And Gerry’s plan was nothing more or less than to make a direct,
personal appeal to Olive, asking her to aid in the fight for Jean by
making a sacrifice of herself. True, Gerry did not know that Olive was
as yet completely in the dark about Jean’s refusal to join the Theta
sorority because of the failure of the girls to include her in the
invitation, but even with this knowledge Gerry would hardly have been
deterred from her plan. For how could it help Olive to have Jean wreck
her own chances on her account nor how could it alter her classmates’
attitude toward her?

The Monday following her talk with Winifred, Gerry overtook Olive, as
both girls were leaving their class room, and coming up close behind her
leaned over and whispered in her ear: “Oh, Olive, I wonder if you could
have a little talk with me this afternoon on strictly private business;
I wish to talk to you quite alone.”

Although Gerry had never been so rude and cold to her as some of her
other classmates, at this attitude of unexpected intimacy, Olive
appeared surprised. She had no idea that Gerry could be wishing to speak
to her of the class election, for Jean had carefully excluded all
mention of this subject from the conversation in their own rooms and no
one else had seen fit to mention the subject to Olive.

“Oh, certainly, I shall be delighted to see you at any time,” Olive
nodded, pleased that Gerry should wish to be with her alone. “Why not
come up to our sitting room right now, as our lessons are over for the

But with a great appearance of secrecy Gerry shook her curly head. “No,
I am afraid Jean might be bobbing in there at any minute,” she confided,
“and I particularly don’t want her to know just at present what I wish
to say to you.”

“Suppose I ask Miss Hunt to let us take a walk together without any one
else?” Olive next proposed; “I am sure she will.”

Half an hour later the two girls, well away from Primrose Hall, were
walking through the nearby woods and yet Gerry had not mentioned the
subject of conversation they had come forth to discuss.

Curious why she should find it difficult; she was perfectly sure of
having right on her side in this suggestion she was about to make, and
yet there was a quiet, unconscious dignity in Olive’s manner that made
her companion a little fearful of approaching her with advice or
entreaty. Perhaps it might have been just as well to have laid this
matter before Jessica Hunt or, as a last resort, Miss Winthrop, before
forging ahead. But Gerry was an ardent suffragette in the making and, as
she had determined to follow in the footsteps of her brilliant father,
she knew that indecision must never be a characteristic of the new
woman. However, it was just as well to have this stranger girl recognize
her entire friendliness before she made known her mission.

Having talked of many things together, of their love of the outdoors, of
Jack’s condition, after all it was Olive who at last opened up the way
for her companion’s disclosure.

“I am sorry to have talked so much,” she said suddenly, “for I have not
yet given you a chance to say what you wished to me. What is it?”

And all at once her face flooded with color, her eyes widened and she
looked at Gerry with a half-spoken appeal. Up to this moment it had not
occurred to Olive that her classmate’s desire for a private interview
with her could have any serious import, but noticing Gerry’s hesitation
and apparent embarrassment, Olive suddenly believed that she intended
questioning her about her past. And what could she say? Ruth and Jack
had advised her not to reveal her story, and yet if her schoolmate now
asked her for the truth she would not lie. Gerry had always been kinder
than the other girls and possibly thinking the gossip about her false,
her desire now might be to disprove it.

With a kind of proud humility Olive faced the girl whom she hoped for
the minute wished to be her friend. “What is it?” she asked again.

Evasion was not Gerry Ferrows’ strong point. “Do you want Jean to be
elected Junior Class president?” she demanded abruptly.

Olive stared and then laughed happily. “Well, I should say I do,
rather,” she answered. “What a funny thing for you to ask me. And I am
awfully grateful to you for the help you are giving Jean, for she is
awfully ambitious and Ruth and Jack and Jim Colter and all of us would
be so proud of her if she should win after being so short a time at

“Well, if you are so anxious for her to win, why don’t you do something
to help her instead of standing in her way?” This question was even more
blunt than the first. And it hurt, because Olive bit her lips.

“I help her? I stand in her way?” she repeated, stopping in her walk and
turning to face the other girl squarely. “Tell me, please, how I can
help her and how I stand in the way of her election?”

At this, Gerry Ferrows felt extremely uncomfortable, still she was not
of the kind to turn back. “Well, you can help Jean a whole lot by making
her join our Theta Sorority at once and not hold back any longer because
you have not been invited to join also.”

There could be no doubt that Olive’s amazement was perfectly genuine.
“Do you mean to tell me that Jean isn’t a Theta already with the girls
tormenting her every minute for weeks to come into the society? Why, I
thought that Jean had joined long ago and simply had not mentioned the
matter to me because of not wishing to talk of a thing that might make
me uncomfortable. I can see now that the girls may not want a class
president who isn’t a member of a sorority, and also that if Jean stays
out of the societies because of me, it makes us seem more like real
sisters instead of just a girl whom Jean’s family is befriending.”

Gerry nodded, mute for once because Olive had put the case too plainly
for her either to add to it or to contradict.

“Dear Jean, it is awfully good of her and awfully foolish and just what
I should have expected,” she went on. “Please understand that I am very
sorry both for Jean’s and Frieda’s sakes that I ever came with them as a
student to Primrose Hall and I would have gone away before now only I
could not worry Jacqueline Ralston, who is so ill, or our chaperon, Ruth
Drew, who must give all her time and thought to Jack. But you see none
of us realized that the girls at Primrose Hall would care so much
because my birth and past were so different from theirs. In the West
these things do not count to so great an extent.”

To her own surprise Gerry Ferrows’ eyes, which were seldom given to this
proceeding, suddenly filled with tears. Like Ishmael of old, Olive
seemed to her to be cast out into the desert for a crime in which she
had no part.

But if this Indian girl had always been shy and sensitive in her
attitude before the hurt of her schoolmates’ coldness toward her in
times past, at this moment her manner greatly changed. Perhaps because
Olive was so quiet and gentle it had looked as though she had no pride,
but this is not true, for her pride was of a deeper kind than expresses
itself in noise and protest: it was of that unconscious kind associated
with high birth and breeding, the pride that suffers wrong and hurt with
dignity and in silence.

Now she drew herself up, facing her companion quietly, her dark eyes
quite steady, her lips fixed in a firm line and two bright spots of
color glowing in her dark cheeks. “I cannot tell you how much I thank
you for telling me this about Jean,” she said “and please believe I did
not know of it. Of course you wish me to make Jean see the foolishness
and the utter uselessness of her sacrifice of herself for me and I
surely will. I suppose you must have wondered why I did not do this

And still Gerry continued to find conversation increasingly difficult,
though fortunately Olive was saying for her the very things she had
intended to say. Shyly Gerry slipped her arm in school-girl fashion
across Olive’s shoulder, but the other girl drew herself away, not
angrily in the least, but as if she wished neither sympathy nor an

“Do let us go on back to the house at once,” she suggested, “for I must
not waste any time before I see Jean, as the election is to take place
so soon. If her connection with me should make her lose it I simply
don’t know what I should do!”

And forgetting all about the presence of Gerry, Olive started for home,
walking with that peculiar grace and swiftness which was so marked a
characteristic of her training.

Almost panting, Gerry, who was herself exceedingly athletic, tried to
keep up. “You must not be foolish, Olive,” she begged, “and you are a
brick! Whatever happens it can’t be your fault if we girls at Primrose
Hall are narrow and hateful and blind.” For somehow at this late hour in
their acquaintance Gerry Ferrows had begun to realize that whatever
unfortunate past Olive Ralston may have had, somehow she had managed to
breathe a higher atmosphere than most other girls. In their first
intimate talk together Olive had shown no anger against her classmates
for their cruelty, no envy of Jean’s popularity or desire to claim her
allegiance as a defense against their unkindness. No, she had only been
too anxious to sacrifice herself, to make the way straight for Jean. And
at this moment quite humbly Gerry would have liked to have begged Olive
to allow her to be her friend, only at this time she did not dare. And
as they walked on together in silence some lines that she had learned
that morning in their Shakespeare class in their reading of “The
Winter’s Tale,” came suddenly to her mind.

“Nothing she does or seems, but smacks of something greater
than herself,
Too noble for this place.”

Fortunately the two girls had not to spend a minute in looking for Jean,
for no sooner had they entered the front hall of the school than she was
seen talking with a group of friends.

“Hello,” she cried, pleased to find that Gerry and Olive had been out
together for a walk and grateful for what she thought Gerry’s
friendliness to Olive.

Olive went straight up to her, too much in earnest to be abashed by the
presence of others. “Come on up to our sitting room, Jean,” she begged,
“for Gerry and I have something to talk to you about that must be
decided at once.”

It was a pity that Olive must be in such a hurry, Gerry thought a little
impatiently, and also a pity that she had used her name in speaking to
Jean and plainly wished her to be present at their coming interview, for
there was, of course, a possibility that Jean might be a good deal vexed
at her interference. But as Jean left her other friends immediately,
slipping one arm through Olive’s and another through Gerry’s and
propelling them as rapidly as she could up the broad stairs, what was
there for Gerry to do but to surrender and let things take their course?

“Whatever weighty problem there is on your mind, Olive Ralston, that you
wish me to help you solve,” Jean exclaimed gaily, as they reached their
own door, “kindly remember that three heads are better than one, even if
one is a dunce’s head, else I should never have allowed Geraldine
Ferrows to be present at our council.” And giving each of the girls an
added shove, the three of them plunged headlong into the sitting room.

Frieda was not to be seen, but to their surprise there before their open
fire Jessica Hunt sat peacefully, holding a large open box of flowers on
her lap, with her cheeks a good deal flushed, possibly from the heat of
the fire.

“I beg your pardon, children, for having taken possession of your
apartment in this way,” she explained, “but I happen to have a present
for you sent through my care and it seemed to me that the surest way to
find you was to wait at your own hearthstone until you chose to appear.”
While Jessica was speaking she was holding out the box of flowers toward
Jean and Olive. “Mr. Drummond has sent you these with a note to me
asking me to see that you get them.”

With cries of delight the two ranch girls, pouncing on the great box,
which was brimful of violets, buried their noses in its fragrances.

“They are just too lovely and too Rainbow ranchy for anything,” Jean
exclaimed, thrusting a bunch into Gerry’s hand. “Won’t Frieda be
homesick for her violet beds when she sees them, even if she is so
enraptured with boarding school that she hardly talks of home any more?”

While Jean was speaking Olive was busily lifting the flowers from the
box. Just toward the last she discovered a separate bouquet, wrapped in
white paper and bearing a card with a name inscribed upon it.

“This is for you, Miss Hunt; it has your name upon it,” Olive announced,
trying to look entirely unconscious, although she and Jean both guessed
at once that the gift of the large box of flowers to them had been made
largely in order to include the smaller offering inside it.

Jessica, assuming a far-away expression of complete indifference, took
the flowers; they were lilies of the valley encircled with violets and
it was difficult for any girl to conceal her delight in them.

Watching her with her head slightly to one side and a dangerously demure
look on her face, Jean said suddenly, “I wonder, Miss Hunt, how long you
have known our Mr. Drummond? You see, we are awfully fond of him and he
has been very good to all of us, especially to Jack. Sometimes I have
wondered if he could think you and Jack look a little bit alike? Olive
and I think you do. But we don’t know anything about Mr. Drummond except
that he is terribly rich and terribly good looking and very kind. Can’t
you tell us something more?”

Jessica shook her head gravely. “I am afraid that is all I can tell you
about Peter, I mean Mr. Drummond, that is of any importance. Just that
he is rich and good looking and kind. He is so rich that he has never
done anything or been anything else, and I have known him a great many
years, since I was a small girl and he was a big boy and we used to live
near one another in Washington Square, before my father died and we lost
some of our money.”

“Well,” Jean returned reflectively, “it seems to me that it is a good
deal to be just rich and good looking and kind, for there are lots of
people who are not one of those three things.”

And though Jessica was not feeling especially happy at the moment,
Jean’s words made her smile. “That is true, dear,” she returned, “but I
am afraid that I want a man to be more and to mean more in this world
than just that.” She was about to leave the room when Olive put her hand
on her arm. “Don’t go, Jessica, Miss Hunt I mean,” she apologized, “but
I so often think of you as a girl like the rest of us. I want to talk to
Jean about something and I wish you to stay to help me make her behave

Still unsuspicious of what Olive had in mind, but realizing now that it
was important, else she would not have called in so many persons to her
assistance, Jean put down her flowers and coming up to her friend placed
one hand on each of her shoulders, looking closely with her own
autumn-toned brown eyes into her friend’s darker ones.

“Out with it, Olive Ralston. What on earth is it that you wish me to do
that requires so much persuasion?”

And Olive, equally in earnest, likewise put her hands on Jean’s
shoulders, so that the two girls made an unconscious picture
illustrating the old proverb: “United we stand, divided we fall.”

“I want you, Jean, please not to be a goose,” Olive pleaded.

Gay laughter rang out in response. “I knew, Olive, from the first that
you were going to ask me something I could not grant,” Jean returned
plaintively. “Has any one in this world ever heard of a goose who chose
to be one?”

Her listeners could not help smiling, but Olive’s mood was too intense
for interruption. Without allowing Jean another opportunity for a
moment’s speech she began her request, imploring her to join the Theta
Society at once and not to put it off a day longer than necessary. “For
how, dear, can you do me the least good by not belonging when the girls
want you so much and when if you don’t you may lose your chance at the
Junior election,” she ended.

“And who, Olive, has been telling you that I am not already a member of
the Theta Society and that my chance for the presidency will be
influenced if I am not?” Jean inquired angrily, although she did not
glance toward any one for her answer save Olive.

But Gerry Ferrows was not in the least a coward, neither did she feel in
any sense a traitor either to Jean or to Olive, so now she moved quietly

“I told Olive, Jean,” she answered, “and you may be angry with me, but I
have no intention of playing a sneak. For the life of me I cannot see
how it will hurt Olive for you to join the Thetas without her and it
will hurt you very much in your election if you don’t. Olive is not
going to be invited to become a member if you stay out and you may lose
the class presidency if you are so obstinate.”

Olive turned to Jessica Hunt. “Won’t you please tell Jean that Gerry is
perfectly right and that there is no other way of looking at this
matter?” she entreated. “She will just break my heart if she does not,
and I can’t see a bit of sense in her position.”

“I can,” Jessica answered briefly, “but I would rather not say anything
at all until I have heard just how Jean feels about this whole

A grateful look was flashed at her, but Jean moved first toward Gerry.

“I am awfully sorry I was cross, Gerry,” she murmured, “because of
course I know you are being good as gold to me and only acting for what
you believe to be my good, but I don’t think either you or Olive in the
least understand my position. I am not staying out of the Theta Society
for Olive’s sake; I am staying out for my own.”

“But that can’t be possible,” both the other girls urged.

“Gerry Ferrows,” Jean said, “I want you to do me a favor. I want you to
think quietly of what your opinion of another girl would be (leaving me
out of the case entirely) if that girl should win out in a big matter
like a class election by turning her back on her best friend and more
than her friend, her almost sister. And you, Olive, suppose you had no
part in this business at all, or suppose you and I had changed places,
what would you think of a girl who would say to another group of girls,
‘Yes, thank you, I am very grateful indeed to you for permitting me to
enjoy your superior society, even if you do think the people whom I love
and who belong to my family are not worthy of association with you?’ I,
of course, am humbly delighted to be a renegade and a traitor if you
will just let me play with you.” And Jean’s brown eyes were flashing and
her face was pale, yet she laughed a little at her own fierceness.

“Oh, I won’t pretend that I didn’t think at first of doing just this
thing that you girls are begging me to do,” she went on, “and I argued
it all out in my own mind that I wouldn’t hurt Olive by joining the
Theta’s, but I never could persuade myself that such an action would not
hurt me. See here, dear,” and Jean’s usually merry lips were trembling
as she spoke again directly to Olive. “How could it injure you for me to
forget our friendship and happy years together at the ranch, for
wouldn’t you still be true and loyal and devoted to me? But poor little
me, and what would I be? Wouldn’t I have to live with myself day time
and night time knowing exactly what kind of a wretch I was? No, sir-ee,”
and here Jean struck a highly dramatic attitude, pretending to slip her
fingers inside an imaginary coat. “In the words of that famous
gentleman, whether Henry Clay, or Patrick Henry, or Daniel Webster, I
can’t remember, ‘I would rather be right than President!’”

“Bravo, Jean,” called Jessica’s voice from the doorway, “I take off my
hat to you! Gerry, Olive, please don’t argue this question any further
with Jean, for she has just said something that we all know to be a
fact: ‘To thine own self be true. Thou canst not then be false to any

Gerry cleared her throat, pulling at her short hair rather like an
embarrassed boy than a clever girl of seventeen. “All right, Jean,” she
conceded; “maybe you are right, and of course you are if you feel as you
say you do, so I shall not try to make you change your opinion.”

But Olive, equally miserable and unconvinced, standing alone in the
center of the room, said to Jean, “You are dreadfully good, but I don’t
care what you say, I simply can’t allow you to sacrifice yourself in the
way you are doing for me. I must find out how to prevent it and I warn
you now that I shall write to Jack and have her ask you to change your

Jean only laughed. “It would be so like old Jack to ask a fellow to be a
poor sport,” she teased, “but for goodness sake don’t let us talk about
this tedious subject any longer and do let us put the kettle on and all
take tea, for I have talked so much I am nearly dying of thirst.”

Around a small table the four girls placed themselves, the ranch girls
getting out their tins of cakes and chocolates kept for just such
occasions, and nothing more of a serious character was said until they
were all comfortably sipping their tea. And then Jean turned to Olive.

“Look here, Olive, I want to ask Gerry a question, if it won’t hurt your
feelings too much, and while Miss Hunt is here with us it seems to me
the best time to ask it. Gerry, of course we have known for some time
that there has been some gossip about Olive going the rounds of the
school, but we have never known who started it nor just what the story
is. Would you mind telling us?”

Instead of answering Gerry hesitated, her homely, kindly face showing
nervousness and discomfort.

“Is the story just that Olive does not know who her parents are and that
we ranch girls found her several years ago with an Indian woman and that
she may be of part Indian blood?” Jean continued inexorably.

Gerry nodded her head. “Yes, and the story came originally through the
Harmons, I believe, though they meant no harm.”

“Is that all the tale or has anything else been added?” her questioner
continued. And Gerry answered with her eyes on her saucer, “Yes, that is

“Then please tell every girl at Primrose Hall that what they have heard
is perfectly true,” Jean blazed, although she was trying to speak
calmly. “I can see now that we have made a mistake; it would have been
better if we had been perfectly candid about Olive’s past from the
first. There never has been a minute when we would have minded telling
it, if any one of the girls had come and asked us, but lately I have
thought that some extra story must have been hatched up about poor Olive
and joined to the true one, for I simply couldn’t believe that any human
beings could be so horrid and so stupid as the Primrose Hall girls have
been to Olive, unless they had been told something perfectly dreadful
about her. Well, I don’t think I care a snap about being class president
of such a set of girls,” Jean added impolitely, forgetting one of her
guests. “Olive Ralston, I don’t believe you are any more an Indian than
I am, but I want to say just this one more thing and then I positively
promise to stop talking: For my part I would rather have good red Indian
blood in my veins than the kind of thin white blood that must run in the
veins of such a horrid set of snobs. Gerry, dear, I do beg your pardon
and of course I don’t mean you, but if I hadn’t been allowed to speak
this out loud, I should certainly have exploded.”

Gerry’s head dropped. “Well, perhaps I have belonged to the snobs, too,
Jean,” she answered truthfully, “but if Olive will forgive me and make
up, perhaps some day we may be friends.”

Slowly the sitting-room door now opened and a languid figure, clothed in
a marvelous dressing gown of pale blue silk and lace, with yellow hair
piled high on its head, entered the room. “What on earth is Jean
preaching about?” the voice of no other person than the youngest Miss
Ralston inquired. “I have just been across the hall with Mollie and Lucy
Johnson and I declare she has been talking steadily for an hour.”

Jessica Hunt made some laughing explanation, but Olive and Jean could
only stare in amazement at Frieda. Where on earth had she gotten so
marvelous a kimono? It really looked like a stage affair. But at this
instant, beholding the violets, Frieda, forgetting her grown-up manner
for a moment, jumped at them. “Aren’t they too beau-ti-ful?” she said
like the small girl who once had taken care of her own violet beds at
The Rainbow Lodge.

The truth of the matter was that Frieda Ralston would have been somewhat
happier and certainly a great deal better off in many respects could she
now have turned back the pages of her existence for a few months and
been again that same little yellow-haired girl who was the beloved of
every man, woman and child within the thousand acres of the Rainbow
Ranch, for Frieda had lately been getting into a kind of mischief that
is of a serious nature, whether practiced by a young girl or by very
much older persons. She had been spending far too much money.

After the trip to New York and the purchase of the blue silk gown and
velvet coat a number of weeks before, the desire for beautiful clothes
awoke in Frieda. Remember that she was only a Western ranch girl and had
never dreamed of such splendors as the New York shops afforded, neither
did she have any very clear idea of the real value of money. Because
gold had been discovered on their ranch and because Jack was sending her
fifty dollars as pin money each month, Frieda considered that their
wealth must be fabulous and so she had contracted the very dangerous
habit of buying whatever she wished without considering the cost, and
the way she managed to do this was by making bills!

Earlier in the season, when the girls had found it difficult to go into
town for every little purchase it became necessary for them to make,
Ruth had opened a charge account for the three ranch girls at one of the
best of the New York shops, but the bills were expected to be sent to
the girls and to be paid out of their allowances. Jean and Olive had
made only a few necessary purchases, but though no one else knew of it,
Frieda had lately been buying with utter recklessness.

Indeed, the gorgeous kimono which had just electrified the other two
ranch girls was only one of a number of articles that had arrived that
very afternoon and been delivered in the care of Mollie Johnson. Hanging
up in Mollie’s closet at the same instant was an equally charming
garment, almost of the same kind as Frieda’s, save that it was pink and
but lately presented by Frieda to her best friend.

So it would appear that even though Frieda might be keeping the letter
of the law in not speaking of their wealth at Primrose Hall, she was
certainly not obeying it in spirit, and indeed she had broken her
promise altogether on the afternoon when she and Mollie had been alone
together, while Olive and Jean were drinking tea at “The Towers.”

Not that she had meant to do this when Mollie came in; far from it. The
story had just leaked out quite innocently at first. For Frieda
naturally began the conversation with her friend by telling her that
Jean and Olive had gone to tea with the Harmons, and then that they had
learned to know the Harmons because they had rented their ranch to them
the summer before. From the ranch the speaker traveled very naturally to
the Yellowstone and the story of Jack, told many times before, and
coming back again to the ranch ended with Mr. Harmon’s effort to buy the
Rainbow Mine.

When this word “mine” popped out, Frieda had stopped suddenly, but it
was soul satisfying to observe how her friend Mollie’s eyes had grown
wider and bigger with admiration and surprise at her words. “Why, Frieda
Ralston,” Mollie had reproached at once, “you don’t mean to tell me that
you are an heiress as well as everything else that is interesting! Why,
you have let me think that you were poor before, though I have wondered
sometimes about the lovely things you have been buying. Do please tell
me whether your mine is copper or silver or pure gold?”

To Frieda’s credit it must be stated that when Mollie thus began her
very natural investigation of her story, she felt at once both sorry and
frightened. “It is a secret, Mollie,” she began; “that is, I don’t see
any sense in its being, but I have promised Jack and Jean and Ruth Drew
not to talk about our money at Primrose Hall, since we would rather have
our friends just know us as ranch girls, but we really have a gold mine.
Do you see why I shouldn’t talk about it?”

Earnestly Mollie shook her head.

“Well, I suppose I shouldn’t, so long as I have promised,” Frieda
conceded; “but now I have told you of it without meaning to, I am glad,
for I do just want to talk about it with somebody and you are my dearest
friend and I wish you to know everything about me.”

Frieda might have said that she wished Mollie to know all the nice
things about her, for it really is not our faults that we long to pour
into the ears of our friends.

The invalid, who had been stretched on the couch with a bad cold for the
past hour or so, now curled her feet up under her and rested her chin on
her hands. “Want me to tell you every single thing about our mine?” she
demanded. “It is quite like a fairy story.”

And of course there is nobody in the world (and certainly not Mollie
Johnson) who does not like to hear of the finding of a mine.

“Cross your heart and body that you’ll never betray me; say you wish you
may die if you do,” Frieda abjured. And promising everything and making
all the mystic signs necessary to eternal secrecy, Mollie then had
listened to the unfolding of the fairy tale.

Frieda had not really intended to make her story a fairy tale, but she
had no more idea of how much money the Rainbow Mine produced than a
baby, and of course with the telling of her tale the size of the nuggets
that Jim was getting out of the mine each week naturally grew.

“You see,” Frieda explained, warming with her subject, “we simply don’t
know how rich we are. Jim, our overseer at the ranch, who now looks
after our mine, says you never can tell at first how much a mine may
yield. Perhaps we may be millionaires some day.”

The word millionaire was an entirely new one in Frieda’s vocabulary,
which she had learned since coming to Primrose Hall, but certainly it
had a magnificent sound and made Mollie blink.

“It sounds just too wonderful,” the little Southern girl sighed, “and I
do declare, Frieda, that if I didn’t love you more than most anybody I
should feel envious. We aren’t rich a bit; my father is just a lawyer in
Richmond and while we have a pretty house and all that, why we have some
other brothers and sisters, and father says all he can afford to do is
to let Lucy and me have two years apiece at Primrose Hall. He can’t give
us money for the wonderful clothes you buy. Won’t I be proud if you can
make me a visit in the Christmas holidays to show you and your lovely
things to my friends!” And Mollie began twisting into curls the ends of
her Frieda’s yellow braids and looking up at her with an even increased

Such a rush of recklessness and affection then seized hold on the
youngest Miss Ralston, that without even discussing the question with
Mollie, she immediately arose from her couch and rushing to her desk
indited a letter to a New York firm asking that the two kimonos be sent
her at once with slippers and stockings to match. For her beloved Mollie
was just too sweet and sympathetic for anything and quite unlike adopted
sisters and relations, who scolded and put on airs when one’s affairs
went a bit wrong. Frieda would have liked at the instant of writing her
letter to have poured all her wealth at her friend’s feet, but all that
she could do more was to invite her to come into town the next week to
be her guest at the matinee and lunch and to help her make a few more

For Frieda’s December bill had not yet arrived and her check had, and so
for the time being, like many another person, she felt fairly well off,
although her allowance for the past two months had melted away like wax
without her being able to pay back a single cent of the money to either
Jean or Olive, which they had advanced to help with her first
extravagance, the blue silk dress and velvet coat.

One of the subjects that a great many people discuss, with a good deal
more money at their disposal than Frieda had at present, is the way that
five-dollar bills have of disappearing in New York City. So by the time
Frieda had paid for three tickets to the matinee, as the girls were of
course compelled to bring a chaperon into town with them, and three
lunches at a fashionable restaurant, there was so little of her money
left out of her original amount that again she was obliged to do some
charging on her account, in order to get the few more things that she
and Mollie decided might be needed in case she paid the visit in
Richmond toward the close of December.

On the way back to Primrose Hall, however, seated on the train and
feeling a bit weary, Frieda wished that she had not spent this extra
money. Now she wouldn’t be able to pay her debts until January, and what
with Christmas coming, there would be so many presents for others that
she would wish to buy! So once Frieda sighed, but when Mollie, giving
her a hug, demanded to know what worried her, she would not say. For how
confess that money matters were worrying her but a few days after the
time when she had announced herself as an heiress? Of course Jack and
Ruth would see that she was supplied with extra money at Christmas time,
if they should consent to let her make the trip south, and out of this
amount she would certainly save enough to pay her bills, without having
to confess her extravagances. For Frieda knew that Jack and Ruth would
both be angry and ashamed of her for breaking her promise and for buying
things which she did not really need.

The day for the election of the president of the Junior Class had
arrived at last. Lessons were over at noon and from three o’clock until
six in the afternoon Jessica Hunt and Miss Sterne would remain in the
library at Primrose Hall watching over the ballot box. Immediately after
six the box would be opened, the ballots counted and the choice of the
Juniors announced.

For December had come with her white frosts and cold, brilliant days and
the fields about Primrose Hall were sere and brown. Now and then in the
past few weeks a light snow had fallen and the shore waters of the
Hudson River would then be trimmed with a fine fringe of ice. Once the
election was over the Primrose Hall students would be making plans for
the Christmas holidays, but until then nothing else, not even home and
family, appeared of so great importance.

Do not think because Gerry’s appeal to Olive to save Jean had gone
astray that she had given up the fight for her friend’s cause. Indeed,
like many another brave campaigner, she had only worked the harder,
rallying Jean’s friends closer around her, exhorting her enemies and
trying to persuade the girls on the fence that there was no real point
in their antagonism toward Olive. And in all the efforts Gerry had made
she had had an able lieutenant in Margaret Belknap, Jean’s other devoted

For herself Jean could do little electioneering, realizing that unless
her classmates desired her to represent them by reason of the character
she had already established among them, nothing she could do or say at
this late day should influence them. And Jean had also never wavered
from the attitude she had taken in regard to Olive on the afternoon of
their final discussion of the subject. She had not needed that her
resolution be strengthened, but if she had, letters from Ruth Drew and
Jack Ralston would certainly have accomplished it. For Olive, true to
her threat, had written them the entire situation, begging that Jean be
persuaded from the error of her ways. Instead of the reply she hoped
for, Ruth and Jack had both emphatically declared Jean’s position the
only possible one.

All the morning in the hours just before the election Jean had been
conscious that Olive’s eyes were fixed on her whenever their presence in
one of the class rooms made it possible. Her expression was so wistful
and apologetic that Jean began to care more for her own success on
Olive’s account than her own. So as soon as luncheon was over and three
o’clock had come around, slipping her arm through her adopted sister’s,
she drew her along the hall toward the library door.

“Come on, Olive, child, and cast your vote for me and then let us go
upstairs and stay hidden away until the election is over. Then Gerry and
Margaret will let us know the result. If I were a really high-minded
person I suppose I should now vote for my rival, Miss Graham, but as I
can’t bring myself up to that point, I’ll just slip in a piece of paper
for old Gerry.”

Ten minutes after this conversation Jean and Olive were in their own
sitting room for the entire afternoon, having placed a sign outside
announcing that no one could be admitted. Of course both ranch girls
were excited and nervous, but of the two Olive was plainly the more
affected, for while Jean talked and laughed in a perfectly natural
fashion, she was pale and silent and oftentimes on the verge of tears.

The day was cold and lovely and outside the sun shone on the bare
upturned branches of the trees and on the broad bosom of the earth.

“Silly child,” Jean began, arranging her paper and ink on the writing
table before one of their windows, “why should you behave as though the
question of my election was the only important thing in the world. On a
day like this I only feel desperately homesick for Jack and the old
ranch. What wouldn’t I give if we were all there to-day and just
starting out on a long, hard ride? Sometimes I am so desperate about
never seeing Jack that I don’t know what to do. I think I will write to
Jim and to Ralph Merrit this afternoon, for it will help to make the
time pass faster than anything else. I am afraid I have treated Ralph
rather badly, as I promised to write him often and have only written
twice. Then I want to ask Jim if he is really coming east to see how
Jack is getting on. I wonder if he will hate to see Ruth again or like
it? One never can tell about a person in love.”

Perhaps Jean’s thought of her old friends and affairs at the Rainbow
Ranch may have had a cheering influence upon her, for no sooner had she
put her pen to the paper than apparently all worry and suspense left her
and she scratched away rapidly and clearly for several hours.

But poor Olive found no such distraction or solace; indeed, she kept up
such a restless and unnecessary moving about the room that at any other
time Jean most certainly would Lave scolded. First she tried studying
her Shakespeare, since she was making a special effort to succeed in the
Shakespeare class, and before coming east to school had read only a few
plays with Ruth and the ranch girls in the big living room at the Lodge.
But not the most thrilling historic drama nor the most delightful comedy
by William Shakespeare could to-day take her mind from the one idea that
engrossed it. After half an hour of merely pretending to read, she flung
her book down on the floor, saying petulantly: “Tiresome stuff! I wonder
what ever made me think for an instant I could stand any chance of
getting the Shakespeare prize?”

Jean smiled. “Oh, I suppose, Olive, because Ruth and all of us thought
you had a lot of talent for reciting and acting and you dearly love to
read and study at most times. But why don’t you go out for a walk, you
can find Frieda somewhere around downstairs and make her go with you. I
don’t want to.”

“And I don’t want to either and won’t,” Olive answered with a good deal
more temper than usual with her, and flying into her own room, she
banged the door behind her. Rummaging about for some occupation, she
came across a piece of sewing which she had once started at the Lodge,
some white silk cut in the shape of a round cap to be covered over with
small white pearl beads.

Slipping back once more into the sitting room, Olive found a low stool
by the fire and there tried to see whether sewing would have a more
soothing influence upon her than reading for the two more hours that had
somehow to be disposed of. Yes, sewing on this occasion was more
distracting than reading, for very soon Olive’s fingers worked
automatically while her brain began to concern itself with interesting
and puzzling ideas. The many hours which she had spent alone at Primrose
Hall had not been wholly unprofitable—lonely hours need never be unless
we choose to make them so—but Olive perhaps had more to think of and to
ponder over than most girls of her age who have not led such eventful

After her afternoon call at “The Towers” and her conversation later with
Miss Winthrop, Olive had been reading all the books in the school
library that she could find, which might help her explain the curious
experience—confided to no one—through which she had passed that
afternoon. But it was not just this one experience that had puzzled and
worried Olive, for many strange fancies, impressions, memories, she knew
not what to call them, had been drifting into her mind since her first
sight of that white house on the hill on the morning after her arrival
at Tarry dale. The ideas had no special connection with anything that
was definite, but Olive was lately beginning to believe that she could
recall dim ideas and events having no connection with the years she had
spent in the Indian tent with old Laska. But why had these far-off
memories not assailed her in the two years at the Rainbow Ranch? Perhaps
then the recollection of Laska, of her son Josef, who had treated her
with such an odd mixture of respect and cruelty, of the Indian people
about her whom she had so disliked, had been too close, too omnipresent
in her mind. Had she needed to come far away from the West and its
associations to feel that she had come home? No, it was impossible, for
Olive felt sure that she had never been east before in her life.

Finally the clock struck five and then half-past and at last six.

Jean, some moments before, had ceased writing and now sat calmly folding
up her pile of letters, placing them in their respective envelopes. She
looked tired and perhaps a trifle pale but composed. At last she got up
from her chair and crossing the floor knelt down in front of Olive,
taking the piece of sewing from her cold fingers.

“Olive dear,” she said unexpectedly, “you are looking positively ill
from thinking of something or other and worrying over me. For both our
sakes I wish that Jack could be with us this afternoon just for the next
hour. I know I have not been elected the Junior president. I never have
really expected to be, but just as I sat there writing about half an
hour ago I knew I had not been. Now see here, Olive, I have been
thinking that I have been defeated for more than thirty minutes and yet
look at me! Do I look heartbroken or as if I were very deeply
disappointed?” And Jean smiled quietly and serenely at her companion.
“Promise me that when the girls come in in a few minutes to tell me I
have not been elected, that you will take things sensibly and not think
that you have had anything to do with my failure.”

Olive shook her head. “How can I promise such a thing, Jean, when I know
perfectly well it isn’t true,” she answered, vainly attempting to hide
the fact that she was trembling with excitement and that her ears were
strained forward to catch the first noise of footsteps coming toward
their door.

Sighing, Jean continued, “Oh, you silly child, what shall I say or do
with you? Don’t you know if the girls had really wanted me for president
nothing and no one could have stood in my way?”

The shove which Olive gave her, slight though it was, nearly made Jean
tumble backwards. “Why do you talk as though you knew positively you had
not been elected, Jean Bruce, when you really know absolutely nothing
about it. I am sorry I pushed you, but I thought I heard some one coming
down the hall.”

As Olive had gotten to her feet, Jean now arose also. No one had
appeared to interrupt them.

“I know by this time that I have not been elected,” Jean said, “because
it must now be some little time after six o’clock and Miss Sterne and
Jessica could never have taken so long a time as this to count the few
ballots of the Junior class.”

However, there was no doubt at this instant of noises out in the hall
approaching nearer and nearer the ranch girls’ sitting room.

It was Olive who rushed to the door and fairly tore it open, while Jean
waited calmly in the center of the room.

Outside were Gerry and Margaret Belknap, Frieda and Lucy and Mollie
Johnson, and one look at the five faces told the waiting girls the
truth. Coming in, Margaret flung her arms about Jean and Gerry took a
farm clasp of Olive’s hand.

“I never would have believed it in the world!” she exclaimed.