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HOME > Short Stories > Dorothy Dale's School Rivals > CHAPTER XV THE STORY OF RAVELINGS
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“This was how it was,” began Tavia, when, as she said, she and Dorothy were behind closed doors that were locked. “I heard a little lady with glasses on a stick, ask the postman if he had ever heard of a dog. I knew at once it was our dog, because she said she had come all the way from some place, because she fancied her pet had been lost out of her car, in a place on the road near here somewhere. Then I knew the whole story, and I waited until I got her outside. I told her I might be able to find the pup, but the person who had him loved him dearly. Then she fell on my neck, and it was all over. Of course I had to take Ned in on the kidnapping part, to help decide where the money would be left, and where and how the lady would get her Cyrus back. That’s how Ned happened. It all has gone off so splendidly, I feel quite qualified to go into the dog-snatching business,” and Tavia helped herself to one of Dorothy’s wafers.

114 “But Jake will surely find it out,” Dorothy insisted, “besides, it seems a shame to have him posting notices all over, when——”

“The best thing that ever happened to Jake,” interrupted Tavia. “I have heard it is the first time in ten years that he tried to write his name.”

“Tavia, you know poor Jake has always been kind to us, and I feel this is a shame.”

“Then I’ll write him an anonymous letter, and tell him his dog has gone home, and is much obliged for his attention, etc,” Tavia went on.

“You should have done it openly—told the lady where her dog was, and let her come and claim him——”

“And lose the five? Dorothy, you have no more business tact than a kitten. Now do let us change the subject. Be assured if I am hauled up for dog-kidnapping I’ll get out of it as gracefully as I got into it. Will you help me select Jake’s pipe? He’s quite particular I know, for he left his on the fence one night, and I heard—of course I cannot be sure of it—but I just heard, that he put a cross of red paint on the fence, to mark the spot where he found it.”

A knock at the door interrupted them. Dorothy opened the portal and faced one of the maids.

“Miss Dale,” she said timidly, “Jake’s outside, and wants to speak with you. He would not ask at the office, but got me to come in for him.”

115 “All right, Ellen, and thank you,” Dorothy said. “I’ll be out directly.”

“He’s on the west porch,” went on the maid. “Jake’s not himself since he lost that dog,” and with that remark echoing she went down the red carpeted halls.

“Now, Tavia,” demanded Dorothy, “I know it’s about the dog, and I feel I should tell him the truth.”

“You dare!” snapped Tavia. “Doro, let me tell him the truth,” she added, in a pleasanter tone.

“Oh, will you? Then do come along with me! You can wait off a little way, and I’ll let you know if you can help any. Really, of all our difficulties, I feel worse about this. It is so hard to deceive a good, honest man,” and Dorothy went out after the maid.

“Thanks,” said Tavia following. “I suppose it’s fun to fool foolish girls. Now let me show you the difference. I choose the good, honest men.”

It was plain that the girls would not agree. Tavia stopped in the wisteria corner, and Dorothy went on to the man standing near the steps.

“What is it, Jake?” she asked kindly.

He lifted his cap, and ran his fingers through his hair.

“I don’t know as I should trouble you, miss,”116 he said hesitatingly, “but I do feel that them girls know about my dog, and I’ve come to ask you if you—if you couldn’t get them to tell.”

This was a difficult situation for Dorothy. Why did those girls do the absurd thing?

“Jacob,” she began seriously, “if you knew that the real owner of the dog had him, would you be satisfied?”

He did not answer. His long brown fingers went over the balcony rail nervously.

“If I saw the owner have him, I would,” he said with a choke. “But there’s owners, and—thieves.”

“I am quite sure he was not stolen,” Dorothy ventur............
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