Would the long night never pass? A figure on a bed in a big bare room
stirred and then sighed. Ages ago a clock in the great house known as
Primrose Hall, not far from the famous region of “Sleepy Hollow,” had
struck three, then four, and now one, two, three, four, five solemn
strokes boomed forth and yet not a glimmer of light nor a sound to
announce the coming of morning.

“In the Lord put I my trust; how say ye then to my soul, that she should
flee as a bird unto the hill? For lo, the ungodly bend their bow and
make ready their arrow within the quiver, that they may privily shoot at
them which are true of heart,” a tired voice murmured, and then after a
short pause: “Oh, girls, are you awake yet? Aren’t you ever, ever going
to wake up? Dear me, this night already seems to me to have lasted
forever and ever!” For no answer had followed the question, although a
door stood wide open between this and an adjoining room and the bed in
the other room was occupied by two persons.

Five minutes crawled by and then another five. Tired of reciting the
“Psalms of David” to induce repose, the wakeful figure slipped suddenly
from its own bed and a slim ghost stole across the floor—a ghost that
even in the darkness revealed two shadowy lengths of jet-black hair. In
the farther room it knelt beside another bed, pressing its cheek against
another cheek that felt both plump and peaceful, while its hand reached
forth to find another hand that lay outside the coverlet.

“They are both sound asleep and I am a wretch to be trying to waken
them,” the spectre faltered; “but how can they sleep so soundly the
first night at a strange boarding school when I am so homesick and
lonely I know that I am going to die or cry or do something else
desperate? If only Jack were here, things would be different!” And Olive
Ralston, one of the four girls from the Rainbow Ranch, sliding to the
floor again, sat with her legs crossed under her and her head resting on
her hands in a curious Indian posture of grief. And while she waited,
watching beside the bedside where Jean Bruce and Frieda Ralston were now
quietly asleep, her thoughts wandered away to the hospital in New York
City, which held her beloved friend Jack.

Only the day before the three ranch girls, accompanied by their
chaperon, Ruth Drew, had made their initial appearance at Primrose Hall
to begin their first year of fashionable boarding school life. But once
the girls had been introduced to the principal of the school, Miss
Katherine Winthrop, and Ruth had had a talk with her and seen the rooms
assigned to the ranch girls, she had been compelled to take the next
train back to New York, a journey of twenty or more miles, for Jack had
been left behind in a hospital and must not be long alone. There she lay
awaiting the verdict of the New York surgeons to know whether after her
accident at the Yellowstone Park the summer before she might ever expect
to walk again. The chief reason of the trip from the Rainbow Lodge in
Wyoming to New York City had not been to give the ranch girls an eastern
education and to fit them for a more cosmopolitan life now that so great
wealth was being brought forth from the Rainbow Mine, but to find out
what could be done for Jack.

Now even while Olive was thinking of her best loved friend, a faint,
chirrupy noise and a flutter of unfolding wings sounded along the
outside walls of Primrose Hall. Lifting her head with a smothered cry of
delight, the girl spied a thin streak of light shining across the floor.
A moment later, back in her own room with the door closed behind her and
her own window open, her eyes were soon eagerly scanning the unfamiliar
scene before her. Dawn had come at last!

The young girl drew a deep breath. In the excitement of her arrival at
school the day before, in the first meeting with so many strangers,
Olive had not spared time to see or think of the surroundings of
Primrose Hall, but now she could examine the landscape thoroughly. Set
in the midst of one of the most beautiful valleys along the Hudson
River, this morning the fields near by were bright with blue asters,
with goldenrod and the white mist-like blossoms of the immortelles; the
low hills in the background were brown and red and gold with the October
foliage of the trees. Beyond the fields the Hudson River ran broader and
deeper than any stream of water a ranch girl had ever seen, and across
from it the New Jersey palisades rose like hoary battlements now veiled
in a light fog. Surely no sunrise on the river Rhine could be more
wonderful than this sunrise over the Hudson River; and yet, as Olive
Ralston gazed out upon it, its beauty did not dry her tears nor ease the
lump in her throat, for what she wanted was home, the old familiar
sights and sounds, the smell of the Rainbow Ranch—and nothing could be
more unlike the low level sweep of their Wyoming prairie than this
Hudson River country.

“Heimweh,” the Germans call this yearning for home, which we have named
homesickness, but a better word theirs than ours, for surely this
longing for home, for accustomed people and things in the midst of
strange surroundings, may be a woe very deep and intense.

From the first hour of the ranch girls’ planning to come east to
boarding school Olive Ralston had believed that the change from the
simple life of the ranch to the more conventional school atmosphere
would be more difficult for her than for either Jean or Frieda. True,
she had not spoken of it, but Olilie, whom the ranch girls had renamed
Olive, had never forgotten that she was in reality an unknown girl, with
no name of her own and no people, and except for her friends’ generosity
might still be living in the dirty hut in the Indian village with old

After talking it over with Ruth and Jack, they had all decided that it
would be wiser not to mention Olive’s strange history to her new
schoolmates. Now in the midst of her attack of homesickness, Olive
wondered if the girls would not at once guess her mixed blood from her
odd appearance, or else might she not some day betray her ignorance of
the little manners and customs that reveal a good family and good
breeding? In the two happy years spent at the Rainbow Ranch she had
learned all she could from Ruth and the other three girls, but were
there not fourteen other ignorant years back of those two years?

A charming picture Olive made standing at the open window with her
quaint foreign face framed in the high colonial casement. But now,
finding both the autumn air and her own thoughts chilling, she turned
away and began slowly to dress. She was still blue and yet at the same
time ashamed of herself, for had she not been indulging in the most
foolish habit in the world, feeling sorry for herself? Here at Primrose
Hall did she not hope to find the beginning of her big opportunity and
have not big opportunities the world over the fashion of starting out
with difficulties to be overcome? When Olive’s education was completed
she had made up her mind to return once more to the Indian village where
she had spent her childhood and there devote her life to the teaching of
the Indian children. Though Jack and Frieda Ralston, since the discovery
of the gold mine near Rainbow Creek, were probably very wealthy and
though it was but right that Jean Bruce as their first cousin should
share their fortune with them, Olive did not feel that she wished to be
always dependent even on the best of friends.

Having slowly dressed with these thoughts in her mind, the young girl’s
mood was afterwards a little more cheerful, and yet she could not make
up her mind how best to amuse herself until the half-past seven o’clock
bell should ring for breakfast. She might write Jack, of course, but
there was no news to tell her at present, and stirring about in her room
hanging pictures or arranging ornaments would surely awaken Jean and
Frieda, who were still slumbering like the seven famous sleepers. No
other girl shared Olive’s room because Ruth and the four ranch girls
hoped that after a few weeks’ treatment in the New York hospital Jack
would then be able to join the others at school.

Idling about and uncertain what to do, Olive came again to her open
window and there stood listening to the “chug, chug, chug” of a big
steamer out on the river and then to the shriek of an engine along its
banks. Suddenly her face brightened.

“What a goose I am to be moping indoors!” she exclaimed aloud, “I think
I will try Jack’s old remedy for a bad temper and go and have a good
walk to myself before breakfast.”

Now Olive did not have the least idea that in going out alone and
without permission she would be breaking an iron law of Primrose Hall.
Nothing was farther from her mind than disobedience, but no one had yet
told her of the school rules and regulations and taking a walk alone
seemed to her the most natural thing in the world. Had she only waited a
few hours longer she must have understood differently, for the students
were expected to assemble that very morning to hear what was required of
them at Primrose Hall.

As quietly as possible Olive now slipped on her coat and hat, creeping
along the hall on tiptoes so as not to disturb the other sleepers, and
for the same reason she as quietly unlocked the big front door. But once
out on the lawn, so innocent was she of trying to escape unnoticed, that
she paused for several moments to gaze back at the great house she was
about to leave.

Primrose Hall was so handsome and imposing that its new pupil felt a
thrill of admiration as she looked upon it. A red brick mansion of the
old colonial period, it was set in a lovely garden with flowers and
shrubs growing close about the house and an avenue of elm trees leading
down to the gate. Back of the house was an English garden with a border
of box and a sun-dial at the end of a long path. This morning only a few
late asters were in bloom in the garden and bushes of hardy hydrangeas
with their great blossoms now turning rose and brown from the first
early autumn frosts. The house and estate of twelve acres had belonged
in the family of Miss Katherine Winthrop for the past five generations
and Olive smiled a little over her queer conceit, for the house somehow
suggested its present owner to her. Surely Miss Winthrop had appeared
just as imposing and aristocratic as her old home on first meeting with
her the day before, but far colder and more imposing than any mere pile
of brick and stone.

Primrose Hall was of so great size that it included all the bedrooms and
reception rooms necessary for its pupils and teachers, and the only
other school buildings about the grounds were the recitation hall and
two sorority houses devoted to the pleasures of the girls. Olive had
never heard of secret societies, yet she wondered what the mystic words
“Kappa” and “Theta” meant, inscribed above their doors.

Primrose Hall had been recommended to Ruth Drew and the ranch girls by
Peter Drummond, the New York friend whom they had learned to know at the
Yellowstone Park, but apart from its excellent reputation as a finishing
school, their choice had fallen upon it because of the far-famed beauty
of its historic grounds. In this same old house Washington and Lafayette
had been known to stay, and who can guess how many powdered belles and
beaus may have flirted with one another in the garden by the old

When Olive had grown tired of the views about the houses she determined
to extend her walk over a portion of the estate, and coming to a low,
stone wall, climbed over it without thinking or caring just where it led
her. Being outdoors once more and free to wander as she choose after two
weeks’ confinement, one aboard a stuffy train and the other in a
palace-like hotel in New York, was now so inspiring that Olive felt like
singing aloud. Indeed, it seemed to her that her own personality, which
had somehow vanished since leaving the ranch, had come back to her this
morning like a dear, familiar garment. It was as though she had lately
been wearing fine clothes that did not belong to her and in this hour
had donned once again her own well-worn dress.

Running along with the fleetness and quietness of her early Indian days,
soon the truant found herself in a woods thick with underbrush and trees
never seen before by a Wyoming girl. The air was delicious, the leaves
sparkled with the melting of the frost, there was a splendid new wine of
youth and romance abroad in the world and Olive completely forgot that
she was in the midst of a highly civilized community and not in the
heart of a virgin forest. Indeed, it was not until she had come entirely
out of the woods that her awakening took place. Then she found herself
apparently in some one’s private yard, for she stood facing a white
house set up on a hill with a tower at the top of it and queer gabled
windows on either side. At the entrance to its big front door stood two
absurd iron dogs, and yet there was nothing in any of these ordinary
details to make the onlooker turn crimson and then pale. And yet as she
stared up at the house the idea that had suddenly come to her seemed so
utterly, so absurdly impossible that surely she must be losing her

For five minutes Olive waited without taking her gaze from the house,
and then with a shrug of her shoulders turned and walked back into the
woods. At first she paid no particular attention to what direction she
was taking until all at once, hearing footsteps not far behind, she felt
reasonably sure they were following hers.

It was ridiculous for Olive to have been so frightened with so slight
cause, yet the thought that some one might be in pursuit of her filled
her with a nervous terror. To the people not afflicted with timidity,
most fears are ridiculous, and yet no single weakness is harder to
overcome. Of the four ranch girls, Olive was the only timid one, but
before one criticizes her, remember her childhood. Now with her heart
pounding and her breath coming in short gasps, she quickened her pace
into a run, recalling at the same time their chaperon’s forgotten
instruction that she must no longer expect the happy freedom of their
western lands. But the faster the frightened girl ran the faster the
traveler back of her appeared to be following. And now Olive dared not
hide deeper in the woods, knowing that the hour was growing late and
that any added delay would make her late for breakfast.

Many times in her life would her Indian knowledge of the woods save her
in emergencies of this sort, so in another moment she remembered that an
Indian never runs away from his pursuer, but hides until his enemy has
passed. Behind a low clump of laurel bushes the girl hid herself,
crouching low and expecting each instant to see a tramp or an armed
gamekeeper, whose business it was to keep intruders out of private
property, savagely on the lookout for her.

Her pursuer did come on without hesitation and finally arrived just
opposite Olive’s hiding place, but then it was the girl in hiding who
suddenly sprang to her feet, startling the newcomer. For the enemy she
had so dreaded was only another girl like herself with a smile on her
face and a bundle of books under her arm. She was ten years older
perhaps, yet she looked not unlike Jacqueline Ralston before her
illness; her eyes were blue instead of gray, but she had the same bright
bronze hair and firm line to her chin and the same proud way of holding
up her head.

“Who or what are you?” she asked Olive, “a wood nymph living in this
underbrush, for your clothes are of so nearly the same color that I did
not see you at first.”

Olive, who was wearing a dark olive-green coat suit and a tam-o’-shanter
of velvet of the same shade, shook her head. “I am one of the new girls
from Primrose Hall and I have been out for a walk, but as I am not very
familiar with these woods, I am not just sure where I am. Would you
mind—” Her request came to an abrupt end because of the expression of
surprise and disapproval on the older girl’s face.

“A student from Primrose Hall and outdoors alone at this hour of the
morning! How on earth did Miss Winthrop happen to give you permission?”
she asked in the positive fashion that Olive was to learn to know so
well later on.

The first consciousness of possible wrong-doing now swept over the
truant. Could it be that in taking a walk without asking permission she
had broken a rule of her new school? The idea seemed ridiculous to
Olive, and yet—were not all things different than in the old days? “I am
so sorry, but no one gave me permission to take a walk. Was it necessary
to ask?” she inquired. “You see, we only arrived at Primrose Hall
yesterday and we—I—why, we often stay out hours before breakfast at
home, riding over the plains!”

Olive’s innocence of offense and her distress were so plain to the older
girl that straightway she slipped her arm through hers and without delay
hurried her along toward school, talking as she went.

“I am Jessica Hunt, the teacher of English and elocution at Primrose
Hall, and I have been spending the night with some friends.” Jessica
gave a reassuring pressure to the hand in hers. “You must not be
frightened, child, if Miss Winthrop seems rather terrifying on your
return. I used to be a pupil at Primrose Hall before I started in with
the teaching and I’m really very fond of her. Miss Winthrop isn’t so
severe as she looks, but I expect I had better tell you that it is after
breakfast time now and, as the school girls are never allowed to go out
alone and never without permission, why she may scold you a bit.”

If only she might at this moment have dropped down in the path to weep
like a naughty child about to be punished for a fault, Olive would have
felt it a great relief, and only the thought of her age prevented her
doing this. Could she ever live through the embarrassment of facing
fifty strange girls, more than half a dozen teachers and Miss Winthrop
while she was being reprimanded. Why, yesterday just on being introduced
to Miss Winthrop, with Ruth and Jean and Frieda with her for protection,
had she not felt as tongue-tied and frightened as a silly baby? And now
must she face this stern woman alone and under the shadow of her

Never as long as she lived (and the circumstances of Olive Ralston’s
life were always unusual and romantic) would she ever forget the next
half hour’s experience at Primrose Hall, nor the appearance of the great
hall as she entered it, with girls and teachers grouped about, and
towering above everything and everybody, the tall, commanding presence
of its principal, Miss Katherine Winthrop.

Almost without her own volition Olive found herself standing in front of
Miss Winthrop, Jessica’s arm still through hers, heard the teacher of
mathematics say, “Here is your new runaway pupil with Miss Hunt,” and
realized that this teacher, whom she had disliked yesterday because she
wore round spectacles and dressed like a man, wished not so much to get
her into trouble as to involve Jessica in her disgrace.

But Jessica was not in the least disturbed, being the only teacher at
Primrose Hall not afraid of its owner. “Miss Winthrop,” she now began
coaxingly, “I have brought our new girl home. She was only taking a walk
in the woods near by, but I am sure she would rather explain to you
herself that in going out without permission she did not know she was
breaking a school rule. You see, she has lived always in the West and
been accustomed to such perfect freedom—” Jessica was continuing her
case for the defendant, realizing that Olive was still too frightened to
speak for herself. But suddenly Miss Hunt was thrust aside by a small,
plump person, with the longest yellow braids and the biggest blue eyes
in the school, and without the least regard for either teachers or
principal, Frieda Ralston now flung her arms about Olive.

“For goodness sake, why didn’t you tell Jean and me where you were
going?” she demanded. “We have been so frightened about you.”

And then before Olive could reply, another girl stood at her other side,
a girl with dark brown hair, a pale skin and demure brown eyes, whose
nose had the faintest, most delicious tilt at the end of it. Jean Bruce
said nothing, but she looked ready and anxious to defend her friend
against all the world.

Surrounding the little group of ranch girls and the three teachers were
numbers of other students, most of whom were casting glances of sympathy
at the new pupil who had so soon fallen into disgrace. Breakfast just
over, they were supposedly on their way upstairs to their own rooms, but
Olive’s entrance with Jessica had interrupted them and until Miss
Winthrop spoke no one had stirred.

“You may go to your own apartments now, girls,” she said quietly. “Miss
Ralston will explain her absence to me in my private study.” As her
words and look included Jean and Frieda, they also were compelled to
follow the other students up the broad mahogany stairs, leaving Olive to
face her fate alone. Only one girl with short curly hair and a freckled
nose actually had the courage to stop in passing and whisper to the

“Fare thee well, light of my life, farewell. For crimes unknown you go
to a dungeon cell,” she chanted. Then while Olive was trying to summon a
smile in return, a beautiful girl with pale blonde hair joined both of
them, and drawing the other girl away, said loud enough for a dozen
persons near by to overhear: “Oh, do come on upstairs, Gerry. When will
you learn not to be friendly to objectionable persons whom no one knows
anything about?” And so cool and indifferent did her expression appear
as she made her unkind speech that it was hard to believe she understood
that her words could be overheard. But Olive Ralston heard them and in
spite of her gentleness never in after years forgot or forgave them.

A minute or so later, when everybody else had disappeared, Olive found
herself alone in Miss Winthrop’s study, seated in a comfortable leather
chair facing a desk at which Miss Winthrop was writing.

“I will talk to you in a few minutes,” she had said as they entered the
room, and at first the prisoner had felt that waiting to hear her
sentence would be unendurable. Of course she would be expelled from
Primrose Hall; Olive had no other idea. And of course Ruth and Jack
would understand and forgive her, but there would be no going back on
her part to be a burden and disgrace to them. Somehow she must find work
to support herself in the future!

But as time passed on and Miss Winthrop continued with her writing, by
and by Olive’s attention wandered from her own sorrows and she busied
herself in studying her judge’s face. Miss Winthrop’s expression was not
so stern in repose, for though the lines about her mouth were severe and
her nose aquiline, her forehead was high and broad and her dark eyes
full of dignity and purpose. And then her figure. Olive felt obliged to
admit that though she was taller and larger than almost any woman she
had known, her grace and dignity were most unusual and the severity of
her simple black silk gown showed her to great advantage.

Weary of scrutinizing the older woman, Olive’s eyes next traveled idly
to the top of Miss Winthrop’s desk, resting there for an eager moment,
while in her interest she forgot everything else. For the first time in
her life this young girl, who had seen nothing of the World of art, had
her attention arrested by one of the world’s great masterpieces.

On Miss Winthrop’s desk there stood a cast of an heroic figure of a
woman with broad, beautiful shoulders and wonderful flowing draperies.
The figure was without head or arms and yet was so inspiring that,
without realizing it, Olive gave a sigh of delight.

Straightway Miss Winthrop glanced up. “You like my cast?” she asked
quickly. “Do you know that it is a copy of the statue of ‘The Winged
Victory,’ ‘The Nike’? The real statue now stands at the top of the
stairs in the Louvre in Paris and there you will probably see it some
day. But I like to keep the figure here as a kind of inspiration to me
and to my girls. For to me ‘The Victory’ means so much more than the
statue of a woman. It stands, I think, as the emblem of the superwoman,
what all we women must hope to be some day. See the beauty and dignity
of her, as though she had turned her back on all sin and injustice and
was moving forward into a new world of light. I like to believe that the
splendid lost arms of the Nike carried the world’s children in them.”

Of course Miss Winthrop realized that she was talking above the head of
her new pupil, but she wished an opportunity to study the girl’s face.
Now she saw by its sudden glow and softening that she had caught at
least a measure of her meaning.

“Girls, girls, girls.” Sometimes Miss Winthrop felt that the world held
nothing else and that she knew all the varieties, and yet one could
never be too sure, for here before her was a new type unlike all the
others and for some reason at this moment she attracted her strongly.

To Miss Winthrop alone at Primrose Hall Ruth Drew had thought it wise to
confide as much as they knew of Olive’s extraordinary history, pledging
her to secrecy. Now to herself Miss Winthrop said: “It is utterly
ridiculous to believe this child has Indian blood, for there is
absolutely nothing in her appearance to indicate it. I believe that her
history is far more curious than her friends suppose.”

But to Olive, of course, she said nothing of this, for after her first
speech her manner appeared to change entirely. Sitting very erect in her
chair, she turned upon her pupil “You may go,” she said coldly, “for I
understand that by your action this morning you did not deliberately
intend to break one of my rules. But kindly be more careful in the
future, for I am not accustomed to overlooking disobedience, whatever
its cause.”

With a sigh of relief Olive straightway fled into the hall, wondering if
she could ever like this Miss Winthrop, who could be so stern one moment
and so interesting the next. For her own part Olive felt that she much
preferred their former chaperon, Ruth Drew, for if Ruth were less
handsome and perhaps not so cultivated, she was at least more human. If
only they were all back at the Rainbow Ranch with Ruth to scold and pet
them for their misdoings all in the same breath.

The three ranch girls had their set of apartments toward the front of
the house on the second floor at Primrose Hall, so in order for Olive to
reach her room it was necessary that she should pass along a long
corridor into which various other apartments opened. She was not
interested in anything but the one thought of finding Frieda and Jean,
and yet, hurrying by an open door, she was obliged to overhear a
conversation between two girls who were talking in rather loud tones.

“I don’t care, Winifred Graham, whether you like it or not,” one of the
voices asserted, “but I certainly intend to be as nice to these new
Western girls as I know how. They are strangers and I think it horrid to
try to snub them just because you think perhaps they are not so rich and
fashionable as the rest of the Primrose girls. I suppose you will try to
turn as many of the other Juniors against them as you can twist around
your finger, but kindly don’t include me in your list. Perhaps you think
I don’t know why you have had me for one of your chums for so long.
Goodness, child, I am not so foolish as I look; it is because I am
homely as a mud fence, so when I’m around you’re more the stately beauty
than ever in contrast with poor little me. But maybe you won’t always be
thought the prettiest girl in the school, for this queer looking Olive,
what’s her name, is as good looking as you are in an odd, foreign way,
and the brown-eyed one named Jean Bruce goes you a close second. If you
are angry with me, why you need not have me for a roommate, for I am
going this very second to call on the new ranch girls and welcome them
to Primrose Hall.” And with a flounce the same short-haired girl who had
stopped to tease Olive earlier that morning, now ran along the hall
after her, slipping her arm through hers in the friendliest of fashions.
“Please’m, may I come and make you a call?” she inquired, “for I have
been several years at Primrose Hall and know the place like an old shoe.
Besides, I think that you and the older one of your sisters or friends,
I can’t guess your relation, must be going to be in our Junior class,
and I tell you we Juniors have to stick close together these days.”

By this time the two girls had arrived before Olive’s door, but hearing
queer noises in another room, they followed the sounds, discovering Jean
and Frieda in the adjoining chamber, which was to be the ranch girls’
sitting room. An immediate introduction was difficult because both Jean
and Frieda were apparently standing on their heads inside the trunk of
their Indian curios. They were not alone, for two sisters, Mollie and
Lucy Johnson, from across the hall, had come in to lend them hammer and
nails and were now watching them with deep absorption.

“Jean, Frieda,” Olive exclaimed, “this is—” and then she stopped in some
confusion, remembering that she had not yet heard their new friend’s

The two ranch girls came forth from the trunk in time to see their new
visitor smiling at them. “I am Geraldine Ferrows, at your service,” she
explained, “but I’m better known to the world as Gerry. See I have
brought your Olive safe back from the lion’s den and, as she is no more
eaten up than was the prophet Daniel, why it proves that she’s a saint
to start with. I wonder if you would care to have me tell you about
Primrose Hall and what we are expected to do and what not to do?”

Olive, Frieda and Mollie and Lucy Johnson nodded thankfully, but Jean
closed her lips and hardly appeared to have heard the question. She was
not accustomed to feeling out of things as she had this morning and was
not sure she cared to have strangers making an effort to be kind.
Suppose this Geraldine Ferrows was one of the old students and said to
be one of the cleverest if not the cleverest of the girls, well even
that gave her no right to be patronizing to them!

But Gerry, apparently not observing Jean’s unfriendliness and having
already taken a fancy to her, as strangers usually did, now seated
herself cross-legged on the floor, beckoning to the others to follow
suit. “All Gaul, my children, is divided into three parts, as we learn
in our Latin book,” she said gayly, “but Primrose Hall, I regret to say,
is divided into only two parts, the girls Winifred Graham likes and the
girls she docs not. I used to belong to the first class, but now I
probably belong to the second. I was kind of in love with Winifred last
year and let her boss me around, but during the summer I thought things
over and decided to strike. When she was so horrid to a stranger this
morning it seemed to me the time was ripe. She won’t care a snap about
my desertion, for she never cares for people unless they are rich and
I’m not a bit, only my father is a famous surgeon in New York and I’m
going to be a doctor myself some day, since I’m too homely for any kind
gentleman to marry. I suppose it is because Winifred thought you girls
didn’t look rich that—” And instantly Gerry bit her lively tongue,
pretending not to be able to say anything more, although Jean was gazing
at her in a more encouraging fashion than she had worn at the beginning
of her speech.

All the way across the continent from Wyoming to New York City the four
ranch girls, Ruth, and their English friend, Frank Kent, had discussed
this question: Should the girls on arriving at boarding school speak of
their new-found gold mine to their new acquaintances? Ruth and Jack
advised against it, Olive had no pronounced opinion, Frieda and Frank
thought they might as well mention it now and then, while Jean was
determined to speak of their gold mine whenever the chance offered and
to make the biggest impression she possibly could. So now it was
surprising to hear Jean say with a slight flush in the healthy pallor of
her clear skin: “No, we wouldn’t wish any one at Primrose Hall to care
for us because of our wealth—or lack of it,” she answered demurely; “so
I am afraid Miss Graham and her friends will not like us any too well.
You see, we are simply ranch girls and will have to stand or fall by
that. I suppose this Miss Graham decided that we were poor because our
clothes are so simple and we haven’t thirteen trunks apiece as most of
the girls here have. Olive and I were laughing yesterday because on our
arrival we were given United States lock boxes for our jewels. Jewels!
why we haven’t any except a few trinkets and two or three keepsakes that
belong to Olive!” And Jean frowned and shook her head warningly at
Frieda, whose eyes were bigger and bluer than ever and whose lips were
about to form the name of the Rainbow Mine. Jumping up in order to
divert her attention, Jean ran across to their trunk of Indian relics
and diving down into it again, came forth with three pretty Indian
baskets. “Won’t each one of you take one of these baskets to remind you
that you were our first callers at Primrose Hall and we hope our first
friends,” she said prettily, handing a basket to Gerry and then the
others to the two sisters. But all the while Jean was talking and acting
this little pantomime, inside of her something kept repeating: “Jack was
right and we don’t want to be liked for our money. We will find out who
the really nice girls are at Primrose Hall and then—” Well, it was
comfortable to recall that in Jim’s last letter, written after they had
left the ranch, he had said the pot of gold from the end of their
Rainbow Mine had yielded five thousand dollars within the month just
past and that there appeared to be plenty more gold where that had come

Suddenly a great bell sounded close by and five girls started with
surprise, only Geraldine Ferrows remaining perfectly calm. Getting up
from the floor, however, she stuck her Indian basket on her head for a
hat, using the handle as a strap.

“Tidy your hair, young women, and come along over to the recitation
hall. That was not an alarm of fire that just sounded, only a gentle
reminder that we are to assemble within the next ten minutes to meet our
teachers and to get ready our schedules of work for the next quarter. I
can only hope that all of you are as wise as you are beautiful, for
Primrose Hall is no cinch.” Gerry was marching out of the room to the
tune of “Tommy Atkins,” when Jean called after her: “You were awfully
good to come in to see us and we are obliged to you, so please help us
out whenever you can. I am afraid that the things we know, such as
riding bareback and raising cattle and shooting straight, won’t be
considered accomplishments at boarding school.” And Jean looked
unusually humble and particularly pretty.

Gerry laughed. “Don’t worry, we are none too learned ourselves at
Primrose Hall, for we keep all varieties of insects here, butterflies as
well as bookworms. But I will say for Miss Winthrop, that though this is
a fashionable school, she does try to make us mind our Q’s as well as
our P’s.”

Frieda was never born to understand a joke. “Please, what does it mean
‘To mind our P’s and Q’s?’” she inquired solemnly.

“Oh, P’s stand for parties and politeness and primping and how to enter
a room and what to say when you get there and all the things that mean
Society with a big S, Miss Frieda Ralston,” Gerry returned. “But Q’s,
Q’s are dreadful things called Quizzes, and you will pretty soon find
out what quizzing means, particularly if you happen to be in the
mathematics class taught by the female who rejoices in the delicious
name of Miss Rebecca Sterne. But really, Frieda, if you want to know the
truth about the meaning of the old expression, ‘mind your P’s and Q’s,’
the Century Dictionary tells us that the expression alluded to the
difficulty in the early days of discerning the difference between the
two letters.” And with this last bit of wisdom and a shake of her curly
head, Gerry really vanished from the ranch girls’ room.