Two weeks had elapsed since the arrival of the three ranch girls at
boarding school and so many changes appeared to have taken place in
their lives that already the weeks seemed as many months. One of the
changes they themselves did not realize, but nevertheless it was a
serious one, for Jean, Frieda and Olive were no longer so intimate as
they had been in the old days at Rainbow Lodge. Each girl was going her
own way, keeping her own confidence, forming new friendships and
apparently forgetting the importance of past ties.

And of the three girls it was Frieda who had become the most
emancipated. Having conceived a tremendous devotion for Mollie Johnson,
the two girls were rarely apart. Lucy Johnson was a good deal older than
Frieda, but Mollie was a year younger than the youngest Miss Ralston and
looked up to her as the most wonderful person in the world, insisting
that the stories Frieda told of her life on the ranch made her appear
like a heroine in a book. Now Frieda was tired of being treated like a
baby by her family, and besides, as no one had ever told her before that
she was in the least like a heroine, she found the idea distinctly
pleasant. The two Johnson sisters were from Richmond, Virginia, and had
vivacious manners and soft southern voices. Mollie was small and dark
and fluttered about like a little brown bird, such a complete contrast
to Frieda’s fairness and slow movements that it was small wonder the two
girls were drawn together by their very unlikeness and that already
their schoolmates were calling them the Siamese twins, because they went
everywhere together with their arms locked about one another, wore one
another’s clothes when their different sizes permitted, and were never
without true lover’s knots of blue ribbon tied in their buttonholes,
knots made from a sacrificial division of all Frieda’s best hair
ribbons. Not that hair ribbons interested their owner any further, for
the fifth day after Frieda’s arrival at boarding school, and in spite of
Jean’s and Olive’s objections, her long braids had disappeared and in
their place a Pysche knot of huge proportions could be seen at the back
of her head. The Psyche knot was not becoming, because its wearer did
not have a Greek face, but it was grown up and the latest fashion and of
course nothing else really matters. As Frieda’s school work was not the
same as Jean’s and Olive’s, on account of her age and the fact that she
never had cared much about books, the division of her time was different
from theirs, so perhaps it was but natural that in the excitement of her
first independence and without Jack’s influence, she should be for the
first time in her life “ganging her own gait.”

But with Jean Bruce the change was even more subtle and more
unconscious. Why, Jean and Olive had actually laughed together over
Frieda’s desertion of them and all the while they were laughing, though
she had said nothing, Olive was wondering if Jean did not know that she
saw almost as little of her as she did of Frieda these days. Without
realizing it or having made any special effort, Jean Bruce, two weeks
after her arrival at Primrose Hall, was one of the most popular girls in
the school. As a proof of it she had already been invited to join both
the two sororities and had not made up her mind which one she should
choose. The fact that Winifred Graham belonged to the “Kappa” sorority
certainly influenced Jean in the direction of the “Theta,” for from the
hour of Geraldine Ferrows’ revelation of Winifred’s character there had
been open war between Winifred and Jean. Of course, Winifred’s rudeness
to Olive was the first cause of Jean’s offense, but now Olive was almost
forgotten and overlooked in their personal rivalry. It was an open
discussion that the choice for Junior class president, which must be
made before the Christmas holidays, would lie between these two girls.
For though Jean had continued her masquerade of poverty, the best girls
in the school had not been influenced by it. Indeed, Jean’s closest
friend, Margaret Belknap, belonged to one of the oldest and wealthiest
families in New York City, people who looked down upon the Four Hundred
as belonging to the dreadful “new rich.”

But while school life was apparently moving so pleasantly for Jean and
Frieda, Olive, for some unexplained reason, was making no friends.
Though it was customary to invite the new girls at Primrose Hall into
one or the other of the secret societies almost immediately upon their
arrival at school, Olive had not yet been chosen for either sorority.
Too shy and sensitive to mention it even to her best friends, she did
not dream that Jean was unaware of the slights put upon her. Only in
secret Olive suffered tortures, wondering if her blood showed itself so
plainly that her classmates disliked her for that reason or if she were
more unattractive than all other girls. Still her beloved Jack, who was
finer and more beautiful than anybody in the world, had cared for her
and if only the doctors would say that Jack was strong enough to join
them at Primrose Hall, nothing else would make any difference! Letters
from Ruth Drew and now and then one from Peter Drummond had assured the
girls that Jack was doing as well as could be expected, but as yet there
had been no definite report from the surgeon?

However, if Olive Ralston had so far made no friends among her
classmates, there were other persons in the school interested in her,
who were more important. Among them was Jessica Hunt, the young teacher
whom Olive had met on the morning of her unfortunate walk. There was
something in the strange girl’s shyness and gentle dignity that made a
strong appeal to Jessica, and though she had so far no opportunity to
reveal her friendliness, she had noticed the slights put upon Olive and
was trying her best to discover their cause. Some secret story might
possibly be in circulation about the newcomer, but so far Jessica had
not been able to find it out.

One Friday afternoon Olive had been alone in their sitting room for
several hours. Always books had been her consolation for loneliness
since the days when her only white friend had been the teacher in the
Indian school in her village, yet nevertheless, hearing an unexpected
knock at the door, her face brightened. “Jean is sending for me to join
her somewhere perhaps,” she thought happily, but on opening the door her
eyes had widened with surprise.

“Please, may I come in? I’m not a teacher this afternoon: I am a
visitor,” Jessica Hunt had said at once. “I have been looking for you
everywhere in the garden and at the sorority houses and on the verandas.
To quote Mr. Kipling, ‘over the world and under the world and back at
the last to you,’ here in your sitting room. Why aren’t you with the
other girls?” Knowing what she did, perhaps Jessica’s question to Olive
may seem cruel, yet she asked it hoping that Olive might confide in her
the unfriendliness of her classmates. Then they might talk the matter
over sensibly together and she might be able to help. But alas for
Olive! Though Ruth had warned her to try to overcome her reserve that
day of the flower fortunes in Yellowstone Park, she was yet unable to
give her confidence to any one but Jack! So now she only answered Miss
Hunt quietly: “It is because I am stupider than the other girls that I
have to stay in my room to study more. But I am through with my work now
and awfully glad to see you,” and Olive’s rather misty smile of welcome
revealed more of her real feeling than any number of words.

Once inside the ranch girls’ sitting room, Jessica Hunt gave a little
cry of admiration and surprise. “Why, no wonder you don’t wish to be
outdoors,” she exclaimed, “for this is the most charming girls’ room at
Primrose Hall! It makes me think of that same poem of Kipling’s which I
was misquoting a minute ago, ‘The Gypsy Trail.’ You must read it some
day when you’re older, for you look like a Romany maid yourself. And
surely in this room at least ‘the east and the west are one.’”

Truly the ranch girls’ sitting room was indeed what they had dreamed of
making it in the last days at home, a bit of the Rainbow Lodge in
miniature, their own beloved ranch house living room reproduced many
miles across the continent. By Ruth’s request Miss Winthrop had allotted
to the three ranch girls a large and almost empty room, containing only
a divan, a few chairs and low bookshelves. Now the floor was covered
with half a dozen gayly colored Indian rugs, bright shawls were thrown
over the divan, piled with sofa cushions of leather and silk, and on the
walls were prints of Indian heads, one of them a picture of a young girl
looking singularly like Olive, and several Remington drawings of cowboys
on lonely western plains. Over the open fireplace, about one-fourth the
size of the one at The Lodge, was the head of an elk shot by Jim Colter
himself on the border of their own ranch, and on the mantel the very
brass candlesticks that belonged on the mantelpiece at home, besides
several pieces of Indian crockery, the ancient ornaments discovered by
Frieda in the Indian cave on the day when Olive had made her first
appearance in the ranch girls’ lives.

But when Jessica had seen the beauties of the sitting room she began at
once to look more closely at the few photographs which the ranch girls
had placed on top of their bookshelves, knowing that there is no quicker
way to learn to understand and enter the heart of a school girl than by
taking an interest in her photographs. Of course, these must represent
the persons nearest and dearest, their families and closest friends.

The ranch girls had not a very large collection of pictures, only an
absurd one of Jim, taken at Laramie as a farewell present to them, but
as he wore a stiff collar and shirt and his Sunday clothes, it was not
in the least like their big, splendidly handsome friend. Next Jim’s was
one of Ruth and alongside that one of Frank Kent, but almost
instinctively Jessica’s hand reached forth to pick up a photograph of a
girl on horseback and at the same instant she touched Olive’s heart.

“Who is this beautiful girl?” she asked quickly. “She is just the type
of girl I admire the most, so graceful and vigorous and with such a lot
of character. Oh, I hope I haven’t said anything I shouldn’t,” she ended
suddenly, seeing that Olive’s eyes had filled with tears.

Olive shook her head. “No, it’s all right, only Jack isn’t vigorous any
more.” And then, to her own surprise and relief, Olive poured forth the
whole story of Jack’s accident and their reasons for coming east.

Strange, and yet no stranger than the same kind of thing that takes
place every day, but just as Olive was on the point of telling Miss Hunt
that she expected each day to hear more definite news of Jack, a message
was sent upstairs to her from the office. A visitor was in the reception
room desiring to see the Misses Ralston and Miss Bruce at once. Would
Olive find the other girls and come to the reception room immediately?

With but one thought in her mind, that it must be Ruth Drew who had come
to tell them that Jack was better, Olive, with a hurried apology to
Jessica, begging her to wait until her return, fled out, of her room
down through the lower part of the house and then out into the school
grounds to search for Jean and Frieda, for much as she yearned to run at
once to Ruth, it would be too selfish not to let the other girls hear
the good news with her.

And Jessica Hunt was glad enough to be left alone in the ranch girls’
room for a few minutes longer, for standing near the photograph of
Jacqueline Ralston was another photograph whose presence in the room
puzzled her greatly. She did not feel that she had the right to ask
curious questions and yet she must look at this picture more closely,
for the exact, copy of it was at this moment lying in her own bureau
drawer between folds of lavender-scented silk.

Jean and Frieda were not to be found on either of the two great side
porches, where the Primrose Hall girls spent many recreation hours on
these warm Indian summer afternoons, but just in front of the sorority
house with “Theta” engraved above the door, Olive spied Jean surrounded
by a dozen girls. She was talking in a very animated fashion and had her
back turned so that she did not see Olive, who started to run toward her
and then hesitated and flushed. Each girl in the group was known to her
by name, all of them were Juniors and her classmates and yet not one of
them, except Geraldine Ferrows, had ever voluntarily held five minutes’
conversation with her. Did she have the courage now to thrust herself
among them and to interrupt Jean? Only the thought that Ruth must be
waiting for them with news of Jack braced her. “Jean,” Olive called
softly and then in a louder tone, “Jean!”

At once Jean swung round, but at the same moment twelve other pairs of
eyes stared poor Olive up and down.

“Oh, I am so glad you have come, Olive,” Jean exclaimed, her brown eyes
shining with enthusiasm, “for it has all been arranged that I am to join
the ‘Theta’ Society and I do hope that you will come in with me. Then we
are going to form a dramatic club in our sorority and after a little
while give a perfectly stunning play. I am sure the girls will want you
to take part in it, for you see Olive can act better than any one of us,
or at least she used to when we had charades at Rainbow Lodge.” Jean
paused, feeling a peculiar change in the atmosphere about her. Would no
one echo her invitation to Olive? And why had her friends drawn away in
silence unless something was the matter, for Olive was standing right
before them with her cheeks crimson and biting her lips to hide their

Jean stamped her foot with a flash of her old anger. “If you think for
an instant, Margaret Belknap,” she said, turning to her best friend in
the little company, a tall, distinguished, but plain-looking girl, “that
I will be in things and do things without Olive, why—” But Olive took
Jean softly by the arm. “Please don’t say anything, dear,” she
whispered, and then as Jean caught the message she had come to give her,
without further thought of anything or anybody at Primrose Hall, the two
friends hurried off together. Jean was not so conscientious about trying
to find Frieda, but leaving word with the maids to send her after them,
in a few moments the two girls appeared at the reception room door.

“Ruth, you darling,” they called in chorus and then turned white faces
to stare at each other and at the tall figure that rose to greet them
holding Frieda’s hand in one of his. “It is Peter Drummond, gooseys;
don’t you know him?” Frieda cried happily. “Some one told me we had a
caller and I came in here expecting to find some strange, horrid
visitor, and when I saw Peter I forgot I wasn’t a little girl any longer
and most hugged him. You might say you think it good of him to come to
see us,” she ended, rather crossly.

“We thought you were Ruth, Mr. Drummond,” Jean replied, coming to
herself sooner than Olive, “but of course we are terribly glad it is
you; only—why—the truth is, we expected Ruth to be able to tell us that
Jack was better or something. Just think, we haven’t seen old Jack in
weeks, ages it seems.” Jean put out her hand to take hold of their
friend’s when Olive spoke: “I think Mr. Drummond has come to tell us
about Jack instead of Ruth,” she said in a slightly strained voice. “I
am afraid that Jack isn’t so well as we hoped she would be and Ruth
couldn’t leave her. Won’t she ever be able to walk again like other
people? Have the doctors said? Tell us, please, quickly what has brought
you to see us, for anything is better than suspense.” And still for a
second Peter Drummond did not reply.

The first cause of his silence was that Frieda, entirely surprised at
Olive’s interpretation of his visit, had unexpectedly burst into tears.

“Come now,” Mr. Drummond said finally, patting Frieda’s hand, “it isn’t
so bad as all this. Olive did guess the truth and I have come to tell
you about Jack. Perhaps she isn’t so well as we hoped, for she can’t
join you at school just at present or get about very much. The fact is—”
Mr. Drummond cleared his throat, “well, the surgeons are not quite sure
of Jack’s condition yet and must wait a while longer and keep her very
quiet before they can decide. But I saw her a minute the other day and
she and Ruth send you their love and Jack hopes boarding school isn’t so
dreadful as she thinks it must be and— Why doesn’t some one else say
something, for never before in my life have I been with three women and
had to do all the talking?” And Peter, with a man’s embarrassment at
being the bearer of ill news, looked at the ranch girls with pretended

“Are you sure you have told us the truth, Mr. Drummond?” Jean asked, and
their visitor, not in the least offended by the question, emphatically
bowed his head.

Jean turned to the other two girls. “Then Olive and Frieda, I don’t
think we need be frightened,” she said stoutly, “though of course we are
terribly disappointed at not having Jack here at school with us, I have
always felt she would be well some day. Even if the surgeons should say
she won’t, my money is on old Jack!”

Instantly Frieda’s face cleared at Jean’s courageous attitude, though
Olive looked considerably depressed. But at this minute Mr. Drummond, to
divert everybody’s attention, turned toward Frieda. “Will somebody tell
me, please, what is the trouble with the youngest Miss Ralston, for if
two weeks at boarding school can affect her like this, What will a whole
year do?”

Instinctively Frieda’s hand went up to her Psyche knot. “Don’t tell Jack
and Ruth,” she begged, and then, tossing her blonde head: “Oh, tell away
if you like, Peter Drummond. I haven’t any disease, if that’s what you
mean; I am just not a baby any longer.”

Peter’s expression was a funny mixture of gravity and amusement. “If
it’s old age that is afflicting you, Frieda,” he said pulling at his own
heavy iron-gray hair, “then you’ve got about the worst disease in the
world and the most incurable, but I didn’t really think it was apt to
overtake one at fifteen.” Seeing that Frieda looked injured, he turned
again to Olive and Jean. “The Harmons have been awfully nice to Jack and
Ruth and they are coming out here to see you pretty soon. There is a
queer old house in this neighborhood where an old relative of theirs
lives. The house is supposed to be haunted, or at least there is some
mystery about it. I wonder if you girls have seen it?”

“I have,” Olive answered quickly and Jean laughed.

“How on the face of the earth do you know you have seen the place Peter
is describing, Olive?” Jean questioned, “for he hasn’t told you the name
of it or what it looks like or anything to identify it.”

Olive looked puzzled. “Yes, I know it is funny, but it is a place called
‘The Towers,’ with a high tower at the top of it and a balcony and queer
little windows.” Quite unconsciously Olive had closed her eyes, because
for some strange reason she seemed to be able to recall the house she
had seen on the morning of her early walk better with her eyes closed.

Mr. Drummond smiled at her. “Olive is right, the place is called ‘The
Towers.’ I remember now,” he repeated. “I wonder if because Olive is
perhaps a gypsy or an Indian, she is going to be a fortune teller.” But
because Olive’s face had crimsoned at his speech his tone changed. “My
dear Olive, suppose you are half Indian, why on earth should you care?
There isn’t the least disgrace in it, is there?” And Olive noticed that
Mr. Drummond’s speech ended with a question.

But he had now risen, picking up from the table near him a large box and
a small one. The large box he handed to Jean. “You are please to conceal
this from the powers that be, if it’s against boarding school laws to
eat candy,” he said and then stood turning the smaller box about in his
hand, surveying it thoughtfully. “This is a gift to you girls from
Jack,” he remarked finally. “Miss Drew tells me it contains a great
surprise, and as I haven’t the faintest idea what is inside of it, may I
be present at its opening?”

The girls allowed Frieda to tear off the paper covering outside the
parcel. Inside a white velvet box was revealed which opened with a
spring. Instantly Frieda touched this spring there were three cries of
“Oh,” followed by a moment’s silence. On the white satin lining of the
box were three crescent-shaped pins as large in circumference as a
quarter. The pins were composed of seven lovely jewels shading from red
to pale violet. Each girl took her gift from the box, regarding it with
characteristic expressions. Jean’s eyes were dancing with delight, the
dimple showing at the corner of her mouth, Frieda’s blue eyes were bluer
than ever and her cheeks pinker, while Olive’s eyes were overclouded and
her face quivered with pleasure.


“They are the loveliest things I ever saw in my life and the grandest,
and now Jean won’t be able to pretend we are poor any more,” Frieda

“Ah, but maybe Jack is a fairy godmother, and even poor girls may have
fairy godmothers,” Jean teased.

“I think none of us have guessed yet what Jack intends our gifts to
suggest,” Olive added slowly, her eyes still resting on the glowing
colors of the jeweled pins. “Don’t you see, Mr. Drummond, that our pins
represent rainbows? I have been repeating the rainbow colors to
myself—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. And here are
seven jewels of the same colors in our pins.”

Peter Drummond took Olive’s pin in his own hand. “Right you are, and
Jack has beaten me at my own game. For I have been collecting jewels all
my life and never thought of so pretty an idea as this. Here is a garnet
to start with for the red, then a topaz for the orange, a yellow diamond
next, an emerald for the green, a sapphire for blue, a blue opal for
indigo and last of all an amethyst for the last shade of violet.”

“They are to make us think of the ranch and the lodge and the mine and
all the good things that have come to us through a rainbow,” Jean said
thoughtfully and then more huskily, “I guess Jack is pretty homesick.”
Frieda made a dive toward the floor at this moment, rising up with a
piece of paper in her hand. “This fell out of the jewel case when I
opened it, but I hadn’t time to pick it up then,” she announced. “Oh,
goodness gracious, Jack, of all people, has written us a poem!” And
Frieda read:

“Here are seven colors in nature and art,
What I think they mean I wish you from my heart;
Here’s red, that good courage may fill you each day
And orange and yellow to shine on your way.
Here’s green for the ocean to bear us afar
To some lovely blue land ’neath an opal star.
And yet to the end shall we ever forget
Our own prairie fields of pale violet?”

“It is a rather hard poem to understand, but it rhymes pretty well,”
Frieda ended doubtfully.

Olive’s loyalty left no room for criticism. “It’s beautiful, I think.
And I know what Jack means at the end. If we ever do go to Europe, as we
sometimes have planned, we must never forget the Rainbow Ranch. You
know, Frieda dear, that the alfalfa clover is violet and not pink and
white like the clover in the east.”

But the poem could not be further unraveled because Mr. Drummond had now
to tear himself away in order to catch his train back to New York.
Hurrying out into the hall, with the three ranch girls close behind him,
he suddenly came to an abrupt stop. He had nearly run into a young
woman, who also stood still, staring at him with reproachful blue eyes
and a haughtily held head.

“Peter, that is, Mr. Drummond, how could you come down here when I told
you not to?” the girls heard Jessica Hunt say with the least little
nervous tremor in her voice.

Mr. Drummond bowed to her coldly. “I am very sorry, Jessica, Miss Hunt,”
he returned coldly, “but I had not the faintest idea of seeing you at
Primrose Hall. You do not know it, but the ranch girls are my very dear
friends and my visit was solely to them.” Peter was moving majestically
away when a hand was laid for the briefest instant on his coat sleeve.
This time a humbler voice said, “Forgive me, Peter, I might have known
you would never trouble to come to see me again.”

That evening as the ranch girls were dressing for dinner Jean poked her
head in Olive’s room. “Olive Ralston, has it ever occurred to you that
Peter Drummond may have recommended Primrose Hall to us because a
certain young woman named Jessica Hunt taught here? Men folks is deep,
child, powerful deep, but as the book says, ‘we shall see what we shall
see.’ I wonder, though, why girls and men can’t fall in love and get
married without such a lot of fussing and misunderstanding. Think how
Ruth is treating poor Jim! When I fall in love I am not going to be so
silly and tiresome. I am just going to say yes and thank you too and
let’s get married next week.” Jean’s face was very serious for the
moment and also very bewitching.

But Olive answered her with the voice of prophecy. “Jean Bruce, you will
have the hardest time of us all in making up your mind when you are in

Face to face with her first serious temptation stood Jean Bruce. Always
beyond anything else had she desired to be popular, even in the old days
at the ranch when the only society in which she had a part was composed
of the few neighbors in riding distance of the Lodge. But here at
Primrose Hall was her first real opportunity to gratify her heart’s
desire, and would she for the sake of another be compelled to give it
up? For how could she accept the honor that might be bestowed upon her
of being chosen for Junior class president without turning traitor to
Olive. After her friends’ treatment of Olive in front of the “Theta”
house on the afternoon of Peter Drummond’s visit, Jean could no longer
shut her eyes to Olive’s unpopularity. What was the cause of it? Try as
she might she could not find out, yet the prejudice was certainly deeper
than any one could suppose. Suspecting Winifred Graham to be at the
bottom of the mischief, Jean kept a close watch upon her, but if she had
circulated any story against Olive no one would confess it. “Miss
Ralston is so shy and queer, her appearance is so odd, I do not think
she enjoys being with other girls,” these evasions of the truth were all
Jean could get hold of. But in the meantime there was no doubt that
Olive’s classmates absolutely refused to have her in either of the two
sororities and that this insult was almost unprecedented in the history
of Primrose Hall. Of course, Jean might have appealed to Miss Winthrop
or one of the other teachers, asking that their influence be exerted in
Olive’s behalf, but this for Olive’s own sake she was unwilling to do.
For even if Olive should be forced into one of the sororities, how would
it change her classmates’ attitude toward her? Would it not make them
more unkind than ever? No, there were only two courses open to Jean,
either she must join the sorority she had chosen without any question of
Olive’s being a member or else she must decline to be admitted herself
until such time as the girls should come to their senses and voluntarily
desire the election of them both.

Of course, if membership in one or the other of the two sororities had
been Jean’s only dilemma there had been small excuse for her hesitation.
But a larger issue was at stake. Unless she became a member of a
sorority and as one of its leaders could influence new girls to her
cause, she might lose the Junior presidency and Winifred Graham, the
head of the Kappa organization, would surely be chosen in her stead.

Jean had won her way to her present popularity in a very charming
fashion, just by the power of her own personality, which is after all
the greatest force in the world. She had no prominent family
connections, as so many of the Primrose Hall girls had, and she
continued to act as though she had no money except what was necessary
for very simple requirements. Indeed, she behaved as she must have done
had the ranch girls come east to boarding school before the discovery of
the gold mine of Rainbow Creek. But it was a hard fight and many times
the young girl longed to break faith with herself.

Before setting out on their journey, after a careful reading of the
Primrose Hall catalogue, Ruth Drew had ordered the three ranch girls’
school outfits, but now these clothes seemed so simple and ordinary that
at least two of the girls hated the wearing of them.

Each one of them had several pretty school dresses of light weight
flannel and serge, two simple silks for afternoon entertainments and
dinner use and a single party dress for the monthly dances which were a
feature of Primrose Hall school life. Their underclothes were plentiful
but plain. Indeed, until Jean saw her friend Margaret Belknap’s
lingerie, she had supposed that only brides, and very wealthy ones at
that, could have such possessions. Just think of a single item of a
dozen hand-made nightgowns at fifteen dollars apiece in a school girl’s
outfit; and yet these were among Margaret’s clothes. Jean openly
expressed her wonder and yet managed quietly to refuse to receive a gift
of two of them without hurting her new friend’s feelings.

To a girl brought up in the conventional and moneyed atmosphere that
Margaret Belknap had been, Jean was a revelation. She seemed not to know
the meaning of snobbery, not to care who people were so long as she
liked what they were. Her manners were as charming to one person as to
another and her interest as sincere. Margaret had already asked Jean to
visit her in her home in New York during the Christmas holidays, as she
longed to introduce her to her own family in order that they might lose
their prejudice against western girls. But more especially Margaret
desired to bring her Harvard College brother, Cecil, and Jean together
so as to find out what they would think of one another. She was only
awaiting the first opportunity. In the meantime, although Jean would not
accept other gifts from her wealthy friend, she could not refuse the
flowers Margaret so constantly sent her. Indeed, she went about school
so much of the time with a pink carnation tucked in her hair that she
soon became known as “the pink carnation girl.”

One of Jean’s greatest self-denials was not being able to send flowers
to Margaret in return, but in order to retain her masquerade of poverty,
most of the time she had to refrain. Only now and then she did relieve
her feelings by presenting Margaret a bunch of Violets or roses
regardless of cost. And occasionally a box of roses or chrysanthemums
would find their way into the room of a teacher who had been especially
kind to Olive, Frieda or her.

With Olive there was apparently no self-denial in failing to spread
abroad the news of their wealth and in spending no pocket money, but
with Frieda the case was very different. It is quite certain that Jean
would never have had her way with Frieda except by appealing directly to
Jack for advice and assistance. When the letter from Jack came begging
her little sister to keep the secret of their wealth and to agree to
Jean’s plan, Frieda’s rebellion had weakened. Not that she saw any sense
in her sacrifice or was in the least reconciled to it, but simply
because under the circumstances, while Jack was still so ill, she could
refuse her nothing. And this self-restraint was particularly hard on
both the ranch girls, because never before in their lives had they had
any money of their own to spend and now Jack was sending each one of
them fifty dollars a month for pin money. Think of the fortune of it, if
you have had only one-tenth of that amount per month for your own use

And yet so far only once in all the weeks had Frieda yielded to
temptation. Going up to New York one Saturday for her first visit to the
grand opera, she had drifted into a big department store with half a
dozen of the other school girls and their chaperon in order to buy
herself a pair of gloves.

Late that same afternoon Jean and Olive, who happened at the time to be
dressing for dinner, received a shock. An elegant young woman, arrayed
in a dark blue velvet coat and a hat encircled with a large,
lighter-blue feather, entering Jean’s room, dropped exhausted on the
bed. A cry brought Olive to the scene, but either because Frieda looked
too pretty in her new clothes to scold, or because she pretended to be
ill from fatigue, no word of reproach was spoken to her, not even when a
pale blue silk followed next morning by the early express and
twenty-five dollars had to be borrowed from Olive and Jean to pay for

Possibly both of the older girls were secretly pleased at Frieda’s
extravagance, because, while saving money is a virtuous act, it
certainly is a very dull one. And while Olive was storing her income
away in a lock box, wondering if it were possible to return it some day
in a gift for Jack, Jean was also hoarding hers in the same fashion, but
intending finally to spend it all in one grand splurge.

While Jean often regretted having taken the vow of poverty at Primrose
Hall, she was always convinced of its wisdom. That there could be so
much talk and thought of money as she had lately heard among the set of
girls of whom Winifred Graham was leader, was repellant to her and, as
Jean already had developed strong class feeling, one of her chief
reasons for desiring to be elected Junior class president was in order
to prove that this snobbish set was not really in control of Primrose
Hall. Would Ruth and Jack and Jim Colter, the overseer of their ranch,
who had always said money would be the ruination of Jean, not feel proud
of her if they could hear that she won out in her battle without its
help. And yet what would they think of her if she turned her back on
Olive? Surely if Jean had not been so harassed and torn between the twin
enemies, ambition and love, she would hardly have accused Olive of being
the cause of her own unpopularity and certainly not at so unpropitious
an hour as she chose. But the time for Jean to make up her mind one way
or another was drawing close at hand and so far Olive had no idea of her
friend’s struggle, naturally supposing that Jean had already entered the
“Theta” society without mentioning it to her in order to spare her

Monthly dances were an institution at Primrose Hall and it was now the
evening of the first one of them. Of course, dances at girls’ boarding
schools are not unusual, but the dances at Primrose Hall were, for Miss
Winthrop allowed young men to be present at them. Her guests were
brothers and cousins of her students or else intimate friends, carefully
introduced by the girls’ parents. Miss Winthrop regarded Primrose Hall
as a training school for the larger social world and desired her
students to learn to accept an acquaintance with young men as simply and
naturally as they did the same acquaintance with girls. If young girls
and boys never saw or spoke to one another during the years of their
school life, it was Miss Winthrop’s idea that they developed false
notions in regard to one another and false attitudes. Therefore,
although no one could be more severe than the principal of Primrose Hall
toward any shadow of flirtation, she was entirely reasonable toward a
simple friendship. It was because most of her girls had respected Miss
Winthrop’s judgment in this matter that her monthly dances, at first
much criticized, had since become a great success. Watching her students
and their friends together, the older woman could often give her
students the help and advice they needed in their first knowledge of
young men. So when Olive sent down an imploring message asking to be
excused from attendance at these monthly dances, Miss Winthrop had
positively refused her request. No excuse save illness was ever accepted
from either the Junior or Senior girls.

It was a quarter before eight o’clock and the dance was to begin at
eight that evening, when Olive, already dressed, strolled slowly into
Jean’s and Frieda’s room, pretending that she wished to assist them, but
really longing for some word of sympathy or encouragement to help her in
overcoming her shyness.

Frieda had slipped across the hall to show herself in her new blue gown
to the Johnson sisters, therefore Jean was alone. At the very instant of
Olive’s entrance she was thinking of her with a good deal of annoyance
and uncertainty and now the very fact that Olive looked so charming in a
pale-green crepe dress made her crosser than ever. When Olive was so
pretty how could the school girls fail to like her?

But Olive immediately on entering the room and entirely unconscious of
Jean’s anger, stood silent for a moment lost in admiration of her
friend’s appearance. In truth, to-night Jean was “a pink carnation
girl,” for Margaret Belknap had sent her a great box of the deep
rose-colored variety and she wore a wreath of them in her hair. Quite by
accident her frock happened to be of the same color and the rose was
particularly becoming to her healthy pallor and the dark brown of her
hair, while to-night the excitement of attending her first school dance
made Jean’s brown eyes sparkle and her lips a deep crimson.

“I do wish Ruth could see you to-night,” Olive said wistfully, “for I
think she has already cared more for you than even for Frieda or Jack.”

“And not for you at all, Olive, I suppose,” Jean answered ungraciously.
“I do wish you would get over the habit of depreciating yourself. Didn’t
Miss Winthrop say the other day that we generally got what we expected
in this world and if you don’t expect people to like you and are too shy
and proud to let them, why how can they be nice to you?”

Olive colored, but did not reply at once.

“I do wish Jack were here,” Jean continued, “for she would have some
influence with you and not let you be so pokey and unfriendly. I am sure
I have tried in vain to stir you up and now I think I’ll write Jack and
Ruth how you are behaving. Really, you are spoiling Frieda’s and my good
times at school by being so stiff and touchy.” And Jean, knowing that
Olive did not yet understand how her failure to be invited into either
sorority was influencing her chance for the class election, yet had the
grace to turn her face away.

For Olive had grown white. “Please don’t write to Jack or Ruth, Jean,”
she asked quietly, “I do not wish them to know I am not a success at
school and if you tell them that no one here likes me they will then
know that I am unhappy and will be worried, and Jack must not have any
worry now. It isn’t that I don’t try to make the girls like me. You are
mistaken if you think I don’t try; but oh, what is the matter with me,
Jean, that makes me so unpopular?”

In an instant Jean’s arms were about Olive and she was kissing her
warmly. “Don’t be a goose, dear, there is nothing the matter with you
and you are not unpopular really; it is just some horrid, silly mistake.
Now promise me that to-night you won’t be frightened and you will be
friendly with everybody.” In this instant Jean made up her mind that in
some unexplainable way Olive must be standing in her own light or else
her classmates must see how charming she was.

Olive promised with a quaking heart, knowing that many eyes would soon
be upon her to-night, including Miss Winthrop’s, who would be noticing
her unpopularity. And would she know a single guest at the dance?

Frieda and Mollie Johnson had already disappeared, so that Jean and
Olive went down to the big reception rooms together, holding each
other’s hands like little girls.

To Miss Katherine Winthrop’s credit it must be stated that she desired
her students at Primrose Hall to grow into something more useful than
mere society women. Her ambition was to have them fill many important
positions in the modern world now offering such big opportunities to
clever women. Miss Winthrop was herself an unusually clever woman, cold
perhaps and not sympathetic with most of her girls, but just always and
interested in their welfare. But then none of her girls knew the story
of her youth nor realized that the last life she had ever expected for
herself in her rich and brilliant girlhood was that of a mistress of a
fashionable boarding school. Years before, Katherine Winthrop had been
the belle and beauty of the countryside, a toast in New York City and in
the homes of the old Dutch and English families along the Hudson River,
until she had let her pride spoil the one romance of her life. By and
by, when her father died and her family fortune disappeared, she had
then opened up her old home as a girls’ boarding school and her
aristocratic connections and old name immediately made Primrose Hall
both fashionable and popular, until now its mere name lent its students
an assured social prestige. Nevertheless, Miss Winthrop wished her
school to be something more than fashionable. Indeed, this thought had
been in her mind when she had chosen the ranch girls for her pupils from
among a list of fifty or more applicants whom she had been obliged to
refuse. There was little in the life of her school which she did not see
and understand, and now her hope was that Jean and Olive and Frieda,
with their freedom from snobbery, their simplicity and broader way of
looking at things, would bring the element most needed into their mere
money-loving and conventional eastern atmosphere. Though no one had
mentioned it to her, she had already observed Jean’s great popularity
with her classmates, Frieda’s good time among the younger girls and
Olive’s failure to make friends. What was the trouble with this third
ranch girl?

Although Miss Winthrop had been particularly busy for the past month in
getting her school into good working order, she had not forgotten the
peculiar emotion that Olive had awakened in her at their first meeting.
Because the child was unusual in her manner and appearance was scarcely
a sufficient reason for the universal prejudice against her, and
to-night, at the first dance of the school season, Miss Winthrop had
determined to watch Olive closely and find out for herself wherein lay
the difficulty. Jessica Hunt was receiving with Miss Winthrop to-night
and had also wondered how Olive would stand the ordeal of their first
evening entertainment. For the dances at Primrose Hall were not
informal, it being a part of the principal’s idea that they should train
her girls for social life in any part of the world where in later years
circumstances might chance to take them.

Miss Winthrop, her teachers and students, always appeared in full
evening dress at these entertainments, and this evening Miss Winthrop
wore a plain black velvet gown with a small diamond star at her throat,
a piece of jewelry for which she had a peculiar affection. Jessica Hunt,
who was standing next her, was in pure white, so that her blue eyes and
the bronze-gold of her hair (so like Jack’s, Olive had thought) made a
striking contrast with the darker, sterner beauty of the older woman.
Though there were a dozen or more of the Primrose Hall girls grouped
about the two women when Jean and Olive entered the reception room
together, both of them immediately saw and watched them as they came
slowly forward.

The eyes of Jean, the flush and sparkle of her, spoke of her
anticipation of unutterable delights. Yet who should know, as she moved
through the room with an expression of fine unconsciousness, that this
was the first really formal party she had ever attended in her life.
Neither her blush nor her dimple betrayed her, although she was
perfectly aware that a number of youths in long-tailed coats and black
trousers, wearing immaculate white gloves and ties, had stopped talking
for several moments to their girl friends in order to glance at Olive
and at her. She even saw, without appearing to lift her lids, that a
tall, blonde fellow standing near her friend, Margaret Belknap, was
deliberately staring at her through a pair of eyeglasses. And at once
Jean decided that the young man was extremely ugly in spite of his
fashionable clothes and therefore not to be compared to Ralph Merrit or
other simple western fellows whom she had known in the past.

Perhaps five minutes were required for this list of Jean’s passing
observations in her forward progress toward Miss Winthrop, and yet in
the same length of time Olive, who was close beside her, had seen
nothing “but a sea of unknown faces.” Even her school companions
to-night in their frocks of silk and lace looked unfamiliar. And yet
somehow, with Jean’s assistance, she also managed to arrive in front of
Miss Winthrop and Jessica Hunt and to pay her respects to them. Then,
still sticking close to Jean, she was soon borne off for a short
distance and there surrounded by a group of Jean’s girl friends.

Half a dozen or more of them, Gerry Ferrows and Margaret Belknap in the
number, had come up with their cousins, brothers and friends to meet
Jean Bruce and to fill up her dance card. They were, of course, also
introduced to Olive, but as she did not speak, no one noticed her
particularly and no one invited her to dance. Jean had not intended to
desert Olive, but when the music of the first waltz began she forgot her
and marched off with an enthusiastic partner, who had asked Gerry
Ferrows to introduce him to the most fascinating girl in the room, and
Gerry had unhesitatingly chosen Jean.

There were two or three other girls and young men standing near Olive
when Jean had turned away, but a few seconds later and she was entirely

Is there greater anguish than for a shy girl unaccustomed to society to
find herself solitary in a crowded ballroom? At first Olive felt
desperate, knowing that her cheeks were crimson with shame and fearing
that her eyes were filling with tears. Then looking about her she soon
discovered a group of palms in a corner of the room not far away and
guessed that she could find shelter behind them. Slipping across she
came upon a small sofa hidden behind the evergreens, and with a little
sigh of thanksgiving sank down upon it. Soon after Olive began to grow
serene, for from her retreat she could watch the dancers and see what a
good time Jean and Frieda were having without being seen herself. Once
she almost laughed aloud as Frieda waltzed by her hiding place—Frieda,
who had been a fat, little girl with long plaits down her back just a
few weeks ago, now attired in a blue silk and lace, was whirling about
on the arm of a long-legged boy who had such a small nose and ridiculous
quantity of blonde curls that he might almost have been Frieda’s twin
brother. Five minutes later Olive decided that Jean was the belle of the
evening and that she would write the news to Jack to-morrow, for
apparently every young man in the ballroom was wishing to dance with
her. Even the supercilious fellow with the eyeglasses, whom Olive
recognized as Margaret Belknap’s much-talked-of Harvard brother, could
be seen dancing attendance on Jean.

Twenty minutes, half an hour must have passed by in this fashion until
Olive felt perfectly safe in her green retreat, when unexpectedly a hand
was laid upon her shoulder and a voice said sternly, “What in the world,
child, are you doing hiding yourself in here? When I said you could not
stay up in your room to-night it was because I desired you to take part
in the dancing; there really isn’t much difference between your being
concealed up there or here.”

And then to Olive’s discouragement an absurd catch in her breath made
her unable to answer at once.

Olive’s retreat behind the palms had not been unnoticed as she had
thought, for both Miss Winthrop and Jessica Hunt had seen first her
embarrassment at being left alone and next her withdrawal. In much the
same fashion that Jack would have followed, Jessica had wished to rush
off at once to comfort Olive, but Miss Winthrop had held her back.

“What is the difficulty about this girl, Jessica, what makes her so
unpopular?” she had asked when every one else was out of hearing. “I
wish you would tell me if you know any explanation for it.”

But Jessica had only been able to shake her head, answering, “I can’t
for the life of me understand. There are a good many little things that
Olive does not seem to know, and yet, as she studies very hard, I
believe she will soon be one of the honor girls in my class. I have a
friend in New York, or an acquaintance rather,” and here Jessica blushed
unaccountably, “who seems to know the ranch girls very well. Perhaps I
had best ask him if there is anything unusual about Olive.”

But the older woman had interrupted, “No, I had rather you would ask no
questions, at least not now please, Jessica, for I have heard at least a
part of the girl’s history, and yet I believe the real truth is not
known to any one and perhaps never will be. It may be happier for Olive
if it never is found out, but I wish we could teach her not to be so
sensitive.” And then when the opportunity arrived Miss Winthrop had
moved across the room to where Olive was in hiding. As the girl’s
startled brown eyes were upturned to hers Miss Winthrop, who was not
poetic, yet thought that her pupil in her pale green dress with her
queer pointed chin and her air of mystery, somehow suggested a girl from
some old fairy legend of the sea. And she wondered why the girls and
young men in the ballroom had not also seen Olive’s unusual beauty,
forgetting that young people seldom admire what is out of the ordinary.

Some impulse after her first speech to Olive made the older woman
quickly put out her hand, clasping Olive’s slender brown fingers in
hers. “Don’t be afraid of me,” she said in a voice that was gentler than
usual, “for I understand it is timidity that is making you hide
yourself. Don’t you think though that you would enjoy dancing?”

Olive’s face was suddenly aglow. “I should love it,” she returned,
forgetting for the instant her shyness, “only no one has invited me.”
Then as her teacher suddenly rose to her feet, as though intending to
find her a partner, with a sudden accession of dignity and fearlessness
Olive drew her down again. “Please don’t ask anyone to dance with me,
Miss Winthrop,” she begged; “if you will sit by me for a little while I
am sure it will be delightful just watching the others.”

While the woman and girl were quietly gazing at the dancers, Miss
Winthrop happened to notice a silver chain with a cross at the end of
it, which Olive was wearing around her throat. Leaning over she took the
cross in her hand. “This is an odd piece of jewelry, child, and must be
very old; it is so heavy that I wonder if there is anything concealed
inside it.”

Olive shook her head. “No, that is, I don’t know anything about it,
except that I hope it once belonged to my mother,” she replied. For some
strange reason this shy girl was speaking of her mother to a comparative
stranger, when she rarely had spoken the name even to her best beloved
friend, Jacqueline Ralston.

But before Miss Winthrop had time to reply a new voice startled both of
them. “Why, Olive Ralston,” it exclaimed, “what do you mean by hiding
yourself away with Miss Winthrop when I have been searching the house
over for you.”

Turning around, to her intense surprise, Olive now beheld Donald Harmon
standing near them, the young fellow whose father had rented the Rainbow
Ranch from the Ralston girls the summer before and whose sister had been
responsible for Jack Ralston’s fall over the cliff.

“I wonder why you would not tell Olive that I was to be one of your
guests to-night, Miss Winthrop,” he continued, “and that my aunt is your
old friend and lives near Primrose Hall.”

While Miss Winthrop was laughing and protesting that she had no idea
that Olive and Donald could know each other, Donald was trying to
persuade Olive out on the ballroom floor for her first dance with him.
By accident it happened to be a Spanish waltz and Olive had not danced
it before, but she had been watching the other girls. Donald was an
excellent partner and in five minutes she might have been dancing it all
her life.

Now dancing with Olive and with Jean was quite a different art, although
both of the girls were beautiful dancers. Jean was gay and vivacious,
full of grace and activity, keeping excellent time to the music, but
Olive seemed to move like a flower that is swayed by the wind, hardly
conscious of what she was dancing or how she was dancing it and yet
yielding her body to every note of the music and movement of her

By and by, as Olive and Donald continued their dancing, many of the
others stopped and at once the young men demanded to be told who Olive
was and why she had been hidden away from their sight until now?
Whatever replies the girls may have made to these questions, they did
not apparently affect their questioners, for from the time of her first
dance until the close of the evening Olive no longer lacked for
partners. She did not talk very much, but her eyes shone and her cheeks
grew crimson with pleasure and now and then her low laugh rang out, and
always she could dance. What did conversation at a ball amount to anyhow
when movement was the thing, and this stranger girl could dance like a
fairy princess just awakened from a long enchantment?

Donald Harmon grew sorry later in the evening that he had ever brought
Olive forth from her retreat, but just before midnight, when Primrose
Hall parties must always come to an end, he did manage to get her away
for a moment out on the veranda, where chairs were placed so that the
young people could rest and talk.