ONLY a few months have passed
since the Day of Prayer for Colleges. It is now the last of April, but
a wonderful transformation has taken place in college and town. The
very atmosphere seems to be different. Instead of lethargy there is
life and spiritual activity. Nevertheless it is a critical period. The
converts were born amid active and powerful scenes. Now that the old routine
life is about to begin again, there is danger. It is said that if a man
starts as an athlete, he must continue to be one, or his system will
rebel. By his early efforts in this direction he has created a demand
in his body that must be satisfied, or he will suffer, and probably fill
an early grave. This does not argue against exercise in youth, but rather
in favor of its wise continuance all through life. The young converts
were athletes, spiritually. In the routine life of college there was
great danger that they would die, for want of exercise. Thousands of
Christians have thus died, and many are constantly passing away.
There are three great principles upon which continued
healthy existence depends physically; namely, nourishment, rest, and
exercise. Few people in civilized lands are allowed to starve. The difficulty
too often is in the opposite direction. There are some who undoubtedly
need rest, but many of earth's sufferers are made such by the want of
exercise. It is equally true that few Christians die for want of food.
They have God's Word and the means of grace. Unfortunately, often they
have little appetite, and are unable to assimilate what they have taken.
It is quite certain that most of them obtain sufficient spiritual rest.
Christians to-day are dying in the spiritual sense because they need
exercise. Without exercise their appetite fails. One sermon a week is
more than some of them can digest. Many are so far gone that a little
diluted food administered once a week by a careful Sunday-school teacher
is all they can bear. These are not only dying from starvation, but they
are starving because they have no appetite and will not eat, and they
are without appetite because they will not exercise. The children of
God need maturity, and they can reach it only by observing the laws of
growth. If our offspring of the flesh showed no signs of maturity throughout
the passing years, we would be filled with lamentation. And yet there
are many who have called themselves the children of God, and whose names
have been on the Church records for long periods, who evince no sign
of maturity. If the Church of God were made up of mature, meat-eating,
and meat-digesting Christians, what could it not do for Christ and the
Many were the evidences of growth in this region
for weeks. It is safe to say that some men grew more rapidly during
this period than in all their previous Christian life. There were some
here that needed this stimulus. They should have been bearing the burden
and heat of the day, while they still were being coddled in the nursery,
wrapped in swaddling clothes, and tucked away in cribs, cradles, and
trundle-beds, lest evil should befall them. The college became a spiritual
gymnasium, and exercise was the order of the day, and appetites became
voracious. Bibles were read, good books were taken from the libraries,
and the means of grace were eagerly attended.
Kenneth, for instance, had never known real exercise and work. He
had spoken in meeting on rare occasions most timidly, with his heart fluttering
like a scared bird's, though he never felt any difficulty in addressing
a meeting of the athletic association or of his literary society. Once
he had attempted to pray publicly, but had made such a dismal failure
that he had about determined never to attempt it again. The ungodly fellows
always make sport of such failures. Yet he had been a Christian from
childhood, and in some respects was strong and mature. When he was placed
on the Committee for House-to-house Visitation, he insisted that it was
a mistake and that it could not be. He was entirely without experience
and tact, and was not made of the proper material. He was present at the
Sunday-afternoon meeting, however, when the appointments were made, and,
before he left the place, had received such a blessing that he knew he
could do it. The little persecutions that he suffered lifted him out of
himself. He became a new man. He was invaluable in the meetings, and
was especially efficient in persuading men to begin the Christ-life.
He soon discovered that the only healthy life for him was one of constant
Jackson also gave signs of activity that had not
been discovered heretofore. It was pleasant to note that he lost none
of the charm of his personality, and that his idiosyncrasies had been
turned into evangelical channels. He was frequently used in the special
meetings in his capacity of story-teller. His fund was apparently inexhaustible,
and his skill in putting things was such that he could soften the hardest,
melt the coldest, and often move the apparently immovable.
Of the new converts who were not content to remain
children, and who were ambitious to grow rapidly, several were conspicuous,
but especially Scott and Moon. These could hardly be called babes at
the end of the first week, so rapidly did they grow, and it may be said
of them that they never afterward inhabited the nursery. They were like
veterans, and they received the rewards of veterans. They escaped that
miserable period which is too often a part of a Christian's life, because
of a misconception of privileges, in which doubts and fears and hopes
are constantly mingled. How many there are who are not sure half the
time that they are the children of God! This period is, in many instances,
the beginning of backsliding, and it usually comes soon after the work,
not necessarily the excitement, of the revival. The settling back into
quietude and inactivity gives the enemy the advantage, and multitudes
fall away. This is often used as an argument against revivals. The fault,
however, is not with the revival, but with the Church that is not sufficiently
revived itself to aid the growth of its new members by supplying work
and nourishment in proper proportion.
THE college world is similar
to the great world outside in that there are many kinds of men there;
some claiming to be on God's side, and others making no such claim. These
are the two great classes, and yet each one is subdivided many times.
The non-Christians, for instance, range all the way from those who are
"just over the line" "to enjoy the pleasures of the world for a season,"
to those who are far down in the depths of sin and vice. The high-class
sinners shudder as they look down upon the low. So, in the first division,
there are some Christians who try to live up to their fullest privilege,
while others are so near the border land that often they are in the enemy's
country, without fully knowing it. It is astonishing to note how similar
are those who dwell on either side the boundary: they speak the same language
and enjoy the same pleasures.
There was a certain fraternity in the college that
for some reason had been dubbed the "preachers' fraternity." They were
not all looking towards the ministry, probably not even a majority of
them, though several did have clerical aspirations. Nor were all the
theologues of the institution included in that chapter. They were thus
styled because they always had some "Biblicals" among them, but more
probably in derision; for they were largely of the well-known "goody-goody"
type. All the members at this time were professing Christians, and some
of them genuine men; but the foregoing characterization of the crowd
is, in the main, just.
A man by the name of Martin was the leader of the
"preachers." He was at least thirty years of age, though he looked forty-five,
and had been a school-teacher before he entered college. He was mature
in mind, as well as in physique, and was always near the top of his class.
As a mathematician he was unexcelled. A lover of the science would have
rejoiced in his demonstrations. He worked with his left hand while at
the slate; hence it was possible to see his operations, and the completed
work was like that of a copper-plate. Added to this, he was among the
first in his class in the ancient languages, and in the chemical and physical
laboratories he was equally good. As a professing Christian he seldom
failed to take part in social meetings, frequently conducting the services
of the college Young Men's Christian Association and of the young people
of the Church; yet there was something about him and his associates that
was repellent to a spiritually-minded person.
Scott, one day, on some trivial errand, hurried into
Martin's room. He found a little group of the "preachers" quartered
there, full of merriment. After accomplishing his purpose, he asked
in a perfectly natural way what the joke might be. Martin took from
the hands of one of the fellows a picture that had been cut from an obscene
paper. It was not very bad in itself, but it was low grade, at least,
and suggestive of evil. These men had simply been carrying out the suggestions
of the picture in their conversation, and every addition had caused shouts
of laughter. Scott looked at the picture a moment without fully comprehending
the situation, for there was nothing laughable certainly. In an instant,
however, the real cause dawned upon him. He handed the paper back to
Martin, and simply said, "I see no joke," and departed. It was done so
naturally, and yet so decisively, that the rebuke could not be misunderstood.
On another occasion, after the compulsory class-drill
in the gymnasium, and after the necessary operations of rubbing down,
et cetera, while the fellows were in the dressing-room amid
the forest of lockers, Martin said in a loud voice, that could be heard
by all, "Say, fellows, since we are alone, away from the ladies, I heard
the best thing the other day," and then proceeded to tell a story that
had little point to it, but that was decidedly "off color." When he
came to the objectionable part, Kenneth, Scott, and Pierson, being in
a corner by themselves, held a little whispered conversation, with this
result. Kenneth said: "See here, Martin, is it necessary to inflict
that stuff upon us all? Why not call for volunteers and into a room by
yourselves, or else wait till some of us get out?"
"Why, what's the matter with you fellows? I guess
I've got a right to talk! Who made you the monitor over my tongue? Seems
to me you are too sensitive," was Martin's rejoinder.
"No, I'm not monitor over your tongue, but I am of
my own ears, and as I'm not deaf, and as it is inconvenient to wear
stoppers in them, and as I'm not quite ready to go out, I politely request
that you save me this agony," said Kenneth.
"O, if that's all the trouble, you can stick your
fingers in your ears, and I'll go on," and he attempted to continue his
story. Kenneth straightened himself up and addressed the room:
"Fellows, we all know that there are a good many
evil things in the world that we can not avoid seeing and hearing, but
I can see no good reason why we should stand silently by and listen
to stuff that will be detrimental to us, when we are able to object.
When I was a boy about eleven years of age, one day, while walking along
a country road with three or four boys older than myself, there came
up a sudden thunderstorm, and we were compelled to seek immediate shelter
under a large haystack. Into this we burrowed and made quite a comfortable
retreat. The boys began to tell stories the like of which I had never
heard before, and the import of which I did not comprehend, but which
have remained. They took hold of my imagination. I have never been able
to forget them. Sometimes, in the most solemn moments, they will loom
up like a horrid nightmare. I fear they will haunt me till my dying day.
They are like pictures hung upon the walls of 'the chambers of imagery'
within. I turn them to the wall, but the spirits of darkness seem to turn
them back again. When I became old enough to understand the situation
and to be able to reason about it intelligently, I resolved that I would
never again permit myself to be the victim of that sort of an outrage.
A man ought not to be compelled to listen, if he does not wish to do so,
and I take it to be mock courtesy, in the form of cowardice, which keeps
him silent when he is thus afflicted. This is not the first occasion that
Mr. Martin has desired thus to edify a crowd of which I was a part; but
heretofore I have always been able to escape in silence. I would have
done so to-day had it been possible, and so would others. I consider that
a man who insists upon telling a story that can not be told in the presence
of ladies, because it would offend their sense of delicacy, is perpetrating
an insult upon gentlemen; a broad, class insult, which seems
to say, 'Because you are a man, of course you are impure.' I contend that
a man has a right to guard his soul by preventing evil from entering through
the avenues of his ears and eyes. I did not intend to say so much, fellows;
excuse me; but I am terribly in earnest in this matter, and I will not
listen to that sort of stuff if I can avoid it."
Martin had grown very red during the first of this
long speech, and there was an undisguised look of defiance on his face;
but when Kenneth ceased speaking, there was round after round of applause
that was surprising to all, and those who had mentally sided with Martin,
many of them, were drawn into it, and only a few remained silent. and
scowling. Perhaps some joined in because of the manhood that was expressing
itself through Kenneth.
"I didn't know you were such delicate creatures,"
was all that Martin found to say, except a lame excuse. "There was nothing
wrong with that story. I would not have been afraid to tell it to my
Some one in the crowd retorted:
"Yes, and we did not know that you were so indelicate!"
Kenneth had spoken more harshly than he had intended; but so much
of that sort of thing had been going on, and among men who were supposed
to be examples, that he was led to say what he did. Martin never forgave
him; but good came from it, and more than one fellow began to think about
his "chambers of imagery."
SPRING brought fresh life,
not only to nature, but also to the college world. The students became
more active as opportunities to breathe fresh air increased. The average
college man delights in wandering far and wide, and he heaves a sigh
of contentment when the spring opens the way. It seems to him that he must
break away from the restraints of his environment after the winter, or
he will not be able to hold himself within the prescribed bounds of propriety
During these days the old campus wore a look of importance.
From the outside, something appeared to be going on all the time. The
observer was not quite certain what it was. There were groups of men
standing close together as if around a patent-medicine vender. Others
were practicing at ball; many running, jumping, vaulting. At times there
might be seen a hurdy-gurdy man on one side, stirring up an impromptu
waltz among the boys. At almost any hour after the beginning of mild
weather, the daylight picture on the campus is worthy a permanent place
on the camera-plate.
The thoughts of most of the young men at this time
were about equally divided between the coming June examinations and
the prospects of the baseball team and the annual field-day sports.
Which of the colleges in the association would win the baseball pennant?
and who were going to enter the sports? and for what events? were questions
as vitally important as those which had to do with tile examinations.
Darnforth had been second the year before in the baseball race, and
it was earnestly hoped by all the students and by most of the professors
that the pennant might wave over their own athletic field the coming
year. Most of the professors were interested in the pennant race; but
there was one grand old man, the professor of Hebrew, who took no stock
whatever in any of the physical sports; and when a boy came into his
lecture-room with his eye encircled in blue, he always made it the occasion
for a tirade against what he invariably called base-foot-ball, for he
never seemed willing to draw the distinction between the two great college
It is interesting to note that at college, as elsewhere,
true religion does not lift a man from his place among his fellows.
It takes him from the sinful and base, to be sure, but it leaves him
to enjoy the bright good things of life with keener appetite. It is not
an unusual thing to discover in the captain of the football team the
president of the Young Men's Christian Association, along with some of
the most conscientious men in college as his associates. This is well.
All the men respect these Christians, especially when they are fine players.
The general tone is improved. There is no profanity, no obscenity, no
Sunday travel, little "kicking," in the metaphorical sense. Scott was
shortstop on the baseball team, and was considered the best and safest batter.
He seemed to possess the rare art of reading the pitcher's eye, and hence
it was difficult to fool him. Then he used judgment in the game. He knew
how to "place" a ball so that it would be least likely to be fielded rapidly.
It is comparatively an easy matter to strike a "fly" into the hands
of one of the fielders, but it is a very poor play. The man who preceded
Scott at the bat, if by his own efforts or the failure of the pitcher
he managed to reach first base, always felt that he was going to have
a fair chance to score.
The end of the baseball season was at hand. The team
had been doing well, but so had others. It will be borne in mind that
college baseball differs from professional in this: the professional
player is paid for his services; the college player is so thoroughly
identified with his institution that he plays to win, from love of the
sport and of his college. The former has no natural tie to the city he
represents for the season. Of course he has his own reputation to look after,
which impels him to keep up his "form," for that means salary; but
there are many opportunities where he may ease up a little and not be blamed.
Then he has temptations of which the uninitiated are ignorant. On the
other hand, the members of the college team go in to win, and there is
no discount on their energy. It is most interesting to watch two such
teams, well matched, strive for supremacy. They display activity and what
the baseball enthusiasts call "ginger." Darnforth College was tie for
the first place. The last game was at hand, and it was with the Moorfield
team. This victory meant the pennant, for the two teams were equal in
games won and lost. The decisive game was to be played at a large city
nearly equidistant from the two colleges. Great preparations had been
made. Immense delegations from both institutions were sure to be present.
Rates had been secured on the railroads. Even many of the professors,
with their families, had signified their purpose to be present. If the
day proved to be fine, there could be no discounting the crowd that would
be in attendance.
THE eventful day dawned as
only a perfect May day can. It was so clear that the sun's rays seemed
brighter than usual, and the atmosphere was neither too cold nor too
warm. The crowds began to arrive in the city in the morning.
The Darnforth management had decreed that their team
were to loaf and take care of themselves during the forenoon. They had
already practiced enough; any work on the day of the game would take
from them that "fine edge," the absence of which is often the cause of
defeat. On the other hand, the Moorfield club spent the whole morning
on the diamond in hard practice. They thus became thoroughly familiar
with the strange grounds.
Scott took a leisurely stroll alone through the slums
of the city. His object was to see for himself some things of which
he had often heard, but had never before taken the trouble to investigate.
His time was too limited to enable him to make any serious study, or
to see much of the outside even; but what he did see was sufficient to
fill him with a yearning for the people who inhabited these regions,
and with a feeling that perhaps some day he, might be called to do that
kind of missionary work. He prayed for guidance. He could not help thinking,
as he walked along, of his conversation with Miss Holmes on goodness.
Since that time he had thought of all unfortunates-his brothers-with kindness
and love. Formerly he had been repelled because their exterior had been
disagreeable; now he believed that there was some thing good hidden
in the heart of every one of them, and he recognized the birth of a
desire to find the gold that was buried in these deep mines all around.
There can be little doubt that the conversation referred to, and the
scenes of this morning's walk, together with the drawings of the Spirit,
were the means of turning his life into a new channel. It was while walking
through a narrow street, full of filth in the gutter and dirty children
on the curbstone, that his future work began to crystallize.
While these thoughts of the future were presenting
themselves to him with startling rapidity, he was aroused by the sudden
appearance of a great burly young fellow from an alley, who pounced
upon a lad much younger and evidently lighter and weaker than himself,
and somewhat crippled in the back. The small one did his best to defend
himself, but clearly he was not in the same class with his opponent,
either in strength or skill; besides, his crippled condition was against
him, though there was plenty of spirit in his defense. As if by magic,
a ring was formed in a moment. Boys and girls, men and women, seemed to
come from everywhere. It was a contest of honor, and all the crowd desired
was to enjoy the sport, and to see to it that the laws of the ring were
observed. In fact, a halt had been called while referees were appointed.
It was to be a fight to the finish, though the smaller combatant was evidently
fighting against his desire. But taunts and threats compelled him to
continue, and he was "game." Scott was drawn into the crowd in time to
see the small one get a blow in the face that drew blood. "Shame! shame!"
he cried, and started for the ring. "Hold him!" "Put the swell out!"
were some of the cries that greeted his ears, but because of his agility
and remarkable strength he was enabled to reach the center in time to
grasp the bully by the collar and prevent another vicious blow, which
had been well planned, from taking effect. Thereupon the man, blinded
with rage, turning from his first opponent, directed a blow at Scott's
head that would have been serious if it had not been dodged. College
men are often expert with the gloves, and Scott was not an exception.
It was not his purpose, however, to fight this antagonist if he could
avoid it, simply to hold him at bay. The crowd, in prospect of better
sport, soon settled back into their old position of spectators, reserving
to themselves the right of comment and expletive. The frenzied fighter
was now raining blows thick and fast at Scott, while the latter was cooly
warding them off or dodging them with no attempt at aggression. The crowd,
speedily discovering his skill as well as his lack of offensive warfare,
began to warm up towards him. No one likes a bully, unless it is a bully,
and this one was losing friends rapidly. "Why don't you hit him?"
"You can knock him out if you only want to!" were some of
the cries that were uttered for his encouragement. Just at that moment
there came a signal from one of the outposts or sentries that this class
most naturally appoints on all serious occasions, "The cop's a-comin'!"
and with that they seemed to melt more rapidly, and, apparently, more
mysteriously than they had congregated, leaving Scott and the little fellow
alone. When the policeman came up there was no difficulty in convincing
him of the facts in the case, especially since the crowd had fled and
they had not. Scott, however, was warned by the officer that the neighborhood
was dangerous, and that it was unsafe for any one to loiter there, or
to take part in any of the affairs of the inhabitants.
This whole trouble in the
street was so sudden in its inception, and so rapid in its finish, that
Scott scarcely had time to become excited, and he certainly was not
wearied by his enforced exercise. After getting away from the unpleasant
locality and back into civilization, he found a modest little restaurant
that held out to him the inducements of cleanliness and cheapness. This
he entered, determining to obtain an early lunch at his leisure, that
he might gain from it the most good for the game of the afternoon. Here
he had several strange experiences that proved how easily a man may
be shadowed in a large city and never suspect it.
As he was partaking of his soup and awaiting his
steak, he looked over the headlines of an early edition of an afternoon
paper that had been placed on the table by the waitress. While he was
reading, a dirty form slipped in beside him, unnoticed, till he heard
"Say, Mister, I wants to t'ank yer fer helpin' me.
I didn't wanter fight, but there's a feud 'tween our famblys, and fer
th' sake of honor we's gotter fight. My dad walloped his dad t' other
day bootiful, an' he wanted ter take it out on me. Say! but all the peoples
in 'our street is talkin' about th' way yer played wid that feller. They
guyed him and kidded him till he was glad ter git away. They say that
yer could wipe ther street wid him if yer wanted ter. Say! I wants ter
let yer know I t'ank yer some way, so I follered yer w'en yer walked off
wid ther cop, an' I want yer ter take this as a mementer." Hereupon he
presented Scott with a Canadian quarter with a hole in it, in which was tied
a soiled piece of red ribbon.
"Me mother guv it ter me 'fore she died wid ther
consumshun, w'ile she was pale an' sick on her bed. She said: 'Jimmy,
I can't live much longer; I got ter go. I wanted ter live and help yer,
best I could, but somehow there ain't much chance fer poor people ter
be good. I wants yer ter be good, Jimmy, an' I'se tried ter pray ter
God fer yer, ther God I 'member hearin' about when I was young, but I
kinder fergits ther way; suthin' like, "Now I goes ter bed ter sleep;"
but down some'rs insider me I feels a-goin' out ter suthin' or somebody
thet's good an' true, an' I feels kinder glad an' happy that I ain't
goin' ter live, 'ceptin' fer yer. It kinder seems as if I'd been havin'
a bad dream, an was jest goin' ter wake in ther sunshine wid their bootiful
birds singin' w'ere all's happy an' well. Yer sees I've allers had thet
queer feelin' insider me that made me want ter do ther best I could,
an' I kinder feel it's all right now.' I She was tired after sayin' all
that, yer can be sure. She felt down under ther coverin's some'rs an'
fetched this up. She said: 'It's all I got, Jimmy. Take this, an' 'member
mother, an' try ter keep that feelin' insider yer. It'll make yer feel
good w'en yer comes ter die.' Then she pulled me down t' her an' kissed
me, an' we both on us choked up an' couldn't say 'nother word." Jimmy
had to stop at this point and wipe his eyes on a very soiled rag that,
out of courtesy, might have been called a handkerchief.
Scott was much moved, and was tempted not to take
the last gift of a dying mother, but it represented genuine gratitude,
and as Jimmy added: "It kinder seems ter me that mother wants yer ter
take it," he could not resist. Jimmy had a good dinner that day, and during
its progress he told Scott much of his history, and before he left "ter
meet a 'gagement," as he put it, he told Scott never to be afraid to
come down their street, for they were all talking about him and thought
that he was made of the right kind of stuff.
Jimmy had been gone but a moment when a great, big,
slouchy fellow came in with his hat in his hand, and said that he had
been waiting for that "kid" to get out of the way. He only wanted to say
that the fellows in Blacksly
Street had sent him as a committee to say to the stranger that he might
make himself at home in their room, Number Seventeen, down in the cellar,
where their club met. Scott thanked him kindly, and told him that he would
drop in on them some time. The man insisted that he had been made an honorary
member of the club.
Scott had given Jimmy a ticket to the baseball game,
and now he proffered one to this man, and it was eagerly accepted. He
also gave to both of them a little card, very neatly printed, which he
told them to put in their pocket and read at their leisure. The card
was simplicity itself: "It is a wonderful thing to be free; but no matter
how free we are, some one owns us. Who owns you? Are you obeying Satan,
your eternal enemy, or the great King, Jesus Christ, your Friend? I commend
you to this King, who rules in love, but who has all power. He will help
you here on earth, and will assist you to reach a better home by and
by. Your friend, Manly E. Scott, will pray for you." Several of the students
had clubbed together and had these cards printed with their respective
names. They were to use them only when they believed that spoken words
would not do the work. This card, coming from a man who could fight and
play baseball, had a powerful effect on these men.
Scott was about to leave the restaurant when a flashily-dressed
young man came in and sat down at the same table. He immediately engaged
him in conversation, so that it was almost impossible to break away
without appearing rude, and as it was still very early and he had nothing
to do, he waited to see what was in store for him here. The stranger
soon asked him if he was not one of the college baseball players, and
then if he was not the shortstop of the Darnforth team. "I thought I was
right. I've been on your track all the morning. I saw you play with that
fellow. It was fine! I would have done the same thing myself if I had
been there. But I tell you I held my breath for you at first. I didn't
think you had any show with that fellow. But why didn't you knock him
into next week? You could have put him to sleep long before the cop came
up, and the crowd would have bowed down to you." Thus he rattled on
without giving Scott a chance to reply. "I followed you here, and thought
I could get at you; but I saw those toughs had business with you, and
I had to wait." Then he became confidential. "I am from Moorfield, and
I am here to see the game. I am convinced that the two teams are about
evenly matched, with the possible exception of the shortstop. See here!
Scott, the game is in your hands. If you were taken suddenly ill and
refused to play, the Moorfield team would be certain to win, barring
accidents and the umpire; but we all like you, and don't want you shut
out of the game. All we ask is that you omit some of your ginger to-day.
Probably you don't feel very well, and you would have a good excuse for
not doing your best. Then a batter always has his off days. Why not see
to it that you make this your off day? O, don't open your eyes in astonishment!
I know what I'm talking about. See here!" and he put his hands into his
pockets and brought out a couple of rolls of bills. "Here's a hundred
dollars! We make you a present of this. We will not ask any questions.
We like you, and we want you to have a good time; hence this trifling
present. We don't ask any receipt or any writing of any kind. We are satisfied
with you, and no one would suspect you; you are above suspicion, you know.
The truth is, the fellows of this city are betting heavily on your team.
Living a little nearer to you, they feel more friendly and think you will
win. We just came up to have a little fun with them, and we don't mind
being generous with the proceeds. See? What! You don't mean to say you
won't take it? Come, Scott, don't be a fool! You can't pick up a hundred
dollars every day. I'll make it a hundred and fifty."
But that was too much. Scott had his hat in his hand,
but before he left he said: "I do not know you, and evidently you have
been mistaken in me. You have also made an error in your estimate of
our crowd. There is not a fellow on our team that can be bought. As for
me, I was never in better physical trim in my life. I have not smoked
a cigarette for four months, the little excitement of the morning has
made my nerves just right, and if I ever played ball in my life I am
going to play it this afternoon. Good day!" And without waiting for a
reply, he stepped to the desk and paid his bill, and in a moment was gone,
leaving his man sitting at the table in a dazed condition.
Scott walked up to the corner, hailed a car, and
went immediately to the ball grounds, where he donned his playing uniform
and tossed a ball with one of the players with just sufficient energy
to keep his blood in good circulation. As he glanced up over the grand
stand, he saw Miss Holmes, Miss Biddle, and Miss Zane, all in the care
of Mr. Wilding. Wilding had added his cousin to his clientele because
he desired to keep her away from Scott, and he hoped, not for her sake,
but for the sake of his own wrath, to be able to find something in the
game of the afternoon that would help him make poor Scott seem the blacker.
As the young player glanced tip, there came to him, as it were the shadow
of an understanding of the situation. He turned away and muttered to himself,
"If I ever played ball in my life, I'm going to play it this afternoon."
It will not be necessary to enter into a detailed
account of a baseball game. Suffice it to say that this was not an ordinary
contest. Both sides played to win, for the glory of their respective colleges.
Darnforth had managed to score one run early in he game, but up to the
ninth inning neither side had scored another. It was towards the close
of the first half of the ninth inning; Moorfield was at the bat; two men
were already out, but there was a man on third base. A fly was knocked
right out to center field, almost into the hands of the player. Every
one thought that the game was over and that Darnforth had won; the shouting
had already commenced, when suddenly a silence fell over the field; a
man was seen crossing the home plate at full speed, then groans were heard
in every direction. The player had muffed the perfect ball! The score
was tied. It now stood one to one. The third man was put out on second.
Darnforth came to the bat, closing the ninth inning with a good fit of
the blues. They were put out in "one, two, three" order. They played the
tenth and the eleventh and had begun the twelfth inning with the same
result; neither side crossing the plate. It was a great exhibition. Both
sides went in to do their best in a dogged manner. There was scarcely
a sound other than the necessary ones of the game. Moorfield was retired
without scoring the first half of the twelfth. Darnforth came to the
bat. Two men were put out immediately. Then Scott took the stick. He
was watching the pitcher's eye. The latter was getting weary, for he
had not been relieved. His work had been so good that they had been afraid
to change, but he was evidently near his limit. It had been a pitcher's
battle from the start, both "twirlers" had played phenomenally, and no
one could say which had the advantage. Two wild balls were now pitched,
one of which Scott was compelled to dodge in order to escape being hit.
The third ball was delivered. Scott had judged before it left the hand
what it was intended to be. He staked all the chances of the game on this
instantaneous judgment, and put all his strength in the stick. He knew
that he had hit the ball, but that was all, for he had not time to look,
but he could hear the yells of the crowd and the encouragement of the
coachers. He was a brilliant runner, and he put himself down to the running
of the bases now as if in a hundred yards dash. Faster and faster he ran,
and as if in a dream he cleared the bases amid a perfect frenzy of applause.
He had made a home-run and saved the game. In an instant he was picked
up and placed upon the shoulders of the throng of his admirers, and was
thus carried triumphantly from the field.
Walter Retlaw was not to be mentioned as the most
popular man in college that night. That young man was the center fielder
who had muffed the perfect ball that had been placed exactly before him.
There were some who were unkind enough to intimate that he had endeavored
to give the game away, but he was one of the best players and a man
of strength to the team. It is impossible to keep up at the top-notch
all the time. There are off days for the best of players. Retlaw felt
very uncomfortable. His path had not been strewn with roses recently.
In spite of his winning ways and his desire for popularity, things had
not been as he desired them. His efforts to be popular in more than one
instance had worked in the other direction. No one felt sure of him. He
was afraid to stand firmly anywhere, lest it might injure him in the
estimation of some. Thus was his life made miserable, while he was daily
THERE was a college prayer-meeting
that night in the old chapel hall. It was not quite as well attended
as usual, for several reasons. Some of the men had lost their fervor.
The term and the year were ending, and there were many who felt too much
rushed with other duties to come; and then the excursion and the result
of the day had been too exciting for others. Nevertheless, it was not
a small company. The subject that the leader had advanced, and which was
touched upon by nearly every speaker, was Christian growth. The passage
of Scripture emphasized was the familiar one: "Grow in grace and in the
knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The remarks of the leader
were ordinary and somewhat trite. He spoke of the possibility of growth,
of the necessity for growth, and of the means by which it might be promoted.
He closed with an exhortation that they might all continue to grow throughout
all the days of their earthly existence, that they might be the better
prepared to enter into that life which has no end, that in it they might
make the more rapid advancement.
There were evidences that men had been growing in
the college, and as experiences were told of temptations and victories
won, to many the room seemed to become luminous, and the manifestations
of the Spirit's presence were inspiring. Presently Scott arose: "This has
been the best day of my life, and I have come nearer heaven in my soul
than ever before, and this not because our team won the game of baseball,
nor because I had the privilege of sharing with them the honors of the
day, but because I had opportunity to exercise in new ways that seemed
to help me onward most rapidly." He told most simply some little things
in his inner life that had blessed him at the start. Then be went through
the experiences of the day, briefly, but with much feeling, and with
manifest gratitude to God. Before he resumed his seat he said, " 'My
soul doth exceedingly magnify the Lord,' and my desire is to grow daily
in grace, in knowledge, and in power with God and man."
His testimony had touched all, and one man wrote
home that night, as a result of it, that evidently the religion of Christ
did not take a man out of the world and its activities and true pleasures,
but that it certainly was able to keep him in the world, and give him
power over temptations and that, when he was true to it, in turn it seemed
to glorify him. Then Scott's experience repeated and the story of his
growth in the few months of his Christian life. No one would recognize
this noble man of God to be the same little fellow without aim or purpose
who had been drifting along the current a few months before.
The meeting broke up with the stanza:
"When at last to our home we gather,
With the loved ones who have gone before,
We will sing upon the shore,
Praising him for evermore,
O, the best Friend to have is Jesus.
The best Friend to have is Jesus;
He will help you when you fall,
He will hear you when you call;
O, the best Friend to have is Jesus."
THE society of the town had
been little affected, by the revivals. There had been the usual number
of parties, receptions, and dances and of "progressive evenings." The
ordinary budget of misunderstandings had been opened, and the average
number of pretty little side-plays had been enacted, with their attendant
features of jealousies, of mopings, and of makings-up. Mr. Wilding and
Miss Biddle were adding their contribution of romance to the grand ensemble.
After the understanding had been reached between them, there had been
a period of smooth sailing, in which both seemed to be perfectly blissful,
and the only sufferer was Mr. Wilding himself, unless the members of
the Faculty might be added; for his college work had met its Waterloo
at the time of the memorable Thursday-night meeting. He saw the difficulty,
and endeavored to combat it. His parents were disappointed, and frequently
urged him to better things. Miss Biddle knew something of the trouble,
and felt aggrieved, feeling that in a sense she was at fault. She endeavored
to help him. She limited his calls to one night a week. She would not
let him come at all for awhile, unless he could prove that his work was
satisfactory. On the other hand, his pride was wounded, and, instead
of improving and thus earning his privileges he nerved himself to the
almost superhuman feat of remaining away altogether. During this period
of voluntary exile he suffered so sorely that his work was not benefited.
Miss Biddle's pride was likewise touched; hence, for a long period, there
was an open rupture.
Miss Holmes and Miss Biddle, both belonging to the
best families of town, had a calling acquaintance, though the latter
did not approve of the former's attitude towards the college society.
There was no concealing their differences; hence they were compelled
to agree to disagree. Except for this one thing and certain society doings
of which Miss Holmes did not approve, these two ladies were good friends,
and might have been intimate in other circumstances. Before the call
was ended, Mr. Wilding was announced. He had come to see Mrs. Holmes in
regard to Scott. He had actually persuaded himself that it was his duty,
as a relative and friend, to warn Mrs. Holmes. He disliked it, but felt
that he must. He recognized the voices of young people in the parlor,
and as he desired to have his interview with the mother in the absence
of the daughter, and as he felt drawn towards the possible occupants
of the "home"-room, he permitted himself to be ushered into the presence
of the two young ladies.
There was a season of restraint, but each one played
his part well. Miss Holmes knew that there was some difficulty between
these two friends, and presently excused herself from the room. It was
in the few moments of her absence that there was a coming together.
Each one found a yearning for the other that was irresistible, and it
did not require long to make up.
This "making up" was of no help to Wilding. It perhaps
would have been wiser for him to go to some other institution, since
he was not man enough to remain and do his work in the circumstances;
but this he was unwilling to do.
Meanwhile Wilding had not forgotten his errand to
Madame Holmes, and soon found opportunity for an interview, during which
he was enabled to paint poor Scott in such dark colors, and evidently
so disinterestedly, that the lady was influenced. She could not help feeling
that she had been "taken in" in an unusual way by Scott. She evidently
was not infallible in her judgments. She must have a talk with Mr. Holmes
All this time a very beautiful byplay was being enacted
by Moon and little Miss Woods. Neither one was fully conscious of the
situation, or else they deliberately deceived themselves; for every one
of their friends could see what was the matter plainly. The time came
soon enough, when Moon confessed to himself that he loved the little maiden,
and he wondered if there were a possibility of winning her. The results
on him were the opposite of those in the case of Wilding. It became to
him an incentive that spurred him on to greater diligence and grander achievement.
Always a good student, he instantly became better, and the change was
marked. Much of the real good of his college course was a result of this
beautiful attachment. After the days of uncertainty, when he became a
regular caller, he limited himself to one evening a week. It was always
Friday, unless an entertainment or lecture might draw him aside occasionally.
He was without doubt benefited by the discipline.
Scott was all unmindful of the gratuitous work of
Wilding in his behalf. He was coming to a period, too, when he was in
need of help spiritually. No one had ever helped him as had Miss Holmes.
He became a caller at her home at irregular intervals. But never had he
thought of the lady, beautiful as she was, in any other light than that
of a friend. When he felt the need of her counsel, and was drawn into
her presence, there was no suspicion of the subconscious reason that loaned
its weight to the going. He thought of himself as a being so unworthy,
and of her as one so lofty, that a shadow of a suggestion of a possible
romance had never dared present itself. And thus the spring wore away.
IT was not the underhanded
work of Wilding that was bothering Scott at this time, but the open
and clear work of one Boice. Several times he had found that young junior
in the Holmes house ahead of him. These men were the best of friends,
yet Scott always abbreviated his visits on these occasions. By June he was
seldom, if ever, at the delightful stopping-place where the placid moon
always shone upon the assembled family and guests in the eventide. In
fact, the gossips, who always keep their ears and eyes open for sounds
and sights that seem to give them peculiar pleasure, ceased to couple
the two names together as they had done once or twice in a tentative way
during the spring, and, instead, the name of Boice was very prominently
associated with that of Miss Holmes.
There are many unpleasant things connected with gossips
and gossip. No thought is given to the possibility of mistake and of
untold injury to the innocent. A word, a circumstance, a hint, a guess,
is sufficient to found a story that may blast a reputation and ruin a
life. Gossip is like a snowball, growing as it rolls.
Boice was infatuated with Miss Holmes; she had none
but kindly, respectful feelings towards him. Moreover, while he was bright
enough in the ordinary acceptance of the words, there was nothing in
him of that vivacity and unguessed depth that would particularly attract
a young lady like Miss Holmes. Nevertheless, regardless of both the man
and the woman, gossip had completely arranged the affairs between them:
there was an engagement; the day had been set; not many months distant,
at the close of the following year as an attraction of Commencement week,
Miss Holmes was to become Mistress Boice!
THE final examinations were
at hand. Some one has said that examinations are a relic of barbarism.
There are very few who are fairly tested by them. The man without nerves,
perfectly confident of himself, passes through the ordeal at par. The
man who has refused to study and who has no conscience, but some inventive
genius, succeeds in fooling the brightest professor, and passes above
par, while often the painstaking though irritable student, full of nerves
and conscious of them, comes forth far below par.
A good many stories are told concerning cheating
at examinations. Some are true; others must be taken with allowances.
The following was told one morning to a group of fellows standing around
one of the old elms, waiting for the college bell to call them into examinations.
Perhaps it was not the best kind of an inspiration with which to begin
the work. Roxy Randall was the speaker:
"I had a friend who went to H---. He said that the
fellows in his class had been accustomed to bribe the printer for a
proof copy of the questions to be used. Before the final contests one
year it was evident that a certain professor had his suspicions aroused,
for he changed his printer, selecting a man whom he thought it was impossible
to purchase. The committee of students, whose only hope for the future
was a foreknowledge of the examination questions, quickly found the
printer, but almost as quickly discovered that he at least was without
price. Another fellow, not a member of the committee, but who had dealings
at the place and was well known, was selected to go, on any pretext he
might trump up, with the simple instructions to keep his eyes open for
what he might discover. He donned a pair of white linen trousers, and
sallied forth. He did keep his eyes open, and to such good purpose that
he soon discovered resting upon a chair the locked form of the coveted
questions. The type was black with ink, and evidently a proof had recently
been struck. After wandering apparently aimlessly around at last with
a sigh as of weariness he dropped into the chair, but immediately arose
with a cry of dismay, as he beheld the ink upon his clean trousers. He
left the place precipitately amid the jeers of the printers, and soon reached
his room, where his coming was eagerly awaited by an anxious crowd. The
fellow changed his clothes, and the hungry crowd deciphered the proof
of the questions imprinted on the pure white linen, and thus another battle
Roxy was charged with inventing that story, but he
stood to it that his friend at H-- had told it to him for the truth.
But the whole company well knew that there was much cheating done at
Darnforth, and that much ingenuity had often been displayed by students
in order to pass examinations without too much previous study or knowledge.
On one occasion at Darnforth, and this can be vouched
for, a certain student was utterly hopeless, unless some of his friends
took pity on him and dragged him through the ordeal. It happened that
he had a chum of a higher class who was perfectly willing to help him;
in fact, was rather proud of the artistic work he had accomplished in
this direction heretofore. By previous arrangement this student stationed
himself by a window, from which, as quickly as he was able, he threw a
copy of the questions. The chum on the outside speedily gathered them
together and by his superior knowledge and the help of the text-books to
which he had access, prepared a fair set of answers. At length the hopeless
student, with a handkerchief spotted with red ink to his nose, went to
the ice-water cooler, just outside the open door, in the corridor. He
was in full sight of the room the whole while, but he managed to obtain
the necessary documents that had been concealed by previous arrangement
behind the tank.
On another occasion there was artistic work that
was even superior to that just related. One of the professors was especially
suspicious, and the men without conscience were eager to get the better
of him, even when it was not considered necessary. The examination was
held in an immense lecture-room where the class could be separated,
so that help was out of the question from any ordinary source. This
wise man never had his papers printed, but always wrote the questions on
the board after the class came in. On the day in, question, a few minutes
after the work had been placed on the board there came a knock on the
door. The professor himself responded. There stood a smiling young fellow
who said that his chum had his pocketbook and that he needed it very much.
Unsuspicious for once, the man of learning, with a laughing remark, himself
carried the article to the supposed owner. There was no money within,
but there was a full copy of the questions. After the answers were prepared,
they were placed in an envelope and properly directed to the student,
with a special delivery stamp upon it, and mailed at the post-office.
In an incredibly short space of time the messenger came upon the campus
inquiring for the student whose name appeared upon the letter, and soon
he stood at the lecture-room door. Again the professor was the agent,
signing the book and carrying the missive to the student, who received
it with trembling hands and genuine eagerness.
It was the next day after Roxy's story. There were
groups of students upon the campus, textbooks and note-books in hand.
Here and there one might be seen walking nervously in some sequestered
portion of the grounds, now and then referring to his book, evidently
endeavoring to do his best in the moments that remained. There were some
who had neither note-book nor textbook, who seemed to be without fear
or worry. Some of these were tossing ball and some reading the morning
paper, while others were talking animatedly upon some subject foreign
to the work before them.
Four or five of the "Co-eds" of the freshman class
were quizzing each other while seated on the circular bench around one
of the great trees, when Scott and Moon came up. "You must close those
books," said Scott; "it is too late to learn anything more, and the
moments you put on study now will only make you nervous later. Better
stand up straight and drink in the fresh air."
"O pshaw! Mr. Scott," said Miss Gould; "we are not
nervous; we know it all. We have been over it so frequently. We would
just as lief talk as study. But we had to fill in the time."
"On the contrary," remarked Moon, "we are not studying,
because we conceive it a hopeless task to get a year's work into our
heads in such a short space of time."
"I should think so," snapped Miss Brighton, "if you
have not succeeded during the year, there is certainly little hope in
these last moments."
"O, I don't know," was Moon's retort; "there are
some in our class not overly endowed with brains who seem to study little
all the year, but who always manage somehow or other to pass creditable
examinations. I wonder the Faculty don't question the integrity of some
of those men. They certainly must suspect them; the discrepancy between
class work and examination is very great in some instances. My opinion
is that of the real faithful students there are more who come short of
their term work in examination than there are those who excel."
"Is it not strange," queried Miss Holmes, "the different
standards we seem to hold for certain things? There is probably not
a member of our class who would steal or cheat, in the ordinary use of
those words, and we would all be shocked if we discovered one of our
number involved in a dishonest money operation, and yet we know that cheating
is done at every examination, and we are not surprised nor hurt. I overheard
one member of our class saying that, while he believed in honesty in general,
he deemed it to be his solemn duty to get the better of a professor
whenever he could."
"O, I know who said that," cried Moon; "it was Retlaw!
I heard him say that it was his duty to cheat the professors because
they were constantly treating him so mean."
"He feels it his duty," remarked Miss VanDerveer,
who had been diligently studying during all this conversation, "because
he knows it is his only hope."
"There, there!" exclaimed Miss Holmes, "let us not
talk about Mr. Retlaw, because he is not here. But is it not true that
all of us have lowered our ideals somewhat? In our last examination I
frequently saw Miss Brighton help that big Mr. Burton!"
"Yes, and the worst of it was that he was so dumb
that it was almost impossible to aid him. How could I help it? He doesn't
know a single thing! He is so much like a great big baby! He studied
hard all the year, and never knew what he studied. When he said 'please'
to me so pathetically, I could not resist. But there is no use helping
him, for if he does not quite catch a word you whisper to him he will
write it down just as it sounds to him. I should so much like to see his
papers. I think they must present a remarkable appearance. And he does
not pass in spite of all my trouble, and he never will. The mystery of
mysteries to me is how he ever got into college. The bars must have been
"I believe Mr. Burton is not here, either, is he?"
whispered Miss Holmes, who always took the part of the absent.
"No, dear girl, he is not here; but I should not
hesitate to say the same thing to his face. In fact, I have done it,
and he only laughed as if he thought it a big joke."
"There is no doubt," said Scott, "that our ideals
undergo a change for the worse here at college, if we are not very careful.
Before last February I had no conscience upon the subject at all. I helped
any one who asked me, if I could, and when I was in need of assistance
I never refused it. Since then I have improved so much that I have ever
refrained from receiving help of any kind, even when in the direst need;
but I have conceived it harmless, and even righteous almost, to give
it, when I thought the recipient was worthy, but unfortunate."
"That is just the way I have felt," exclaimed Miss
Brighton. "I never wanted help in my life, but I do feel sorry for any
one who has studied faithfully, but who has struck a piece of bad luck;
and that is the reason I have sometimes come to the rescue."
"Nevertheless, I believe that an impartial judge
outside of the college world would say that all these acts are essentially
dishonest," insisted Miss Holmes; "and for our own sakes I believe that
we ought to make a stand. We are in training here, not only mentally,
but morally, and this kind of training will not be beneficial to us
in the future. I suggest that we form an anti-cheat club and pledge ourselves
to discourage the habit as well as we may by personal work!"
Thereupon Retlaw, who had come up in time to hear
the subject under discussion, exclaimed, "Did you hear the story Roxy
told yesterday about cheating?" No one had heard it, so Retlaw told it
very nicely. Then the other local stories were repeated.
"But we are getting away from the subject in hand,"
persisted Miss Holmes. "Don't run off, Mr. Retlaw. Let us make a simple
little pledge, and make the signing of it a condition of membership."
just then the college bell "interrupted the college belle," as Moon put
it afterward. But before they started for the ordeal there was a general
expression of concurrence, and Moon suggested Scott and Miss Holmes to
act as a committee to prepare a brief pledge, and to report as soon as
The committee just named finished their work in time
to get together before the noon hour, and they drafted the following:
"Believing in the principles of honesty, I hereby agree to refrain from
giving or receiving assistance in examinations." The little company met
after dinner, accepted the pledge, ordered it printed and on the next
day they gained many signatures. At the top of the pledge card in bold
letters was the simple title, "ANTI-CHEAT." This was the beginning of
a work that, in a short time, largely did away with the custom of dishonesty
in examinations at Darnforth.
THE regular examinations
closed on Wednesday or Thursday, and the exercises of Commencement week
proper did not begin till Saturday night. A student who had his work well
in hand frequently was able to get away from his examination long before
the time limit. With these spare hours, and the free days before and during
Commencement, there was plenty of freedom. To make it more agreeable,
the June weather this season was as nearly perfect as it could be. No one
in the whole college found these closing days of the year more charming
than did Moon. His spare moments were often spent on the porch of the
Woods mansion across the street from the college campus. He had never
been extravagant; besides, his spending-money had been limited from necessity,
but that which he had received throughout the year had been mostly saved.
He now suddenly developed a great liking for horses, and it was not an
uncommon thing these last days to see him driving through the streets
and out into the country in a beautiful phaeton buggy, behind a spirited
horse. He was not often alone. His friends never saw him more joyous than
during this period. The gossips whispered that something had happened
during one of these buggy rides, but they knew nothing about it. They
only guessed. At that time neither one of the interested parties made any
confidants on the subject. The only other being on the spot every time
was the horse, and he was remarkably close-mouthed, and they had implicit
confidence in him.
Saturday night was the time for the junior oratorical
contest. Few of that class are known to us. It was a society event.
The music was of the very highest order, and the speaking good.
Sunday was the great day religiously. In the morning
the president preached his Baccalaureate sermon. In the evening some
noted divine preached the annual sermon before the Christian associations.
Both of these addresses, as a rule, were of the highest order, and people
came from great distances to hear them. Then there were always present
in town at this season a great many visitors, including the alumni, the
trustees, and friends of the institution.
Monday was not so important to the general public.
The time was devoted largely to the annual session of the trustees.
But the evening offered an opportunity to hear some great orator address
the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Tuesday was Alumni-day. While the meeting
of the trustees was continued during the morning, the various classes
of the past held their respective reunions and the Alumni dinner was
the feature of the noon hour, while at night the great Alumni oration was
delivered, and after this came the annual promenade concert on the campus.
There were many who believed this to be the most enjoyable part of this
delightful week. The campus was large and brilliantly illuminated by electricity.
The lights gave weird effects to the scene as they threw their fantastic
shadows on the ground. It made one think of dreams of fairy-land or of
the fancies of the inspired poets. The band, in a prominent position,
discoursed sweet music, while the gathered beauty and intelligence of
the patronizing territory were present to enjoy to the full all that
was for them.
Upon this especial evening Mr. Moon was perfectly
blissful; for little Daisy Woods was with him, and they promenaded together
the whole time. Scott was correspondingly blue and gloomy. He saw nothing
pleasant in anything, and, as usual, he was actually ignorant of the
cause, though others there were who were not so innocent. Miss Holmes
was very popular with certain distinguished visitors and with-Mr. Boice.
If Scott had recognized himself as a suitor, he would have been as bold
as any, and undoubtedly would have claimed her for a part of the time.
But such a thought had not found an entrance to his mind; it was not among
the possibilities; she was, in his, estimation, more like an angel than
a frail human creature like himself. Hence he was miserable, without
the comfort of knowing the reason why. Not knowing the disease, he was
unable to take any medicine.
After the promenade concert, which came to a close
about 10.30 o'clock, the fraternities, as a rule, held their reunion
banquets. Wednesday was Class-day. Every one knows what that means. All
day long they held forth; in the morning in the great new chapel, and
in the afternoon on the campus. In the evening the president held his
annual levee, supposed to be in honor of the graduating class as a social
farewell; but the trustees and Faculty and visiting friends were present
in such numbers that, often, the class was practically lost sight of.
This was an unpleasant evening for the undergraduate, for he was never included.
Any one else might be eligible to a special invitation for reasons, but
there was no hope for him. He frequently made up for this grave neglect
by entering into some scheme of mischief. On one occasion several of
the undergraduates planned an attack upon the presidential mansion by
way of an alley in the rear. No noise was made; no sound of conflict;
but when the smoke of battle cleared away, three enormous tubs of ice-cream
had disappeared, and were never heard of more.
Thursday was Commencement-day. Final chapel exercises
were held in the morning, after which the honors were announced and
certificates of advancement distributed. From that on, apparently almost
interminably, the senior class had the floor in the old-fashioned plan
of Salutatories, English and Latin, Philosophical Oration, Honor Orations
of the different degrees, and the Valedictory Address. Grips were packed,
tickets were purchased, and usually at the close of this exercise there
was a grand rush for the station, where every train carried away goodly
portions of the population of the college. Several were sorely disappointed
on this occasion. Being especially interested in the Valedictory, they
missed the afternoon train. Among these was Scott. His sorrow was turn
into joy, however, when later in the afternoon he received assurances
that his disappointment had been discovered, and that he and two or three
others had been invited to dine with the Holm family that evening. The
keen edge of his joy was lost when he learned that Boice was included
in the number of the left-overs, who were thus gathered in.
Mrs. Holmes had been pondering Wilding's words of
warning in her heart all these days, but had never mentioned the matter
to either her husband or her daughter. She was attracted to the young
man, and kept putting off what she feared to be her duty. She would study
him further this night.
IN spite of the presence
of Boice at the Holmes mansion, the farewell dinner was one long to be
remembered. In the first place, Mrs. Holmes knew how to entertain. The
table was not a place of stiff formality, where every one felt uncomfortable
and spent most his time wishing that it was over. It was a retreat of
refinement and comfort. The meal was so re-enforced by delightful conversation
that the relish for the good things was the greater. After the meal was
over, Scott had but little opportunity to talk with Miss Holmes; the inevitable
Boice drew her from the rest of the company. He seemed to stand on his
higher class and make it a claim for special privileges, and yet with
such calm dignity that every one seemed bound to acquiesce.
At first the old feeling of discomfort and uneasiness took possession
of Scott, and he almost wished himself elsewhere. Yet as he sat in a
sheltered corner by himself he felt a peculiar kind of pleasure. He was
sitting just where he could see Miss Holmes, but at such an angle in regard
to the rest of the company that he could not possibly be charged with
staring at her. She was dressed in some light summer stuff, and with
her halo of hair about her shapely head she appeared to him like a creature
from a better world. But she was displaying great interest in the conversation,
and frequently a little ripple of laughter would float from her that
was full of music. Once she sat like a statue while Boice told her something;
she did not move a muscle; but when he had finished she put both her
elbows on the little table that separated them in a delightfully defiant
fashion, regardless of table etiquette, and looked up into his face
with such a comical expression that Scott found himself laughing out
of pure sympathy with it. It was almost as if she said, "That sounds very
well, Mr. Boice; but you really do not expect me to believe it, I know!"
She appeared more lovely to him now than ever. Her motions and natural
poses were perfect grace, suggested by the artist within her, of whose
presence she was all unconscious.
"I hope you will never marry," Scott found himself
thinking. "No one is good enough for you. It would be a shame to waste
your sweetness on any one man; you ought to belong to the whole world,
to flit in and out among the inhabitants, carrying music and sunshine
and beauty and trust with you. Then how miserable the average selfish
fellow could make you!" Then he laughed at his thoughts, and at the same
time was interrupted in them by the sweet voice of Madame Holmes.
"Why, Mr. Scott, you are all alone, but evidently
not lonesome, for I detected a genuine smile on your face."
"Yes, Mrs. Holmes, I was alone, but it was all my
fault. I have a penchant for studying people, especially in little assemblies
like this, and I frequently find myself looking on as if I were invisible
and had no responsibility. I know that it is selfish, and I ought to
break the habit; but it is delightful, and I fall into it almost unconsciously."
"Well, I am going to help you break it for to-night.
I might be more indulgent if it were the beginning of the season; but
as this is good-bye for so long, I can not permit it." This she said
with a smile that any one could see was the ancestress of the daughter's
facial illumination. Scott had a longer conversation with the older
lady than he had ever enjoyed before, and he came to the conclusion
that night in his room that she was the most perfectly delightful matron
he had ever had the privilege of meeting. She was motherly, but not obtrusively
so; she was intelligent, but not oppressively so; she was vivacious,
but not recklessly so; she was deferential, but beautifully and delightfully
original. It was not a mystery, the source of some of the younger lady's
gifts and graces.
Mrs. Holmes was in trouble concerning the young man
with whom she had conversed so pleasantly. He was frank and modest and
intelligent. He was fearless, aggressive, and at times, when kindled,
sparkling. She endeavored to find a trace of selfishness or hypocrisy or
of the theatrical, but in vain; and yet she had much confidence in the
sincerity of Wilding. She must have a talk with Anna first, and later
with her husband. But, after all, there was little use. He had ceased calling
almost completely, and when he was there, as this evening, his attention
was never given especially to her daughter. Even mothers, with all their
instinct and love, are not all-wise!
The next day, a couple of hours before train-time,
the same company, with the exception of the older people, met on the
campus for farewells. As there was ample time, conversation was indulged
in. A little excitement in the street called most of the group to the
campus wall. Scott and Miss Holmes had just caught the end of a thread
that promised more interest than the affair across wall; hence they remained
seated on the little bench that surrounded a great elm. When the others
returned, it was to the sister tree a few feet distant from theirs.
Hence their conversation was in a measure between themselves.
"This has been the most satisfactory year I ever
saw at the college," said Miss Holmes. "You know that some of us city
girls have a great interest in the institution, whether we go to college
or not. Some years, when there have been difficulties and troubles of
all kinds, we feel what a bad year it has been. But this one is 'red-letter.'
The revival was the truest and most far-reaching we have ever had, I
am sure. Of course, some have gone back to their old life. But, taking
the college as a whole, I believe the growth has been healthful. And
the Church has never been in a better condition since I can remember.
I hope that the men will not suffer when they get away from these influences,
and I trust that the Church will not miss the students too much. But I
fear it will be hard for both."
"Yes, the atmosphere and soil have been just right
for growth this spring. I shall always be thankful that I went to college,
and that Providence turned my feet towards this one in particular, and
that it was my lot to be here this glorious year."
"Since you are about to depart for a few weeks, I
am sure it will not make you religiously vain if I tell you that the change
in you has been marked and emphatic. I do not mean that I thought that
you were particularly bad before, but that you have been so bold and
true since. I think that you have grown steadily and healthfully."
"Your kind remarks, Miss Holmes, make me feel humble.
I know that I have grown and that I am not the same man I was a year
ago, and I give God all the glory. But I feel that my headway has been
slow. I know that God has beckoned me to come faster, if I may so put
it, than I have yet followed. But I rejoice that my progress has been
visible to others."
"You know that all true growth is slow, Mr. Scott.
When I was a child I began to be very fond of flowers. I was given a
plant that was most rapid in its growth. Sometimes I would sit and watch
it, and endeavor to make marks on a stick by means of which I might assure
myself that I had seen it grow; but I never did. Not even from day to
day could I observe any change, but looking back a week or more I could
always see that great progress had been made. I think it is something
like that with the growth of a healthy Christian."
"You are right. I am grateful that the seed of the
Christian religion was implanted in me. The great beauty of our religion,
Miss Holmes, is that it saves. It saves us from sin and its dominion;
it saves us from our past; it saves us for all future, on earth and
in heaven. We do not make enough of being saved for our earthly future.
We do not know what lies before us. We do not need to know. It might
make us miserable. I have read Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking-glass;'
you know it is a child's book, but I found many things in it that were
suggestive and helpful. One day Alice and the Red Queen were walking through
a wood. All of a sudden the Queen began to cry in agony. 'What is the
matter?' anxiously inquired the sympathetic Alice. 'O, I am going to stick
my finger with my brooch! O! O! O!' wailed the Queen. Alice was much surprised
and somewhat shocked, but she remarked in a dignified manner that in
her country grown-up people never cried before they were hurt. And the
Queen made haste to reply, a little testily perhaps, that in her country
they never cried after they were hurt. 'What was the use? it was all over
then!' So I think that if we knew the future, seeing evil approaching,
we would cry both before and after, and hence would be ever in sorrow.
But why should we care now, since we have a salvation that saves for all
the future of earth, no matter what comes. There is One we can trust.
I feel with the poet:
" 'I know not what may befall me
God hangs a mist o'er my eyes,
And o'er each step of my onward path,
He makes new scenes to arise,
And every joy that he sends me
Comes as a sweet and glad surprise.' "
And then the last stanza:
" 'My heart shrinks back from trials
That the future may disclose,
Yet I never had a sorrow
But what the dear Lord chose:
So I send the coming tears back
With the whispered words, "He knows." ' "
"O, I'm glad you are to be
a minister of the gospel! I should so much like to hear you preach."
"Now, Miss Holmes, I deny that I was preaching!"
"That was the best part of it. It was a sermon, but
it wasn't preached. 'Preaching' spoils a good many grand sermons."
"By the way, Miss Holmes, I desire to thank you for
the help you have given me this year. I needed so much at the start, and
no one seemed to understand that I needed it but you. You will perhaps
never know what I owe you in this."
There was a distant warning whistle. The rest of
the company were already down to the campus gate, and were now calling
for the lingering pair.
"Good-bye, campus! good-bye, college!" Scott sang
out as he turned to close the iron gate.
It was but a few steps down the street to the station.
Soon all were on the train. Scott sat alone with his head thrown back
and his eyes closed. But he was not asleep. Nevertheless he was dreaming,
and the dream was pleasing. And in his dream he came nearer to understanding
himself than he ever had done before.