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- Walter Sherwood's Probation - 4/38 -


"No, sir."

Doctor Mack took the first train after breakfast, and returned to his home without seeing his ward.

Nancy Sprague questioned him eagerly.

"And how is Master Walter?" she asked.

"Very well, indeed, Nancy."

"Was he surprised to see you?" "He didn't see me, Nancy."

"He didn't see you!" ejaculated the housekeeper.

"No; the fact was, I went away on a matter of business, and it was not convenient to call on Walter. But I heard him."

"I don't see how you could have been near him without seeing him."

"I shall see him soon, Nancy, and so will you. In two weeks vacation will be here. Examinations are near, and I might have interfered with his studies," the doctor added, with a little innocent evasion.

"To be sure, sir! To be sure! I make no doubt Master Walter is a great scholar."

"I have very strong doubts on that point myself," thought Doctor Mack, but he did not care to express himself thus to Nancy.

"I am so glad the dear boy is coming home soon," murmured the housekeeper. "He has been studying so hard he needs a good long rest. I will make some cookies expressly for him after he comes. I don't believe he gets any at college."

"I wonder what Nancy would say if she could have seen Walter presiding at the supper, and heard the songs?" thought Doctor Mack.

CHAPTER IV

THE DAY AFTER THE FEAST

The same morning, in a comfortably furnished room in Simpson Hall, sat, or rather lounged, Walter Sherwood.

"I feel sleepy this morning, Gates," he said to his chum. "I can't fix my mind on this confounded logic."

"No wonder, Sherwood. You have good reason to be tired after last evening."

"That's so! We had a good time, though. I am sorry you couldn't accept my invitation."

"I couldn't afford it, Sherwood. You know we are very differently situated. You are rich, while I am the oldest son of a country minister, with all I can do to get through college. As it is, I shall be in debt."

"Why not be in debt to me? You never would accept anything from me."

"Yes, I did. I have let you go to the entire expense of furnishing this room, though I have an equal share in it."

"Oh, that's nothing! You pay me in helping me through my lessons when I am behind. If you hadn't read my Horace to me the other day I should have flunked as sure as can be."

"It would be better for you to get your own lesson, Walter." "Well, I suppose it would," answered his roommate, yawning. "I wish you could drive this logic into my head. I suppose I am unusually stupid this morning."

"Suppose we go over it together."

Fifteen minutes later Walter said complacently: "Thanks, old fellow; you have made it as plain as a pikestaff."

"And very likely you will get a higher mark at the recitation than I."

"Well, perhaps so," laughed Walter. "I suppose it is because I have more cheek than you."

"You can do better on slight preparation, certainly. You talk like a professor when you are on your feet."

"You want to be a professor some time, Gates, don't you?"

"Yes," answered his chum, his face flushing, "I should be proud to become a professor in old Euclid."

"It would be awfully slow, I think," returned Walter, stifling a yawn.

"What then, is your ambition?"

"I want to go out among men. I want to take an active part in the world."

"You will have to work harder than you do in college, then."

"I suppose I shall. But I am young, Gates. I am only seventeen."

"And I am nineteen, and look twenty-one."

"All the better! The older you look the better, If you are going to be a college instructor. I would have to wait a long time if I wanted to, even if I were a good deal wiser than I am now. I am so young, in short, that I can afford to have a good time."

"It seems to me that is all you think of, Sherwood."

"Oh, well, I'll reform in time and become a sober old duffer like you," and Walter Sherwood laughed carelessly.

"I hope, at any rate, that you will change your views of life. You know what Longfellow says: 'Life is real! Life is earnest!'"

"Oh, yes, I know that by heart. But it's no use, Gates, you can't make an old man of me before my time. Will it disturb you if I play a tune or two on my violin?"

"Well, to tell the truth, it will. I want to get my Greek lesson, and you had better do the same."

"No, I will read a novel, and you can read over the Greek to me when you have dug it out."

"I will if you wish, but I am afraid I am spoiling you by doing your studying for you."

"Remember, I was out late last night."

"You have something almost every evening, Walter."

"Oh, well, I'll turn over a new leaf next term."

"Why not begin now?"

"If you knew how stupid I feel you wouldn't ask."

Walter stretched himself out on a comfortable lounge, and took up a new novel which he had partially read, while Gates spread the big Greek lexicon on the study-table, and opening his Aristophanes, began slowly and laboriously to translate it into English.

Fifteen minutes passed when a knock was heard at the door.

"Come in!" called out Walter.

He looked up eagerly, hoping the visitor might prove to be one of his jovial comrades of the night before. But he did not look so well pleased when, as the door opened, he caught sight of the pudgy figure and shrewd face of Elijah Daniels, the proprietor of the Euclid Hotel.

"Good morning, Mr. Daniels." he said, rather apprehensively. "So you have found me out."

"No, I have found you in," returned the landlord, with a smile. "I hope I don't intrude upon, your studies, young gentlemen."

"Well, I am taking a little rest from my labors," said Walter.

"You were up rather late last evening, Mr. Sherwood."

"That's a fact, and you gave us a first-class supper, Daniels. You did yourself proud."

"I did my best, Mr. Sherwood, and I am glad you were satisfied."

"All the fellows praised the supper." "That's good. I know what you young gentlemen like, and I get it, no matter what it costs. I don't make much on the suppers I give the college boys, but of course I like to please them."

"Your price is quite reasonable, I think."

"I am glad you do. I have brought in the bill for last night's entertainment, and if you can let me have the money, I shall be glad."

"Well, the fact is, Daniels, I haven't got the money by me this morning."

The landlord's countenance changed.

"I like prompt pay," he said. "It is a good deal of trouble, and, as I said, there isn't much money to be made."

"That's all right. You won't have to wait long."

"How long, Mr. Sherwood?"

"I expect a check for a hundred dollars from my guardian to-day. I wrote three days since, for I knew you wouldn't like to wait."

"A hundred dollars!" repeated the landlord, feeling a little easier in mind.


Walter Sherwood's Probation - 4/38

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