Fred Fearnot's Day, or The Great Reunion at Avon
HOW FRED AND DICK DUNCAN GOT A DUCKING.
Professor Lambert and his wife were loyal hosts. The table groaned
under a load of good things and the member of the Alumni feasted
heartily. Many of them had missed their noonday lunch, and had ravenous
were not wines, but plenty of tea, coffee and milk, and many
toasts were drank in different beverages. The entire faculty was toasted
and so were the professor's wife and daughter.
Nearly an hour was spent at the table, after which the boys
returned to the dormitory where Fred, Terry, Joe and Dick put on their
dress suits and went downstairs and sat on the steps of the Lambert
cottage, where they sang sentimental songs until the Advocate appeared
in evening dress prepared to accompany them over to the Hawthorne
"My!" she exclaimed, as they started off, "are all you boys here
to escort me?"
"Every one of us, Advocate," laughed Fred.
"Well, we'll attract attention, so many of us together."
"There you go, now," laughed Terry. "You are maneuvering now to
get just one fellow to yourself and let the others get out of the way. "
"Terry, you are becoming an incorrigible tease," she retorted.
"If you boys begin talking that way I won't go."
"Oh, I'll arrange it," said Fred, "Terry and Dick will go on
about a hundred yards ahead of us. Then you and I will follow, with Joe
and Tom about a hundred yards behind us."
"Great Scott, boys," exclaimed Terry, "let's mob him. He's
actually trying to use us as dogs to keep the other boys away, while she
leans on his arm and coos and coos all the way over there."
"Send him away quick, Fred," laughed the Advocate.
"Well, ain't you going to change about with us?" Terry asked.
"'No, variety is not the spice of life in this instance."
"Whoops, boys! You hear that? Fred is all the variety she wants."
"Here, get away with you," said Fred. "I've made the choice, not
she. You don't seem to understand the fitness of things. When we are out
for a walk, three is a crowd; but when we get over to the house, you can
all crowd around and bask in her smiles to your heart's content."
"Yes, provided there are any smiles left for us when you get her
there," retorted Terry. "Come ahead, boys. She's sweet, but she isn't
the only lump of sugar in the barrel," and amid a good deal of laughter
Terry and Dick started off ahead, Fred and the Advocate following, while
Joe and Tom brought up the rear.
The arrangement suited Eunice, and Fred thought she was never so
pleasant as on that evening. They laughed and chatted gayly all the way
over, and for a wonder she showed no desire to twit him about his
attentions to Evelyn. She was fast learning that it was bad policy for
her to do so, but on the way she asked him if he had his speech ready
for the night of the banquet.
"Yes, I fixed up a few points in my mind so I won't forget them,"
he answered, "but don't ask me what they are."
"Why, are you going to spring something new upon us?"
"No, I don't know that I am. It depends altogether upon how
sweetly you smile upon me while I am speaking; but let me tell you that
you will hear a great speech when Osgood rises to respond to the toast."
"Is he a good speaker?" she asked.
"Splendid, I never heard him until this afternoon. He has quite
a reputation in this part of the State as an orator, and I guess you'll
soon hear of him as a rising young statesman, and an honor to the
"Now, Fred, I don't think that any student ever left the academy
who will be a greater honor to us than you are."
"Great Scott, Advocate! Stop a moment. Let me lay my handkerchief
down on the ground, kneel on it and say my thanks for the compliment."
"Oh, come now, Fred, no foolishness. I mean that, and father
thinks that way, too."
"Well, I'm sure I feel highly flattered. I'm hardly yet on the
threshold of my career. Osgood has started out well. He's a brilliant
fellow, and if I can do as well as he is doing I shall feel very proud
of it, and, by the way, there are several of the graduates who are
members of the State Legislature, and two are members of Congress. For a
young institution the academy is looming up grandly. Osgood was speaking
to me about you this afternoon."
"Indeed! Indeed! What did he say?"
"Why, he said that he was just three or four years too soon in
his attendance at the academy as a student, for then you were in short
dresses attending the girls' high school and were not known as the
Advocate of the boys. He expressed his surprise at hearing your praises
sung so lustily by the Alumni, and many of us told him of several
instances where you saved a number of the boys from the penalty of
expulsion. One of them declared that you were the prettiest, the
sweetest and the kindest-hearted young lady he ever knew."
"Who was he Fred?"
"Oh, I don't think I ought to tell on him."
"Why, it's no secret. What harm would there be in your telling me
who he is?"
"Why do you wish to know?" he asked. "It won't do for you to
begin showing tiny partiality where there are so many admirers."
"Say, Fred, it was you, wasn't it? Tell the truth now."
"I always tell the truth, Advocate, and I'll own up that it
"Oh, what an aggravating tease you are."
"Well, he's a married man, that's why I won't tell on him."
"Did he bring his wife here with him?"
"No, she's at home taking care of two babies, and of course you
don't want to try to break up the happy family."
"My! But I'm tempted to pull your hair, Fred."
"My hair isn't long enough, I'm trimmed up for any emergency that
may arrive. I can take care of myself against anything that can't get its
fingers in my hair."
He teased her that way during the entire walk over to the
Hawthorne residence but she enjoyed it as she always did when in his
It was a happy party that evening over in Avon, and the boys saw
to it that the Advocate never lacked for attention. Evelyn was the only
girl she was jealous of, but of course she had learned not to make any
exhibition of jealousy in her direction.
Evelyn was loving and affectionate toward her, and they talked
over the romance of the Duke of Scadsborough and Miss Merton, while on a
visit to the Fearnots in New York. It was the first time she had met
Evelyn since that incident.
"Yes, Fred wrote Terry all about it," said Evelyn, "and I really
think he did the girl a good service in baffling the duke in the pursuit
of her fortune."
"Yes, indeed, but how is it that his sister Marguerite didn't
come up with him to the reunion?"
"She will be here to-morrow," said Evelyn. "She had to wait for
her mother. They will come up together."
"My! What a surprise!" exclaimed Eunice. "Really I don't know
what to think of Marguerite not letting me know of it. I was her guest
for several weeks and I have letters from her at least once a week."
"If you had asked Fred about it, he would have told you, I guess.
I didn't know myself that they were coming until Fred reached Fredonia.
They half expected the judge to come with them, but at the last moment
his business engagements were such as to prevent it."
Eunice appeared to be considerably disturbed over the little bit
of news, and when she had the chance to do so, she asked Fred if he knew
what trains mother and sister would. arrive on.
"I think they will be here about noon." he said, "if they come at
all. The truth is, it is yet doubtful about their coming, and that is
why I've said nothing to you on the matter, thinking that a surprise is
more welcome always than a disappointment."
"Well, really, I shall be disappointed if they don't come, and
I'm really sorry that Marguerite didn't write to me about it."
"She wanted to do so, but mother told her to wait until she could
find out whether or not she really could come."
"Well, I'm going to drive down to the station to-morrow to meet
her and if they come, they shall have my room in the cottage at home,
while I will sleep with mother, and send father up into the dormitory."
"That's kind of you, Advocate, but really don't put yourself to
so much trouble."
"Fred, I would be utterly miserable if they should come to Avon
and not stop with us. Your mother and sister were kind to me when I was
down there in the city, and really I am in love with both of them."
"So they are with you; but I don't think they would enjoy the
visit if they knew that they were discommoding the professor it a time
when you are all so much crowded."
"Don't talk that way, Fred. I have a little will of my own, and
I'm going to exercise it."
"That's right," he laughed. "If you have a will, exercise it to
the limit, when it's in the right direction."
Nothing more was said about it that evening, and the young people
enjoyed themselves with a heartiness that was
unmistakable. All the boys were attentive to Eunice without at
the same me time neglecting any of the other girls. Evelyn and Fred were
the life of the party although Dick and Terry were just as lively
themselves. The great banquet was yet forty-eight hours off, for the
next day was to be devoted to the renewal of old friendships and making
of new ones, and athletic exercises in all the games that the senior
classes of the academy had indulged in from the beginning of the
It was nearly midnight when the party at Mrs. Hawthorne residence
broke up, and again the boys prepared to escort the Advocate back to her
home. There being no people on the street at that late hour, to make any
comment on their racket, the others, instead of giving Fred the
exclusive companionship of the young lady, gathered around them in a
circle and started off with them in the center. Eunice laughingly
protested, as did Fred also, but without avail. All the way back to the
academy the entire batch kept up a running fire of conversation with
them thus preventing Fred from monopolizing her company. Finally she
suggested in a laugh- ing way that Fred pitch in and put them to fight.
"The odds are too great," he replied. "Besides I would not think
of striking a friend of yours."
"Well, they are not behaving like friends now."
"We are better friends than you think," retorted Dick Duncan.
"That fellow is a fortune hunter, and we intend to baffle him just as he
did the duke. He is setting his cap for you, or rather a trap, and we
are going to see that he doesn't walk off with the prize without giving
some of the rest of us a show "
Fred enjoyed it immensely. The Advocate, however, was more than
annoyed, but the boys were so good-natured and persistent that she was
forced to join in the laugh and make the best of it. When they reached
the gate of the enclosure, Dick, who had assumed the leadership,
suggested that they cease their noise for fear of awaking the sleepers
in the dormitory as well as in the cottage.
"Step easy, now," said he. "We will leave her at the door of the
cottage, for if we left him to take her there, the goodnight hug and
kiss would awaken everybody on the grounds."
"Fred Fearnot," said Eunice. "I've never asked a favor at your
hands, but if you will thrash Dick Duncan for that tomorrow I will
appreciate it more than anything that you could do for me."
"All right Advocate, I'll take him down to the boathouse
to-morrow morning and throw him into the river."
"Yes," chuckled Joe Jencks, "we'll do him as we boys used to do
the kittens-tie a rock to him to make sure he doesn't come up to the
surface again. When I was about twelve years old we had too many kittens
at home and it was necessary for three of them to be drowned, so I took
them in a old bag out to the old mill pond, and-"
"Oh, do hush that! I don't want to hear it," interrupted the
Advocate, starting off alone toward the cottage, which was nearly a
hundred yards away from the gate. The boys instantly surrounded her, and
quietly escorted her to the porch of the cottage, where each one
"Good-night, find pleasant dreams, Advocate."
"Good-night," she replied, running up the steps mad enough to
yank a handful of hair off the head of every one but Fred.
The boys turned away and went up to their rooms in the dormitory
chuckling way down in their shoes, but making as little noise as
They were up early the next morning, and went down to the river
for a swim before breakfast. There Fred pushed Dick Duncan off the float
before he could undress.
"What in thunder do you mean, Fred?" Dick asked as he came to the
"Oh, I am keeping my promise to the Advocate to throw you into
"Well, that's all right. Every dog has his day, and there's a
whole week waiting for you."
He scrambled up on the float out of the water, and said he would
go back to the dormitory to put on some dry clothes.
"Call on the Advocate before you make the change," laughed Fred.
Dick rushed at him, seized him around the waist and tried to
throw him into the water. Fred, however, was too good a wrestle to be
caught that way, and Dick, seeing he couldn't throw him in, raised him
in his arms and plunged in with him.
"That's all right, old man," laughed Fred, when he came to the
surface "you had to come in with me."
"Oh, I didn't mind that, for I was already wet."
The boys laughed heartily, had their swim, after which they
accompanied Fred and Dick back to the academy, reaching there just a few
minutes before breakfast was ready. They found Eunice and the professor
talking with a number of the older graduates out on the piazza, and of
course greeted them with a cheery good-morning
"Why, how's this, boys?" exclaimed Professor Lambert, "two of you
are dripping wet."
"Oh, we frequently bathe that way," remarked Fred, at which the
boys roared, and Eunice, who suspected what had happened began to blush
and looked confused. On the other hand, the professor began laughing,
suspecting an accident which the boys were not willing to concede.
"How did it happen, boys?" he asked.
"Well, I'll tell you how it was, professor," said Terry, "Fred
and Dick are rivals for the smiles of a creation young lady not a
thousand miles away from the academy, and they undertook to settle the
matter down at the boathouse, with the result that both of them went
into the water."
Eunice blushed furiously and ran into the house.
"Oh, indeed?" said the professor, his eyes opening wide. "I'm
sorry to see two such ardent friends become enemies."
"Oh, we made friends again," laughed Dick, throwing his arms
around Fred's neck and kissing him. Fred reciprocated and the crowd
standing around on the porch fairly roared with laughter.
"That's right, let there be peace," said the professor. "You'd
better run up to your rooms and take off those wet clothes before you
catch cold. Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes, and a cup of hot
coffee for each of you will be the best thing you can take."
"I think something stronger than coffee would be a better
remedy," suggested Lawyer Osgood.
"None on the place," said the professor.
"Don't you be sure of that, professor," laughed Fred. "I'll wager
there's a bottle of whisky in every room in the dormitory."
"I hope not! I hope not!" said the professor, shaking his head,
as though the suggestion of such a thing was extremely repugnant to him.
"Well, I haven't got one in my grip, nor have I seen one
anywhere, but when men travel away from home something of that kind is
generally slipped in among the toilet articles," and with that Fred and
Dick brushed past the professor, ran up to their rooms and about twenty
minutes later re-appeared in dry clothes.
The others were all in the
breakfast room and as Dick and Fred entered, they glanced at Eunice who
was sitting at her father's left at the head of the table; but she
wouldn't look at him. She was teased more than ever in her life.
After breakfast the majority of the graduates strolled about the
grounds smoking cigars, in which they were joined by the professor and
all the teachers. More than a score of them had brought boxes of fine
cigars to the faculty and it was estimated by some of them that they
were supplied with smoking material for at least a year.
Teacher Brown was the most popular of all and at least a thousand
cigars fell to his share.