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Title: The Diary of a Freshman
Author: Flandrau, Charles Macomb
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                               THE DIARY
                            _of a_ FRESHMAN


                                  _By_

                        CHARLES MACOMB FLANDRAU

                      Author of "Harvard Episodes"



                               _NEW YORK_
                      DOUBLEDAY, PAGE AND COMPANY
                               _MDCCCCI_



                         _Copyright, 1900, by_
                       The Curtis Publishing Co.

                         _Copyright, 1901, by_
                       Doubleday, Page & Company



                            University Press
                          John Wilson and Son
                           Cambridge, U.S.A.



                                _TO THE_
                "_For Ever Panting and For Ever Young._"



                   _Courteous acknowledgment is here
                      made to the Saturday Evening
                   Post, Philadelphia, in which these
                      papers first saw the light._



                                _*THE*_*
                       DIARY *_*of a*_* FRESHMAN*



                                  *I*


Mamma left for home this afternoon.  As I want to be perfectly truthful
in my diary, I suppose I must confess that before she actually went away
I sometimes thought I should be rather relieved when she was no longer
here. Mamma has a fixed idea that I came to college for the express
purpose of getting my feet wet by day, and sleeping in a draught by
night. She began the furnishing of my rooms by investing in a pair of
rubber boots,—the kind you tie around your waist with a string.  The
clerk in the shop asked her if I was fond of trout-fishing, and she
explained to him that I had always lived in the West where the climate
was dry, and that she did n’t know how I would stand the dampness of the
seacoast.  Mamma thought the clerk was so interested in my last attack
of tonsillitis I didn’t have the heart to tell her that all the time he
was looking sympathetic with his right eye, he was winking at me with
his left.

Now that she is gone, however, I don’t see how I could have thought,
even for a moment, that I should be glad, and I ’ve been sitting here
for an hour just looking at my room and all the nice things she advised
me about and helped me to choose—wishing she could see how cosey it is
late at night with the green lamp lighted and a little fire going.  (It
is n’t really cool enough for a fire; I had to take my coat off for a
while, the room got so warm—but I was anxious to know how the andirons
looked with a blaze behind them.) I suppose she is lying awake in the
sleeping-car thinking of me.  She made me move my bed to the other side
of the room, so that it would n’t be near the window.  I moved it back
again; but I think now I ’ll change it again to the way she liked it.

Of course I was disappointed last May when I found I hadn’t drawn a room
in one of the college buildings.  I had an idea that if you did n’t live
in one of the buildings owned by the college you would n’t feel,
somehow, as if you "belonged."  Before I arrived in Cambridge I worried
a good deal over it.  The old Harvard men at home were most
unsatisfactory about this when I asked their advice. The ones who had
lived in the Yard when they were in college seemed to think there was
n’t any particular use in going to college at all unless you could live
either in their old rooms or some in the same building; and the ones who
had lived outside as I am going to do (this year, anyhow) said the
college buildings were nice enough in their way, but if I could only get
the dear old place (which was pulled down fifteen years ago) where James
Russell Lowell had scratched his name on the window-pane, and where
somebody else (I ’ve forgotten who it was) crawled up the big chimney
when the sheriff came to arrest him for debt and was discovered because
he did not crawl far enough, I should be all right.

I don’t see how the good times and the advantages of a place like this
hold out for so long; everybody who has been here speaks as if he had
about used them up.

Well, we found rooms pleading to be rented; every other house in
Cambridge has a "Student’s Room to Let" card in the window.  Even some
of the rooms in the Yard had been given up at the last minute by fellows
who flunked their exams.  Mamma said she felt very sorry for the poor
boys; and after that the enormity of my having been conditioned in
physics and solid geometry decreased considerably.  The trouble (there
were four days full of it) wasn’t in finding a good place, but in trying
to decide on some one place.  For a while it looked as though I should
either have to live in five separate houses—some of them over a mile
apart—or give up going to college.  We dragged up and down all the quiet
side streets within a reasonable distance of the Yard, ringing bells and
asking questions until the words "I should like to look at" and "What is
the price of?" began to sound like some kind of a silly English
Meisterschaft system. Several times when we were very tired we wandered
by mistake into houses we had been to before.  This made the landladies
exceedingly peevish; but mamma said it was just as well, because now we
knew what their true characters really were.

We found that we could rent some of the rooms lighted and heated; but
most of them were merely "lit and het."

All the houses in Cambridge and many of the buildings in the Yard seemed
to be disgorging roomfuls of old furniture and consuming cartloads of
new, and everywhere we went we met strings of cheerful, energetic
mothers with tired, rather cross-looking sons.  I’ve seen only one
fellow with his father so far, and they sort of apologized for the fact
by being dressed in deep mourning.

At the end of three days we ’d picked out five rooms.  Considered in a
lump, they seemed fine; but tackling them separately, mamma could n’t
decide which one was least objectionable.  One was in a part of town
that "looked damp"—a man across the street unfortunately sneezed just as
we were passing a stone wall covered with green moss. The second smelt
of cooking.  On the steps of the third a groceryman was waiting to
deliver several gallons of gasoline (this one was almost struck off the
list).  The fourth was near the river (we had the bad luck to be in that
part of town when the tide was out), and from the windows of the fifth
there was a merry little view of a graveyard.  We simply could n’t make
up our minds, and were standing in the middle of a narrow, rather shabby
little street two or three blocks below the Square discussing the
matter, when a door behind us opened and a mother and son (we turned to
look) came out, followed by a gray-haired woman—evidently the
landlady—who was doing the talking, in a very New England voice, for all
three.  The mother was slim and pretty, and had on a beautiful dress
that went swish-swash-swish when she walked away, and the fellow looked
like her; he was very handsome.

"Well, I ’m real glad to know you," the landlady said to the fellow’s
mother.  "Jus’ seems ’s if I could n’t rest till I knew the young men’s
folks; dustin’ their photographs every day makes it sort of different.
It do—don’t it?  Oh, yes—I ’ll take care of him. They get real mad at
me, the young men do, sometimes, for makin’ them change their shoes when
it’s snow-in’ and makin’ them wear their rubber coats when it’s
rai-nin’.  _They ’re_ in too much of a hurry, _they_ are.  That’s what’s
the matter with _them_."  She gave the fellow a roguish look, and he and
his mother walked up the street laughing as if they were very much
pleased.

"I think," said mamma (who had become strangely animated on hearing of
the change of shoes)—"I think that before we decide on one of these five
rooms we ’ll go in there."  So we went up to the gray-haired woman, who
had lingered outside to talk baby talk to a cat that was making gothic
arches of itself all over the piazza, and in about seven minutes by the
watch we ’d signed the lease of the last vacant rooms in the house.

A short, steep staircase like the companionway of a ship leads up to a
landing about the size of a kitchen table.  The edges of the steps are
covered with tin and are terribly slippery. The door on the left opens
into my study, and at the end of that is my bedroom, and next to that is
a great big bathroom (it’s bigger than the other two) with a porcelain
tub and a shower which I am to share with the fellow who lives just
across the staircase on the right. Mrs. Chester, the landlady, says:
"All the young men thinks an awful lot of that bathroom."

The study is so small that we did n’t have to buy as much furniture as
we expected to. I have an oak desk with a rolling top that makes a noise
like some one shovelling coal when you open and shut it, and usually
sticks half-way.  Of course, when we finally got it out from town
(Boston is about four miles from Cambridge, and it takes anywhere from
three days to a week for an express wagon to make the trip), we found
that it was much too large to go up the staircase.  But Mrs. Chester
said we could take out the back of the house and have it swung up to the
room on ropes—the "young men" always did that when they wanted pianos or
sofas, or desks like mine.  I wasn’t present at the operation, as I had
to go in town to lunch with mamma, but it was successfully performed (by
"a real handy gentleman from down Gloucester way, who used to be a
fisherman and is a carpenter now"), for I found the desk in the room
when I returned and the walls of the house looked about the same.

Besides the desk I have an oak chair with a back that lets up and down
by means of a brass rod; its cushions are covered with gray corduroy.
Then there is another chair, a revolving one (very painful), that goes
with the desk.  We bought a bookcase at a shop just off the Square, from
an odious little man who put his hand on my shoulder and said to mamma,
"They _will_ grow up, won’t they?"  It looks rather bare, as there
aren’t any books in it yet; but mamma would n’t let me fill it, although
right next door to the place where we bought it there were loads of
books in the window for five and ten cents apiece.

We got some Turkish rugs at an auction in town.  The man said they never
would wear out.  When they arrived here and I saw them for the first
time by daylight (they had gas at the sale) I knew what he meant.
However, mamma darned them very nicely, and as everything else looks so
new, perhaps it’s just as well.

I ’ve put the photographs of mamma and papa, and the one of Mildred in
the ball dress and big hat with white ostrich feathers, and the one of
Sidney in his little cart with the two goats, on the mantelpiece.  I ’m
afraid I never cared much for the goats when I was at home, but to-night
I ’ve been thinking of all the funny things they used to do and
wondering if I’ll ever see them again.  They’re such cute little beasts.
Over the mantelpiece I have two crimson flags with the sticks crossed.

This evening while I was sitting in front of the fire trying to decide
whether I ought to begin my diary now or wait until college opened
to-morrow and things began to happen, the door downstairs suddenly
rattled and slammed, and some one came clattering up the tin steps at a
great rate.  Then the door across the landing was unlocked, and I heard
whoever it was falling over chairs and upsetting things in the dark; and
all the time he kept roaring at the top of his voice: "Oh, Mrs. Chester!
Ay-y-y-y-y, Mrs. Chester, where are you?"  Mrs. Chester had told me a
few minutes before that she was "just goin’ to step up street to see how
Mis’ Buckson ’s comin’ along with them rooms o’ hers," so I called out
that she was n’t at home.  Then the voice answered, "Oh, thank you;" and
after a few more things in the other room had fallen on the floor and
smashed, the fellow who was making all the fuss came across and stood in
my doorway.

I thought for a second that the reason he did n’t come in was that he
was so big he could n’t.  I knew that the ceilings of the house were low
and that my study wasn’t very large, but I had n’t realized before how
small it all was.  The fellow blocked up the whole doorway; his
shoulders, in a loose, shaggy gray coat, stretched clear across. His
face was burned a deep brown, and his hair was very black and looked
rather long, as it evidently had n’t been brushed for a good while, and
he wanted to know if I could let him have a match.  I could see that he
was taking in my room as he stood there, and I think he smiled a little
at something; but then he seemed to be smiling anyhow (in a different
way), so I was n’t sure.  I jumped up and got him a box of matches
(somehow I knew at once that he wasn’t the other Freshman who has rooms
in the house, although I can’t think why, as he did n’t look old), and
he thanked me, saying he was sorry to trouble me, and went back to his
room.

I felt sort of excited and restless after that, and thought I would sit
down and write mamma all about him; but just as I was beginning to he
stopped humming (I don’t think he can be a member of the Glee Club, as
he only struck the right note once by accident; still I knew perfectly
well what he was trying to sing) and began to laugh.  Then he came over
to my door again with his hands in his pockets and said,—

"You did n’t happen to see an iron bedstead lying around the streets
anywhere, did you? The good Chester has evidently spent the last three
months in putting my rooms in order and I can’t find a thing."  I told
him I had seen a bed in the back yard this afternoon, but that I did n’t
think it could be his.  He asked me very seriously why not.  And then
all at once I got horribly rattled.  I didn’t like to tell him that the
bed had n’t looked nearly big enough for him (it was a little narrow
thing), for I was afraid he might think me fresh. Then besides, I found
that I had instinctively stood up when I saw him, and as there wasn’t
any particular reason why I should have done this, I got sort of
confused.

"Of course it’s a very nice little bed," I hastened to add.  Whereupon
he burst out laughing with a loud whoop.

"If it ’s such a nice one it certainly can’t be mine, and I ’d better go
down and swipe it right away," he said at last, and clattered
downstairs.  I tried again to write to mamma, but he made such a noise
coming upstairs with pieces of bed and running down again that I could
n’t fix my mind.  Then, too, I kept wondering whether I ought to offer
to help him.  Finally I went out as he was coming up with a mattress on
his shoulder and asked, "Was it your bed, after all?" which made him
laugh again and say: "I wouldn’t tell you for anything in the world.  If
you aren’t too busy, though, I wish you would help me put the beastly
thing together."

We tried for about half an hour to make the bed stand up.  It looked
simple enough, but whenever we got the sides firm and more or less
parallel, the back and front would wobble and fall to the floor.  Once
we had all four pieces standing beautifully, but just as we put on the
woven wire business and Mr. Duggie (that’s what Mrs. Chester calls him—I
don’t think it ’s his real name, though) exclaimed, "I have the honor to
report, sir, that the allied forces have taken New Bedford," the whole
thing collapsed and pinched his finger fearfully as it came down. After
that we sat on the floor awhile.  He smoked a pipe and glanced
meditatively at the ruins of the bed every now and then, and at last
turned to me and said, "Is this your first year here?"  I didn’t let him
see how pleased I was that he had not discovered I was a Freshman, and
merely answered, "Yes."

We talked a long time—about all kinds of things.  I asked him a string
of questions that had been on my mind for months: whether it is better
to live in a private house, one of the big private halls, or in the Yard
(I called it the "Campus," and he looked queer for a moment and said it
was known as the Yard here); where would be a good place to eat; whether
he thought my allowance was big enough (I told him how much I was going
to have); and what was the best way to make friends and get on teams and
clubs and musical societies and crews and papers.  He answered
everything, although once or twice he puffed at his pipe and looked at
me a good while before speaking.  I couldn’t tell whether the questions
had n’t occurred to him before, or whether he didn’t know just what to
tell me.  Of course I can’t remember all he said, but it sounded so
important that afterward I scribbled as much of it as I could in a
notebook.


                           ROOMS IN THE YARD

                               ADVANTAGES

General Washington may have stabled his horse (the iron-gray that never
put his front feet to the ground in the presence of an artist) in your
bedroom.

When girls come out to vespers (Thursdays from November to May) and stop
to look at the Yard, you can stop whatever you happen to be doing and
look at them.

In May and June the morning and evening views from your windows are
different from and more beautiful than anything in the world.

The Glee Club (weather permitting) sings under the trees; you lie on
your window-seat in the twilight and wonder whether, after graduating,
you will accept Fame or Fortune.

Proximity to lectures during the annual inundations of December,
January, February, March, and April.


                             DISADVANTAGES

Too much effort involved in taking a bath. What ought to be an innocent
pleasure becomes a morbid family pride.

Accessibility to bores who want to kill time while waiting for their
next lecture.  At first you think this is Popularity.

Enforced quiet after 9 P.M.—at which hour you usually close your books
and feel like making a noise.

Enforced activity before 9 A.M.—until which hour you always close your
eyes and try not to feel at all.

Necessity of burning a kind of coal that refuses to light (or to stay
lighted) for anybody but the janitor, who is never in the basement,
where you always firmly believe (in spite of your daily failure) that
you are going to find him.


                                 BOARD

Mrs. Muldooney’s is by all means the most desirable place.  It is
crowded, hot, noisy, expensive, and not particularly nourishing. Mrs.
Muldooney is a tall, grim, steel-armored old cruiser of sixty-five, with
dark-blue hair, who doles out eleven canned cherries to every man at
luncheon and sends in word from the kitchen that there aren’t any more.
She tries to collect twenty-five cents when you have a guest; but as you
promptly disown your guest, she is usually foiled.  Her place, however,
is always crowded with Freshmen, and I ought to go there.


                               ALLOWANCE

My allowance is generous.  It ought to satisfy my every need; but it
won’t.


                    TEAMS, CREWS, SOCIETIES, PAPERS

Try enthusiastically but not too seriously to take part in everything.
In this way you find out what kind of amusement really amuses you—which
as you grow older is a source of great content.


                                FRIENDS

Friends, in the true sense of the word, are divine accidents beyond all
human control. You will probably meet with four or five such accidents
in your college career.  For the rest—be polite to everybody, and you
will soon have the satisfaction of knowing that your position, both in
the University and in the world, is, at least, unique.


                                 CLUBS

_Vide supra_, under "Friends."


I was just going to ask him something else, when we heard Mrs. Chester
exclaiming,—

"Land sakes, if it ain’t Mr. Duggie!  I saw the light from Mis’
Buckson’s parlor."

"Hello, you dear old buzzard!  How dare you turn me out in the cold this
way?" he called to her; and as she came in, he jumped up and took both
her hands.  "I ’m so glad to see you again."  She gave him a little
push, and looked pleased.

"Law, Mr. Duggie—how you talk!  He’s got real fleshy—ain’t he?" she
added, looking at me.  She asked him where he ’d been all summer, and he
told her he ’d been off shooting in the Rocky Mountains, and had brought
her a breastpin made of an elk’s tooth that she’d have to wear on
Sundays when she went to see her married daughter in Somerville. I
thought I ought to leave, but did not know how to interrupt them
exactly; so I turned and examined some silver cups on the mantelpiece.
There were five beauties, but I could n’t make out the inscriptions on
them.

"You ’ve had lots of visitors the last few days.  They kept a-comin’ to
find out when you ’ll be back.  The Dean was here to-day—a real sociable
gentleman, aren’t he?—and he wants you to go right ’round and see him as
soon as you can.  And yesterday that little man—I forget his name—oh,
you know, he’s the President of the Crimson—came to find out about
something.  He said you were the only one who could tell him.  And then
there ’ve been lots of young men to see about the football—oh, my, just
crowds of them, and they all left notes.  I ’ll run down and get them,
and then I ’ll put up your bed."

After she left, I said good-night.  It’s awfully late, and I have to get
up early, to be in time to register.

I wonder who he is.  I hope he didn’t think I was fresh.  I don’t
believe he did, though, for as I was going he said,—

"We ’re such near neighbors, you must drop in when you haven’t anything
better to do."

Mamma’s train must have passed Utica by this time.



                                  *II*


Well, I ’ve learned a lot of things during the past week, that are n’t
advertised in the catalogue.  If I ’ve neglected to make a note of them
until now, it has been my misfortune, and not my fault.

We registered on Wednesday morning—Freshmen have to register the day
before college really opens—and I confess I was a little disappointed at
the informal way such an important act of one’s life is done.  In the
first place, as you can drop in any time between nine A.M. and one P.M.,
you don’t see the whole class together.  Then the room we registered in
might have been in the High School at home.  I don’t know what I
expected exactly, but it certainly was n’t a bare, square room, a desk
on a low platform, some plaster casts, and a lot of plain wooden chairs
arranged in rows on an inclined plane. However, when I think the matter
over, I don’t see what else they could have.

A dissatisfied-looking little man with a red necktie sat reading a
newspaper at the desk when I went in, and near him—reading a book—was a
younger fellow who looked as if he might be a student.  There were piles
of registration cards on the desk, and after I had stood there a moment,
not knowing what to do, the little man looked up absently from his
paper, handed me some cards with a feeble sort of gesture, and murmured
in a melancholy, slightly trembling, and very sarcastic voice,—

    "... This gentleman is come to me
    With commendation from great potentates,
    And here he means to spend his time awhile."

Then he yawned, and took up the paper again. The young man, without
apparently thinking this remark in the least odd, closed his book on his
thumb so as not to lose the place, and gave me another card, saying in a
perfectly businesslike voice,—

"Please fill this one out, too."  I sat down at a bench to write, and
just then five or six other fellows came in.  One of them was the
good-looking chap (with the pretty mother) who rooms in the same house
with me.  I hadn’t seen him since the day I signed my lease.  I listened
to hear if the little man at the desk would spring anything weird on
them; but as they went right up to him, and took cards as if they knew
all about it, and retreated to the back of the room, he didn’t have
time.  They talked and laughed a good deal, and once they got into a
scuffle, but the instructors didn’t even glance up.  I finished
answering the questions on my cards, and was reading them over, when one
of the fellows behind me said,—

"I’ll ask him—we live in the same house;" and the handsome one came and
sat down beside me.  There was something they did n’t understand in
making out the cards, and the first thing I knew, they were all gathered
around me examining mine.  I felt quite important.  But the next minute
I felt equally cheap.

The cards that had been given us by the young man with the book had to
be filled out with one’s name and address and religion. When the
good-looking one (whose name I ’ve since found out is Berrisford) came
to it, he began to giggle, and after he had written on it he showed it
to the man next to him, who burst out laughing, and passed it on to the
others.  They all laughed as soon as they saw it, and I was just about
to hold out my hand to take it, when the young instructor closed his
book, and said in a rather tired, dry tone,—

"By the way, unless you actually happen to be Buddhists or Hindus or
Mohammedans, or followers of Confucius, kindly refrain from saying so on
the card; only four men have indulged in that particular jest this
morning, which, in comparison with former years, is really very few.  I
begin to feel encouraged; pray don’t depress me."

I don’t know what Berrisford had written, but he got very red while the
instructor was speaking, and crumpled the card into a little lump which
he afterward slipped into his pocket.  The others pretended to be deeply
absorbed in their writing just then; but one of them snorted
hysterically.

If anything like that had happened to me, I think I should have expired
with mortification; but Berrisford after a minute or two did n’t seem to
mind it at all.  I almost think it encouraged him to do something even
more idiotic.

There are two large, fine statues standing in the front corners of the
room.  One of them is a Greek athlete in the act of hurling something
not unlike a pancake, and is called, I believe, The Discus Thrower.  (We
have a little one in the library at home.)  The other is a venerable old
man in flowing robes—probably Homer or Sophocles or some such person.
Well, we had all gone up to the desk with our cards.  Berrisford was
first, and just as he got there he stopped (without giving his cards to
the little man who reached out for them), and looked inquiringly from
statue to statue.  Berrisford has a beautiful, silly face with big,
innocent eyes, and when he talks his manner is graceful—almost timid;
you can’t help liking it.  I could see that he impressed the instructors
just the way he did mamma and me the day we saw him with his mother.  He
looked at the statues a moment, and then said to the little man,—

"Would you mind telling me, please, which of these gentlemen is the
President of the college?"  His voice was so deferential, and there was
something so eager and earnest and pure in his expression, I really
believe that for a moment the instructor thought he was just a nice
fool, and was on the point of kindly explaining what the statues
represented.  He didn’t, though, for one of the fellows in the
background tittered and ran out of the room, and the little man leaned
back in his chair, examined Berrisford very deliberately, and then
remarked in his queer, sarcastic way,—

"’Sir, thy wit is as quick as the greyhound’s mouth; but it speeds too
fast—’twill tire!’"

As soon as we got outside, Berrisford said,—

"What a disappointing little creature!  I had an idea he would be very
angry, and he was n’t at all."

"Did you want him to be angry?" I asked, rather surprised.

"Why, yes, of course," he answered.  "It’s so interesting to watch them;
there are so many different ways of losing a temper. Sea-captains are
the most satisfactory, I think.  I discovered that last spring on my way
to Europe.  I go up to them when they ’re very busy—just getting out of
a harbor or something—and exclaim, ’Oh, I say, Captain—shall I steer?’
You can’t imagine how furious it makes them."  I said I thought I could,
and we parted.  He seems to have a great many friends; he has n’t spent
a night at home since college opened—a week ago.

Well, I went to see my adviser, who helped me select my studies for the
year.  That is to say, he hypnotized me into taking a lot of things I
really don’t see why I should know. However, as I don’t seem to have
what he called "a startling predilection" for anything (my entrance
exams. divulged this), and as he was a pleasant young man who invited me
to dinner next week, I allowed myself to be influenced by him.  He gave
me a lot of little pamphlets with the courses and the hours at which
they come marked in red ink.  I ’ve forgotten what some of them are, as
we have n’t had any real lectures yet—just rigmaroles about what books
to buy.

For the first few days the whole college and all the streets and
buildings near it seemed to be in such confusion that I couldn’t walk a
block without feeling terribly excited—the way I used to feel when I was
a kid, and we were all going to the State fair or the circus, and mamma
would insist on our eating luncheon although we did n’t want a thing.
Along the sidewalk in the Square there was a barricade of trunks so high
that you could n’t see over it, to say nothing of huge mounds of
travelling bags and dress-suit cases and queer-shaped leather things,
with banjos and mandolins and guitars and golf-sticks in them. And from
morning till night there were always at least four or five fellows
telling the expressmen that it was "perfectly absurd;" that they simply
had to have their trunks immediately; that the service was abominable,
and that the whole place was a hundred and fifty years behind the times,
anyhow.  All of which the expressmen may or may not have agreed with,
for they hardly ever answered back, and just went on digging steamer
trunks and hatboxes out of the ruins and slamming them into wagons to
make room for the loads that kept arriving every little while from town.

It was very interesting to watch so many fellows of my own age or a
little older hurrying about or standing in groups talking and laughing
and looking glad to be here.  But at the same time it was sort of
unsatisfactory and hopeless.  I didn’t like to stay in my room much of
the time, as I had a feeling (I have n’t got over it yet) that if I did
I might miss something.  Yet, when I went out, I had so few things to do
that, unless I took a walk—which of course leads one away from the
excitement—there was n’t much point in my being around at all.  No one
stuck his head from an upper window in the Yard and called out,
"Ay-y-y-y-y, Tommy Wood, come up here," when _I_ passed by; and no one
slipped up behind me, and put his hands over my eyes and waited for me
to guess who it was, because, with the exception of Mr. Duggie and Dick
Benton and Berrisford, I didn’t know a soul.  I often saw Mr. Duggie in
the Square, but as he was always with a crowd or striding along in a
great hurry, and being stopped every few feet by some one who asked him
questions that made him laugh and run away, I got a chance to speak to
him only once.  He nodded his head and smiled in a professional kind of
way without in the least remembering who I was.  Dick Benton I did n’t
have any hesitation in going right up to, as at home I had heard him
solemnly promise mamma that he would look out for me and keep his eye on
me.  Of course I don’t expect him to do this; but I confess I did feel
sort of disappointed for a minute when he said: "Well, Wood" (he calls
me Tommy at home), "when did you arrive? Getting settled?  Got your
courses picked out?  Awful bore, is n’t it?  Well, here ’s my car—going
to meet some people in town and am late now.  How ’s Mrs. Wood?  So
glad. Hunt me up when you ’re settled.  So long."  He swung himself on a
passing car and I turned away and stared at a shop window.  I must have
stood there several minutes before I realized it was a bakery, and that
there was absolutely nothing to look at behind the glass except three
loaves of bread and a dish of imitation ice cream that had n’t been
dusted for weeks (it has just this minute occurred to me for the first
time that I must have been homesick that day and the next.  Isn’t it
queer, I didn’t know what was the matter with me?)  I bet I can describe
every article in every shop window in the Square; for there was nothing
for me to do the first few days except to walk up and down and pretend I
was going somewhere.  Of course I tried to get the books the various
instructors told me about; but every time I asked for them at the three
bookstores I found either that the last one had just been sold or that
they had n’t arrived yet.

Mrs. Muldooney’s tables were unfortunately full when I applied and I
have been eating around at the most ridiculous places—ice-cream parlors,
and dairy restaurants where you sit on high stools and grab things,
because you can’t get over the feeling that a conductor will stick his
head in the door pretty soon and say, "All Abo-urrrd."

On Bloody Monday night the Freshmen reception took place.  I scarcely
know how to touch on that event, as my part in it (or rather in what
followed) was so unexpectedly prominent and terrible.

The old college men at home had let drop all kinds of mysterious hints
about Bloody Monday.  In their time, apparently, it was the custom for
the upper-classmen to send grewsome notices to the Freshmen, telling
them what would happen if they did n’t have a punch in their rooms on
that occasion. These warnings were written in blood and began and ended
with a skull and cross-bones. Then in the evening there was a rush in
the Yard between the Freshmen and Sophomores. The old graduates knew
perfectly well that the punches had been given up long ago; but I don’t
think they liked to admit it even to themselves—although they do groan a
good deal about college days not being what they used to be.  From what
they said I could not tell whether there really were such things
nowadays or not, so I wrote a little note to Mr. Duggie and left it on
the stairs, where the postman puts our letters, asking him what to do if
I got a notice, and if there was going to be any rush.  He answered:
"The custom, I am sorry to say, is _ausgespielt_; it must have been
great sport.  As for the rush—theoretically we don’t have it.  By the
way, my name (Mrs. Chester to the contrary notwithstanding) is not Mr.
Duggie, but Douglas Sherwin."

At that time I did n’t know what the second sentence of his note meant,
but I understand now; it dawned on me during the speeches at the
reception.  In some mysterious, indescribable way it was communicated to
me as I sat there in the crowded theatre.  Whether it came to me most
from my classmates—packed into the pew-like seats and standing in rows
against the wall—or from the professors who spoke on the stage, I can’t
say. I simply became aware of the fact that something was going to
happen—something that wasn’t on the program.  It was in the air—it made
me restless, and I could n’t help thinking of that sultry afternoon out
West when the seven pack-horses stampeded just as we were about to
start; I knew the little devils were going to do something and they knew
it, too, for they all began to buck at the same instant. But I hadn’t
said anything about it—and neither had they.

It was just like that while the speeches of welcome were being made in
Sanders Theatre. They were fine speeches; they really did make you
welcome and part of it all—in a way you hadn’t thought of before.  You
couldn’t help being proud that you "belonged," and after the President
had spoken and the fellow next to me yelled in my ear (he had to yell,
the cheering was so loud), "He ’s a great man, all right," I felt all
over that he was a great man—everybody did.  But nevertheless, there was
something else tingling through the noise and excitement that we felt
just as much.  The professors themselves felt it.  The elaborate way in
which every one of them ignored the subject of Bloody Monday was almost
pathetic.  The Dean in his speech ignored it so radiantly that the
audience actually laughed.  Theoretically as (Douglas Sherwin had said)
there would be no rush; the speeches made one quite ashamed to think of
such a thing.

I was n’t there when it started, for after the speeches I went with the
crowd into the great dining-hall to be received.  It would be nice, I
thought, to be introduced to the distinguished men and to get to know
some of my classmates.  Every one was trying to move toward the further
left-hand corner of the vast place, and I soon found myself hemmed in
and carried—oh, so slowly—along with the tide. It was very hot, and as I
am not particularly tall I would more than once have given a good deal
to be out in the fresh night air; but the thought of shaking hands with
the President and the gentleman who invented plane geometry (I did n’t
know whether he had anything to do with solid or not; I never studied
it), and another gentleman (a humorist) who wrote a book and called it
The Easy Greek Reader, cheered me up.  I knew, too, that mamma would be
glad to hear I had talked to these men.  But when, after at least half
an hour of waiting and pushing, I reached the corner of the room, I
discovered that it was n’t the distinguished men we had all along been
gasping and struggling for; it was the ice cream. The distinguished men
were lined up away across the room all alone; if it had been rumored
beforehand that they were indisposed with the plague, they could n’t
have been much more detached.  Every now and then some young
fellow—probably an upperclassman—would snatch a Freshman from the
throng, say something in his ear (it looked as if he were murmuring,
"They ’re all perfectly harmless—only you mustn’t prod them or throw
things in the cage)", and march him up to be introduced.  I watched
these proceedings awhile, and then, as the ice cream in the meanwhile
had given out, I left and started to walk to my room by way of the Yard.

A sound of confused cheering reached me the moment I got outside, and
when I passed through the gate I could see down the long quadrangle what
seemed to be a battle of will-o’-the-wisps—a swaying, shifting, meeting,
parting, revolving myriad of flickering lights and lurid faces.  I ran
until I reached the edge of the crowd, and stood for a minute or two
staring and listening.  The fellows were surging wildly up and down and
across the Yard with torches in their hands, cheering and singing.
Whenever enough men got together, they would lower their torches and
charge the whole length of the Yard—amid a howl of resentment—like a
company of lancers. Then by the time they had turned to plough back
again, another group would have formed, which usually met the first one
half-way with a terrible roar and a clash of tin torches,—a drench of
kerosene and a burst of flame.  Two German bands that never stopped
playing the "Blue Danube" and the "Washington Post" were huddled at
either end of the Yard.  Now and then a sort of tidal wave of lights and
faces and frantic hands would swell rapidly toward them, lap them up,
engulf them, and then go swirling back again to the middle.  But they
never stopped playing,—even when they became hopelessly scattered and
horribly reunited.

I saw two policemen fluttering distractedly on the brink—pictures of
conscious inefficiency—and felt sorry for the poor things. As I was
standing there wondering where I could get a torch, a slim middle-aged
man with an iron-gray beard bustled up to them, and the three held a
sort of hurried consultation. It ended by the iron-gray man’s (he was a
professor) suddenly leaving them and mounting the steps of University
Hall.  His expression as he turned to face the crowd was the kind that
tries its best to be persuasive and popular and tremendously resolute
all at once, but only succeeds in being wan and furtive. He filled his
lungs and began to talk, I suppose, as loud as he could; yet all I heard
was an occasional despairing "Now, fellows ... It seems to me, fellows
... Don’t you think it would be better..."

No one paid any attention to him, however, and in an incredibly short
time the crowd had crushed itself as far away as it could into the
quadrangle’s lower end.  I made my way over there, and as I was pushing
into the thick of things a man next to me exclaimed to no one in
particular: "They’ve sent for Duggie Sherwin, the captain of the team,
as a last resort—he’s going to say something from the porch of
Matthews."  I saw I never could get near Matthews by trying to forge
straight ahead; so, as I wanted to hear Mr. Duggie (I hadn’t known until
that minute what he was), I extricated myself and ran around the edge of
the crowd.  Even then I wasn’t very near, and, although I could n’t hear
a word he said, I could see him—standing on a chair—towering above
everybody and smiling a little as if he enjoyed it.  I didn’t know what
he said; to tell the truth, I don’t think anybody did, except perhaps
the men right around him. Yet in about a minute two or three fellows
began to yell, "All over," "The stuff is off," and "_Now_ will you be
good;" and the crowd fell back a little, attempting to spread out. The
spell somehow was broken; for owing to Mr. Duggie’s wonderful influence
we would have dispersed quietly if it had n’t been for that flighty
idiot, Berrisford.

I had picked up a torch that some one had thrown away and was moving
along with it when Berrisford dashed up to me with something round—about
the size of a football—wrapped in a newspaper.  One of the sleeves of
his coat was gone; he was breathing hard and seemed to be fearfully
excited.

"It’s your turn now," he gasped, and thrust the parcel into my hand.

"Why—what is it?—what are we going to do?  The rush is over," I
answered, for I did n’t understand.

"Of course the rush is over—stupid," he said hurriedly.  "We’re playing
a game now—’The King’s Helmet’—and you ’re It.  I _was_ It—but I’m not
any more; you are now. Hurry up, for Heaven’s sake, or they’ll get it.
Here they come—run for all you ’re worth; it may mean a lot for the
class."  This last and the fact of my catching sight just then of some
men running toward me decided me.  I clutched the parcel to my side and
scudded down the Yard.  Every one fell back to let me pass, and my
progress was followed by screams of delight.  I never had attracted so
much attention before, and from the things that were shouted at me as I
flew along I knew I was doing well.  At the end of the Yard I ran smash
into a building, but although somewhat dazed I managed to hang on to the
parcel, turn, and look back.  The only person pursuing me, apparently,
was a bareheaded policeman—and he was alarmingly near.  But I managed to
pass him, and on my return trip I noticed that I received even a greater
ovation than the one the fellows had given me at first.  I did n’t know
what it all meant, and I was nearly dead, and suddenly tripped,
staggered, and fell into the arms of a second policeman who handled me
very roughly and seized Berrisford’s package.  It contained the helmet
of the bareheaded one, who arrived in a moment exceedingly exhausted,
but able, nevertheless, to shake his fist in my face.

The parade to the police station must have been several blocks long—I
heard about it afterward.  First there was me with an escort of two
officers, all the muckers in Cambridge, and the Freshman class in a
body, who started a collection on the way over with which to bail me
out.  Then there was a German band playing the "Blue Danube," and after
that "a vast concourse" (as Berrisford called it) of Sophomores,
upperclassmen, and law students with another German band playing the
"Washington Post" in their midst.

I was almost paralyzed with fright, and my head ached dreadfully from
the blow I had given it against the building; but although I did n’t
show it I could n’t help feeling furious at Berrisford.  He stayed right
behind me on the way over and kept saying at intervals,—

"It’s all right, old man.  Don’t worry—there’s no use worrying; just
leave everything to me."



                                 *III*


Perhaps, after all, my troubles were for the best.  It was not my fault
that I fell into the hands of the law; nothing was further from my
thoughts than a desire to be disorderly.  Of course the teasing I have
had to endure is pretty hard, and it is most annoying to acquire a
nickname at the outset (everybody calls me "Trusting Thomas" or "Tommy
Trusting"), and although I realize now that I was pretty "easy" to do
what Berrisford told me to, my conscience has been untroubled from the
first. That, after all, is the main thing.

Berrisford, I think, would have tried (as he said) "to smooth it all
over" at the police station, but very fortunately the arrival of the
Regent and my adviser and the iron-gray man at once took the matter out
of his hands.  I don’t know what they did to the officers, but I was
quickly transferred from the police station to the room of my adviser.
It was more or less impossible to return the money that had been
collected from the class to bail me out with, so just as I left a fellow
with a loud voice proposed amid great cheering to give it to the
Freshman Eleven.

There had been something spectacular and brilliant about my progress
from the Yard to the lock-up that, terrified though I was, I could not
help appreciating in an abject, wretched sort of a way.  But the silent
walk down a back street to the hall in which my adviser lives was just
common or garden melancholy.  The sidewalk was broad, so we swung along
four abreast.  No one followed us, of course, and we went the entire
distance in almost unbroken silence.  Once the Regent cleared his throat
and said in hard, cheerful, deliberate tones,—

"I see by the evening paper that Japan will not accede to the request of
the Powers."  No one answered for about a minute, and I began to fear
that neither my adviser nor the iron-gray man would take advantage of
the opportunity to exclaim, "What a wonderful little people they are!"
I was vaguely disappointed; for of course when the Japanese are
mentioned one instinctively waits for somebody to say this.  However,
just as I was beginning to lose hope and had almost made up my mind to
risk the comment myself, the iron-gray man burst out with, "What a
remarkable little people they are!" and my foolish heart was reassured!

I must say that when we reached our destination and the inquisition
began, they were—all three of them—mighty fair and square. The
circumstances of my capture were decidedly against me, and my defence, I
realized, sounded simply foolish.  (At one point my adviser jumped up
abruptly and closed a window; I think he was afraid he was going to
laugh.)  There was nothing for me to do but tell my story: how I had
watched the rush from the bottom of the steps; how I had gone over to
hear Mr. Duggie’s speech, and how Berrisford (I didn’t give his name,
however) had come up to me with the helmet in a newspaper and told me we
were playing a game and that I was It.  I felt very earnest and
tremulous when I began, but by the time I finished I could n’t help
wanting to shut a few windows myself.  That—out of the whole howling
mob—they had succeeded in seizing one miserable, little half-dead
Freshman who had taken no part in the actual disturbance, struck me as
being like something in an imbecile farce.  It impressed the others, I
think, in much the same way, although the iron-gray man, after a moment
of silence, said: "Do you really expect us to believe all this?"

"No, sir," I answered; "I don’t see how you conscientiously can."  But
they decided to believe it, nevertheless.  My adviser asked me if I knew
who gave me the helmet, and on learning that I did, he intimated that he
would like to know the man’s name.  I preferred, however, not to tell;
and they were very nice about that, too.  (I shouldn’t have told even if
they had chosen to be disagreeable about it.)

As far as I am concerned I don’t believe any action will be taken.
There is no end, though, to the ominous rumors of what the Faculty will
do in general.  One day we hear that the two lower classes won’t be
allowed to play football this year, and the next, that all the Freshmen
are to be put on what is called "probation;" everybody, in an indefinite
sort of way, is very indignant. To tell the truth, I don’t see why; but
as all the rest are, I am, too.

Berrisford has been very nice ever since that Monday night.  At first I
think it was a desire to "make amends" that caused him to spend so much
time in my room and ask me to do so many things with him and his
friends; but of course he never put it that way.  He was very much
worried when I told him that my adviser and the Regent had tried to find
out who had given me the helmet, and he wanted to rush and confess.  It
took me a good while to persuade him not to.  In fact, I did n’t
persuade him exactly, but only got him to agree at length to let Mr.
Duggie decide.  Mr. Duggie thought the matter over for a moment, and
said that as my refusal to tell hadn’t, so far as he could see, made me
a martyr on the altar of friendship, he thought it would be
unnecessarily theatrical for Berrisford to give himself up.

One day Berrisford asked me where I ate, and when I told him I had been
trying the places in and about the Square, he said: "Why, you silly
thing—why don’t you join my crowd at Mrs. Brown’s?"  He spoke as if the
idea had just occurred to him, but that same morning when he introduced
me to a man who came up to his room, the fellow said: "I hear you ’re
coming to our table. That’s good."  So it must have all been arranged
beforehand.  Berrisford ’s awfully generous and impulsive and kind, only
he’s so scatter-brained and eccentric you never know what he ’s going to
do next.

I ’ve done no end of interesting things since I last wrote in my diary.
I bought a song called "Love’s Sorrow" at a music store, had the man
play it for me five or six times, learned the words and then attempted
to sing it at the trial of Glee Club candidates.  I ’m sure I sang all
the notes and I remembered the words without a mistake; but something
was wrong.  For after I stopped singing the fellow at the piano went on
playing the accompaniment several minutes.  And when I took my seat I
heard one of the judges murmur as he wrote something on a slip of paper:
"Fourth heat; Tommy Trusting shows heels to the bunch and wins in a
canter."  They told me I would see my name in the "Crimson" when they
wanted me for rehearsal.  It hasn’t appeared yet and that was some time
ago.

Then one morning I borrowed a jersey and some moleskins from a fellow at
our table and went over to Soldiers’ Field to try for the football team.
First we lined up for short sprints of twenty yards or so; then they
divided us into squads and made us practise falling on the ball (I found
chloroform liniment very good for this; but Berrisford maintains that
there’s nothing like osteopathy). Afterward we practised place kicks,
drop kicks and punts; candidates for tackle were lined up against one
another and tried breaking through; quarter-backs and centre-rushes
practised passing and snapping back the ball. I tried everything—even
the dummy.

The dummy is an imitation man in football clothes, suspended by pulley
from a wire stretched between posts twenty-five or thirty feet apart.
It is weighted by sand in a bag that is supposed to slide up toward the
pulley as you tackle the thing and grind its nose in the dirt; only it
does n’t.  What actually happens is that some one pulls the dummy
rapidly from one post to the other, and while the creature is spinning
through the air you hurl yourself at it, cling to it desperately with
your finger-nails and teeth for about the tenth of a second, and are
then flicked off—like a drop of water from a grindstone—into the next
lot.  When you return, the coach says he thinks "that will do for this
morning" and enrolls your name in "Squad H."  The members of this
squad—it’s the largest—are told to report for practice when they see
their names in the "Crimson."  All the others have been out every day or
so; but although I’ve read the "Crimson" carefully every morning I
haven’t seen Squad H notified once.

I ’ve got so that I don’t have to look at the printed schedule any more
to see the days and hours of my various lectures.  I just go to the
right one when the bell rings as if I had been doing it all my life.  In
fact the college world has settled down to a routine of lectures and
recitations, pleasantly broken by football games on Wednesdays and
Saturdays, dining in town now and then, and the theatre afterward.  Come
to think of it, I ’ve been to the theatre rather oftener than "now and
then."  At home there are only two; and the things we have there—except
once in a long time—are pretty fierce.  But here there are about seven
or eight big ones, and all sorts of continuous performance places, dime
museums and "nickelodeons" besides.  You simply have to go pretty often
or you miss something good that everybody ’s talking about.  Berrisford
goes every night.

I know now what Mr. Duggie meant when he said my allowance would not be
big enough. He said it was generous; there, however, I disagree with
him.  I ’m not in the _least_ extravagant, but papa does n’t seem to
appreciate how many unexpected things happen that cost money.  There was
my new overcoat, for instance.  Berrisford was having one made, and I
realized when I saw him trying it on at the tailor’s (it’s a great,
soft, loose thing; the kind all the fellows are wearing now) that my old
one wouldn’t do at all.  In fact I had n’t cared to put mine on,
although the wind has been pretty sharp once or twice on the way home
from town late at night.  The tailor said that now was the time to get a
coat like Berrisford’s, as it would be much more expensive later in the
season; so I ordered one. In a certain way it was real economy to do so.
Then, I ’ve gone to town in the afternoon several times with some of the
fellows who are at our table and stayed at the last moment to dinner and
the theatre. I did n’t have enough money with me to do all this and was
n’t going to at first; but I found that the others did n’t, either, and
expected to charge their dinners at the hotel. You can even charge
theatre tickets if you get them from an agent and pay fifty cents more.
It’s very convenient.  I bought a few pictures for my study—it looked so
bare (Berrisford has all sorts of queer, interesting prints and
embroideries on his walls that he brought back from abroad); and I
simply had to get some more chairs.  For I had only one (the whirligig
in front of the desk doesn’t count; it’s too uncomfortable), which made
it embarrassing when four or five men dropped in.  Then I had a dozen
shirts made at a place just off Tremont Street.  The shirts mamma got me
at home are very nice and all that; but they’re not the kind the fellows
are wearing here.  Everybody has colored ones—pale pinks and blues, or
white with a little stripe of something running through them.  Mine were
all white.  I really did n’t need more than six new ones, I suppose, but
the man said they were cheaper by the dozen.  He showed me some really
beautiful neckties that had arrived that day from London.  Against the
materials I had picked out for the shirts they were stunning, and as
they weren’t dear—considering the duty, the originality of the designs
and the heavy silks they were made of—I let him send me five of them.
There were the prettiest old pair of brass andirons and a fender in the
window of an "antique" shop on Beacon Street that I used to stop and
covet whenever I went into town.  They were just the things for my
fireplace, which looked rather shabby—although comfortable. I didn’t
think I could afford them at first; but one day when I happened to be
passing everything in the window was for sale at a discount of ten per
cent.  The man was very kind and obliging and let me charge them.

They let you do that at all the shops, it seems; but I do think they
might have a little more decency about sending in their bills.  The
first of November is three days off—and yet I ’ve heard from every cent
I ’ve spent.  I don’t quite know what to do about it, as my
allowance—even when it comes—won’t be nearly enough to pay for
everything; and of course I ’ll have to keep some of it for my board and
washing and schoolbooks, and all the other little expenses one can’t
very well steer clear of.  Before going to bed the last two nights I ’ve
spent an hour or more in itemizing everything and adding it all up, and
then checking off the people who have to be paid immediately, the ones
who could wait a short time, and the ones about whom there is no
particular hurry.  This makes the financial outlook a little more
possible, but not much.  And yet Duggie had the _nerve_ to say he
thought my allowance _generous_!

Another matter that I try not to think of is the fact that very soon we
are to be given what is called "hour examinations" in all our studies.
I never imagined they would come so—well, abruptly; when we began it
seemed as if we would take much longer to learn enough to be examined
in.  To tell the truth—with the exception of my English course—I haven’t
become deeply interested as yet in the lectures.  After the first few
times I gave up trying to take notes; everything I wrote seemed so
unimportant.  And I haven’t done any of the reading, either.  They
expect you to do a lot of reading at home or in the library, and hold
you responsible for it in the examination.  The man Berrisford and I
have in history is a dreamy old thing who goes into thoughtful trances
every now and then in the middle of a sentence, while three hundred and
fifty stylographic pens hang in mid-air waiting to harpoon the next
word.  One day, after telling us to read a certain work on the feudal
system, he added in a kind of vague, helpless way,—

"We haven’t the book in the library and I believe it is out of print, so
I don’t think you will be able to buy it anywhere; but it’s a singularly
perfect exposition of the subject and I strongly advise you all to read
it."  They say he knows more about fen-drainage in the thirteenth
century than any other living person except one dreadfully old man in
Germany who ’s beginning to forget about it.

We were instructed to make ourselves familiar with another work that is
in the library, and told that without a knowledge of it we could not
expect to accomplish much in the examination.

"I don’t suppose many of you will read every word of it," the old man
said, "although it will do you a vast amount of good if you do."  I
privately made up my mind to plough through the whole thing—even if it
were in two volumes; I thought it would please him.  So, the other day
as it was raining and there was n’t anything in particular going on,
Berrisford suggested that we run over to the library and glance through
the book.  We’d never been in the library before and had to ask one of
the pages at the delivery desk where the history alcove was.  He
couldn’t attend to us at first, as there was an angry old gentleman with
a very red face prancing up and down in front of the desk exclaiming:
"It’s an outrage—an outrage!  I shall certainly speak to the President
about this before the sun goes down upon my wrath!"  Several other pages
were cowering behind the desk, and a terrified librarian was murmuring:
"I can have it here the first thing in the morning, sir—the first thing;
can you wait that long?"

"But I want it _now_!" the old gentleman declared; "I shall _not_ wait
until the first thing in the morning.  You ’re preposterous. It’s an
outrage!"  He was so emphatic and peevish that some of the students in
the big reading-room pushed open the swinging doors and stuck their
heads in to see what the trouble was.

Well, Berrisford and I found out from the page that he is the greatest
philosopher of modern times.  He had come in to get a book that hadn’t
been asked for in fourteen years, and had just learned that it had been
carted away to the crypt of Appleton Chapel to make room for something
that seemed to be rather more universal in its appeal.

The page took us to the alcove we were looking for, and Berrisford found
our book almost immediately.  My back was toward him when he discovered
it, and I turned around only because of his unusual and prolonged
silence.  He was standing petrified in front of eighteen fat, dog-eared
volumes, with his big eyes blinking like an owl confronted by a dazzling
light.

"Is that it?" I inquired after a moment in a cold, hushed voice.  By way
of answer he merely rolled his eyes and swallowed as if his throat were
dry.

"It’s a masterly little thing—isn’t it?" he at length managed to say.
Then without further comment we removed the volumes from the shelf and
piled them on a table in the alcove.  They almost covered it.  When we
had finished, Berrisford, with a grim look about his under lip, opened
one of them and began to read.  I did the same.  It was just three
o’clock.  We read for an hour without speaking or looking at each other,
and at the end of that time Berrisford took a pencil from his pocket and
began to make calculations on the back of a letter.  At last he looked
up as if to demand my attention.

"I have read this book conscientiously—footnotes and everything—for an
hour," he said; he was deliberate and there was an air of finality in
his tone.  "I find that I have completed five pages—the meaning of which
has since escaped me.  Now, as there are four hundred pages in this
volume and as many, presumably, in every one of the other seventeen, it
will take me one thousand four hundred and forty hours—sixty days, or
two months—to ’familiarize’ myself with the whole set.  If we sit here
night and day for the next two months without taking a second off to
eat, sleep, or bathe, we shall have glanced through this superficial
pamphlet and pleased the old man."

"I think it has stopped raining," I replied.

We have a new inmate at our house.  I woke up one morning hearing such a
strange, wild, sad little song coming from my study. At first I thought
I must have dreamed it, but even after I sat up in bed and knew I was
awake, the sound continued.  It was the queerest, most barbaric little
refrain, all in a minor key with words I could n’t make out, and was the
sort of thing one could imagine a "native" of some kind crooning to
himself in the middle of a rice-field.  I listened to it awhile—almost
afraid to go in; but when it began to grow louder, and then was
interrupted from time to time by the most horrible gurgling and
strangling noises, I jumped up and opened my study door.  At the same
moment Berrisford and Mrs. Chester appeared at the other door. In the
middle of the room was a bristling brown thing with pointed ears and
muzzle and shrewd little eyes.  It had absurdly big feet and looked like
a baby wolf.  Something that seemed to be a piece of leather was
dangling from its mouth.  Berrisford threw himself on the floor,
exclaiming: "My darling—my Saga—what is it—speak to me!" and pulled
gently at the piece of leather.  The brute rolled his eyes, gagged a
little, and let him have it.  "Why, it’s the thumb of a glove,"
Berrisford said, holding up his prize for us to look at, "and he dess
tould n’t eat it ’tause it had a nassy tin button wivetted on uzzer end,
so he tould n’t," he added to the animal.

"That doesn’t seem to have stood in the way of his eating the other
one," I remarked coldly, for there was enough of the chewed thing in
Berrisford’s hand to enable me to identify the remains of a pair of very
expensive gloves I had bought two days before.

"Heavens!—do you suppose he really did?" Berrisford asked in great
alarm.  "Do you think it will hurt him?"

"Of course he ate it.  I don’t see it anywhere, and they were both
together on that chair.  I hope it _will_ hurt him," I said.

"It is n’t like you, Wood, to talk that way about a poor, lonely,
foreign thing who ’s never been in a house before in all his life,"
Berrisford muttered resentfully.

"Well, he certainly do make the most outlandish sounds," Mrs. Chester
interposed.

"It isn’t outlandish—it’s Icelandic," Berrisford replied.  "He came all
the way from Reikiavik on a Gloucester fishing-smack.  I bought him at
Gloucester yesterday for a dollar—didn’t I, my booful Saga; ess he did.
And he dess chewed all de checks often de trunks in dat nassy old
baggage car on de way up—didn’t he, darlin’?  And dat horrid baggage man
was dess crazy ’tause he did n’t know where to put off any baggage and
had to delay de twain like evvysing."  Berrisford became quite
incoherent after this, so I returned to my bedroom and slammed the door.

I don’t think it’s right for any one man to inflict a whole community
with a beast like Saga, and I ’ve told Berrisford so several times; but
he always says: "You seem to forget that I suffer as much, if not more,
than any one.  Do you ever hear _me_ complain when he wallows in the mud
and then snuggles up in _my_ bed?  Was there any outcry when he ate _my_
gloves and _my_ patent leather shoes and _my_ Russia leather notebook
with hundreds of exhaustive, priceless notes on the first part of
’Paradise Lost’? Did I make a violent scene—the way you and Duggie do
every day—when I gave the tea for my sister and found him just before
the people came—behind the bathtub in a state of coma from having eaten
thirty-six perfectly _delicious_ lettuce sandwiches?  You might at least
admit that you think he ’s just as distinguished and quaint-looking as
he can be; because, of course, you do think so. You know you love him to
follow you through the Square—with everybody turning to look—you know
you do.  Does n’t he, _mon tou-tou, mon bébé, mon chien de race_?"

One of the fellows at the table invited us to dine at his house in town
last Sunday evening.  Berrisford was to meet me at a hotel in the Back
Bay at a quarter past seven and we were to go together.  I took a long
walk that afternoon, and the air was so delicious and the autumn foliage
in the country so beautiful that I didn’t realize how late it was until
I looked at a clock in a jeweller’s window on the way back.  I hurried
to my room to dress, and as I opened the front door my heart suddenly
sank—for upstairs I heard Saga chanting his terrible little refrain.  We
have all come to dread that sound at our house, for it invariably means
the loss of a cherished object to somebody. Berrisford calls it the
"Icelandic Hunger and Death Motif."  I ran upstairs and found Saga
eating one of the tails of my dress-coat which I had hung over the back
of a chair in my study to get the creases out.  He had apparently first
torn it off, then divided it into small pieces, and was consuming them
one by one as I came in.  I was already late for dinner, and as it was
Sunday evening there was no one in town from whom I could borrow another
coat. For a moment I could n’t decide whether to sit down and cry or to
commit Sagacide.



                                  *IV*


Of course I went to the dinner—and what is more, I arrived almost on
time.  I can’t give myself any particular credit for this achievement,
however, as it was luck, pure and simple, that got me there.  There is
no doubt about it, I am marvellously lucky; I seem to have a knack of
falling on my feet, and although Duggie has taken to worrying about my
"shiftlessness" (as he is pleased to call it) in money matters, and the
calmness with which I regard the approaching examinations and the
academic side of college in general, I have a feeling that everything
will come out all right somehow.

It would sound heartless, I suppose, to speak as if I thought it
fortunate that Jerry Brooks had been stricken with appendicitis just in
time to get me into the dinner, if it were n’t for the fact that he is
recovering so splendidly.  (I went up to the hospital this afternoon to
inquire.)  But under the circumstances it is hard not to look upon his
sudden seizure rather cheerfully—as I know he will enjoy hearing about
it when he is well enough to see people.  I was in despair that evening
when his roommate came clattering up our tin steps and pounded on
Berrisford’s door; but the instant I ran into the hall and saw him my
heart gave a great throb of hope.  He had his dress clothes on; but he
didn’t look in the least like a person on the way to dine in town—and I
felt with indescribable relief that, if this were the case, I could have
his coat.

"Isn’t Berrisford here?  Has he gone?" he exclaimed excitedly.  (I had
never seen him before—although I knew his chum, Brooks, slightly.)  "We
were going to dine at the same house in town, but my roommate, Jerry
Brooks, got sick just as I was starting and I can’t go, and two doctors
have taken him up to the hospital, and the Hemingtons haven’t a
telephone, and I thought I’d let Berrisford know, for, of course——"

Well, his coat didn’t fit me in a way to make a tailor expire with envy
exactly, but I was mighty glad to get it—and anyhow, I think people are
inclined to take a dress-suit for granted.  Berrisford attached no
importance whatever to the fact that his beast had ruined my coat, but
merely said reproachfully: "I hope you let him have the pieces to play
with; he ’ll be so lonely this evening with no one in the house except
Mrs. Chester."

I have mentioned the fact that of late Duggie has given intimations of
having me "on his mind."  Of course when a man like Duggie finds time to
care one way or the other about what he thinks you ought to do, it’s a
great honor.  He is the busiest, hardest worked, and most influential
person I ever knew.  He belongs to no end of clubs, and besides being
captain of the team he’s at the head of a lot of other college things.
Almost every day there’s a reporter or two lying in wait for him out
here to ask about the team, and whether he approves of the athletic
committee’s latest mandate, and what he thinks about all sorts of things
in regard to which he hasn’t any opinion whatever—and would n’t express
it even if he had. Besides all this he manages in some way to study
awfully hard and to get high marks in everything he takes.  Furthermore,
he’s in training most of the year, and just now he has to go to bed
every night except Saturday at half-past nine or ten.  He’s almost
always amiable and kind to people, and I think he’s great.  I can’t help
liking the fact that he drops into my room and sits down and talks the
way he does.  Some of the fellows at our table found him there the other
day and were scared to death.  But at the same time I have a feeling
that he does n’t think Berrisford and I are just what we ought to be.
As if people could be different from the way they ’re made!  I know that
sometimes he would like to say things that, after all, he never quite
does.

Of Berrisford, I ’m sure, he doesn’t approve at all.  I don’t, of
course, believe for a moment that he was anything but amused at the way
Berrisford conjugated the French verb for him the other day; but as it
is the sort of thing that Berri takes an uncontrollable joy in doing, I
think Duggie has an idea that he is n’t good for anything else.

Duggie—I can’t imagine why—has never studied French until this year.  He
enrolled in a class only a week or so ago, and though it’s merely an
extra course with him and he could get his degree just as easily without
it, he goes at it as if it were all-important. Berrisford knows French
as well as he knows English, and volunteered to help him with his
exercises.  The other afternoon Duggie ran into Berri’s room and said:
"I ’ve an idea that we’re going to have ’_je suis bon_’ in French
to-day; I wish you would write out a few tenses for me so I can learn
them on the way over—I simply have n’t had a minute to myself for two
days."  Naturally Berrisford seemed delighted to help him, and gravely
wrote something on a piece of paper that Duggie carried off just as the
bell was ringing.  When he got into the Yard and slowed up to look at
it, this is what he found:

    _Je suis bon_
    _Tu es bones_
    _Il est beans_
    _Nous sommes bonbons_
    _Vous êtes bonbonniéres_
    _Ils sont bon-ton._


Of course he did n’t actually care; but I don’t think the incident
helped in Duggie’s opinion to throw any very dazzling light on
Berrisford’s really serious qualities.  Duggie regarded it, I ’m sure,
as about on a par with the way we get out of sitting through our history
lecture.

One day when the dreamy old gentleman who conducts the history course
was trying to prove that Charlemagne either was or was n’t surprised (I
’ve forgotten which) when the Pope suddenly produced a crown and stuck
it on his head, a ripple of mirth swept gently across the room, very
much as a light breeze ruffles the surface of a wheatfield. No one
laughed out loud; but when between three and four hundred men all smile
at once, it makes a curious little disturbance I can’t quite describe.
The old gentleman looked up from his notes, took off his spectacles,
chose one of the other pairs lying on the desk in front of him (he has
three or four kinds that he uses for different distances), and inspected
the room.  But by the time he had got himself properly focused there was
nothing to see; the fellow who had made every one giggle by climbing out
of the window and down the fire-escape was probably a block away.  So,
after a troubled, inquiring look from side to side, the dear old man
changed his spectacles again and went on with the lecture.

Now, although it had never occurred to any one to crawl down the
fire-escape until that day, every one in our part of the room has become
infatuated with the idea, and three times a week—shortly after half-past
two—there is a continuous stream of men backing out the window, down the
iron ladder and into the Yard.  In fact, the struggle to escape became
so universal and there were so many scraps at the window and in mid-air
on the way down over who should go first, that Berrisford evolved the
idea of distributing numbers the way they do in barbershops on Saturday
afternoon when everybody in the world becomes inspired with the desire
to be shaved at the same time.  It works beautifully; but of late the
undertaking is attended by considerable risk.

At first Professor Kinde stopped lecturing and fumbled for his other
spectacles only when he heard the class titter; I don’t believe he in
the least knew what was going on. But recently he has become extremely
foxy. Although he has n’t spoken of the matter, he realizes what is
happening, and I think the ambition of his declining years is to catch
somebody in the act of darting toward the window.  At irregular
intervals now, throughout his lectures, he—apropos of nothing—drops his
notes, seizes a fresh pair of spectacles, makes a lightning change, and
then peeks craftily about the room while the class tries hard not to
hurt his feelings by laughing.  Then, disappointed, but with an air of
"I ’ll-surely-strike-it-right-next-time," he changes back again and
continues.  The lectures have become so exciting and fragmentary that
Berrisford and I are torn with the conflicting desires to stay and see
what happens and to get out into the wonderful autumn weather.  Usually,
however, we leave, and the last time, just as I was preparing to drop to
the ground, Duggie strode in sight. Berrisford, half-way down, happened
to glance over his shoulder.  When he saw Duggie he swung around, struck
an Alexandre Dumas attitude, and exclaimed dramatically,—

"Sire, we have liberated the prisoners, cut away the portcullis and
fired the powder magazine.  Is ’t well?"  Duggie laughed.

"Powder magazines aren’t the only things that get fired around these
parts, monsieur," he answered as he passed on.

Now, there was nothing disagreeable either in the remark or the way
Duggie made it; he seemed perfectly good-natured, and, although in a
great hurry, very much amused.  But, somehow, it was n’t quite as if any
one else had said it.  I don’t know what "reading between the lines" is
called when there aren’t any lines to read between; but anyhow that’s
what I couldn’t help doing.  Duggie’s little thrust was made at
Berri—but it was intended for me.  And that ’s what I mean when I say
Duggie has me on his mind.  He would have Berri there, too, if he liked
him; but he does n’t.  I think he firmly believes that he regards us
both with the utmost impartiality; yet I know (this is recorded in all
modesty, merely as a fact) that he likes me, and that for poor Berri he
has no use at all.  Berrisford is tactless; he had no business, for
instance, to tell Duggie about the watch.

One Saturday morning when Berrisford had finished his lectures for the
day, and I found that a cut was to be given in my last one, we strolled
along Massachusetts Avenue, without really meaning to go anywhere, until
we came to the bridge across the Back Bay.  We leaned over the rail
awhile and watched the tide clutching viciously at the piers as it
swirled out, and then, farther up, I noticed a flock of ducks paddling
about in a most delightful little mud-hole left by the falling tide.

"I could hit one of those birdies if I had a shotgun," I said, closing
one eye.  (It just shows what a trivial remark may sometimes lead one
into.)

"It wouldn’t do you any good," Berrisford yawned; "you couldn’t get it."

"I don’t see why not.  I could borrow a boat from the Humane Society and
row out," I answered, rather irritated by Berrisford’s languid
scepticism.

"Well, what on earth would you do with the poor little beast after you
did get him?" he pursued.

"What do you suppose?" I exclaimed. "What do people usually do when they
shoot a duck?"

"I think they usually say that they really hit two, but that the other
one managed to crawl into a dense patch of wild rice growing near by,"
Berrisford answered.

"I should have it cooked and then I ’d eat it," I said, ignoring his
remark.

"What an extremely piggish performance! There would not be enough for
any one but yourself.  I would much rather go into town with somebody
and have one apiece at the Touraine."

"Oh, Berrisford," I murmured; "this is so sudden!"

When we reached the other side of the bridge we got on a passing car,
and after we sat down Berrisford said, "You ’ll have to pay for me; I
have n’t any money either here or in Cambridge."  As I had just eight
cents in the world and had taken it for granted that Berri was going to
pay for me, we jumped out before the conductor came around, and resumed
our walk.

"If you have n’t any money and I haven’t any money, I ’m inclined to
think the ducks will not fly well to-day," I mused; for the last time we
had been to the Touraine the head waiter—a most tiresome person—told me
we could n’t charge anything more there until we paid our bills.

"I suppose you would just sit on the curbstone and starve," Berrisford
sniffed. And as we walked along I saw that he had some kind of a plan.
He took me through one of the queer little alleys with which Boston is
honeycombed and out into a noisy, narrow, foreign-looking street, lined
with shabby second-hand stores and snuffy restaurants,—the kind that
have red tablecloths. At first I thought it was Berri’s intention to get
luncheon in one of these places, although I did n’t see how even he
could manage it very well on eight cents. However, I asked no questions.
Suddenly he stopped and took off his sleeve-links.  Then we walked on a
few steps and went into a pawnbroker’s.

It sounds absurd, but when I discovered what Berrisford was about to do
I felt curiously excited and embarrassed.  Of course I knew that lots of
people pawn things, but I had never seen it done before, and like most
of the things you can think about and read about in cold blood, I found
that it made my heart beat a good deal faster actually to do it. In
fact, I did n’t care to do it at all, and told Berrisford so in an
undertone; but he said,—

"Why not?  There ’s nothing wrong in it. You own something more or less
valuable and you happen for the moment to need something else; why
should n’t you exchange them?  If the soiled vampire who runs this place
(what’s become of him, anyhow?) would give me two small roasted ducks
and some bread and butter and currant jelly and two little cups of
coffee and a waiter to serve them, and a mediæval banquet hall to eat
them in, and a perfectly awful orchestra behind a thicket of imitation
palm-trees to play Hungarian rhapsodies while we ate—instead of five
dollars and a half, I should be just as well pleased; because it will
amount to about the same thing in the end."

Just then the proprietor of the shop emerged from behind a mound of
trousers and overcoats and shuffled toward us very unwillingly, it
seemed to me.  But Berrisford said he was always like that.

"You can’t expect a display of pleasing emotions for a paltry five per
cent a month," Berrisford whispered in my ear.  I don’t think, however,
that the pawnbroker could have looked pleasant no matter what per cent
he got.  He took Berri’s beautiful sleeve-links (they ’re made of four
antique Japanese gold pieces), went into a sort of glass cage built
around a high desk and a safe, and did all sorts of queer things to
them.  He scratched the under side of two of the coins with a small
file; then he dabbed some kind of a liquid that he got out of a tiny
bottle on the rough places and examined them through one of those inane
spool things that jewellers hang on their eyeballs just before telling
you that you ’ve busted your mainspring.  Next he weighed them in a pair
of scales that he fished out of a drawer in the desk, and finally he
held up his claw of a hand with all the fingers distended, for us to
inspect through the glass.

"Why, you dreadful old man!" Berrisford exclaimed indignantly.  "You
gave me five and a half last time.  I wouldn’t think of taking less."

For a moment I supposed that the game was up and we ’d have to walk all
the way back to Cambridge and be too late for luncheon when we got
there; for Berrisford took his sleeve-links and strolled over to the
door, saying in a loud voice,—

"Come on, Tommy; there ’s a better one across the street."  But just as
we were leaving, "the soiled vampire" made a guttural sound that
Berrisford seemed to understand, and we went back and got the amount
Berri considered himself entitled to.

"The quality of mercy is a little strained this morning," he said when
Mr. Hirsch went into the glass cage again to make out the ticket.  I
always had an idea that a pawn ticket was a piece of blue
cardboard—something like a return theatre ticket.  But it is n’t, at
all.  It’s simply a thin slip of paper resembling a check—only smaller.

Well, we had a delightful luncheon.  After luncheon we thought of going
to the matinée and sitting in the gallery, but Berri all at once
exclaimed, as if the idea were a sort of inspiration,—

"I ’ll tell you what we ’ll do; let ’s economize.  I ’ve always wanted
to; they say you can be awfully nice and contented if you never spend a
cent, but just think noble thoughts."

"We might go and look at the pictures in the Public Library and then
cross over to the Art Museum," I suggested.  "It’s free on Saturdays,
you know."  Berri thought that would be charming, so we walked up
Boylston Street, stopping at a florist’s on the way to send some
American beauties and some violets to Mrs. Hemington, at whose house we
dined that Sunday night.  (She was thrown out of a carriage the other
day and sprained her thumb, and we thought we ought to take some notice
of it, as she was very nice about asking us to come to Sunday luncheon
whenever we wanted to.)

Berrisford did n’t care much for the Puvis de Chavannes pictures in the
library,—that is, after he found out that they were as finished as they
were ever going to be.  At first he was inclined to think them rather
promising, and said that by the time they got the second and third coats
of paint on they would no doubt do very nicely.

"But the artist is dead," I explained. "And anyhow, he always painted
like that."

"Why did n’t some one speak to him about it?" said Berri.

"There would n’t have been any use; he painted that way on purpose.  It
was his style—his individuality," I said.

"Do you like it?" he suddenly demanded. He was looking at me very
intently, and I did n’t know just what to say; for although I ’ve gone
to see the pictures several times, it never occurred to me to ask myself
whether I really liked them or not.  I supposed—as every one says they
are so fine—that I did.

"I don’t mean do you know how much they cost, or what people said about
them in the backs of magazines when they were first put up.  What I want
to know is—  Does looking at them give you great pleasure?"

"I think they ’re simply preposterous," I said; and then we went
outdoors again and over to the Art Museum.

We spent the rest of the afternoon there, sitting in front of a painting
by Turner called The Slave Ship, and listening to what the people who
passed by said about it.  I did n’t think there was very much to it—it’s
merely some small, dark brown legs in a storm at sea with a fire
burning.  But the people who came to look at it murmured all sorts of
things in low, sad voices, and several of them read long extracts from a
book that Berri said was by Ruskin.  When I asked him how he knew, he
answered that it could n’t well be by any one else.  (A great many
people say that Berri’s a fool, but I think he knows an awful lot.)

It makes one tired and hungry to criticise pictures all afternoon, and
when we left the gallery Berri sat down on the steps and said he could
never walk all the way to Cambridge in his exhausted condition; so once
more we found ourselves confronted by famine.

Now, if mamma were only here I know I could explain everything to her,
and she would n’t think me so lacking in respect for my ancestors—so
utterly lost—as she evidently does.  But until she gets my letter (and
perhaps even afterward) she will be unhappy over the crude, unqualified
fact that I pawned my watch.

It belonged to my great-grandfather and is a fine old thing with a
wreath of gold and platinum roses on its round gold face.  I got
twenty-five dollars on it.  Nobody but Berri would have known, and there
would n’t have been the least fuss if Uncle Peter had n’t come to town.

He was in Boston on business and appeared in my room one afternoon a few
days afterward.  I was ever so glad to see somebody from home, and I
introduced him to Berri, who helped me show him the gym and Soldiers’
Field and the glass flowers and pretty much everything open to visitors.
He had a lovely time and asked us to dinner in the evening.

We had a pleasant dinner—only Uncle Peter kept glancing at his watch
every few minutes (he was leaving on an early train). Finally he said:
"What time is it, Tommy? I ’m afraid I ’m slow."

From force of habit I felt for my watch, and then, I suppose, I must
have looked queer, for Berrisford began to chuckle, and Uncle Peter,
after a moment of mystification, jumped hastily to a conclusion that, I
am sorry to say, happened to be correct. He rubbed it in all through
dinner and on the way to the station, and I suppose when he reached home
he told mamma the first thing.  For the evening of the day he arrived I
got a telegram from mamma that said: "Redeem watch immediately. Keep
this from your father; it would kill him."

Of course Berri had to elaborate the thing in his best style and keep
Duggie awake for half an hour while he told him about it.

"I made it very graphic," he said to me gloomily, "but somehow or other
it didn’t seem to take."



                                  *V*


The crash has come, and the Dean and my adviser, two or three
instructors, some of the fellows at the table, and even Berrisford (this
last is a little too much), have all taken occasion to inform me
regretfully that they foresaw it from the first.  This is the sort of
thing that makes a man bitter.  How did I know what was ahead of me?  If
they all realized so well that I was going to flunk the hour exams, why
did n’t they let me know then?  It might have done some good if they had
told me three weeks ago that they thought me stupid; but I fail to see
the point of their giving me to understand at this stage of the game
that they themselves all along have been so awfully clever.  Yet, that’s
just what they’ve done; all except Duggie.  And strangely enough it was
Duggie that I most dreaded.  As a matter of fact he has scarcely
mentioned the subject.  When I went into his room one night and stood
around for a while without knowing how to begin and finally came out
with,—

"Well, I suppose Berri ’s told you that I didn’t get through a single
exam?"—he merely said,—

"That ’s tough luck; I ’m darned sorry;" and then after a moment he
added: "Oh, well, there ’ll be some more coming along in February; it is
n’t as if they were n’t going to let you have another whack at things."

"Of course I know it is n’t my last chance," I answered drearily; "but I
can’t help feeling that the fact of its being my first makes it almost
as bad.  It starts me all wrong in the opinion of the Dean and my
adviser and the college generally."  Somehow I could n’t bring myself to
tell Duggie what I thought, and what, in a measure, I still
think—namely, that the marks I got were most unjust. There ’s something
about Duggie—I don’t know what it is exactly—that always makes you try
to take the tone, when you ’re telling him anything, that you feel he
would take if he were telling the same thing to you.  This sounds rather
complicated, but what I mean, for instance, is that if he got E in all
his exams and thought the instructors had been unjust, he would probably
go and have it out with them, but he would n’t complain to any one else.
Of course it ’s simply nonsense even to pretend, for the sake of
argument, that Duggie could flunk in anything; but, anyhow, that ’s what
I mean.

However, I did n’t have the same hesitation in saying to Berrisford that
I considered myself pretty badly treated.

"I know, of course, that I didn’t write clever papers," I told him, "but
I at least wrote long ones.  They ought to give me some credit for that;
enough to squeeze through on, anyhow."  Berri agreed with me perfectly
that all the instructors were unjust, yet at the same time he said, with
a peculiarly irritating, judicial manner that he sometimes assumes when
you least expect it,—

"But I can understand—I can understand. It’s most unfortunate—but it ’s
very human—very natural.  As long as we employ this primitive,
inadequate method of determining the amount of a man’s knowledge, we
must expect to collide every now and then with the personal equation."
This sounded like a new superintendent addressing the village school
board for the first time, but I did n’t say anything, as I knew there
was something behind it that Berri did n’t care just then to make more
clear.  Berri has exceedingly definite ideas about things, but he "aims
to please;" he finds it hard to express himself and at the same time to
make everything come out pleasantly in the end.

"What you say is no doubt important and true," I answered; "but I don’t
know what it means."

"Why, I simply mean that in thinking the matter over one can’t get
around the fact that ever since college opened you ’ve been—what shall I
say?  People have been more aware of you than your size would seem to
justify; you ’ve been, as it were, a cinder in the public eye."
Berrisford stopped abruptly, and for a moment looked sort of aghast.

"Oh, I beg your pardon," he exclaimed, more in his natural tone; "I had
n’t any idea it was coming out that way; that’s the trouble with
metaphors."

"I don’t see how I ’ve been more of a cinder than any one else—than
you’ve been, for instance," I objected.  "I ’ve seen more of you than I
’ve seen of any one, and I ’ve been seen more with you," I added.

"That’s the frightful injustice of it," Berrisford put in triumphantly.
"That’s what I ’m trying to get at."  (I don’t believe he was at all,
but I let him continue.)  "We ’ve always done about the same things—but
fate has ordained that in every instance you were to leave your impress
upon the wax of hostile opinion, while I was as the house of sand,
effaced by Neptune’s briny hand.  (Doesn’t that last sound exactly like
Pope at his worst?)  You see, you got yourself arrested at the very
beginning of things.  Of course, socially speaking, it was a brilliant
move; it simply made you.  But on the other hand, I don’t think it
helped very much to—to—well, to bring you thoroughly in touch with the
Faculty; and one has to look out for that. Then, you know, of all the
hundreds that swarmed down the fire-escape during Professor Kinde’s
lectures, you were the only one who had the misfortune to be caught.
This naturally made the fire-escape impossible from then on, and once
more turned the garish light of publicity upon you.  And to cap all—you
were inspired to give Mr. Much the fine arts book.  Why, my dear child,
your name is a household word!"

The incident of the fine arts book, I confess, was enough to make a man
just give up and turn cynical.

Mr. Much is a Boston architect who comes out from town twice a week to
lecture on ancient art.  They think a great deal of him in Boston.  He
stands at the head of his profession there, because, as he’s never built
anything, even the most critical have no grounds for complaint.  Berri
says there are lots of people like that in Boston,—painters and writers
and musicians who are really very great, but think it more refined just
to "live" their works.  He meets them at his aunt’s house, where they
often gather to talk it all over.  Well, at the first lecture Much told
us to buy and read carefully a certain treatise on ancient art and
always bring it to the lectures, as he would refer to it frequently. I
acted on his advice to the extent of examining the book in the
co-operative store one day; but it was large and heavy and the
illustrations were rather old-fashioned, and it cost two dollars, so I
decided I could get along without it.  Most of the fellows did the same
thing, and the impulsive few who actually bought it got tired after a
while of lugging it to the lectures, as Much did n’t show any intention
of ever referring to it.

One morning as I was strolling over to hear him tell about the influence
of Greek something or other on something else, and the deplorable
decadence it had undergone later at the hands of the Romans, Hemington
darted out of a bookstore in the Square and said: "If you ’re going to
Fine Arts, just take this book and give it to Bertie Stockbridge."
(Bertie is his roommate.)  "I ’m going to cut; I have to meet my father
in town."  I took the book and pursued my way.

Now, that morning, for the first time, Much, after lecturing for about
half an hour, surprised every one by breaking off abruptly and saying,—

"There’s a very helpful note on page eighteen of Geschmitzenmenger’s
Ancient Art that I wish you would all turn to."  Then after a moment he
added: "As some of us may have failed to bring the book this morning, I
think I shall read the note in question aloud."  He came to the edge of
the platform and with a solicitous smile held out his hand; but no one
in the front row had a book to lend him.  His smile changed to an
expression of mild disgust, and he glanced along the second row of
seats.  No one responded, however, and he swept the room with a look of
annoyance, exclaiming, "Come—come," and snapping his fingers
impatiently.  Just then the fellow next to me murmured: "Will any lady
or gentleman in the audience kindly lend me a high hat, three rabbits,
and a dozen fresh eggs?" and I laughed.  And as I laughed, I leaned over
to hide my face—and there on my lap was Geschmitzenmenger’s Ancient Art;
after Hemington had given it to me I was so interested in whether he
would catch his car or not that I had never looked at it at all.

"Is it possible that no one has provided himself with the book I
requested you to procure?" Mr. Much was asking incredulously. I saw my
chance to make a hit, and after a moment of impressive silence I arose
and walked to the platform.  There was a gust of dumfounded laughter,
followed by prolonged applause.  As I went back to my seat all the
fellows who could reach me insisted on patting me on the back and
grasping me by the hand.  It was most embarrassing.  But the really
sickening part of it was to come.

Mr. Much made a little speech about me, saying, "I am glad that there is
at least one, etc., etc., etc.," and when he had finished he opened the
book with a flourish and found, as was quite natural, that none of the
leaves had been cut.  I suppose this was in the nature of a last straw,
for he simply stood there a minute, fingering the pages helplessly and
smiling the pitiful, philosophic smile of one who has lived long enough
to have had even his most conservative illusions dispelled; then he
turned the book around and held it open for every one to howl at, and
finally he dismissed us with a hopeless gesture that expressed the
unutterable.  Whereupon I was seized by strong, willing hands and borne
aloft all over the Yard, followed by the whole class hooting and
jeering.

It was this that led Berri to say that my name had become a household
word.

"You see," Berri went on, "when an instructor reads my examination book,
for instance, the signature of the writer conveys nothing to him; but
when he strikes yours—he stops and exclaims, ’Where have I seen that
name before?’  Then he sharpens his pencil to its finest possible point
and gives you E."

"But you do agree with me that it’s terribly unjust?" I asked him; for
that, after all, seemed to be the main thing.

"Why, of course it’s unjust," Berrisford answered decidedly.  "It ’s one
of the worst cases that has ever come to my notice."

It did n’t occur to me until afterward that, as these were our first
examinations, Berrisford’s "notice" had not been particularly extensive.
For I felt so badly about the whole thing that it was agreeable to know
that an intelligent person like Berrisford believed I had been shabbily
treated.  It was his moral support, I think, that gave me nerve enough
to complain to my adviser.

My adviser is a young man and seems like an appreciative, well-disposed
sort of person (he offered me a cigar after I had sat down in his
study), so I did n’t have any difficulty in telling him right off what I
had come for.

"I ’ve heard from my hour examinations," I said, "and I find that I have
been given E in all of them."  (I was careful not to say that I had
failed or flunked, or had n’t passed, as that was not the impression I
wished to convey.)

"We have met the enemy and we are theirs," he answered pleasantly.
"Yes, I heard about that," he went on, "and I hoped you would come in to
see me."  Then he waited awhile—until the clock began to get noisy—and
at last he glanced up and said,—

"What was it doing when you came in? It looked like snow this
afternoon."  But I had n’t gone there to discuss meteorology, so I
ignored his remark.

"I can scarcely think I could have failed in everything," I suggested.

"It is somewhat incredible, isn’t it?" the young man murmured.

"I never stopped writing from the time an examination began until it
stopped," I said.

"What did you think it was—a strength test?" he asked brutally.

"I told all I knew."

"Yes," he acknowledged; "your instructors were convinced of that."

"And I don’t think I got enough credit for it.  If I had the books here,
I feel sure I could make this plain."

"Well, let ’s look them over," he answered readily; and much to my
astonishment he went to his desk and brought back all my blue-books.

I confess I had n’t expected anything quite so definite as this, but I
tried to appear as if I had hoped that it was just what might happen.
We sat down side by side and read aloud—first an examination question
(he had provided himself with a full set of the papers) and then my
answer to it.

"’Explain polarized light,’" he read.

"’The subject of polarized light, as I understand it, is not very well
understood,’" I began; at which my adviser put his hands to his head and
rocked to and fro.

"If you don’t mind," I said, "I think I’d rather begin on one of the
others; this physics course is merely to make up a condition, and
perhaps I ’ve not devoted very much time to it; it isn’t a fair test."
So we took up the history paper and read the first question, which was:
"What was the Lombard League?"  My answer I considered rather neat, for
I had written: "The Lombard League was a coalition formed by the
Lombards."  I paused after reading it and glanced at my adviser.

"It was a simple question, and I gave it a simple answer," I murmured.

"I ’m afraid you depreciate yourself, Mr. Wood," he replied.  "Your use
of the word ’coalition’ is masterly."

"But what more could I have said?" I protested.

"I don’t think you could have said anything more," he answered
inscrutably.

I read on and on, and he interrupted me only twice—once in the
philosophy course to point out politely that what I constantly referred
to as "Hobbe’s Octopus" ought to be "Hobbe’s Leviathan," and once in the
questions in English Literature, to explain that somebody or other’s
"Apologia Pro Vita Sua" was not—as I had translated it—"an apology for
living in a sewer."  (I could have killed Berrisford for that—and it
sounded so plausible, too; for any one who lived in a sewer would
naturally apologize.)  He let me proceed, and after a time I could n’t
even bring myself to stop and contest the decisions as I had done at
first; for I dreaded the way he had of making my most serious remarks
sound rather childish.  So I rattled on, faster and faster, until I
found myself mumbling in a low tone, without pronouncing half the words;
and then I suddenly stopped and put the blue-book on the table and
stared across the room at the wall.  He did n’t express any surprise,
which, on the whole, was very decent of him, and after a minute or two
of silence, during which he gathered up the evidence and put it back in
his desk, we began to talk football and our chances of winning the big
game. He said some nice things about Duggie, and hoped the rumor that he
was overtrained was n’t true.  I told him that I lived in the same house
with Duggie and knew him very well, and feared it was true.  He seemed
glad that I knew Duggie.  I stayed for about fifteen minutes so as not
to seem abrupt or angry at the way my visit had turned out, and then
left.  We did n’t refer to the exams again, so I don’t see exactly how I
can ever right the wrong they have done me.  If my adviser were a
different kind of man, I could have managed it, I think.

I have n’t seen very much of the fellows lately, except, of course, at
meals—that is to say, at luncheon and dinner, for I can’t stand their
comments at breakfast.  They greet me with "Hello, old man—what’s this I
hear about your trying for the Phi Beta Kappa?"  "Is it true that you’re
going to get your degree in three years?"  "I should n’t go in for a
_summa cum_ if I were you; a _magna_ is just as good;" and all that sort
of thing.  They evidently find it very humorous, for it never fails to
make them all laugh.  I ’ve taken to breakfasting at The Holly Tree, as
I don’t often meet any one I know there.  I did one morning, however,
come across the little instructor who had charge of the Freshman
registration and made quavering remarks at me in a kind of Elizabethan
dialect.  He’s a most extraordinary person.  As he does n’t say more
than half he means, and as I don’t understand more than half he says, I
find conversation with him very exhausting.  But I like him, somehow.

I was reading a newspaper when he came in and did n’t realize that he
was standing near me until I heard a slow, tremulous, reproachful voice
saying,—

"Who’s been sitting in my chair?"  It seems that he always has his
breakfast at the same table in the chair that I, in my ignorance, had
taken.  I jumped up, of course, and after he had sat down and leaned
back, he murmured feebly, "I ’m an old man; but I know my place."  I did
n’t know why he said this, as he is n’t an old man at all; he can’t be
more than thirty-six or thirty-seven.

"I’m a young man, but I seem to know your place, too," I laughed, as I
looked around for another chair.

"You clever boys chaff me so," he replied mournfully.  "You mustn’t
chaff me; I’m only a simple villager."  Just then the waitress appeared
at a hole in the buff-colored fence that deludes itself into thinking it
differentiates the kitchen from the dining-room, and the little man
pounded softly and gently on the table, exclaiming,—

"What ho—Katy; some sack—some sack!"  A request that Katy evidently
understood better than I did, for she withdrew and came back in a moment
with a cup of tea.

"How now, Sir John—is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?"
the instructor inquired of me; which caused Katy—who had lingered to
hear what we wanted for breakfast—to twist a corner of her apron around
her finger and gurgle ecstatically,—

"Now, Mr. Fleetwood, you stop."

We sat there talking for more than an hour, and I don’t know when I ’ve
had so improving a conversation.  We talked mostly about books and
plays.  Mr. Fleetwood seems to care a great deal about both and
discussed them differently from the way most people do. At our table at
Mrs. Brown’s, for instance, a book or a play is always either "rotten"
or a "corker."  But Fleetwood has no end of things to tell about them.
He seems to know all the people who do the writing and acting, and
remembers all the clever remarks they ’ve made to him at various times,
and the even cleverer ones he made in reply.  Finally, when I got up to
go he relapsed suddenly into his more doleful manner and said,—

"You will come to my Wednesday Evenings—won’t you?"  I felt as if I
ought to have known what they were; but I ’d never heard of them, so I
suppose I looked mystified.

"The lions roar at my Wednesday Evenings," he explained, turning on the
tremolo in his voice, "but they won’t hurt you—because they like me.
They ’ll like you, too, if you ’ll come."  I said I should like to come
very much.

"When do you have your Wednesday Evenings?" I asked; for he was so
dreadfully vague.  He looked at me vacantly and then stared at the
ceiling awhile, as if trying to think.

"On Wednesday evenings," he at last petulantly quavered; and I left, for
I began to think I was losing my mind.

With the exception of Fleetwood that morning I have n’t met any one else
I know at The Holly Tree.  To tell the truth, I haven’t been very
sociable of late.  The result of the exams was rather depressing, and
besides—I can’t help realizing that solitude is inexpensive, if nothing
else.  I don’t like to go in town unless I can pay my share, and, as I
have n’t been able as yet even to get my watch out of hock, in spite of
mamma’s urgent telegram, I don’t see my way to going to the theatre and
eating around at expensive hotels.  Of course I could have the tickets
charged—but they ’re the least of it.  And anyhow I owe so much already
I hate to make it worse.  Berri advised me to pawn the old-fashioned fob
that belongs to my watch and get the watch back.  (The fob has a huge
topaz or some such thing in it that ought to bring a lot.)  But I ’m
tired of disposing of heirlooms.

I went to the first Symphony in Sanders’ Theatre the other night.
Duggie gave me his ticket, as the head coach, and the doctor who looks
after the team told him he was n’t feeling well and made him go to bed
instead. It was a wonderful concert, and I enjoyed it very much,
although I could n’t help wondering all the time why I was enjoying it;
for a man who looked like a Skye terrier played beautiful, sad things on
the ’cello until I felt so lonely and homesick and as if I had wasted my
life and broken my mother’s heart, that I began to sniff; and the lady
who was sitting next to me (she had a huge music book on her lap and was
following every note with her finger and swaying from side to side like
a cobra) turned and glared at me.

On Saturday afternoon they would n’t let Duggie play in the game, and
advised him to go home for Sunday.  He came into my room where I was
sitting by the fire feeling pretty blue, and after talking awhile said
he wanted me to go with him.  Berrisford came in while I was getting
ready, and when he saw how little I was taking with me he exclaimed:
"Good Heavens, man—you can’t go that way!  Duggie wouldn’t mind, and
neither would his family; but you must show _some_ consideration for the
servants.  And you ’d better take a piece of bread in your pocket, to
munch when nobody ’s looking, as you ’ll get there too late for tea, and
they don’t dine until sometime during the middle of the night."  He made
me pack my dress-clothes (they’ve been mended) and gave me his
hairbrushes, as they have ivory backs with black monograms on them.  I
can’t feel thankful enough that he warned me in time; for everything
turned out just as he said.  (Berri _is_ clever; there’s no getting
around it.)

I can’t write about my visit to-night; it’s too late to do justice to
the novel and delightful time I had.  I enjoyed every minute of it; even
the thing that Duggie told me on Sunday morning did n’t spoil it.
(Berri said he probably took me home with him in order to break the news
gently.)

We had been sitting on the rocks in the sun, looking out to sea and
listening to the lazy waves break over the beach about half a mile away
(at that distance they looked like a flock of sheep playing on the
sand), when Duggie told me in as nice a way as one possibly can tell
disagreeable news that the Administrative Board had decided to put me on
probation.



                                  *VI*


It’s curious how little you know, after all, about the fellows here of
whom you know most.  As time goes on I suppose you gradually learn
more—although I ’ve been told by upperclassmen that they ’ve seen
certain fellows every day for years, and, while apparently intimate with
them, have never taken the trouble to find out their real names—their
first names, that is to say.  And as for knowing what their families are
like—what they ’ve been used to before they came to college—you can only
guess; and you usually guess wrong.  At least, I do. Berrisford,
however, is very wonderful.  He has a mind as comprehensive in its scope
as the last seventy-five pages of an unabridged dictionary, and his
talent for sizing people up and telling you all about them is really
remarkable.  He is the last person in the world, though, that I should
have picked out as a citizen of Salem, and one day I told him so.  He
explained himself by saying that his mother had made an unfortunate
marriage. I felt very sorry, as the only time I saw his mother I thought
her lovely.

"He was very handsome and had a great deal of money, and was the best
and most delightful man I ever knew," Berri went on.

"Well, I don’t see anything so dreadfully unfortunate in all that," I
ventured.

"Ah, but he was n’t from Salem," Berri explained simply.  "He didn’t
even have any cousins there, although for a time mamma’s family tried to
delude themselves into believing they were on the track of some.  They
traced him back to Humphrey de Bohun and Elizabeth Plantagenet, but
there they lost the scent; and as mamma’s people—perhaps you know—came
from the King of Navarre and Urracca, Heiress of Arragon, why—of
course—well, you know how people talk.  It was all very sad.  Naturally
mamma never cared to live in Salem after that, and I think my
grandparents were rather relieved that she preferred to stay most of the
time in France.  They used to come over and see us every few years, but
of course no one in Salem ever knew about that; every one believed that
grandfather had to take a cure at Carlsbad—at least that was what was
given out whenever he went abroad.  I suppose I can’t help seeming
somewhat crude now and then," he mused dismally; "dilute the strain and
it’s bound to show sooner or later.  But there—I don’t know why I’ve
told you all this; it is n’t the sort of thing one can discuss with
everybody."

"All this" was intensely interesting and mysterious to me, but I don’t
think I can ever get on to it entirely; just when I ’m beginning to feel
that I ’ve mastered the details I collide with a perfectly new phase and
find I don’t know anything at all.  My ignorance has led to several
discussions with Berri—the heated kind that always result in coldness.
When I told him, for instance, that I ’d met Billy in town one morning
and he ’d taken me home for luncheon, Berri said, "How nice," and
proceeded to effect a union of his eyebrows and the top of his head.

"Now what on earth is the matter with Billy?" I exclaimed indignantly,
for I ’d enjoyed my luncheon exceedingly, and the house was the biggest
thing I had ever seen.

"Oh, Billy ’s all right.  He ’s really very nice, I imagine—although, of
course, I don’t know him very well," said Berri.  "Why do you ask?"

"Who wouldn’t ask when you hang your eyebrows on your front hair that
way at the mere mention of his name?" I demanded. "Why do you say ’of
course,’ and why do you always make a point of the fact that you don’t
know him well?  Who cares whether you do or not?" I pursued, for I
wanted to clear this mystery up once and for all.

"Well, you seem to care a good deal," Berrisford laughed.

"Oh, not personally," I assured him, "only in the interest of science."

We squabbled for an hour, and at the end of that time I had discovered
that (1) Billy’s family spell their name with an _e_—a most
incriminating thing to do, apparently, and (2) their house is on the
left-hand side of the street as you go up, which (3) makes it easier for
a rich man to pass through the moat into Heaven than to draw a beam of
recognition from the eye of his neighbor.  It was all very
confusing—especially as Berrisford insisted that no one had ever told
him these things—he had known that they were so when he came into the
world.

"Well, I don’t see how you ’ve allowed yourself to be so friendly with
me," I wondered sarcastically.  "You ’ve been pretty reckless, it
strikes me.  How do you know what side of the street our house is on in
Perugia, Wisconsin—or whether, indeed, we live in a house at all?"

"Oh, you ’re different," Berri laughed.

"Different from what?"

"From everything; that’s why I ’m willing to run the risk.  You ’re a
strange, barbarous thing, and I like you immensely."

That was all the satisfaction I got.  The reason I thought of this was
because Duggie and I discussed it among other things that Sunday morning
on the rocks.

It was perfectly evident that Duggie’s family lived on the right side of
the street, and didn’t "spell their name with an e," although I should
never have seen them in this light if Berrisford hadn’t opened my eyes
("poisoned my mind," Duggie called it).  Duggie’s father resembles the
Duke in Little Lord Fauntleroy, and his mother—well, his mother is like
Duggie; one could n’t say very much more than that.  My impression of
them is that they are between nineteen and twenty feet high, and when
they and Duggie and his elder sister and two younger brothers were
assembled, they looked the way family groups of crowned heads ought to
look and don’t.

The sister met us at the station with a cart and two ponies.

"They told me to take care of myself," Duggie said to her sort of
doubtfully.

"He ’s afraid of my nags," she explained to me as I clambered up beside
her.

"I ’m afraid of your driving," Duggie answered.  "I brought Jack Hollis
down here to rest one Saturday and Sunday," he said to me, "and after
she’d whirled him around the country for several hours on two wheels and
run into a few trees and spilled him over a cliff, the poor thing went
back to town with heart disease and has never been the same since."

Now, of course, Duggie merely meant to give me an exaggerated idea of
his sister’s driving, and she, of course, knew that his remark was quite
innocent; but nevertheless she began to blush (it was then, I think,
that I first noticed how pretty she was) and abruptly gave one of the
horses a slap with the whip that sent us plunging and nearly snapped my
head off.

"Hold on, Tommy," Duggie called to me. "This is what I go through every
time I come home."  Then, as a flock of terrified hens scuttled
shrieking from under the ponies’ feet, he added: "Tell them I was very
brave and hopeful to the end and that my last words were about the
team."  But pretty soon the horses settled down into a fast, steady
trot, and we bowled along the prettiest road I ’ve ever seen—between
thick woods, and, farther on, great, uneven meadows marked off in
irregular shapes with low fences of rough stone. The meadows to the
right ran back to the woods, but the ones on the left stretched away
ahead of us into a vast plain.  It gave me a queer, happy feeling that I
can’t explain—as if I were going to soar out of the cart and over the
meadows—straight on into space. I could n’t imagine where such a sweep
of luminous horizon led to—it seemed extraordinary to come across
anything so much like a prairie in New England.  The air, too, had a lot
to do with the way I felt.  It was wonderful air—not cold exactly, and
not wet; although I thought every minute that it was going to be both.
It had a peculiar smell to it that, without knowing why, I liked.  I
filled my lungs with it, and somehow it made me feel bigger than I
usually do.  Then all at once the ponies scampered over the top of a
little incline, and, although Miss Sherwin was telling me something, I
gasped out:

"Oh-h-h-h—it’s the ocean!" and forgot what she was saying, and even that
she and Duggie and the cart were with me at all. For I had never seen it
before; and it was right there in front of me—brimming over in long,
slow, green, pillowy things that rolled forward and slipped back,
forward and back, until all at once they got top heavy and lost control
of themselves and tumbled over the edge in a delirious white and green
confusion that slid across the sand in swift, foamy triangles almost up
to our wheels and made the ponies shrink to the other side of the road
in a sort of coquettish dance.  Then there was a very slim,
refined-looking lighthouse on a gray rock bordered by a little white
frill where it touched the water, and beyond that, putting out to sea,
was a great ship with bulging sails, and a steamer that left a lonely
trail of black smoke sagging after it for miles.

I don’t know how long I stared at these things, or how long I should
have kept on staring at them, if I had n’t happened to glance up and see
that Miss Sherwin was looking down at me and laughing.  I think she
expected me to say something, but I couldn’t bring myself to come out
with either of the only two things that occurred to me—one of which was
that as it looked so exactly as I always thought it was going to, I did
n’t see why I felt almost like bursting into tears when we came over the
hill-top and actually saw it; and the other was—that I should have very
much liked to get down and taste it. However, Miss Sherwin had about all
she could do to attend to the horses and did n’t insist on an
explanation; so we said hardly anything all the rest of the way, and
just let the wind blow in our faces and watched the waves tumble across
the hard sand for miles.

At first nothing at the Sherwins’ seemed in the least real to me.  Even
Duggie struck me as altogether different, although he was, of course,
just the same—only seen in unexpected surroundings.

First of all, when we arrived, a groom popped up from behind a hedge and
took the horses; then two young men in dark green clothes with brass
buttons and yellow waistcoats bustled down from the piazza to get our
things out of the cart.  They were rather handsome, but had very
troubled expressions, and looked as if they worried a good deal for fear
they shouldn’t do it right.  Duggie nodded to them over his shoulder,
and I think they were secretly gratified at this—although I suspect them
of having worried terribly for fear they might betray it.  They helped
us off with our coats and hats when we got inside, which is all well
enough, and makes you feel as grand as you do in a barber-shop, but has
its disadvantages, for they run away with everything you have, and lock
them up somewhere in a safe, and when you want to go out to play with
the dogs or take a walk and think it all over, you usually have to tell
Vincent to tell Dempsey to tell Chamberlain that you would like a hat.

Miss Sherwin led me through some beautiful rooms, and as we walked along
she turned to me and exclaimed,—

"Aren’t you fearfully keen for your tea?"

I really don’t care in the least for tea; in fact, I rather dislike it.
But she seemed to take it so for granted that I should be in a sort of
tea-guzzling frenzy by half-past five o’clock that I hated to disappoint
her, and was going to say, "Oh, yes—fearfully," when it flashed through
me that I could make my reply more elaborate and interesting than this,
and thought it would be rather effective to murmur, "One gets so out of
the habit in Cambridge."  Then (all this took only about a second) it
occurred to me that I ’d never in my whole life drunk a cup of tea in
the afternoon with the exception of the time that Berrisford had some
people out to his rooms.  So I merely said—which was perfectly true: "I
don’t like tea; but I like those thin, round cakes that are brown at the
edges and yellow in the middle."  This made her laugh, and I was glad I
had n’t said the other thing, because she ’s very pretty when she
laughs.

One corner of the piazza is enclosed in glass, and we had tea out there
where we could watch the sunset and the pink lights on the water as it
rolled up almost to the lawn in the front yard.  The two younger
brothers came in—one of them has a tutor and the other goes to St.
Timothy’s—and while we were waiting for the tea things to be brought,
Mr. and Mrs. Sherwin sauntered across the grass.  I forget whether they
had been gathering orchids in the conservatory or merely feeding the
peacocks, but they were both exceedingly gracious and glad to see me.
Yet their very way of taking me so for granted (just as Miss Sherwin had
about the tea) made me uncomfortable at first.  They could n’t, of
course, have asked me to explain myself—to tell them what right I had to
consume cakes in their crystal palace and enjoy their sunset; but the
mere fact that they did n’t seem to expect me to justify myself in any
way made me feel like an impostor.

The man who brought in the tea things had a good deal to do with this.
I ’m quite sure that he disapproved of me from the first.  He was older
than the two who met us at the door, and I think he had probably long
since ceased to worry on his own account; but he worried a lot over me.
Later—at dinner—he just gave up all his other duties and stood behind my
chair, mentally calculating the chances of my coming out even or behind
the game in the matter of knives and forks. Whenever I used too many or
too few (which I did constantly) he would glide away and remedy the
defect, or craftily remove the damning evidence of my inattention.  In
writing to mamma about my visit I ended my letter by saying: "I had a
delightful time—but it would take me years to get used to their butler."
To which mamma replied: "I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, dear; they must
live charmingly.  But I simply can’t see why they should n’t have good
butter.  It’s so easy to get it now almost anywhere.  Perhaps they don’t
eat it themselves and don’t realize that they are being imposed upon."
(This will be one of the greatest triumphs of papa’s declining years, as
he is always blowing me up about my handwriting.)  Whenever Dempsey (the
other servants call him "Mr. Dempsey") came into the glass place I
waited in a sort of trembling eagerness, half expecting him to announce
"Lord and Lady Belgrave and Miss Muriel Fitz Desmond," but the only
person who dropped in was an old man named Snagg, and although Dempsey
made as much out of his arrival as any one possibly could—you can’t,
after all, do miracles with a name like Snagg.  However, I was grateful
to Mr. Snagg for coming, as it brought me back to earth again.

To tell the truth, before the evening was finished I began to get over
the unreal sensation I had at first, and saw very plainly that whether
or not I felt at home depended entirely on me.  Duggie and his
family—poor things—did n’t have any idea that their Dempsey paralyzed me
with fright, or that (just as Berri had predicted) by the time dinner
was ready I was shaky in the knees with hunger.  They assumed that a
friend of Duggie’s naturally would feel at home and know beforehand what
was going to happen. This dawned on me when I realized that Duggie was
exactly as he always is, and that the others were probably exactly as
they always were, and I couldn’t help appreciating after a time that if
they took me so calmly, it was rather unreasonable of me not to feel the
same way about them.  No one made any effort to entertain me, which is
very nice—after you get used to it.  Mrs. Sherwin played solitaire after
dinner, while Duggie and his sister (she was embroidering something) and
I sat around a fire that Miss Sherwin said was built of driftwood from
an old whaler, and Duggie declared was manufactured with chemicals by a
shrewd person in Maine.  I don’t know who was right, but with the sea
murmuring just outside the windows and coming down every now and then
with a great thud on the little beach at the end of the lawn, I
preferred to believe in the old whaler theory. Mr. Sherwin would appear
every few minutes to read us something he had come across in a volume of
literary reminiscences which reminded him of something entirely
different that had happened to Thoreau or Emerson or Hawthorne or
Margaret Fuller—all of whom he had, as a young man, known very well,
indeed.  He was delightful.

The next day was Sunday, and as no one awoke me, I found when I got
downstairs that it was after ten o’clock and that everybody, with the
exception of Duggie, had gone to church.  Duggie had been up for hours
taking a long walk with the dogs.  He came into the glass place on the
piazza, where I had breakfast, and read aloud about the game of the day
before.  Out-of-doors it was almost as warm as in summer, so we took
some books and strolled along a cliff to a sheltered place on the rocks,
and sat down in the sun.  I did n’t feel much like reading, although
when you ’re sitting out-of-doors in the sun I think it’s rather
pleasanter, somehow, to have a book on your lap.  Duggie had a shabby
little volume that he read for a minute or two at a time; then he would
stop for five or ten and look at the sea swirling around a rock away
below us.  After a while I became curious to know what the book was, and
the next time he closed it over his finger I reached out and took it.
The name of it was M. Aurelius Antoninus, and it seemed to be a series
of short, disconnected paragraphs with a great many footnotes.  A good
many of the paragraphs were marked.  The only one I can remember went
something like this,—

"Don’t act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years.  Death
hangs over thee. While thou livest—while it is in thy power, be good."

"I suppose you ’re studying this for some course," I remarked after I
had read the extract aloud.  "It’s so solemn I didn’t think you could be
reading it for fun," I added.

"I don’t suppose I am reading it for fun exactly," Duggie laughed.  "It
isn’t very funny to realize the force of that paragraph when there are
so many things you hope to do."

"Well, of course I know I ’m not going to live ten thousand years, but
it’s so lovely down here that I don’t feel a bit as if I were n’t," I
said, lying back in the sun and closing my eyes.

"That’s why I read the book," answered Duggie; "it’s tremendously easy
to feel that way almost anywhere—down here particularly."  He was more
serious, I think, than he looked.

"Why should n’t one?" I asked.  But he only laughed and told me I ’d
better read the book, too, and find out.

"It might be a short cut—a sort of revelation. It took me a good while
to arrive at it by myself," he added.  "Why, when I first went to
Cambridge I had an idea that if a man’s family were what’s called
’nice,’ and well known, and if he had good manners and knew a lot of
other fellows whose families were nice and well known, and people went
around saying that he ’d make the first ten of the Dickey, and be
elected into some club or other—I had an idea that he really amounted to
a great deal."

"Well, does n’t he?" I asked boldly, for all that seemed to me pretty
fine.

I think Duggie was going to answer rather sharply, but he must have
decided not to, for after a moment he said:

"I suppose whether he does or not depends on the point of view."

"From yours, I take it, he doesn’t?" I mused.

"He has a lot in his favor—all sorts of opportunities that other people
have n’t," Duggie admitted, "but I ’ve come to look at him as quite
unimportant until he tries at least to take some advantage of them.
Good Heavens! the wheels of the world are clogged with ’nice’ people,"
said Duggie.

"But what on earth can a person do in a place like college, for
instance?" I objected. "You ’re there, and you know your own crowd, and
you ’re satisfied with it because it’s awfully—awfully——"  I hesitated.

"Awfully nice," Duggie laughed; "and you never see any one else, and
they ’re all more or less like you—and the rest of your class is
composed of grinds, muckers, and ’probably very decent sort of chaps,
_but_’——"  Here Duggie reached over and gave me a push that nearly sent
me into the sea.  "But dontche care—I didn’t mean to get started. And
anyhow there ’s plenty of time."

"Only ten thousand years," I replied.

"Fleetwood’s Wednesday Evenings begin next week.  If you want to remove
your infamous towhead from its richly upholstered barrel for a minute,
you ’d better come around," he suggested.  "Fleetwood had his Wednesday
Evenings on Friday last year because he thought it was more quaint—but I
see he ’s changed back."

"He told me if I came I should hear a lion roar," I said, trying to
remember my talk with Fleetwood at The Holly Tree.  At this Duggie lay
back and shrieked aloud.

"That man will be found some day torn into small, neat shreds," he
managed to say at last.

"Why?" I asked—for I knew he liked Fleetwood.

"Why, because I’m the lion," Duggie giggled.



                                 *VII*


It must be several weeks since I ’ve written a word in my diary.  To
tell the truth, I spend so much time writing other things—things that
are printed and sold—actually—at the bookstores—that somehow my own
every-day affairs don’t seem so important as they did.  In a word—I ’ve
been made an editor of the Advocate.  It seems so wonderful to be an
anything of anything with my name in print on the front page just above
the editorials—the editorials that, as Duggie says sarcastically, have
made the President and the University what they are. Mamma was delighted
at my success, and so was Mildred—although she tried to be funny over my
triolet, When Gladys Sings, in the last number, and wrote me that,
unless Gladys were the name of a quadruped of some kind, amputation here
and there would have improved her.  Even papa was pleased, I think,
although my first story made him very angry and he wrote me a terrible
letter about it.  I had simply described, as accurately as I could
remember it, the time he went as "The Silver-Tongued Orator from
Perugia" to make a political speech in the country and took Mildred and
me with him.  I told about the people at whose house we stayed,
described the house and recorded our conversations at dinner and supper.
That was really all there was to it.  I considered it quite harmless.
The Crimson in criticising it said: "The Jimsons—a humorous sketch by a
new writer—is the only ray of sunlight in a number devoted almost
exclusively to battle, murder, and sudden death;" a Boston paper
reprinted it in full, and papa was perfectly furious.  He wrote to me
saying (among several pages of other things): "While admitting that your
description of my friends is photographic and, in an inexpensive and
altogether odious fashion, rather amusing, I take occasion to call your
attention to the fact—it seems to have escaped you—that they are, after
all, my friends.  Furthermore (passing from the purely ethical to the
sternly practical), it is among just these people that you will, in the
not very distant future, be engaged in making (or trying to make) a
living.  Kindly snatch a moment or two from your literary pursuits and
think this over in some of its more grim possibilities."  He also rather
superfluously informed me that I would "be older some day" than I am
now.  (This remark, by the way, seems to have a peculiar fascination for
men who have passed the age of fifty.)  I showed the letter to Berri,
and when he had finished it he said thoughtfully: "A few communications
like this, and the keen edge of one’s humor would become a trifle
dulled."

My election to the Advocate came about in the most unexpected way
possible.  It’s queer how things happen.  Berri was sitting in my room
one afternoon apparently reading by the fire.  Suddenly he looked up and
exclaimed:

"Do you realize, Tommy, that failure is staring us in the face?"

"Why, I was in hopes that it had begun to—to avert its gaze somewhat," I
answered, for I thought of course he was referring to the hour exams—and
I ’ve studied a little every day since that calamity.  "Besides," I
added, "I don’t see why you need complain; you got through."

"Oh, I’m not talking about our studies," Berri said impatiently; "they
’re a detail. I mean that we don’t seem to be getting anywhere; we ’re
not turning our accomplishments to any practical account; we ’re not
helping the college any and making ourselves prominent—prominent in a
lawful sense, I mean."

"But we haven’t any accomplishments," I objected.  "We both tried for
the Glee Club and they would n’t have us; and everybody agreed that we
couldn’t play football—although we went out and did everything they told
us to.  We can’t play the banjo or mandolin, and it’s too early in the
year to find out whether we ’re any good at rowing or track athletics or
baseball; so there ’s nothing left. What on earth can a person do who
has n’t any talent or skill or ability of any kind?" I demanded
gloomily.

"He can always write," Berri answered, "and he can always be an editor."

"Oh! you mean we ought to try for the Crimson or something."

"Well, not the Crimson exactly," Berrisford mused; "they say you have to
work like anything on the Crimson; they make you rush about finding out
when things are going to happen, or why they didn’t happen when they
said they would.  That would be awfully tiresome—because of course you
wouldn’t care whether they happened or not.  I ’d just like to sit
around and edit; any one could do that."

"I should think you ’d go in for the Lampoon," I suggested; for I
remembered that one of the Lampoon men had drawn a picture of something
Berri had done.  Professor Snook, who knows such a lot about folk-lore,
was going to give a lecture in Sever Hall on The Devil.  It was
announced on all the bulletin boards by means of printed placards that
read like this: "Thursday, November 10, Professor John Snook will
deliver a lecture on The Devil;" and under the one outside of
University, Berri wrote in pencil: "The first of a series on
personalities that have influenced me."  If he got himself noticed by
the Lampoon without trying, I thought there was no telling what he could
do if he put his mind to it.  We discussed the matter awhile without,
however, deciding on any definite plan.

That night we went to Fleetwood’s first Wednesday Evening, and there I
was introduced to—  But I ’m going too fast.  I ’d better tell about the
Wednesday Evening first.

When I suggested going Berri was n’t particularly enthusiastic about it.
He said he was afraid it would resemble one of his aunt’s receptions
where everybody was so cultivated that it was just like reading Half
Hours with the Best Authors on a warm Sunday afternoon. I had an idea
that it might be something like that myself, but I finally persuaded
Berri to go with me notwithstanding.

I don’t know what to make of myself sometimes.  When I ’m with Duggie I
’m inclined to take things rather seriously; but when I ’m with Berri it
all seems like a joke.  They ’re so different, and yet I feel as if I
were so much a friend of both.  When all three of us happen to be
together I find it most uncomfortable.  Of course Berri thought the
Wednesday Evening highly amusing.

It was rather late when we arrived, and the room was crowded with
fellows, very few of whom I had ever seen before.  Fleetwood opened the
door for us, with a Shakespearian quotation trembling aptly on his lips,
and led us through the crowd to his inside room, where we left our coats
and hats.

"You must come and meet my lions and hear them roar," Fleetwood said to
us; and was about to take us across the study to where Duggie was
standing against the wall with a semicircle of Freshmen in front of him
drinking in his every word.

"Good gracious, man—you don’t mean to say you got me away over here on a
cold night to hear Duggie Sherwin drool about football," Berri exclaimed
to me.  Mr. Fleetwood laughed, and seemed to think this was very funny.

"Just look how glad of the chance all those others are, you
unappreciative boy," he said reproachfully to Berri.

"Oh, well—he doesn’t wake them up at a horrible hour every morning
yelling like a fiend under a shower-bath," Berri explained. "You see,
the lion and I occupy the same lair—or do lions live in a den?  I never
can remember."

"Perhaps Mr. Ranny knows," said Fleetwood to a tall, studious-looking
fellow who had evidently planned his escape and was in the act of shyly
carrying it out when Fleetwood detained him.  Fleetwood introduced him
to Berri and slid away to greet another man who had just opened the
door.  As I moved off to join Duggie’s group, Berri gave me a queer
look; but a few minutes later I happened to glance across at him, and as
the tall fellow was laughing at everything Berri said I knew that Berri
was enjoying himself.

Duggie shook hands with me and said good-evening just as if he had n’t
been in my room sprawling on the floor in front of the fire an hour and
a half before, and then went on with what he was saying to the fellows
nearest him—some polite looking little chaps; Freshmen, although I had
never seen them before.

The talk was mostly about football; the games that had been played and
the ones still to come—comparative scores and the merits and defects of
players at other colleges.  Of course Duggie could discuss only with the
fellows just in front of him.  I think he realized how embarrassing it
would be to any of the others if he were to single them out and address
remarks to them.  Besides, it might have sounded patronizing.  Yet every
now and then, when whoever was talking happened to say something funny,
Duggie somehow included the whole crowd in the laugh that followed.  I
think he managed it by catching everybody’s eye at just the right time;
I know that—although I was merely standing there looking on—whenever he
caught mine, I felt as if I were right in the game.  This often had the
effect of causing a fellow to say something to the fellow next to him,
and so it frequently happened that people who had joined the group
merely to rubber in embarrassed silence at Duggie, found themselves
making acquaintances and talking on their own account.  I learned
afterward that this was precisely what Fleetwood and Duggie counted on.
It was Fleetwood’s chief reason for having Duggie as often as he could
at his Wednesday Evenings, and Duggie’s only reason for going.

Across the room there was another centre of attraction in the person of
a fine but rather pompous-looking old gentleman with a pink face and a
snowy beard.  His audience was more talkative than Duggie’s, but not so
large.  It was n’t composed entirely of Freshmen, either.  As I was
standing there making up my mind to slide through the intervening crowd
and find out what he was talking about, Berri, who had been standing
with a rapt expression on the outskirts of the second group, detached
himself and came over to me.  "You simply must come and listen to him;
it’s perfectly thrilling," he said.

"I was just going over to investigate," I answered.  "What ’s his
specialty?"

"I don’t know how to describe it exactly," Berri replied; "he’s a kind
of connecting link with the literary past; he ’s what phonographs will
be when we get them perfected. Dickens once borrowed his opera-glasses
on the evening of the twelfth of June years ago, and some years later
Thackeray stepped on his foot at a dinner-party.  He remembers what they
said perfectly, and gets asked out a lot. I ’ve heard him tell the
Thackeray thing twice now, and he ’s going to do it again in a minute if
there ’s enough of a crowd."

We went over and listened to him for ever so long, and although Dickens
_had_ borrowed his opera-glasses and Thackeray _had_ stepped on his
foot, he was n’t in the least what Berri had led me to expect.  I found
him delightful and was sorry when he had to leave.  (Berri insisted that
he was driven rapidly to town to the Palace Theatre, where he was due to
appear at 10.50—between a trick bicyclist and a Dutch comedian.)

When we had said good-by to him, Fleetwood came up bringing a
pleasant-looking chap with spectacles.  (I had often seen him in the
Yard.)

"This is Mr. Paul," Fleetwood said to me, "and he wants to have words
with you."

Mr. Paul talked about the old gentleman for a minute or two, and then
said quite abruptly,—

"We ’ve been reading your stuff in English 83, Mr. Wood, and the fellows
think it’s darned good.  I wish you ’d let us have some of it for the
Advocate."

I was so astonished I just looked at him. Then he went on to say that he
wanted to print two of my themes—The Jimsons, and a description of
something I saw one night in town—and that if I wrote a third and it
turned out to be good, they would make me an editor!  He had said that
the Monthly had designs on me (imagine), and that although the Advocate
did n’t often do things so hastily, it (I wonder if it’s silly of me to
write this down?) didn’t want to lose me.  I told him that I ’d never
dreamed of getting on one of the papers and felt as if he were making
fun of me.  But he assured me he was n’t.

Duggie and Berrisford and I walked home together, and when we reached my
room Duggie and Berri began to squabble over Fleetwood’s Wednesday
Evenings, and talked and talked until Duggie, seeing how late it was,
got undressed (talking all the time) and left his clothes on my floor,
and continued the conversation even after he had gone into his own room,
turned out the lights and got into bed.

Berri, of course, started out by saying,—

"Well, I don’t see what ’s the good of it," and Duggie immediately
undertook to enlighten him.  Whereupon Berri—fearing that the attempt
might be successful—took another tack and exclaimed,—

"I should think you’d feel so ridiculous backed up there against the
wall making conversation—or perhaps you enjoy being an object of
curiosity."  Duggie got very red, and I think he considered Berri
unusually cheeky and impertinent, but he did n’t snub him and I ’m sure
Berri was disappointed; he loves to irritate people.

"I don’t think my feelings in the matter are particularly important,"
Duggie answered. "I don’t see why you haul them in."

"Oh! but they are," Berri insisted.  "I was n’t in the least interested
in you when you were over there doing your stunts; but here, at home—in
the bosom of the family, so to speak—you ’re perfectly absorbing. Now,
honestly, Duggie, don’t you think that in the end it ’ll do you a lot of
harm—exhibiting yourself this way, and sort of saying to yourself: ’I am
the only Duggie Sherwin; when Fleetwood tells the Freshmen that I am
going to be there, the room is jammed’—and all that sort of thing.  For
of course that’s what it amounts to."

Duggie threw back his head and laughed. Then he leaned forward and gave
Berrisford (who was sitting on the floor with his hands clasped around
his knees), a neat little push that rolled him back until he seemed to
be standing on his neck and groping for the ceiling with his feet.

"Berrisford, sometimes you make me very, very sick," Duggie said to him.

"But own up like a man—isn’t that the way you look at it?" Berri pursued
after he had collected himself.

"Of course it is n’t—idiot!" Duggie declared indignantly.  "Fleetwood
can’t do the whole thing himself; he can’t turn a lot of shy kids into a
pen and say, ’Now talk and get to know one another.’  So he asks other
people to help him.  Once in a while he asks me.  To-night there were
two of us."

"Two Little Evas—two Uncle Toms—two side-splitting Topsies," Berri
giggled.

"Heaven knows I can talk about other things than football," Duggie went
on, "but I like to talk about it, and they do, too—so why shouldn’t we?
And when they have enough of me they get to talking with some one
else—some one in their own class, very likely—or maybe to two or three.
Then they come back again next week, and after a few times they find
that they ’ve made a lot of acquaintances, and perhaps some friends. And
there you are!  Their whole four years is probably changed for them and
made infinitely more worth while, merely because Fleetwood takes the
trouble to round them up and make them feel that somebody really wants
them.  It’s perfectly natural that you should think his Wednesdays funny
and boresome; you always had dozens of rooms to go to from the first day
you came here, and some one in every room who was glad to see you when
you went.  But I tell you it isn’t that way with everybody, and you ’re
not the kind that Fleetwood tries to get at."

"Why did he invite me, then?" Berri asked.

"Upon my soul, I don’t know," Duggie declared sarcastically, "but I ’d
be willing to bet that if I see him first he won’t invite you again," he
laughed.

Then Berri admitted that Fleetwood’s idea was well enough in theory, but
doubted if it really worked.

"That tall spook I jollied this evening for a while was exceedingly
nice; but I sha’n’t dash off and call on him to-morrow. I don’t suppose
I’ll ever see him again," Berri said.

"No, probably not," Duggie assented, "but it’s altogether likely that
after time has healed the wound left by your indifference, he may find
consolation in the companionship of some one else.  You may not be able
to grasp the fact, Berri, but it is a fact that ’there are others.’"  It
was in the midst of this that he began to get ready for bed.

"Why don’t you open a salon yourself if you think they ’re such
’life-sweeteners’?" Berri called after him when he went into his own
room.

"When I come to the Law School next year, I’m going to," Duggie shouted
back, "but _you ’ll_ never see the inside of it; I ’ll tell you that
right now."

I did n’t join in the discussion at all, for I got to thinking how lucky
I had been from the first.  Mamma overheard an old woman on a piazza say
that she made the "young men" change their shoes when it was
"snow-in’"—and that was all there was to it.  That chance remark led to
my living in the same house with Duggie and Berri; and what a difference
it has made!  Without Berri I never in the world should have known such
a lot of people in so short a time; and without Duggie—well, I think I
understand what my adviser meant when he said he was glad I knew Duggie.

There has been one Advocate meeting since my election and I thought it
was great.  All the editors meet in the Advocate President’s room on
Tuesday evening to hear the Secretary read the manuscripts that have
been sent in or collected from the English courses during the week.  It
took them a long time to settle down to business; in fact no one seemed
to want to hear the manuscripts at all—although I secretly thought this
would be very interesting—and several fellows made remarks and tried to
interrupt (the poetry especially) all the time the Secretary was
reading. But he read on in a businesslike voice and never paid any
attention to them except once, when he grabbed a college catalogue from
the table, and without looking away from the page shied it at a fellow
who was repeating the verses the Secretary was trying to read—only
repeating them all wrong and making them sound ridiculous.  In the case
of most of the contributions the fellows began to vote "no" before they
had read them half through; but several of them were hard to decide on,
and the board had a lively time making up its mind.  After the reading
we sat around the fire and had beer and crackers and cheese while (as
several of the manuscripts expressed it) "the storm howled without."

A few afternoons ago the Secretary (he has such a queer name—it’s Duncan
Duncan), came to my room to see how much I had done on a story I was
writing.  It was a little after six o’clock when he got up to go, and as
he was on his way to dinner at Memorial he asked me to dine with him.  I
had never been to Memorial at meal time and was glad of the chance to
go.  It’s a very interesting experience, although I think I prefer the
comparative peacefulness of Mrs. Brown’s as a usual thing.

We were joined in the Yard by a friend of Duncan’s who sits at the same
table.  Duncan is a thoughtful, rather dreamy kind of person (he writes
a lot of poetry for the Advocate), and on the way over he told me how
much he enjoyed living at Memorial—that he never got tired of looking up
at the stained-glass windows and the severe portraits.

"Even with the crowd and clatter there ’s always something inspiring
about its length and height," he said.  "It has a calmness and dignity
that quite transcend the fact of people’s eating there.  It’s so
academic."

"It’s so cheap," the other fellow amended; but Duncan did n’t mind him
and became almost sentimental on the subject.

Well, I felt sorry for Duncan.  We had hardly begun on our turkey and
cranberry sauce when two of the colored waiters got into the most
dreadful fight and rushed at each other with drawn forks.  All the men
jumped up on their chairs and waved their napkins and yelled: "Down in
front—down in front!" and "Trun him out!"  As the newspapers say of the
Chamber of Deputies, "A scene of indescribable confusion ensued."  It
was several minutes before the combatants were hustled off to the
kitchen and we could go on with our dinner.  Then a party appeared in
the visitors’ gallery—a middle-aged man, two women, and some girls.  One
of the girls was decidedly pretty and attracted everybody’s attention
the moment she leaned over the rail.  The man, however, was what caused
the demonstration in the first place. He didn’t take his hat off, which
Duncan says always makes trouble.  I don’t think anybody really cares
one way or the other, but it furnishes an excuse for noise.  A murmur of
disapproval travelled across the room and grew louder and louder until
the man with a genial air of "Ah—these boys have recognized me," came to
the front of the gallery and bowed.  He took off his hat, which produced
a burst of applause from below, and then put it on again, which changed
the clapping of hands to ominous groans.  The poor thing looked
mystified and embarrassed, and I don’t know how it would have ended if
the pretty girl hadn’t just at that instant been inspired to pluck a big
rose from her belt and toss it over the rail.  It fell with a thud in
the middle of our table and twenty-four eager hands shot out to seize
it.  I grabbed instinctively with the others, and with the others I ’m
exceedingly ashamed of what happened. The tablecloth and all the dishes
were swept off, and in the scrimmage that followed the table was
overturned.  I have a terrifying, hideous recollection of everybody in
the world kneeling on my chest and of something warm and wet on my face
and neck.  Then Duncan was saying,—

"It’s all right, old man—lie perfectly still; you ’ve cut yourself a
little, but it doesn’t amount to anything.  Only don’t exert yourself."
He looked so scared and white that I began to be frightened myself and
tried to get up.  But he and some of the other fellows very gently
restrained me, saying that I was all right in the peculiar, hurried
fashion that, more than anything else, convinces you that you’re all
wrong.  Duncan’s friend and another fellow were mumbling somewhere near
me; I caught these fragments of their conversation: "It _must_ be an
artery—eight or ten minutes if it is n’t attended to—Doctor Banning and
Doctor Merrick—telephoned—don’t talk so loud—he might hear."

Then I lay quite still and closed my eyes and tried to think.



                                 *VIII*


Looked at in one way, it was a humiliating thing to have happen; but on
the other hand, after it was all over, I was able to derive considerable
satisfaction from the fact that I had n’t lost my presence of mind.  The
remarks I overheard as I lay on the floor of Memorial were anything but
reassuring.  I realized that in the scrimmage for the rose I had been
submerged in china, glass, and cutlery,—that some of these things had
severed one of my arteries and that the worst might happen.  Of course I
was very much frightened at first, and it was then that I tried to get
up; but after they restrained me, I sank back and began to think of poor
mamma. I was on the point of asking for writing materials, but on
remembering that an accident of this kind was always attended by a sort
of dreamy weakness, I became—actually—so languid that I recall telling
myself that it would be of no use—I would n’t have strength with which
to write, even if a pen were thrust into my hand.  So I went on thinking
about mamma until suddenly a man with a pointed beard (I have since
learned he was a medical student who happened to be dining with some
friends at Memorial) dropped on one knee beside me and with rapid,
skilful fingers began to open my shirt.  Then he stopped very abruptly,
and with the most disgusted expression I ever saw, turned toward the
light and examined his fingers.  After which he got up, brushed the dust
from his knee, and said in a loud, peevish voice,—

"Tell that child to get up and go home and wash the cranberry-sauce off
his face and neck and put on clean clothes," which I did as quickly as
possible without even waiting to say good-bye to Duncan.

They don’t call me "Tommy Trusting" any more.  It became "Cranberry" for
a day or two, then it was shortened to "Cranny," and now it’s
"Granny"—"Granny Wood."  Berri says that it has a ring of finality to
it, and that I ’ll never be known by any other name.

Since the great game (I don’t believe I ’ve touched upon the great
game), the college seems to have settled down once more to an every-day
sort of existence, with the Christmas holidays looming up now and then
in letters from home.  (As I was going out this morning, the postman met
me at the gate and gave me four letters with the Perugia postmark.  It
’s funny how my feelings toward that poor man vary.  When he hands me
letters from home, I think he ’s one of the nicest-looking persons I
ever saw, but when he doles out a lot of bills, he seems to have a hard,
cynical expression that I hate.  I meet him at The Holly Tree
occasionally, where he goes to snatch a nourishing breakfast of coffee
and lemon-pie.)

I have n’t alluded to the great game for several reasons—the chief one
being that (as Berri says when people explain why they didn’t pass
certain exams), "I dislike post-mortems."  I suppose it might have been,
in various ways, a more distressing event than it actually was.  The
seats, for instance, might have collapsed and killed all the spectators;
there might have been a railway collision on the way down; there might
have been an earthquake or a tidal-wave.  That none of these things
happened is, of course, cause for congratulation—if not for bonfires and
red lights on Holmes’ Field.  It is always well, I suppose, to have
something definite to rejoice over.  The long trip in the train back to
Boston after the game, with every one hoarse and tired out and cross and
depressed, was—  But I had determined not to mention it at all.

Poor Duggie!  I know it nearly killed him. He has tried to refer to it
philosophically and calmly in my room once or twice since then; but he
never gets very far.  He knows what he wants to say and ought to say,
but he ’s so intimate with Berri and me that I don’t think he altogether
trusts himself to say it.  I imagine he finds it easier to talk to
comparative strangers.  I was afraid at first that Berri was going to
find in the subject a sort of inexhaustible opportunity for the exercise
of his genius for making people uncomfortable; but instead of that, I
’ve never known him to be so nice.  For the first time he has allowed
himself to show some of the admiration for Duggie that, all along, I ’ve
felt sure he really has, and Duggie appreciates his delicacy—although in
one way it grates on him almost as much, I think, as if Berri were just
as he always is.

The other day mamma said in one of her letters, "I often wonder how you
spend your days; just what you do from the time you go out to breakfast
until you go to bed at—I hesitate to think _what_ o’clock."  So when I
answered her letter I tried to put in everything I did that day, and
here it is:—

8.30 A.M.—Woke up in the midst of a terrible dream in which a burglar
was pressing a revolver to my temple, and found that beast, Saga,
standing by my bed with his cold, moist nose against my cheek.  I threw
shoes at him until he ran away yelping, which hurt Berri’s feelings and
made him very disagreeable to Duggie and me about the bathtub.  He said
we ought to let him have his bath first, as it took him so much longer!

9.15.  Breakfast at The Holly Tree.  Berri came with me, as he said he
disliked last chapters, and it was Mrs. Brown’s day for concluding her
great serial story entitled "Corned Beef."  At The Holly Tree we found
Mr. Fleetwood, who hid coquettishly behind a newspaper when he saw us
coming and exclaimed,—

"Go away,—go away, you unreverend, clever boy.  You—you!" he added,
shaking his finger at Berri.  "I don’t mind the other one—the little
one," he went on when we had hung up our coats and hats and went over to
his table; "but you have ’a tongue with a tang.’  I sha’n’t ask you
again to my Wednesday Evenings."  Of course this was perfect fruit for
Berri, who sat down at once and implored Fleetwood with tears in his
eyes to tell him what he had done, and begged him not to blight his
(Berri’s) career at the outset by denying him admission to the Wednesday
Evenings.  He vowed that he felt ever so much "older" and "broader" and
"thoughtfuller," and all sorts of things that he never in the world will
feel, just for going that once. But Fleetwood pretended not to listen to
him, and went on reading the paper, interrupting Berri every now and
then with: "Viper—viper!" or "Serpent—serpent!"  I think he really likes
Berri immensely, but is shrewd enough to know that he never can get at
him by being serious.  We had a very jolly breakfast, and Berri left
declaring that he would n’t rest until he had induced some famous man to
step on his feet.

"Then I ’ll be a lion myself and I sha’n’t go to your Wednesday
Evenings, no matter how much you ask me," he said.  At which Fleetwood
held his head with one hand and waved toward the door with the other,
moaning,—

"Go away,—go away, both of you! You ’ve caused me to drink four cups of
tea without knowing what I was doing.  I think you want to drive me
mad."

10.30.  Neither of us had a lecture until eleven o’clock, and we were
looking at some new books in a window on the Square when Hemington
appeared.  He touched us on the shoulders in a confidential kind of way,
and then, looking furtively at the people who were waiting near by for a
car, lowered his voice mysteriously, and asked us to go with him to his
room.

"I have something over there that I don’t mind letting you in on," he
said.  "Only you must n’t of course speak of it; it might get us into a
good deal of trouble with the government."

This sounded rather exciting, so we hurried to Hemington’s room without
talking much on the way over, as Hemington did n’t communicate anything
further and we, of course, could n’t help wondering what he was going to
show us.  When we got into his study, he gave a peculiar rap on his
bedroom door and out came a strange-looking little person,—short and
plump, with black, curly hair and big black eyes and a sallow, almost
dusky skin.  A bright red handkerchief knotted loosely around his neck
gave him a picturesque, a tropical air, that, considering we were in
Hemington’s prosaic study in Stoughton Hall, thrilled us from the first.

"This is Amadéo," said Hemington.  (Hemi is taking Spanish I., and I
think he enjoyed as much as anything pronouncing the name in a deep,
rich, careless sort of way; he hauled it in every other second.)  "It’s
all right, Amadéo," he went on, for although Amadéo smiled a most
beautiful smile full of very regular and dazzling teeth, he turned to
Hemington with a look intended to express inquiry and misgiving.  "You
can trust these men; they are your friends."

At this Amadéo flashed his teeth again and kissed Berri’s hands.  Berri
looked exceedingly shocked, and I craftily put mine in my pocket.

"He ’s a deserter," Hemington explained; for Berri began to rub his
knuckles with a handkerchief, Amadéo looked hurt, and there was a moment
of embarrassment all round. "He escaped from a merchantman that got in a
few days ago from ——"  (As I don’t take Spanish I., it’s impossible for
me to give the luscious name of the island that Amadéo’s boat had come
from.  It sounded something like Santa Bawthawthawthoth.)  "The skipper
was a brute—a regular old timer, and Amadéo could n’t stand it any
longer.  He and a pal swam ashore with all their worldly possessions on
their backs done up in tarpaulins (they were fired at six times when
they were in the water), and his possessions" (here Hemington lowered
his voice and Amadéo glanced sharply at the door) "consisted of three or
four hundred of the best cigars you ever smoked in your life.  He got
them at Santa Bawthawthawthoth, and as he has n’t a cent, of course he
wants to sell them.  He asks about a fourth as much as you have to pay
for a perfectly wretched cigar at any place in town.  They naturally did
n’t go through the custom house, and that’s why you have to keep it all
so quiet."

Amadéo went into Hemington’s bedroom and returned with an oil-skin
bundle that looked like those round, flat cheeses you see under cages of
green wire in grocery stores. He untied it (glancing apprehensively at
the door from time to time, and once clasping it to his breast when he
heard a step in the hall outside), and disclosed the smuggled treasure.
I have n’t begun to smoke yet, but Berri and Hemington each took a
cigar, and after puffing away for several seconds, Berri said his was
simply delicious.  It certainly smelled very good, and I was very sorry
I had to run away in a few minutes to my eleven o’clock lecture, for
Amadéo began to tell of some of his experiences on the merchantman, and
they were pretty fierce.  Berri cut his lecture, and I should have, if I
were n’t on probation.  One of the penalties of probation is that you
can’t cut without an excuse that holds water at every pore.

11-12 M.  Listened to a lecture—with experiments—on physics.  The
experiments did n’t turn out well, and the instructor seemed much
annoyed.  I don’t think he has the right idea.  My experiments in the
laboratory always give beautiful results.  I find out first of all from
the book what Nature is expected to do; and then I see that she does it.
I ’m one of the most successful little experimenters in the class.

12 M.  Ran back to Hemington’s room. Amadéo had gone, but Berri and
Hemington had bought all the cigars.  Berri had learned a lot of Spanish
in my absence, and could say "Amadéo" and "Santa Bawthawthawthoth" with
almost as fluent a hot-mush effect as Hemington could.  He packed his
share of the cigars in Hemi’s dress-suit case, and we took them over to
our house.

1 P.M.  Went to luncheon at Mrs. Brown’s, and tried to borrow a shirt
from everybody at the table, but without success.  Duncan Duncan asked
me to a tea in his rooms this afternoon to meet his mother and sisters
and some girls from town.  I promised to go, but Miss Shedd, my
washerwoman, slipped on the ice and hurt herself and has n’t been able
to do my clothes for more than two weeks, and I discovered this morning
that there were no more shirts in my drawer.  Berri or Duggie would lend
me one, but Berri unfortunately hasn’t any, either, as Miss Shedd does
his washing too, and of course anything of Duggie’s on me is ridiculous.
I wore a suit of his pajamas one night when I had a cold, as they ’re
thicker than mine, and the shoulders hung down around my elbows.  Well,
nobody would lend me a shirt—for no reason in the world except that they
realized I simply had to have one and thought it would be amusing not
to.

While we were at luncheon, Berri and Hemington gave every one two or
three cigars, and Berri said knowingly: "I wish you fellows would try
these and tell me what you think of them.  I happened to get hold of
them in a rather odd way; I can’t tell you how exactly—at least not for
a few days. They ’re not the usual thing you buy at a store.  They come
from Santa Bawthawthawthoth."

We went on talking and forgot all about the cigars, until Berri, who is
very sensitive to any kind of scent or odor, suddenly looked up and
said,—

"What a perfectly excruciating smell!  It’s like overshoes on a hot
register, only much worse.  What on earth is it?"  At this the rest of
us at the table began to sniff the air, and I confess it was pretty bad.
Bertie Stockbridge had finished his luncheon while we were still eating,
and had taken his chair over to the window, where he was reading
something for a half-past one recitation and smoking one of Amadéo’s
cigars.  He was too absorbed in his book to hear the rest of us, but all
at once he looked up with a very pained expression and exclaimed,—

"What a beastly cigar!  I was reading and did n’t notice how queer it
was; it ’s made me very sick."  Then of course we all discovered at once
where the hot rubbery fumes came from,—all but Berri and Hemington, that
is to say; they refused to believe it. So everybody began to light
cigars, and in a minute or two the room was simply unendurable.
Stockbridge said they were like the trick cigars you see advertised
sometimes; the kind that "explode with a red light,—killing the smoker
and amusing the spectators."  We dissected several of them; they seemed
to contain a little of everything except tobacco. The fellows insisted
on knowing all the details of the colossal sell, and although Berri and
Hemington felt awfully cheap about their part in it, they finally told.
Duggie says an Amadéo or a Manuele or a Luigi or an Anselmo appears in
Cambridge every year at about this time, and invariably returns to Santa
Bawthawthawthoth laden with Freshman gold.

1.25 P.M.  Rushed home; got a shirt and took it to a Chinese laundry
just off Mt. Auburn Street and implored the proprietor to wash it and
have it ready for me by five o’clock.  He seemed to think me somewhat
insane, and said in a soothing, fatherly kind of way,—

"You come back day aftle to-mollel."  Then I explained the situation and
told him I would give him anything he asked if he would do me this
favor.  He made strange Oriental sounds, at which sleepy, gibbering
things tumbled out of a shelf behind a green calico curtain, and from a
black hole in the partition at the end of the shelf there began a
tremendous grunting and snuffling, pierced by squeaks of rage and
anguish.  Then five Chinamen swarmed about my shirt, gesticulating
murderously, and uttering raucous cries like impossible birds. I wanted
to stay and see how it all turned out; but the bell had rung for my
half-past one o’clock, and I hurried away.

The Oriental temperament is an impassive, deliberative, sphinx-like,
inscrutable thing.

1.40-2.30 P.M.  This hour I spent in class listening to a lecture on
narration.  I enjoyed it very much, and the hour went by so quickly that
when the instructor dismissed us, I thought he had made a mistake.  He
gave us short scenes from various famous books in illustration of his
points; and ended, as usual, by reading a lot of daily themes written by
the class.  Two of them were mine.  He said they were good, but pointed
out how they could have been better.  One of his suggestions I agree
with perfectly, but I think he ’s all off in regard to the other.  I ’ll
talk it over with him at his next consultation hour.  Some of the
fellows thought the whole thing perfect drool; but I confess it
interested me very much.  I never feel like cutting this course,
somehow.

2.30.  Went to my room with the intention of reading history until it
was time to go for my shirt, and—if it was done up—get ready for the
tea.  I had read only part of a chapter when some fellows, passing by,
yelled at my windows.  I had made up my mind, when I began to read, not
to answer any one, as it ’s impossible to accomplish anything if you do.
But of course I forgot and yelled back, and in a minute three fellows
clattered up the stairs and I realized that they were good for the rest
of the afternoon.

It’s a queer thing about going to see people here.  I don’t think that
any one ever goes with the intention of staying any length of time, or
even of sitting down; you merely drop in as you ’re passing by and
happen to think of it.  You would n’t believe it if somebody told you
you were destined to stay for several hours.  But that’s what usually
happens.  Another queer thing is that very few fellows admit that they
’re studying when you come in, unless of course it’s in the midst of the
exams.  If you find a man at a desk with a note-book and several large
open volumes spread out before him, and you say to him, "Don’t mind
me—go on with your grinding," nine times out of ten he’ll answer, "Oh, I
wasn’t grinding; I was just glancing over these notes."  The tenth man
fixes you with a determined eye and replies: "You get out of here, or
take a book and go into a corner and shut up."

3.45.  We all took a walk up Brattle Street past the Longfellow house as
far as James Russell Lowell’s place and back.  It’s a great old street,
even with the leaves all gone—which makes ordinary places so dreary.
Duggie pointed out the most famous houses to me one day and told me who
had lived in them.  I tried to do it this afternoon, but the fellows
said they did n’t care.

5.  Got my shirt at the Chinaman’s.  It looked all right, but it was
still damp in spots—wet, in fact.  I went prepared to pay almost any
price after all the excitement I had caused; but the proprietor was
surprisingly moderate in his demands.  I gave him something more than he
asked, but he would n’t take it until I accepted some poisonous-looking
dried berries done up in a piece of oiled paper.  He seemed to have
grasped the idea of a tea, for he kept saying over and over again with a
delighted smile: "You go see girl—you go see girl."

5.20.  Went to Duncan’s tea and "saw girl"—lots of them.  They were very
nice, and pretended they were dreadfully excited at being in a college
room.  They asked all sorts of silly questions, and the fellows replied
with even sillier answers.  Duncan had taken them to see the museums and
the glass flowers and Memorial and the Gym, and had done the honors of
Cambridge generally.

6.30.  Went to dinner at Mrs. Brown’s, but as I had just come from
Duncan’s, where I had drunk two cups of tea (I don’t know why, as I hate
it) and had eaten several kinds of little cakes, I had no appetite
whatever. Somebody had put a chocolate cigar on Berri’s and Hemington’s
plate,—the kind that has a piece of gilt paper glued to the large end.
Berri and Hemington had to stand a good deal of guying during dinner,
but were consoled by the fact that Amadéo’s pal had worked precisely the
same game on some other men we know slightly at the very moment that
Amadéo himself was doing us.

7.15.  Went to my room and made a big fire, as I had a curious kind of
chill, although the house was warm and it was n’t cold outside.  I had
just decided to stay at home and read, when I came across an Advocate
postal card on my desk, and remembered that there was a meeting of the
board in the Secretary’s room at eight o’clock.

8.11.  Listened to manuscripts and voted on them, and then sat around
and talked afterwards.  It’s rather embarrassing sometimes when a story
happens to be by one of the editors and isn’t good.  This evening we had
a long, terribly sentimental passage from the life of a member of the
board.  We all knew who had written it, and although it was ever so much
worse than the tale that had just been read (which had been most
unmercifully jumped on), the criticisms were painfully cautious and
generously sprinkled with the praise that damns.  Of course it isn’t
always this way when the editors submit things; they ’re often made more
fun of than anybody else. But this man for some reason is n’t the kind
with whom that sort of thing goes down.  He has been known to refer to
writing for the Advocate as "My Art."

One thing that happened during the evening made a good deal of fun.  The
advertisers have kicked about our not having the leaves of the paper
cut.  They say that the subscribers cut the leaves of the reading matter
only, and never get a chance to see the advertisements at all.  We think
it is ever so much nicer not to have it done by machinery, for when the
subscribers do it themselves with a paper-cutter, the effect on the
thick paper is very rough and artistic.  Well, we discussed this for a
long time, until some one exclaimed: "I don’t see why we shouldn’t have
it done by hand.  It would take a little longer, but the expense would
n’t amount to much, and in that way we could have our rough edges and
appease the advertisers at the same time." So after some more talk it
was voted on and carried unanimously.  Then the President got up, and
turning to a solemn person who had been very much in favor of the
motion, said:

"It has been moved and carried that the leaves of the Advocate be cut
henceforth by Hand.  Mr. Hand, you will kindly see that the work is done
on time; I think there are only eight or nine hundred copies printed
this year."

11.  On the way home from the Advocate meeting I saw the most gorgeous
northern lights I ever imagined,—great shafts of deep pink that shot up
from the horizon and all joined at the middle of the sky like a glorious
umbrella.  I ran upstairs to get Duggie and Berri, but neither of them
was in; so, as I simply had to have some one to marvel with, I called
Mrs. Chester.  She and another old crone—Mis’ Buckson—were having a cup
of tea in the kitchen, and did n’t seem particularly enthusiastic over
my invitation to come out and see the display, but they finally bundled
up in shawls and followed me to the piazza.  We stood there a minute or
two looking up in silence, and I thought at first that they were as much
impressed as I was. Finally, however, Mrs. Chester gave a little society
cough and remarked,—

"It’s real chilly, aren’t it?" and Mis’ Buckson, drawing her shawl more
tightly about her bent shoulders, jerked her chin in an omnipotent,
blasé kind of fashion towards the heavens, and croaked,—

"That there’s a sign o’ war."  Then they both limped back to the house.

11.30.  Made a big blaze in the fireplace, as I was cold again and did
n’t feel well at all. I sat down to write to mamma, and was just
finishing when Duggie came in on his way to bed.  He ’s not in training
now and can stay up as long as he pleases.  He asked me how often I
wrote to mamma, and I told him that I had written twice a week at first
because there was so much to tell, but that now since things had settled
down and I did n’t have so much to say, I write about once a week.  He
answered that there was just as much to say now as there ever was, and
told me to write twice a week or he ’d know the reason why.

Then I went to bed and had a chill.  And that’s how a whole day was
spent from half-past eight in the morning until half-past twelve at
night.

The next morning I woke up with a very bad sore throat and a stiff neck
and pains all over.  Duggie and Berri made me send for a doctor, and
signed off for me at the office.  I can’t imagine how I caught cold,
unless, perhaps, it was from wearing that wet shirt.



                                  *IX*


I was very sick for about three days, and just sick for three or four
days more.  When Berri signed off for me at the office, the college
doctor bustled around to my room at noon to see what was the matter.
His motives in doing this are somewhat mixed, I believe.  He has not
only the health but the veracity of the undergraduate very much at
heart.  If you are laid up, of course he has to know about it; and if
you are n’t well enough to attend lectures but manage with a heroic
effort to go skating,—well, he likes to know about that too.

"Of course you haven’t measles," Duggie said when he came in a few
minutes after Dr. Tush had gone, "but equally, of course, he said you
had,—did n’t he?"

"Yes, he did," I answered dismally; for he had told me this at
considerable length, and I remembered that measles a good many years
before had almost been the end of me.

"Well, _that_’s a relief," Duggie went on cheerfully.  "You may have all
sorts of things, but it’s a cinch that you have n’t measles.  Tush is a
conservative old soul; he always gambles on measles, and of course every
now and then he wins.  It pleases him immensely.  He usually celebrates
his success by writing a paper on ’The University’s Health,’ and getting
it printed in the Graduates’ Magazine."

When the other doctor—the real one—came, he found that I was threatened
with pneumonia.

Oh, I had a perfectly miserable time of it at first.  The feeling
dreadfully all over and not being able to breathe was bad enough, but I
think the far-away-from-homeness and the worrying about mamma were
worse.  I was afraid all the time that she would hear (although I could
n’t imagine how that would be possible), and then in the middle of the
night I lay awake hoping and praying that she _would_ hear and leave for
Cambridge by the next train.  I don’t suppose I realized just then how
wonderfully good Duggie and Berri and Mrs. Chester were to me.  Duggie
and Berri took turns in sitting up all night and putting flannel soaked
in hot mustard-water on my chest (ugh! how I loathe the smell of
mustard), and when they had to go to lectures during the day,—I think,
as a matter of fact, they cut a great many of them,—Mrs. Chester would
come in and hem endless dish-cloths by the window.  Berri says that he
ceased to worry about me from the time I looked over at Mrs. Chester
after about half an hour’s silence and exclaimed,—

"Sew some more with the crisscross pattern; I ’m tired of those dingy
white ones."

As I began to get better, I appreciated how much trouble I ’d given them
all and tried to thank them; but Berri said,—

"Why, your illness has been a perfect god-send to me.  I ’ve done more
grinding lately between midnight and six in the morning than I ever
thought would be possible.  I ’ve caught up with almost everything."
And Duggie stopped me with,—

"But if it had n’t been Berri and I, it would have been someone
else—which we’re very glad it was n’t."

Old Mrs. Chester is a jewel.  I didn’t pay much attention to her at
first, but was just glad to know she was in the room.  Later, however,
when I began to want to get up and she devoted the whole of her
marvellous art to keeping me amused, I appreciated her. She is
wonderful.  I was going to assert that she inspires the kind of
affection one can’t help feeling for a person who is all heart and no
intelligence; but that, somehow, misses the mark.  She has
intelligence—lots of it—only it’s different.  And before my recovery was
complete I began to wonder if it wasn’t the only kind that is, after
all, worth while. For it’s the kind with which books and newspapers and
"going a journey" and other mechanical aids have nothing to do.
(Perhaps I should concede something to the influence of foreign travel,
as there was a very memorable expedition "to Goshen in New York State"
some time in the early sixties.)  Mrs. Chester’s intelligence gushes
undefiled from the rock, and then flows along in a limpid, ungrammatical
stream that soothes at first and then enslaves.  Her gift for narrative
of the detailed, photographic, New England variety positively
out-Wilkins Mary, and I am to-day, perhaps, the greatest living male
authority on what Berri calls _la cronique scandaleuse_ of Cambridge.
One of her studies in the life of the town forty years ago (it was a
sort of epic trilogy that lasted all morning and afternoon and part of
the evening with intermissions for luncheon and dinner) I mean to write
some time for the Advocate.  It all leads up to the New Year’s Eve on
which "old Mrs. Burlap passed away," but it includes several new and
startling theories as to the real cause of the Civil War, an impartial
account of the war itself, a magnificent tribute to the late General
Butler, a description of Mrs. Chester’s wedding,—the gifts and floral
tributes displayed on that occasion together with a dreamy surmise as to
their probable cost,—a brief history of religion from the point of view
of one who is at times assailed by doubt,—but who doesn’t make a
practice of "rushin’ around town tellin’ folks who’d only be too glad to
have it to say" (this last I assumed to be a thrust at Mis’ Buckson),—a
spirited word picture of the festivities that took place when Cambridge
celebrated its fiftieth anniversary as a city, and at the end a
brilliant comparison between Cambridge and "Goshen in New York State."
There was, I believe, some mention of the passing away of old Mrs.
Burlap on New Year’s Eve, but of this I am not sure.

One thing I discovered that rather astonished me in this part of the
world (a locality that Berri in one of his themes called "a cold hot-bed
of erudition"), and that is—Mrs. Chester doesn’t know how to read.  I
never would have found it out but for an embarrassing little
miscalculation on her part, in the method by which until then she had
delightfully concealed the fact.  More than once while I was sick, she
sat by the lamp apparently enjoying the evening paper that Duggie
subscribes to, and I had n’t the slightest suspicion that she was
probably holding it upside down, even when I would ask her what the news
was and she would reply,—

"Oh, shaw—these papers!  They ’re every one of ’em alike.  They don’t
seem to be any news to ’em.  I don’t see why you young gentlemen waste
your good money a-buyin’ ’em."

Often on the way upstairs she takes the letters that the postman leaves
between the banisters in the little hall below, and manages to
distribute them with more or less accuracy.

"I ’ve got somethin’ for you, and it ’s from your mother too, you
naughty little man, you," is her usual way of handing me a communication
from mamma.  I did n’t realise until the other day that, as mamma’s
letters always came in the same kind of gray-blue envelopes, it doesn’t
take a chirographic expert to tell whom they are from.  Nor did I recall
that, when Mrs. Chester appears with a whole handful of things, she
invariably stops short in the middle of the room and artlessly
exclaims,—

"Well, now, if that does n’t beat all! Here I ’ve climbed up them steep
stairs again and forgotten my specs.  Who ’s gettin’ all these letters
anyhow?"

A few mornings ago, however,—when they let me sit up for the first
time,—Mrs. Chester appeared with two letters.  One of them was
unmistakably gray-blue, but the other was white and oblong and
non-committal.  She paused at the door as if about to examine the
address, and then suddenly,—

"If I ain’t the most careless woman in the world," she said.  "I ’ve
gone and brought up the letters again, and forgotten—"  But just at this
point we both became aware that her steel-rimmed spectacles were
dangling in her other hand.  They not only dangled, but they seemed to
me a moment later to dangle almost spitefully; for Mrs. Chester’s worn
cheeks became very pink.  She looked at the spectacles and at the white
envelope and at me.  Then she said with a sort of wistful lightness,—

"Maybe you can make it out; your eyes are younger than mine.  I never
seen such a letter; it’s so—so—it’s so flung together like."

"It is—isn’t it?" I agreed hastily, as I stretched out my hand, to
receive a letter from papa with the address in type-writing.

Just as I thought would happen, mamma heard I was sick and was, of
course, very much worried.  Dick Benton—who has never come near me, and
whom I ’ve only seen twice on the street since College opened—mentioned
the fact of my illness in a letter home. (I suppose he did it in a
despairing effort to make his sentences reach the middle of page two.)
Of course Mrs. Benton had to throw a shawl around her meddling old back
and waddle across the street to our house, to find out the latest news;
and as there had n’t been any news, mamma’s letter to me expressed a
"state of mind."  But I fixed her (and incidentally Dick Benton) with a
telegram.

By the way, I really must speak to mamma about her recent letters to me.
Mildred has been away from home, and as mamma writes very regularly to
both of us, she often refers to things she remembers having written to
somebody, but without pausing to consider how maddening they are when
the somebody doesn’t happen to be myself.  From her last, for instance,
I gleaned these interesting items without having the vaguest idea what
they belong to:—

"Your father and I have just got back from the funeral.  I suppose, when
one arrives at such a great age, death is a relief.  But it is always
solemn.

"Is n’t it nice about the Tilestons?  I don’t know when—in a purely
impersonal way—I ’ve been so pleased.  They ’ve struggled so long and so
bravely and now it seems as if their ship had come in at last.  Of
course, I should n’t care to spend so much time in South America myself,
(Guatemala _is_ in South America, is n’t it?) but they all seem
delighted at the prospect."

Now would n’t that jar you?

My acquaintances generally found out that I was sick about the time that
Duggie and Berri and Mrs. Chester discharged me, so to speak, as well.
I could n’t go out, and the doctor made me stay in bed longer than was
really necessary, as the bottom of the furnace fell to pieces one
morning and it was impossible to heat the house for several days.  But I
felt pretty well.  By that time, as I say, there was all at once a
ripple of interest among my friends over the fact that I was sick.  They
were awfully kind, and came to my room from early in the morning—right
after breakfast—until late at night, when they would drop in on their
way back from the theatre.  My desk was a perfect news-stand of
illustrated magazines and funny papers, and I had left in my book-case,
probably, the queerest collection of novels that was ever assembled
outside of a city hospital.  Duggie had a fit over them, and as he read
out the titles one evening, he kept exclaiming, "What, oh, what are the
children coming to!"  The only volume that was n’t fiction was a thing
called "The Statesman’s Year Book," and was brought by a queer sort of
chap who is very much interested in sociology.  I know him pretty well;
so after I thanked him, I could n’t help saying,—

"What on earth did you lug this thing up here for?—it looks like an
almanac."  To which he replied,—

"Well, it’s darned interesting, I can tell you.  Until I got it I never
knew, for instance, how many quarts of alcohol per head were consumed
annually in Finland."

Although Duggie did n’t say anything, I don’t think he was particularly
pleased at the fellows dropping in so often and staying so long.  They
played cards a lot, and smoked all the time until you could hardly see
across the room; and sometimes when night came I felt rather tired and
my eyes and throat hurt a good deal.  But I confess I liked it, even if
Duggie and Mrs. Chester did n’t.

Only one change of any importance took place while I was laid up:
Berri’s Icelandic dog—Saga—has been removed from our midst.  I was aware
that an unusual spirit of peace and order reigned in the house as soon
as I began to be about once more, but I attributed it vaguely to the
chastening influence of my illness.  However, one morning, when on my
way to a lecture I remembered that I had noticed my best hat lying on a
chair in my study as I came away, and ran back to save it from being
eaten, it occurred to me that I had n’t seen Saga for days.  So, while
Berri and I were strolling home from luncheon, I asked him what had
happened.

"He ’s gone—gone, poor old darling!" said Berri; "I hate to speak of
it."

"He was n’t stolen or run over or anything, was he?" I asked
sympathetically; for now that Saga was no longer an hourly source of
anxiety and conflict, I felt reasonably safe in expressing some regret.
"Did he run away?"

"No, he did n’t leave me," Berri answered sadly; "I gave him up.  You
see—I found out that there is a law against bringing them into the
State; they always go mad as soon as the warm weather comes.  So I gave
him to one of the little Cabot girls on her birthday.  She was awfully
pleased."

I am rather worried over something that I got into lately without
stopping to think how much it might involve.  Berri and that tall spook,
named Ranny, that he met at Fleetwood’s Wednesday Evening, struck up
quite an intimacy not long ago, although I can’t for the life of me see
how they managed it.  He isn’t a Freshman, as we thought, but a
Sophomore.  Berri was waiting in a bookstore in town one day to go to a
matinée with a fellow who did n’t turn up; and while he was standing
there, Ranny came in and began to drive the clerks insane over some
Greek and Sanscrit books he had ordered weeks before and that no one had
ever heard of.  Berri looked on for a while, and, as his friend did n’t
come and it was getting late and he—Berri—did n’t like to waste the
extra ticket, he invited Ranny to go with him.  Well, they not only went
to the matinée, they dined in town together and went again to another
show in the evening.  Between the acts Ranny explained to him just
wherein the wit of "The Girl from Oskosh" differed from the comedies of
Aristophanes, and Berri says that before they parted he had learned all
about the Greek drama from A to Izzard.  Since then Ranny has been to
our house several times, and although Berri likes him, he usually finds
after about an hour that he isn’t equal to the intellectual strain; so
he lures Ranny into my room and then gracefully fades away.

Now I like Ranny too.  He has, in his ponderous, bespectacled way, an
enthusiasm for several bespectacled, ponderous subjects that is simply
irresistible.  One of them is Egyptology and the study of hieroglyphics.
Of course I don’t know anything about this, any more than Berri knew
about the Greek drama,—not as much even; for he did, at least, pretend
to play a pagan instrument of some kind in a play they gave at school
once, while a Frenchman behind the scenes toodled away on a flute.  But
when Ranny gets to talking about dynasties and cartouches and draws
fascinating little pictures of gods and goddesses named Ma and Pa, and
explains how the whole business was deciphered by means of a piece of
stone somebody picked up in the mud one day,—a regular old Sherlock
Holmes, he must have been,—you simply can’t help being carried away and
wishing you could discover something on your own account.  He talked so
much about it and made it all seem so real and important that one day
when he exclaimed,—

"And the mystery is that the University ignores this subject—ignores
it!"  I really felt that the Faculty was treating us rather shabbily and
that we were n’t, somehow, getting our money’s worth.  We talked the
matter over very seriously, and decided at last that it could n’t be
stinginess on the part of the Corporation,—for why should it allow
courses in higher mathematics and philosophy and Italian literature, to
which only three or four fellows went, if it wanted to save the pennies?
It was more likely just ignorance of the importance of hieroglyphics,
and the growing demand for a thorough course of it.

"We probably could get a course all right if we showed them how some of
us feel about it," Ranny mused.  "There’s a chap in Latin 47 who’d join,
I think—you’ve seen that middle-aged man with the long sandy beard, have
n’t you?  He tries almost everything."

The person Ranny referred to did n’t seem very promising to me.  We
sleep next each other in a history course.  He never wears a necktie,
and the last time I saw him there were a lot of dead maple leaves
tangled up in his beard.  No one seems to know why he is here.

"Well, that makes three right away," Ranny declared enthusiastically.
"Perhaps Berrisford will join; but even if he does n’t three ’s enough."

The very next morning after this Ranny appeared to say he was going to
consult Professor Pallas about the new course, and wanted me to go along
and put in a word now and then.  This seemed a little sudden to me, and
I said that perhaps I ought to consult my adviser before taking up a new
study, as I had n’t done particularly well in the old ones.  However,
Ranny said that my adviser ought to be thankful at my showing so much
interest and public spirit.  So we went over to Professor Pallas’s
little private room in Sever.  He was very glad to see us, and when
Ranny began to explain the subject of our coming, his old eyes just
glittered.  He kept smiling to himself and nodding his head in assent,
and once, when Ranny paused for breath, he brought his fist down on the
table, exclaiming,

"I predicted this—predicted it."  Then he thrust his hands in his
pockets and paced excitedly up and down the room.  Ranny was of course
tremendously encouraged, and I was somewhat horrified a moment later, to
have him turn toward me and with a wave of his hand declare,—

"My friend, Mr. Wood, feels this weakness in the curriculum more,
perhaps, than any of us; for long before he entered college with the
purpose of specialising in the subject, he surrounded himself with a
collection of Egyptian antiquities that far excels anything of the kind
on this side of the British Museum."  (He was referring in his intense
way to a handful of imitation scarabs and a dissipated-looking old
mummified parrot that Uncle Peter brought home from his trip up the
Nile. I had indiscreetly mentioned them one afternoon.)  "We are sure of
four earnest workers, and there are, no doubt, many more."

Now the thing that worries me about all this is that Professor Pallas
seemed so gratified and eager to help the cause.  His attitude toward us
was that of a scholar among scholars,—deep calling unto deep.  He said
that he would love to conduct a course in hieroglyphics himself, but
feared he was n’t competent, as he had merely taken up the subject as a
kind of recreation at odd moments during the last six or eight years.
He could n’t recall any one in the United States who was competent, in
fact, but he knew of a splendid authority in Germany,—just the man for
the place,—and he would speak to the President about him at the next
Faculty meeting.  Ranny and I thanked him profusely, and that at present
is where the matter stands.  I wake up in the night sometimes,
positively cold at the thought of having added hieroglyphics to my other
worries.  Think of a course for which you could n’t buy typewritten
notes,—a course the very lectures of which would be in German,—a course
so terrible that no one in the United States would dare undertake to
tutor you in it when you got stuck.

The Christmas holidays are almost here, but it has not been decided yet
whether or not I am to spend them at home.  Mildred is still gadding
about, and papa may have to go to New York on business.  If he does,
mamma will, no doubt, go with him, and I’ll join them there, and we’ll
all have thin slabs of Christmas turkey surrounded by bird bath-tubs at
a hotel.  Berri has invited me to spend the vacation with him (his
mother is living in Washington this winter), but as he remarks dolefully
every now and then that he has to stay in Cambridge to write a thesis
that is due immediately after the holidays, I don’t see how he means to
manage.  He’s been putting off that thesis from day to day until I don’t
see how he can possibly do all the reading and writing and note-taking
it necessitates. I ’ve tried to get him started once or twice, but he
has merely groaned and said,—

"You ’re a nice one to preach industry, are n’t you?"  So I’ve given up.
Well, it’s none of my business if he gets fired from the course.



                                  *X*


I might have spared myself my anxiety in regard to the course in
hieroglyphics. My adviser overtook me in the yard a day or so after our
interview with Professor Pallas, and after walking along with me for a
while he said,—

"Well, Wood, I ’m glad to see you looking about as usual; I had almost
come to the conclusion that you ’d gone stark mad."  I asked him what he
meant, and it seems that old Pallas had made a speech at a Faculty
meeting in which he declared that the deep and ever-growing interest
throughout the undergraduate body in the subject of Egyptology had
reached a climax that demanded a course of some kind.  He was very
eloquent, and caused a good deal of mild excitement.  Then some one got
up and asked who were concerned in the movement, and Pallas, after
fumbling in his side pocket, finally produced a memorandum and said,—

"The names of those imbued with a spirit for serious archaeological
research are many, but I think that the youth who by his zeal in
collecting and preserving valuable antiquities has done more than any
one else to further this study among his fellows is Mr. Thomas Wood, of
the class of ——"  But the poor old man did n’t get any further, my
adviser says, for everybody in the room began to roar and the meeting
broke up in confusion. Well, that ’s off my mind, anyhow; although I
don’t see why they should have taken it the way they did.  There ’s
nothing so very extraordinary in acquiring a love for study when that’s
what you ’re supposed to come here for.

Berri and I discovered the most fascinating little place the other
evening.  We had been in town all afternoon on the trail of an express
package of Berri’s that had been lost for days, and were running along
Tremont Street on the way to the Cambridge car, when Berri suddenly
stopped in front of a sort of alley and clutched me.  From the other end
came the sound of music,—a harp, a flute, and a violin playing one of
those Neapolitan yayayama songs that always, somehow, make you feel as
if you ’d been abroad, even when you ’ve never been nearer Naples than
waving good-by to your sister from a North German Lloyd dock in Hoboken.

"Let ’s go see what it is," Berri said.  So we skipped to the other end
of the alley, and found a brightly lighted little restaurant with the
music wailing away in the vestibule.  We stood listening for a time and
watching the people who went in.  They all stopped to peer through a
glass door, and then after a moment of indecision passed on—up a flight
of steep stairs.  Berri, of course, could n’t be satisfied until he had
solved the mystery of the glass door, and it was n’t long before we were
doing just as every one else did.  We saw a long, narrow room with three
rows of little tables reaching from end to end.  The walls were covered
with gay frescos of some kind (I could n’t make them out, the tobacco
smoke was so thick); foreign-looking waiters were tearing in and out
among the tables; flower girls were wandering up and down with
great-armfuls of roses and carnations for sale, and everybody was
laughing and gesticulating and having such a good time, apparently,—the
music was so shrill and the clatter of dishes so incessant,—that Berri
and I turned and gazed at each other, as much as to say, "After all
these years we ’ve found it at last."  But a moment later we realized
why the people we had seen go in had, after a glance, turned away and
climbed the stairs; all the tables were occupied.  I think we must have
looked as dissatisfied as the others, for we felt that nothing upstairs
could equal the scene we had just discovered.  And we were right.  The
upper rooms were comparatively empty and quiet and rather dreary.  So we
came down again and were about to take a farewell look and start for
home, when Berri, with his nose flattened against the glass, suddenly
exclaimed, "Saved!  Saved!" and pushing open the door, made his way
across the room.  Who should be there but Mr. Fleetwood, dining alone at
a table in the corner?  Berri, after shaking hands with him, beckoned to
me, and in a moment we had both seated ourselves at Fleetwood’s table.

"This is almost as nice as if we ’d really been invited, isn’t it?" said
Berri, in his easy way.  "You know we were just on the point of giving
up and going home."

"Why didn’t you go upstairs?" Fleetwood inquired.  (He pretended all
through dinner that we had spoiled his evening.)  "It is n’t too late
even now," he suggested; "it’s much nicer up there; there ’s more air."

"There’s plenty of air, but no atmosphere," Berri answered.  "This is
what we enjoy," he added with a wave of his hand.

"I ’m glad you like my Bohemia," Fleetwood quavered.

"Oh, Bohemia’s all right," replied Berri. "Bohemia would be perfect—if
it weren’t for the Bohemians."

"What are ’Bohemians’?" I asked, for I ’d often heard people called that
without understanding just what it meant.

"Bohemians?" Berri repeated.  "Why, Bohemians are perfectly horrid
things who exist exclusively on Welsh rabbits and use the word
’conventional’ as a term of reproach.  My aunt knows hundreds of them."

"I wrote a paper once on ’What is a Bohemian?’" Fleetwood put in.  "If
you would really like to know—but of course you would n’t," he broke off
sadly; "no one does any more.  You clever boys know everything before
you come."

"Oh, Mr. Fleetwood, please let us read your paper," we both begged him
enthusiastically. I think he was a little flattered, for we would n’t
allow him to talk about anything else until he had promised to tell me
where I could find his article.  Berri, however, he refused absolutely,
and made me promise, in turn, not to let him know where to look for it
and never to quote from it in Berri’s presence.

"I know him," he muttered dolefully; "I know these memories that ’turn
again and rend you;’ I ’m an old man; ’_Ich habe gelebt_’ and
ge-suffered."

Well, we had a most delightful dinner. Fleetwood, when he saw that he
was n’t going to get rid of us, cheered up and made himself very
agreeable.  He can be charming when he wants to be.  He and Berri did
most of the talking, although his remarks, as a rule, were addressed to
me.  The fact is, he likes me because I ’m sympathetic and a good
listener, but Berri he finds vastly more interesting.  Berri has
travelled such a lot, and, besides, he has the knack (I haven’t it at
all) of being able to discuss things of which he knows nothing in a way
that commands not only attention but respect.  For instance, they got
into a perfectly absorbing squabble over the novelist Henry James, in
which Fleetwood deplored and Berri defended what Fleetwood called his
"later manner."  Fleetwood ended up with,—

"I ’ve read everything he ’s ever done—some of them many times over—and
I wrote a paper on him for Lesper’s not long ago; but I could n’t,
conscientiously, come to any other conclusion."  To which Berri replied,
as he smiled indulgently to himself and broke a bit of bread with his
slim brown fingers,—

"I often wonder if you people over here who write things about Harry
James from time to time, really comprehend the man at all—notice that I
say ’James the man,’ not ’James the writer.’  ’_Le style c’est
l’homme_,’ you know; is n’t it Bossuet who tells us that?"

"No, it is n’t," said Fleetwood, rather peevishly; "it’s Buffon—and he
probably stole it from the Latin, ’_Stylus virum arguit_.’"  Fleetwood,
of course, knows what he ’s talking about.  But, nevertheless, I could
see that Berri’s general air of being foreign and detached and knowing
James from the inside—or rather from the other side—impressed him; and
as for me, I was simply paralyzed. For I could have testified under oath
that Berri had never read a word of Henry James’ in his life, and that
he ’d never laid eyes on the man.  I spoke to him about it afterward and
asked him how he dared to do such things.

"Have you ever read anything by James—have you ever seen ’Harry James
the man,’ as you called him?" I inquired.

"No; of course not," Berri answered. "What difference does it make?"

"But you went on as if you knew more about him than even Fleetwood; and
I think that toward the end Fleetwood almost thought you did himself."

"Oh—that," Berri shrugged, after trying to recall the conversation.
"That was merely what an old frump of a woman said at my aunt’s one day
when I dropped in for luncheon. She and Aunt Josephine gabbled and
gabbled, and never paid the slightest attention to me, and although they
were both unusually tiresome, I suppose I could n’t avoid remembering
some of the things they said.  But it would have been impossible for me
to dwell any longer on that particular topic with Fleetwood, even if my
life had depended on it, because that day at luncheon, just as my aunt’s
friend got started on ’James the man,’ I happened to glance up and
notice that she was wearing an entirely different kind of wig from the
ratty old thing she ’d flourished in before she went abroad.  She had
brought back a new one that was—why, it was an architectural marvel; it
looked like the dome of a mosque, and covered her whole head, from
eyebrows to neck, with little cut-out places for her ears to peek
through.  It hypnotized me all through luncheon, and I never heard a
word about ’James the man,’—so of course when I got that far with
Fleetwood I had to change the subject.  Don’t you remember that we began
to discuss Bernhardt’s conception of Hamlet rather abruptly?  I ’ll
never trust that old woman again—after making the mistake about Buffon.
Why, she’s positively illiterate!"

Fleetwood told me a lot about Mazuret’s—that ’s the name of the
restaurant—which made me glad that we had come across it
accidentally,—found it out for ourselves.  It’s very famous.  All sorts
of people—writers and painters and actors and exiled noblemen—used to
make a kind of headquarters of it and dine there whenever they happened
to be in town.  Fleetwood has been going there for years, and always
sits at the same table. (That’s the proper thing to do; you must have a
favorite table, and when you come in and find it occupied, you must
scowl and shrug and complain to the waiters in a loud voice that the
place is going to the dogs. Then everybody in the room takes it for
granted that you ’re a writer or a painter, an actor or an exiled
nobleman, and looks interested and sympathetic.  We saw several
performances of this kind.)  But the place, of course, "isn’t what it
used to be."  I’m seven or eight years too late, as usual.  Some of the
poets have become very successful—which means, Fleetwood says, that they
’re doing newspaper work in New York; some of the painters and actors
are beyond the reach of criticism—which means that they ’re dead; and
some of the noblemen are confident that their respective governments are
about to recall them to posts of responsibility and honor—which means
that they are in jail.

It was more entertaining, Fleetwood says, in the days of Leontine,—the
shrewd, vivacious, businesslike Frenchwoman who, when Monsieur Mazuret
became too ill, and Madame too old, used to make change and scold the
waiters and say good evening to you, and whose red-striped gingham
shirt-waists fitted her like models from Paquin.  It was Leontine who
brought back the wonderful wall-paper from Paris (through the glass door
it looked like a painting) that represents a hunting scene, with willowy
ladies in preposterous pink velvet riding-habits and waving plumes, and
gentlemen blowing tasselled horns, and hounds and stags—all plunging
through a perfectly impenetrable forest, whose improbable luxuriance
Berri brilliantly accounted for by saying that it was evidently "Paris
green."

"Attend now—I tell you something," Leontine used to say confidentially
when the evening was drawing to a close, and but one or two stragglers
were left in the dining-room.

"These peoples—they stay so long sometimes; I tell to them that they
must go.  But _non_—they will not go; and they stay, and they stay, and
they stay.  And all at once the—what you call?—the _chasse_—she begin to
move!  The horses—he gallop; the ladies—she scream of laughing; the
gentlemen—he make toot, toot, toot, tooooo!  The dogs—Ah-h h-h!
The—the—_cet animal-là_—the deer?—the deer—Ah-h-h-h!"  Carried away by
these midnight memories, Leontine would become a galloping horse, a
screaming lady, a master of hounds, a savage pack, and a terrified
monarch of the glen—all at once. Then, overpowered by the weird horror
of it, she would cover her face with her apron and run coquettishly as
if for protection to another table.

There was another tale—the description of a thunderstorm—a regular
cloud-burst, it must have been—that, one afternoon, overtook Madame and
Leontine in the Place de la Madeleine, Leontine personifying the truly
Gallic elements—the lightning (reels backward—eyes covered with
hands)—the thunder (fingers in ears—eyes rolling—mouth open and emitting
groans)—the rain hissing back from the asphalt in a million silver
bubbles (skirts lifted—tip-toes—mon dieus—shrieks—hasty exit to
kitchen)—Leontine bringing this incoherent scene vividly before one, was
worth one’s eating a worse dinner, Fleetwood says, than the dinner at
Mazuret’s. But Monsieur is dead, and Madame just dried up and blew away,
and Leontine is married, and—although I don’t know when I ’ve enjoyed a
dinner so much—"the place isn’t what it used to be."

While Fleetwood was telling me all this, I noticed that Berri called one
of the waiters and spoke to him in French.  I don’t know what he said,
as he talked very fast—and anyhow it did n’t sound much like the kind of
French I ’ve been used to.  The waiter disappeared, and in half an hour
or so a messenger boy came in and gave Berri a little envelope which he
put in his pocket without saying anything.  Then, when we had finished
dinner and were just about to push away from the table, Berri
exclaimed,—

"Now we ’ll all go to the theatre."

"My dear young man, if you could see the work I have to do this night,"
Fleetwood protested with a gesture that seemed to express mountains of
uncorrected themes, "you would realize, for once in your life, what work
really is."

"But I have the tickets," Berri explained; and he brought forth the
little envelope that the messenger boy had given him.

"No—no—no!" Fleetwood answered decidedly, and started for the door.  But
Berri detained him.

"By inflicting our company on you we ’ve spoiled the evening for you, I
know; but you won’t spoil it for me by depriving us of yours," he begged
in his engaging way.

"’Sweet invocation of a child: most pretty and pathetical,’" Fleetwood
laughed, and backed into the vestibule.  We followed and surrounded him,
so to speak, each taking hold of an arm.  Then we all walked through the
alley toward Tremont Street, Fleetwood quavering apprehensively from
time to time, "Now you ’ll take me to my car and then bid me adieu, like
two good boys, won’t you?" while we agreed to everything he said and
clung to him like sheriffs.  Berri was giggling hysterically, but
although I thought the situation rather amusing, I did n’t see anything
so terribly funny about it until we got to the parting of the ways and
Fleetwood stopped. Then I noticed that, in addition to the three great
red roses that Berri had bought for our button-holes, Fleetwood had a
fourth one, with a long, flexible stem, growing apparently out of the
top of his head.  He was so unconscious of the absurd, lanky thing
nodding solemnly over him whenever he spoke, that when he held out his
hand, exclaiming tremulously,—

"’And so,’ in the words of Jessica, ’Farewell; I will not have my father
see me talk with thee,’" and the rose emphasized every word as if it
were imitating him, I gave an uncontrollable whoop, and Berri doubled up
on a near-by doorstep.

"I only would that my father were alive at the present moment to see me
talking with thee," Berri gasped.  "I don’t know anything he would have
enjoyed more."

Fleetwood looked hurt and mystified and vaguely suspicious, and he stood
there merely long enough to say,—

"’You break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked,
hurt not.’"  Then, as Berri was still sitting on the doorstep and I was
leaning against the wall, he made a sudden dash for the other side of
the street.  We caught him, of course, grasped his arms once more, and
walked him off to the theatre, pretending all the time that we did n’t
notice his struggles and how furious he was at having to go with us.
Berri kept up an incessant stream of conversation, saying things that,
to an outsider, would have given the impression that the theatre-party
was Fleetwood’s, and that we were the ones who were being dragged
reluctantly away from the Cambridge car.  Just before we got to the
theatre the solemn rose in Fleetwood’s hat toppled over and dangled
against his face. This also we pretended not to see, and as we had him
firmly by the arms, he was unable to reach up and throw it away; so we
made a spectacular entrance through the brightly lighted doorway, with
Fleetwood ineffectually blowing at the rose and shaking his head like an
angry bull.  A party of four or five fellows—students—who had been
unable to get tickets were turning away from the box-office as we
appeared, and they naturally stopped to look at us.

This was in the nature of a last straw, for Fleetwood almost tearfully
broke out with,—

"You dreadful, dreadful boys, my reputation is ruined; they ’ll think I
’ve been drinking."  Even Berri began to see that we had gone somewhat
far, for he plucked the rose from Fleetwood’s cheek, exclaiming,—

"Good gracious, man! where did you get this?  You must n’t go to the
theatre looking that way.  Just because Bernhardt plays Hamlet is no
reason why you should undertake to do Ophelia;" and then he threw it on
the floor.  Fleetwood rolled his eyes hopelessly.

Well, we never got home until almost four in the morning.  A man whose
seat was behind ours at the play tapped Fleetwood on the shoulder as
soon as we had sat down, and after a whispered conversation he got up
and went away.  Then Fleetwood told us the man was a dramatic critic—an
acquaintance of his—who had been sent to write up the play for a morning
paper, but that, as he did n’t understand French and was n’t much of a
Shakespearian scholar and wanted to go to a progressive peanut party in
West Roxbury anyhow, he had asked Fleetwood to do the thing for him.
Fleetwood used to be on a paper himself, and was delighted to renew old
times.

So all during the performance he made notes on the margin of his program
and chuckled to himself.  The occupation, I think, diverted his mind
from Berri and me and helped him to forgive us.

Afterward we went to Newspaper Row and waited for hours in a bare,
rather dirty little room while Fleetwood, standing at a high desk under
an electric light in the corner, wrote his review.  He spent much more
time in groaning, "My facility is gone—my hand has lost its cunning,"
than in actual writing.  By the time he was ready to leave we were all
famished; so before catching the owl car from Bowdoin Square we stopped
at an all-night restaurant that Fleetwood used to patronize when he was
a reporter, and had buckwheat cakes and maple syrup.  I ’ve never tasted
anything so good.

The Cambridge car was interesting, but fearful.  It was jammed with
people, and I wondered where so many could have come from that hour of
the morning.  They could n’t all have been dramatic critics.  The
majority of those who got seats went sound asleep, and as the conductor
could n’t very well wake them up at every street, he found out
beforehand where they wanted to get off, and then hung little tags on
their coats that told their destination.

When we were saying good-by to Fleetwood in the Square, Berri laughed
and asked,—

"Have you decided yet what you ’re going to do to me, Mr. Fleetwood?  I
know you would like to give me E on my thesis, but I don’t think I
deserve quite that."  Instead of answering him, however, Mr. Fleetwood
ran away, exclaiming,—

"Don’t talk shop,—don’t talk shop; good-night,—good-night!"

Berri has begun to get awfully scared about the thesis,—not that he’s
afraid that Fleetwood will give it a low mark, but because it does n’t
look at present as if there would be anything to mark at all.  I found
him in his room the other day with a pile of books and a scratch-block
on his table.  But he had n’t taken a note, and his attitude was one of
utter despair.  Of course he can’t possibly write it unless he stays
here during the holidays, for they begin day after to-morrow.



                                  *XI*


I don’t think I ’ve had a pen in my hand, except when I wrote a note to
Berri, for more than two weeks.  In the first place I left in such a
hurry to meet the family in New York that, among the various things I
forgot to pack at the last minute, my diary was one.  (Even if I had
taken it, I probably shouldn’t have found time to record all we did.)
Then, as I was with mamma and papa and Mildred during the entire
vacation, there was no necessity for writing letters.

I did n’t go to Washington with Berri for two reasons.  The family
naturally wanted me to spend the holidays with them, and I could n’t
help feeling that, if I refused Berri’s kind invitation, he would be
much more likely to stay, part of the time at least, in Cambridge and
write his thesis.  In a way I was right; for when I told him I simply
could n’t go with him, he said sort of listlessly,—

"Well, then I suppose I ought to stay here and finish that thing,
oughtn’t I?" which was an optimistic way of letting me know that it had
n’t even been begun.  I did n’t know what to answer exactly, because if
I ’d agreed with him he would have thought me unsympathetic and looked
hurt, and if I had advised him to let the whole matter slide, and forget
about it, and have a good time (which was, of course, what he wanted me
to do), I felt sure that he would eventually blame me for giving him bad
advice.  That’s Berri all over.  So I merely remarked, "You ’ll have to
be the judge; it ’s too serious a matter for any one else to meddle
with," and felt like a nasty little prig as I said it.  He was restless
and gloomy after that, and took a long walk all alone, during which I ’m
convinced that he very nearly made up his mind to stay in Cambridge and
slave.  I say very nearly, because he didn’t bring himself quite to the
point of telling anybody about it.  But the next afternoon (college
closed with the last lecture of that day), when I turned into our street
on the way to my room, there was a cab with a steamer trunk on it
standing in front of our house; and as I opened the front door, Berri
and a dress-suit case clattered down the stairs.  He stopped just long
enough to shake hands and exclaim, "Good-by, Granny—have a good time—I
left a note for you on your desk.  The train goes in less than an hour."
Then he rushed out of the gate and jumped into the cab, slamming the
door after him with that sharp, thrilling "Now they’re off" clack that
cabs, and cabs only, possess.  That was the last I saw of him.

New York was a pleasing delirium of theatres and operas and automobile
rides up and down Fifth Avenue, with just enough rows between Mildred
and me, and papa and me and Mildred and mamma (the other possible
combinations never scrap), to make us realize that the family tie was
the same dear old family tie and had n’t been in any way severed by my
long absence.  It took us three days to persuade mamma to ride in an
automobile,—a triumph that we all lived bitterly to repent; for she ever
afterwards refused to be transported from place to place by any other
means,—which was not only inconvenient, but ruinous.  She justified her
extravagance by declaring that in an emergency she preferred to be the
smasher to the smashed.  I met lots of fellows I knew on the street, and
some of them took me home with them to luncheon or to that curious
five-o’clock-sit-around-and-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-the-cup meal they
call "tea."  Meeting their families was very nice, and I felt as if I
knew the fellows ever so much better than I did in Cambridge.

One incident might have ended in a tragedy if I hadn’t happened to
preserve a certain letter of mamma’s.  ("Never write anything and never
burn anything—isn’t it Talleyrand who tells us that?" as the friend of
Berri’s aunt would say.)  It was the real reason of our spending the
last two days of the vacation in Boston, and came about in the following
way.

One day at luncheon (we were going to a matinée afterwards) I glanced at
my watch to see how late we were, and mamma noticed, for the first time,
that I was carrying a cheap nickel-plated alarm-clock sort of an affair
instead of the gold-faced heirloom that has been reposing for lo! these
many weeks in Mr. Hirsch’s pawn-shop.  Since our meeting she hadn’t
referred to this painful subject, and as I had become used to the dollar
watch on the end of my chain, it never occurred to me to say anything
about it.  That day she looked at the watch and then at me, and finally
she murmured, "Why, Tommy!" with the expression of one who seems to see
the foundations of Truth, Respectability, and Honor crumbling to dust;
and she finished her luncheon in silence, breathing in a resigned kind
of way and studying the table-cloth with eyes like smitten forget-me
nots.  On the way upstairs I lagged behind, and Mildred said to me,—

"Mamma has on her early-Christian-martyr look.  What on earth’s the
matter now?"  But I was unable to enlighten her.  Mamma had known from
the first that the watch had been pawned; I could n’t imagine why she
was so upset.

All was explained, however, when I went to her room.  Some time ago she
had sent me a draft for thirty dollars.  It came in a cheerful letter
(no letter containing a draft for thirty dollars is sad) about nothing
in particular.  I remembered that at the time the postscript had puzzled
me, for it said, "Of course I have told your father nothing about this,"
and there was no clew in the body of the letter to what "this" referred.
The draft wasn’t mentioned.  It seems that mamma was under the
impression she had written me several pages on the evils of
extravagance, the horrors of debt, and the general desirability of
redeeming one’s watch as soon as possible,—which she hadn’t at all. Not
being a mind-reader, I assumed that her draft was a spontaneous outburst
of maternal esteem, had it cashed with a loving grateful heart, and
spent the money in three days. Therefore, when she caught sight of my
tin timepiece (it keeps much better time, by the way, than the heirloom
ever did), she had distressing visions of me indulging in a perfect
carnival of embezzlement, and finally ending up with shorn locks,
striped clothes, and a chain on my leg.

I never realized before that the human brain is perfectly capable, under
certain circumstances, of harboring two distinct beliefs at the same
time,—the truth of either one of which necessarily excludes the other.
(There is probably a more technical way of stating this, but I haven’t
got that far in my philosophy course as yet.)  Now, when I solemnly
declared to mamma that she had never mentioned her check in connection
with my watch or anything else in fact, I am sure she believed me.  She
said she believed me, and seemed greatly relieved.  But, on the other
hand, although she knew I was telling the truth, and rejoiced in the
fact, I am certain that she was unable at the same time to abandon her
equally strong conviction that she had written and sent precisely the
letter she had intended to.  I don’t pretend to explain this mental
phenomenon, and I discreetly refrained from discussing it with mamma,
for in the midst of our talk I began to have a dim, delicious suspicion
that her letter was at that moment reposing in my inside pocket.  (When
I am away from home, I always carry several plainly addressed letters in
order that there may be as little trouble as possible in case anything
should happen to me.  I remembered having put the letter with the
postscript into my coat-pocket instead of my desk, as I wished to refer
to it when I next wrote home.)  So, when mamma finally said, "Well, I
believe you," and then added with an air of abstraction, "But I wish you
had saved that letter," I thrust my hand into my pocket, glanced at
several envelopes, and exclaimed dramatically as I showed her one of
them,—

"Madam, your most idle whim is my inexorable law."  Then we all went to
the matinée.

But that wasn’t the end of the watch. Mamma made me give her the
pawn-ticket, and insisted on going home by way of Boston for the purpose
of redeeming it herself. The reason of this change in the family plans
was not explained to Mildred and papa; but they were docile, and seemed
to think it would be very nice to see my rooms before leaving for home.

There was no opportunity to visit Mr. Hirsch when we arrived yesterday,
as we spent most of the day in exploring Cambridge.  But this morning
(they all left for the West this afternoon), while Mildred was packing
and papa had gone to see about tickets, mamma, with her head swathed in
a thick black veil, and I slipped out to go to the pawnbroker’s.  I have
an idea that by going herself instead of simply sending me mamma had a
vague but noble belief that she was rescuing me somehow from moral
shipwreck.  And then, no doubt, the mere fact of one’s venturing out
incognito, as it were, to wrest ancestral relics from usurious fingers
is not without a certain charm.

Well, of course we met papa at the door of the hotel.  The ticket-office
was just around the corner, and he had engaged berths and tickets with a
rapidity that was as unfortunate as it was incredible, for he greeted us
with, "Starting for a walk?  I’m just in time," and proceeded to join
the expedition with evident pleasure.  Mamma lingered uneasily on the
sidewalk a moment, and then said,—

"We ’re not going for amusement, dear; we ’re going to shop.  You know
how that always tires you."  But papa, who was in good spirits at the
prospect of leaving for home, quite unsuspiciously ignored the
suggestion and replied cheerily,—

"Well, I think I ’ll go along, I might want to buy something myself."

I exclaimed, "How jolly!" in a sepulchral tone, and we started.

Now, mamma in the role of a gay deceiver is sublime.  The fact that she
is trying to play a part and perhaps setting "an awful example" makes
her miserable, although she sometimes succeeds in concealing the fact
until afterwards.  I saw that we were in for a delightful morning, and
would probably end by missing the train.  We loitered unscrupulously in
front of shop windows, apparently entranced by everything from hardware
to cigars. We sauntered in and out of countless dry-goods places in
quest of dark-blue ribbon of such an unusual shade that Boston had never
seen its like; we paused for half an hour, now and then, to inquire the
price of diamond tiaras and alabaster clocks set with rhinestones; we
bought a bouquet of frost-bitten roses (I had to carry it) from a
one-armed man, and tarried to hear his reminiscences of life in a
sawmill; we went to pianola recitals, phonograph exhibits, and assisted
at an auction sale of bar-room furniture.  And papa wearied not.  Mamma
and I were nearly dead, but he not only wasn’t bored,—he seemed to be
having the time of his life.  We could n’t devise anything too silly and
futile and tiresome for him to enjoy, and as the time before the train
left was beginning to grow ominously short, mamma at last resorted to
heroic measures.

I don’t think she had formed any definite plan when she abruptly led us
into the subway; but our going there was probably not unconnected in her
imagination with the boundless opportunities for losing oneself in the
sewers of Paris and the catacombs of Rome. The subway may or may not
resemble these historic places,—I’m sure I don’t know,—but, at any rate,
after we had been there five or six minutes we lost papa.

We all three had stood aimlessly watching the cars whizz up to the
platform and away again into the subterranean dusk, until papa (this was
his first sign of impatience) mildly remarked, "I think, dear, that as
you and Tommy seem to be rather attached to this place, I ’ll buy a
newspaper."  Then he strolled off, and mamma clutched me.  We watched
him approach the news-stand and pick up a magazine.  His back was partly
turned.

"It ’s our only chance," said mamma hoarsely, with a half-guilty,
half-affectionate glance towards the news-stand.  I understood and,
seizing her hand, ran with her to the nearest car.  An instant later we
were buzzing through the bowels of the earth in quite the opposite
direction from the pawn-shop.

To tell the truth, the only thing I knew about the locality of Mr.
Hirsch’s establishment was that we should never reach it unless we got
out and took a car going the other way.  This we did, and when I thought
we had gone far enough on the return trip and we emerged once more into
the daylight, we seemed to be miles from the place—the only place—from
which I could have found my way.  So we jumped into a cab and told the
man to drive as quickly as he could to that place.  (I had to describe
it at some length, as I don’t as yet know the names of many streets
here.)  He was very intelligent, however, and it was n’t his fault that,
after we had jolted along for four or five blocks, the horse fell down.
We left him lifting one of the poor thing’s nervous hind legs in and out
of the tangled harness.  He looked as if he were trying to solve some
kind of a gigantic, hopeless puzzle.  We hurried on for about a quarter
of a mile, and then I suddenly discovered that we had been in the right
street all the time.  It was one of those queer streets that never look
familiar when you ’re going the other way.  I confess it took a great
deal of courage to impart this discovery to mamma; but she appreciated
the fact that we had very little time to lose, and did n’t stop to point
out to me that if I ever become a business man, I ’ll be a failure.  The
horse was on his feet again when we got back to the cab, so we jumped in
once more, and after an interminable drive (half of me was out of the
window most of the time, like a Punch-and-Judy doll, directing the
cabman) we finally drew up in front of the pawn-shop.  It was then that
we really distinguished ourselves.

"I’ve come for my watch," I said to Mr. Hirsch.  He gave me the look of
a bird of prey.  It reminded me of an eagle I had seen once,—an eagle
that had been stuffed by an amateur.  He held out his hand and spoke a
solitary, fateful word.  Mamma’s face—in the excitement of the moment
she had pushed up her veil—became dim with horror; her features for an
instant were positively incoherent.

"The ticket?" she whispered gropingly. "It’s in the bottom of my trunk."

Mildred and papa and a group of porters, peering up and down the street
like a concourse of Sister Annes, were on the curbstone in front of the
hotel when we got back.  The baggage was piled on a wagon, papa looked
haggard and years older than when I had last seen him, and Mildred gave
us a haughty stare as we alighted.  Mamma was hustled wildly from the
cab to the carriage, and I had time merely to peck hastily at their
tense faces and gasp good-by.  As the carriage swung around the corner,
mamma appeared for a moment at the window, exclaiming, "I ’ll send it to
you in my first letter," and then sank from view.  This afternoon, when
I returned to my peaceful little abode in Cambridge, who should be in
his room but Berri? He was at his desk, bending earnestly over a big pad
of thesis paper.

"You’ve finished it, after all," I said, for the floor near his chair
was littered with neat manuscript.

"Yes, it’s finished,—fifty beastly pages of it," Berri answered, as he
jumped up to meet me.  I wanted to ask him all about it,—how he had
managed to do it during the gayeties of Washington, and if it had taken
much time.  But he said rather wearily,—

"Oh, don’t let’s talk about it; I ’m so sick of it," and began at once
to question me about my trip to New York.  We chatted for about half an
hour, and then I got up to go into my room and unpack my trunk.  Thesis
paper is n’t like the ordinary paper on which themes are written; it has
a margin on all four sides, and as I had never used any, I went over to
Berri’s desk to examine a sheet of his.

"Why, you ’ve had the thing type-written," I exclaimed; for there was a
pile of type-written notes in front of the thesis paper. "Why don’t you
hand it in that way instead of copying it again?  Your hand is so hard
to read."

Berri wrinkled his forehead in a queer, annoyed kind of way; then he
looked confused and blushed a little, and finally he gave an
uncomfortable laugh.

"Oh, Granny, you ’re so brutally guileless," he murmured.  "Why can’t
you just see and understand things?  It sounds so much worse than it
really is, when you make me say it in so many words."  Even then I
didn’t altogether grasp the situation.

"You mean that somebody helped you?" I asked.  That did n’t seem to me
worth making such a fuss about, somehow.

"Well, that’s a very refined and ladylike way of putting it," he
answered.  "I got a man in the Law School to write it for me, and paid
him ten dollars for his trouble."

I had never thought much about this sort of thing, and it was impossible
all at once to know just where I stood in the matter.  I didn’t know
what to say, and I think I blurted out,—

"Oh, Berri, I ’m so sorry."

"Well, I ’m sorry you know about it," Berri mused drearily.  "No, I ’m
not, either," he added quickly, after a moment; "I ’m darned glad,—for
now that you know, you can do what you like; I ’m not playing the
hypocrite, anyhow.  Only, don’t talk to me about it.  I ’ve thought the
whole thing over from every point of view; it’s the only thing I can do.
I ’m willing to run the risks, and I ’m going to do it."

It was impossible to go back to other topics after that, so I went into
my room and unpacked my trunk.  I don’t believe I ever unpacked so
carefully and put everything away so neatly before.  Mrs. Chester came
in and complimented me as I was finishing. It must have been because I
was thinking.

With all my thinking, however, I can’t say that I ’ve got much farther
than I was when Berri first told me.  I simply know that he oughtn’t to
have done it, and am very, very sorry that he has.  If he tried to
defend himself in any way, I could have it out with him; but he does
n’t.  When he finished copying the thesis, he came into my room and
said, "I ’m going over to drop this through Fleetwood’s door; do you
want to go along?" and I went with him, hoping that at the last minute
he might, in his unexpected way, change his mind.  On the way over he
did burst out with,—

"You see, it’s this way: If I didn’t know Fleetwood so well, I should
n’t do it; I shouldn’t care.  But he’ll think, if I fail to hand in the
written work, that I’m presuming on the fact that we ’ve breakfasted
together at The Holly Tree and gone to the theatre and all that.  I hate
that kind of thing."  I tried to make him see that Fleetwood would n’t
look at it in this way at all, and that even if he did it would be his
fault, not Berri’s.  But Berri answered: "You need n’t go on to tell me
how dishonest it is,—I know all that. I ’m not worse than lots of other
people, though;" and by that time we had reached Fleetwood’s door.  I
put my hand on his arm as he was about to drop the thesis through
Fleetwood’s letter-slide and said, "Please don’t, Berri; wait until
to-morrow morning, anyhow;" but he pushed the roll through the door, and
as it fell with a thud inside, he laughed and answered,—

"Too late.  Now I’m going to forget about it."  He went to town for
dinner, and I had mine about an hour ago at Mrs. Brown’s. I was the only
one there.  In a few minutes I have to go out again, as I promised——


_Later_.


Just as I had written that far, the front door opened and slammed and
the tin steps clattered as they only do when Duggie is coming up.  The
loneliness of the house, and the feeling that college opened to-morrow,
and Duggie on the stairs all took me back to my first evening in
Cambridge.  The only difference was that instead of going to his own
room Duggie this time came bursting into mine.

"I came to say good-by," he exclaimed; and when I got over my
astonishment, he went on to tell me that he had decided during the
vacation to go away—to Europe—and stay until Class Day.  He had never
told me before that he had taken his degree in three years, and that it
would n’t have been necessary for him to come back this year at all if
he had n’t wanted to.  He has been entitled to his degree for months;
but of course he is anxious to graduate with his own class in the
spring.  He has n’t talked to any one about going abroad, as he was n’t
sure of it until a few days ago.

"I ’m leaving on the midnight train to-night," he said, "and I came out
here on the chance of your having got back.  My family are all in the
country, I left them this afternoon."  I wanted to tell him how sorry I
was that he was leaving us, and how glad I was that he could go; but
somehow I don’t think I showed what I really felt.  The time was so
short (I had promised Duncan Duncan to help him with some Advocate
editorials at half past eight), and those things never seem to sound the
way I should like to have them.  But in a way I had an opportunity to
let him know how I felt toward him, for while we were sitting there, he
laughed and said,—

"As you won’t stay and talk to me, I think you might at least do the
next best thing. You know I ’ve always wanted to read this, and now that
I ’m going away, you ought to let me."  Then he took my diary from the
mantelpiece and pretended to read the first page.

My first impulse was to ask him not to.  If he had been going to stay in
Cambridge, I should n’t have let him, of course; but as he was leaving
in a few hours and seemed anxious to read the thing, and as it really
did n’t make any difference whether he did or not, I finally let him.

"I don’t see why you want to, and you probably won’t get beyond the
first few pages, but you may," I said.

So I left him by the fire with the diary in his hand.  I thought perhaps
I should find a note about it when I got back this evening, but I
didn’t.



                                 *XII*


Poor Berri!  I felt so sorry for him. I do yet, in fact; for although
things can’t possibly turn out in the way he thinks they may, I can’t
tell him so, and he lives in a state of perpetual dread. But it won’t
last long now; Duggie’s steamer must have almost reached Southampton by
this time, and it won’t take more than a week or eight days for Berri to
hear from Duggie himself.  I came very near giving the thing away at one
time.  It’s hard not to, although I realize that Duggie was wise when he
asked me to let matters take their course.

It just happened that the next day after Berri had delivered his thesis,
the talk at luncheon turned on cheating at exams and handing in written
work that is n’t your own. The sentiment against cheating seemed to be
strong, partly from a sense of honor and partly from a sense of risk.
As a matter of fact, I don’t see how fellows can very well manage to
cheat here—during an examination, that is to say—even if they want to.
There are always a lot of proctors prowling up and down the room, ready
to jump on anybody who has suspicious-looking bits of paper on his desk,
or who seems to be unduly interested in his lap or the condition of his
cuffs.  And then, besides, assuming that the instructor occasionally
gets absorbed in a newspaper and the proctors stroll to the windows to
watch the muckers throwing snowballs in the Yard, how could a student
prepare himself for this rare opportunity?  It may be different in
courses that involve the exact sciences, where certain definite formulas
copied on a small bit of paper might be of use; but in the sort of
things I take, one would have to conceal upon oneself the Encyclopædia
Britannica, Ploetz’s Epitome of History, Geschmitzenmenger’s Ancient
Art, or the Dictionary of Biography, in order to accomplish any really
effective deception.

With written work it seems to be easier. If a man hands in a theme or a
thesis in his own hand, the instructors are more or less forced to
accept it as original, unless of course it was taken outright from a
book and they happen to be familiar with the book.  From what the
fellows at the table said, there must be more of this sort of thing done
than I had imagined; although, since Berri opened my eyes, I could
believe almost anything.  One of the fellows told about a student—a
Junior—he had heard of who succeeded in getting himself fired two or
three years ago in a rather complicated way.  He was engaged, and his
lady-love sent him a poem in one of her letters, saying that she had
written it for him.  The letter arrived while he was struggling with a
daily theme; so he murmured to himself, "Tush!  I ’ll copy Araminta’s
pretty verses and send them in as my own; as they have just gushed from
her surcharged heart into her letter, no one will be the wiser."  A few
days later the omnivorous Advocate asked permission to print them, and
as they had received words of praise from the instructor, and as the
fellow by that time had no doubt begun to believe he had written them
himself, he allowed them to be published under his name.  Somebody sent
a copy of the Advocate to Araminta, who replied with an indignant letter
to her _futur_; and while he was trying to think up an explanation of
the matter with which to pacify her, somebody else came out in the
Crimson with a most withering communication, asking how the Advocate
dared to print as original a poem that had been written by his
grandfather, the late Donovan H. Dennison, whose complete poetical works
("Dan Cupid and other Idyls") could be found in the college library at
any time.  Whereupon the student, disgusted at his lady-love’s
dishonesty in palming off the late Donovan H. Dennison’s verses as
original, broke his engagement; and the college, disgusted with the
student for precisely the same reason, "separated" him (to use the suave
official phrase) from the University.

There was, as I said, a great deal of talk at luncheon that day about
cheating.  Some of the men seemed to think the presence of proctors
during an exam was insulting; but, as Bertie Stockbridge remarked,—and
this struck me as unanswerable,—"If you don’t cheat yourself and don’t
want to, what difference does it make whether they ’re there or not?
And if you do cheat, why, of course, proctors are necessary."  In the
matter of dishonest written work the same honorable sentiments were
expressed.  Everybody was sincere, but I could n’t help realizing a
little that they could not have had very much temptation as yet.  If it
had n’t been for Berri, I probably should have laid down the law as
loudly as the rest.  But he sat there eating in silence, irritated and
oppressed by so much high-minded babbling, and I hated to hurt him by
adding to it.  Usually he is one of the last to leave the table.  That
day, however, he hurried through his luncheon and slipped away alone.

Oh dear!  (How silly those two words look written down, and yet it was
what was passing through my mind as I wrote them.)  I suppose that what
I really mean is, How tiresome it is that a person’s acts don’t begin
and end with himself!  There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the reach
of their influence. It would be so much more simple and easy if you knew
just where the consequences of a mistake or an indiscretion, or whatever
you choose to call it, began and ended.  Now, for instance, take Berri
and the thesis.  Of course, I think it was all wrong, and was sorry he
handed it in; but I wasn’t going to let it make any difference in my
feelings toward Berri.  As far as I am concerned, I don’t think it has
made a difference.  Yet the beastly thing cast a sort of gloom over the
house.  For Berri after luncheon that day rather avoided the table in
general and me in particular.  What his object was in doing this, I
don’t know.  It was probably just a feeling on his part; but it made me
feel as if I ’d been putting myself on a moral pedestal somehow, and
that Berri saw in me a perpetual accusation.  Our relations became
indescribably changed and sort of formal, and I did n’t see how I could
make them different. What could I have done?  There was nothing, under
the circumstances, for me to say. He stopped in my room that night to
warm himself for a minute before going to bed, but I don’t think he said
anything except that it was snowing outside.

The next day we had the blizzard.  People here usually assume that in
the part of the country I come from we have nine months of winter and
three of cold weather.  But nevertheless I had to come to the staid and
temperate East to see the kind of a winter storm you read about in
books,—the regular old "Wreck of the Hesperus" kind, in which the crew
are "swept like icicles from the deck," and able-bodied men get
hopelessly lost and are frozen to death in their own front yards.  I was
to have dined in town that night with Hemington, who had tickets for a
Paderewski recital.  But he did n’t turn up, so I joined some fellows
who found me in the restaurant eating alone, and afterwards went to the
theatre with them.  It was snowing when we left the restaurant; in fact,
great, wet cottony flakes had been falling at intervals all day.  (It
reminded me of those marvellous paper weights I haven’t seen for years
and years,—glass globes filled with water in which a white, powdery
sediment swirls and drifts and finally settles in the most lifelike way
on a beautiful little tin landscape. What’s become of them all, I
wonder?)  But there was no wind, and it was n’t particularly cold, so I
don’t think that anybody suspected what was going to happen before the
show was over.

It took an unusually long time to get out of the theatre that night; the
people in the aisles hardly moved at all.  But after we had forced our
way through the crowd, and climbed over seats, and finally reached the
narrow corridor leading to the entrance, we saw why it was.  The ones
who had got to the door first were afraid to leave.  Within an hour or
two the wind had risen and risen until it screamed through the streets,
blasting up the fallen snow in wild bewildering spirals and then
fiercely slapping it back again in slants of hard, biting cold.  From
the door of the theatre it was impossible to see beyond the curbstone,
except when the half-obliterated lights of a cab lurched by over the
drifts. The rumor went through the crowd that the wires were down and
that all the cars had stopped.  No one seemed to know quite what to do.
Just as the people nearest the door would make up their minds to start
bravely out, a thick hurricane would strike erratically in at them,
causing the ladies to shrink back with little exclamations of dismay.
Nobody’s carriage had arrived, and the few cabs that appeared ploughed
laboriously past us.  Our crowd waited a few moments,—more to share the
excitement of the others than for anything else; then we turned up our
collars and plunged out.

Standing at the door of the theatre, the world outside had seemed to me
to be in a sort of insane uproar; but as soon as we got away from the
human babble, and I lifted my head and opened my eyes and deliberately
relaxed my ears, so to speak, I found the city almost solemnly silent.
Every now and then, when we came to a cross street or turned a corner,
there was, it is true, a sudden shriek and a sort of rattle of fine
stinging ice particles; but as long as I could keep myself from being
confused inside of me, while we were floundering over drifts and
burrowing with our heads through the walls of wind that blocked the way
and seemed to be falling on us, I could n’t help noticing the terrible
muffledness of everything.  It was as if the place were being swamped,
blotted out, suffocated.

When we reached the hotel where we had dined earlier in the evening, the
other fellows went in to have something to eat, but for several reasons
I decided not to.  In the first place, I promised papa that I would try
to economize, and I had already unexpectedly squandered two dollars on a
theatre ticket, owing to Hemington’s failure to appear. Then I felt that
if I did n’t make a dash for Cambridge right away, I should n’t get
there at all.  (As a matter of fact, I never did reach there until nine
the next morning, but it was n’t because I did n’t try hard enough. The
other fellows put up at the hotel.)  So I just shouted that I was going
on, and as we were all about half frozen, no one stopped to persuade me
not to.

Well, I found a string of cars about a mile long that were rapidly
turning into Esquimau huts, and was told by one of the conductors that
something had broken down ahead, and that, as the snow-plough could n’t
get by, they probably would n’t move again until morning. He thought,
however, that the other line was running; and I started to grope my way
to Bowdoin Square.

I would n’t go through that experience again for gold and precious
stones; and I can’t imagine now why I did it in the first place, except
that I had acquired by that time a kind of pig-headed determination to
reach Cambridge, and did n’t know what I was in for. It was n’t so bad
while I was staggering along by the side of the blocked cars; they were
lighted, and I knew that if I changed my mind about going on, I could
pop into one of them and be safe.  But when I passed the last one and
found myself after a while among back streets choked with drifts, and
could n’t see my way, and fell down twice, and got snow up my sleeves,
and my face and hands and feet pained so with cold that I could n’t help
crying (actually), and I realized at last that I did n’t in the least
know where I was, I began to be panic-stricken.  I ’m not the huskiest
person in the world, and all at once the wind blew me smash against an
iron railing and almost into a basement of some kind. I think I should
have hunted for a door-bell and tried to get into a house if I hadn’t a
moment later collided with a policeman (fell down again), who helped me
up and led me to a sheltered place behind a wall, where I managed to
collect myself and tell him what I was looking for.  He too was on his
way to Bowdoin Square; so after that I just hung on to his coat most of
the time, and tried to keep my legs in motion without really knowing
much where he was leading me or whether we were making any progress.
Once there was a rip-tearing crash over our heads.  The policeman jumped
aside, and then stopped to exclaim, "Well, I never seen the likes o’
that."  I think a sign had blown off a building through a plate-glass
window.  Farther on a dangling wire romped in the wind.  It spat
dazzling blue and purple at us until we retreated and went around
another way, muttering strange Hibernian mutters.  When I opened my eyes
again, we were in front of the hotel in Bowdoin Square and the policeman
was advising me through his frozen mustache not to go to Cambridge.  He
said the cars had stopped long ago.  So I said good-by to him and was
just stumbling into the café, when who should come out but Berri and a
cabman?  They had gone in to get warm before starting across the bridge.

"I ’m not sure that we can make it," Berri said, "but the man says he’s
willing to try. I ’ll tell you why I don’t want to stay at the hotel
when we get inside.  Look out—look out!" he cried to me, as I opened the
cab door and was about to jump in.  I drew back, expecting at least to
be decapitated or electrocuted, and then Berri explained that he was
afraid I might "sit on the pigeons."  He entered the cab first, and
removed some indistinguishable objects from the back seat to the narrow
seat that lifts up in front.  "That’s why I can’t very well stay at the
hotel," he went on.  "As soon as these poor exhausted little darlings
begin to thaw, they ’ll fly around and make a dreadful fuss.  I ’d
rather have them in my own room."  He had picked up four half frozen
pigeons in the street on his way to the Square, and had carried them—two
in his pockets and two in the bosom of his overcoat—until he came across
the cab. After we got started, he lighted matches every now and then to
see how they were getting along, and we took turns at blowing on their
pink feet, all shrivelled with cold.  One of them, to Berri’s grief, was
dead, but by the time the cab stopped suddenly and for the last time in
the middle of the bridge (it had been going slower and slower and
tipping more perilously over mounds of snow as we proceeded), the other
three looked scared and intelligent and began to feel warm under their
wings.

The driver opened the door and said he could n’t go on, as a fallen wire
was sagging across the street in front of the horse’s nose. We jumped
out, and Berri was just about to seize the thing and try to lift it over
the horse’s head, when I remembered the murderous ecstasy of the other
one and jerked him back.  Ahead of us there was a drift almost as high
as the cab itself, and the man said that even without the wire we never
could drive over or through it.  So, after a short consultation, he
decided to blanket his nag and spend the rest of the night in the cab;
the horse was "dead beat," he said, and he very much doubted if it could
pull back to town against the wind even after turning around, which was
a more or less impossible undertaking in itself.  Berri and I packed up
the pigeons—the dead one included, as Berri remembered having read in
the paper that morning of a case of "suspended animation" somewhere in
Texas—and pushed on to the waiting-station at the other end of the
bridge.

That was a queer night.  I was simply played out when I got inside the
waiting-room, and I had n’t been there more than a few minutes when I
discovered that my ear was frozen.  A kind, officious woman all but
broke it off rubbing snow on it; but though it pained excruciatingly
during the night and is still sensitive and has a tendency to stick out
at right angles from my head, I think it will recover.  There must have
been fifteen or twenty people cooped up in the waiting-room and the
cigar-stand (with hot soda-water and candy facilities) next door.  Some
of them were cross and unhappy, and some of them were facetious.  One of
them had a small dog.  Berri’s pigeons created a sensation.  The
cigar-man gave us a box to put them under, and Berri bought them popcorn
for fear they might be hungry during the night.  The warmth of the room
revived them completely, all but the dead one.

We talked for a while; but as Berri remembered, now that the excitement
was over, to be formal and impersonal once more, it was rather dreary.
We could have slept, I think,—in fact we were asleep, when one of the
facetious refugees woke us up to ask if we did n’t want to join him "and
some other gentlemen in a game of euchre."  Disappointed at his
unsuccessful efforts to interest people in this diversion, he chased the
little dog about the room, declaring that he intended to tie a glass of
chocolate around its neck and send it out in the storm to look for
travellers who had lost their way.  It was impossible after that to get
to sleep again.

We had been sitting with our heads against the wall for almost an hour,
waiting for daylight, when Berri, who hadn’t said anything for ever so
long, suddenly came out with,—

"Oh, Granny, I ’m so sorry I did it!"  I knew what he meant at once,
although the thesis had n’t been in my mind at all, and I was just about
to advise him to have a talk with Fleetwood and tell him everything,
when he added that he would have to stand by himself now, as it was too
late to draw back.

The worst of the storm was over, the cabman had come in to get warm and
tell us that his horse had frozen to death, and the windows of the
waiting-room had begun to look pale instead of black, by the time I
convinced Berri that it wasn’t too late, and that as soon as we got to
Cambridge he ought to go to The Holly Tree and wait until Fleetwood came
in for his breakfast.  When he finally made up his mind to do this, I
never saw any one in such a state of impatience.  He could n’t sit
still, and kept running to the door every other minute to see if the
snow-plough was coming over the bridge.  Once he suggested that we
should walk; but although the morning was clear and beautiful, I had had
enough of struggling through mountains of snow the night before, and
refused.  The plough appeared at last, preceded by a whirling cloud and
followed by a car.  We set the pigeons free (Berri told them all to
return with olive branches as quickly as possible) and watched them fly
to the nearest telegraph-pole and proceed to make their toilets for the
day.

It must have been about half an hour after I parted with Berri (he went
on to The Holly Tree and I came to my room) that he bounded up the
stairs, pale with excitement.  He had met Fleetwood, and after a few
preliminary remarks about the blizzard (the whole place was submerged)
he had blurted out,—

"Mr. Fleetwood, I want to tell you something about my thesis; I did n’t
write it."  To which the instructor replied almost indifferently,—

"Yes, I noticed that.  What was the trouble?"  Berri just looked at him
in amazement.

"I said I did n’t write it," he faltered.

"Well, I know that," Fleetwood replied a trifle sharply.  He was
inclined to be "peevish," Berri said, because the morning papers had n’t
been delivered.

"But I want to tell you how sorry I am," Berri added; the situation was
much worse, Berri says, than it would have been if Fleetwood had seemed
more impressed by his dishonesty.  As a matter of fact, Fleetwood merely
smiled.

"Oh, I never had the vaguest idea that you _would_ write it," he
remarked airily.  "But if you don’t care, I don’t.  It’s much easier for
me to give you an E for having failed to hand it in, than it is to read
fifty or sixty pages of your impossible writing."

At this Berri said he almost reeled from his chair.

"Did n’t I hand it in?" he asked, while his heart thumped painfully.
Fleetwood glanced up from his oatmeal only long enough to say,—

"I wish you would go some place else to eat; you bother me."  But Berri
insisted.

"Dear Mr. Fleetwood," he pleaded eagerly, "please answer me just that
one thing.  Did n’t you find my thesis pushed through your door?"  At
this Fleetwood put his hands to his head, as he always does when he ’s
pretending that we ’re trying to drive him mad, and moaned,—

"First you tell me you have n’t written your thesis and then you ask me
if I ’ve picked it up on my floor.  Oh, go away, go away!  I shall never
be able to finish my breakfast and get back through all that ghastly
snow to my ten-o’clock lecture."  Then Berri dashed out, forgetting to
pay for his breakfast, and came to find me.

Fleetwood must think that Berri isn’t quite right; for he followed the
instructor around all day more or less, waiting for him at the doors of
lecture halls, intercepting him in front of the Colonial Club at
lunch-time, running after him in the Square, and calling on him twice at
his room, to ask if the thesis had turned up yet.  But of course it
never had. At that time neither of us could account for its
disappearance, and Berri can’t yet.  He is existing in a state of
nervous dread for fear it "may have fallen behind something" in the dark
vestibule and will eventually turn up.  Well, it will turn up, but not
in Fleetwood’s room.

Berri spent most of the time in which he wasn’t dogging Fleetwood’s
footsteps discussing the thing with me.  But I could n’t help him much
beyond hoping that the thesis—like the love-letter or the lost will in
dramas at the Bowdoin Square Theatre—wouldn’t be found until the fifth
act, after an elapse of twenty years.

I had to leave him alone part of the afternoon.  Duncan Duncan sent me
word that he was sick and that the Advocate was in dire need.  So I
floundered through the alley to the printing-office, and learned from
the proof-reader that they had to have six inches of poetry immediately
or the paper would be very much delayed.  I did n’t know what to do, as
we had n’t any poems of that length in stock, so to speak.  While I was
sitting there in despair, one of the printers gave me a piece of paper
and a pencil, and said,—

"Here, hurry up and write a couple of sticks of po’try; I want to go
home."  He was quite serious; so I got to work, and in about fifteen
minutes had written twenty lines about the pigeons in the blizzard; only
I referred to them, for various technical reasons, as doves.  There was
a heavenly smell of printer’s ink in the place which made it easier to
write somehow.

No letters came that day from any direction on account of the storm.
The next afternoon I met the postman on the steps.  He stopped to chat,
and I thought I should grab the letters from his hand before he
finished, as I caught sight of one in Duggie’s handwriting addressed to
me.  I thought of course that he had postponed his trip and had written
to tell me why.  The postman talked on and on, but he told me one tale
that interested me in spite of myself.

One Sunday morning old Professor Pallas (my ally in the hieroglyphics
course) went over to the post-office for his letters.  He must have been
thinking very deeply about recent discoveries or cuneiform inscriptions
or some such thing, because when he went up to the window he could n’t
remember whose letters he had come for.  So he said to the clerk,—

"Young man, do you know who I am?"

The clerk unfortunately was a new one, and had to confess, with regret,
that he did n’t. So Professor Pallas, after a moment or two of
reflection, looked up and murmured through the window,—

"I ask you this because I am equally at a loss myself; but perhaps if I
take a little walk it may come to me."  Then he strolled away, and in
about ten minutes returned, very much pleased, with a slip of paper in
his hand.

"I remembered it all by myself," he exclaimed, "and wrote it down."

I got Duggie’s letter at last, and ran upstairs to read it.  This is
what it said:—


DEAR GRANNY,—We are steaming slowly out of the harbor, and I am sitting
in a sheltered corner of the deck writing you this note for the pilot to
take back with him.  My fingers are stiff with cold, but as the air down
below is thick with what Mrs. Chester calls "floral tributes."  I ’d
rather stay here and say good-by to you and the Goddess of Liberty at
the same time.

What I wish particularly to do, however, is to thank you for letting me
read your diary last night (I have some things to say about it—the parts
where I come in, I mean—but that can wait) and to make a confession.
When I got to the last page, where the ink was scarcely dry, I dashed
over to Fleetwood’s room, although I had lingered so long in your room I
did n’t have any too much time in which to catch my train. Fortunately
there was a light in Fleetwood’s window. While I was talking to him I
saw out of the corner of my eye the great pile of—is the plural "theses"
or "thesises"?—on his desk, and when he went into his bedroom for a
minute to get a book for me to read going over, I sniped Berri’s
performance from the top of the pile and stuck it in my pocket.  I did
it on the impulse of the moment, and I may have been all wrong—I don’t
know; the whole thing worries me.  But don’t say anything to Berri about
it.  I should n’t care to get you and the diary into trouble.  When I
reach Southampton I ’ll send the thing back to him with a letter.
Good-by, Granny.  Take care of yourself and write often.


DUGGIE.



                                 *XIII*


Some day I ’m going to write a book about Boston, because it’s the most
wonderful place in the world.  I suppose I really mean by this that it
is so different from Perugia.  Berri, of course, would have to help
me,—that is, he would unless I lived here fifty or sixty years for the
purpose of gathering notes.  It would take about that long to understand
everything and be able to write intelligently and sympathetically.
Anybody, of course, may sojourn for a time among the Bostonians—just as
he may among the Chinese or the strange races of the Pacific islands—and
record his impressions of them.  But I don’t think his remarks would be
more valuable than the ordinary travel book that tells you merely the
things you could tell yourself if you were on the spot with a pencil and
a strong right arm.  Really to know the place you have to be born and
brought up here; which in itself amounts to saying that Boston will
never, never be understood.  For the people who were born and brought up
here know and won’t tell,—"know and can’t tell," Berri declares.  "It
would take a genius to do the thing properly," he says, "and Boston went
out of the genius business some thirty or forty years ago."

Now, Berri was born in Paris ("Paa-is, France—or Paa-is, Kentucky?" as a
Southern girl once asked him), and I don’t suppose he’s a genius,
actually.  But as he has, on his mother’s side, more cousins and aunts
and things in Boston than anybody I ’m ever likely to know so very
intimately, and as he seems more like a genius than anybody I ’ve ever
seen before, what he tells me always sounds somehow as if it were the
real thing.  He laughed, though, the other day—we were taking a long
walk—when I said this to him, and answered that it was very evident I
did n’t know what the real thing was.

"_I’m_ not," he added, "if for no other reason than that I am able,
quite seriously at times, to consider going some place else to live
after I finish with all this."  And he fluttered his hand in the
direction of Cambridge.

"Does n’t anybody else?" I asked.

"Mercy, no—how you talk!" he exclaimed.  "Why should they?"

"I suppose I was thinking of papa," I replied meekly.  "He believes it’s
better for most young men to get away from home and start life for
themselves as soon as they grow up; they ’re always boys to somebody
unless they do, he says.  Then, besides, he has great faith in perfectly
new places.  He ’s often told me that even Perugia was too old and
crowded for a young man.  Perugia was fifty-three years old last
spring."  Berri laughed.

"That’s important, if true," he answered, "but what has it to do with
Boston?"

"Why, I merely imagined that some one in this part of the world might
have the same idea," I suggested.  "Now, take Duggie, for instance.
Don’t you think that Duggie wants to get out and try to do something?"

"Oh, Duggie!" said Berri, with a shrug. "He thinks he does now, but he
really doesn’t. Of course Duggie is simply slopping over with
strenuousness and that sort of thing.  But he gets most of it out of
books,—Fleetwood’s books at that.  And after all, as I say, he slops
over; it ’ll just run into the sand without making even a silly little
hole.  After a while, when he gets tired of reading, and thinking how
unworthy everybody else is, it won’t do even that.  Duggie in college is
stunning and a leader of men; but Duggie at forty will be leading
nothing but a beautiful purple life down there at his
country-place,—unless, of course, he gets fat; if he gets fat, he ’ll be
a stockbroker."

"Say, Berri, how old are you, anyhow?" I asked.  I know he is older than
I am, but he never will tell me how much,—he didn’t this time,—he just
laughs, and says his early education was grossly neglected over there in
Europe, or he would have been classes and classes ahead of me.  I did
n’t like what he said about Duggie, and told him so.  He answered that I
’d brought it on myself, and I suppose I had.

"Maybe we’d better talk about Bertie Stockbridge," he added.  "He’s my
third cousin, you know—but, dear me, if people begin to be loyal to
third cousins, Boston would turn into a sort of gigantic asylum for deaf
mutes.  I don’t mind _what_ you say about Bertie.  Besides, he ’s a more
perfect specimen than Duggie, because Duggie is passing through a phase.
Even Bostonians sometimes pass through phases when they ’re very young.
It doesn’t happen often, though. The truth is, Duggie can’t decide
whether to be a Greek god or a college settlement. He’d really rather be
a Greek god, only it’s so immoral.  He ’ll probably end, you know, by
coming out of his trance some June morning and finding himself married.
Then it will be too late to be either one or the other. But what was it
we were talking about?  Oh, yes—Bertie.  Now, Bertie isn’t passing
through a phase.  Not on your life.  Bertie just rose Venus-like in a
state of hopeless completion from the crystal waters of the Back Bay.
He never disappoints."

"But I like Bertie," I protested; "not as much as I do Duggie, of
course.  But I do like him; he’s so—so—sensible."

"Sensible!" Berri screamed.  "Why, child, the Stockbridge family is
_all_ sense. With trousers bagging at the knee and Adam’s apples rising
and falling above their abashed collars, Bertie’s ancestors came into a
lovely foolish world and _created_ sense.  That’s all they ever do
now,—just create one another and sense.  So, the next time you hear some
old thing groaning about the scarcity of common-sense, you ’ll know that
it’s because the Stockbridges have it all,—they and a few friends who
live in the same street during the winter and share several thousand
front feet of the Atlantic Ocean from May to November.  But you mustn’t
think I don’t like Bertie and his family,—perhaps I should simply say
’Bertie,’ for Bertie is his family,—because I do, you know.  I admire
him very much," Berri added after a moment. "He radiates a sort of
atmosphere of modest infallibility that makes me feel exactly as I
should feel if I suddenly went into Appleton Chapel and found the Pope
there reading the Boston Transcript.  Calmly and without the slightest
tinge of bitterness, I admit that Bertie is always right.

"You heard what he said to Bobbie Colburn, didn’t you?  It was after the
hour exam in English 68, and we were all in Bobbie’s room comparing
notes.  Now, Bertie had passed, of course, because he ’ll always pass in
everything, whether he has any talent for it or not; but he had n’t
passed particularly well.  It takes a person of some imagination to get
a good mark in that course. Bobbie Colburn, on the other hand, who
apparently hadn’t studied at all and who’d been having a fierce time the
night before the exam, just sailed into the examination-room with a
dress-suit on under his overcoat, and got through brilliantly, which
worried Bertie to death.  We ’d all made some comment on the matter, and
finally Colburn, as if to end it, said in his breezy way, ’Well, you
know the old proverb,—He laughs best who drinks most!’  Whereupon Bertie
fixed him with his fine gray eyes and remarked, ’That is n’t the way it
goes, Colburn; you ’ve got it mixed.’  Then he repeated the words
correctly,—not with triumph exactly, but with the cold joy of one whose
life is spent in righting unimportant wrongs.

"And yet I can’t help confessing," Berri mused, "that I ’m exceedingly
glad to acknowledge my relationship to Bertie and his tribe.  They
madden me at times; they have such clear, narrow, unelastic, admirable
intellects.  Their attitude toward all questions, public or private, is
so definite and uncompromising; they ’re so dog-gonned _right_. Why,
American history is just one glad, sweet testimonial to the fact that
they ’re never wrong.  They ’re not always on the popular side, or the
successful; they ’re merely right. Any other human beings would keep on
trying to make use of such a splendid faculty. Years and years ago they
did make use of it; but nowadays it’s enough just to know that they have
it, and pretty much all to themselves.

"But, as I was saying, I ’m secretly darned glad that Bertie and I
belong to each other, so to speak.  Is n’t it funny—I’m not a bit loyal
to Bertie, but he ’s perfectly loyal to me. He does n’t in the least
understand me.  I don’t think he even likes me, although that disturbing
thought probably has n’t occurred to him yet; but there’s no getting
around the fact that I ’m one of his relatives, and he accepts
me,—accepts me in a way he never will accept _you_, no matter how well
he gets to know you and like you.  There’s something rather fine in
that, don’t you think? Of course, it might be a good deal of a bore if
he took a fancy to me; but as he won’t, it’s really a great comfort.
The fact that that plain, but healthy-looking, silent person in the very
badly made dark gray suit accepts me and will always accept me, is
equivalent to an illuminated address of welcome and the freedom of the
city.

"You really can’t imagine how it simplifies things," Berri continued.
"It’s such a relief, such an absolution!  It leaves me, as some one
says, ’with nothing on my mind but my hair and my hat;’ and even they
don’t have to be brushed as long as people consider me a Stockbridge at
heart.  Why, if I didn’t feel like it, I shouldn’t have to be even
polite.  Of course I am polite.  But it’s a mere habit with me; I dare
say I ’ll get out of it.  You’ve noticed, haven’t you, how brusque and
sort of primitive Bertie’s manner is as a rule?  Well, they ’re all more
or less like that.  People who like them say it arises from shyness and
simplicity, and people who don’t like them declare that it’s just common
or domestic rudeness; but it really is n’t one or the other, and I think
I ought to know.  The family manner comes from a curious conviction that
politeness, grace, tact—the practice of making oneself agreeable free of
charge, so to speak—has to do with the emotions; which is perfectly
absurd.  The habit of politeness is about as emotional as the habit of
brushing one’s teeth. But Bertie’s tribe does n’t think so; and emotion
with them is simply another word for effeminacy.  You see, they ’re so
sure of coming up to the scratch in the big things that they let the
little ones slide.  I think they always vaguely associate politeness
with French waiters and Neapolitan cripples. So, in a way, they ’ll
rather expect it of you; they like all foreigners to seem foreign."

Bertie gabbled about no end of things that afternoon.  He had what he
calls a "dry jag," and hardly ever stopped talking from the time we left
our house just after luncheon until we came down Brattle Street on the
way back and went into Mrs. Brown’s for dinner. Once he and a lot of
kids coming out of a schoolhouse away across the river somewhere, pasted
one another with snowballs (I joined them) until a policeman made us
stop, and for a few minutes the torrent of talk was interrupted.  But he
made up for it by yelling every time he hit any one or got hit himself.
He told me all sorts of tales, and I could n’t help thinking how
different everything was from Perugia.

It had never occurred to me before that Perugia was so happy-go-lucky
and uncivilized. Why, out there we just seem to grow up like those great
round weeds on the prairie that suddenly let go for no particular reason
and then bound along in the breeze through the wide flat streets until
they run against a fence or a house and, for a while, stick there. It
does n’t seem to me that anything much is decided for us in advance.  I
did n’t know even that I was coming to college until about a year and a
half beforehand,—which made it simply awful, as I had to study
everything at once and did n’t learn much of anything. Now, Berri says
that, with the exception of himself, who was "grossly neglected" and
never studied anything but French and German, his entire family for
generations has lived by a sort of educational and social calendar from
which they never deviate except in the event of a civil war.  He says he
should n’t be a bit surprised to learn that there were certain definite,
unalterable dates at which the little boys began and left off tin
soldiers and the breeding of guinea-pigs, and the little girls began and
left off paper-dolls and "dressing up."  He declares that, providing the
laws of nature are reasonably consistent, they all know exactly what
they ’ll be doing at any period of their lives; that even matrimony has
ceased to be a lottery with them, as they go in for marrying, not
individuals, but types.  Isn’t it perfectly wonderful?

"Now, take Bertie," he said.  "Bertie knew who his classmates in college
were going to be, at the age of five.  They ’re the same chaps he’s been
going to school with, and to the kid dancing-classes, you know, the
Saturday Mornings and Thursday Afternoons or whatever they are, all
these years.  They go to the Friday Evenings this year, and next year
they ’ll go to the Saturday Evenings, and at all these morns and noons
and dewy eves they dance with the same girls that two years from now
they ’ll meet in society and subsequently marry, just because it’s part
of the routine.  After they get out of college they ’ll all go abroad
for a few months in groups of three and four, and when they get back
they ’ll be taken into the same club (their names will have been on the
waiting list some twenty-odd years), and they ’ll join a lunch club down
town in order not to miss seeing one another every day at noon for the
rest of their lives."

Then Berri told me about the girls.  Really my heart bleeds for the
girls, because apparently, unless they are terribly pretty or terribly
clever or terribly rich, they must have a devil of a time.  Berri says
that although they all "come out," they don’t all stay out; that after
about a year or so a good many of them sort of slink in again by
unanimous consent. (Imagine such a thing in Perugia!  Why, every girl
has a good time there for just as long as she wants to.)  The pretty
ones, however, never go in again; because, if you once get a reputation
for beauty here, Berri says it never leaves you (the reputation, I
mean), and that ’s why an evening party in Boston often strikes a
stranger as being so largely a matter of physical traditions.  At a
dance the rich plain girls, he says, have a good time too, but only for
the first part of the evening.  The men speak of them as "pills" (a
quaint, chivalrous custom, is it not?), and try to dance with them as
early in the evening as possible, because everybody else is trying to do
the same thing and there isn’t so great a chance of getting stuck for an
hour or so.  But later on they ask only the ones they really want to
dance with, and the plain rich girl finds herself spending a cozy
eternity with some one who is inwardly moaning because he delayed until
the rush was over.

The girls too are born into a sort of rut, Berri says.  It takes the
form of sewing-circles. Berri can discourse for hours at a time on these
institutions.  His aunt Josephine has been going to the same one every
week for fifty years.  He said that once when he was a little child he
heard an Englishman who had lived in India telling about the mysterious
rapidity with which a piece of news spread among the natives of that
country. Within half a day, this man declared, a rumor would sort of
leap through the air from Calcutta to the most obscure villages on the
Afghan frontier, and no one could explain how it was done.  Berri used
to fall asleep at night worrying over it.  But now, even in India
romance is dead, Berri says; he ’s convinced that the whole thing was
nothing but just sewing-circles.

"Why, Granny, if I were to lock myself up in my room in Cambridge and
draw the curtains and stuff the keyhole and then murmur in a low voice
that—well, for instance, that you and Sarah Bernhardt had been quietly
married at the First Baptist Church in Somerville that afternoon, and
then dash in to my aunt Josephine’s as fast as a car could take me, she
would greet me in the library with: ’My dear, _have_ you heard!  I ’ve
just come from the sewing-circle, and they say—of course I don’t believe
it’—and so on.  And this is n’t any idle jest, either; it’s a fact."

He was just beginning to tell me something else about them—I forget
what—when we both realized that it was rather late, and that if we
expected to get back in time for dinner we should have to find a shorter
way or take the car.  We neither of us knew where we were, although
Berri said the place looked as if it might be called
"Upper-West-Newtonville-Centre Corners."  So we stopped a little girl
who was trudging along with a pitcher of milk in her hand.

"Little girl, can you tell me where we are?" Berri asked her solemnly.
She stared at us for a moment with great round eyes (Berri admitted
afterwards that the question was a stupid one), and finally answered in
a high, scornful little voice,—

"Main Street."

Berri refused to ask again after that, and we strolled about for a time
until we caught sight of the tower of Memorial,—it suddenly appeared
against the sky in quite the wrong direction,—and then of course getting
home was easy enough.

We were rather confidential on the way back, and talked about the
"Dickey," which we had never discussed before.  The Dickey is the great
Sophomore secret society.  I don’t remember just how the subject came
up, but something reminded Berri of one night earlier in the year,—one
of the nights on which the society takes on ten new members.  They
choose them from the Sophomore class always except late in the spring,
just before college closes, when ten—the "First Ten"—are elected from
among the Freshmen.  However, by that time the Freshmen are almost
Sophomores, so it amounts to about the same thing.  When a ten is taken
on, the whole club marches through the streets at about eleven o’clock
at night, singing a song that has no words but "Tra la la la, la la, la
la."  It’s a wonderful little tune; it’s very short and simple, and
after you ’ve heard it once it sticks in your head, you can’t forget it.
Unlike other catchy airs, though, you somehow don’t get tired of it.  I
’ve heard it over and over again since I ’ve been here,—on pianos as I
passed under the windows of upper classmen, whistled by muckers in the
Yard, and sung by the club at night,—and it always gives me a thrill; I
suppose it ’s because it means such a lot, and because you realize that
no one (except the muckers) would play it or sing it or whistle it who
was n’t entitled to.

On the night that Berri referred to, the club must have been half a mile
away when we first heard it.  Berri was in my room reading, and I was
writing a letter.  My back was toward him, and we neither of us said
anything when the vague musical "tra la la las" floated up from away
down by the river somewhere. They were very faint, and after a minute or
two stopped entirely.  Then, just as I had forgotten about it, the song
began again,—a little louder and more distinct this time and getting
louder every second.  Then it suddenly broke off once more.  But I
didn’t forget it, for I knew that the club had stopped to take some one
out of his room—some one who had just been elected—and march him along
with the others, and I waited kind of nervously for the refrain to begin
again; it never gets started quite evenly,—only a few voices at first,
the rest joining in as the crowd turns away from the door of the
"neophyte’s" house and starts along the street.  They came nearer and
nearer,—the song grew louder and louder.  Some of the fellows were
singing a clear tenor that made the last few notes of every verse die
away in a kind of high, sad wail.  It seemed ridiculous for me to be
sitting there pretending to write a letter, with Berri reading in such
elaborate unconsciousness by the fire, when the ears of both of us were
strained to catch every note, and the hoarse, fierce shouts that
suddenly broke through the song as the Dickey turned into our street;
but neither of us knew what to say exactly.  At last, however, I could
n’t stand it any longer, and jumped up and blew out both the lamps.
With the room dark we could stand at the window and not be seen.
Freshmen are n’t expected to show any particular interest in the
proceedings of the Dickey; it’s considered fresh.  They were just
tramping past our house when we leaned out,—a singing, shouting,
irresistible mob,—and Berri and I looked down at them in silence.  We
were both excited, and I felt chilly all over—but that may have been on
account of the open window.  The crowd did not pass on, as we thought it
would, but stopped at a house across the street a few doors down.  Once
more the song ceased; men formed in a double line that reached from the
piazza to the street, and there were hoarse cries of "Pull him out—pull
him out!"  Then the front door burst open, and a fellow—he seemed to be
half dressed—came hurtling through the air between the double row
waiting for him.  There was a moment of confusion and savage yells,
during which it looked as if the whole crowd was trying to get its hands
on him.  We lost sight of him in the shuffle, and in another instant the
song began, louder than before, and the Dickey swayed away into the
darkness.  We stood at the window until the clearness and energy of the
"Tra la la la, la la, la la," faded to a thin, dim, uncertain rhythm,—a
suggestion of tenor that all but lost itself in the pearly fog rolling
up from the marshes.

I fumbled for a match when we turned at last to the room.  But before I
found one, Berri said, "I think I ’ll go to bed, Granny," and by the
time I got the lamp lighted he had slipped away.  I don’t know why
exactly, but I was rather glad he hadn’t waited.  After that I tried to
finish my letter, but I could n’t make myself end the sentence I had
been writing the way I had meant to end it in the first place.  So I put
the thing in the fire and sat there awhile, thinking, and then went to
bed myself.



                                 *XIV*


Well, as I said, something reminded Berri of that night, and as we were
on a deserted road far from Cambridge, he referred to it,—indirectly at
first, and afterwards right out in so many words.  But he didn’t talk in
the same free and airy strain he had been talking in before, and
although I wanted to hear what he said and ask questions and say a few
things myself, I had a feeling all the time that perhaps we ought to
change the subject; it made me uncomfortable.  Then I thought of the way
I had talked to Duggie the first evening, away back in September, and
positively blushed when I remembered that I had asked him, outright, how
one ought to go about getting on clubs.  Why, that was enough to sewer
me with almost anybody in the world but Duggie.  Imagine my doing such a
thing now!  No one ever thinks of mentioning the clubs in general
conversation. Of course once in a while some fresh kid who happens to
live next door to one of them comes out with an allusion of some kind,
and embarrasses everybody to death; and I ’ve had one or two upper
classmen—Juniors or Seniors—who hadn’t made the Dickey and didn’t belong
to a club talk to me quite freely about the whole matter in a tone that
implied that such things were all very well, no doubt, but did n’t
interest them particularly.  You can get a good deal of information from
upper classmen of this kind,—fellows who are n’t on clubs and have given
up expecting to be; they don’t think you fresh.  But it would never do
to ask for any from a Dickey man; that would be awful. Why, you ’d never
be taken on if you did that.

Even Berri does n’t seem to know much about the Dickey, or, if he does,
he did n’t tell me anything very definite.  He said, though, that if you
didn’t make it, you might just as well pack up and go home; that Dickey
men kind of flocked together and did n’t go outside much for their
friends, and that the fellows you wanted to know usually were on the
Dickey.  Then, too, he said that if a man did n’t make the Dickey, he
wasn’t likely to be taken into a club.  Berri seemed to know a lot about
the clubs.  I knew hardly anything at all; in fact, I thought the Dickey
was a club, but he says it isn’t,—that it’s a society.  The clubs, he
says, are great.  His uncle took him to one for breakfast once before
he—Berri—got into college. (Of course he couldn’t be taken to one now.)
He said he did n’t notice anything particularly secret about it; it was
just like one of the good clubs in town.  I found out the names of most
of them from him—they seem to have Greek names, yet are called by queer
nicknames as a rule—and where they are. This last, however, I knew
pretty well before, but I did n’t know which was which, and could n’t
ask exactly.  I had often seen fellows going in and out of certain
houses along Mount Auburn Street that did n’t look like residences
somehow, although they might have been, and wondered just what they
were.  At night, even with the shades down, they were always lighted
from top to bottom.  No matter how late it was, the lights were there,
cheerful and inviting,—which in itself seemed remarkable when I
considered how early Cambridge (the town, I mean) goes to bed. But one
morning when I was hurrying to a lecture, two fellows came out of
Claverly Hall, and one of them said to the other, "Hold up a minute; I
left my note-book at the club," and dashed across the street. Then it
suddenly dawned on me.  Of course I never look curiously at them any
more, but just walk right on with my eyes fixed on something in the
distance as if they were ordinary houses.  I can’t help wondering,
sometimes, whether anybody ever noticed me staring at them and at the
fellows going in and out—before I knew.  I hope not.

When I asked Duggie about getting into clubs that time, I remember he
evaded the subject (which was darned good of him, it seems to me now) by
saying something about being polite to everybody.

"That’s all very well," Berri answered, when I laughed a little and told
him about it, "but there’s such a thing as being too polite. You see,
there are fellows right now in our class—you know who they are and I do
too—who are, even as early as this, being considered for the First Ten.
If you suddenly turned in and tried to make yourself nice to them, why,
everybody would say you were ’swiping;’ and so you would be.  The First
Ten elects the Second Ten, you know."

"Duggie did n’t mean that you ought to be polite only to the fellows you
think are going to help you along," I answered.  "It was exactly the
reverse of that.  What he meant was that you ought to be the same to
everybody."

"I wonder if _he_ was," Berri mused.  "It’s so easy, after you ’ve once
got to the top yourself, to think you did it all with the help of the
Scriptures.  It’s like these old vultures who ’ve stolen everything in
sight ever since they were born, beginning their magazine articles on
’How to Get Rich’ with: ’Honesty and Industry must be the motto of him
who would attain wealth!’"

I refused to see any connection between Duggie and the old vultures, and
tried to get back to the clubs.  However, we did n’t say much more about
them, and squabbled most of the way home over the subject of popularity.
It does seem queer that some fellows have so many friends, while others
who start with about the same opportunities and even greater natural
advantages now and then have so few.  I suggested that when a fellow was
tremendously popular and "in" everything—and I could n’t see why it was
exactly—he probably had very interesting or fascinating qualities that I
had n’t perhaps discovered.  Berri, however, maintained that popularity
was often nothing but an idiotic fashion, and mentioned several popular
fellows he did n’t like, to prove it.

"Now look at Tucker Ludlow," he burst out.  "What is he?  A dissipated
little beast; you know he is, everybody knows he is. Not that I should
mind his being dissipated and a beast, if he were ever anything else;
but he isn’t.  He’s stupid, and he ’s ignorant, and he is n’t even
good-looking, yet he moves in a crowd,—a nice crowd too; and when he
moves, the crowd moves with him.  That’s nothing but fashion.  It is n’t
possible that anybody can really like the creature.  But it amounts to
the same thing; I ’ve already heard it kind of whispered around that he
’ll be on the First Ten."

What Berri said interested me very much, for Ludlow and I had agreed, a
few days before, to grind together on a course for the mid-year exams.
I had intended to remind him of it, but now that Berri said he was
spoken of for the First Ten I don’t like to; people might think I was
swiping.  I don’t care much for Ludlow myself; but he doesn’t irritate
me the way he does Berri, and I do think there must be something to him.

After the freaks of fashion, Berri seemed to think that the most popular
men—in one’s Freshman year anyhow—were the fellows whose opportunities
for making friends were good to begin with, and who were n’t in any way
particularly startling,—athletics, of course, always excepted; athletes
never lack a following.  But it does n’t do, he says, to be different,
or to excel at first in much of anything else.  You may with perfect
safety have the reputation for knowing things or being clever, but that
’s very different from really knowing or being.  The man who actually
knows or is, is doomed.

"What about Reggie Howard, then?" I asked.  Everybody likes Howard, and
yet he knows a fearful amount and is as clever as any one could be.  I
knew Berri thought so, and wondered how he would get out of it.

"Yes, Reggie’s wise,—very wise," he admitted, "but with the exception of
you and me, almost no one suspects it.  He does n’t object to my
knowing, because he feels sure I don’t mind; and you ’re safe because
you ’re so kind.  But he takes care that people generally don’t get on
to it.  That’s part of his wisdom."

One thing I ’ve learned here that surprised me a good deal, and that
is—popularity has nothing to do with money.  I always had an idea that
people with money to throw to the birds could n’t help being liked; but
that evidently is n’t the case.  And Berri did n’t have to tell me; I
found it out for myself.  Of course it’s nice to be able to live in
comfortable rooms and have plenty to eat and wear decent clothes.  No
one objects to that, and no one objects, apparently, to a fellow’s doing
more than that,—to spending, indeed, a good deal of money if he has it
to spend.  But the mere fact of a man’s having a record-breaking
allowance does n’t seem to interest people in the least, and if some
frightfully rich fellow comes to college with a flourish of trumpets in
the Sunday papers about his father’s income, and how many horses he
intends to keep, and how much the furnishing of his rooms will probably
cost, it ’s decidedly against him.  I was thinking, I suppose, of Tony
Earle in our class.  His father makes millions and millions out of
safety-matches—I believe it is.  Anyhow, everybody speaks of Tony as
"His Matchesty," and has very little to do with him.  The fellows are
simply prejudiced against him because the papers said he had so much
money.  And he ’s really a perfectly harmless, rather quiet sort of
person who plays well on the piano.  Berri and I spent an evening with
him once.  We were dining in town, and Earle was all alone across the
room.  He looked so dreary that Berri finally exclaimed,—

"For heaven’s sake, why doesn’t some one take pity on that poor wretched
millionaire? It’s positively pathetic!"

I suggested asking him to come over and have his dinner with us.  But
Berri, like every one else, objected.

"He ’d probably order nightingales or peacocks or some such thing, and
then insist on paying for us," he said.

"Well, let’s ask him and see," I urged. "We’ll make that the test.  If
he tries to pay the whole bill, he won’t do."  So Berri went over and
asked him to join us, and he turned out just as I said,—quiet and not
especially interesting, but a good deal nicer than a lot of fellows who
won’t know him. When it came to paying the waiter, Berri kicked me under
the table and spent an indecently long time in looking over the check. I
think he was actually disappointed when Earle glanced across the table
and merely said,—

"By the way, what’s my share?"

When we got to Cambridge he asked us over to his rooms.  They certainly
are dreams; even Berri could n’t find anything wrong with them.  He
bangs the box like a wizard.

"I was afraid he was going to say he was lonely, or something
melodramatic like that, when we got up to leave and he asked us to come
again," Berri remarked on the way home.  "Of course he is horribly
lonely, and it was very considerate of him not to spoil everything by
saying so.  I think we ’ll have to go back.  To-morrow at luncheon we
can start a society for the prevention of cruelty to millionaires."

Well, if I ’m ever ostracized it won’t be because people are scared at
my allowance. Papa and I have been having an exceedingly brisk
correspondence lately.  Just after the family got back to Perugia,
Mildred wrote me that papa had won an important lawsuit and was going to
get an unusually large fee. So I bought some clothes and a few things I
really needed on the strength of it and had the bill sent home, as he
made me promise to let him know just what I spent.  He replied at some
length, declaring, among other things, that I reminded him of what
Charles Lamb says of a poor relation; Lamb’s remark being, "A poor
relation is a preposterous shadow lengthening in the noontide of your
prosperity."  I expostulated, and told him about Willie Jackson.
Willie’s elder brother passed through Boston not long ago, and when
Willie went in to see him he asked for money with which to buy a
dress-suit case and some shoes he needed badly.  No one knows exactly
how it happened,—some think that Willie had been brooding over the Fine
Arts course he is taking and the instructor’s plea for more beauty in
one’s every-day environment. Anyhow, when Willie stepped off the car in
Cambridge, he had—not the shoes and the dress-suit case, but a palm and
a canary-bird.

To this papa replied that he didn’t see why I had taken the trouble to
record for his benefit the exploits of Willie Jackson, as he never for a
moment had doubted that there were as many fools in college as
elsewhere.  That is where the matter rests at present.

As there is nothing doing now that you can watch in the afternoon as you
can the football practice in the autumn and the baseball and crews in
the spring, some of us at the table have become athletes on our own
account. We go to the gym every day at about five, and work with
chest-weights and dumbbells, and are put through all sorts of agonizing
performances in a large class of hard students who never take any other
kind of exercise. Then we run up North Avenue as far as the
railway-station and back to our rooms.  I don’t know how far it is, but
the return trip at first seemed to be about a hundred miles; it’s a
little shorter now, and gets shorter every day.  After a hot shower-bath
and then a cold one you feel eight or ten feet high, and walk through
the Square to dinner, sticking out your chest.  It’s queer you don’t
catch cold, running in the icy wind with literally nothing on but a pair
of tennis shoes, loose short cotton drawers, and a thin sleeveless
undershirt; but you never seem to.  The gym made me stiff all over for a
day or two, but I feel fine now, and wonder why we never thought of it
before. The muckers on the Avenue bother us a good deal with snowballs
when we run.  Hemington very foolishly chased one of them not long ago
and washed his face with snow.  The paternal mucker has since sued Hemi
for assault and battery.  Hemi is in a great state about it, and we are
all looking forward to cutting a morningful of lectures and testifying
in court.

The mid-years are almost here, and I feel as if it were only about the
day before yesterday that I was failing in the hour exams.  I simply
must do well in the mid-years, for if I don’t they will probably change
my probation to "special probation" (as it is called), which is the
limit, my adviser says, of everything obnoxious.  I should have to
report—to him most likely—every morning at half-past eight, just to show
that I was up bright and early and "in sympathy with the work," so to
speak.  Then at ten or eleven in the evening I should have to drop in
again, which of course would make it impossible to go to the theatre
without permission.  An extra-sharp lookout would be kept on my work,
and altogether special probation is easily a consummation devoutly to be
avoided.  I suppose I ’ll have to grind and grind night and day in order
to get everything down cold.  I wish now that I had kept on studying an
hour or two every day, as I did for about a week after my encounter with
the exams in October.  I should n’t be well prepared even then, but it
would n’t all seem so perfectly hopeless as it does now. It’s so hard,
though, to do anything regularly when the front door is unlocked most of
the time, as ours is.  And there ’s no use in locking the door of my
room, as the fellows don’t knock once and go away, but pound and rattle
and shout insulting remarks through the keyhole.  All of which makes me
feel disagreeable and rather affected,—locking myself up when other
people get along so well without that sort of thing.  I have n’t done it
more than once or twice.

Anyhow I ’ll probably get a good mark in my English Composition.  The
instructor seems to like my themes and reads a good many of them in
class.  Lately, however, he has developed the unnecessary trick of
pronouncing the words, when he is reading, exactly as they are spelled,
which is extremely trying for me and not fair to the theme.  It has made
several really good ones sound ridiculous.  Spelling is n’t my strong
point, I know; but I draw the line at Berri’s guying me about it,—Berri,
whose spelling, unless he digs every other word out of the dictionary,
looks like some kind of absurd French dialect. He has recently taken to
getting off a rigmarole (it’s supposed to be about me) that begins
something like this,—

"’Berri, how do you spell "parallel"?’

"’Why, p-a-r-a-l-l-e-l, of course.’

"’Thank you; that’s the way I have it.’  (Then nothing was heard but the
scratching of a penknife.)"

I think they ’re rather fussy about details here.  On the back of my
last theme the instructor wrote: "By the way, dotting one’s _i_’s and
crossing one’s _t_’s are charming literary habits when once acquired."

However, I think I shall get a good mark in this course,
notwithstanding.  But life isn’t all English Composition, and I have a
terrible amount of work to do in the other things. Berri and I began, in
a way, to prepare for the ordeal by going to the theatre for the last
time until the mid-year period is at an end.  We made an occasion of it,
and ended by doing something that I had never dreamed we were going to
do when we started out.  It was foolish, I suppose, and I don’t know
exactly what mamma would think about it.  I should like to tell her and
find out, but I ’m afraid papa might get hold of it, and my idea of his
opinion on the subject is somewhat less vague. What we did was to invite
one of the girls in the show to supper.

Berri proposed it.  We were sitting in the front row away to one side,
and when the second act was about half over, he exclaimed to me,—

"There, she ’s done it again; that’s the third time."  I asked him what
he meant, and he replied that one of the girls on our side of the stage
had winked at us.  The attention, he explained, must have been meant for
us.  And for a variety of reasons it did n’t seem as if it could have
been intended for any one else.  In the first place our seats were the
last in the row.  Behind us were some ladies, and on the other side of
Berri was a very old man who sat half turned away from the stage,
holding a great black tin trumpet to his ear, as if he were expecting
the actors to lean over the footlights and pour something into it.

"I don’t want to appear vain," Berri went on, "but as a mere matter of
geographical position I think that we ’re It."  The comedian was singing
a song in the middle of the stage, and on either side of him was a row
of girls—convent girls they were supposed to be—who joined in the chorus
at the end of every verse and shook their fingers at him reprovingly.
They were all dressed in tights.  This was n’t the convent uniform (they
had appeared in that during the first act), and was explained by the
fact that they had been rehearsing for private theatricals when the
comedian fell in through the window.  The comedian was a burglar, and
_his_ tights were merely a clever disguise.  He was making the girls
believe that he was a professional actor hired by the mother superior to
teach them how to sing and dance.  This was the plot, and it was really
rather complicated, for when they all decided to leave the convent with
the burglar and spend the evening at a roof-garden, they rushed in
dressed as policemen, pretending that they had come to arrest the
burglar.  The mother superior did n’t recognize them, of course, and was
naturally glad to have the burglar taken away.  Then, at the
roof-garden—in the third act—they appeared as waiters; all of which made
it hard for me to keep track of them very well. But Berri could spot our
girl every time, and by carefully examining the program and comparing
the names of the chorus with the various changes of costume she went
through, he managed in some way, by the end of the second act, to
discover her name.  It was Miss Mae Ysobelle.  To tell the truth, I did
n’t think her particularly pretty.  She was tall and not a bit graceful,
and when she danced she looked as if it were hard work to move her arms
and legs the right number of times and finish with the others.  She
smiled a great deal, but the moment she stopped dancing her mouth sort
of snapped back to place as if it were made of stiff red rubber. I
found, after watching her for a long time, that my own mouth got very
tired.  I told Berri this; also that her clothes looked as if they had
been made for some one else.  But Berri somehow seemed to think she
might be unusually agreeable if one knew her.

"Very often, you know, really pretty people don’t make up well at all;
and as for her clothes looking as if they did n’t belong to her, why,
she can’t help that, poor thing! they probably don’t.  She is a little
knock-kneed, but you would n’t notice that if she had a skirt on."

"Well, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger of our seeing her
with a skirt," I answered, for some of the convent girls—Mae Ysobelle
among them—had suddenly changed their minds about being waiters and had
decided to give the interrupted private theatricals right there on the
roof-garden stage.  They came prancing in dressed as jockeys, while the
man in the orchestra who, as Berri says, supplies music with local
color, slapped two thin boards together to imitate the crack of a whip.

"Oh, I don’t know," Berri mused; "we might manage to meet her after the
show,—ask her to supper or something.  She seems friendly enough," he
added; for, as he was speaking, the jockeys drew up at the edge of the
stage, touched their caps, then leaned over, and _all_ winked.  Miss
Ysobelle was unmistakably looking at us as she did it.

I did n’t believe she would go with us even if we asked her, but Berri
said we ’d rush out after the third act and buy her some flowers and
send an usher behind the scenes with them. We ended by doing this—we got
her a big box of roses—and writing a note asking her to meet us at the
stage door when the performance was ended.  Berri signed it "Front
row—extreme left."

We did n’t get an answer to it, at least not in words; but when the
curtain went up again on a scene in the convent garden, Miss Ysobelle
had one of our roses in her hair and another at her belt, and I began to
feel excited at the prospect of meeting her.  In fact, the whole last
act had a personal interest for us that the others had not.  It was
almost like being on the stage and enjoying everything from the inside.
I even felt rather sorry for the rest of the audience who were sitting
there perfectly oblivious to the intrigue going on in the blaze of the
footlights, before their unsuspecting eyes.  One thing struck us both as
rather odd at first.  Miss Ysobelle, except for the roses, scrupulously
ignored us through the entire act.  She not only never winked at us, she
never even looked at us.  In fact, she gave us both the impression that
she had become absorbed in something at the other side of the house.  I
could n’t understand this, and neither could Berri, although he said
there was probably some theatrical etiquette connected with her averted
gaze, or perhaps the stage-manager had told her to be more dignified.
We decided to ask her about it at supper.  Well, we never got a chance
to ask her, but we found out soon enough for ourselves.

As we had the last seats on the left side of the front row, we were
naturally the last to get into the middle aisle on the way out, or,
rather, we and the people who had the corresponding seats on the other
side of the house were the last.  We met them when we reached the end of
our row, and had to stop a moment as they stood there putting on their
overcoats and blocking the way.  One of them I noticed particularly,—a
great, big thug of a creature who had shiny black hair slicked up in
front with a barbery flourish, and a very fancy waistcoat and cravat.
They kept just ahead of us on the way out, and laughed a good deal.
Berri and I were unusually silent.

We did n’t go quite to the stage door, as the electric light fizzing
right over it made everything in the little alley as bright as day.
Neither of us was very keen to join the group loitering near by, so we
stood a little back in the shadow and waited.  Finally some men with
their collars turned up came out; then two women with thick veils on.
They seemed to be in a great hurry, and for a few seconds we were afraid
that one of them might be Miss Ysobelle; but we remembered how tall she
was and did n’t run after them.  Then more men came, and more
girls,—some of whom were joined by men waiting at the door. It seemed at
last as if the whole company must have come out, and Berri and I were
beginning to think that Miss Mae Ysobelle must have left before we
arrived, when the door opened once more and she appeared with our box of
flowers in her arms.  For a moment she stood on the step and looked
around expectantly.

"I think we ought to go up," Berri murmured nervously; but I thought it
would be better to wait and join her as she passed by.

Then a queer thing happened.  Just as she decided to leave the step, who
should go up to her but the big thug with the shiny hair and loud
waistcoat?  He lifted his hat and shook hands with her very cordially,
then took the box of flowers—our flowers—and strolled away with her out
of the alley to the street. As they passed by, we heard her exclaim,
"Say, it was awful nice of you to send those Jacques.  When Myrtle seen
me open the box—"  The rest of the sentence was lost in the rattle of a
cab.

Berri and I waited a moment before coming out of the shadow.  Then we
looked at each other, and Berri shrieked with laughter. We laughed all
the way back to Cambridge. The people in the car must have thought—I
don’t know what they could have thought. For a long time we could n’t
imagine why things had turned out as they had until Berri remembered
that he had signed the note "Front row—extreme left."  He had meant our
left, but Miss Ysobelle no doubt thought that it referred to her
left,—which was quite another matter.



                                  *XV*


I’ve been dead to the world for more than a month; it seems about a
year. Yet when I came to look at the situation squarely, there wasn’t
anything else to do exactly.  It was a case of getting the drop on my
exams or letting them get the drop on me.  Of course, I could have sort
of fooled with them and thought I was learning something about them and
then perhaps have scraped through in one or two and failed in the
others.  And this, as a matter of fact, was the way in which Tucker
Ludlow and I did go at them at first.  Tucker came up to my room two or
three times, armed with some type-written notes on Greek architecture
that he had bought at one of the book stores in the Square.  The first
time he came was rather late in the afternoon.  He examined everything
in my room, and we talked a good deal; he had been out West once, and
seemed to know much more about that part of the country than I did.
However, we finally got to work and had read about two pages of the
notes when Hemington came in.  He saw that we were grinding, and said he
would n’t sit down and interrupt us, especially as he ought to be in his
own room, grinding himself. He did n’t actually sit down, but leaned
against the mantelpiece and smoked for a while, and then compromised by
half sitting on the arm of a chair in a temporary way and swinging his
leg.  When at last he got up to leave, it was so near dinner that Ludlow
went with him, and said he would continue some other time.  He left the
notes with me, and at first I thought I should study them alone, but as
Ludlow and I had agreed to grind the course up together, there did n’t
seem to be any point in getting ahead of him; so in a few minutes I went
to dinner myself.

The next time Ludlow came to study was in the evening.  He proposed that
I should read the notes aloud, as he found the architectural terms so
hard to pronounce; we were to stop and talk over anything we did n’t
understand.  I made myself comfortable in a chair near the lamp, and
Ludlow drew up to the fire.  After droning along for about ten minutes
about triglyphs and epistyles and entablatures and all that sort of
thing, I suddenly had a jealous feeling that he was getting more good
from the performance than I was, for he had n’t asked a question, while
I had n’t understood a single sentence.  Finally, without looking up, I
said,—

"Tucker, if you really know what ’pseudo-peripteral’ means, I wish you
would tell me."  Tucker didn’t answer, and I thought he was probably
trying to get at a definition simple enough for me to grasp.  But when I
glanced over toward the fireplace, I saw that he was asleep with his
mouth open.  Well, I felt rather angry at first,—it all seemed such a
waste of time; but it struck me, too, as being funny, so I did n’t wake
him.  He must have slept for at least ten minutes longer (of course I
did n’t bother about reading aloud any more), and then he came to,
exclaiming,—

"Read that about the ground plan once more; I don’t think I quite got
that."  As the ground plan was almost the first topic mentioned, I
suppose he had dozed off almost immediately.  After that I made him do
the reading, but he had n’t stumbled through many pages before he put
down the notes and said,—

"Granny, don’t you think that if we tackled this beastly drivel in the
daytime, our heads would be clearer?"

That was the end of our grinding together. He came to my room once more,
but I was out.  It was after this experience that I thought the matter
over and decided I should have to do the thing differently, and for the
most part alone.  My most brilliant stroke was getting the key of
Duggie’s room from Mrs. Chester; I could lock myself up there and be
perfectly safe.  When fellows saw my own door wide open and no one at
home, they went away at once without making a row. Of course I had to
let Berri into the game; but as he began to be scared about some of his
own exams, he was grateful for the refuge and did n’t give it away.

I went to work at the whole business scientifically, determined not to
leave a single thing, however unimportant, to chance.  And I ’m
convinced now that if I have the nerve always to do this, I can get
through any examination I ’m ever likely to have,—not brilliantly,
perhaps, but very respectably.  First of all, I spent a day in the
library and got hold of a lot of books that gave my various courses in
their simplest, clearest form.  For the Fine Arts course I found that a
copy of the notes that Ludlow had was better than anything. They stated
facts in a condensed way that made it possible to keep in your head a
bird’s-eye view of the entire course, as far as we had gone.  Then I
made a list of the number of pages of general reading we had to
accomplish in every course, and split them up so as to be able to get
through them all—taking notes as I read—by reading a certain number of
pages a day.  I left a margin at the end for review and in case of
accidents.  And finally, after I had made these preparations and
collected as many of the necessary books as I could (I had to do some of
my reading in the library), I locked Duggie’s door one morning after
breakfast, and sat down at his desk, and stayed there until luncheon;
and after luncheon I went back and stayed until it was time to go to the
gym and take a run; and after dinner I went back and stayed until
bedtime.  And I did this every day with very few interruptions until I
could pick up any of the text-books, turn to the alphabetical index, and
plough right through it, describing in detail every darned thing it
mentioned; and an alphabetical index mentions a good deal.  If I slipped
up on anything, I would mark it with a pencil, go back and learn it.
Oh, it was perfectly awful!  I got so tired and discouraged and maudlin
at times that I would have to lean back and close my eyes and let my
bursting mind become a throbbing blank for a few minutes, in order to
keep from screaming.  But after the gym and the run and the shower-bath,
I felt all right again,—just as if nothing had happened.

Two courses—the physics and philosophy—I had to tutor in for a while.
There was no use pegging away at them by myself, for I simply did n’t
understand some of the experiments, and logic I could n’t make head or
tail of.  A Senior who lived in College House explained them to me in
simple golden words (three dollars an hour were his terms), and when I
once saw through it all and had it down on paper in my own language, I
could let it soak in at home.  The other things—the ones I did
understand, like History and Fine Arts—were merely a matter of incessant
repetition and memory.

The night before the Fine Arts exam I went to what is called a "Seminar"
in that subject.  I could have got along very well without it after my
days and days of slavery, but about every one I knew was going, and I
wanted to see what it was like.  There are several men here who make a
business of boiling popular courses down to their most painlessly
swallowable dimensions, and then giving the thing the evening before the
examination in a kind of lecture, for which they charge an admittance
fee of three or four dollars.  This performance is a seminar,—a kind of
royal road, if not to learning at least to passing examinations.  They
say that fellows who never look at a book or take a note in class often
go to a seminar and, providing they have good memories, are able to
answer enough questions on the exam paper the next morning to get
through with colors flying.  A certain number of questions on almost
every paper simply have to deal with cold, isolated facts rather than
with the generalities, comparisons, and discussions that necessitate a
real knowledge of the subject, and it is with these facts—pounded in at
a seminar—that one puts up a successful bluff.  The authorities
naturally object to all this.  As Berri remarked about the seminar we
went to,—

"After a professor has earnestly expounded a subject for half a year, it
must make him rather sore to have a cheeky parrot get up and do the
whole thing much better in four hours."

The Fine Arts seminar was held in a huge room, almost a hall, in a kind
of office building near the Square.  It was advertised to begin at
half-past seven, and pretty much every one was there on time,—all the
sports of the Freshman and Sophomore classes, some Juniors, and even a
few Seniors.  It was what the society reporter refers to as "a large and
fashionable gathering."  It certainly was a mighty nice-looking crowd of
fellows; clean, well dressed, and (to quote Berri) "much more
intelligent in appearance than we actually are, or we should n’t be here
at all."  As every man came in, he was given a large sheet of stiff
paper on which was printed a synopsis of the course, with all the
subjects that had been touched on methodically arranged, and a list of
definitions, simple and easily remembered, but adequate.  It was Greek
art in a nutshell,—a perfect marvel of clearness and condensation.  The
little folding chairs had been neatly arranged in a semicircle at first,
but by the time the fellows had taken possession of them, they looked as
if they had been thrown in at random.  A good many men who were
evidently old hands at the business arranged themselves comfortably in
two chairs, leaning back in one with their legs stretched across
another, as if prepared to spend the night.  A lot of them took off
their coats and waistcoats—the crowd and the gas made the already
overheated room unbearably warm—and I ’ve never seen so many pretty
shirts in my life as I did that evening.

After every one was settled, the man who was giving the seminar took a
chair on a little platform in front of us, and began—not to talk
exactly, but to drone.  He had a harsh monotonous voice—une voix
trainante, Berri called it—and spoke with painful slowness, as if trying
not to emphasize any one topic to the exclusion of the others,—which had
the effect of making his entire discourse, from beginning to end,
horribly important.  Except for this crawling sound, the room was
absolutely silent; for once nobody seemed conscious of himself or of any
one else.  Even when the man on the platform pronounced Greek words in a
novel fashion that was all his own, there was n’t a smile.  I don’t
think we realized the intense strain of attention we were undergoing
until, at the end of an hour and three quarters, Tucker Ludlow, who had
gone to sleep, fell off his chair.  The second or two of relaxation that
followed the crash was exquisite.  We stretched our arms and swabbed our
foreheads with our handkerchiefs, and then sank back again for another
hour and fifteen minutes, until the bell in the tower of Memorial boomed
out ten o’clock.  This seemed to be the signal for a short vacation; for
the fact-machine on the platform finished the sentence he had begun and
then stood up.

There was a general shuffling of chairs and a babbling of voices, and
the crowd divided into chattering groups.  Some of the fellows did n’t
seem to know anybody, and they either went out and strolled up and down
the corridor or sat studying the synopsis.  The host of the evening had
provided beer and ginger ale and cheese and crackers with which to
sustain life until the ordeal was over.  He could well afford it, as
there were at least seventy-five men in the room, every one of whom
would deposit three dollars and a half before he left.

While Berri and I and most of our table were talking in a corner, a
fellow named Smith, a Sophomore, sauntered over to us.  Berri and I were
the only ones who knew him, so of course he must have come just to speak
to us.  I don’t remember what he said exactly, as the conversation of
the others sort of faded away when he approached, and Berri and I were
fearfully rattled.  He ’s very prominent and belongs to everything.
After we had stood there for a minute or two, Hemington and Bertie
Stockbridge and the others drifted off, leaving us three together, and
in a moment more Berri said, "I ’m going over to get another cracker,"
and also left us.  I happened to notice that he did n’t go near the
crackers, and furthermore he never came back. This seemed so queer and
unlike Berri that I spoke to him about it on the way home and asked him
why he had done it.  He answered by saying,—

"You don’t have to be much of a fox to know when you ’re wanted and when
you ’re not; and that happened to be one of the times when I wasn’t."
This struck me as absurd, and does still.  Berri knew Smith every bit as
well as I did, for the only other time he had ever spoken to us we
happened to be together just as we were the night of the seminar.  I
reminded Berri of this; but he only laughed a little and replied,—

"Well, as Fleetwood says, ’I ’m an old man and I know my place.’"  Since
then Smith has joined me twice when I was walking through the Yard and
seemed very friendly in a distant kind of way.  I mean that his joining
me at all was friendly; he is n’t much of a talker, and I never know
quite what to say to him.  Of course it’s very nice in him to do it, but
it makes me rather uncomfortable; for both times we stopped a moment on
the steps of Sever—the bell had n’t rung yet—and although there were a
lot of fellows I knew waiting to go in, they merely nodded to me and
then looked away.

But I ’m forgetting about the seminar.  We went back to our chairs
again, and once more tuned our ears to the monotonous voice of the
lecturer, that dragged on and on till midnight.  It became harder and
harder to take in everything he said.  The air was heavy with the smoke
of Egyptian cigarettes, and I counted nine men who were sound asleep. I
suppose that, even though asleep, they were more likely to acquire a
fact or two than if they hadn’t been there at all.  Just at the end—I
can hear him now—the man on the platform leaned back wearily with closed
eyes and chanted in the same hopeless tone,—

"Let me once more urge upon you the importance of expressing in your
examination papers sympathy with the Greek life, the Greek art, and the
Greek ideals of the best period.  A page or two of sincere regret that
we moderns do not possess the innate sense of beauty, the joy of life,
civic pride, harmony, and all the other things that the Greeks went in
for will help you to get a passing mark. Remember what I told you about
[Greek: sophrosúne]. Refer to [Greek: sophrosúne] constantly.  John
Addington Symonds calls it ’that truly Greek virtue; the correlative in
morals to the passion for beauty.’  S-y-m-o-n-d-s, and there are two
_d_s in Addington.  If you get stuck, make use of the quotation I gave
you from Goethe—G-o-e-t-h-e—it comes in well almost anywhere.
Good-night and good luck."  He stood at the door as we passed out,
holding a box in his hand, into which every one dropped three Plunks and
a half.  I was tired when we got home and went right to bed.  But Berri
sat up almost until morning, studying the synopsis and going over his
notes.

It must have been some time before this that Berri’s thesis arrived from
England one morning with a long letter from Duggie.  I have kept a sort
of lookout for it right along, but that morning Berri saw the postman
from my window and ran downstairs to meet him. As he was coming up, he
exclaimed in a surprised voice, "What on earth do you suppose—" and then
broke off abruptly.  He passed quickly through my room, dropping a bill
on my desk as he went, and after that the house for about half an hour
was very silent. I had so often wondered what Berri would do, what he
would say, how he would take Duggie’s letter when it came, that I
instinctively knew it had at last arrived, and asked no questions.

He surprised me by neither saying nor doing anything; and for two days I
had no reason to suppose that the thesis had wandered back to Cambridge
at all beyond the feeling in my bones that it had.  On the third day,
however, Berri, who was just starting off to spend Sunday at his aunt’s,
stopped in my room with a letter in his hand.  He looked at it
doubtfully for a moment, as if making up his mind about something, and
then tossed it into my lap.

"I got that from Sherwin the other day," he said; and then added, as he
made for the door and I drew the letter from its envelope,—

"Well, it may be all for the best."

I don’t think anybody could read Duggie’s letter and not feel that it
was for the best. Berri has n’t said anything more about it, and neither
have I.  There really is n’t anything to say.

I passed all my exams.  My marks are n’t anything to be stuck up about,
but they let me through decently, and in three courses were even a
little better than they actually had to be,—which is a comfort in a way.
For my adviser says he thinks that in a few weeks it would n’t do any
harm to petition the administrative board (or whatever it is that has
charge of such things) to let me off probation. He says he can’t promise
anything, of course, but that stranger things have happened; all of
which seems to me rather to explode Berri’s conviction that every
adviser in college spends all his odd moments in devising fiendish
schemes for the destruction of his Freshmen charges.  But then Berri was
unfortunate in his adviser.  He is n’t young and does n’t try to be
sympathetic like mine, and he annoys Berri extremely by glaring at him
over a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles and exclaiming _à propos_ of
nothing,—

"You can’t fool me—you can’t fool me!"

My adviser has had me to dinner twice at the professors’ club.  He
invites his Freshmen, four or five at a time, to dinner, in order, I
suppose, to get to know them better.  Of course, he never really does
get to know us better by having these stiff little parties, but it’s
awfully kind of him to ask us, and he thinks he does; so it’s all right.
I dreaded the first one, but my dread was n’t a patch on the dread with
which I dreaded the second, because I ’d been to the first.  Naturally I
did n’t dare refuse to go to either of them. Nobody does.  The dinner
itself is good, and my adviser not only lays himself out to be just as
nice as possible,—he succeeds.  Yet the fellows don’t feel altogether at
their ease somehow and are n’t themselves.  They want to be and try to
be, and once in a while they put up a pretty good bluff at it, but they
never quite are.  I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but when you
can’t help feeling that your host is sizing you up and talking only
about the things he thinks you like to talk about—even if you do like to
talk about them, why, you just can’t.  (I’ve read that sentence over six
times and it means a little less every time.)  After dinner he takes the
fellows up to his room and asks them to smoke, and they never know which
would be the better swipe,—to accept or to refuse. Some decide one way
and some the other; but whether they want to smoke or not has very
little to do with the decision.  The best part of the evening comes when
somebody gets up enough nerve to murmur that he is very sorry he has to
say good-night, as he has a lot of studying to do.  This usually makes
the others laugh, and it always breaks up the party.  Then the fellows
get together in somebody’s room—if they know one another well enough—and
talk the thing over.

Oh, I wish spring would come!  This seems to be the time of year when
nothing much happens.  As long as we were all grinding most of the day
for the mid-years, I didn’t think much about the weather, except that
when it was bad there wasn’t so much temptation to idle out of doors.
Now, however, everybody wants the weather to be good, and it’s vile.  It
always manages to do four or five different things in the course of a
day, and the walking is unspeakable. To a certain extent, though, this
is the fault of the town itself.  Most of the residence streets have
dirt sidewalks and curbstones that might be very picturesque in Egypt or
some place where it did n’t rain and snow and freeze and melt all in the
course of a few hours; but here they turn into troughs full of mud and
slush, and the curbstones keep the mixture from running into the gutter.
I know I ought n’t to criticise such a fine old town.  So many great
people have, all their lives, floundered uncomplainingly through
Cambridge mud that I suppose it’s cheeky of me to notice it.  But in wet
weather the sidewalks are really not nice.  In front of a few houses the
owners put down temporary wooden walks,—three boards wide, running
lengthwise,—but you invariably meet a lady in the middle of them and
have to jump gracefully into the nearest puddle, looking as if you
considered this the dearest privilege of your young life.

The candidates for the track team are crazy to get out of doors and
begin regular practice on the Soldiers’ Field cinder track, but it ’s
too soft yet to be raked and rolled, and they have to keep working in
the gym and on the tiresome old board track behind it.  Dick Smith was
talking about this not long ago when he joined me in the Yard.  He says
it’s great on a warm spring morning to go across the river and sit on
the bleachers and watch the fellows practise starting and short sprints.

Well, there’s nothing like that now.  I hardly know how the days go by.



                                 *XVI*


I notice that when I last wrote in my diary I was wishing for spring,
and here it is almost the end of June!  Where did all those slow days I
complained of go to so quickly, I wonder?  How did I spend them, and why
haven’t I tried to tell about them?  I don’t know unless it was because
they were so slow and did go so quickly. Nothing ever happened, really,
until just at the end; but to-day with Cambridge sizzling hot (I can
smell the asphalt on the main street even here in my room) and perfectly
deserted, except for its inhabitants (who don’t count) and the kids who
have come to take their entrance exams, the last three months and a half
seem like a dream. The spring is scarcely over, and yet I ’ve already
begun to look forward to it again next year.

I liked it so much, I suppose, because in Perugia we don’t, as a rule,
have any.  Out there it’s very much like what you read about Russia: for
a long time it’s winter, and then you wake up some morning feeling as if
you had spent the night in a Turkish bath, and know that it is summer;
you know that the soda-fountains are hissing, that a watering-cart is
jolting past, leaving behind it a damp, earthy sensation (something
between an odor and a faint breeze), that an Italian is leaning over the
fence languidly calling out, "Bananos—bananos," that a scissors-grinder
is ding-donging in the distance, and that, of course, a lawn-mower is
whirring sharply back and forth under your windows.

Here warm weather comes slowly and shyly, as if it could n’t quite make
up its mind to come at all.  There are many days that from the other
side of a pane of glass look all blue and white and gold, and tempt you
to snatch up a cap and run out.  You do this, and stand undecidedly on
the sidewalk for a moment; then you go in again and put on your overcoat
and gloves.

Somehow the leaves don’t seem to burst out all at once, as they do with
us.  You notice first, on Brattle Street and in the Yard, that the trees
have undergone a change.  That is, you think they have; the change is so
slight you aren’t sure, and may have only imagined it, after all.  But
in a few days—I can’t now remember how many—you know that you were
right; the branches and twigs that have stood out so hard and definite
against all the winter sunsets have blurred a little,—they are no longer
altogether in focus.  They blur more and more as the days go by,
until—shall I ever forget it?—you cease to think of them as trees, and
only know that over and beyond you there is a faint, uncertain mist of
tenderest green,—so faint, so uncertain that you almost glance up to see
whether it has drifted away on a slow, pungent gust from the marshes.
But instead of doing that, it grows denser and greener against the
rain-washed blue, until it is no longer a mist, but a cloud.  Then at
last there is a delicious crinkling, and the leaves have come.  In May
and June bleak, shabby Cambridge covers all its angles and corners. They
are softened and filled with billows and jets and sprays and
garlands,—green, gold, silver, mauve, and—what is the color of apple
blossoms?  They are such a tremor of white and pink that I never really
know.  The wind loses its bite, and then its chill.  The air is moist
and warm, and as you walk slowly through the quiet leafy streets at
night, the damp, fresh lilacs stretch out to dabble against your face,
and something—it may be the stillness and sweetness of it all, or it may
be just the penetrating smell of the box hedges—something makes you very
sad and very happy at the same time.

During the day, between lectures, we loafed a good deal,—on Brattle
Street chiefly; and often in the afternoon, when we were beginning to
think of thinking of grinding for the finals, Berri and I and
occasionally Hemington used to take a book or some notes and go up to
the vacant lot across the street from the Longfellow house.  At the
further end of this open space—a meadow during the poet’s lifetime, but
now, unfortunately, a rather ugly little park—there is a stone terrace
with a short flight of steps and two broad stone seats against the wall
below.  Passionate pilgrims come there for a moment, once in a while,
but as a rule it is deserted.  We pretended to study here; but dates and
formulas and Geschmitzenmenger’s reflections on the building materials
of ancient Rome always got mixed up in Hemington’s tobacco smoke, or we
forgot about them in watching the sun sparkle on the pools left by the
falling tide. Berri said that even Italy had very little more to offer
one than a stone bench soaked in sunlight and the delusion that one was
accomplishing something.  Now and then we strolled in Longfellow’s
garden.  The family were out of town, and Berri inherits the privilege
of doing this from his aunt.

I can’t get away from the idea that although the days were getting
longer and slower as Class Day drew near, they went ever so much more
quickly than they had at first; notwithstanding, also, the fact that I
got up earlier. I happened to do this the first time by accident.
Bertie Stockbridge was the only person at breakfast, and when I asked
him not to leave me alone, he said he had to or he would be late for
Chapel.  I had n’t known before that he went to Chapel, but he told me
he never missed a morning.  I had n’t been there myself at all, but that
morning I went with him.  It was very nice.  The President was there,
and the Dean, and several of the professors, and a good many
students—some of whom I would n’t have suspected of even knowing where
the Chapel was.  The music was fine; the little boys in the choir sang
like angels,—the same little boys who used to paste us with snowballs
during the winter. After that I went to Chapel almost every morning
until college closed.  It was a good way to begin the day, somehow.
Berri began to go too after a while, but he said he did it to give him
luck in his exams.

On Saturday afternoons and Sundays we bicycled a great deal when the
roads began to get into shape.  The whole table would start off and
explore the park system, and once we made a historical tour of Lexington
and Concord, which Berri wrote up for the Lampoon. I think Berri will
make the Lampoon next year if he keeps on.  His way of going about it is
killing.  He writes things, and then comes into my room with a solemn,
anxious face, and says,—

"Do you think this is funny?  Glance through it carelessly and tell me
just how it strikes you.  I think it’s perfectly side-splitting
myself,—I do really; but it mightn’t strike anybody else that way."

Then there was Riverside, where the Charles all but loses itself between
steep, cool, shady banks, under trees that peer over the edges all
through the long, drowsy summer, or flows brimming across a meadow where
a man ploughs a rich black border and talks to his horses and sings.  It
takes just the amount of effort you like to make, to follow in a canoe
the course of this lazy stream. Riverside is another place to which you
like to take all the essentials for study except the power of will.

As the board decided to let me off probation late in the spring, I could
cut lectures once more without anything very terrible happening, and it
was great on a warm morning to walk into town for luncheon and keep our
hats off while we were on the bridge.  There ’s almost always a
sea-breeze on the bridge.

I hardly know how to write of the surprising and wonderful thing that
happened to me at the end of May.  It came so unexpectedly that even now
I sometimes stop to wonder if it ever happened at all, and if I can be
really I.  But when I think it all over carefully, remembering a few of
the situations that led up to it,—trifling incidents that were
inexplicable at the time and worried me very much,—I see now that I
wasn’t very intelligent in not suspecting a little what they meant.  I
never did, though, not in the least.

The thing that happened—how little the simple statement would mean to
papa, for instance, and how much it really does mean!—the thing that
happened was, that I made the First Ten of the Dickey.

As long ago as April, the First Ten began to be—well, it began to be
very much on people’s minds, although, of course, hardly anything was
said about it.  Berri and I used to talk about it a little; Hemington
and I mentioned it once in a while; I suppose there are about four men
in our class that I knew well enough to discuss it with.  But naturally
we spoke of it only when we were absolutely alone.  If any one else came
into the room, we began to talk about something else.  Yet, although the
subject could n’t come up in general conversation, I often knew that it
was there—in everybody’s thoughts—in the atmosphere.  Every day some
little thing would happen that almost made you jump, as it suddenly
brought the question into your mind, "Who is going to make the First
Ten?" things, for instance, like seeing some one in our class walking
through the Square with a Dickey man who was in the Sophomore class.
That always looked as if it meant something, because—well, because it
very often _did_ mean something.  One night Berri told me (in the
strictest confidence, of course) that Phil Blackwood—an upper
classman—had met a girl cousin of his in town at a tea, and had said to
her that he liked Berri, and thought he was great fun to talk to.  She
had told this to Berri’s aunt, who had repeated the remark to Berri, who
was in a great state about it, and wondered how much importance he ought
to attach to it.  It really did sound to me as if something might come
of it.

We made lists of names and bet on them, and then locked them up in our
desks.  I put Berri’s name on my list; but whether or not he put mine on
his, I don’t know, for after the crash came, we forgot to compare notes.

As the time grew near, not only Berri, but a good many fellows I knew
well began to treat me in a way I did n’t understand and did n’t like.
I don’t know just how to describe the gradual change in their manner
toward me, because it was the sort of thing you feel without being able
to put your finger on the cause, or even on the change itself, without
seeming morbid and exaggerated.  But I could n’t help realizing that
they treated me rather coolly.  They stopped coming to my room as often
as they had been in the habit of coming, they left me out of all sorts
of little things I had always been in before as a matter of course, and
more than once, as I took my seat at the table or went into somebody’s
room, I could see that my appearance made the fellows uncomfortable for
a moment, or at least gave the talk a different turn.  All this hurt my
feelings terribly, and I tried to think what I could have done to make
the fellows I liked best and considered my friends treat me this way.
But I could n’t think of a thing.  I supposed I must have done something
without appreciating what the consequences would be.  It made me feel
pretty badly, I can tell you, and several times I was on the point of
demanding an explanation; but they were all so polite and distant and
reserved that I never could bring myself to.

Of course, now I understand exactly why it was, and see how hopelessly
stupid I must have been not to have suspected anything.  The whole
situation arose from the fact that there was a rumor in the class to the
effect that I was being considered for the First Ten,—a rumor that was
apparently given foundation by my being seen several times with Dick
Smith.  This made the fellows instinctively avoid me a little, from a
feeling that I and the class generally might imagine that they were
trying to swipe if they went around much with me.  It seems to me now
particularly dense on my part not to have had a glimmer of this, because
it was just the way I felt myself toward Tucker Ludlow, who had gone to
the theatre one night with Phil Blackwood, and two or three other men
who were spoken of for the First Ten.  Yet I never dreamed that any one
could look at me in this way.

Well, things went on, getting more whispery and panicky and
uncomfortable, until finally one night at the end of last month the
crash came.  Just how anybody really knew that the Dickey was having its
great spring meeting for the purpose of electing the First Ten it would
be impossible to say, for I can’t believe that it was breathed in so
many words, but we did know it, and we knew that it lasted for three
days and three nights before the decision was reached.  Then——

In the afternoon Dick Smith overtook me in the street, and after walking
along for half a block, said abruptly,—

"By the way, Wood, stay in your room to-night," and then disappeared in
a doorway.

I think my heart stopped beating.  I did n’t dare let myself dwell on
the meaning of his words, but stumbled to my lecture and sat there,
simply dazed.  At the end of the hour I ran back to my room.  When I
heard Berri come in, I grabbed a book and stared at it blindly, without
seeing a word; but Berri passed along the hall to his own study without
so much as stopping at my open door.  I did n’t go to our table for
luncheon; I slipped into The Holly Tree later instead.  But I could n’t
eat anything; I was so excited and nervous and full of doubt and fright
that I don’t remember just how I got through the afternoon.  I know I
tried to sit in my room, but gave it up and buried myself for a while in
one of the alcoves of the library.  Later I walked in back streets, and
then ran all the way home, when the light began to fade, fearing that
something—I could n’t bring myself to think just what—might happen in my
absence.  By that time I was painfully hungry, and managed to swallow a
cup of tea and a piece of toast at The Holly Tree.

The evening was endless.  I tried to read, but by the time I reached the
end of a sentence I had forgotten the beginning of it. Then I tried to
write a letter to mamma, but my hand trembled so that the writing
scarcely looked like mine at all, and anyhow I couldn’t think of enough
to fill the first page.  It was as if I were two distinct persons,—one
trying to write a calm letter to mamma, and the other in an agony of
apprehension and uncertainty.  I don’t know which was worse,—the feeling
that the Dickey was coming for me, or the feeling that perhaps it
wasn’t. Could Dick Smith have merely meant that he might drop in to see
me that evening?  He had never been in my room, and it seemed unlikely
that he should come in that way. His manner, too, of telling me to stay
at home had been so odd, his leave-taking so abrupt. I turned these
things over in my mind interminably; then I would glance at the clock
and find the hands glued to the same old place.

To make things worse, Berri had come home almost as soon as I had, and
was in his room with the door shut.  I longed to go in, but the feeling
that I wouldn’t have anything to say if I did, kept me back.  He made me
even more nervous than I really was by walking up and down, up and down,
and occasionally moving a chair as if he had run into it in his restless
promenade and were pushing it viciously out of the way.  If his manner
hadn’t been so strained and queer, I think I should have gone in anyhow
and relieved my mind.  I did n’t intend to do quite this, but at the end
of about two hours I could n’t endure the lonely suspense any longer,
and decided at least to knock on his door and borrow something—I did n’t
know what when I started.  Mrs. Chester had forgotten to light the lamp
in the hall, and as I was feeling my way through the darkness and
deciding that a match would be the most plausible excuse for going in
and then going out again almost immediately, I bumped into somebody
coming the other way.  We both jumped back, and I thought for a second
that I was about to collapse at the knees.

"Oh, it’s you!" Berri exclaimed in a voice that I just recognized as
his.  "Heavens! but you scared me.  I was on my way to your room to
borrow your—your—your—to borrow—  Oh, Granny!"  He broke off with a kind
of gulp, and threw his arms around me. "Isn’t this ghastly!"  Then I
knew that he had been told to stay in his room too, and had been
suffering the same horrors.  Ever since dinner he had been pacing the
floor unable, just as I had been, to make up his mind as to the exact
significance of the advice to be at home that evening.  He could n’t
help feeling that it might have been a mistake, that something would go
wrong; and that again, if nothing _did_ go wrong, there was the hideous
conjecture as to what would happen to you to look forward to.

We sat down in my study,—Berri on the edge of a chair, his hands folded
with desperate calmness on his lap; I at my desk, where I found, after a
minute or two of strained silence, that I had dug a great hole in my
blotter and ruined a stylographic pen.

"If they do come," Berri at last whispered, "how do you think we ought
to be found?  I don’t know that it would be altogether the thing to be
so—so dressed and apparently waiting."  Our extreme preparedness did
seem rather assuming, now that he spoke of it; I was far from wanting to
appear cock-sure of my election or of anything else to a fiendish mob
such as we had watched from my window that night in the autumn.

"And yet," I answered, "if we took off very much, I don’t suppose they
would wait for us to dress; in fact, I don’t think I _could_ dress, and
when I came in, it seemed to be getting cool outsi—"

"Ssssshh!  I thought I heard something," Berri broke in.  He leaned
toward the window, and as the lamplight fell on his face, I saw for the
first time how pale he was.  We listened. The clock ticked with a queer
little hum on two notes that I had never known it to make before; the
student-lamp grumbled twice, and each time the flame rose and fell; I
had never noticed this, either.

"I was perfectly sure," Berri whispered. His whisper was several times
louder than his ordinary tone.

"How do you think it would do to take off our coats and neckties?" I
suggested.  "That would look as if we had begun to get ready for bed
without any suspicion of—of—It; and at the same time we would have
pretty much everything on."

"You talk now as if you had made up your mind that they were coming,"
Berri said nervously.  "Do you think they are?"  The fact of his asking
me this dropped me back once more into all the sickening doubt from
which for a minute or two I had been unconsciously lifted.

"I don’t know," I faltered.  "What do you think?"  But instead of
telling me Berri exclaimed,—

"Oh, this is awful!" and began to walk up and down the room.  As he
walked he took off his coat and threw it in a corner; then he gave the
end of his necktie a jerk that not only undid the knot but ripped his
shirt open from his neck to his shoulders, for he had forgotten that on
one side the thing was pinned.  I don’t think he realized what he was
doing, as he went on pulling and pulling until he had torn out a narrow
strip of linen at least a foot and a half long.  Berri, pacing the floor
and tearing himself to pieces in a nervous frenzy as he paced, struck me
all at once as the funniest thing I had ever seen, and I began, first to
giggle, and then to laugh with the kind of laughter that takes
possession of you all over and leaves you helpless.

I was leaning back in my chair, weak and hysterical, when Berri stopped
as abruptly as if he had been shot, and stood petrified in the middle of
the room.  Away in the distance the chanting cry of the Dickey had begun
to rise and fall, die with a tenor wail and begin again; my laughter
died with it, and as I lay there, hypnotized by the sound, I think I
must have forgotten to close my mouth, for when Berri spoke again, my
throat was parched and rough.  Perhaps he did n’t speak—I think he just
made a feeble motion with his hand that I interpreted as a sign to take
off my coat and necktie.  But I couldn’t act on it; I could n’t do
anything but lean back with my eyes fixed, and listen to the approaching
song.  It grew louder and louder, clearer and clearer, fiercer and
fiercer, until it broke all at once into a great roar, and I knew that
they had turned the corner and were coming down our little street.  Then
I felt Berri’s hand in mine,—it was cold and wet,—and he was saying
incoherently,—

"Good by, Granny—I mustn’t be found in your room—good-by—I must be found
in my own room—reading a book—yes—reading a book—good-by."  Then the
exultant song and the heavy rhythm of feet under my window suddenly
stopped; there was a moment almost of silence, followed by a hoarse yell
from what seemed like a thousand savage throats.  In the pandemonium my
ears distinguished here and there the sound of my own name shouted and
shrieked in various tones of impatient, unbridled, vindictive eagerness,
and for a second my thoughts flashed back to the night Berri and I had
seen some one else pulled out.  That had thrilled me, but this reduced
me to a quaking pulp.

The door downstairs crashed back—there was a deafening scramble on the
tin steps—my own door burst open—the room was full of greedy hands and
vengeful faces.  I was lifted—hurled through the air out into the hall
and down the stairs in two thuds—across the piazza, down the steps,
along the walk, out of the gate between a double line of executioners
into the hungry mob that dragged me this way and that, tore at my hair
and clothes, rolled me in the dirt, and finally jerked me upright,
linked my arms in those of some other neophytes (I could n’t see who
they were), and started me down the street with a kick.  We swayed off—a
million devils behind us—roaring the Dickey song, as we had been
commanded to, at the top of our lungs.



                               *XVII[#]*


[#] For obvious reasons, certain parts of Granny Wood’s diary have not
been printed.  Of the passages that refer to the Dickey, only those
describing the society’s public practices have been retained.—The
Editor.


Most of the time I was on my knees.  There were only two moments of
relief in the painful march; they came when the crowd stopped to pull
out two other unfortunates and hurl them, as I had been hurled, from
their respective front doors.  For the time being (it was a very short
time, however) the rest of us were neglected; but as soon as the arms of
our fellow neophyte were linked in ours, the irresistible impetus from
behind began once more and we continued our perilous way.

At last all ten of us were shoved—a dazed and gasping semicircle—up the
steps of Claverly Hall, and our names were cheered in the order of our
election.  With the exception of Berri, I had n’t known before who the
others were.  In the darkness and excitement it had been impossible to
see.  There was something ominous and depressing in the cheers they gave
us.  Berri said, in talking about it the week afterward, that it was as
if the cannibal band should cheer the missionary.  Then the crowd melted
away with vague threats as to what was to come, and I was taken back to
my room, weary and stupid, by Dick Smith.  He was to be my guide and
only friend during the week that was to follow. Before he left me, he
told me the conditions of my servitude.

              *      *      *      *      *      *      *

That week was the longest and most absolutely wretched of my life, I
think; although now that it is over, I would n’t give up the memory of
it for almost anything.  Even in the midst of it the idea of chucking
the whole thing, as I suppose I might have done, never occurred to me.
I could at times conceive of my giving out, but never of my giving up.
The first day of my "running," as it is called, from six in the morning
until ten o’clock at night, was one long embarrassment, mortification,
and mental agony to me.  I set my teeth and forced myself through it
doggedly.  The days that followed were just as bad,—even worse,
perhaps,—but I did n’t have to compel myself to do things.  I went
through them mechanically; where almost everything was a hideous
nightmare, no one incident, after a time, had the power to overwhelm me
as at first.  I was too tired and dirty and unshaven and cowed to care
particularly what they made me do, or to have a feeling of any kind,
other than one of hopeless submission.  In the morning after an early
breakfast at The Holly Tree * * * * * * * * * * *

Then some one, usually three or four, would get hold of me and make me
do perfectly awful things in the College Yard or on the streets.  I had
to perform so many crazy acts that I can’t remember them all, or on what
days they came, and, as I said, I grew perfectly indifferent to what I
had to do or who saw me do it.

One warm afternoon they made me put on three soft, thick sweaters and
then took me to a drug-store in the Square, where they poured over me
half the contents of a long line of perfumery bottles on the
counter,—white-rose, heliotrope, patchouly, musk, ylangylang, violet,
bay-rum, and several kinds of cologne,—all the deadly scents that one
investigates while waiting for a prescription to be put up.  Then we got
on an electric car,—the fellows who were running me at one end, and I at
the other.  They of course (after instructing me to snuggle up to my
fellow passengers,—refined old ladies and peevish middle-aged gentlemen
in particular) pretended to ignore me.  But the other passengers did
n’t.  Everybody I sat next to would turn, after about three seconds,
look at me with a slight contraction of the nostrils, and then move
away; in less than ten seconds more they would be on the other side of
the car.  It was not long before I had one side of the car all to
myself.  Then—this also I had been ordered to do—when we reached the
edge of the bridge, I jumped up and, as a sort of climax, "threw a fit."
Passengers in street cars always find this very trying, especially if
you fall down in the aisle foaming at the mouth and clutch at their
feet.  Before my five days of running were over, I grew exceedingly
expert at throwing fits.  I certainly had enough practice at it.  Well,
when we got across the bridge I was hustled out of the car into a
drug-store, where I recovered in time to catch the next car back—and do
the whole thing over again.

It was on the evening of that day, I think, that they took me to the
theatre—or, I should say, the theatres, as we visited several.  (They
had in the mean time taken off the perfume-soaked garments, not through
consideration for my feelings, but for their own.)  One might think
that, under the circumstances, going to the theatre would have been a
delightful rest.  But it wasn’t.  I had a seat all to myself down in
front, and the fellows who took me sat ten or twelve rows back. Beyond
the fact that the first play we went to was a nice, staid performance
that had attracted a large and very "dressy" audience, I have no
recollection of it; for my thoughts were all centred on the dreadful
thing that was going to happen at the end of the first act.

The curtain went down; there was a polite flutter of applause, and then,
while the orchestra was getting ready and the house was perfectly quiet
except for a murmur of talk, I stood up, facing everybody, and exclaimed
in a loud, distinct voice,—

"This show is bum, and I want my money back."

The effect was electrical.  All conversation stopped instantly, and I
could actually hear the craning of necks from one end of the theatre to
the other.

"This show is bum, and I want my money back," I declared again, louder
than before. Some men near me began to laugh; the ladies looked scared
to death, and from the gallery came a wild clapping of hands and yells
of, "That’s no lie," and "He’s all right."  Whereupon (as per
instructions) I began to yell the thing over and over again at the top
of my voice, and kept it up until four ushers skated down the aisle and
threw me out, still yelling.  I had visions, as I flew along toward the
exit, of white-faced women indulging in hysterics.  I did this at two
other shows, and the fellows regretted very much that there didn’t
happen to be any five-act plays in town, for they said my technique got
better and better as the evening went on.

Then I spent whole afternoons in creeping up behind the sparrows in the
Square and endeavoring to put salt on their tails; in going from shop to
shop trying to get the clerks to change a cent; in holding up baby
carriages, kissing the occupants and then remarking that I was
"passionately fond of animals."  (I kissed fifty-six babies on
Commonwealth Avenue in one afternoon.)  I stalked Indians with a little
bow and arrow in the Yard one morning between lectures (cutting lectures
is n’t allowed), craftily creeping from tree to tree, hiding a moment,
peeping out warily, and finally exclaiming as I shot an arrow and dashed
into the open,—

"Bang—and another red-skin bit the dust."

This was one of the few times (except in the evening) that I saw Berri
during the entire week.  He was walking up and down the stone parapet of
Matthews with a silly little false red fringe of beard around his neck,
proclaiming to all the passers-by,—

"Listen to me; I am a Berrisford of Salem."

In a pair of green tights and on horseback, I distributed armfuls of the
"smuggled" cigars from Santa Bawthawthawthoth to the inhabitants of
Cambridgeport, and when a great crowd had collected around me, delivered
a lecture on the evils of smoking.  I intercepted at various times many
respectable old ladies on their way across the streets, for the purpose
of confidentially whispering,—

"Madam, I regret to inform you that you are holding your skirts just a
leetle too high."

I also had to stop car after car, put my foot on the step, tie my
shoestring, and then stand back, saying to the conductor,—

"Thank you, you may go on now."  This is an old game, but it’s a great
favorite.

Two things happened (and only two) that I liked.  One was when I had to
call on a girl in town—I had never seen her before—and write all my part
of the conversation on a slate.  She was very pretty and good to me; for
instead of being disgusted at my appearance (she had every reason to be)
and having me put out of the house, she made me sit down and ordered tea
(I realized, for the first time, how nice tea could be) and was
altogether a perfect peach.  She said, among other things, that she had
been at the theatre the night I made the row.  I wrote on the slate,
"Which one?  The performance was given by special request at three
different places," which made her laugh.  I stayed talking, or rather
writing, to her for more than half an hour.  The fellows who had brought
me to the door were very angry; for, thinking that I would be chased
away by a husky footman at the end of a minute or two, they had n’t told
me how long to stay and were waiting outside to see what happened.  When
at last I got up to go, the pretty girl held out her hand very
graciously and said,—

"We’ll meet again someday, I’m sure," and I wrote on the slate,—

"It will not be my fault if we don’t. Good-by!"  She took the slate and
the pencil, drew a line through the last word, and wrote under it,—

"Au revoir."  Then I left.  I _did_ meet her again very soon afterwards,
at the Beck spread on Class Day.  She was the prettiest girl there.  She
’s going abroad in three days, and as papa let me engage passage for our
trip (he and mamma and Mildred will be here to morrow), it did n’t take
me long to decide on the steamer.  When he found that I had picked out,
for no apparent reason, one of the old Cunarders sailing from Boston, he
was perfectly furious.  But it’s too late for him to change now.

The other thing I enjoyed during my running was the day that Mr.
Fleetwood stole me away from some fellows and took me up to his room
overlooking the Yard.  He is an old Dickey man himself, and had as much
right to my services as any one.  I embarrassed him at first, I think.
Strangely enough, I appreciated this a little even then, when I had no
business to be appreciating anything beyond the fact that I was a mere
grovelling worm.  He sat down, when we went into his room, and looked at
me curiously, diffidently, for a moment, as if he did n’t quite know how
to begin.  Then he said with something of an effort, as if he considered
himself a little foolish to say anything,—

"What, pray, is your name?"  I gave the required answer, at which he
smiled—rather sadly, I thought; although I did n’t see what reason _he_
had to look that way.  Then he asked me to do several things,—old, old
things that neophytes probably had to do when the Dickey was first
started; things that have become conventions; the kind of things you are
always asked to do by fellows who have n’t enough imagination to think
of anything new.  He gave his commands (with him, however, they became
requests) slowly, as if he couldn’t remember just how they went. And he
didn’t always express them the way the fellows do.  I could n’t help
feeling that if Shakespeare had ever tried to torment a neophyte, he had
done it in very much the same way.  He scarcely noticed my attempts to
do what he asked.  He was interested, I think, not so much in
discovering my feeble talents as in recalling the general situation. But
he stopped doing even this in a short time, and got up and went over to
the open window and looked out into the wilderness of elm leaves and
down at the cool, shady stretches of grass and the yellow paths of the
Yard.

I really think he forgot all about me, for I stood there an interminable
time waiting for him to turn around.  Just before he did turn, he yawned
and said listlessly to himself,—

"Well, I suppose it’s as it should be."  He must have said this to
himself, as he seemed surprised to find me standing patiently in the
middle of the room where he had left me.

"My dear boy, sit down, sit down," he exclaimed,—"that is, unless you
would rather go away."  I answered that I should rather stay there if he
did n’t mind.  It was so cool and quiet and safe in his room; I knew
that no one could ever find me, and I was very tired.

"I have some themes to read," Fleetwood went on, "but you won’t disturb
me.  Do whatever you want to, and if you feel like it, talk."

We did talk a little.  Then I stretched out on his divan and tried to
read; but before I had finished half a chapter I drifted away into the
most blissful sleep I ’ve ever had.  I can just remember the whispering
sound of footsteps on the pavement under the windows, and the rustle of
the crisp new leaves.  When I awoke the room was dark.  There was a
sheet of paper pinned to my coat, and when I got into the lighted
corridor I saw written on it,—

"In reply to any questions as to your disappearance, you may truthfully
explain that you did a difficult and important bit of work for W. J.
Fleetwood."  I don’t know yet what he meant.  Some day next year I think
I ’ll ask him.  I don’t believe I know any one who is so very clever and
so very kind.

The next night—the last—the night of the * * * * * * * * * * * *



                                *XVIII*


It was only natural, I suppose, that for a week or so after we had
become full-fledged Dickey men the First Ten should have stuck pretty
close together. We had such a lot to talk about,—things that we could
n’t very well talk about to outsiders.  To tell the truth, the rest of
the class for a time seemed like outsiders to me.  They had n’t been
through what we had, and I confess that I could n’t help looking on our
little crowd as something apart from the others and, taken all in all,
rather extraordinary.  I don’t know that I thought this in so many
words, but I did feel it; and it was Berri—of all persons—who brought me
back to earth one day with a jerk.  I forget just what I said to call
forth his remarks, but it was something in the nature of a complaint
that the fellows at the table did n’t seem to have as much time for me,
so to speak, as they once had.  Berri puffed at his pipe for a while and
stared at the ceiling, and finally said,—

"Of course, I see what you mean; but it’s not them, you know—it’s us."

"I’m sure I don’t think—" I began defensively.

"No, I don’t believe you do realize the true state of affairs," Berri
interrupted.  "Lots of fellows would, and then pretend all the time that
they did n’t; that’s what I do. But you don’t.  You just have the
big-head from pure delight, and go around swelled up like a hop-toad
without in the least knowing it.  Your old friends know it, though, and
it naturally makes them a dash tired.  And besides, what do you expect
them to do, anyhow?  Run after us?  Of course they won’t do that.  In
the first place, we ’ve both become rather obnoxious; I don’t mind it in
myself, but with you it’s scarcely in character. And in the second
place, none of the fellows at our table are swipes, and if any advances
are made, well, they won’t make them.  So there you are!"

There was nothing much to say to this, because, after a few minutes of
resentment, I felt all over that it was perfectly true.  I did n’t say
anything, but you bet it was n’t more than a day or two before the
fellows seemed to me just the way they always had seemed.  I think I had
a pretty close call; I might have turned into a Dick Benton.

Three days before Class Day, who should blow in but Duggie?  He
literally did blow in, come to think of it, as he crossed from Cadiz in
a sailing-vessel and was as brown as a Spaniard.  He brought Mrs.
Chester a black lace shawl, and told her that if she ’d drape it around
her head and sit at her upstairs window some evening, he ’d come and
serenade her. To which the old girl responded with one of her roguish
little digs at Duggie’s ribs, and exclaimed,—

"Land sakes, Mr. Duggie, you can’t sing, and never could."

Duggie wanted Berri and me to dine with him that evening, but Berri’s
last examination was to come the next morning (I had finished all of
mine) and he could n’t.  I did, though, and we walked out to Cambridge
afterwards in the moonlight.  He told me all about his trip, and when I
let him know that we were going abroad for the summer and that Berri was
going over with us to join his mother at Dinard, he said,—

"I had a letter from Berri in answer to mine.  I don’t often keep
letters, but I ’ve kept his.  I suppose you know I did n’t think much of
Berri at first, but I don’t mind confessing that I sized him up all
wrong."

It was such a beautiful night that when we got to our gate, it seemed
like wasting something to go in the house.  Berri had finished his grind
and was leaning out of my window. He said that his brain felt like a
dead jellyfish (I think that was the pretty simile), and told us not to
go in, as he would put on his coat and come down to us.  So we strolled,
all three, over to the Yard, and sat on the steps in front of one of the
Holworthy entries.  It was very late, but the finals were not yet over,
and the yellow of many windows blurred through the trees.  The long
quadrangle was flecked with moonlight, and little groups like our own
were sitting in front of almost every doorway.  The Yard, except on
great occasions, is rarely noisy, and that night it seemed particularly
quiet,—a kind of lull before the crash of Class Day and Commencement.

Duggie and Berri and I sat there talking until the air and the sky had
changed from summer night to summer morning.  Even then a few of the
windows were still glowing.



                                THE END.





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