OUT INTO THE WORLD

“There was a small kid called Jennie,
A millionaire with a penny;
But this her disgrace is
She blued it on laces,
And so all the rest hadn’t any!”

“But Joe _isn’t_ Jennie,” objected Bingo, as Gavin chanted the last
line of this lyric in a cheerful jigging sing-song, and a voice that
would have done credit to a cathedral choir.

“And Mums wanted me to get shoe-laces,” Joey added. “You see, these
haven’t any tags, and the ends are all frayed out.”

“What’s wrong with stiffening up the ends with Bingo’s play-wax?”
demanded Gavin the resourceful. “I never thought that _you’d_ come to
spending the one penny going on silly shoe-laces, when we have to go to
Luckie Jean’s odd-and-end shop, and might have bought bull’s-eyes, or
at least pear-drops.”

Joey cast a glance down at the very dilapidated laces securing her
shabby shoes. Her indifference to her own personal appearance was
supreme, but Mums had seemed worried about those shoe-laces, and it
was a point of honour in the Graham family to protect Mums from all
possible worries. All the same she agreed with Gavin: it was a waste
to be going all the way to Crumach and Luckie Jean’s odd-and-end shop
without so much as a penny to spend among the five of them–Gavin,
Ronnie, Kirsty, Bingo, and herself. She considered the question.

“But Joey isn’t Jennie!” objected Bingo once more with determination.
Bingo never left a question till he got an answer; even when Gavin
smacked his head for bothering, which happened now and then.
Father–the big, cheery father to whom the five had said their
last good-bye one chilly morning close on two years ago at Crumach
Station–had called Bingo “the little bull-pup,” because you couldn’t
make him let go.

Gavin knew that, and answered the objection. “Why, you little ass, Joey
won’t rhyme with anything, that’s all, and Jocelyn’s even worse. And of
course anyone can see who’s meant, because Joey’s the only one of us
who has so much as a brass farthing to bless herself with.”

“And she’s going to spend all her farthings on boot-laces,” observed
Bingo sorrowfully, and the corners of his mouth went down. Bingo was
only six; that was his excuse–and he was the only member of the Graham
family who had been known to cry for years. They hadn’t got a tear out
of Gavin when he fell off a hayrick and dislocated his shoulder, and
it was put back by the local bone-setter–a process which is far from
pleasant when unaccompanied by chloroform. Joey hastened to avert the
tragedy which might have disgraced the name of Graham if Bingo were
left in suspense too long.

“If you’re _sure_ that play-wax will fix up my lace-ends so that Mums
won’t worry, we’ll use the penny on anything you like,” she said.

Her words produced quite a sensation. Gavin patted her violently on the
back; Kirsty jumped three times into the air like a young chamois, with
a great display of long, thin, scratched legs–no one in those parts
ever saw anything like the way those Graham children grew!–and Bingo
hugged her ecstatically before burrowing in the pocket of his tiny
knickers for a small and grubby piece of yellow play-wax.

They all sat down on the high heathery moor to mend the laces there
and then. “Lots of time,” Gavin pronounced, consulting the gold
hunting-watch which Father had said his eldest boy was to have if he
never came back. “The postman never gets to Crumach till four, and it’s
not three.”

“But there may be soldiers come by the south train,” suggested Bingo.
“We’ll want some time to see them.”

“Heaps of time,” declared Gavin, pinching bits off the lump of
play-wax. “Only three miles from here to Crumach, and we can see the
soldiers after we’ve done Mums’ shopping and got the post, if we don’t
before.”

Joey looked up from her refractory laces, shaking her thick fair hair
out of her eyes.

“But _the_ letter might have come by the post, Gav. If it has, Mums
will want to know at once, won’t she?”

“‘Course. I’d forgotten that letter might have come,” Gavin answered
more soberly. “There, leave that lace to dry hard, old girl, and you’ll
have a topping tag. Did the minister expect it so soon?”

“He said he just thought it might come.”

“Will it come if you’ve failed to get the scholarship?” Kirsty asked.

Joey considered. “I don’t know, but I shouldn’t think they would write
to everybody to tell them that they’d failed. Mr. Craigie said there
were seven hundred and eighty-two candidates. Just think of all the
stamps!”

The family did think, with a gasp. When they thought at all about
money, it was as a thing which must be kept for boots and bread and
margarine–never as a thing that you could squander recklessly on
luxuries like stamps.

“No, I shouldn’t think there would be a letter if you’ve failed,”
Ronnie agreed sadly. He had a right to be serious, for he was, after
Joey, the person most immediately concerned with the all-important
letter, which it was remotely possible that the postman might bring to
Crumach to-day.

The five had always known that Father thought boys and girls should
share alike where education was concerned. Joey was to have her chance
at a big public school as well as Gavin and Ronnie, and Kirsty was to
follow when she was old enough, as surely as little Bingo. But before
Gavin had been two years at the preparatory, from which he was out to
win an Eton or Winchester scholarship, the news came to the pretty
house in Hertfordshire–a house which always seemed to strangers so
bewilderingly full of children, dogs and cats–that Major Graham had
fallen wounded into the hands of the Huns, during our last retreat in
the anxious spring of 1918, and had succumbed to the brutalities of a
prison camp in the land of Kultur. His private means had been sunk in
an Austrian oil-mine, and were gone beyond recall; he had insured his
life, and Mums was left to bring up five healthy, hungry children on
the insurance money and her pension–somehow.

Father owned a little square-built stone cottage in a tiny Highland
village, four miles north of Crumach. Living was comparatively cheap
at Calgarloch, and they had spent the last glorious leave there all
together. Mums and the family moved north, and in the rent-free cottage
held a council of war to review their resources. Joey could see that
picture now; Mums, very slight and fragile-looking in her widow’s
weeds, and the family sprawling about her, all long of leg and outgrown
as to clothes, but fiercely in readiness to fight any notion on Mums’
part that she might have managed for them better.

It was then Mums had explained that however economically the family
lived in Calgarloch it was only possible that one child could be
kept at school at a time. If–Mums stopped herself and substituted
“when”–Gavin won his scholarship, Joey could go to school. Ronnie
would have to wait until she left; Ronnie was nearly three years
younger, so waiting would be possible. Until Gavin fought his way out
into a public school the rest of the family must be content with the
village school.

“I’ll get that scholarship, Mums,” Gavin had promised, growing hot and
red; and he had kept his word. The name of Gavin Graham had headed the
list of Winchester scholars at the end of last term; and Joey’s chance
had come.

By that time the four younger Grahams had grown used to going daily to
the little village school, where the pupils at most numbered fifteen,
and the master taught “the Latin” with a strong Doric accent and an
absolute enthusiastic love of all learning, which could not help
communicating itself to the boys and girls in his care. He taught the
secular subjects untiringly, and the minister, Mr. Craigie, poured the
“Shorter Catechism,” and much else, into the children twice a week so
sternly, that it was at first quite a surprise to the Grahams to find
him the best of comrades and friends out of school.

It was during a thrilling expedition to the loch for fishing–Shorter
Catechism not so much as mentioned–that Joey confided in him to the
extent of asking if thirteen and tall for one’s age might stand a
chance as a pupil teacher at “a proper girls’ school.” “For if I didn’t
cost anything, Ronnie could go, and he’s over ten now, and would be
fearfully old by the time I’m seventeen,” she explained. “I suppose I
could teach the small kids like Kirsty, and I could always punch their
heads if they ragged in class.”

Joey never could think why Mr. Craigie should laugh so helplessly at
this suggestion; but he was very kind all the same, and said that he
would see what he could do. What he did was to talk things over with
the schoolmaster, and then to write a letter to:

MISS JEAN CRAIGIE,
Redlands College,
Lincolnshire.

A few days later he called on Mrs. Graham, accompanied by the
schoolmaster, and with the answer to that letter in his pocket.

Redlands offered a scholarship once in every four years to be competed
for by girls under fourteen; the scholarship provided four years free
at the great fen-country girls’ school, and forty pounds annually for
books and clothes! He wanted to enter Joey for the scholarship, though
the entrance examination loomed only six weeks ahead.

“She seldom remembers the Shorter Catechism, but the child has a
brain,” he said; “and what is more important, she has grit. I don’t
say that she can win the Redlands Scholarship, of which my sister, the
mathematical mistress there, writes full particulars, but I do say that
she might, although the competition will be enormous. Let her try.”

And Mums had thankfully said, “Yes.”

Joey worked early and late during those six weeks, in spite of
holiday-time for the rest of her world. She lived between the manse
and the schoolmaster’s, and the two clever men coached her untiringly.
And then the sealed papers came down (by special permission) to Mr.
Craigie; and for three days Joey, hot, inky, and anxious, was shut up
in the minister’s study, answering the terrible questions the examiners
had set. And then Mr. Craigie packed her sheets of foolscap off to
Redlands, and there was nothing left to do but to wait. She had been
waiting now for ten long days.

The postman did not come to Calgarloch. People fetched their letters,
when they expected any, from the little post office at Crumach; but the
Grahams thought that no hardship; a walk over the corner of the moor,
and across the lower shoulder of the hills that lay between Calgarloch
and Crumach, was always fun, especially if there were anything to spend
in the town. But to-day the comparative merits of bull’s-eyes and
pear-drops seemed unimportant; they were all thinking of the letter.

Ronnie dropped behind with Joey when the shoe-laces were finished with,
and the party ready to go on.

“If you get it, I could go to Christopher’s this term,” he said. “You
know Christopher told Mums there was the one vacancy, and he’d keep it
on the chance, because of Gav having done so well.”

“Yes, and if you got a Winchester Scholarship like Gav has, in three and
a half years, Kirsty would only be twelve just–heaps of time for coming
on to Redlands,” Joey remarked hopefully, and then, as a wave of doubt
swept over her:

“But I’ll never get it–out of seven hundred and eighty-two girls. I
went some awful howlers, I know.”

“P’r’aps the others did too,” suggested Ronnie.

“I’m afraid Mums will mind if I fail,” Joey said. “Of course she’ll
pretend she doesn’t, and say all she cares about is my trying–but she
won’t take us in with her dearness.”

“‘Course not; but you’ll have to let her think she does,” Ronnie
announced, from the depths of past experience, and then he and Joey
were silent while they plodded round the shoulder of the hill, and
dropped down into Crumach. Ahead Gavin could be heard gaily discoursing
to Kirsty and Bingo on the Homeric exploits of Winchester “men”; but
then it was different for Gavin. He had won his scholarship.

Either the shoe-laces had taken longer than the children had expected,
or the gold hunting-watch had not been entirely reliable, for it was
fully four o’clock when they turned at last into the main street of
Crumach. Gavin stopped and waited for the other two.

“The post’ll be in. We’d better go to Luckie Jean’s first, and get
Mums’ things after.”

As a matter of fact one got a good many of the “things” at Luckie
Jean’s, though Mums had a certain odd favouritism for the newly
established grocer at Pettalva, who sent a cart in twice a week to
Crumach and had biscuits that were really fresh. But the family plumped
to a man for Luckie Jean. True, the fingers with which she ladled
out your provisions were snuff-stained and not over-well acquainted
with soap and water; but the recesses of her shop were so dark and
mysterious, her goods so various and unexpected, and, best of all, her
stories were so thrilling that no ordinary shopman who drove a cart
could dream of comparing with her. The family trooped joyfully in a
body to Luckie Jean’s forthwith.

She had the post office, not so much on account of her competence, as
because hers was, at the time the postal authorities had decided to
open a branch at Crumach, the one and only shop there. Later, when a
polite gentleman from Pettalva, rendered desperate by complaints from
the English people who came up for the shooting, suggested politely to
Luckie Jean the advisability of putting the charge into the hands of
a younger woman, he thought himself fortunate to escape with his eyes
still intact in his head. Luckie Jean, half blind and wholly ignorant
as to all but local names and places, kept the post office; and English
visitors went on adding to the national revenue by writing unavailing
letters of bitter complaint.

It was this redoubtable old woman who looked up fiercely over her
horn-rimmed spectacles as the young Grahams trooped in a body into the
odd-and-end shop.

She was bending over the post-bag as it lay on the counter, sorting
the letters and papers into little heaps, and keeping up a vigorous
undercurrent of grumbling all the time.

“Na! na! You can’t come worrying for sweeties now. Be off, there’s
douce bairnies. I’m busy.”

“No hurry,” said Gavin politely. “We’ll wait.”

And he began to wander round the shop, hands in pockets, attended by
his constant adorers, Kirsty and Bingo. Joey stood staring at the
post-bag and the piles of letters, and Ronnie stood near her, breathing
hard. It was no use to interrupt Luckie Jean when she was busy with the
post-bag; it would probably mean ignominious expulsion with boxed ears,
for Luckie Jean in a temper was no respecter of persons.

“Hillo! The ‘Englishy’ cake full of currants is gone from the window.
You’ve had it there these three months–‘member how I brushed the dead
flies off last time we came, and cleaned it up?” Gavin remarked with
interest.

Luckie Jean happened to have just come to the end of a pile, so did not
fall upon him for interrupting.

“Ou ay. I selled yon to the Englishy gentleman, with the niminy-piminy
voice on him, that’s at the Widow Macintyre’s up the street for the
painting,” she answered, with a chuckle. “Fine she’ll recognise it,
will the widow; she having tried to pit me off with ane of the bonnets
she wore afore the deleterious trembles took her man, for payment when
yon cake was fair new. But her lodger he paid a good Englishy price for
it, and I don’t take nowt back.”

“He’ll have to be hungry before he gets through it,” Gavin opined; but
Luckie Jean had gone back to her letters and took no notice.

“Evelyn Bonham, _Esquire_,” she grumbled; “what for should it be the
Englishy way for to gi’ a manfolk the name of a wumman? And staying at
‘The Neste’ near Crumach. I’ve heard tel of Nests. Yon must wait till
I’ve cried on the tinker-body, as should be round in the tail of the
week; that body kens a’body’s business.”

“I think ‘The Neste’ is that jolly little new house under the hill; we
could leave it as we go back, Luckie, if you liked,” ventured Joey.

Luckie Jean looked up at her consideringly.

“You keeps your eyes in your head, bairn. Maybe I’ll trust you wi’ it,
but a postwoman must be gey particular, ye ken.”

“I know,” Joey agreed, in all good faith, though it was hard to
attend to ordinary remarks like that when one was just trembling with
eagerness to know what letters were for the house of Graham.

“You’ll mebbe like to take a bit of a look at they scrawly anes as
I’ve pit in the pile ower yonder?” inquired Luckie Jean, unbending
still more. “There’re what they ca’s ‘re-directed,’ but there’s not
mony writes plain for all their fine schuling, bairn. They anes ‘ull
likely need to wait till my niece comes from Pettalva, as have the
gey expensive spectacles…. Na, laddie, ye’ll not be distairbing the
postmistress at her duties. Bacon–you canna be needing more–you had
the half-pound Monday.”

The customer, a small bare-footed boy, clasping a coin tightly in his
hand, looked apprehensively at the postmistress. “But ma mither….”

“Be off, and tell your mither you’ve ate your half-pound far too
quick,” thundered the autocrat; but Gavin came to the rescue, stifling
a laugh.

“I say, mother, can’t _I_ weigh it out for the youngster? You showed me
how, ages ago.”

“Ou ay, ye’ll still be meddling,” growled Luckie Jean over her
post-bag, but she did not say no, and Gavin served her customer, and
put the money into the till in a very professional manner.

Joey in the meanwhile got to the pile of redirected letters, and soon
succeeded in sorting them, the writing in most cases hardly justifying
the severe criticism of the Crumach postmistress. Then, at last, she
ventured the question she had been burning to put all the time:

“Have you come on any for us yet?”

Luckie Jean, busied in making a final scoop all round the bag with her
long, thin arm, jerked her head in the direction of a little pile at
the end of the counter.

“There you be–twa or three letters, and a newspaper for your maw.
That’s aal.”

Five Grahams hurled themselves simultaneously on the little pile, while
Luckie Jean tied the rest up in lots according to their destination.
Gavin was there first; he looked and flung them down, one after another
in deep disappointment.

“The blue one–that’ll be from Cousin Greta–see the crest! The white
one with the small, screwgy writing–that’s from Uncle Stafford.
_That’s_ a bill, and this is a newspaper; nothing from Redlands, Joey!”

Joey bit back a little gulp of disappointment.

“I didn’t really think there would be,” she said. “Can we leave any
more letters for you on our way, Luckie Jean?”

“Ye’ll mind not to get playing and forgetting of them?” asked the
careful postmistress, and as she spoke she put a tied-together packet
into Joey’s hand. The string was insecurely fastened, and the eight or
nine letters came to the floor in a heap–all except one, the bottom
one, which stayed in Joey’s hand. Luckie Jean’s heading had been at
fault again, for this letter–mixed up with Sir Henry Martyn’s, and
Miss Martyn’s, and Captain Kingston’s–was directed quite distinctly to:

MISS JOCELYN GRAHAM,
Pilot Cottage,
Calgarloch,
Near Crumach, N.B.

Something seemed to catch at Joey’s throat, so that for a moment
speaking was quite difficult. She always remembered afterwards the
way things looked as she saw them then: the dusty, low-roofed shop,
with its dim recesses, where brooms and brushes and oil-casks lurked;
the choked windows with articles of food displayed; the open box of
coarse cottons and crochet wools; the flitches of bacon; the gay tins
of salmon; Gavin behind the counter; Luckie Jean closing the post-bag.
Then Joey swallowed hard and opened the letter. This is what she read:

“The Trustees of the Redlands Scholarship Fund have much pleasure in
informing Miss Jocelyn Graham that she obtained the largest number
of marks in the recent examination, and the Redlands Scholarship has
accordingly been awarded to her.

“She is therefore entitled to four years’ free residence and tuition
at Redlands College, and an annual grant of forty pounds for necessary
expenses.”

“I’ve … I’ve got it!” Joey said.

Everything about Joey was new–from top to toe, from hat to
boots–particularly boots. That knowledge was about the newest thing of
all.

She sat in her corner of the third-class compartment, looking
alternately from the window at the flying scenery of Scotland and then
down at those boots–strong, unpatched, with superior unknotted laces,
all quite new.

She was wearing the long, dark green uniform coat of Redlands and the
soft, green close-fitting hat, with a band of the same colour round the
crown and the school arms stamped in silver. Underneath she wore the
dark green serge “djibbah” with white flannel blouse and green tie.

These things had come for her from Redlands a week ago, with the bill,
which Mums had paid out of that amazing cheque for forty pounds–a
cheque which Joey had been proud to endorse under the envious eyes of
her brothers and sister.

The cheque carried with it an amazing sense of wealth, so it had been a
blow when Mums firmly refused to allow one penny of it to be spent on
anything but boots and clothes for Joey herself. However, Mr. Craigie
(after some careful calculations of which the family knew nothing)
produced ten shillings as a parting tip on the day the family were
going _en masse_ to Pettalva to choose Joey’s boots.

That was a great day for Joey Graham, aged thirteen years and three
months, for Mr. Craigie’s gift was hampered by no restrictions. She
proudly stood lunch to all the rest, _and_ tipped the waiter–a seedy
gentleman with a good deal of limp and dingy shirt-front, who was
nevertheless an adept at putting cruets, Worcester sauce bottles, etc.,
over the stains on the tablecloth of the little back-street restaurant
where they partook largely of sausages and mashed potatoes, limp
pastry and ginger-wine, with Joey hospitably urging them on to further
efforts. Even Gavin the Winchester “man” was no greater in the eyes of
his family that day!

There had been very little time for inconvenient thoughts of possible
home-sickness to obtrude themselves during those bustling days of
preparation. Of course it would be strange to have two days’ journey
between herself and Mums and the rest, Joey knew; but people who have
won a scholarship don’t go in for being home-sick. Besides, there
would be Miss Craigie, Mr. Craigie’s sister–mathematical mistress at
Redlands and a ready-made friend, Joey was comfortably sure.

So she made her own final preparations very cheerfully, and helped
Mums–rather stickily–with the getting ready of Ronnie’s shirts and
stockings for his plunge a week later into Gavin’s old preparatory; and
said good-bye and thank you to the schoolmaster and to Effie and Ailie,
the sawmiller’s twin girls, who sat next her in class; and to Luckie
Jean, who unbent to an extraordinary degree and presented a whole bag
of “sweeties” at parting; and was finally seen off at Crumach by the
entire family, with an old military portmanteau that had been Father’s,
and a bewildering quantity of new clothes in it.

Mums went with her to the junction at Pettalva; from there she was to
travel in the care of the guard to Edinburgh, where Miss Craigie would
meet her and take her down to Redlands next day.

Mums and Joey both found a tendency to leave little gaps in the
conversation, as the roofs of Pettalva began to come in sight.

“I shall try to find someone who is going the whole way to Edinburgh,
darling,” Mums said, after one of those gaps. “Then I shall feel quite
happy about you.”

“I’ll be all right anyway,” Joey said determinedly.

“Yes, my Joey, I know you will; but everything, including the
travelling, will be a little–new.”

“I know Mums. Don’t you worry; _I_ shan’t,” Joey persisted, though
the roofs of Pettalva were rather blurred just then. “I know it will
be new, but I’m going to like Redlands awfully, and write you reams
of letters, so you won’t be dull–and–and”–Joey swallowed a lump in
her throat–“there won’t be such a heap of stockings for you to mend,
anyhow.”

They two were alone in the compartment; Mums caught Joey in her
arms and held on to her tight. “Oh, my Joey, I _like_ mending the
stockings!” she cried, with a little sob in her voice, and then she
tried to laugh.

“But I am going to love your letters, darling, and live in the
interesting new world with you. Shan’t we watch for the post, Kirsty
and Bingo and I, and always be making excuses to go to the odd-and-end
shop?”

Mums put away her handkerchief, and went on more in her ordinary voice:

“None of us have ever seen the fen country; you’ll have to tell us all
about it. And Cousin Greta said something about asking you out on a
Sunday, now and then, and she has all kinds of beautiful things at her
house that you will enjoy seeing.”

Joey looked doubtful. Cousin Greta’s infrequent calls at the old home
had generally ended in disgrace for at least one member of the family.
For Cousin Greta made no secret of the fact that she considered all
the children a hopeless set of little raggamuffins, and somebody was
certain to live down to her ideas. Lady Greta Sturt was Father’s cousin
and always spoke of the children as his only, though she put their
faults down to poor Mums. She brought them the best chocolates when
she came–such chocolates as were a rare and unaccustomed luxury even
before the War–but the Grahams were not to be bought by chocolates,
though it must be owned that they ate them with great speed and
enjoyment. Joey wasn’t sure that to be asked out by Cousin Greta would
add to the joy of Redlands.

“You will be nice to her if she should ask you,” Mums went on, in her
soft, pleading voice. “She was very fond of Father and did a great many
kind things for him when he was little, he always said.”

“She’s probably gone off, like Luckie Jean’s Englishy cakes do,” Joey
said solemnly; but added, for Mums’ comfort:

“Don’t worry, Mums. I’ll be as nice as I know how, and most likely she
won’t want me again after she’s seen me once.”

Mums smiled, and then the train stopped at Pettalva Junction, and the
bustle of changing began.

Mums found a lady going all the way to Edinburgh–a cheerful,
capable-looking personage who breezily undertook to see Joey safely
into the hands of Miss Craigie at the Waverley Station. Then Mums
bought Joey buns and two apples and a magazine, and reminded her of the
packet of sandwiches in her pocket and kissed her silently; and Joey
said, “Don’t mind, Mums; I’m going to _like_ it.”

And then the train slid out of the station and Joey was off to the new
world, and Mums was left behind.

That was the beginning of the long day’s travelling down through
Scotland, and now she was almost at Edinburgh, and the end. In a few
minutes Miss Craigie would meet her–Miss Craigie, whom Joey saw as
a replica of her brother, only in a coat and skirt–and she would be
hearing all about Redlands, and learning what a new girl ought to
know. Joey remembered from school stories that new girls need a lot of
watching if they are not to begin their school career with unforgivable
blunders. She was very thankful that she was going to travel with Miss
Craigie.

She was also rather thankful that this day’s journey was nearly over.
She seemed to have sat still for such a long, long time. Mrs. Tresham
had broken it a little for herself by going to the restaurant-car for
lunch; but though she had pressed Joey most kindly to come with her
as her guest, explaining that she hated meals alone, Joey stuck to it
firmly that she preferred sandwiches, having her own private supply of
family pride. She ate her sandwiches–potted shrimp and margarine–and
the buns and the apples in solitude; they didn’t take long–nothing
like as long as Mrs. Tresham’s lunch did.

The afternoon was very long, but tea-time came at last, and she had
been told to have tea in the restaurant-car. She and Mrs. Tresham had
it together, at a little table, fixed firmly to the floor; and there
was hot, buttered toast and a sort of mongrel jam, and you had to pour
the tea carefully because of the lurches of the train. Joey enjoyed
that meal, and it was five o’clock by the time it was finished, and she
and Mrs. Tresham had reeled back along the swaying corridor to their
own compartment; and at six they were due at Edinburgh.

Joey tidied herself up and washed her hands even before the Forth
Bridge was reached; she was so anxious to be ready in good time. And
that wonderful engineering feat was crossed–with a certain thrilling
and delightful sense of insecurity about the crossing–and Corstorphine
Hill was passed, and the train was slipping into the Waverley Station.
Edinburgh at last!

Joey was in the corridor in a second, looking for Miss Craigie. Of
course it was not wonderful that she did not see her at once; the
station was so big and the people so many. But even when she had got
out, accompanied by the small suit-case containing her night-things,
and by her new umbrella, and had stood quite a long time waiting and
tiptoeing by the door of the compartment while Mrs. Tresham claimed the
luggage for them both, still there was no sign of anyone who looked
like Mr. Craigie’s sister.

A stout, elderly woman stood at a little distance among the
fast-thinning crowd surveying her unblinkingly, but Joey was sure that
_could not_ be Miss Craigie. Just as Mrs. Tresham came back with the
luggage and a porter, this personage moved forward and spoke to Joey
with distinct caution. “I’m thinking you might be perhaps Miss Jocelyn
Graham?”

“Yes, I am,” Joey confessed, staring.

The stout woman became less cautious, and more communicative.

“As am own husband’s cousin to Maggie M’Tulloch, and when she telled me
of Miss Craigie being down, puir body, wi’ the influenzy, and the young
leddy not to gang near the hoose for fear o’ carrying the infection to
her braw new schule….”

“Oh, is Miss Craigie ill? I _am_ sorry,” Joey cried out.

“The temperature being one hundred and four, forbye some points up
which I canna mind exactly, I’m douting she’s for the pewmonia, and
twa in the next hoose abune lying deed of the same,” the stout woman
mentioned, with a certain gloomy satisfaction that puzzled Joey. “And
says I to Maggie M’Tulloch, ‘I’ll take the young leddy,’ says I, ‘and
what o’wer chances _she’ll_ not tak’ the infection awa’ wi’ her.'”

“Thank you; that’s awfully kind,” Joey said politely, though
mournfully. She explained to Mrs. Tresham, who looked somewhat
mystified by the flood of broad Scotch.

“You poor child, I should like to take you with me to my hotel for
to-night, but I suppose I hardly could, as I am staying with a friend
there. But I don’t like this for you. Have you authority from Miss
Craigie?” she asked suddenly, turning to Maggie M’Tulloch’s “own
cousin” as though she rather hoped for a negative answer.

But there was no escape. Maggie M’Tulloch’s kinswoman dived promptly
into a black knitted bag that she carried and produced a sheet of
paper, scrawled in pencil:

“I am so sorry, but I may not see you, Joey. Mrs. Nicol will take
care of you, and put you into your train to-morrow. Good luck.

“JEAN CRAIGIE.”

There was no help for it. Joey shook hands with kind Mrs. Tresham and
thanked her, and walked off beside Mrs. Nicol in the wake of a huge
outside porter, who wheeled her trunk on a barrow. They came up into
the width and glare of Princes Street, crossed it, turned up a narrower
street running at right angles to it, went half-way down, still
following the porter, and turned into another narrower still, where
narrow “wynds” or thread-like passages showed between the immensely
tall old houses. In this street Mrs. Nicol stopped at last, produced
a latch-key, and opened the door into a hall made dimly visible by a
glimmer only of gas.

“Ye’ll be pleased to mount, miss,” she said unsmilingly.

Joey mounted four flights of stairs, all covered with slippery
linoleum, till she landed at last in a room which looked as though no
one could ever have laughed in it from the time the house was built.
Four wooden waiting-room chairs stood against the mustard-coloured
walls; a square table covered with a mottled brown cloth stood exactly
in the centre. A cheap, crudely coloured print of “The last sleep of
Argyle” above the chimney-piece was the sole attempt at ornament,
unless one counted the dim cruets which occupied, for the want of a
side-board, the centre of the dingy and once white-painted mantelpiece.
The room was at once cold and stuffy.

“Ye’ll be taking your supper here, miss, and then ye shall gang to
your bed,” Mrs. Nicol informed her, and Joey, seeing nothing whatever
to stay up for, agreed meekly. It was not the evening she had pictured
to herself, but she must make the best of it. She wrote a pencil post
card to Mums, while Mrs. Nicol laid the table and set before her a
rather gristly chop, in which she mentioned that the journey had been
“all right” and she herself was “all right” too. It seemed better not
to mention Miss Craigie’s illness, and this rather desolate reception,
when she happened to be one of those five children who had promised
father to “take care of Mums.”

“She’ll be there, I suppose?”

“Why should she, you mugwump? A scholarship kid won’t have an entrance
exam like an ordinary new girl.”

“I wish to goodness the Redlands trustees had never thought of the
old scholarship idea,” grumbled a third voice. “Mary Hertford was
rather the limit, wasn’t she? at least when she was in the Lower
School–setting the pace so frightfully fast, specially in maths, but
at least Mary was our own sort. I don’t call it playing the game to
shove village schoolgirls among us.”

“Syb, you don’t mean it?”

“I do. Miss Wakefield told mother. The Lamb had had a letter from her
dear Miss Craigie, I fancy, and in her joy went bleating round to
everyone…. Fact! This scholarship kid was the priceless gem from some
village school.”

“How putrid!”

“What on earth are we to do with her?”

“Put up with her, I suppose, Noreen, my good child. What else do you
suppose we can do?”

“Wish to goodness I hadn’t worked so beastly hard last term. Reward,
Remove II. B, and the company of this village kid. It’s sure to be in
Remove II. with scholarship! Think she’ll say ‘sy’ for say, and drop
her ‘h’s’?”

“She’s Scotch, not Cockney, you cuckoo, and probably quite harmless,”
someone else chimed in. “But I should have thought the Grammar School
a bit more her line. However to Redlands she’s coming, and at Redlands
she’ll presumably stay, and we shall have to make the best of it.”

“And of her,” groaned the girl called Syb.

There was a silence; for the little group of girls in the corridor had
to make room for some indignant fellow-passengers to pass out from the
compartment in the corner of which Joey was wedged, unable, without
putting her fingers into her ears, and so drawing undesired attention
to herself, to help overhearing the chief part of this conversation.
These girls had joined the train at Lincoln, where Joey, in accordance
with instructions, had changed for the local line; and the train had
been so full that these girls had never bothered to find a seat at all,
but stood in a tight bunch in the corridor, talking loudly to make
themselves heard above the roar of the train. They were Redlands girls;
Joey would have known that by their uniform if she hadn’t by their talk.

It had taken her a minute or two to tell what they meant by village
schoolgirls; when she did, her face grew hot, and she stared defiantly
towards them.

They were outsiders themselves, thought Joey, to talk like that about
a girl who was coming to Redlands, even if she had been to a different
sort of school before. But though the thinking it was certainly a
relief, it could not quite do away with the sore, hurt feeling.
Evidently the Redlands girls were not inclined to start friends.

It was all the harder to bear because they were such jolly-looking
girls. The one called Noreen was extremely pretty, with lovely
Irish-blue eyes under black eyebrows, and a wealth of dark hair;
and even Syb was nice-looking, with a bright colour and a straight,
determined figure. The girl who had spoken last was short and
insignificant, with bobbed hair, but her eyes were very bright and her
smile infectious, Joey settled; while the other two were a round-faced
couple, much too nice in appearance for the sentiments they had been
expressing.

Joey was to have an opportunity for studying them more closely in a
minute, for apparently they had had enough of standing in the corridor,
and came pouring into her compartment so soon as the other passengers
had poured out. They didn’t trouble even to put their hockey sticks
in the rack, by which Joey guessed that Mote Deep, the station for
Redlands, was not far away.

The one called Syb caught sight of Joey as they came in. “Hullo!” she
said.

“Hullo!” Joey answered, not being sure what to answer.

“New kid, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“What’s your name?” asked Noreen.

“Jo–Jocelyn Graham.”

Noreen shot a quick glance at Syb. “Where do you come from?”

“Scotland.” Joey did not feel inclined to be communicative.

“You’re not the scholarship kid, are you, by any chance?” demanded the
girl with the bobbed hair.

“Yes.”

“Oh, murder! I didn’t think you were, somehow.”

“Did you think I was going to look so awfully unlike everybody else?”
Joey demanded in her turn. She could not quite keep the hurt tone out
of her voice, though she tried.

“No; why should we?” the girl with the bobbed hair answered, a shade
uncomfortably, and then they all looked at each other and there was an
awkward little pause. Noreen broke it, speaking in a more friendly tone
than any of them had done yet.

“I suppose you’ve had someone to put you up to what scholarship girls
have to do at Redlands?”

“No.” Joey was not expansive, suspecting some covert allusion to that
village school, which appeared so upsetting to these very select
Redlanders.

“Oh, didn’t they?” Noreen’s blue eyes met hers gravely, and, Joey
fancied, sympathetically.

It was rather difficult to ask any favours of girls who despised
her, but Miss Craigie was far away in Edinburgh, wrestling with the
“influenza”–poor Miss Craigie!–and clearly she was on the edge of one
of those pitfalls that lie in wait for new girls.

“If it wouldn’t be a bother, perhaps you would tell me what I have to
do?” she asked.

Noreen leaned forward confidentially. “Of course I will. There’s not
much to tell; just two or three little things that are always done by
the scholarship winner.”

The others all displayed a sudden and flattering interest in Joey. They
leaned forward too, so as not to miss a word.

“Tidying the Lab is the most important thing,” Noreen went on gravely.
“We’ve got a jolly old French Stinks Professor, Monsieur Trouville;
frightfully brainy over stinks, but untidy–oh! my Sunday hat and
Dublin Castle!–untidy isn’t the word for it!”

Joey tried to grasp the situation valiantly.

“Do I sweep or dust or wash up his messes or what?” she asked.

The girl with the bobbed hair coughed alarmingly. Syb thumped her back,
and said, “Shut it, Barbara!”

Noreen seemed a little taken aback by this question. “No, you don’t,
I think–and, anyhow, you _never_ empty messes out of one saucer into
another or you’d probably blow up the Coll,” she stated candidly. “You
just–put bottles into the cupboards–and don’t take any notice if
he tells you to get out and boil yourself. He does say these sort of
things. He’s a beast of a temper,” Noreen added kindly.

“When do I begin?” Joey asked.

“Tidying the Lab? Well, I shouldn’t waste any time,” Syb chimed in. “As
soon as you get to Redlands, I should say–anyone would show you where
it is.”

“Righto!” Joey told them, with outward cheerfulness, though inward
tremors. “Anything else?”

Noreen’s blue eyes had an odd gleam. “Not much. You lace up the Senior
Prefect’s boots; she is Ingrid Latimer–and … and … write out the
supper menus for cook.”

“_What?_” shrieked Joey.

“Oh, don’t you remember, Noreen, they stopped that because Mary
Hertford wrote like a diseased spider,” Syb contributed. “The
scholarship kid only … only….”

She choked.

“You’re not having me on?” demanded Joey.

“My dear Kid; go to the Lab when you get there, and see if we are.”

The train stopped. “Mote Deep” flashed before their eyes. The station
for Redlands was reached. Joey grasped her things and asked no further
questions. She was there!

She stood forlornly by her suit-case on the platform, while the rest
fell upon some other girls waiting for them there. Joey stood apart.
Noreen seemed to be telling some story in an emphatic whisper, a funny
story evidently, for everybody shrieked with laughter, except one
freckled girl, who said lazily, “What a shame!” and looked towards Joey
as though she had half a mind to come and speak to her. Joey hoped that
she would, but she didn’t. It was Syb who came at last, when all the
luggage had been got out and piled in the rather ancient cabs which
still did duty in Little Holland.

“We’re going to walk, Jocelyn; of course you can come with us if you
like, but considering all the extra things a scholarship kid has to
start with, p’r’aps you’d better cab it.”

Joey was proud, and the inference was rather plain. They didn’t want
her company.

“I should have cabbed it anyhow. I’d rather,” she told Syb, with
decision, and walked off in the direction of the cabs, her head held
very high.

She got into the first, and sat on the edge of the rather mildewy
cushions, trying to face things out. It was all rather different from
what she had pictured; but Mums needn’t know that. And she wouldn’t
have to worry about the girls and their unfriendly ways at present
anyhow, for she had the Lab to put tidy, and afterwards that other
unknown terror, the lacing up of the Head Girl’s boots.

If only she could have travelled with Miss Craigie or someone friendly,
she could have asked how and when all these things were done; but
Father had always said, “Don’t grouse over what might have been;
get on to what is.” What is, appeared to be tidying the Lab for the
ill-tempered French Professor; Joey settled to get on to that at once.

The cab was jolting along a flat marsh road that lay between a rolling
sea of green. The real sea was not visible, for a white mist lay on the
horizon, but the taste and the tang on her lips was salt, and there was
a wonderful sense of space and freshness around her. Nothing broke the
flatness of the landscape but here and there a squat church tower in
the midst of a cluster of cottages.

Presently another tower drew her attention, a tall, gaunt tower,
seeming like a warning, uplifted finger raising itself in the peaceful
sea of green as if to say, “Watch!” Joey wondered what its story might
be. She craned her head out of the cab window to look back at it, long
after it was receding into distance, and was so absorbed in it that
she was taken by surprise when the cab stopped before high ornamented
iron gates, and the cabman shouted something indistinguishable. A
pleasant-looking woman ran out, and swung the great gates back. This
was Redlands. Joey began to feel a little quaky, though she tried to
pretend it was all rather fun. The pretence wasn’t very successful at
that moment; but at least she knew what was expected of her on arrival.
That was a decided comfort.

She looked before her with quite as much interest as she looked
behind, while the cab crawled down the long, straight drive towards
the irregular mass of dim red brick veiled in ivy. Architecturally,
Redlands College left something to be desired, as it had been altered
and added to at different times by people of widely differing views;
but the whole had been mellowed together in a district where even new
red brick hardly stares above a month; and presented to its world a
silent, solid dignity.

Joe looked from the original Redlands, an early seventeenth century
Manor House, to the wing built on by Madame Hèrbert, who kept a
flourishing school for young ladies of quality in the stormy days of
the Second James, and on to the additions of two centuries later, and
the Swimming Bath, Gymnasium, and Laboratories marking the further
requirements of the twentieth century and the march of education.

Joey was no authority on architecture, however, and did not come to
know all this till she had been some days at Redlands. Just then she
merely thought that the place looked jolly, though about twice as big
as she had expected.

The cab drew up before the flight of steps leading to the front door;
Joey jumped out. A highly superior parlour-maid appeared before she had
time to ring the bell. Probably she had heard the crunching of the many
cab wheels on the gravel. Joey spoke at once. “Please could you direct
me to the Chemical Lab? They told me to go there at once.”

The maid looked a little surprised. “Miss Conyngham will be back soon,
miss,” she said hesitatingly. “Hadn’t you better wait?”

“I was told to go there,” Joe said firmly, and the maid pointed to a
building on the right, rather behind the main block. “That’s the Lab,
miss; but unless the Professor is there you won’t be able to go in.
It’s locked.”

“I’ll try anyhow,” Joey told her, and walked off in the direction
pointed out.

She went up two steps to the door of the Lab. Joey went up them
cautiously, as when they played hide-and-seek at home and somebody was
likely to spring out and catch you. But no furious professor sprang,
and Joey tried the door, and found it was locked, but on the outside.
So she turned the key and went in, with the words, “Please, I’ve come
to tidy,” ready on her lips.

But there was no one to whom to say them; the Lab was quite empty,
though it certainly looked as though it had not been empty for long.
Bottles stood upon a table, and two or three saucers containing various
powders, and a large scented silk handkerchief of violet hue lay on the
floor beside a dark closet with open door.

Joey began to tidy as well as she could. She used her handkerchief for
a duster, and presently, finding it rather small, took up the violet
one, which was already tolerably dirty and therefore might be dirtier
without mattering, she thought.

She did not put the bottles away, in case the Professor should come
back and want them, but she took them off the table and dusted it,
and then put them back in orderly rows. The saucers she wisely did
not touch, except to dust underneath them. Then she attacked the dark
closet, which was surrounded by shelves, holding innumerable saucers,
trays, bottles, and boxes. A good many of these things were on the
floor. Joey rammed her dusters into the pockets of her coat, and set to
work to find a safer resting-place for them. She was really interested
by now in this duty which had been thrust upon her in right of her
scholarship; so absorbed indeed that she never heard an exclamation at
the door and a quick step across the room. She noticed nothing till
the half-open door of the closet was wrenched violently wide. And she
sprang round to find herself looking into the furious light eyes of the
French Professor.

He was a short man, this Monsieur Trouville, neat and dapper, though
inclined to be fat. His high forehead peaked up to his receding hair,
his short moustache was stiffly waxed and stood out very black against
his pallid face. He was not ill-looking, but just at that moment Joey
thought she had never seen anyone quite so unpleasant.

He caught her by the arm. “What are you doing here? How dare you come?
Do you not know it is forbidden, except when I take the classes here? I
will report you to Miss Conyngham. You shall be expelled.”

Joey stood her ground. “You can’t expel people when they’ve only just
come,” she assured him stoutly. “It … isn’t done. Besides, I’m all
right to tidy here. I’m the scholarship girl.”

This last statement did not appear to mitigate Monsieur Trouville’s
fury in the least.

“You have distairbed all my bottles–you have made for me hours of work
with your disobedience,” he snarled. “I vill have you punished–you
shall be no more at Redlands!”

He began to cast about the room, like a blood-hound nosing for a trail.
Joey felt rather frightened; there was no doubt about it, Monsieur
Trouville was really angry. He spluttered out the objurgations in his
strong French accent rather like an angry cat. Somehow, in spite of
what Noreen and Syb had said, she had not expected him to be quite so
much annoyed by her presence.

“I’m awfully sorry if I’ve mixed your bottles,” she told him, trying
to speak steadily. “I didn’t mean to. Perhaps some time when you’re
not too busy you would just show me how you like things tidied, and
then—-”

Monsieur Trouville made three strides towards her, with so menacing an
expression that Joey gave back a step in spite of herself.

“Miss Conyngham tell you to say dat?” he demanded.

“No, of course not. Do you suppose one needs _telling_ to be polite?”
Joey answered, growing angry in her turn. “If you don’t want your old
Lab tidied for you I’m sure I don’t want to do it. Good-bye.”

[Illustration: “HOW DARE YOU COME?”]

And Joey departed with all the dignity that she could muster, though
she felt a good deal more like crying. The Professor’s suspicious
attitude was rather hurting. “He couldn’t have been a worse beast if he
thought I meant to steal his bottles,” she told herself.

She was half-way back towards the front door before she discovered
she _had_ stolen something from the Lab after all. Fumbling for the
handkerchief which was rather badly wanted at that moment, she brought
out a curiously unfamiliar one of violet silk, now excessively grubby.
She looked at it with dismay. What wouldn’t the Professor do if she
went back and told him that to add to her other offences she had used
his handkerchief for a duster.

“I’d better wash it first before I return it,” Joey said to herself,
and rammed it back into her pocket.

She wondered whether Noreen and the others had turned up yet; it would
be satisfactory to tell them that she had done the Lab already. Joey
thought that she would not say anything about the Professor’s fury,
which, after all, had been unjust. She put her head down, and raced at
her best pace for the front door; it would be rather fun to talk as
though the Professor had been quite pleased with her tidying.

Phut! Joey had gone full tilt into someone who was coming from the
house–a very tall girl with her hair tied back. “Here, look where
you’re going, you young idiot!” the big girl called out angrily.

Joey came to earth metaphorically with a bump. “I say, I’m frightfully
sorry. Did I hurt you?”

“That’s not likely, considering you’re half my size,” said the tall
girl. “But you should look. What’s your name?”

“Jocelyn Graham. What’s yours?”

The tall girl frowned. “I am Ingrid Latimer, Senior Prefect here,” she
said coldly, and Joey understood that she had done the wrong thing in
asking that off-hand question.

She became rather flustered. “Oh, are you? Then–when do you want your
boots put on?” she asked nervously.

Ingrid frowned more alarmingly. “What on earth are you talking about?”

“I got the scholarship–don’t I have to put your boots on?” faltered
Joey. Now she came to put it into words it did sound an extremely silly
thing to say. Somehow she wasn’t surprised by the crushing tone of the
Senior Prefect’s answer.

“Please don’t try to be funny; we’ve no use for that sort of thing
here. Who put you up to all this?”

A light began to break upon Joey. Something hot surged in her chest.
“Oughtn’t I to have tidied the Lab either?” she asked, with the courage
of desperation.

“Tidied the Lab! Why, no one’s allowed there without Monsieur or the
Chemistry Mistress. Look here, my good child, are you trying to be
funny–I shouldn’t, because it won’t pay you–or are you the outsidest
edge of imbecile new kids that ever came to Redlands?”

Joey was silent. She was trying to adjust things in her mind. The girls
had had her on, and oh how easily! She _was_ the outsidest edge in
imbeciles, she supposed.

“Who put you up to all this?” repeated the Senior Prefect magisterially.

Joey stuck her hands into her pockets. She had been made a fool of;
well, it wasn’t pleasant, but one must grin and bear it, even the
hateful apologising to the justly incensed Professor, which she
supposed must be her next proceeding. She wasn’t going to get the
others into trouble anyway, and Ingrid Latimer’s tone suggested trouble
ahead. “Oh, never mind!” she said.

“I wish to know,” Ingrid repeated. “Their names, please?”

“Sorry, it can’t be done,” Joey stuck out hardily. “And if you don’t
want your boots put on, I’ll go–please!”

The Senior Prefect looked as though she could hardly believe her
ears; but Joey hadn’t been educated up to Senior Prefects and their
expressions. She bolted straight back to the Lab; it would be best to
get that hateful apology over at once.

But the door was locked, this time on the inside, and though she
knocked till her knuckles were sore, there was no answer.

“Hi, Jocelyn Graham, you’re to go to Miss Conyngham,” shouted a
familiar voice, and Noreen hove in sight round the corner.

Joey saw her opportunity. “Tell that to some other idiot, if you can
find one silly enough to listen to the sort of things you say,” she
told her. “Personally, I find it jolly interesting to see what a kid
like you will try on next; but even I don’t want too much funniness,
thank you.”

She marched off, leaving an outraged and astounded Noreen staring after
her, and betook herself to the sleepy stream meandering at the bottom
of the garden. It was a comfort to feel that Noreen had not succeeded
in having her on a third time, but it was about all the comfort there
was. Joey felt desperately home-sick and miserable just then, and as
if she would give anything in the world to find herself on the heathy
moor, or making bannocks for tea in the kitchen of the little grey
stone cottage, far away from this puzzling and unfriendly new world.

She stared across the sleepy water, wondering whether Father had felt
more wretched than this when he was a prisoner among his enemies.
Yes, of course it had been worse for him, a great deal worse; for
he had been in the midst of dirt and ill-usage and barbarities
unspeakable–only–he hadn’t expected to find the Huns friendly
gentlemen, and Joey had somehow expected a great deal from Redlands.
Still, that was no reason for making a fuss; Father hadn’t–Joey knew
that. She screwed her eyes up tight, and rubbed the back of a grubby
hand across them fiercely. And while she was doing that someone spoke
to her.

“I say, are you Jocelyn Graham?”

Joey opened her eyes hastily. A girl was standing by her, a girl with
long lovely auburn-brown hair and clear eyes a shade darker, and a
delicate clear skin. She wasn’t as tall as Joey herself, anything like,
and she hadn’t the superior way of talking, which Joey had noticed in
the rest.

“You _are_ Jocelyn, aren’t you?” this girl went on, and Joey liked her
way of saying it, for it was friendly. “Well, do let me take you to
Miss Conyngham–yes, it’s all right, she really wants you–and she sent
for you some time ago, you know.”

Joey remembered. Panic took hold of her. “Will she be mad?”

The pretty girl smiled. “She’s seeing the other new girls. You’ll be
all right if we run.”

They ran. Somehow Joey did not doubt this new friend. “What’s your
name?” she asked breathlessly, as they tore up from the stream and
across the gardens.

“Gabrielle–Gabrielle Arden.”

“Why did you come after me?” Joey asked.

“Oh, Noreen thought you had gone down that way.”

“It was decent of you,” Joey said, with conviction.

“Jocelyn–Noreen and the others didn’t mean anything, truly,” Gabrielle
panted. “They didn’t think you would really go and do the Lab, you
know.”

Joey returned no answer; for one thing she had no breath to speak; for
the second, she looked forward to a settlement, a little later on, with
Noreen and Co., when the interview with Miss Conyngham and the hateful
apology to the Professor were well over.

Gabrielle said nothing more either, and the two arrived in silence at
Miss Conyngham’s door. Miss Conyngham herself opened it, shepherding
out three girls who looked new and rather frightened.

“Ah, Gabrielle, that’s right,” Miss Conyngham said. “Kathleen
Ronaldshay has no elder sisters here; will you take care of her and
show her round? And here is Jocelyn. I will introduce all you new girls
to each other, and then I want a little talk with Jocelyn alone.”

Joey shook hands with Bernadine Elton, Kathleen Ronaldshay, and Ella
Marne; then the three were sent off in Gabrielle’s care–they were all
of them much bigger than she was–and Miss Conyngham drew Jocelyn into
her pretty room.

Miss Conyngham matched her room; she was dainty and fair and
fragile-looking, and, as Joey mentioned afterwards to Mums, “looked as
if a light were burning inside her which made her all lit up as soon as
she began to talk.”

She did not look as though she could keep six hundred girls in order;
but Joey found out very soon that appearances were deceitful in this
case. Just now, however, Miss Conyngham was not out to keep anyone in
order.

“I was so sorry that you and Miss Craigie couldn’t come down together;
but I have had a wire, she is better, and the temperature very much
down this morning. So I hope we may get her back in a fortnight. And
by that time I expect you will have made hosts of friends, and have a
tremendous amount to tell her.”

Joey assented cautiously. Privately she doubted the friends, and it
certainly wouldn’t be possible to tell Miss Craigie that she hated
Redlands for fear it should go back to Mums _via_ the minister. But an
assent of some kind seemed the proper thing.

“You will be placed in Remove II. B; that is the head form of the Lower
School,” Miss Conyngham went on. “Gabrielle, who brought you here, is
in that form, only she is A: she is Head of the Lower School, you know,
and only thirteen; we are all proud of Gabrielle at Redlands.”

“Is she top of this Remove place, then?” asked Joey.

“Not necessarily. The Head of the Lower School is chosen from Remove
II., but it is in open Election among the other girls. They vote for
the best in every way out of sixty Remove girls; you want a great many
qualities to be Head of the Lower School, Jocelyn.”

Joey was interested. She somehow hadn’t guessed that Gabrielle was
anything special, except good-natured to a new girl.

“The election of the Head Girl for the two hundred and fifty of the
Upper School, and for the three hundred and fifty of the Lower,
happens at the end of every year,” Miss Conyngham went on, in a nice
companionable way, as though she were quite sure that Joey would be
interested, and feel the school matters her own. “It is a very serious
affair, I can assure you. The result of the Election holds good for
the whole succeeding year; at Christmas Gabrielle will stand for
re-election–that is, if she doesn’t pass out of Remove into the Upper
School. By the end of the term all this will have come to mean a very
great deal to you, I think.”

Joey’s assent was again a model of caution; of course, Miss Conyngham
didn’t realise how the girls resented that village school. Probably
Gabrielle had just been nice because she did not know.

“Well, now it must be tea-time,” Miss Conyngham concluded, “and you
must go and have tea. Give Matron your keys afterwards, and she will
show you where to put away your clothes.”

Miss Conyngham consulted a list pinned on her wall. “You are in Blue
Dormitory, I see; that is a very favourite one. I will ask Gabrielle
to introduce you to your room-mates, Sybil Gray, Barbara Emerson, and
Noreen O’Hara. I think you will all get on very comfortably together.”

Joey did not even give a cautious assent to this; she thought she knew
exactly how that quartette were going to get on. She just said, “Thank
you, Miss Conyngham.”

Miss Conyngham rang the bell twice. A minute later there was a tap at
the door, and Gabrielle answered her “Come in.”

“Take Jocelyn in to tea and show her her dormitory, Gabrielle, please,”
Miss Conyngham said. She did not add, “Take care of her,” for which
Joey was grateful. It was bad enough to be disliked by the rest, but
at least she needn’t be despised. No one should guess that she wasn’t
feeling happy at Redlands.

“Which dorm are you in?” Gabrielle asked, as soon as Miss Conyngham’s
door was shut behind them.

“Blue,” Joey said briefly.

“That’s topping. It’s next door to mine, and such a jolly set there.”

“I know,” Joey interrupted rather grimly. “Sybil and Barbara and
Noreen.”

“Do you know them, then?” asked Gabrielle, surprised.

“We met in the train,” Joey explained. She hesitated for a second. “I
shall _like_ being in their dorm.”

Tea was over–a tea which seemed a babel to Joey’s unaccustomed
ears, although Cousin Greta would probably have laughed at the term
“unaccustomed,” considering the noise that the five Grahams could make
among themselves.

But Cousin Greta would never have guessed what a great school could do
at the first meal, with discipline relaxed and everybody trying to tell
special friends how they had spent the holidays.

Joey sat under the wing of a very young mistress, who wore a great
bunch of violets in her belt, and was addressed as “Miss Lambton.” She
saw to it that Joey had plenty of bread and jam and cake, and addressed
two or three good-natured questions to her; but it wasn’t in the nature
of things that the new girl shouldn’t feel rather out of it, when all
near neighbours wanted to tell Miss Lambton where they had been and
what they had done, and she had to interrupt her adorers in order to
speak to Joey. Gabrielle had been swamped directly they came into
the huge refectory by two vehement people, with a tiny silver shield
fastened to their djibbahs, who assured her vociferously that she had
promised to sit between them for the first tea last term.

However, she remembered the new girl directly tea was over, and made
her way to Joey’s side, when the girls rose from table.

“Will you come to your dorm now?”

“I’ve got to go and say something to the Professor in Lab,” Joey said
doubtfully, not being at all sure that when she reached Blue Dorm she
wouldn’t be expected to stay there interviewing Matron, or something of
that kind.

“Oh, come on, Gabrielle, if the new kid doesn’t _want_ to be shown her
dormitory, don’t fag over her,” urged two or three impatient voices;
but Gabrielle stood her ground.

“I quite forgot. Ingrid Latimer–she’s Senior Prefect–of course, you
don’t know her yet–sent me a message for you. She said the Lab was all
right, and she had seen Monsieur Trouville. I don’t know what it means,
but perhaps you do.”

“Yes, I know,” Joey answered shortly. It had been kind of the Senior
Prefect to face the furious Professor for her, and Gabrielle seemed
kind and friendly, too; but you couldn’t tell about these girls. They
despised her because of Calgarloch school, and she never knew when they
would have set her on about something else. She didn’t feel inclined to
be effusive.

Gabrielle shook off her admirers and conducted Joey up many stairs and
along many passages in silence. Only when she had opened the door of
a large, light, airy room, with blue-washed walls and blue quilts to
the four beds and blue curtains to the windows, did she find her voice
again.

“This is Blue Dorm, Jocelyn. I’m sure you’ll like it. Isn’t it a
topping view? Look how well you can see the Fossdyke Wash–and that’s
the Walpole Fen, all down on the right–it’s reclaimed, you know–and
do you see that tower?”

“Yes; I saw it coming along. What is it?” asked Joey, coming a little
more out of her shell.

Gabrielle sunk her voice to an impressive whisper. “It’s haunted–it is
really, Jocelyn. Of course Miss Conyngham and the sensible people would
say nonsense; but we’ve heard awfully queer sounds sometimes, and once
I saw some blue light with my own eyes, when Doron Westerby–another
four had this dorm last term–had toothache in the night, and called
me. You know a man was murdered there; ages back, it was. His enemy
tied him up in an underground room of the tower, and then blew out a
bit of the sea-wall at one of the great autumn tides.”

Joey gasped. “How beastly. Are his mouldering bones there now?”

“I think they’re cleared up,” Gabrielle said regretfully. “You look for
the light, Jocelyn–you’ll have a topping chance. I wonder which bed
you’ll have–three have windows, you see; it’s only in that fourth one
by the door you can’t see anything, and I don’t think it’s fixed yet
who sleeps there.”

As if in answer to her words, there was a stampede outside, and the
three other owners of Blue Dorm rushed headlong in. Each carried
something in her hand–a book, a comb, a handkerchief. With one consent
they rushed upon the three window beds, and hurling the article upon
it, shouted breathlessly, “Bags I this!”

Gabrielle got rather red. She walked up to Syb and spoke in a low
voice. Joey caught the words “a new girl” and “playing up.” But
whatever her appeal might be, it hadn’t much effect. Joey marched over
to the bed by the door.

“This is mine, then,” she said.

Matron came in a minute later, in her usual hurry, demanding keys and
everyone’s attention instantly. Gabrielle was dispatched to the big
basement room downstairs to help in the unpacking and putting away
of her things; and Joey found she was expected to do the same, after
Matron had shown her exactly where and how her things should go, and
explained that there was a dormitory inspection, inside and out, of
drawers and cupboards every Saturday of term.

Joey ran upstairs with armfuls of clothes, and downstairs to get more
for a long time after that; but at last everything was put away, and
Matron, weary and a trifle dishevelled, made a tour of inspection
before going to see the babies into bed.

The four in Blue Dorm were left to arrange their photographs and
private belongings before changing into their white frocks for supper.
Joey got to work on her shelf and combined chest of drawers and
dressing-table silently and unsociably. The others had a great deal to
say to each other, and took no notice of her for some little time. Then
Sybil, who had finished, came strolling up to the corner by the door,
and cast a glance over Joey’s photographs.

“I say, what an awfully good-looking boy,” she said, picking up the
photo of Gavin, taken for Mums out of the tip Uncle Staff sent him when
he won the scholarship. “Who’s he–your brother?”

The devil entered into Joey. “No; that’s the flesher’s boy in
Calgarloch, a great pal of mine,” she stated easily, arranging Mums
side by side with Father in uniform.

Syb stared. Joey went on. “The kid in socks is the gravedigger’s
youngest–he’s called Bingo; and these two, Ronnie and Kirsty, belong
to the odd-and-end shop at Crumach.”

With which appalling size in thumpers, Joey turned her back upon the
girls, and went on arranging her photographs. Syb left her in a hurry;
the others whispered together. Joey finished her corner, and got out
her evening frock.

“Having us on?” asked Noreen, with a doubtful note of appreciation.

Joey slipped her frock over her head. “Find out,” she suggested.

That made a pause, and everybody put on their evening dresses in
silence. Barbara broke it while hair was being brushed.

“I suppose Gabrielle told you that this dorm tubs at night,” she
observed unwillingly. “You had better not be late coming up, because
the water gets cold so quickly.”

“But of course you’d bath last because of being new,” Syb joined in,
rather truculently.

Joey made no answer; she was considering. “Where is the bathroom?” she
asked.

“Right opposite. Blue Dorm uses No. 8,” Barbara vouchsafed.

“Thank you,” Joey answered, with extraordinary meekness, a meekness
that was almost overdone. These horrid swanky girls had forced her to
accept the worst corner of the room, but it was certainly nearest the
door, and Joey was quite clear in her own mind which of the Blue Dorm
occupants was going to have first tub to-night.

They went down to supper after that; the three together, and Joey
behind. There was a very nice supper laid in the huge refectory; but
Joey was home-sick for the little sitting-room at Calgarloch and the
brandered herrings and the brown bread, and Robina, the lass, bringing
in the pudding, and joining freely in the conversation if she felt
inclined.

Joey sat between two rather big girls, and they only spoke once to her
to ask her name and age, and then talked hockey across her for the rest
of the meal. Not that Joey cared; she assured herself that she didn’t
want to be friends with these girls.

There was dancing after supper in the Queen’s Hall, but Joey looked
on. Dancing wasn’t taught at Calgarloch, and she refused decidedly
when Gabrielle came and asked for a valse. And then at nine there were
prayers, and the whole of the Upper School, with Remove II. A and B of
the Lower, filed past Miss Conyngham and said good-night. The Juniors
had been swept off a good deal earlier.

Joey was really glad when bedtime came. She was longing to get a bit
of her own back. Noreen and Co. had taken her in, and made an utter
fool of her over the tidying of the Lab and the putting on of the
Head Girl’s boots; but Joey wasn’t going to sit down meekly under
the treatment. She managed to plant herself just in front of Sybil,
Barbara, and Noreen in the long procession; and before she went
downstairs she had put out her towel, sponges, etc., where she could
snatch them easily. The procession moved on; and she moved with it.

She could hear Miss Conyngham’s clear, mellow voice, “Good-night,
Jacynth. Good-night, Mary. Good-night, Doron–oh, what about that
tooth? Has it given you more trouble?”

Block number one. Joey heard Syb’s grumble behind. “Bother Doron’s
toothache–the water will be cold.”

Doron’s toothache was much better, thank you; yes, the stuff had done
it a lot of good; she wouldn’t want any more, she thought. “Thank you,
Miss Conyngham.”

Doron Westerby moved on; so did the procession.

“Good-night, Sylvia. Good-night, Trixie. Good-night, Cecily.
Good-night, Kathleen–any more news from home, dear?”

Block number two. Joey wondered if Syb’s exaggerated groan would be
heard by Miss Conyngham; they were so near her now.

Yes, Kathleen had heard from home, and Frankie was better. His
temperature had gone down three degrees, thank you, Miss Conyngham.

Kathleen was disposed of. “Good-night, Thelma. Good-night, Winifred.
Good-night–oh, it’s you, Jocelyn? Settled your things comfortably into
the Blue Dormitory?”

“Yes, thank you, Miss Conyngham.”

“That’s right. Sleep well. Good-night, Jocelyn.”

The procession moved on. Joey was out of the Queen’s Hall and on
the stairs. Up them three steps at a time–the long legs at which
Calgarloch stared amazed were certainly of use now. Behind her she
heard Syb and Barbara disputing whose turn it was to have first bath.
As the turn had to be remembered across the width of the holidays that
was a difficult matter to decide. Joey chuckled inwardly; they really
needn’t worry themselves to remember. She plunged at the door of Blue
Dorm and grabbed her things, including pyjamas and dressing-gown. Too
late; the other three saw what she meant to do.

“Here, you are last for the bathroom,” Syb shouted.

Joey dived across the passage and flung herself and her belongings into
Bathroom 8. “I don’t think!” she said succinctly, as she slammed the
bolt home.

Joey enjoyed her bath. She took as much hot water as she wanted, and
didn’t come out, whatever the bangings and objurgations outside the
door, till she had been in the bath as long as she wished. Then at last
she emerged, to face a furious trio waiting for her in Blue Dorm.

Joey plumped down her armful of belongings on her bed. “I should
hurry,” she advised politely. “The tap was beginning to run cooler
before I left.”

Syb bolted to the bathroom; the other two turned their backs studiously
upon the aggressor, and talked ostentatiously to one another. Joey
curled up on her bed, did her hair in three bangs, and then wrote up
her diary for the first day at Redlands.

“Redlands is a hole, and the girls are pigs. I hate them all, except
p’r’aps Gabrielle. They think it a fair disgrace to have been at a
council school, and say beastly things. I wish I was seventeen this
minute, and coming away: I’ll never get a bit of paper big enough to
cross off all the hateful horrid days I’ve got to stay here. I have
settled never to say a single word to any of these hateful horrid
swanky girls, except, p’r’aps Gabrielle, as long as I live.”

The letter to Mums, which was also written while the other three bathed
in tepid water with much bitterness of spirit, expressed a rather
different view.

“It’s frightfully pretty here,” Joey wrote, “and the Wash lies on
the edge of what you see–all glittering–and the river is mixed
up with it, and the Deeps are like another sea, only green grass.
The College is awfully nice, and some of it is very ancient and
historical. I’ll tell you the history bits when I’ve mugged them up.
I’m in Blue Dorm, and that’s the nicest Dorm. I have the bed nearest
the door, and that’s frightfully handy for getting first bath. My
room-companions are Sybil, Barbara, and Noreen O’Hara. They were
very interested in my photographs. I’m going to have a topping time
here, I can see, and I should think I’m in the liveliest dorm that
ever was.–Your loving

“JOEY.”

“P.S.–You might write soon; I’m frightfully happy here, still you
might write.”

A bell rang just as Joey had finished her letter, and a stentorian
voice in the passage cried, “Silence for prayers.”

Noreen O’Hara rushed from the bathroom, after a tub lasting a short
two minutes, and hurled herself upon her knees among her sponges
and bath-towel. A minute later a Prefect looked in, and withdrew
noiselessly.

There was absolute quiet for some seven or eight minutes, and then a
little murmur arose again.

Joey had dropped her writing-things and said her prayers like the rest.
She wondered if she ought to feel ashamed of her behaviour with the
bath; the sad thing was that she didn’t, particularly. And if she said
she was sorry now, the furious three would think she was afraid of what
they might do to her. Joey decided to stick it out, but have a shorter
and a cooler bath to-morrow.

Another bell rang. Noreen and Syb were already in bed; Barbara jumped
up at the bell, and Joey more slowly followed her example. The Prefect
looked in again.

“All in bed–that’s right.” She turned to put out the light.
“Good-night.”

“Good-night, Ingrid,” said the injured three in a burst. “Good-night,”
said Joey pointedly by herself when the others had finished.

Ingrid Latimer looked in her direction. “Why, it’s the new kid.”

She came across to Joey’s bed. “Got my message, young ‘un?”

“Yes, thanks awfully.”

“That’s all right. He won’t think any more of it. You come to me, if
anybody tries on that sort of game again. You’ll always find some
fat-headed idiots in Coll who think it funny. Good-night.”

“Good-night, and thanks no end.”

Ingrid turned the light out. Blue Dorm was left in outward peace. It
was outward only!