The humor of the situation now struck Jane like a blow on the funny bone, and she burst out laughing in the very face of the thorny rose bush.
“After all it is too delicious!” she told herself. “And even if she is my dad’s scholarship girl there’s a heap of fun in the ridiculous situation. I’ll find Judy and tell her the whole thing. Too good to keep; too funny to spoil,” and the blue serge skirt that fanned the boxwood a moment later never swished a swish. Jane did not give it tune to do so.
JANE AND JUDITH
Oh, do tell me, Janie. I was watching behind the big elm the whole time. Couldn’t hear a word of course, but I could have seen any attempt at violence. That girl, I tell you, is no ordinary ‘critter.’ I fully expected she would draw something from that broad satin belt. But do tell? What was it all about?”
“Thank you for the chance, Judy, I was just wondering when you would take breath. It is funny—so funny I am laughing all over,” and the gray eyes sent out sparks of mirth, as a senior might have put it.
“Isn’t it!” howled Judith, pegging a pillow at Jane’s head to keep the fun a-going or the “pot a-boiling” as you will.
“I don’t know where to begin Judy. At first I was sort of awe-stricken. Considering the handicaps poor Shirley has loaded herself up with——”
“Including the name. Have you analyzed that?”
“Yes, love, I have. Some maiden aunt with a paper covered library must have inflicted her with that. It doesn’t suit at all, although she seems very proud of it.”
“And no chance of her growing into it either. Like a chauffeur named Claude or Clarence. Her last name now would be much snappier for her. Duncan makes a topping Dunny,” suggested Judith.
“But the girl would never believe that,” sighed Jane. “She asked me to call her Shirley and I tried to; now, Judith, listen. Here are a few difficult facts. Shirley Duncan is bound to fight. She has been brought up in the school of affectionate antagonism, and with her it is a case of getting the best of everyone and everything. I did not say getting the better, I mean best.”
“I savvy, as our old friend cow-boy Pedro would say. Have you heard from home lately, Dinks?”
“Yes, Judith. All well and lonely. But please concentrate. This matter is serious. Shirley threatened me with friends—says she has friends here who are not freshies. Can you guess who they may be?”
“Never saw a girl speak to her a second time unless she, Shirley, stepped on the other’s toes or knocked her hat off. Then the conversation was naturally brief and snappy. It happened to Mabel.”
“I can’t imagine whom she means, but they are somewhere ready to pounce on us, so let us beware. Next point is: she seems to have money: offered to pay for the broken mirror. In fact she sort of lorded it over me.”