COMMENCEMENT was a thing of the past, and summer,
with its difficulties and problems, as well as its joys, was upon the
students. To some the long vacation was simply a season of rest and recreation;
they had no responsibilities, and no toil was expected of them. These went
home with visions of a good time among their friends. Not a few, soon
after their welcome home, again packed their trunks and departed for the
seashore or the mountains, where they spent their time in wooing health
and happiness. Several of the more favored ones were enabled to make a
hasty run across the ocean. But to a large number of the boys vacation
meant simply a change of occupation. They had no time to spend in play. Every
moment was precious, and had to be employed in earning funds for future
needs. Many knew that their next year at college was largely dependent
upon their own efforts that summer.
In the spring, a general agent for one of the great
publishing-houses had visited the college, with a fine collection of
books and an immense amount of enthusiasm, which he unloaded upon the
boys of the necessitous class. Outfits were purchased, territory was
assigned and dreams were indulged in of the vast sums of money that were
to be made during the summer. Pierson with his mind upon the farm, suddenly
became anxious to help his father pay for his education. He selected a
religious work of merit, and had the territory about his own home allotted
to him. He wrote to his father concerning what he had done. The whole
neighborhood felt proud of the young man when they learned that he was
going to earn his own way through college. When the time arrived for his
work, he borrowed the best horse and buggy on his father's place. His
rule was to go to his many acquaintances in the region. These were ready
to receive him, as it were, with open arms, and in many instances with
the money all counted out, waiting for him. Hence, for the first two weeks,
his success was phenomenal, meriting the highest commendations from his
publishing-house, who looked upon him as a marvel. There was an end to
this sort of thing when new people had to be met, with no interest in him
personally and no special desire to help him. From these he received his
full share of rebuffs, and doors closed in his face. In several homes
where he was given a fair and respectful hearing he failed to make an
impression, because he had not thoroughtly read the book and was not conversant
with its true merits. At the end of his first week he was ready to vote
the calling of the book-agent the most delightful and lucrative in the
world; at the end of the third week he was weary and sick of the whole
business, and insisted that he never wanted to hear of canvassing again.
He had not recognized the fact that it requires the highest kind of skill
to sell a book to a man who knows that he does not want it, and who feels
hostile to the whole tribe of agents; that it requires art and tact and
knowledge of human nature, to say nothing of patience and persistence.
About the middle of the fourth week he went back to the farm with a relish
and a feeling that it was heavenly in comparison with the new employment.
A young "Prep" by the name of Strong went with his
father and mother and brothers and sisters to Ocean Grove, New Jersey,
where they had a modest little cottage, situated far back from the ocean.
The father was a clergyman on a small salary. He had bought his lot for
a "song" in the early days of the famous camp-meeting resort, had built
an inexpensive little house upon it, and then, at the beginning of each
summer vacation, he moved his family into it for the season. His field
of labor was not distant, and his railroad fare was more than balanced
by the inexpensiveness of living at his surnmer home. Monmouth County,
the garden-spot of the Garden State, on the coast of which the great resort
is situated, furnished produce at prices that would have opened the eyes
of the denizens of the cities. The farmer friends of the family delighted
to bring the best of their fruits, and often forgot to charge. Then the
father was wise enough to understand that money invested in sea-breezes
and oceanbaths and out-of-door life was not thrown away, but that it entered
into the very fiber of his children's being.
Strong and his younger brother had sold papers here
ever since they had been old enough to carry a bundle and count the change.
Nowhere do papers sell better than at a prosperous summer resort. Nowhere
are there so many men who say, "Keep the change." But Bert was now eighteen
years of age, and he considered himself too old to sell papers. And yet
it was necessary for him to do something this summer to help defray his
college expenses for the next year. But all his efforts to find anything
more honorable failed; hence, with a sigh, he went back to his old business.
Bert had made money in past years at this, but he labored under a very
serious handicap; the Ocean Grove authorities would not permit the sale
of the Sunday papers. Still these could be purchased at Asbury Park, another
resort separated from the former by a tiny body of water known as Wesley
Lake. Strong had many customers who bought of him regularly, and some
of these insisted that he meet them at a certain hour Sunday mornings at
the foot of Wesley Lake that they might obtain from him the paper that
they must have. Strong's father prohibited any such infraction of the
Sabbath law, and the son saw some of his best customers turn their back
upon him. In spite of this hindrance, the money from his paper business
helped him a long way through the next year.
Some of the more fortunate students tutored during
the summer, and tutoring is a lucrative occupation where one is fortunate
enough to have several wealthy young fellows to look after. Many of the
country boys knew what they could do, and, without trying anything else,
went immediately to work as farm-hands. Some became waiters and clerks
at summer hotels, and one or two were able to fill summer positions on
After a brief visit home, Scott had intended to go
to the place where his brother operated his tailor establishment, and
assist him, if possible. But his fond mother objected when she saw him.
She insisted that he had been working too hard, and that he needed rest.
The dear woman had been so happy over his conversion that she felt certain,
when she saw him, that he had been too conscientious and had overworked.
She perhaps would not have had her way-for Scott greatly desired to earn
money during the summer-if it had not been for a letter that came about
a week after his home-coming. It was from his old friend Kenneth, and
was brimful of news. His father had taken a large cottage at Island Heights, New Jersey,
and they were to spend the summer there. He wanted Scott to spend the
month of August with him. They would sail and fish and swim, and have a
grand time. He had met Wilding in Philadelphia, and learned that he was going
to spend August at the Island House; incidentally, also, that Miss Biddle
would be there. But, better than all, a number of the old college crowd
were coming: the Bruces and the Holmeses from Darnforth; Moon and Chubb
and Andrews, and others; altogether they would have quite a college party.
Scott must come!
It did not take a great deal of urging from his mother
or sanctioning from his father to make the boy accept, especially as his
brother had just written that he did not see what Manly could do for
him, since he did not understand the business, and it was now the middle
of the dull season. He always kept his own books.
IT was indeed a happy reunion
of a part of the old company on the banks of Tom's River and the shores
of Barnegat Bay. The members of the party filled the time as they had
done at college, only here it was every day and three times a day, and,
added to driving and tramping, they had the boating in the still waters
of the river or Island Bay, yachting on Barnegat Bay, bathing in the quiet
waters near at hand or in the surf a few miles distant, and crabbing and
fishing. Besides, there were pond-lily parties, for the little estuaries
of the bay abounded with these beautiful and fragrant flowers; and watermelon
parties right in the boats, drawn up along the shore near the source of
supply; the cool cellars or springhouses of the farmers; clam-bakes; picnics
to the Bay Shore under the gnarled old cedars; and new forms of pleasure
almost without number.
Mr. Wilding and Miss Biddle were seldom thrown with
the rest of the college people, though they were more gracious here than
they had appeared at Darnforth. Sometimes they would accept an invitation,
but usually they had a previous engagement with each other, separate from
After a couple of weeks of the most wholesome pleasure, one evening,
as the crowd sauntered up the board-walk to the little station to meet
the evening train, they found themselves late, for the train came over
the bridge before they reached the station. They were surprised and startled
to see walking towards them Mr. Boice, with a dress-suit case on one side
and a large grip on the other, balancing him like the buckets of a milkmaid.
He said that he knew nothing about the place, and had started to walk
in the only possible direction, intending to stop at the most attractive
house. With the enthusiasm that is always born on occasions of this sort,
the young men seized his burdens, and bore him in triumph to their favorite
That evening the whole Darnforth party met on the
broad veranda of the hotel in honor of the accession. Wilding and Miss
Biddle condescended to grace the company with their presence. In fact,
no one was more hearty in giving welcome to the new-comer than was Wilding
himself. Probably he had not formulated the reason in his own mind, but
the truth was, he felt that it would spoil some of Scott's pleasure,
and keep him from enjoying the company of his fair cousin too serenely.
Boice was perfectly happy, and became the enthusiastic spokesman and
entertainer of the whole party. After admiring the moon that marked a silver
path on the ripples before them, all the way across the broad river,
and after speaking of the delightful atmosphere that seemed to combine
the fragrance of the pine forest and of the salt air in one delicious
tonic breath, he turned the topic to Darnforth and its many representatives
there. At length be said:
"Why could we not have a Darnforth-day here? I understand
there is an auditorium up on the bluff. We could have a general reunion
in the morning, an address by a notable in the afternoon, a banquet at
night with toasts, and a fishing excursion the next day. Each ol us could
write to his friends in the vicinity; we could have it advertised in the
Philadelphia papers; and by our united efforts we could make a successful
occasion of it."
"Just the thing!" "Let's do it!" "Why hadn't we thought
of it before?" were some of the expressions that greeted the proposition.
After an informal discussion, some one moved that they adjourn to one
of the parlors, where they might transact some business and put the matter
on a firm basis. There they placed Boice in the chair as the mover and
as the only senior in the company. Dates were selected for the reunion
and the great fishing excursion down the bay. Committees were appointed
to attend to all the arrangements. In less than an hour everything had
been planned, and when the meeting adjourned it was to the river banks,
where they embarked on skiffs for a moonlight row on the beautiful river.
The reunion proved to be as much of a success as could
have been anticipated when the brief time for preparation is taken into
consideration. They had a large nucleus on the spot; a number came in
from Philadelphia and neighboring New Jersey towns. Personal letters written
to friends at a greater distance brought in a few others. They had their
morning handshaking, at which time was presented to each a satin badge
with "Darnforth" printed across it in large red letters, and underneath,
in smaller type, "First Reunion, at Island Heights, August-, 188-." In
the afternoon they had a brilliant address by a well-known alumnus, and
in the evening the banquet was held according to schedule. This latter
was simplicity itself as far as menu was concerned; but the tables were
beautifully decorated and the toasts were of the highest order. It was
not a close corporation, for the parents of the undergraduates at the
Heights were heartily welcomed to the table, as were the most intimiate
friends of the Darnforth people who were willing to come. Hence it was that
the ladies were present. Miss Brighton, who happened to be passing through
Philadelphia to Atlantic City, saw a notice of it in the paper, and gained
her parens' consent to run over to Island Heights for a few days to see
Anna Holmes. Mis Brighton was called on for a toast, and, with her eyes
sparkling, she rose to her feet and made one of the most brilliant speeches
of the evening. Perhaps no one surpassed her unless it were Scott. He
had so entered into the spirit of the affair that he had completely gotten
out of himself, and, strange to say, when he spoke, his true self appeared
to others, as they had never seen it before. He was calrn and earnest,
yet bright and flashing. His wit was of the highest order. His remarks
were extemporaneous, in that he had not expected to speak. But all through
the proceedings he had accepted the inspirations that came to him and
collected them with the thought, "Suppose you should be called on?" At
the close of the banquet they lifted on high glasses filled with crystal
water and sang:
"Here's to Darnforth College-
Drink her down!
She's the source of all our knowledge-
Drink her down!"
And the benediction was pronounced by a bishop
who graced the occasion with his presence.
BUT it was the next day's
sport that was the climax. Early in the morning there might have been
seen coming up to the old dock in front of the hotel three beautiful cat-rigged
yachts, the finest and the fastest on the waters. There was "The Martha,"
old-time champion and cup-winner of the Tom's River Yacht Club; "The Gem,"
a newer boat, that had taken some of the palms away from the former, but
belonging to the same club; and "The Josephine," a private boat of great
beauty that had been tendered to the party by its owner, an old Darnforth
man and especial friend of Kenneth's father. That there might be no partiality,
the married couples were placed in equal numbers in the different boats
to serve as chaperones "and ballast," as Mr. Holmes laughingly put it.
Then the names of the single men were written on slips of paper and placed
in a hat, where they were thoroughly mixed up. An outsider took the hat
and counted out of it an equal number of slips that were placed in the
hat of the captain of "The Martha;" an equal number in the hat of the
captain of "The Gem;" and so in a hat representing "The Josephine."
The names of the ladies were treated in a similar manner. There was great
opposition to this plan from a few; but those favoring it were so numerous
that the others felt ashamed to say much in their own behalf. Wilding
was angry, and so was Boice; but they were well-bred enough to hide their
ire. Every one acknowledged the fun of the plan as he listened breathlessly
to the several captains as each in turn picked the slips from his hat
and read them aloud. As each name was read there would go up a shout.
The result was not so bad, and there was no law against exchange.
A start was made by seven-thirty. Lunches and bait
and paraphernalia were stored away. Each captain chose a mate from the
guests of his boat. The mates handed souvenirs to the ladies and gentlemen
as they stepped aboard. "The Martha" guests received a red silk pennant
with "Martha" in gilt letters stamped across it, the date underneath;
"The Gem" guests, a white pennant with the name of the boat similarly stamped.
"The Josephine" guests had a blue pennant. It happened that Mr. and Mrs.
Holmes, Anna Holmes, Mr. Boice, and Mr. Scott were all in "The Martha."
Scott had completely conquered himself by this time, and felt no sense
of regret at the arrangement. "Why should he?" He was chosen mate of the
boat, and made himself very useful to the captain and to all the ladies.
Wilding and Miss Biddle were polite to him, but he could feel a sense
of stiffness when they addressed him.
The breeze was very light at the start and dead ahead;
that is, nearly directly from the east. Much time was consumed before
they reached Long Point, because it was necessary to make short tacks;
but beyond the Point the wind was stiffer, and they could make much longer
tacks. When at last they rounded Good Luck Point and found themselves
in the broad Bay, they had all the wind they wanted, and as they were to
sail south the direction of the wind was just right. It was then a "side-wind,"
and enabled them to sail without once "going about," which is especially
unpleasant when there are ladies aboard. The wind was good also for safely
making the draw in the great Barnegat Bridge that crosses the bay at this
The sail down the bay was all that could be desired.
The beautiful boats went like racehorses, and all too soon they found
themselves anchored close together off the mouth of Forked River. This
was the place where the fish were biting the best this season. Soon rods
and lines were gotten out, shrimp and softshell crabs were affixed to the
hooks, and then for about twenty minutes the fish bit rapidly-great weak-fish
and the smaller Cap May goodies and porgies. Then all of a sudden they
ceased, and gave not so much as a nibble even. Some one proposed that
they go over to Barnegat Light, which was not far distant in a straight
line, but that could only be reached by following a very circuitous channel.
They could drop their trolling lines, and perhaps might pick up a few
blue-fish on the way. This was finally agreed to, and soon they were scudding
along with their long trolling lines behind them. They did not catch any
fish, but they made a quick and pleasant run to the narrow beach by the
inlet upon which the famous Barnegat Lighthouse stands.
Here, in the sand near the base of the Light, they
had their luncheon together, which was much better than eating separately
on their boats. Then they made a hasty climb up the noble tower from the
summit of which a magnificent view was obtained.
By three o'clock, according to plan, they were back
on the bay side and ready to embark. The captains were having a consultation,
while every now and again they would glance over the horizon, making some
sweeping gesture with the hand. They made no remarks to the company, however,
as they prepared the sail for starting. It was soon discovered that the
wind had fallen and had shifted a little to the north, and that there
was a peculiar hazy appearance in the sky; but none of the party being
weather-wise in the sailor fashion felt any alarm at what hesaw, only
a more lengthy journey home, with a little beating against the wind. But
what did surprise all who noticed the sail was the reef that had been taken
in each sheet. Though the wind was light, they were run ning under shortened
sail. Mr. Holmes was quick to see the change, and asked of the captain
"We don't like the looks of things, sir. We're afraid
of something sudden, and we want to be prepared, you know."
"But would there not be time enough when the danger
came? We are losing time, and several of the party want to take the evening
"You don't understand this bay, sir. Sometimes a squall
comes up so sudden that you have no time for anything, and it looks pretty
nasty off there," pointing to the southeast. "It may come up any minute.
Best to be on the safe side."
As he spoke the boom came swinging across the cabin,
making some of the young people who happened to be sitting on top "duck"
their heads. All the wind had forsaken them, and they were completely
becalmed. "This is hard luck," said one of the men in "The Martha;" "I
ought to be home to-night."
"Will every one please go into the cabin at once except
my mate, Mr. Scott?" said the captain. "We are going to have a bit of
bad blow in a very few seconds."
While the captain made this request he stood with
the halyards in his hands ready to let the sail drop. He stationed Scott
in the bow to ease up on the halyards should they get caught while he
was letting the sail down. The passengers were clearly frightened, though
they could not see any cause for alarm. The captain was calm enough-that
was encouraging. There was not a breath of air stirring; the sun was shining,
but through a thick mist; in fact, the atmosphere was dense as if full
of smoke. The sail was down. The sister boats had gone through similar
maneuvers. Suddenly the sky became dark; and before they knew what was
the trouble, the squall was upon them. In an instant the calm bay was
lashed into a tempestuous sea. But they were all safe.
The wind had come in from the southeast, and they were scudding along under
bare poles. The captain sent Scott to the cabin door to tell the huddled-up
crowd within that the danger was past, and that the wind was driving them
homeward at a tremendous rate of speed. He was sure the fury of the wind
would abate before they came to the bridge; if not, he would be compelled
to beach the boat, which he could do without any danger to the passengers.
As Scott sat down on the floor of the standing-room, he could hear the
voices within singing "Selvin:"
"If on a quiet sea
Towards heaven we calmly sail,
With grateful hearts, O God, to thee
We'll own the favoring gale.
But should the surges rise,
And rest delay to come,
Blest be the tempest, kind the storm,
Which drives us nearer home."
Above the noise of the tempest and the voices
of the other singers he could hear the clear, sweet voice of Miss Holmes.
There was no note of fear in it. It was the first time he had ever heard
Just at this moment the wind increased in force as
if it had not been satisfied with its first work. It was so dark that
the captain was steering the boat by a little compass and the light of
a lantern. He was constantly consulting his watch, and reckoning thereby
the speed they were making. He decided that it would be perfectly safe
to let her drive for two hours, and then, if there was no let up, he would
beach her. While the wind was at its highest the cabin door opened and
Wilding slipped out. The captain did not notice him. He passed Scott,
who sat on the floor barefooted and wet to the skin, muttering to himself
something about its being too stuffy and too crowded in there. He wanted
air. If Scott could be out, he thought he could too. He climbed up on one
side of the cabin; the boat gave a lurch; the captain looked up and saw
the situation, crying out instantly, "Look out there!" But it was too
late. As the yacht lurched the heavy boom shifted just enough to strike
Wilding on the head and push him over into the water.
Scott said never a word, but instantly seizing a life-preserver
from under the seat, he was overboard and out of sight. There was not
a thing the captain could do but drop the long, heavy pole after him. The
lives of all his passengers were in his hands. It was
impossible to go about, and he could not have found the men if he had
done so. "My God!" he said, "two!" and grinding his teeth, he looked at
his watch. Presently he muttered: "I wouldn't give a cent for either life!
Scott was a fool!"
Long before the first hour passed the wind began to
flag and the light sifted through the gloom. It was not long until the
captain was able to pull up his peak a little, then a little more, till
at length, when the bridge came in view, he was able to go through with
a three reef sail out to the wind. It was not till after they rounded
Good Luck Point and had come into the calm of the leeshore, that the captain
opened the cabindoors and invited his passengers to come out.
"I am sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but we will land
two short of our original party. Mr. Wilding came out of the cabin while
I was reckoning our speed: and I did not see him. The boom knocked him
over, and before I could say a word Scott was after him.
There was nothing I could do. I fear they are both lost. Scott
told me he could swim a couple of weeks ago when he was out with me; that
was the reason I chose him for my mate. Could Mr. Wilding swim?"
"Not a stroke!" said Mr. Holmes. "We were finding
how many of us could swim while we were shut up, and Win said he had
It would be impossible to describe the party as it
received the news of the loss. Miss Biddle and Mrs. Holmes and Miss Holmes
looked like death. Indeed, Miss Biddle had fainted away.
All the boats were able to make a landing by eight
o'clock. The other yachts had weathered the storm without any loss. The
captains were highly commended for their gallant behavior. But for Wilding's
unhappy act, there would have been nothing but congratulations.
There was little sleep that night. Three of the ladies
were in the hands of doctors, while several of the others insisted on
watching and nursing them. At break of day the following morning "The Martha"
was to go down the bay to search for the bodies; for no one believed that
there was any hope.
THE only thing the captain
had done seemed to him so unimportant or so hopeless that he did not think
it worth while to mention it. The instant he saw what Scott was doing,
with one hand he loosed the port-pole, used to propel the boat in shallow
water when there was a calm, and dropped it into the bay. The two men
and the pole had actually reached the water in rapid succession.
Scott had plunged right after Wilding. The first thing
he touched on reaching the surface was his coat; the next thing was the
pole. It did not take more than a fraction of a second to discover that
his man was limp and unconscious. As soon as he was able he fastened his
life-preserver upon Wilding, well up under his arms, then he put the
heavy pole between them so that Wilding's arms hung over it. The victim
of the accident was thus well held up; indeed, the usual order in such
rescues was reversed. Ordinarily the rescuer must hold
up by main force the rescued; in this instance Scott could readily place
one hand on Wilding's shoulder, and let his weight rest there while his
other arm was free to maneuver. If he had kept the preserver on himself
and used the pole, he perhaps would not have had strength enough to keep
the body above water.
In a few minutes the chill of the water had the effect
of bringing Wilding to himself. "Where am I?: he said. "What has happened?
Did the yacht go over? Are the rest of them drowned? Who is this with
"The boat is all right, Wilding. The boom knocked
you overboard. This is Scott."
"Did the boom knock you over too?"
"No, Wilding. I jumped in after you."
"Do you think they will come back after us?"
"Do you think there is any hope for us?"
"I trust so. If we can keep afloat, with a little
help from ourselves, in time the waves and tide and wind will drive us
onto the shore. I think, with the preserver around your body and the
pole to cling to, that you can hold up; can't you, old fellow?"
"I couldn't sink if I wanted to. Have you a preserver
"No, you were limp and unconscious, and I could not
keep you afloat without it."
"You take it now, Scott."
"Not a bit of it. I can swim, in the first place.
Then I put my weight on you and on the pole, so that in reality you are
keeping me afloat. If I took the preserver you would be pretty sure to
"Say, Scott, I've been a fool! Ever since that little
fuss we had on the campus I have been your enemy. I have been a mean,
sneaking, snake-in-the-grass enemy. I have stung you every time I had a
chance, when I felt sure you would not know it. I kept you from getting
an appointment as an assistant court reporter, and I have done meaner things
than that. As I now see myself, I am meaner and lower than I ever thought
it possible for me to become. Did you know how mean I was?"
"I knew you had been cool towards me. I heard about
the court-reporting. They had to come for me in an emergency recently.
The judge complimented me afterward. He said he never had a better reporter,
and that Wilding must have been misinformed. I did not ask him any questions,
but I guessed how matters stood."
"And you did not try to get even with me? And you
risked your life to save me whom you knew to be your bitter enemy? Scott,
you are a gentleman and a Christian, and I am ashamed of myself; and
if we ever get out of this I will be your friend, and endeavor to undo
what I have been working so hard to do."
"That's all right, old fellow. I have never felt any
malice towards you. I was sorry that you looked at things as you did.
If I ever get you out of this, it will be the happiest day of my life."
Of course their conversation was not as unbroken as
this might indicate. There were exclamations and sputterings and pauses.
It had been growing lighter gradually. Once Scott cried out, thinking
he had touched bottom. "The channel is not very wide, and they say you
can wade out half a mile and over. I believe I can see the dim outline
of the low shore. Look! Wilding, do you see?" Wilding could not see. They
drifted on in silence for awhile. At last Scott cried out: "I do see the
shore, Wilding; there is no doubt of it now!" In a few more minutes he
touched bottom, when he let down. In five minutes they were able to walk.
It was bad walking indeed, soft, miry mud! But still they could walk,
and make a little better progress, for they could go straight for the
shore, whereas the waves were taking them on, at a long angle. In half an
hour's time they were climbing up upon the low bank of a salt-marsh, not
a very pleasant place; but they were saved. Wilding was nearly exhausted;
but he gave a feeble "hurrah!" as they stood in the marsh, while Scott
ejaculated fervently, "Thank God!"
Their troubles were by no means over. There they were,
on a salt-marsh far from civilization, wet and tired and comfortless.
Fortunately the blow Wilding had received from the boom of the yacht had
not been serious. Scott was speaking:
"It is only about eight miles from Forked River to
Island Heights, across country. I think the only thing for us to do, as
long as any light remains, is to keep on in a northwesterly direction,
as nearly as we can judge. There is no hope for help here, and we must
contrive to move in order to keep our blood in circulation. Of course,
if we do reach our destination, it will be across the river from the Heights,
and, unless the draw happens to be closed for a train, there will be no
way to get over in the night. Still, we can stop at a house on this side."
For reply Wilding groaned. As long as there was a
particle of light they were enabled to keep their course, but very laboriously.
They were compelled to pick their way from tuft to tuft, and often they
slipped into the water up to their knees. When at last it grew dark they
still made slow progress guided by the wind, which continued to blow stiffly,
as they hoped, in the same direction; and by going before it they believed
they would be journeying towards their goal. After what seemed to them
an interminable period, they saw a dim light in the distance, flickering,
so that part of the time they lost sight of it entirely. Hope revived,
and they, pushed forward at their best speed. When they came near the
light they were standing on the bank of a creek, on the other side of
which was a little house-boat. It was a boat such as fishermen and hunters
live in when they desire to spend several days at their sport, making
a business of it. Though they were about dry, there was nothing to be
done but wade in again. Fortunately the creek was not deep, and they reached
the other side without getting wet above the waist. Their knock at the
door of the house-boat was answered by a couple of fine-looking young
fellows who were spending their vacation down the bay as far away from
civilization as they could get. They were cordial in the extreme, and,
having heard the story of the castaways in brief, proceeded to make them
comfortable. Towels for rubbing, and dry clothes, were provided, and an
extra pair of shoes, which they happened to have, was given to Scott.
A supper was cooked upon a tiny gasoline stove, which also gave extra warmth
to the place-very grateful to the wanderers. The house-boat was tied tip
on the banks of Cedar Creek, four or five miles below Barnegat Bridge.
After supper the boys were bundled up in blankets, and stowed away in
a corner on some rugs, with the promise that they would be taken over
to the Bridge Pier, which was a regular station at which all railroad trains
stopped, in the hunters' little yawl-boat, in time to catch the early
morning train. This would put them down at the Heights in the neighborhood
of six o'clock.
There was great rejoicing next morning when the wanderers
came in. The search party returned about noon, having learned of the rescue
from the young men in the house-boat in Cedar Creek. Scott was the hero
of the occasion, and his risking his life to save a man known to be his
enemy was the talk of all who understood the circumstances. Scott found
himself none the worse for his experience in the water, but he was stiff
for a week, and the mosquito bites, received in the meadows, were visible
for many days. Wilding did not fare so well. He was in the clutches of
a severe cold that soon settled into a cough, so that by the first of
September he did not look like his old handsome self, so thin had he grown.
Thus ended the reunion.
AUGUST gave place to September
almost before any one was ready for the change. The college campus is
again a thing of life as the old and the new students mingle together;
the former with eager, anxious faces, glad to greet friends; the latter
a little timid and often looking fearfully at those who passed, and asking
questions beginning with Who? and Where? and When? and How? One old face
was conspicuous by its absence, and many were the inquiries for Wilding.
He was at home, battling with a cough that had taken hold of him that night
at Cedar Creek.
At this period hazing had not been entirely tabooed
by the students, though it was not countenanced by the Faculty. Many
of the freshmen were thinking of the stories they had read, and some
were fearful of the night and its unknown terrors. Not a few were absent
from the parental roof-tree for the first time, and they missed the comforting
and protecting atmosphere of home. Hazing was nearly over, however. The
American fraternity has gradually but certainly pushed it out of existence,
as a custom. If the fraternity has no other good placed to its credit,
it has proved its usefulness in this one work. No wonder that the fraternity
has a firm hold on college men! It is from the freshman class that the
local chapters expect to recoup themselves after the graduation of the
seniors of the June previous. These secret orders are all desirous of obtaining
the best men from the new class; hence there is great competition for
certain of them, and more than one freshman, with his treats and engagements
with upper-classmen, has had his head turned while he has entertained
the feeling that he was the most important personage in college, and perhaps
the most popular; and very often, inspired by these doings, he has written
home to "mamma" that college is not the kind of place he feared it was,
that "it is simply immense," and that all the fellows seem to have fallen
in love with him, etc. A much better state of affairs than the former,
to say the least.
However, very early this fall a few of the sophomores
got together, and, by way of a lark, tossed some of the "freshies" up
in the blanket. To the uninitiated this may sound like an innocent amusement,
but it seems very terrible to the victim. He feels that his hour has come,
and very often has been known to say his prayers. A pair of large blankets
are selected and held, double, by as many "sophs" as can get a hold on
the edges. The devoted freshman is ordered to jump into the blanket,
and then he is tossed skyward by the strong, ready arms of his persecutors.
If he makes no resistance a couple of tosses suffices; if he kicks and
struggles, his remorseless tormentors punish him for it accordingly.
While Scott was down attending his fraternity meeting
that night, helping to initiate a new man into the mysteries of the order,
and partaking of the feast that invariably follows such ceremonies, the
party of sophomores referred to, unauthorized by class action, broke into
his room and tore his peacefully slumbering freshman chum from his bed,
rudely awaking him from his dreams, and tossed him in the blanket. The
result was direful. That victim, in order to save his head, had instinctively
held up his feet. The delivery from the blanket had been so forceful that
these extremities had been driven through the plaster ceiling again and
again. After the fray was over, a glance upward gave one the impression
that an aerolite had fallen through the roof. That in itself would have
been a small matter in the eyes of the students-for they naturally felt
that a little item in the college bills, referring to repairs, must somehow
be made up in value received-but the lime from above had fallen upon the
carpet, which was new, and had been trampled into it till it was practically
ruined. That was serious to the occupants of the room; but little things
like that are often borne at college without a murmur. "They all come
in a lifetime."
A few weeks after the pseudo-hazing
just described, the sophomore class held a secret meeting and appointed
a night for the regular annual round among the unsuspicious freshman class,
who now believed that the worst was over. There were several strong men
in the class who opposed the measure on humanitarian, nineteenth-century
principles, but they were voted down by a safe majority. The "Co-eds"
were not a part of this meeting of course. Some of the boys suggested that
the girls hold a meeting of their own, and go around town hazing the freshman
When the night arrived, several of our strong Christian
men were found in the company of masked hazers. Not a few, however, were
without masks; among these were Scott and Kenneth. They were not at all
in sympathy with the movement, but felt it their duty to be on hand. The
latter had organized a small company of cool heads, strong and determined,
who would act as a balance to the headstrong crowd. Often, in years gone
by, "the manly class," as the "sophs" loved to call themselves, had gone
wild, as a mob is in danger of doing, and had done things they regretted
all their days. Hence this small band had formed a compact to use all
their power to prevent abuses.
In their silent rounds among the sleeping freshmen
that night they came at last to the room of a little fellow who had come
up from a country academy and had brought with him the mysterious nickname
of "Tommy Fish," a name that in no way corresponded with his own. For
some unaccountable reason his nickname seemed to fit him better than his
own, and even the professors sometimes unconsciously called him "Fish,"
and if to-day he were to appear in the presence of any of that generation
of students, he would undoubtedly hear the old-time salutation, "Hello,
Tommy Fish!" There seems to be a fatality in a nickname; it will not die.
Now "Tommy" was a diminutive specimen of the human kind,
but he was grave and dignified in his deportment in an inverse ratio.
Life was a serious matter with him; it had been so from its very inception,
for it had ever been a struggle for existence. There had been so much
of conflict and hardship that it can be safely said that he never knew
what a genuine, happy, care-free childhood had been. After his infancy
he had graduated into a little old man with "the burden of the world upon
his back." Because his parents had been poor, "Tommy," in spite of his
diminutive stature, had made his own way in life, and it was certain that
he was making a man of himself in a grand though perfectly original way.
Too much can not be said of this character. He had taught country schools,
and farmed, and borrowed from educational funds with the promise of future
payments; he had preached at crossroads' schoolhouses, and had earned
a dollar here and another as best he could, and had saved and scrimped and
denied himself, and here he was at last at college, one of the goals of
his ambition. How he towered above some of the men who patronized him in
He was quite timid in the presence of his fellows.
In many respects he was as simple as a little child: and his gratitude
for small favors was beautiful, though often pitiful to see. To those
who knew him best there was a feeling that, in his own way, "Tommy Fish"
was very much like those who enter into the kingdom of heaven.
He had some kind of heart-trouble that often worried
him, especially at night after retiring. When the throng broke into his
room, that he had vainly told himself was his castle, it was just after
he had fallen into a troubled sleep, at the close of an unusually long
and painful "spell" with his heart. When he was aroused sufficiently to
understand what it all meant, the color deserted his face and he had the
appearance of death. Preston, who acted as master of ceremonies, called
out in no gentle tones to the bewildered little fellow, sitting up in
his bed rubbing his eyes, "Climb into the blanket, Tom, like a man!"
"Don't toss him!" said Kenneth. "He's got the heart
disease. Don't toss him if you don't want to commit murder!"
"So have I got the heart disease," was the gruff reply.
"It'll do the precious baby's heart good. Mine's been better ever since
I was sent a little nearer heaven than I'll ever be again, about a year
ago. Jump into the blanket, I say. Don't you hear? What's the matter with
you?" All this was punctuated with oaths and amid the shouts of laughter
of many of the bystanders, "Help him there a little, fellows; he's got
to go up like a man. It'll make a man of him, if he is a baby now. It's
the best medicine, after all, if it is a little bitter. Come along!"
"You'll have to toss me first," said Kenneth, calmy,
but with a look of determination on his face that could not be well mistaken.
"And me!" "And me!" cried out half a dozen or more voices.
Matters, indeed, began to appear serious, and if it
had not been for the calm righteous determination of those strong men,
no one can say what would have been the result of that night's lawlessness.
After a great deal of discussion and strong language, it was at last decided
to let "Tommy Fish" off with a speech and a song. He was forced up onto
the center-table in just the costume in which they had found him. In
spite of the seriousness of the occasion and the evident trouble of at
least one member of the crowd, it was impossible to keep from smiling
at the little fellow, clad in white, with his face uplifted, engaged in
song, with all the seriousness and earnestness that he would have exhibited
had he been conducting a religious service. He was the
possessor of a good voice, and there was no greater pleasure to him in
life than the privilege of starting the hymns in a social meeting. He
"I have found a friend in Jesus, he's everything
He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow he's my comfort, in trouble he's
He tells me every care on him to roll;
He's the Lily of the Valley, the bright and Morning Star,
He 's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul."
He said afterward to a confidant
that he could not for the life of him think of another song, and that
had been ringing through his head ever since he had been awakened; for
he felt that if he ever needed a friend in his life it was now. He was
just going to prove the friendship of Jesus.
He was too much excited to make a speech. He could
not think of anything to say, until Preston helped him by inquiring, a
little more gently than had been his wont: "Well, Tommy, what do you think
of Darnforth, anyway?"
"Well," replied he, with his arms folded, and with
all the earnestness that his grand little soul felt on this august occasion;
"well, gentlemen, I have been in worse places," and then he paused, making
an irresistible emphasis to his remarks, "but I have been in better!"
There went up a perfect shout at this speech, and "Tommy" was sent back
to bed with that. There were many who felt that the little fellow had come
off victorious after all. It would have been necessary to be present, to
hear the tones, to see the air, in order to understand the ludicrousness
of the whole affair. If there had not been the serious side, it would have
been pre-eminently the funniest experience in the life of more than one
of the spectators.
Kenneth noticed all through the remainder of his college
days that "Tommy" delighted to be near him. He would often follow him
at a respectful distance in his walks, and would be in an ecstasy when
he was noticed and taken into a conversation; he gave every sign of love,
and yet he never obtruded himself, and never became a bore in any way.
After Kenneth had been at a theological seminary for a year, "Tommy" followed,
and then all the old signs of affection were repeated and magnified.
One day, during the seminary days, Kenneth said to
him: "Tommy, what makes you give me so much evidence of love? I am unable
to comprehend it. I am sure I have not merited it."
"Why, don't you know," was the quick reply, "you
saved my life that night at Darnforth when the fellows came to haze me?
I was scared half to death, and I had had such a bad spell with my heart
that I know it would have killed me if they had tossed me. As it was,
I was sick for a month after, and I am not sure that I ever have fully
recovered from the effects of my fright. But the sweetest thought of
all was, that I had a friend there, a visible friend. I knew Jesus was
near; but O, how sweet it was to see you and know that you would stand
for me! I shall never forget you, and shall ever love you. You were a
friend when it meant something to be a friend. And I tell you, Kenneth, in
all my life before or since I have never seen the time when I felt the
need of a friend more than I did that night."
The next year's sophomore class, being small, refused
to haze, and the next, out of gratitude, refrained, and thus the custom
HALLOWEEN had come again.
It will be impossible to draw the curtain and present the varied kinds
of pleasure that were indulged in that night, as was done on a former
occasion. A party, similar to the one that met the previous year at Miss
Bruce's, was given this year at the residence of Miss Holmes. In a measure
it was the same company, though some old faces were missing, while here
and there might be seen a new one. Scott was present, and no one now disputed
his right. Our interest in the present evening is not what was said or
done at this party, but what took place afterward.
But in order that the events about to be narrated
may be the better understood it will be necessary to go back a little.
The old president, of whom mention was made in a former chapter, had
resigned his office at the recent Commmencement on account of age and
infirmity. When the trustees realized that the good Doctor was in earnest,
the matter was acted upon at once, and the resignation was accepted with
sincerest regrets. He had been at the head of the college many years; he
had been at the helm when there had been storms above and hidden rocks
beneath; under him had come the greatest material prosperity the institution
had ever enjoyed; during his administration debts had been paid, endowments
increased, buildings erected, and the number of students had reached high-water
mark. At the same meeting of the trustees the senior member of the Faculty
had been made acting president, while a committee was appointed to find
the best man in the country to fill the exalted position. It is not an
easy thing to find a college president; hence the new year started without
one. That was of little consequence, however, for the man who now stood
at the head was one of energy and ability, and one whom the student body
respected and in a sense feared. The trustees felt safe with him at the
head. While he was not young himself, he undestood the nature of young
men, and especially college men. He recognized the fact that he was not
at the head of a ladies' seminary or a boarding-school, but of an institution
for the higher education of men and women-not children. Hence he had no
spies; he did not consider every student a culprit undiscovered; and he
reckoned always with an allowance for the great amount of superfluous energy
and healthy exuberance that had to be worked off somehow. He was too wise
to try to check this, for he knew that there was a Niagara back of it.
His plan was to seek to keep it in proper channels.
In this he was extremely successful, and at the same time he won, more
certainly than ever, the friendship and admiration of the students.
On the morning of Halloween, Dr. Parker, the acting
president, addressed the students after morning prayers, before the beginning
of the work of the day. He said: "Young men and women, I have a piece
of good news to impart. The old picket fence on the north end of the campus
has ever been an eyesore to me. I have hoped that I might live to see
the day when an iron fence would replace it, or a stone wall, to correspond
with that on the other sides. That day has arrived. I have in my pocket
from a nameless friend the money that will build the iron fence. [Great
applause.] Now, I am going away to-day, and shall not return till Monday.
I desire to say that on my return, if I do not see the old fence in its
place, I shall ask no questions. I need hardly suggest, however, that
you keep within bounds in your celebration of the present day and night."
If he made further remarks, they were lost in the storm of applause that
swept over the chapel.
The young people at Miss Holmes's did not reach the
campus till eleven o'clock. The scene that met their vision was a lively
one. Going and coming between the old north line and the great open campus,
in front of the trees, out near the street, was a stream of human beings,
part with empty hands, but part bearing in their arms whole sections of
whitewashed picket fence; for all the world like an army of harvester
ants. These sections of fence were built up on the campus in the shape
of a gigantic wigwam. When all was in readiness, at a given signal, the
match was applied and the flames mounted up to claim their own. Night became
day as the darkness was driven back by the triumphant element.
Now, because of the tact of Dr. Parker, and not because
it was their custom or desire, the students had sent committees to all
the fire companies, notifying them that the fire that would soon illuminate
the heavens was entirely innocent, and that the services of the department
would not be required. This was their method of "keeping within bounds,"
and it was to their credit. It seemed an unnecessary precaution, for most
of the men of the department, with their engines and hose-reels and the
hook-and-ladder truck, had gone to a neighboring town for the evening
to participate in some celebration.
Scenting danger from afar, the students had taken
the precaution to wire together the iron gates near the fire. In a short
time the town roughs gathered outside the wall with jeers and jibes, and,
now and then, a feeble attempt at an attack, but the students were so
well organized that they were able to protect their fire almost to the
end. The bell of the midnight train was heard, though no one suspected
danger in that direction.
But the fire-laddies were on that train, with all
their paraphernalia. Moreover, they brought back with them a cargo of
bad drink in such a manner that it was impossible to collect freight
tariff thereon, but that made the men themselves anything but docile
and meek. The moment they alighted they saw the fire and guessed its
meaning. They were in a condition to relish fun of an active kind, and
they hastened to meet it.
They seemed to believe that it was their right and
duty as men of the town to conquer the students and put out their fire.
The students soon realized what was before them, and resolved with equal
though more righteous determination to protect their blaze. They gloried
in it. Perhaps never before had they celebrated with consciences so perfectly
free as now, and they were enjoying it to the full.
Steam was up; hose was quickly adjusted. A band of
firemen, with nozzle between them and trail of hose behind and a body-guard
of town ruffians all around them, scaled the wall. The students in a body
rushed into the very face of the driving water. Some of them were knocked
down, and all of them were soaked, but before the water reached the fire
they had captured the nozzle and turned its stream on their enemies. With
a shout and a rush they drove them, blinded and sputtering, back to the
wall. But re-enforcements came from the other side, and the hose was recaptured.
Thus the tide of victory turned, first on one side and then on the other,
till at length bad liquor and bad blood began to tell, and the roughs
outside the wall began to hurl rocks from a freshly-macadamized portion
of the road. By this time several of the professors had arrived, and, understanding
the situation and being unable to bring about peace, they entered manfully
into the fray. It was not till the mass had fallen that the firemen were
enabled to reach the fire, then in a few seconds there was nothing left
but the black and steaming mass of embers.
The students were a sad looking lot. All of them were
soaked with water. Many of them had been severely dealt with by the force
of the stream, and several were cut and bruised by the rocks that had
been hurled. The next morning being Sunday, chapel exercises were voluntary,
but, contrary to custom, the room was full. One man had his arm in a sling,
one had a gash in his cheek, several were pasted up with court-plaster,
while poor Moon had received such a punishment from the stream of water
that he was unable to leave his room. He was sore and stiff and bruised
from head to foot. In spite of all this, the students presented a much
better appearance than they had done the year previous, after some of
the escapades before described. They were bright and cheerful;
quite an unusual feeling for the occasion.
It was Professor Moran's turn to conduct morning worship.
The time was fully up before the professor appeared. As he turned to face
the audience he displayed to their view an eye with a black circle around
it. This he had received the night before in his efforts to protect a
freshman from the cruel attacks of two of the town roughs. He had accepted
the blow that had been intended for the boy. When the students realized
whence his disfigurement came, there went up a shout, and a roar of applause,
that was hardly to be expected on the Sabbath-day and in these sacred
precincts. Professor Moran could do nothing but smile and hold up his hand,
while he waited good-naturedly for the tumult to subside. For many days
after these events a glimpse of the professor on the carnpus was the signal
for shouts of delight. He had not been popular like some of his associates,
because he was considered too strict and conscientious. The boys understood
him now as never before. They learned that his heart was in the right
place. He became justly popular.
When Professor Parker returned and learned of the
conflict, he first praised the students for their manly behavior, and
told them that his confidence in them had not been misplaced. They had
done well to inform the fire companies of their intentions, and he was
not the one to blame them for protecting the campus from an unwarranted
and lawless assault. The town authorities would hear from him, and there
would be a reckoning. They did hear from him, and, realizing how manifestly
the town men had been in the wrong, they apologized most humbly, and their
sorrow was so genuine that the matter was dropped. It perhaps was the wisest
thing. Had it been pushed, the hard feeling would have increased; as it
was, it decreased on both sides, and a new era dawned.
There was one unfortunate result of this trouble that
was not easily combated. One of the press associations of the country
telegraphed all over the United States a graphic account of a bloody fray
between a college and a town. Several were severely wounded and many missing.
And one sensational picture story-paper sent men to the place, and a heart-rending
account of the battle, in which several lives were lost, was presented
to the hungry readers of that kind of literature. The illustrations were
so skillfully drawn that the importance of the trouble was greatly magnified.
It was not the kind of advertising that colleges crave.
The battle gave evidence to some onlookers that the
students were in a better moral condition than usual. It was easy to
see how many of the boys were holding themselves in and conducting themselves
COLLEGE boys are subjected
to peculiar temptations, and sometimes their code of morals gets a little
distorted, as in the case of cheating and hazing. There is a little straw,
worth presenting, which indicated the direction of the prevailing wind.
It gave certain evidence that some of the men were being guided by the
Holy Spirit. The event about to be described took place a little before the
Christmas holidays of this same year.
There was an unwritten law, but one that had been
observed from time immemorial, that when the college bell did not ring
the hour for lecture or recitation, there would be no lecture or recitation.
This was so universally accepted that even the professors came to regard
the matter as fixed. The moral side of the question was usually lost
Up in the top story of one of the buildings was a
room known as the "bell-room." There was no bell in it, but the rope
that connected with the bell came down into this room. There was also
a ladder that led up into the cupola in which the bell was suspended.
The door to this room was of iron, and was fitted with several different
kinds of locks and combinations, and for good reason. A few daring and
conscienceless fellows would now and again obtain entrance into that room
and steal the clapper of the bell. It was not an easy thing to do, but
there was a clique belonging to a certain sophomore fraternity that existed
for the purpose of perpetuating ancient college customs (another term
for college mischief), who prided themselves that there was not a lock
in college that could hold them. And circumstances proved that there were
some in college who were more expert as burglars than they were in other
directions. The bell-room door was not proof against these men when they
desired a holiday.
One afternoon, early in December, "Sprad," the old
colored janitor of the building upon which the bell cupola stood, came
out and announced that he could not make the bell ring: "Some ob dem fool
students hab done gone an' stole de clapper again!" The
whole, college machinery was now at a standstill.
Chubb was up in Kenneth's room, going over the quiz
that was to follow the lecture for the next hour. Suddenly looking up
at the little clock on the shelf, he inquired, "Is your clock right; it
is after bell-time?"
After a moment Kenneth said: "I keep the clock right
with Sprad's time. Do you know there's something wrong with the bell.
Don't you hear the fellows teasing Sprad down on the campus. I tell you
what I am going to do, Chubb. I have settled it and prayed about it. I'm
going into that lecture. I know what it means! I know that it will turn
the whole college against me, even my own friends. But I am here for business,
and not for fooling. The whole college is in a deadly rut. When we get
out into the world it is our purpose to do what is right and manly, no
matter what may be said to the contrary. I do not understand why there
should be one code of morals for the college and another for the world,
and I do not see why we should be more cowardly here than we expect to
be out among men. In fact, I believe the things we practice here will
help to form character, and we will do them more readily when we leave.
I am going in!" Kenneth had spoken rapidly, as if he had been afraid to
Chubb had been looking straight at his friend, first
in terror and then in admiration, as it dawned upon him what it meant;
then a new spirit came over him, and he breathed a prayer for help and
guidance. He calmly said, "I'll go with you."
All this took but little time, and they were soon
on their way to their scheduled appointment. When the throng of students
on the campus realized what these two men were about to do, there went
up a howl of disappointment and rage; for while it was considered perfectly
proper for a few men to shut a whole college out of work, it was considered
unmanly for a couple of men to compel the whole college to attend to the
work which they had come to do. These men were at once the most unpopular
fellows in the institution, and dark clouds were gathering about their
devoted heads. If they had been discovered in time, force would have been
employed to prevent them carrying out their intentions. No one had ever
dared to do what they were now doing. The little band of "Co-eds" stood
at a distance, afraid to go in and incur the enmity of the college, and
yet not willing to lose the hour. They immediately followed Kenneth and
Then some of the class muttered, "It's all spoiled;
there's no sense in cutting now." A few followed on that excuse. There
were several men in college who obeyed this custom from fear rather than
approval. Some of these were glad of the opportunity of going in when
the storm would break on others. At the close of the first five minutes
there were at least a dozen in the room in which we are particularly interested.
By this time the majority of the class discovered that it would not be
to their interest to "cut" in the present circumstances, so most of them
came up with sullen and angry faces. There were a few whose appetite for
a "cut" had been so whetted that they remained away in spite of the "fluke."
The professor looked down upon the young people before
him with a smile. "You have been a little slow in gathering to-day. Let
me congratulate you, however, on your sound common sense. I never could
understand why men were willing to escape the advantages they were paying
for and to which they were devoting precious time." That
was all he said.
It would be difficult to guess what Kenneth and Chubb
passed through the rest of that day and for many days following. They
were called by the hated name "bootlick" by a large number of the students.
The term is most approbrious, and is applied to men who curry favor with
professors for selfish and dishonorable reasons. The storm was terrible,
but Kenneth said over and over again, "I did it for conscience' sake,
and I could not do otherwise, and I will do it again; so there is no sense
in your threats of intimidation." And though he spoke firmly, a smile
would play about his mouth in a manner that would disarm the suspicion
that he was doing it for effect. Chubb boarded in town; hence he missed
much of the storm. Kenneth had not only to bear the sting of words and
looks, but innumerable annoying little tricks. One night after dark he entered
his room, and attempted to light his student-lamp. The reservoir was undoubtedly
full, but he could not make the wick ignite. Then it dawned upon his consciousness
that some miscreant had filled his lamp with water. Without a word he
cleaned and filled his lamp in the dark. Even then he could not use it,
for the wick had to be taken out and dried. He quietly slipped down to
his boarding-house and borrowed a lamp from his land-lady. He never spoke
of the little affair to any one till months after; then the man who lived
in the room above him stopped at the door, and asked him if his lamp ever
gave him any trouble. Roxy, for it was he, was so eager to learn of the
result of his little trick that he could not refrain from asking the question.
"O no, Roxy; my lamp is first-class and never gives
me trouble; only I have discovered from actual experience that water
is not a good substitute for oil in a lamp, any more than shavings are
a substitute for hay in a donkey. By the way, Roxy, the next time you
want oil when you are hard up, come down to me and I will lend you some."
Roxy actually blushed, an accomplishment he had almost
forgotten; for he had not only filled the lamp with water, but had actually
stolen the oil from the lamp. Roxy stammered out something that was incoherent,
and then said: "Kenneth, I want to beg your pardon. When you went into
class that afternoon, I thought you were the meanest, smallest fellow
I ever saw. I was willing to do anything. I even urged the fellows to mob
you. Much that you have suffered has been instigated by me. But I have
watched your actions ever since, and I want to say here, and I am willing
to say it anywhere, that you are the grandest, noblest, bravest fellow
in the whole college. Hundreds of men have been in this institution just
as conscientious as you, but you are the first that ever had the courage
of your conscience. I'll bet it would be easier to face a mob or a lion
than to face what you have recently. Kenneth, you are a man. Put it there!"
And he stretched out his great hand as he said it.
Not long after this, out in front of North College,
where nearly all the students had gathered after the last morning hour
of work, Scott came up to Kenneth and said in tones that could be heard
by all; "Kenneth, when you went into class the other day, down deep in
my heart I thought you were mean and cowardly. Now I want to say that
I have been mean and cowardly, and did not know it. I want to say, before
all these fellows, that I think you did right and that you are a brave
and noble fellow. You have shown yourself to be a Christian gentleman
all through this cowardly persecution, and I want you to know that I now
sympathize with you. As a college we ought to be proud that we possess
such a brave man. Henceforth I am with you for college work, bell or no
bell. I am here for business, and I am going to be man enough not to be
cheated out of it, thanks to you! I am not going to be bulldozed by sickly
college sentiment any longer. Kenneth, you did the bravest thing I ever
saw the other day, and you have never shown the white feather since. God
bless you!" Scott was an emotional fellow, and that was a long speech
for him to make. He choked all up as he turned away, overcome by his feelings.
There was a moment's pause, and then a shout. The
tide had turned. Before he knew what was going to happen, Kenneth had
been picked up by the crowd and was being borne around in triumph on the
shoulders of his former persecutors. Many of those who had been loudest
in their revilings came to him privately and apologized, explaining that
their eyes had been opened and that they now saw things differently. It
is sometimes hard to do right, but it always pays. It may be dark, but God
gives the light some time. Kenneth went to bed that night for the first
time in weeks with a burden off his soul. He was too free and happy to
One single manly act, perhaps, killed forever a pernicious
custom that hundreds had dodged in the generations that had passed.
IT has been evident that Scott
was one of the frankest of mortals. Often he was too frank. Some of his
best friends had a constant quarrel with him on this subject, claiming
that there are some things in one's inner life that the world has no right
to know. He saw his error, and was endeavoring to correct it. He was
also very emotional. We saw his conversion amid a flood of tears. It was
the same with every special blessing that followed. He did not "cry,"
in the ordinary sense of that word; the tears would simply flow down
his cheeks. He was a man who needed sympathy and help. He was self-reliant,
yet dependent. On the outside he was bold; on the inside he felt his insufficiency,
and trembled. This had been especially true in his Christian life. Miss
Holmes had done more for him than any other human being. He had grown
so strong, however, that he did not suffer spiritually during the period
of Boice's active attentions, in which he himself saw very little of
the young lady except in general society.
This was Boice's senior year, and since the summer
vacation, for some reason, he was little seen at the Holmes mansion. Gradually
Scott returned. There were many reasons that took him. They would often
make appointments, to read over their German or French lesson together.
Sometimes it would be to discuss some perplexing religious question.
Miss Holmes's responsibility had been very great, but she had never flinched.
In his early months she had been his teacher in theology as certainly
as any professor in the seminary ever became. She met all his questions
frankly, and her own faith in God was so strong that her atmosphere was
Little by little Scott came to be looked upon as Miss
Holmes's natural escort when she would be called out for an evening. This
had come about so gradually that neither one of the interested parties
had thought to study his mentality. They were not given to the science
of self-psychology just then. Another thing had come to pass that was
not quite so proper from a conventional point of view. It came about through
a little discussion between Scott and Mr. Holmes that started in the lobby
of the church one night after the midweek prayer service. These gentlemen
took different sides, and it looked like a protracted debate, much to
the discomfiture of the sexton, who, like his fellows all over the world,
was eager to get home. Mrs. Holmes nudged her husband, who took the hint
like a dutiful man, and straightway invited Scott to walk around home
with them. According to their habit, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes walked together,
and there was nothing for Scott to do but fall in behind with the daughter
while the discussion lasted all the way home. After that it seemed most
natural for Scott to meet them in the lobby and walk home with them.
Soon the younger folk got to lagging. Next it was easy to protract the
journey home. Instead of turning off at the college corner, they would
keep straight ahead in front of the college, turning off at the north
end where the new iron fence had replaced the old picket, and thence home
by way of the street in the rear of the college. Their conversation on
these long journeys was as it always had been. They would discuss some religious
problem; often it would be the pray-meeting topic, or the religious condition
of the college. With what spirit they entered into these talks! Conversation
was fast becoming a found art with them. Sometimes they would plan their
little social affairs on these journeys around the campus, and many of
the pleasures of the charmed circle might have been traced back to them.
All this time Mrs. Holmes's conscience was troubling
her. She had never seen anything amiss in Scott; but after the warning
given her the last year by Wilding, she felt sure that she did not want
her daughter to become too interested in the man. Yet she had not spoken
to Mr. Holmes nor to Anna hitherto. Mr. Holmes was fond of Scott because
of his manly frankness; but he, when consulted, readily agreed that the
matter was sufficiently grave to put before the daughter, and leave it
to her kindly womanly tact to manage. On Sunday night after church, Mrs.
Holmes had a heart-to-heart talk with her daughter. The latter laughed
at Mr. Wilding's warnings and also at her mother's fears that they were becoming
interested in each other, but readily promised to "see that things came
out differently hereafter!" It was easy to promise; but the more she thought
of the rnatter, the more difficult and unpleasant her task seemed.
The following Wednesday the two walked home from prayer-meeting
as usual. For some reason the conversation was fettered, and for a long
distance they walked in silence. As they crossed the street where the
great building devoted to science backed up against the sidewalk (its front
being towards the campus int he direction in which all the buildings faced),
throwing its immense black shadow from the electric-lighted campus across
the street, suddenly, like a revelation, the truth of the situation dawned
upon Scott, and for the first time, that his delightful friendship had
blossomed into something else. He was so moved by the revelation and its
intensity and importance that, before he knew what was taking place in
his physical being, he was shaken from head to foot as if he ahd been a child
in the hands fo a powerful giant. It was simply an immense dry sob, entirely
involuntary and uncontrollable, that had taken him into its grasp.
Little dreaming what was the cause of the difficulty,
being solicitous for his welfare, Miss Holmes anxiously inquired if anything
In view of all the circumstances, it might have
been wise, perhaps, not to have disclosed the truth of the situation
just at present; for he ought to have surmised that the lady had not
found her feelings yet; but, true to his own frank nature, he never thought
of concealment as he said from his innermost soul, "O Miss Holmes, I have
just had a glimpse of my own heart, and the view has alarmed me!"
Miss Holmes was startled by his solemnity, but was
very far from guessing the reason. The only possible solution that flitted
into her mind was that her companion, in his great conscientiousness and
heart-searching, had discovered something that looked terribly black and
sinful. Hence she asked most sincerely and earnestly, "Can I help you any?"
He continued, without apparently noticing her question:
"I have been very happy recently and have enjoyed our friendship which
has seemed to me ideal; but I have never permitted myself to look into
the future to see how it would all terminate. I have been innocent in
this. But just now, Miss Holmes, I seemed to catch a glimpse of my own
soul, and there I saw you enthroned. O, I might have known how it would
end! I am not worthy of you, and I will not presume to ask you one question,
nor will I embarrass you by further painful conversation, and in order
to save you from unpleasantness and myself from unnecessary pain I must
say to-night, 'Farewell' to these most charming associations. They are
impossible now. If I had only known!" The suggestion of a shadow of a hope
failed to come to him that his newly-discovered feelings might be reciprocated.
Miss Holmes, on her part, was much perturbed. She
was surprised, for she, too, had failed to look into the future. Moreover,
she was under the influence of her mother's conversation and her own promise.
Multitudes of suggestions came to her mind, only to be scattered or confused
with others. She saw instantly, however, that this self-depreciating man
had become more to her than any other man ever had been, and yet she
had not found herself. Here they were at the steps of her father's house,
and here she was as in a daze calmly saying "Good night" to his whispered
"Good-bye, Miss Holmes; God bless you and make your life happy!" It was
not for an hour or two that she realized that she had let him go without
a word of hope or sympathy. He must be suffering intensely. It was all
the fault of her mother's talk!
Before retiring she wrote a little note of apology.
There were so many things that she did not dare say that the note was
a little weak. The language was kindness itself; in fact, it was so kind
that it almost seemed cold to Scott as he read it next day. It settled
the matter completely with him.
Because of pity or excitement, or something else, Miss Holmes
found it impossible to sleep that night, and next morning she came down
looking so miserable that she was glad she could truthfully say that she
was suffering from an intense headache. "And you went to bed early, too?"
said her mother, after carefully inquiring into the state of her health.
SCOTT'S nature was of the
kind that is capable of ecstasies of bliss or depths of woe. The sudden
revelation to himself of his affection for Miss Holmes, and at the same
time of his unworthiness of her and the utter hopelessness of the case,
caused him anguish that only those sensitive in the extreme could appreciate.
Many thoughts came to him in the sleepless hours of that memorable night.
Of one thing he became certain: he would make no confidants. He knew the
lady would not. He did not desire sympathy or pity. His was the kind of
sorrow that suffers in silence and alone. He saw many difficulties ahead
of him. There were the daily contacts which would entail daily struggles
and victories. At one moment he was about willing to give up the fight
and go elsewhere. There were other colleges where he could finish; why
was it necessary for him to subject himself to constant agony when it
might be so easily avoided? Then, in response, came to him thoughts of
his broken course that exactly suited him here; of his friendships, that
were so precious since his conversion; of the disgust of his parents, who
thought there was no college but Darnforth. It was soon decided in favor
of remaining. All these silent victories came quickly, because he was
not struggling alone. He was constantly in prayer, and was receiving constant
When the note came, that said so little in its words,
but, to a reader between the lines, might have said much, he read it in
the spirit of his victories, and immediately sat down to reply.
"Dear Miss Holmes," it read, "your very kind note
came this morning. I thank your for your thoughtfulness and sympathy.
But please do not feel bad on my account. I fought my battle last night,
and gained the victory. I shall remain here and study, as I have planned
from the beginning. Forget, as soon as you can, the revelation of last
evening. Think of me simply as an old friend who is going to be very busy
with special work, but who will ever be ready to do anything in his power
to promote your happiness. Do not worry about me, or even feel sorry for
me; for you must remember that I have very efficient help. The world will
never see any difference between us as we meet; it will undoubtedly observe
that I no longer call or act as your escort, and will form its own conclusions
that will not affect us in the least. Let me thank you, Miss Holmes,
for your great kindness to me in the past. No one has helped me more,
in the Christian life, than yourself. Yours sincerely, MANLY
Tears came to her eyes as
she read his letter; for she saw him then, as never before, in the magnificent
nobility of his unselfish character. "Poor boy," she mused; "he never
dreams, in his simplicity, that there is the possibility of another side
to the case. I wonder what would have happened if Cousin Wilding had not
warned mother, or if mother had not at length conversed with me on the
subject!" She had found herself at last. But she did not know what to do!
Things went on as before. These two met daily in the
lecture-room; in their little social functions; on their rides and tramps.
They were cordial and natural in each other's company. It was soon noticed
that the calls had ceased. But since they could see no difference in their
behavior in each other's society, the gossips had little to build upon.
They gave the matter up very wisely.
Nevertheless, the situation was sad in the extreme.
Miss Holmes never thought of disloyalty to her parents, even as a mental
possibility. A great cloud gathered about her horizon, and threatened
her life with gloom. It seemed that it ought not have been so!
There was another one in college who was suffering
in silence and alone, and that was little Jennie Gould. Soon after the
conversion of Scott, her heart had gone out to him, and she could not
help it. She kept all these things in her heart, and thanked God for the
hours of joy when she was in his presence and could feast on him with
her eyes and ears. Then, in the hours that followed, she turned to God
for help. Hence her life was not joyless, even though it was hopeless
in this regard. Scott never guessed the truth.
ACCORDING to the regular college
schedule the Sophomore Oratorical Contest was one of the events of the
spring. Among the contestants this year were Chubb, Kenneth, Schwartz,
Scott, and Harding. Harding was a new student who entered college as a
sophomore. He was a good man, from a surface view, but of no great depth-a
misfortune for which he was not responsible. Scott and Harding had become
very good friends in the few months of their acquaintance.
Scott entered into his preparation with all his energy. With his regular
work and this extra, little time remained for him to think and brood over
other things. But he had never thought of himself as a public speaker
till he gave himself to the ministry of God's Word, and since that time
it had been difficult for him to realize his future calling. Hence he felt
that there was little hope for him in this contest; but he was urged on
by the great desire to employ every opportunity to gain experience, and
also by the necessity of keeping his mind occupied. He had done very little
public work thus far. The college Young Men's Christian Association assumed
charge of the religious exercises at the county jail and poorhouse. The
names of the students who were to supply these places with the gospel were
posted on the college bulletin-board two or three weeks in advance. One
day Scott, who had given his name tremblingly to the committee some time
before, was startled to discover that he was to preach at the jail in
two weeks. He was in for it; but every fiber in his body rebelled. When the
day arrived he walked up to the gloomy building like a condemned culprit.
His pulpit was on a bridge over the corridor, on a level with the second
tier. The prisoners were in the cells on either side and in three tiers.
No one was in the range of his vision save an official who entered with
him, a student to lead the singing, and a few tramp prisoners who were
locked up in the corridor over Sunday. He took his text. The tramps beneath
him paid no attention to him, nor did the men in the cells, so far as
he was able to discover. Preaching in circumstances more unfavorable can
scarcely be imagined. When the great doors closed behind him, he heaved
a sigh of relief, and was almost tempted to doubt his call to preach. In
spite of this, in three or four weeks he was found at the poorhouse, with
"Tommy Fish" as singer. Here his auditors were arranged in front of him.
They were aged and poor, and many of them half-witted. Several of his
audience slept soundly and vociferously. Yet he could see them and talk
to them. In his congregation were a few old saints whose faces were aglow
with joy and understanding, and down whose cheeks the tears soon began
to run. In a few moments he completely forgot himself, and at last awoke
in the seventh heaven of ecstasy. It was his first experience of the unspeakable
joy of public speech. As he walked home his call to preach seemed very
Scott had been troubled also in public prayer. One
night at a student's meeting which Professor Moran was conducting he was
called on to pray. It was soon after his conversion, and he felt that
he must make the attempt. He stammered and stumbled, and felt himself
growing red in the face, and when he arose from his knees he could tell
by their looks that some of the students on the back seats had been making
fun of him. Again his sanctified common sense gained the victory. "Whoever
heard of a minister who could not pray?" he asked himself. As a result
he went to his pastor, Dr. Slocum, and requested him, to call on him to
pray occasionally at the midweek prayer-meeting. The Doctor's eyes opended
so wide in astonishment that Scott was compelled to add hastily: "O, don't
you imagine for a minute that I think I am good at public prayer. Anything
but that. It is going to be the hardest conflict in my life, but I have
got to learn somehow."
The minister took him by the hand, and, with tears
in his eyes, said: "Mr. Scott, I have often had requests of an opposite
nature, but this is the first time in all my ministry that I have been
thus approached. God bless you!"
After that interview, for months Scott was in agony
at the prayer service. When he closed his eyes in prayer the difficulty
was to know what to ask for. His ideas forsook him. He formed the habit
of taking the hymns as they were sung, and weaving their sentiment together
into a petitionor form of praise. One night, from his peculiar kind of
preparation, he forgot himself, and went on talking to God as if no human
beings had been present. When at length he came to himself and ceased
to pray, he was surprised to find signs of emotion in the worshipers about
him. By the help of the Spirit, he came into a power with God in prayer.
The night of the contest arrived. The great chapel
was thronged; for it was an occasion that attracted the town-folk. There
is an excitement in a contest of this kind that many find to be akin to
that of a trial of speed in horses. When Scott came upon the platform,
there was a moment of uncertainty and hesitation, and then one of inspiration.
His head was in the clouds and his feet never once came down to the dust
of the planet. There were few in the audience who did not realize that
this boy, who was so unconscious of himself and his powers that he was
always fearful, had in him the power that moves men. At the close of the
contest, probably five out of every six predicted that Scott would receive
the medal, and he was permitted to retire with the overwhelming testimony
of friends and foes alike that he had won. He was only human, and it was
hard for him to sleep.
Kenneth had done well, and there were many who believed
that he not only certainly stood second, but that there were elements
in his speech that might cause some types of judges to rank him first.
If there were any uncertainty as to who was first, there could be no doubt
in the minds of any that it lay between these two.
Harding had a kind of a florid dash about him that
had caused most of the audience to feel that he might rank third, though
for sound thought and elevated style Chubb was vastly superior.
The judges, who were prominent business and professional
men of the vicinity, would not be able to make the award till they had
examined the manuscript for thought and composition. When the committee
brought back the verdict of the judges the following day, it was discovered
that Harding had been awarded the first and Kenneth the second honor.
The member of the committee who had received the award had visited the
office of the lawyer, the chairman of the Board of Judges, at an appointed
hour. The office was vacant, but lying prominently upon the top of the
desk was an open note addressed to the young man, neatly typewritten, giving
the gold medal to Scott and the silver to Kenneth. The second time he
called the office was still vacant, but the note was still lying there. The
third time the judge handed him a hastily written scrawl with Harding and
Kenneth as winners.
It is not difficult for a man to bear an honest defeat,
but in this instance Scott had a good fight with himself to keep from
displaying his disappointment. The world never learned why the judges had
changed their award; indeed, the fact that there had been a change was
not generally known. Many rumors were afloat, some of which passed current
for a season, but which could not stand the test of time. For instance,
Harding was the protégé of a Mr. Banks, a millionaire benefactor
of the college. This gentleman was present at the contest, and it was
announced next morning in chapel that he had just given fifty thousand
dollars to the institution for a needed improvement. It was reported around
that the judges had made the first award before they heard the news of
the great donation. When the news reached them they got together a second
time, and changed the verdict in order to compliment the old benefactor.
They eased their consciences, it was said, by the remark that no one ever
could say who did the best anyway, and there were some who were captivated
by Harding's florid style. In the first instance, the votes of the judges
had stood two to one in favor of Scott for first place; that one had been,
strangely enough, for Harding. They had been a unit on Kenneth for second
place. Hence, when the hasty change had been made, Scott was entirely
left out. The truth may never be known in this world. It is absolutely
certain that the philanthropic gentleman himself was in no way a party
to the transaction. Indeed, he had been strangely moved by Scott's plea
for the poor; a plea that the Church should do something more for men
than simply invite them to come to church and prayer-meeting; a plea that
it should in some way meet the social longings of the men of the streets
in competition with the saloons and other social institutions of evil
nature. Mr. Banks, through Harding, sought the acquaintance of Scott,
and though he never mentioned medal once, he did the young man the great
honor of showing that he was moved and convinced by the speech-a thing
which proved to be better than a medal. He actually began the study of
the new sociology under the direction of Scott. As long as Mr. Banks lived
he corresponded with Scott, and some of his gold from that time began
to flow in new channels.
Men are sometimes spoiled for the true oratory of
the world by a college medal that puffs them up and causes them to believe
that there is nothing further for them to do.
SEVERAL months have passed
since the events of the last chapters. The summer vacation is a part of
time's memory-store. The new term has long been under way, and the Thanksgiving
season is near at hand.
The junior class, in which most of our friends are
now studying, is smaller than it was as a freshman class. "Time and the
Faculty will work changes," was an oft-quoted remark from the lips of
Wilding, who was now back at college, after a year's absence, a mere shadow
of his former self, "but still in the ring," as he put it.
It is near the close of the football season. Darnforth has had a good
team, in some respects. The rush-line was composed of splendid men and
good players. The "backs" were as good as any in the State. Apparently
there was no reason why this team should not do good work and win many
games. And yet it was evident that there was something wrong with the
combination. No one could deny the ability of the individual players. In
practice they made the most brilliant plays. Their trouble was lack of
"team-work." In a game with another college they would make some phenomenal
plays and score some touch-downs; then suddenly they would seem to go to
pieces, and they lacked the ability to win. Every loss made them feel that
luck was against them, and they became discouraged, and a discouraged game
in any sphere is a losing one. They had lost more games now than they
had won, and yet it was generally conceded that there were no better players
in their association. Their poor teamwork was the direct result of insufficient
practice. They depended too much upon the fact that they had good players.
Football teams are not the only societies that suffer from lack of teamwork.
The time is at hand for the last game of the season.
The game is to be played on Thanksgiving, following a very poor college
custom. The opposing eleven is from the old rival college, Moorfield.
Darnforth was much discouraged before the day arrived. Two of the best
men were "broken up," so that they could not play, as a result of their
last game, one with a broken collarbone, the other with a badly sprained
ankle. Besides these, Grandison had something the matter with the cap of
his knee, and the doctor had said that another game that season might result
in an incurable lameness. On the strength of that advice
he had left college for a few days as a delegate to a Young Men's Christian
Association Convention in a distant city, with the purpose of remaining
over Thanksgiving. He was one of the strongest and most reliable men on
the team. He had the reputation of gaining the ball as if by magic, and
sometimes when no one suspected him of having it he would run around the
end of the opposing line and gain many yards of the enemy's territory before
he was "downed," and sometimes he was able to make a "touch-down" by these
maneuvers. All opposing players had a wholesome fear of him. In the face
of these facts, he was a gentleman and a genuine Christian, and no one
ever impeached his integrity of character. He was a man who won popularity,
not because he sought it, but because of his manlines's and openness.
He was not a "goody-good," afraid of his shadow, but a man pure and simple.
His presence on the team as "end-rush," with Scott as "quarter-back,"
helped to keep the team within bounds and to give it the reputation it
justly enjoyed, of being one composed of good players who were at the
same time gentlemen.
On Thursday morning, the day of the great game, the
students were assembled in chapel, as usual, for worship. During the
exercises a train passed by, one that frequently disturbed them, and
in a few minutes Grandison entered. A murmur of delight passed over the
assembly. As soon as possible the young man was surrounded by a throng
of fellows pleading with him to enter the game and save the day, "just
this once, for the sake of the college." "Everything is against us; we
never had such luck." To all these entreaties he replied with a firm "No."
He could not do it. It was out of the question. He was tired. He had traveled
all night. His knee was far from well, and the doctor had expressly forbidden
it. He had hurried home simply that he might have the pleasure of witnessing
one game from the outside. But all these statements were unheeded by the
throng. After constant resistance, at length the poor fellow, in despair,
and against his own will and better judgment, yielded, and for no other
reason than that he was overpersuaded; besides, he was worn out with their
entreaties. He gave up sadly, and with a look of despair on his face. What
he thought he did not disclose. There was joy in the camp when it was
announced that Grandison would play, and regret among the enemy, who had
in the meantime arrived and were already practicing on the campus. They
knew what it meant to have Grandison play.
When the game was called there was an immense crowd
on the athletic field, most of them wearing the colors of old Darnforth.
The day was all that could be wished. There had been a slight frost the
night before, the breath of which could still be felt in the crisp atmosphere.
Nearly every one was in good spirits. Life had been instilled into the
blood of the home boys, and they went into the game with more snap and
unity than had been evinced by them during the whole season, and they
were picked for winners this time, though they were playing with two substitutes
and with several of the regular team far from being in good condition.
Grandison went into the game under a cloud. He moved as one in a trance.
He looked like a soldier who has received the order to charge, and who
feels that he is doomed. Gloom and despair were depicted in his countenance.
Nevertheless he played with energy and skill. Never before had playing
equal to this been seen on the local grounds. More than once cheer after
cheer went up for him. Nothing seemed to deter him, and he was absolutely
fearless. At the close of the first half the score stood six to six, both
sides having made one "touch-down" and kicked one goal. (In those days
a touch-down counted four points and the goal following counted two.)
The Darnforth boys entered the second with much hope
and more vim than ever, and they kept the ball down in the enemy's territory
most of the time. After about ten minutes of hard play, Grandison got
the ball in some mysterious manner, no one had seen exactly how it happened,
it was so sudden that it appeared miraculous to the other team, and he
was around the end and off with it before it was fully understood where
the ball was. It could now be seen by the way he ran that he was tired
and that his lame kneewas on the side of the Moorfield boys, for he could
not make his usual speed. There were several spectators who were willing,
afterwards, to swear that they had seen him waver once or twice, in his
run as if he were about to fall, but that he kept on, impelled by his
tremendous will. The little quarter-back of the Moorfield team, a wiry
fellow as swift as a deer, was after him and gaining rapidly. The great
throng stood breathless at the sight. Every one seemed to feel that something
was going to happen. Grandison staggered a little, Strite reached him and
threw him, but with all the strength it would have been necessary to employ
had Grandison been himself and hard to down. The "tackle" was perfectly
legitimate according to the rules of the game; but those who were nearest
and best able to judge said that the runner seemed to be on the point
of falling when he was caught. If that were the case, the force employed
to throw him was entirely too great. However that may have been, he struck
on his head, and before it was ascertained that there was any difficulty
three or four men were on top of him to anchor him; for sometimes when
a runner is down with the ball he will squirm and wriggle till he has gained
inches or even feet, and "touch-downs" have been made thus when the
conflict was near the goal line. When the scrimmage was over Grandison did
not move. He was unconscious, and it was not the kind of unconsciousness
that comes when a man falls on the ball and has the breath knocked out
of him; for in that case life soon returns, and the victim is back in
the game immediately. But Grandison was limp and lifeless, and there was
an unpleasant blue look about him. A doctor who was present said that
it was so serious that he must be taken into town at once.
The game continued with another substitute, but the
Darnforth men had lost all their life, and were playing like "wooden
men." Every man was thinking of Grandison with a kind of a foreboding.
The Moorfield boys were making point after point, and at the end of the
game the score stood 28 to 11 in favor of the visiting team. Darnforth
had gained five points in the second half by a brilliant goal kicked
from the field by Scott. There was no "yelling" as the crowd returned
to town. They had not gone far before they were met by messengers who
brought the simple though awful tidings, "Grandison is dead!" He had breathed
for half an hour after the accident, and had never regained consciousness.
It was a dreadful moment; many felt that they were murderers, especially
those who had so mercilessly urged the tired man to play.
The dead man was the only child and hope of an old
couple in an adjoining State. Who could break the news to them? With him
had gone out their hope, their light, for this life.
It was a solemn gathering which assembled a few days
later in the chapel. The body had been immediately shipped home with an
escort from the college; hence this gathering was in no sense a funeral.
The football team sat in front on the platform, facing the audience; one
chair was vacant, draped in black. During the solemn music and more solemn
addresses, there came upon the assembly a baptism of weeping. Great strong
fellows who had always thought it a sign of weakness to cry were shaken
with uncontrollable sobs. Grandison's beautiful life was held up by different
ones and from different standpoints, but not for the first time as a
surprise to the friends, but as they all had known him and as he had
lived before them.
There can be little wonder that football languished
after that, at one institution at least. The game is a beautiful one,
full of scientific possibilities. But there have been many Grandisons.
And O, the pity of it!