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CHAPTER XXXI A MEETING OF THE BOARD
“Jean is gone!”

It was Dorothy who gave this news to Tavia.

“Gone where?”

“Gone home!”

“So early?”

“Gone, not to come back? Poor Jean!”

“Don’t cry over it. Likely she was glad to get away from the work,” said Tavia, although she knew that something unexpected must have happened.

“She left a note for me and said I might read it to you,” Dorothy continued. “In fact she said she would be glad if I would tell all the girls that she—had done—foolish things—through jealousy. But, of course, I won’t. She seems to be heartbroken.”

A messenger appeared at the open door. It was the boy from the post-office, and he held in his hand a special delivery letter for Dorothy. This interrupted the story of Jean.

234 Dorothy opened it nervously. She had been hoping for good news that might come before the courts closed for the holidays.

Tavia watched her closely as she read. Then she saw the change in her expression, and there was scarcely need to tell her that the good news had come.

“Oh Tavia! It is all right! Father has recovered all his money! And—what do you think? It was Jean’s uncle who was at fault! He had committed a forgery, and was keeping the funds for his own use! That is why Jean left!”

Both girls were speechless with excitement after this startling information was realized. It was Dorothy who spoke first.

“I am so sorry for her,” she said. “Think, if it had been father who lost all!”

“But your father would not commit a forgery,” said Tavia, in her own way.

“Yes, but neither did Jean,” objected Dorothy.

“Well, at any rate, let us be glad,” insisted Tavia. “Here is the first act,” and she tried to do a tom-boyish somersault over Dorothy’s hat box.

Then there was a rush through the hall. It meant that the girls were coming to Room Nineteen. The rush continued until Dorothy was placed on the floor, and Cologne occupied her chair while Tavia had been, not too carefully,235 lifted to the top of the chiffonier, from which all things had previously been removed.

The “T’s” were there as well as the Glens, but Cologne was “spokesman.”

“We have come——” she began.

“You don’t say,” interrupted Tavia.

“For that you shall be gagged—if you do it again,” threatened Cologne.

Molly Richards, or Dick as we know her, fell off the upturned jardiniere upon which she had been vainly trying to balance herself.

“This is awful,” said the chairman, “and I may have to postpone——”

“Never!” came a shout. “We came for a full meeting of the board, and we demand it.”

“Then let the Tarters elsewhere speak first. They are our—visitors,” decided Cologne.

Cecilia Reynolds was not as merry as the others, but she had come to do her part, and was determined not to flinch.

“Well,” she began, “we feel we made a mistake in having a club opposed to the Glens.”

“Splendid feeling,” put in Tavia again. “Hurray!”

“And we did—some things—that now we see were not as funny—as we thought they might be,” went on Cecilia, with an effort. “We voted, at a meeting, to have Dorothy’s story of the lunch wagon published. We did not think it would236 amount to so much, and we decided that the smallest member—the one least to be suspected, should take the picture off Tavia’s bureau. Zada was the smallest.”

Tavia could not stand this. She jumped up, and although she was only joking now, since all things had turned out so well, she did throw a scrap basket at Cecilia. It hit another member of the Tarters, Nell Dean, and when the latter tossed it back it landed nicely over Tavia’s head, and extinguished her, for which all were thankful.

“Then Jean,” went on Cecilia, “thought we could get ahead of the older members, and we tried all sorts of tricks to do so.”

“We will not talk of those absent,” said Cologne, kindly. “Let us hear from the Glens. Tavia and Ned, where were you the night of the fortune telling racket?”

Tavia stretched out her hands in mock entreaty.

“Oh spare me!” she gasped. “Spare me the shame of my bare foot.............
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