“Young ladies! Young ladies!” Miss Gifford was expostulating. “You promised to stay in your rooms tonight.”
“Oh, they are very good girls, Miss Gifford,” Jane attested, “and I can assure them that friend spook is a rank coward and has gone by way of a pulled rope. Any pulleys loose around this place?”
“No, we have looked for such things,” declared the matron. “But please, girls, go back to bed, and if anything else happens I promise to call you.” This was a rash promise for Miss Gifford to make, but she felt the urgency of getting those questioning heads back on their respective pillows and so was willing to make concessions.
“Come in my room,” she said aside to Jane and Judith, and they both followed her to the open door.
“That certainly is a noise made by someone who gets up to that attic,” insisted Jane without waiting for inquiries, “and I am sure the sounds are made by metal chains.”
“That’s the weird part of it,” interposed Judith.
“Why are chains more formidable than ropes?” asked Jane. “And in an old place like this is it would not be hard to pick up a chain or two, and you know, Judy, one old chain could make a fearful noise.”
“Yes—but—how does anyone get up there?” demanded Judith.
“That’s the mystery,” admitted the matron, who had insisted on the girls remaining while the students quieted down and were safe once more until daylight. “We have looked all over the place, of course, and have not been able to find any hidden way of making ascent to that attic.”
“Airship,” suggested Judith foolishly.
“See how quickly the noise ceased,” remarked Jane. “Someone recognized us, Judy, and has flown before our vengeance.”
“Be that as it may,” added Miss Gifford with a smile of assurance, “I am convinced this thing is being done out of jealousy or even revenge. You see, I am a new matron here, and when I came I put into execution such rules as I have been trained to follow. That made changes in our staff and a few dismissals. Such action is sure to stir up the wrath of someone, but even with that as a basis, and with all the detective skill I have been able to operate, I must confess I am baffled. This very minute our janitor would be found in his quarters over the stables, for I have phoned him there. And for the past week I have gone over the ground with him personally, he and his wife when they lock up. She is one of the day workers here,” explained Miss Gifford.
Jane felt urged to tell of the shadowy figure she and Dozia had seen creeping about the evergreens, but quickly decided the indefinite detail would add little actual explanation. Instead she said:
“We could do nothing in the dark, but just wait until daylight. I have to sleep, of course, we are getting ready for our midyear exams, but just wait until two-thirty tomorrow afternoon after logic. Then expect me over here with perhaps a shotgun if I can find such a weapon on the premises!”