“No,” said Jane flatly, “and what’s more I have no intention of trying to. You brought trouble on yourself by going into Dozia’s room without being invited. You should know that the younger girls, the freshmen, are not supposed to take such privileges. Then when you annoyed my friend” (Jane almost kissed the word) “she told you outright she was busy and did not want to be bothered. Next thing, you deliberately sat under her stepladder. Do you like to get in the open path of tack hammers?”
“Love to,” sneered Shirley. “And I’m crazy about playing ball with them when mirrors are up for back stops. All right, go ahead, as far as you like. I believe now what I heard about the Jane Alien crowd. A lot of goody goodies, too stuck up to bother with country girls.” Jane jumped from her seat and gasped at an interruption but did not succeed in sustaining it. “But I’ve got friends around here who know the ropes. They are not freshies either, so don’t bother about me, Miss Allen. I’ll see about the looking-glass and the girl who hit me with her hammer.”
Jane let her go, was actually glad to see the last of the satin skirt as it swished out into the winding path, nor did she immediately follow it. Instead she sat there, tearing little red rose hips from the tenacious vines and tossing them away regardless of their artistic value as decorative winter berries.
“Tragic,” she muttered, “positively tragic. And that is what my darling dad wasted a perfectly good scholarship on.” Thoughts of “dad” mercifully intervened and saved the girl’s temper further violence. “But what puzzles me is how that girl ever won the scholarship?” Jane silently questioned, and in that unspoken sentence she unconsciously shaped the key to fit the mystery.
How did this girl win the scholarship? For some moments longer Jane sat there. She went over again the incident of Dozia’s tack hammer. That she could depend absolutely on Dozia, and knew this strange girl had done more than sit in the path of the showering tack hammer was irrefutable.
“Dozia was a little bit reckless of course,” admitted the mentor, “and she did seem to coddle the fact that her hammer fell on Shirley’s head. I recall she even said she was glad it hit her and hoped the blow would send the freshie home to her ‘maw.’”
Jane wanted to laugh but she refrained. There was a strange proctor in office this year to be considered. If dear old Miss Weatherbee were still in charge it might be much easier to explain the accident.
“And that girl defied me with a threat of friends! She has friends who are not in the freshman ranks? I remember she said that. Who can they be? My enemies naturally,” decided Jane.
How these enemies would fill that foolish head with nonsense, and how far they might urge her on to mischief if not to actual danger, Jane Allen did not venture to estimate.
“But Dozia tried first shot to send her home to her ‘maw!’”