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In order to carry out their plans to “strike,” the dissatisfied ones decided they would tell all they knew about those who were held in high favor with the teachers. But in this they were forestalled by events unexpected.

Jean received a letter that seemed to crush her to the very earth. She would take no part in anything, but simply went through her routine work like one in a dream.

It was on this same day, very close to the closing exercises for the holiday term, that Tavia and Dorothy (the latter more despondent than ever about her father’s business), also received news that changed their despondency into gladness.

It was Dorothy’s letter from home. As she finished reading it she exclaimed:

“Tavia! whatever do you think? Mr. Armstrong—our Mr. Armstrong—is father’s lawyer!”

225 “Our Mr. Armstrong,” repeated Tavia, “you mean your Mr. Armstrong,” Tavia finished teasingly.

“Well, father says this case has taken a new turn. That Mr. Armstrong has discovered some flaws somewhere in the case of the other side. I could not understand just what they are, but, at any rate, it makes things look much brighter for father.”

“Good! May his brightness increase with the days,” replied Tavia. “Of course I knew it would come all right——”

“But it is not all right yet. It is only brightening up. But a ray of hope is a great thing, when one is really blue,” admitted Dorothy.

“Then Zada must have had several rays, for I never saw such a changed girl. She actually went skating with us yesterday. That child was creepy last Fall,” said Tavia.

Dorothy smiled when she thought of the reason for Zada’s improvement, but much as Tavia wanted to know the story of the lost picture, Dorothy could not dream of telling her of Zada’s confession.

“Father knows that we met Mr. Armstrong, and says he wishes to be remembered to us,” added Dorothy.

“He shall never be forgotten,” said Tavia. “If I really ever felt foolish enough to marry,226 I would advertise for a man like him. He is so real. And how he rode on the hand car! I call that inspiring!”

Dorothy smiled. The relation between riding on a hand car and inspiration seemed remote.

“Did they find out who took Jean’s purse?” asked Tavia. “I believe Jake said he would do so, and Jake usually does what he says.”

“Haven’t you heard? Is it possible I have any news that you have been deprived of?” said Dorothy. “Why, it was the husband of that fortune teller!”

“Whew!” whistled Tavia. “Bad as that! Jean had better be careful or they will get her inside that crystal ball.”

“But I do wonder how that woman ever told her the things she did? I know she told her about the torn letter,” said Dorothy.

Tavia laughed merrily. “Don’t you ever wonder how I strained my foot?” she questioned in answer.

“Well, yes, of course, but then you did not want to tell me,” Dorothy replied.

“I will, some day, but just now I want to tell you I had the best time I ever had in my life that night. But about your father. Dear Major Dale! How kind he always was to me, and I was such a problem to be kind to,” said Tavia gratefully.

227 “We always liked you, Tavia,” added Dorothy equally moved. “But about father. He says that Mr. Armstrong is a wonderful young lawyer.”

“All things come to her who waits,” put in Tavia. “Now I know what that chap’s business is. It was really worth while for the investment company to fail, to get me that news.”

“Don’t joke about so serious a matter,” objected Dorothy. “But you have no idea how much better I feel. I could sing and dance.”

“That’s Mr. Armstrong,” again teased Tavia. “He made me feel like that first—before I saw how you made him feel——”

“Now stop, Tavia,” begged Dorothy, blushing. “Mr. Armstrong has really proven himself a good friend. First he helped us so much the night we were traveling; then he came to my assistance at the lunch counter, and now he is assisting father.”

“You have overlooked the fact that he bound up the sprained arm—whose was it?”

“I wonder how he came to have a medicine case along?” reflected Dorothy.

“Likely feeling he would need it,” suggested Tavia. “That would be right in line with his other saintly characteristics.”

“No, I believe he was carrying it for some friend. However, we have our tests to-day. Oh, I am so glad this term is nearly finished. Not228 that I dislike the work so much, but everything has been so upset.”

“I am glad, too,” agreed Tavia. “I suppose you are going to North Birchland for the holidays?”

“Aunt Winnie may not be home, but, of course, the boys will be, and we always have Christm............
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