _am_ an old Primmy, as Tad
calls me. Hello, here’s Tad now.”

Tad Brown met them as he came flying round a corner, closely followed by
his twin brother Tod.

“Hello, girls,” Tad called out. “Been to old Party’s? How is she?”

“She’s all right,” and Dolly laughed gaily. “She’s had the doctor and he
says her heart’s sound as a dollar. So you see your old joke didn’t hurt
her, after all.”

“But it would have,” put in Dotty, “if Doll hadn’t gone there and
chirked her up, and told her she wasn’t sick at all.”

“You went too,” said Dolly, laughing.

“Oh, ’course. Whithersoever thou goest, theresoever will I also went.
And say, boys, you’ve got to be gooder’n pie to-morrow, and every day,
to make up to old Party for your badness. She’s a funny old thing, but
she’s nice, and since I’ve seen her at home, I feel different toward
her, more intimate like and sorry for her.”

“All right,” said Tad, heartily. “I’m ready to be good. I’m pretty well
ashamed of that old joke business, since it turned out so badly.”

“Me, too,” and Tod shook his head. “I thought it was funny at first, but
it didn’t pan out well. I’ll never play another joke on anybody! any
way, not till the next time. Going to the High School Dance, girls?”

“Yes, indeedy!” and Dolly’s eyes glistened. “Won’t it be fun? It is the
first time I’ve ever been to an evening party.”

“Go with me?” and Tod paused in the street, and swept his best
dancing-school bow.

“Gracious, I don’t know,” said Dolly, overcome at this sudden
grown-upness. “I don’t believe mother will let me go with a boy.”

“Oh, yes, she will,” said Tad. “Just to a school dance. You go with Tod,
Dolly; and, Dot, you go with me, and then we’ll be all in the same
boat.”

“I’d like to,” said Dolly, “but I’m sure mother won’t let me. What do
you think, Dot?”

“I think my mother will muchly object at first, but I think I can coax
her into it.”

“Why, all the girls will go with the boys,” said Tad eagerly. “They
always do. You see our bunch has never been in High School before, and
when we’re in Rome we must do as the Turkeys do.”

“Who is going with who else, that you know of?”

“Oh, Celia Ferris is going with Lollie Henry, and Joe Collins—”

“Well, what about Joe Collins?” asked Dolly.

“Oh, nothin’.”

“Yes, there is, too; what made you stop short?”

“Well, if you must know, he said he was going to ask you.”

“Oh, do you boys talk it all over,—about who you’ll take, I mean?”

“Sure we do,” said Tod, grinning. “I gave Joe my new knife if he’d let
me ask you first.”

“You didn’t!” and Dolly looked shocked.

“No, of course he didn’t!” said Tad. “Don’t you let him fool you,
Dolly.”

The quartette had walked along to the Fayres’ house, and the boys wanted
to go in and see how the house was coming on. But Dolly wouldn’t allow
this, as she said she must study her lessons.

“And you must all go home and study,” she said shaking her golden head
at them. “I want you to have good lessons to-morrow, and cheer Miss
Party up.”

“I’ll tell her she’s looking blooming,” said Tad, laughing over his
shoulder as he went away.

“I’ll tell her she’s a perfect peach!” declared Tod, and then with gay
good-byes they parted.

“OH, I don’t know,” said Mrs. Fayre, doubtfully, when Dolly asked her
about going to the dance with Tod. “You’re not old enough to go to an
evening party with an escort. Why, you’re only fifteen.”

“But this is a school party, Mumsie, and it seems different.”

“I think so, too,” said Trudy. “I went to High School parties with the
boys when I was fifteen,—or sixteen, anyway.”

“But sixteen seems so much older. Why, Dolly’s wearing hair-ribbons
yet.”

“Well,” and Trudy laughed, “they’ll allow hair ribbons at a High School
dance. Why, Mother, it’s part of the course, in a way. It teaches the
boys and girls how to behave in Society—”

“Dolly can learn that at home.”

“Not unless she has lots of parties and dances, I mean party manners.”

“Well, I’m willing she should go, but I don’t like her going with Tod
Brown.”

“Why, he’s an awfully nice boy. The Browns are among the best people of
Berwick.”

“I know that, Trudy,—Tod’s all right. But I think your father ought to
take Dolly and go after her.”

“Oh, Mother, they don’t do that nowadays. But Dolly can go in our car,
and stop for Tod, that would be all right. And Thomas could go and bring
them home.”

“That seems to me a very queer way to do. But we’ll see what your father
says about it.”

Mr. Fayre, appealed to, was helpless.

“Why, bless my soul, Edith,” he said to his wife, “I don’t know about
such things. When I was a boy, we went home with the girls, of course.
But nowadays I suppose the ways are different. You women folks ought to
be able to settle that question.”

“They are, Daddy,” said Dolly, sidling up to him, and patting his hand.
“But I’d just as lieve you’d take me, if you want the bother of it.”

“I don’t mind the bother, Chickadee, if it’s necessary. But when you
_do_ get old enough to let the Brownies take you to parties, I shan’t be
sorry!”

“Well, now, I’ll settle the matter,” said Mrs. Fayre, smiling at her
younger daughter. “This time, let Daddy take you, and the next time
we’ll see about it. You _are_ growing up, I suppose, and, too, one has
to do as other people do. But this first dance, I’d rather you went with
father.”

“All right, Mumsie, I’m willing. I don’t s’pose it’ll be much of a party
anyhow. Just the school girls and boys, you know.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Trudy. “When I went to High, dances were pretty
nice affairs. What shall she wear?”

“I don’t know,” replied Mrs. Fayre. “I’ll have to ask the mothers of
some of the other girls how much they dress. A white frock, I should
think, with some flowers or ribbons.”

Dolly was satisfied with the outcome of the discussion, but quite
another scene was being enacted next door.

“I’m going to the High School Dance with Tad Brown,” Dotty announced at
the dinner table.

“You’ll do nothing of the sort,” returned her mother. “A child of your
age going out in the evening with a boy escort! Ridiculous!”

“But I _am_,” went on Dotty, decidedly. “Dolly’s going with Tod, and I’m
going with Tad.”

“Did Dolly’s mother say she might?”

“I dunno. But we’re going. And I want a new red chiffon to wear.”

“Red chiffon! You’d look fine in red chiffon at your age! Now, be
sensible, Dotty, if you go to that dance, you must let your father take
you, and you must wear one of your white summer dresses.”

“But, Mother, all the girls are going to have new dresses. Celia Ferris
is going to have a white satin—”

“A white satin! for a High School girl! How absurd!”

“Well, I don’t want white satin, but I _do_ want a new dress. Can’t I
have it, Father?”

“Now, now, Dotty, don’t tease.”

“But, Father, can’t I?”

“Why, _I_ should think you might. You’re a nice little girl. But, of
course, it must be as mother says.”

“Say, yes, Mother, do say yes. Won’t you, Mother? _Won’t_ you? Aunt
Clara, you _beg_ her to, won’t you? _Won’t_ you, Aunt Clara?”

“Good gracious, child, stop teasing,” and Mr. Rose glowered at Dotty so
very fiercely, that she knew he was not in earnest.

“Stop teasing, Dotty,” said Genie, her little sister. “You know very
well that teasing won’t get what you want.”

Genie looked so comical, as she shook her fat little forefinger at
Dotty, that they all laughed.

“Cry, that’s the bestest way,” Genie went on. “If you cry hard enough,
you’re sure to get it.”

“That’s all right for little kiddies like you, Gene, but big girls don’t
cry. They just say what they want, and then if their parents are nice,
loving, affectionate, good-hearted people, I should think they would get
their wishes.”

“Well put, Dottikins,” cried her father. “I guess, Mother, the little
girl will have to have her new furbelows. Of course, you’ll get
something suitable. Say, a nice blue gingham.”

Dotty smiled absently at this mild jest, and went on, her first point
gained, to her second.

“And I want to go with Tad. I don’t want to go with father, like a baby.
All the girls are going with the boys. Celia Ferris is going with Lollie
Henry—”

“That question must wait, Dorothy,” and when Mrs. Rose used that name,
Dotty knew she was very much in earnest. “I’m comparatively new in
Berwick, and I must find out what the other mothers think about it
before I decide. Now, stop teasing; after I confer with some of the
ladies I’ll decide. I don’t think much of Celia Ferris as a model. And
I’m by no means sure Dolly’s mother will let her go with Tod. So you
must wait and see.”

Dotty knew from her mother’s manner there was no use teasing any more,
so she turned her attention back to her frock.

“Well, if it can’t be red chiffon, Mother, can’t it be red organdie?”

“We’ll see about it. If you’re so bent on a red dress, perhaps we can
hunt one up.” Mrs. Fayre smiled at her impetuous daughter, and Dotty
felt sure she had secured a red gown, at least.

The two neighbouring mothers talked matters over, and it was finally
decided that the girls should not be allowed to go to the party with the
boys this time, but perhaps they might later in the season. For the
dances were occasional, and sometimes there were three or four during
the winter. It was arranged that Mr. Fayre should take the two D’s and
that Mr. Rose should go to bring them home, after the dance was over.

But new dresses were allowed, and Dotty’s of red organdie, and Dolly’s
of white organdie and blue ribbons, were both pretty and appropriate.

They had new party cloaks, too, the first they had ever owned, and it
made them feel exceedingly grown-up to have them flung round their
shoulders. Dolly’s was of light blue cashmere, edged with swansdown, and
Dotty’s was of scarlet cloth, bordered with a quilling of black satin.
Hats were out of the question, and Mrs. Fayre presented each of the
girls with a little lace scarf to wear on her head.

Very pretty they looked, as, all equipped at last, they got into the
Fayre car, and rolled away. Mr. Fayre gave them alternately, compliments
on their appearance and advice as to how to behave.

“Why, Dads,” said Dolly, laughing, “any one would think we had never
been out before.”

“Well, you haven’t; that is, to a real evening party.”

“No, but we went to a dance down at Surfwood, it can’t be so very
different.”

“No, I suppose not,” rejoined Mr. Fayre, and then they were at the
School.

The dance was held in the big Assembly Room, and the Committee had
decorated it with flowers and palms, so that it had a gala air indeed.
The girls went to the cloak room, and as they emerged, the Brown twins
met them. Such dressy Brown twins! And indeed, everybody looked
different from the schoolmates they were.

“Hello,” said Tad; “come on, you’re late. The girls are getting their
cards all filled up. Here are yours.”

The two D’s took their Dance Programmes a little shyly. They had never
had them before, for this was their first real Dance Party.

“S’pose nobody asks me to dance!” said Dotty, in a sudden fit of
shyness.

“Oh, nonsense!” cried Dolly, “everybody’ll ask you.”

“You should worry!” exclaimed Tad, looking at his pretty partner with an
appreciative eye. “Here, give me both your cards. I want a lot of dances
that I can manage. I’m not much on the fancy steps.”

He took the cards and began scribbling his initials.

“Stop!” said Dotty, laughing; “you’re taking too many, Tad.”

“Oh, ho! and you were so ’fraid nobody’d ask you! You’re a sly-boots.”

“Well, I want a few left, if anybody _should_ ask,” and even as she
spoke, several of the boys came clustering round her and Dolly, and very
soon their cards were well filled.

Then the fun began. The two D’s were both good dancers, and as nearly
all the young people went to the Berwick Dancing School, they had plenty
of good partners. After each dance they walked about the room or sat and
chatted.

To Dolly’s surprise there were a great many strangers present. For,
contrary to the ideas of the elder Fayres and Roses, nearly all the
girls did come with boy escorts, and as many girls were not invited by
the schoolboys, they asked friends from out of town. There were also
girl guests from neighbouring cities, and altogether, the affair was
quite large.

Celia Ferris had her white satin, but it was veiled with soft white
tulle, and made a very pretty, girlish dance-frock.

Celia was chummy with the two D’s, but she had begun to feel a little
jealous of them, for they were exceedingly popular, and received a great
deal of attention. However, she was pleasant-mannered, and spoke
cordially with them whenever they met.

After a time Dolly noticed a girl, who seemed to be a wall-flower. She
was a nice-looking and well-dressed girl, but she danced very seldom,
and most of the time sat discontentedly looking at the others.

There were some other wall-flowers, as is always the case, but none were
so frequently left partnerless as this particular girl.

“Who is she?” asked Dolly of Lollie Henry, with whom she happened to be
dancing.

“Oh, that’s Bernice Forbes. She’s a muff.”

“Don’t be rude, Lollie. What do you mean,—a muff?”

“Nothing, only she hasn’t any _go_ to her,—any life, any vim, you
know.”

“But she might, if she were asked to dance oftener. Have you asked her?”

“Not much! I don’t dance with B. Forbes, when I can get anybody else.”

“That isn’t very nice of you,” and Dolly looked reproachfully at her
partner. “Won’t you ask her once, just to please me?”

“I’d do a lot to please you, sister, but B. F. is a little too much.
Hello, they’re going to supper. Who’d you come with? Tad or Tod?”

“I’m supposed to have come with Tod. But really my father brought me.”

“I know. It’s all the same. The Brownies picked you up after you got
there,—you and Dot. And here comes Tod after you, I must fly to seek my
own special.”

Lollie went off, and Tod escorted Dolly to the supper room. The feast
was not grand, as High School affairs are limited, but everybody enjoyed
it. The D’s and the Browns found a place in a pleasant alcove, and were
joined by Celia Ferris and the Rawlins girls and a lot more of their
particular friends.

Dolly noticed Bernice Forbes, sitting apart from the rest. With her was
a boy Dolly did not know.

“Who is he?” she whispered to Joe Collins.

“Dunno. Some chap the Forbes girl brought. Of course no Berwick boy
would ask her.”

“Why not?”

“Stick. Can’t say boo to a goose!”

“Is that the reason the Berwick boys don’t want to talk to her?” asked
Dolly mischievously, and Joe laughed.

“Honest, Dolly, she’s fearful. Just a lump, you know. But don’t you know
her?”

“Never did till I went to High. She was at another Grammar School from
the one I went to. She dresses well.”

“She ought to. Her father is the richest man in Berwick.”

“Oh, is she the daughter of Mr. Forbes, the railroad man?”

“She sure is. Now do you know her better?”

“I should say so! Why, my father is in one of the offices of Mr. Forbes’
company.”

“That so? Well, steer clear of the fair Bernice, believe me!”

And then the sandwiches and ice cream and cakes arrived, and the healthy
young appetites did full justice to them.

“Tell us all about your new house, Dotty,” somebody was saying.

“’Tisn’t mine any more than Dolly Fayre’s. It belongs to us jointly and
severally, as my father says.”

“When will it be finished?”

“In a couple of weeks now, I guess. We’re going to have a Hallowe’en
party to open it. I hope you’ll all come.”

“Is this the invitation?” said Clayton Rawlins; “if so, I accept.”

“Oh, no, this isn’t the regular invitation. That will come later.”

“You can’t have a very big party,” said Celia. “The house won’t hold
very many.”

“It’s going to be a mixed-around party,” explained Dolly. “Some of it
will be in our two own houses and some in Treasure House.”

“Is that what you call it? How pretty,” and Grace Rawlins smiled at
Dolly.

“Yes, Treasure House, because it’s our treasure and because we’re going
to keep our treasures in it. Oh, it’s going to be the greatest fun! You
must all come over and see it. Don’t wait for Hallowe’en. Come any
time.”

After supper there were a few more dances before going home time.

With some interest, Dolly watched the Forbes girl. She danced a few
times with the boy with her and the rest of the time she sat alone.

Reggie Stuart came to Dolly for a dance.

“Say, Reg,” she said, “won’t you let me off of this, and go and dance it
with Bernice Forbes?”

“_Will_ I! Not! What’s the matter, don’t you want to dance with me?”

“Yes, of course. It isn’t that, but—but she looks lonely.”

“Good work! She ought to look lonely. It’s her own fault, Dolly.”

“Her own fault, how?”

“Oh, she doesn’t try to be gay and perky and smiley and
laughy,—like,—well, like you are. But if you don’t want me for a
partner—”

“Oh, ridiculous, Reg! Of course I do. Come on.”

They danced away, and for that night at least, Dolly gave up trying to
get the boys to dance with Bernice. Reginald was not the first one she
had asked, nor the second; but one and all they had refused.