Grace Harlowe’s Return to Overton Campus

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Ginny Brewer, Tom Allen,
Mary Meehan, David Newman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.


Grace Harlowe’s Return to Overton Campus

By JESSIE GRAHAM FLOWER, A.M.

Author of The High School Girls Series, The College Girls Series, etc.

PHILADELPHIA
HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY
Copyright, 1915


The Girls Worked Busily


CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. A Midsummer Pilgrimage
CHAPTER II. A Welcome Guest
CHAPTER III. An Unexpected Caller
CHAPTER IV. The Secret Session
CHAPTER V. The Way to Perpetual Youth
CHAPTER VI. Jessica’s Wedding
CHAPTER VII. The Return of Emma Dean
CHAPTER VIII. A Strange Applicant
CHAPTER IX. Mary Reynolds Makes a New Friend
CHAPTER X. The Thirty-Third Girl
CHAPTER XI. Evelyn Ward, Freshman
CHAPTER XII. The Harlowe House Club
CHAPTER XIII. Planning for the Reception
CHAPTER XIV. A Disquieting Thought
CHAPTER XV. A Semper Fidelis Reunion
CHAPTER XVI. The Interrupted Confidence
CHAPTER XVII. A Week-End in New York
CHAPTER XVIII. A Humiliating Reprimand
CHAPTER XIX. An Unintentional Listener
CHAPTER XX. A Double Puzzle
CHAPTER XXI. The Puzzle Deepens
CHAPTER XXII. Two Letters
CHAPTER XXIII. Kathleen West, Confidante
CHAPTER XXIV. Conclusion


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

The Girls Worked Busily.

“Why, Emma Dean!” Exclaimed Grace.

“We Decided to Give Our Loyalheart a Loyalty Token.”

“Did I Startle You, Miss Ward?”


Grace Harlowe’s Return to Overton Campus


CHAPTER I

A MIDSUMMER PILGRIMAGE

“Overton, at last!” exclaimed Grace Harlowe, as, regardless of possible cinders and stern railroad injunctions, she leaned far out of the car window to obtain a first eager glimpse of her destination.

It was midsummer, and the quiet, little town of Overton drowsed gently, not to awaken until the sounds of girl laughter and the passing of light feet through its sleepy streets roused it to the realization that it was Overton College that made its hum-drum existence worth while.

“Oh, Mrs. Gray, you can’t imagine how happy I feel!” went on Grace, her eyes eloquent with emotion. “Next to home, I love Overton better than any other place on earth. I’m so glad we are going to stay at Wayne Hall, and that Mrs. Elwood is to meet us.”

A long shrill whistle, a creaking and groaning of protesting iron wheels, the stentorian cry of “Overton! Overton!” and then a sudden jarring stop. Grace reached to the rack overhead for Mrs. Gray’s small leather bag, allowing the dainty little old lady to precede her down the aisle which was practically clear. Apparently they were the only Overton passengers in that car. She stood still on the top step of the train until Mrs. Gray had been safely landed on the platform by the smiling porter, then, disdaining his helping hand, ran down the steps with a joyful skip that caused her companion to say indulgently, “You’ll never grow up, Grace, and I’m glad of it. I can’t become reconciled to the fact that Nora and Jessica are brides-to-be and that Anne’s art is making her terribly serious. It’s a joy to my old age to see you frisk about as happily as you did when you were a little thing in short white skirts with two long braids of fair hair hanging down your back.”

“I don’t really feel a bit older than I did then,” confessed Grace. “Sometimes I’m almost ashamed of my enthusiasm. It seems as though nice things are always happening to me, and this summer pilgrimage of just we two is the nicest of all.”

They were walking slowly across the deserted platform now, and Grace was keeping a sharp look-out on all sides for the short, comfortable figure of Mrs. Elwood.

“There she is!” Grace hurried forward, her hands outstretched. The next instant they were held in Mrs. Elwood’s welcoming grasp, while she kissed Grace’s soft cheek.

“My dear, dear girl!” she exclaimed, a suspicious moisture in her kindly blue eyes. “It does seem good to see you again. I’m very glad to welcome you to Overton, Mrs. Gray,” she turned to shake hands with the donor of Harlowe House, “and delighted to know that you are going to stay with me instead of going to the Tourraine. Miss Harlowe’s old room is ready for her, and I’m going to put you in the room Miss Nesbit and Miss Briggs used to have.”

“You’ll be haunted by the kimono-clad shades of Miriam and Elfreda drinking tea and eating cakes at unseemly hours of the night,” laughed Grace.

“How are all my girls?” asked Mrs. Elwood. “I don’t know what I shall do without them this year. You will have to come and see me often and tell me all about them, Miss Harlowe. Now let me see. There ought to be a taxicab just the other side of the station. Yes, there it is.”

The driver touched his cap smilingly to Grace as they climbed into the automobile, “It does look good to see you here again, miss,” he said respectfully.

“Thank you. I’m glad to see you again.” Grace beamed whole-heartedly upon him. How many times he had carried her to and from the station. It was he who had driven the car on that memorable day when Ruth Denton had gone to the station to meet her father. Grace’s eyes grew dreamy as they passed through the familiar streets. How much had happened since the time when she had entered Oakdale High School as a freshman with college in the far and hidden future.

To her many friends “Grace Harlowe’s Plebe Year at High School,” “Grace Harlowe’s Sophomore Year at High School,” “Grace Harlowe’s Junior Year at High School,” and “Grace Harlowe’s Senior Year at High School” are now familiar records. Equally well known to these friends is the story of her freshman year at Overton, as set forth in “Grace Harlowe’s First Year at Overton College.”

Accompanied by her friends, Miriam Nesbit and Anne Pierson, Grace began her freshman year at Overton College under a cloud which rose from her ready defense of J. Elfreda Briggs, a disgruntled student who had made enemies of two sophomores, and whose first days at college were made very unpleasant by them. J. Elfreda’s subsequent casting aside of her friendship and her tardy realization of Grace’s worth brought about a happy ending of their freshman year.

In “Grace Harlowe’s Second Year at Overton College” the four girls set out to find the rainbow side of their sophomore year. How each girl found it, but in an entirely different manner, how Grace lived up to her resolve to choose only the highest in college, and how the famous Semper Fidelis Club came into existence, made the sophomore year in college memorable.

Grace Harlowe’s Third Year at Overton College” told of what befell the four friends as juniors. The advent of Kathleen West, a newspaper girl, into college was the first link in a chain of petty difficulties with which Grace was obliged to contend as a junior. The carnival given by the Semper Fidelis Club in which the Alice in Wonderland Circus was enacted, the important part which Jean, the old hunter of Oakdale fame, played in one Overton girl’s life, the message Emma Dean forgot to deliver, and countless other absorbing incidents served to fill their junior year with ceaseless interest.

Grace Harlowe’s Fourth Year at Overton College” found Grace and her friends on the homeward stretch with commencement at the end of their college trail. The record of Grace’s senior year was filled with happenings grave and gay. It ended in a blaze of honor and glory, and it was on Commencement day that she made her decision to return to Overton and look after Harlowe House, lately completed and endowed by Mrs. Gray in honor of her young friends and dedicated to the use of poor girls who were making valiant efforts to obtain an education.

It was in reference to Harlowe House, her future home, that Grace and Mrs. Gray had made this midsummer pilgrimage, as Grace had laughingly styled it, to Overton. As their car glided through the shady streets of the dignified college town Grace wondered if it were really eight years since her freshman days in Oakdale High School. It certainly couldn’t be four years since Mabel Ashe had conducted her and Anne and Miriam to the Tourraine on that first eventful afternoon. She remembered just how beautiful Mabel had looked in her white linen frock, with her white embroidered parasol tilted over one shoulder, an effective frame for her lovely face and wavy, golden-brown hair.

“Dreaming, Grace?” Mrs. Gray’s voice dispelled the vision. “I can’t blame you. I suppose this ride brings up hosts of memories.”

Grace nodded. She could not trust her voice to answer. A sudden mist filled her eyes, a silent tribute to those whose feet had once kept pace with hers through these beloved ways. Commencement had scattered them broadcast. She, alone, was coming back again to take up life at the college. How she would miss them all. The dry irresistible humor of Emma Dean, the sturdy independence of J. Elfreda Briggs, the daintiness of Arline Thayer and the steadfast loyalty of Ruth Denton. Last of all there were Anne and Miriam. Anne, her devoted little comrade of years, and Miriam, whose faith and good fellowship had never failed her.

A sob rose in Grace’s throat, but she quickly stifled it. After all she was about to begin the work she herself had chosen. She had known when she announced her determination to take charge of Harlowe House that things could never be quite the same. It would be selfish, indeed, in her to break down and cry when Mrs. Gray had come to Overton solely to help her select the furniture and plan for the opening of Harlowe House in September.

Grace pulled herself together and, resolutely putting her own sense of loss behind her, said steadily: “I couldn’t help thinking of the girls for a minute. It made me want to cry, but I’ve set my face to the future now, and I’m sure that my new work is going to bring me as much happiness here as I had during the other dear four years. When I think of how splendid it was in you to give Harlowe House to Overton, I feel as though there isn’t any sacrifice too great for me to make to insure its success, and I hope that my coming back to Overton Campus to do my work is going to mean a thousand times more to me next June than it does now.”


CHAPTER II

A WELCOME GUEST

The summer sun, streaming intimately in at the window of her room, and touching her hair with warm, awakening fingers, caused Grace to open her eyes before six o’clock the next morning. She lay looking about her, unable for the moment to remember where she was. Then she laughed and reaching for her kimono, which hung folded across the footboard of the bed, slipped it on, and, thrusting her feet into her bedroom slippers, went to the window.

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