Chapter 36: Discoveries
Corrie climbed the stairs to the second floor and looked around. She was on a hallway with several glass doors. Three of them had ranges of numbers listed on them, which she guessed were the Dewey Decimal numbers; one said "Viewing Room" and one said "Reading Room." There were also two bathrooms, the doors of which were thankfully not glass. The reading room was closest, so she went in and quickly found the yearbooks that Dawn had mentioned. She picked up the three oldest--they started in 1910--and started looking through them.
It was slow going. She couldn't just skim through and look at the pictures, since the stone faces were not exactly distinctive. She recited the names silently. Vertiline Gravette. Rebeckah Williams. Sorcha Motsinger. Lara Sumaya. She was mostly looking for Rebeckah Williams, since that statue looked the oldest, but any of them could turn up. She paged slowly through the beginnings, where the presidents and professors were shown, and skimmed as quickly as she dared through the students. There were individual pictures of the graduating seniors and small pictures of clubs. She jumped when the face of Professor Lal appeared in the pages of 1913's yearbook. She was paler and her name was listed as Professor Doreen Lal, but it was definitely her. Well, that was certainly something to tell her friends about, even if it didn't shed any light on their mysteries; their professor had taught at the school before, under a different name. It was creepy to think about, but she had already assumed that Professor Lal was immortal, so she supposed it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise.
She didn't find anything else interesting (though Professor Lal appeared in more than a dozen further yearbooks, spanning about twenty years) until 1941. There in the ranks of graduating seniors was another familiar face. The hair wasn't blue and spiky (though as it was a black-and-white photograph, it might well have been blue), and no tattoo was visible, but it was definitely Ever. The name below the photo was "Eleanor Cormany." Apparently she, too, had been at the college before under a different name. Was it something that a lot of faeries did?
Her eyes were getting tired as she continued to skim the names as quickly as she could, but her efforts were finally rewarded in 1959. There in the caption below a photo of the chess club was one familiar name: Sorcha Motsinger. She'd been a student then! Eagerly, Corrie moved to the next yearbook, hoping to find Sorcha becoming a professor or president in later years, but no such luck: she wasn't even listed as a graduating senior. Corrie went back to 1959, then 1960, and studied them more carefully. Other than that one chess club photo, there was neither a Sorcha nor a Motsinger to be found.
She looked up when the door opened--since it was still early in the semester, no one else had come in to use the reading room. Sure enough, it was Dawn looking for her. "Hey," she said as Corrie replaced the books on the shelf. "Did you find anything?"
"I did," Corrie said. She stood up and stretched. "Nothing really helpful, though, just interesting. I'll tell you and Edie about it when we're all together."
"Okay." They started down the steps. "No luck finding anything to see faeries better?"
"No, I didn't get past the yearbooks. I didn't even finish with them."
"Well, let's go get Edie."
They did, and were thankfully not joined for dinner by any of their usual friends, not even Marlin. Corrie found a table end for them to sit at, separated from others eating in the dining hall. She felt as though they were always trying to sequester themselves. They had secrets to keep, she supposed. "So today," she explained to Edie, "I went to the library and took Dawn's suggestion to look at the old yearbooks." She explained to both of them how she'd seen both Professor Lal and Ever in old yearbooks, then how Sorcha Motsinger had been in one yearbook but none of the later ones.
"So if Sorcha Motsinger went here, do you think she was an alumna who gave a lot of money to the school?" Edie suggested.
"Maybe. It would go with Lorelei's idea that Vertiline Gravette was one of Lady Chatoyant's friends." Corrie shrugged. "But it's weird that she never showed up as a graduating senior. Some years are missing, but none of the ones after 1959 where she showed up."
"She might have graduated a semester early or something," Dawn said. "Then maybe they wouldn't have had her picture for the yearbook."
"There were always a few people whose pictures they didn't get, but those people were listed at the end. Sorcha Motsinger wasn't in any of those lists, either."
"Maybe she got married and didn't graduate," Edie said. "Women did that a lot in the early part of the century, I think. Went to college, met a man, stopped going to college."
"You're right," said Dawn. "That does make sense."
"But then why does the statue say Sorcha Motsinger, instead of including her married name?"
"Maybe because that's how people knew her at school," Dawn said.
"Yeah, or maybe they put up the statue because she did something amazing while at school." Edie grinned. "Maybe she won a chess championship or something."
"Okay, fine," Corrie sighed, grinning. "There are lots of explanations. I guess it's not such a huge mystery after all."
"Still, it is strange that there's no explanation as to why there is a statue of her," said Dawn. "Or any of the other statues. I wonder if they were students too."
"Well, I don't have time to look through many more yearbooks tonight," said Corrie, looking at the clock. "I'm supposed to meet Byron at eight. You too, Edie."
"Okay, let's head back, I guess," said Edie.
The three of them deposited their trays, then left the dining hall and walked back to the dorm in the fading light. When they reached Corrie and Edie's room, Dawn said suddenly, "I forgot to ask you about the other research. How's that going?"
"Not so well," Corrie said as she unlocked the door. She walked to her bed and picked up the Sandman book that she'd left there. "I've only been looking through Sandman for suggestions. I have a few other books with faeries in them, but no actual folklore. I meant to look in the folklore section of the library, but..." She shrugged, idly flipping pages in her book. "I didn't get to it. I'll look later, I guess."
"What are you looking for, exactly?" asked Edie.
"Ways to see through glamour other than iron and the Sight," Dawn explained. "Your suggestion didn't work--Corrie could still see Professor Lal's human appearance even when she was touching both iron and me."
"Well, let's take the time we have now to do a little more research," said Edie, standing up and walking over to Corrie's bookshelf. She looked over the books, then selected a book of short stories that were mainly about faeries. "I suppose fiction still counts as research."
"I figure it does," Corrie said, "as long as the writers did the folklore research to begin with. I'm pretty sure most of the books I have did."
For the next half hour, they sat in mostly quiet, looking through the books. Dawn came across a mention of a magic ointment that, if rubbed on humans, would allow them to see or sense faeries, but since it seemed to be only obtainable from the faeries themselves, that knowledge was unlikely to help them. Otherwise, their search was fruitless.