With a little shiver she opened Cousin Louisa’s letter. Suddenly her eyes flashed, the color glowed in her cheeks, and Madge dropped the note to the floor with a glad cry and ran out of the room.
On the door of her chums’ room was a sign, printed in large letters, which was usually observed by the school girls. The sign read: “Studying; No Admittance.” But to-day Madge paid no attention to it. She flung open the door and rushed in upon her three friends.
“Eleanor, Phyllis, Lillian,” she protested, “stop studying this very minute!” She seized Eleanor’s paper and pencil and closed Lillian Seldon’s ancient history with a bang. Phyllis Alden had just time to grasp her own notebook firmly with both hands before she exclaimed: “Madge Morton, whatever has happened to you? Have you gone entirely crazy?”
Madge laughed. “Almost!” she replied. “But just listen to me, and you will be nearly as crazy as I am.”
Madge had dark, auburn hair, which was curly and short, like a boy’s. To her deep regret her long braids had been cut off several years before, when she was recovering from an attack of typhoid fever, and now her hair was just long enough to tuck into a small knot on top of her head. But when Madge was excited, which was a frequent occurrence, this knot would break loose, and her curls would fly about, like the hair of one of Raphael’s cherubs. Madge had large, blue eyes, with long, dark lashes, and a short, straight nose, with just the tiniest tilt at the end of it. Although she was not vain, she was secretly proud of her row of even, white teeth.
Phyllis Alden was the daughter of a physician with a large family, who lived in Hartford, Connecticut. Phil was not as pretty as her three friends, and no one knew it better than Phyllis. She was small and dark, with irregular features. But she had large, black eyes, and a smile that illuminated her clever face. Put to the vote, Phyllis Alden had been declared to be the most popular girl in Miss Tolliver’s school, and Phyllis and Madge were friendly rivals in athletics.
Lillian Seldon was perhaps the prettiest of the four boarding school chums, if one preferred regular features to vivacity and charm. Lillian was of Madge’s age, a tall, slender, blonde girl, with two long plaits of sunny, light hair, a fair, delicate skin and blue eyes. She was the daughter of a Philadelphia lawyer and an only child. A number of her school companions thought her cold and proud, but her chums knew that when Lillian really cared for any one she was the most loyal friend in the world. Eleanor, who was the youngest of the four school friends, looked like the little, southern girl that she was. She had light brown hair and hazel eyes, and charming manners which made friends for her wherever she went.
The three girls now waited with their eyes fixed inquiringly on the fourth. They were not very much excited; they knew Madge only too well. She was either in the seventh heaven of bliss, or else in the depths of despair. Yet this time it did look as though Madge had more reason than usual for her excitement. Eleanor wondered how she could have changed so quickly from her recent disconsolate mood.