MoboReader > Literature > Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers

   Chapter 9 GETTING ON

Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers By Alice B. Emerson Characters: 6347

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The three freshmen friends from Briarwood learned a good deal more that evening than the Year Book would ever have taught them. The girls began to crowd into the Hoskin Hall dining-room right after dinner. The seniors and the juniors disappeared, but there were a large number of sophomores present, besides the president of that class who addressed the freshmen.

The latter learned that in athletics especially the rivalry between the two lower and the two upper classes was intense. It was hardly possible, of course, for any of the freshmen, and for few of the sophomores to gain positions on any of the first college teams in basket ball, rowing, tennis, archery, or other important activities of a physical nature.

All athletic sports, which included, as well as those named above, running and jumping and other track work, were under the direct supervision of the college athletic association. All the girls could belong to that. Indeed, they were expected to, and the fees were small. But for a freshman to show sufficient athletic training to make any of the first teams, would almost seem impossible. They could get on the scrubs and possess their souls with patience, hoping to win places on the first teams perhaps in their sophomore year.

However, there had once been a girl in a freshman class at Ardmore who succeeded in throwing the hammer a record-making distance; and once a freshman had been bow oar in the first eight. These were targets to aim for, Miss Dunstan, the sophomore president, told the new girls.

She was, of course, a member of the athletic committee, and having told the new girls all about the sports she proceeded to advise them about organizing their class and electing officers. This should be done by the end of the first fortnight. Meanwhile, the freshman should get together, become acquainted, and electioneer for the election of officers.

Class politics at Ardmore meant something. There were already groups and cliques forming among the freshmen. It was an honor to hold office in the class, and those who were ambitious, or who wished to control the policy of the class, were already at work.

Ruth and her friends were so ambitious in quite another direction-in two, in fact-that they rather overlooked these class activities. The following day actually opened the work of the semester, and as they already had their books the trio settled immediately to their lessons.

They were taking the classical course, a four-years' course. During this first year their studies would be English, a language (their choice of French or German) besides the never-to-be-escaped Latin; mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry and higher algebra. They had not yet decided whether to take botany or chemistry as the additional study.

"We want to keep together as much as possible, in classes as well as out," Helen said. "Let's take the same specials, too."

"I vote for botany," Ruth suggested. "That will take us into the woods and fields more."

"You mean, it will give us an excuse for going into the woods and fields," Jennie said. "I'm with you. And if I have to walk much to cut down weight, it will help."

"My goodness!" exclaimed Helen. "Heavy really has come to college to get rid of her superabundance of fat."

"Surest thing you know," agreed the fleshy girl.

The freshmen learned that they would have from fifteen to eighteen recitation periods weekly, of forty-five minutes each. The recitation periods occurred between nine and twelve in the forenoon and one and three-thirty in the afternoon.

It took several days to get all these things arranged rightly; the three friends managed to get together in all classes. The classes numbered from twenty to forty students and the girls began to get acquainted with the teachers very quickly. Trust youth for judging middle-age almost immediately.

"I like Dr. McCurdy," Helen said, speaking of their English instructor, who was a man. "He knows what he's about and goes right at it. No fooling with him. None of this, 'Now young ladies, I hope you are pleasantly situated and that we are going to be good friends.' Pah!"

Ruth laughed. "The dear old things!" she said gaily. "They mean well-even that Miss Mara, whom you are imitating. And she does have a beautiful French accent, if she is Irish."

They liked Dr. Frances Milroth. Her talk in chapel was an inspiration, and that first morning some of the girls came out into the sunshine with wet eyelashes. They began to realize that they were here at college for something besides either play or ordinary study. They were at Ardmore to learn to get a grip on life.

Instrumental and vocal music could be taken at any time which did not interfere with the regular recitations, and of course Ruth took the latter as a special, while Helen did not neglect her violin.

"I guess I'll take up the study of the oboe," grumbled Jennie Stone. "I don't seem to know just what to do with myself while you girls are making sweet sounds."

"Why don't you roll, Heavy?" demanded Helen.

"Roll what? Roll a hoop?" asked the fleshy girl.

"No. Roll a barrel, I should say would be nearer to it," Helen responded, eyeing Jennie's plump waistline reflectively. "Get down and roll. Move back the furniture, give yourself plenty of room, and roll. They say that will reduce one's curves."

"Wow! And what would the girl say downstairs under me?" asked Jennie Stone. "I'd begin by being the most unpopular girl in this freshman class."

These first few days were busy ones; but the girls of the freshman class were fast learning just where they stood. Then happened something that awoke most of the class to the fact that they needed to get together, that they must, after all, take up cudgels for themselves.

"Just like a flock of silly sheep, running together when they see a dog," Helen at first said.

"I guess there is a good reason in nature for sheep to do that," Ruth said, on reflection. "Sheep fear wolves more than any other animal, and a dog is a wolf, after all, only domesticated."

"Huh!" grunted Jennie. "Then we are sheep and the seniors are wolves, are they? I could eat up most of these seniors I've seen, myself. I will be a savage sheep-woof! woof!"

The matter that had made the disturbance, however, was not to be ignored.

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