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

   Chapter 11 THE ONE REBEL

Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers By Alice B. Emerson Characters: 5753

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

However much the natural independence of the freshmen balked at the mandate promulgated by the seniors, baby-blue tam-o'-shanters grew more numerous every hour on the Ardmore campus.

The sophomores were evidently filled with glee; the juniors and seniors smiled significantly, but said nothing. The freshmen had been put in their place at once, it was considered. But the attack upon them had made the newcomers eager for an organization of their own.

"If we are going to be bossed this way-and it is disgraceful!-we must be prepared to withstand imposition," Helen announced.

So they began busily settling the matter of the organization of the class and the choosing of its officers. Before these matters were arranged completely, however, there was an incident of note.

The freshmen, as a body, were invited to attend a sophomore "roar." It was to be the first out-of-door "roar" of the year and occurred right after classes and lectures one afternoon. The two lower classes scamped their gymnasium work to make it a success.

Now, a "roar" at Ardmore was much nicer than it sounds. It was merely an open-air singing festival, and this one was for the purpose of making the freshmen familiar with the popular songs of the college.

Professor Leidenburg, the musical director, himself led the outdoor concert. The sophomores stood in a compact body before the main entrance to the college hall. Massed in the background, and in a half circle, were the freshmen.

The weather had become cool and all the girls wore their tam-o'-shanters. For the first time it was noticeable how pretty the pale blue caps on the freshmen's heads looked. And the new girls likewise noted that most of the tam-o'-shanters worn-by their sophomore hostesses were pale yellow.

It was whispered then (and strange none of the freshmen had discovered it before) that the class preceding theirs at Ardmore-the present sophomores-had been forced to wear caps of a distinctive color, too. These pale yellow ones were their old caps, left over from the previous winter.

The open-air assemblages of the college were made more attractive by this scheme of a particular class color in head-wear.

There was a blot in the assembly of the freshmen on this occasion. It was not discovered in the beginning. Soon, however, there was much whispering, and looking about and pointing.

"Do you see that?" gasped Jennie, who had been straining her neck and hopping up and down on her toes to see what the other girls were looking at.

"What are you rubbering at, Heavy?" demanded Helen, inelegantly.

"Yes; what's all the disturbance?" asked Ruth.

"That girl!" ejaculated the fleshy one.

"What girl now? Any particular girl?"

"She's not very particular, I guess," returned Jennie, "or she wouldn't do it."

"Jennie!" demanded Helen. "Who do what?"

"That Frayne girl," ex

plained her plump friend.

Rebecca Frayne stood well back in the lines of freshmen. It could not be said that she thrust herself forward, or sought to gain the attention of the crowd. Nevertheless, among the mass of pale blue tam-o'-shanters, her parti-colored one was very prominent.

"Goodness!" gasped Ruth. "Doesn't she know better?"

"Do you suppose she is one of those stubborn girls who just 'won't be driv'?" giggled Helen.

It was no laughing matter. The three days of grace written upon the seniors' order regarding the caps had now passed. There seemed no good reason for one member of the freshman class to refuse to obey the command. Indeed, they had all tacitly agreed to do as they were told-upon this single point, at least.

"There certainly are enough of them left in town so that she can buy one," Jennie Stone said.

"Goodness!" snapped Helen. "If my complexion can stand such a silly color, hers certainly can."

Before the out-of-doors concert was over, news of this rebellion on the part of a single freshman had run through the crowd like a breath of wind over ripe wheat. It almost broke up the "roar."

As the last verse of the last song was ended and the company began to disperse, the freshmen themselves, and the sophomores as well, stared at Rebecca Frayne in open wonder. She started for her room, which was in Dare Hall on the same corridor as that of the three girls from Briarwood, and Ruth and Helen and Jennie were right behind her.

"That certainly is an awful tam," groaned Jennie. "What do you suppose makes her wear it, anyway? Let alone the trouble--"

She broke off. Miss Dexter, the first senior who had spoken to Ruth and Helen coming over from the railway station on the auto-bus, stopped the strange girl whose initials were the same as those of the girl of the Red Mill.

"Will you tell me, please, why you are wearing that tam-o'-shanter?" asked Miss Dexter.

Rebecca Frayne's head came up and a spot of vivid red appeared in either of her sallow cheeks.

"Is that your business?" she demanded, slowly.

"Do you know that I am a senior?" asked Miss Dexter, levelly.

"I don't care if you are two seniors," returned Rebecca Frayne, saucily.

Miss Dexter turned her back upon the freshman and walked promptly away. The listeners were appalled. None of them cared to go forward and speak to Rebecca Frayne.

"Cracky!" gasped Helen. "She's an awful spitfire."

"She's an awful chump!" groaned Jennie. "The seniors won't do a thing to her!"

But nothing came at once of Rebecca's refusal to obey the seniors' command regarding tam-o'-shanters. It was known, however, that the executive committees of both the senior and junior classes met that next night and supposedly took the matter up.

"Oh, no! They don't haze any more at Ardmore," said Jennie, shaking her head. "But just wait!"

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