MoboReader > Literature > Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers

   Chapter 8 THE STONE FACE

Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers By Alice B. Emerson Characters: 7652

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Ruth knew better than to show anger over any such silly joke. If she was to be made the laughing stock of her class by the sophomores, she might as well face it and bear the cross good-naturedly.

Ruth was as sensitive as any refined girl. It hurt her to be ridiculed. But she had not spent years at boarding school without learning that the best way-indeed, the only way-to bear successfully such indignity is to ignore it. That is, to ignore the fun poked at one as far as possible. To bear the jokes with a smile. So she would not allow her friends to comment much upon this scene before the gymnasium building.

She had never given herself airs because of her success in writing scenarios. Another girl might have done so. But Ruth was naturally modest, and had never really ceased to be surprised at her own success.

The new scenario she was at work upon, the scenes of which were laid at the Red Mill, was born of an idea she had evolved when her attention had first been turned to motion-picture writing.

Mr. Hammond, her kind friend and the president of the Alectrion Film Corporation, had advised her to postpone the use of this idea until she had tried her apprentice hand on other and simpler scenarios. The time seemed ripe now, however, for the writing of "Crossed Wires," and he had encouraged her to go ahead.

All the visible effect Edith Phelps' joke had upon Ruth was to send her to the unfinished scenario. After returning from the college offices on this occasion she worked on her play until lunch time.

"There's too much new to see and to do for you to pore over letter writing, Ruth," Helen declared, misunderstanding her friend's occupation. "We want to see Ardmore. We want to go out on the lake if we can get a boat. We've got to see the gym and the library. And to-night we must turn up at this meeting, it seems, and see what Miss Dunstan, the soph president, has to say to us freshies."

"Oh, I want to go out on the lake!" cried Ruth, agreeing. "And I want to explore that island."

"What island?" demanded Jennie, coming into the chums' study.

"Bliss Island."

"'Tisn't part of the college grounds," said the fleshy girl.

"Don't care. Want to see it," declared Ruth. "I hope we can get a boat. I didn't see many in use this morning."

"Some of the girls own their own. Especially canoes," said Jennie Stone. "But it's the thing to make the 'eight.' Let me tell you, us Ardmores are supposed to be some rowists! Our first eight beat the Gillings College first eight last June."

"We'll all try for the eight then," Helen said.

"And you, Jennie?" asked Ruth, mildly.

"Oh, me!"

"String beans for yours, Heavy," Helen cried, clapping her hands. "You'll have to diet on them until you have reduced to little more than a string yourself if you expect to make the eight."

"Bet I could do it," grumbled Heavy.

"A bet's a bet!" cried Helen. "I take you."

"Don't be rude, girls," advised Ruth. "You sound like regular, sure-enough gamblers. And, anyway, Heavy will never be able to make the eight. She might as well pay her wager now."

"Oh! oh! oh!" laughed Helen. "A palpable hit!"

"You just see!" said Heavy, firmly. "I'll show you."

"My dear," Ruth said, "if you show us a sylph-like form in time to make the freshman eight--"

"It will be the eighth wonder of the world," finished Helen.

Jennie tossed her head. "I don't know about the sylph-like form, but at least I mean to possess a slender figure when I have followed Miss Cullam's advice on diet. You'll see!"

"Poor Heavy!" groaned Helen. "She is letting herself in for a most awful time, and no mistake."

After luncheon the three girls set forth to explore the place.

"If I keep this up I'll need nothing else to get me thin. We have tramped miles," the fleshy girl announc

ed at length. "Oh! my poor, poor feet!"

"Wear sensible shoes, then," said Helen, who was the very last person to follow her own advice on this point.

"Easy enough to say," groaned Jennie. "There ain't any such an animal! You know that in this day and generation shoe makers have ceased to make sensible shoes. I look at 'em in the shop windows," pursued the aching girl, "and I wonder what sort of foot the human pedal extremity will become in a generation or two. Those pointed toes!

"Why," declared the suddenly warmed up Jennie Stone, "they tell us about a two-toed sloth living in Central and South America. Believe me! the present-day shoemaker seems to have secured a last to fit a one-toed sloth."

"I don't know about the number of their toes," Ruth said, laughing; "but many of those who wear the fancy shoes are sloths, all right."

They had looked over the library before this, and walked down past Hoskin and Hemmingway Halls on the west side of the campus, and so reached the lake. There were some girls at the boathouse, and a few craft were out. It was possible for the three friends to get a boat and Ruth and Helen rowed, with Heavy lazily reclining in the stern.

"Beginning that strenuous life that is to reduce your weight, Heavy?" questioned Helen.

"I am practising deep breathing," Jennie said. "They say that helps a lot."

They headed the light skiff directly for Bliss Island. It was not more than a mile off shore, and was a beautiful place. At the landing they saw several girls whom they knew were sophomores, for among them was May MacGreggor.

"Here are some more of Cook's Trippers," said the Scotch girl, gaily. "Seeing the sights, mes infantes?"

"Trying to," Jennie announced. "But you're really not so bad looking, Miss MacGreggor. I wouldn't call you a 'sight.'"

"Now, that will be all of that, Miss Stone!" exclaimed the sophomore, but her brown eyes danced as the other girls laughed. "I believe you three girls are Briarwoods, are you not?"

"Yes," Helen said.

"I can believe it," said May. "I have felt the briers. Now, let us call a truce."

"With all my heart, Miss MacGreggor," Ruth said quickly.

"You're a good little thing!" returned the Scotch girl. "I know your heart is big enough. And we sophs really shouldn't nag you freshies, you know, for we must pull together against the seniors and juniors. But you'll hear about that to-night."

"Thank you, Miss MacGreggor," Ruth said. "And now that we are at this island, would you mind telling us where the Stone Face is situated?"

"Ah! one of the wonders of the place," said May. "And who told you about the Stone Face, Freshie?"

"I have heard it is well worth seeing," said Ruth, demurely.

"I will be your escort," said May.

They found the Scotch girl very companionable. She led them up a rugged path through the trees and around the rocks.

"And did that girl have to come up here-and in the dark?" murmured Ruth at last.

"What girl?" Helen asked.

"Who are you talking about, Miss Fielding?" asked the sophomore.

"That girl-Miss Rolff."

"Oh! don't mention her name!" groaned May MacGreggor. "If it hadn't been for her, you-uns and we-uns wouldn't be cut out of the sororities. A wicked shame!"

"Oh, I've heard about that," said Jennie, puffing because of the hard climb. "Did she really have to come here, and alone, when she was initiated?"

"She started for here," said May, gloomily. "With a flashlight, I believe. But she lost her nerve--

"There! there's the rock you're looking for."

It was a huge boulder in an open field. At the angle from which they viewed it, the face of the rock really bore some semblance to a human countenance-the features of an old, old woman.

"Ugly old hag!" was May MacGreggor's comment upon the odd boulder.

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