“Not really?” contradicted the gray eyed Jane. “Worried, and on our very first lovely day? You surely wrong me!” she tried to get her arms around more girls than even finger tips might touch. “I’m simply bubbling with joy, as I should be. I was detained in the office longer than I wanted to stay, and you all know how mean it is to have to sit on one particular chair facing the desk while a lot of new girls ask a larger lot of foolish questions. Perhaps that made me a little cross, but do forgive me. I wouldn’t spoil this initial hour for worlds. Please tell me everything in one breath. I am just dying to hear.”
No one answered. Ted Guthrie did gurgle a bit, and Velma Sigsbee threw a handful of leaves in Nettie Brocton’s hair, but the pause was a riot. Why should Jane deceive them? Cross from delay in the busy office indeed, as if she would not have bolted out and left the whole room to the nervous new students! The girls looked from one to the other and finally Judith Stearns saved the situation by proposing that the juniors line up to help the seniors show newcomers about the grounds. On this day at least, class lines were forgotten at Wellington.
“We were just waiting for you Janie,” she declared adroitly, “and Mildred Manners has been whoo-hooing her lungs out across the campus. Come along girls, and see you don’t waylay all the millionaires. I hear every garage in the village is bursting with classy cars, and the livery stable can’t take another single boarder. Ted, you take Velma and Maud, and be careful not to divulge any club secrets; Janet, you tag along with Winifred and just gush to death over that timid little blonde who seems to have a whole bag full of hand made handkerchiefs for weeps. Jane, may I have the honor of your company?”
Judith’s black eyes looked into Jane’s gray orbs that asked and answered so many questions.
“Thanks, Judy,” said Jane aside. “You’re a dear. Let’s go and do the honors.”
The next moment Wellington grounds rang with shouts and laughter, and the voice of Jane Allen defied the criticism her pretty face had so lately invited.
“It’s perfectly all right,” she assured Judith, but the latter stuck her chin out in contradiction.
“Can’t fool me, Janie,” she whispered between handshakes and greetings. “But I’ll wait till the picnic winds up. Did you ever see so many new girls? Has some college burned down since last year?”
“No, love, but our reputation has gone forth. This is a glorious day for Wellington and, Judy Stearns, it is going to be a glorious year for us. We are still juniors!” and Jane trailed off to find her place in the long line that was automatically forming around the great old elm. An extension course in special work kept Jane with her junior friends.
“Wellington, dear Wellington!” rang out the then famous strain in hundreds of silvery voices. The college song was echoed from every hill into every grass lined hollow, and if the new girls doubted the spirit of comradeship they were to be favored with there, the consecration brought it home to them, like strong loving arms stretched out in the sea of school day mysteries.