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   Chapter 3 NEW FRIENDS AND NEW EXPERIENCES

Winning His W": A Story of Freshman Year at College" By Everett T. Tomlinson Characters: 11403

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"One of you, I fancy, is Schenck, who is to room here with me. I haven't the remotest idea which one of you is the man, but whichever it is I'm glad to see him."

The young man laughed heartily as he spoke, and all three of the freshmen laughed in response so contagious was his good nature. But his appearance was even more striking than his words, for he stood before them like a young giant. He was at least six feet and three inches in height, his shoulders were so broad that they made the very doorway appear narrow, and as he stood before them without his coat and with his shirt sleeves rolled back over his arms, the great knots of muscles could be plainly seen. Altogether he presented a most impressive sight, and his young classmates were duly impressed by his huge size and evident physical strength.

"I'm Schenck," said Peter John, after a momentary hesitation.

"Glad to see you," exclaimed the young giant, stepping forward and grasping his room-mate's hand in such a manner as to make Peter John wince. "You know what my name is, I suppose. I'm Hawley. 'Cupe' Hawley they called me in school because I was such a dainty and delicate little specimen." And again his laughter broke forth. "Friends of yours, Schenck?" he added, as he glanced inquiringly at the two companions of his room-mate.

Will Phelps and Foster Bennett were at once introduced, and warmly greeted their classmate.

"Sorry I can't offer you any seats, fellows," said Hawley, still laughing, though there was no apparent cause for his enjoyment. "Haven't got everything unpacked yet; but if you'll just wait a minute we'll find something for you to sit on."

"We'll help you," said Will Phelps, at once laying aside his coat.

In their room he and Foster had done but little of the labor required in unpacking their belongings, for neither had been accustomed to such tasks in the homes from which they had come. Their fathers both were well-to-do and it had not occurred to either of the boys that the manual labor in settling their room was something to be expected of them. For a moment Foster glanced quizzically at his friend as if he was puzzled to account for his unexpected proffer, but knowing Will's impulsiveness as he did he was quick to respond, and in a brief time the few belongings of Peter John and his room-mate were unpacked and the beds were set up, the shades at the windows, and the few scanty belongings all arranged.

"I didn't bring a carpet. Did you?" inquired Hawley of Schenck.

"No," replied Peter John.

"We can get along without one. I haven't any money to spare, and carpets are luxuries anyway. If we feel like it we can buy one afterwards. They're dangerous things though," and Hawley laughed as he spoke. "My doctor says they're the worst sources of contagion in the world, and whatever else I do I must be careful of my health." Again the laugh of the young giant rang out, and in its contagion all three of his classmates joined.

And yet as Will Phelps glanced about the room its appearance was pitifully bare. The furniture was of the plainest, the walls were bare of pictures, there were none of the numerous pillows and other tokens of the warm regard of friends that had accompanied himself and his room-mate into the new life upon which they had entered. Apparently, however, Hawley was as delighted over his surroundings as he and Foster over theirs, perhaps even more, and Will was thoughtful for a moment as he silently watched his newly made friend.

"How did you happen to come to Winthrop?" he inquired at last when the task of settling the room was measurably complete and all four had seated themselves on the rude wooden chairs which made up most of the furnishings of the room.

"I didn't 'happen' to come." Somehow everything appeared to be a source of enjoyment to Hawley, and questions or remarks were alike greeted with a laugh.

"What made you, then?"

"Isn't Winthrop the best college in the United States?" demanded Hawley.

"Yes, or at least that's what my father thinks. He graduated here and it may be that his opinion is a little prejudiced. Is that why you came?"

"Partly." Again Hawley laughed and closed one eye as he spoke.

"I can give a guess what the other reason was," said Foster."What was it?"

"Football."

Hawley laughed loudly this time as he replied, "You're 'a very Daniel come to judgment.' That's from the 'Merchant of Venice,' isn't it? Well, if it is, it's about all I remember of my English course. Well, I'll be honest with you. I did see Baker this summer, and he set before me the advantages of coming to Winthrop in such a way that I couldn't very well say no. And I didn't, so here I am."

"Did he offer to pay you?" demanded Peter John.

"Did he offer what?" demanded Hawley.

Somewhat abashed Peter John did not repeat his question, and his room-mate at once turned the conversation into other lines. "We had a pretty good football team in the academy where I fitted for college, and there were several colleges, or at least the football men of the college, who seemed to be quite willing that some of our fellows should go to them. We had a half-back who was a dandy! His name was Patrick O'Hara, and he passed better in football than he did in any other subject in the course." And Hawley stopped to laugh at the recollection of his former fellow-student. "Pat wasn't very much of a hand to study, and when one of the men from White College suggested to him that he should come there, why Pat was delighted. 'What studies will you take?' asked the fellow, for you see he knew without being told that Pat wouldn't be valedictorian of his class whatever other honor he might ta

ke, and he was trying to make it easy for him. 'Well,' said Pat, ''bedad, an' if it's all th' same t' yez, I'm thinkin' I'll just be afther takin' a bit o' the spellin' an' perhaps a bit o' figurin'. How do thot be afther suitin' yez'?"

All the boys joined in the laugh with which Hawley related the story, and Will Phelps said, "Where did Pat go?"

"Well," said Hawley slowly, "he has gone to White College."

"Do you mean to say he has entered there?" demanded Will.

"That's what they tell me, though I've a notion he'll come out the same door he went in, and he won't tarry long either. Probably soon after the season ends."

"But we play White College. It's one of our nearest rivals," suggested Will. "But then," he added, "that's just like them. They never do a thing on the square anyway!"

Hawley pursed his lips as if he was about to whistle, but he did not speak though his eyes twinkled with merriment as if Will's statement somehow was hugely enjoyed by him. Foster Bennett noticing the expression on Hawley's face, also laughed, but he did not reply to his room-mate's very positive declaration. There were some things which Will could not understand, for with his intense and impulsive disposition the one thing which impressed him at the time was capable of only one interpretation. His confidence in Winthrop and his dislike of its rival college were therefore only what were to be expected of his friend.

"Obliged to you, fellows," said Hawley, as Will Phelps and Foster Bennett rose to depart. "Come in and see us often.""You'll see enough of us from now on," responded Will as he and his room-mate departed.

As the two passed out into the street and returned to their own room Foster said, "It's pretty bare there in Leland, isn't it, Will?"

"Yes. They both seem to be happy though."

"Not much like our room."

"No. But then, Foster, you see they don't know the difference."

Foster smiled but made no response, and Will continued. "You see everything in this world is relative. A man doesn't miss what he never had, does he?"

"Perhaps not."

"Now look here, Foster. Do you think a blind man suffers because he can't see? I mean a man who was born blind, of course."

"What then?"

"Why, the man I'm sorry for is the one that could see once and has lost his sight. He knows, let me tell you, what he's lost. But the other man doesn't appreciate it. He never could see, so he couldn't lose his sight, could he? Tell me that."

"So you wouldn't do anything to help him?"

"I didn't say that. I didn't say that at all. All I say is that the fellow I'm sorry for is the one who has had and lost, not the one who never had. Now look at Peter John, and Hawley. Their room isn't so good as ours, but it probably is just as good as they expected, or have been used to, so they don't suffer any.""And if you and I had to put up with their room-"

"Why, we'd feel it."

"It's a mighty comfortable way of looking at things, that's all I have to say."

"But it's the true way," said Will glibly. "There's one thing I'm mighty glad of for Peter John's sake."

"What is it?"

"That he rooms with Hawley. I don't believe the sophs will bother him very much."

"Not when Hawley's on hand."

"You think they will when he's not?"

"Yes, sir, I do. Peter John just invites them. It stands right out on his face."

"Sort of a standing invitation, so to speak?" laughed Will Phelps. "Well, for my part, I hope he won't be too fresh. There's everything in that, you know."

"And therefore we'll go scot free?"

"Well, Hawley is a great fellow anyway; and I'm glad he's in our class."

"He's big, anyway."

"That's what I said."

"No you didn't, you said great."

"Same thing."

"Not much. A man can be big without being great, can't he? Caesar and Napoleon were not big men, but I think you'd sum up that they were great.""Great butchers, if that's what you mean. You always spin it out too fine for me, Foster."

Foster Bennett laughed and both boys entered their room to prepare for dinner. They still were taking their meals at the hotel, as their boarding-place had not been selected. In the thoughts of both it was a selection of too much importance to be made hastily, and they were therefore waiting until they became more familiar with the details of their new life.

It was all novel and interesting, and on the following day the first class meeting was held. A dignified junior presided at the meeting, and after explaining what was expected and that the class officers to be selected were to serve only for a month, when it was thought that the members of the class would have become sufficiently acquainted with one another to enable them to act with becoming wisdom, he called for nominations for class president.

Peter John Schenck immediately arose and said, "I nominate Hawley."

The nomination was seconded, and there were calls for Hawley to step to the platform and stand where all the class could see him. The young giant obediently advanced and taking his place beside Spencer, who also was nominated for the office, awaited the verdict. There were cheers when it was announced that Hawley had won, and the junior then called for nominations for secretary and treasurer.

Again Peter John arose to the occasion and said, "I nominate Phelps."Will's face flushed scarlet at the unexpected words but his room-mate at once had seconded the nomination, and he was compelled to advance to the platform and stand beside Farmer and McVey, whose names were also presented for the same office. There was some confusion for a time, but quiet was restored when the result of the ballot was announced.

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