Inez Wilson was endangering her life and limb “toeing” and each time she pirouetted on those toes, without the usual padding of the oriental shaped supports, a perfect flock of other dancers slid from danger of her avalanche.
“You’ll skid, Ina!” yelled Nellie Brocton. “Besides, this dance isn’t going to be for soloists,” and Nettie swung away with Janet, crooning and humming to the imaginary orchestra.
Judith came out from the lockers, a challenge now to the effects of her long swim. True, her hair was wispy, and every snap on her blouse had not joined its partner, but taking her all in all Judith Stearns “looked dandy” and said she felt just like that.
“I’m too lazy to run,” she told Jane, “besides, my shoe laces would trip me. I’m plenty warm and proof positive against getting cold. Sit down while I tie my shoes.”
“See Shirley and Sally practicing,” remarked Jane indifferently.
“I don’t want to!” retorted Judith. “Jane, I’m alarmed and I know your sinister motive. You have heard Teddy is coming to the dance!”
“No!” gasped Jane, unable to hide her surprise.
“There, I knew you would take it that way. But be warned! Teddy is to be my partner for as many dances as his sister can spare,” and Judith tucked a wad of shoestring in at her ankles as if the pocket were in a commodious knitting bag instead of a tennis shoe.
“I hope he’s fat and awkward and red headed and clumsy,” snapped Jane, tearing off the qualifications like coupons.
“And I know he’s tall and graceful and has chestnut hair,” fawned Judith. “I’ve loved Ted from the moment I saw how he curls his cross letters like a riding crop. That’s always a sign of originality and genius.” There was a hint of strut in Judith’s ordinarily graceful motion, and tiny drops of pool water flicked her eyelashes unnoticed. When Judith Stearns professed to “love a boy” she did so heroically, though he be myth or just an ordinary “full back.”
Jane made her way over to the dancers’ corner. Shirley was howling over her own failure at the Drop Step. She choked back her uproariousness as Jane came along.
“Can’t do it,” she confessed. “Guess I shall have to stick to ’One Steps.’”
“Every fault is an art at the big dance,” said Jane. “It’s the one chance we have to stand by our home towns; we all seem to dance so differently. But that’s very good, Shirley. I wouldn’t give it up if you really want to get it. There’s just a queer little knack this way.” She threw her arm around the novice and led her off. Judith had condescended to follow Jane up and was now talking to Sally.
For the length of the “arena” Jane and Shirley struggled along, chatting and smiling without restraint or self-consciousness. Girls “made eyes” in criticism, but none ventured to shape their criticism into words, for the rebel Shirley was doing pretty well in everything these days, and why should not a junior take her up if she wished to?