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CHAPTER XXVIII THE ROADSIDE ROBBERY
Two whole weeks passed and Dorothy heard nothing but indefinite news from her father. The legal “hearing” had been postponed, he wrote, on account of some of the stockholders being away from the city. Just what “hearing” meant Dorothy did not know, but she did know that at least her father had not been deprived of his liberty.

Meanwhile Jean Faval became morose. All her defiance seemed to have turned into sulkiness, and except for Cecilia Reynolds, who was her very close friend, she scarcely noticed any of the girls.

Tavia she absolutely refused to speak to, much to the delight of the Dalton pupil, who said that was a positive evidence of guilt.

One afternoon, when Winter first showed its power, Jean again made her way to the post-office. She was thinking of what Mrs. Pangborn had said about the contents of the torn letter.209 She was thinking that, after all, it might have been as well for her to have paid no attention to that fortune teller, and to have told what she knew about the troubles of the Dales.

But the threat hung about her. She was somewhat superstitious, and, although she had only told it to Cecilia (who was so much a part of herself, that Jean denied to Mrs. Pangborn that she had told “anyone”), still now, that she had been blamed, and realizing that Dorothy still held her high place, a spirit of jealousy again made itself felt within Jean’s heart.

“If I could only find out how that old witch knew all she told me—if I could only induce her to tell,” Jean was thinking.

As was her custom, the fortune teller did not miss sight of anyone going to or from the post-office, and when she espied Jean she smiled sardonically.

“Now,” she muttered, “we will look for trade.”

Jean did not see her, as the fortune teller pulled her scarf over her head, and got into a position in the roadway where she might startle the girl as she passed along.

Two letters were in Jean’s hand—one of which she was reading with wrapt attention.

As she reached the white rock, the woman spoke, and as she expected, Jean gave a start.

210 “My dear,” began the imposter, “I have news for you. I have been waiting to see you for a whole week.”

“News for me?” repeated Jean.

“Yes. The other night, at the full of the moon, I took my crystal out, and asked the moon to tell who your enemies were. A flash came from the sky, and almost blinded me.” Here she stopped for effect. “But I can not give in to the planets. So I again asked.”

“What answer did you get?” inquired Jean.

“I saw the letters ‘T. T.,’” replied the woman.

“Tavia Travers!” exclaimed the foolish Jean aloud.

“And she is rather dark, roguish, full of mischief, but a dangerous enemy!” This last was said in the most dramatic way, and had the desired effect upon Jean.

“How could she do me harm?” asked the startled girl.

“In many ways. Already she has done you harm by——”

“By what?”

“I cannot tell you all this for nothing. Shebad has to live.”

So interested was the girl that she took out her purse, and handed the woman a silver quarter. The latter fingered it gleefully, and then looked deep into the girl’s dark eyes.

211 “You are anxious about something.” What news that is to any mortal! “But do not worry. Shebad will watch the ball, and when a danger comes she will let you know in time. The other girl—your best friend—she has short, thick hair” (this was Cecilia). “Why does she not come?”

“We are not allowed to visit your place,” replied Jean. “We would be expelled from school.”

“Bah!” sneered the woman. “That’s all because the white-haired woman wants all your money. She does not want an honest truth-seeker to live. For years she has threatened her girls. But they come, for they know Shebad tells the truth.”
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