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Betty Wales Freshman
by Edith K. Dunton
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"With your first year at Harding," explained Miss Ferris.

"Oh!" said Betty, relieved that it was no worse. "Why, y-es—no, I'm not. I've had a splendid time, but I haven't accomplished half that I ought. Next year I'm going to work harder from the very beginning, and——" Betty stopped abruptly, realizing that all this could not possibly interest Miss Ferris.

"And what?"

"I didn't want to bore you," apologized Betty. "Why, I'm going to try to—I don't know how to say it—try not scatter my thoughts so. Nan says that I am so awfully interested in every one's else business that I haven't any business of my own."

"I see," said Miss Ferris musingly. "That's quite a possible point of view. Still, I'm inclined to think that on the whole we have just as much orange left and it tastes far better, if we give a good deal of it away. If we try to hang on to it all, it's likely to spoil in the pantry before we get around to squeeze it dry."

Betty looked puzzled again.

"You don't like figures of speech, do you?" said Miss Ferris. "You must learn to like them next year. What I mean is that it seems to me far better in the long run to be interested in too many people than not to be interested in people enough. Of course, though, we mustn't neglect to be sufficiently interested in ourselves; and how to divide ourselves fairly between ourselves and the rest of the world is the hardest question we ever have to answer. You'll be getting new ideas about it all through your course—and all through your life."

There was a moment of silence, and then Betty rose to go. "I have to pack and I know you are busy. Miss Ferris, I'm going to be at the Belden next year."

"I'm sorry you're not coming here," said Miss Ferris kindly. "Couldn't you manage it?"

"Yes, but the—the orange seems to cut better the other way," said Betty. "That isn't a good figure, but perhaps you can see what it means."

* * * * *

It was worth most of what it had cost to see Helen's face when she heard the news. "Oh Betty, it's too good to be true," she cried, "but are you sure you want me?"

"Haven't I given up the Hilton to be with you?" said Betty, with her face turned the other way.

Alice was disappointed, but she would be just as happy with Constance Fayles. She found more "queer" things to like at Harding every day, and she considered Betty Wales one of the queerest and one of the nicest.

Eleanor pleased Betty by offering no objection to the change of plan. "Only you needn't think that you can get rid of me as easily as all this," she said. "I shall camp down in the registrar's office until she says that 'under the circumstances,' which is her pet phrase, she will let me change my application to the Belden. By the way, Betty, Jean Eastman wants to see you after chapel to-morrow. She said she'd be in number five."

After "last chapel," with its farewell greetings, that for all but the seniors invariably ended with a cheerful "See you next September," and the interview with Jean, in which the class president offered rather unintelligible apologies for "the stupid misunderstanding that we all got into," Betty went back to the house to get her bags and meet Katherine, who was going on the same train. Some of the girls had already gone, and none of them were in but Rachel, who was perched in a front window watching anxiously for a dilatory expressman, and Katherine, who was frantically stowing the things that would not go in her trunk into an already well-filled suit-case.

"Well, it's all over," said Betty, sitting down on the window seat beside Rachel.

"Wish it were," muttered Katherine, shutting the case and sitting down on it with a thud.

"No, it's only well begun," corrected Rachel.

"A lot of things are over anyway," persisted Betty. "Just think how much has happened since last September!"

"Jolly nice things too," said Katherine cheerfully. She had quite unexpectedly succeeded in fastening the lock.

"Weren't they!" agreed Betty heartily. "But I guess the nicest thing about it is what you said, Rachel—that it's 'to be continued in our next.' Won't it be fun to see how everything turns out?"

"I wish that expressman would turn up," said Rachel ruefully.

"We'll tell him so if we meet him," said Betty, shouldering her bag and her golf clubs, while Katherine staggered along with the bursting suit-case.

As they boarded a car at the corner, Mary Brooks and the faithful Roberta waved to them energetically from the other side of Main Street.

"Good-bye! Good-bye!" shrieked Katherine.

"See you next September," called Betty, who had said good-bye to them once already.

"Katherine Kittredge has grown older this year," said Mary critically, "but Betty hasn't changed a bit. I remember the night she came up the walk, carrying those bags."

"She has changed inside," said Roberta.

As the car whizzed by the Main Building, Betty wanted to wave her hand to that too, but she didn't until Dorothy King, appearing on the front steps, gave her an excuse.

"Well," she said with a little sigh, as the campus disappeared below the crest of the hill, "you and Rachel may talk all you like, but I feel as if something was over, and it makes me sad. Just think! We can never be freshmen at Harding again as long as we live."

"Quite true," said Katherine calmly, "but we can be sophomores—that is, unless the office sees fit to interfere."

"Yes, we can be sophomores; and perhaps that's just as nice," said Betty optimistically. "Perhaps it's even nicer."



* * * * *

The Books in this Series are:

BETTY WALES, FRESHMAN BETTY WALES, SOPHOMORE BETTY WALES, JUNIOR BETTY WALES, SENIOR BETTY WALES, B. A. BETTY WALES & CO. BETTY WALES ON THE CAMPUS BETTY WALES DECIDES

THE END

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