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CHAPTER XXIV JEAN AGAIN
A week passed, and Dorothy heard nothing further about her father’s business troubles. Tavia’s ankle mended, and she declared that she had never missed a foot so much in all her life.

The disgrace of Jean and her friends, in having been disciplined for their escapade, also vanished, and the ringleader was now as fearless as ever.

Occasionally Tavia would pat herself on her back, and say to Dorothy:

“You can’t imagine our luck! I will never get over it.”

But Dorothy knew no more than before what Tavia referred to, although she did suggest that Tavia might go up to the stable, and thank Jake for his part in her escape.

It was one rainy morning, when the girls would not reasonably think of venturing out of doors, that Jean fixed herself for the storm and started for the post-office. This meant that she had mail which she did not wish to go in with that of the school.

179 She rushed along and in the gully, as she took the shortest cut across the woods, she saw approaching her a woman—the fortune teller!

In spite of Jean’s hurry the woman overtook her, and, slouching up to the narrow path, demanded Jean to stop.

“I can’t,” Jean replied, “I have only a few minutes in which to get to the post-office.”

“But my business is more important than mailing a letter,” said the woman. “I know you—I know all about you, and if you do not pay me well with the money which you spend so easily on candy, I will expose you at your school!”

For a moment Jean was startled, then, recovering her presence of mind, she said:

“There is nothing that anyone can know of me that would injure my reputation. Let me pass!”

“No, my fine young lady; I will not let you pass until you give me a dollar out of that shiny purse,” sneered the woman. “Do you suppose I do not know enough to have you expelled from Glenwood?”

“I don’t care what you know,” exclaimed Jean with ill temper. “But if you detain me longer I will let the town officer know what sort of place you conduct. How did you know about me and my letter? How did you tell my fortune?”

“From my ball, of course,” said the woman. “How else could I tell? And I remember it.180 You are to be careful about the girl you hate. If you say one word against her, you will be the one who will suffer. Give me my dollar.”

Jean was now perplexed. Plainly if she did not humor the woman she would be late for class, and she could not well risk a second offence after that which had caused her so much indignity.

“Will you promise to tell me how you knew about that letter if I give you a dollar?” she asked.

“Yes, indeed, I will,” the woman answered.

Jean opened her purse, and handed out a dollar bill.

“Now tell me,” she demanded.

The fortune teller fingered the dollar greedily.

“I knew about it—because I saw it in my ball. Tell the other girls that and Shebad’s luck will turn.”

Jean scowled at her, but did not deign to answer. She ran on quickly to the post-office, but her mind went faster than her steps. Somehow, the woman held an influence over her. She could tell nothing of Dorothy Dale’s father’s business! What could it matter? What could happen if she did? Yet she feared to do so.

At the post-office she found, as she expected, a registered letter awaiting her. She signed the book nervously, and without opening the missive, raced back through the woods.

181 If only she could find out where Edna and Tavia were on the night of the fortune telling! And how had Tavia hurt her foot? Perhaps the fortune teller knew!

There she was—across the marsh. Jean would just run over and ask her. She glanced at her watch. Yes, she had fifteen minutes. Picking her steps through the damp woods Jean hurried to the woman who was sitting down, evidently nursing that dollar.

The old ............
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