Fred Fearnot's Day, or The Great Reunion at Avon

CHAPTER IV.
FRED WINS IN THE ATHLETIC EXERCISE-HIS MOTHER AND SISTER ARRIVE AT AVON.

Soon after breakfast all the graduates went to the clubhouse to witness and indulge in athletic exercises in the gymnasium.

"Now, gentlemen," sang out Teacher Brown, from the platform at the further end of the little gymnasium, "I suggest that in order to make these exercises more interesting, a referee be appointed to decide on the result of each contest skill, and that the winners be crowned, and he who wins the most of the contests have the day named after him."

"That's a good idea," exclaimed several.

"Yes." said Lawyer Osgood, "and I suggest that Teacher Brown act as chairman of the meeting, as well as referee."

"Good! Good!" came from all parts of the house, and the teacher was unanimously elected.

"Well, I'm sorry I made the suggestion," said Brown, "for while I'm very fond of witnessing all kinds of athletic sport, I have participated but very little in them."

"Oh, that's all right, Browny," sang out Dick Duncan, "you know a good thing when you see it and that's enough."

"Well, I'll do my best to serve you impartially. What is the first game you will have?"

"Appoint a committee to arrange a program," suggested one, and as it met the approbation of the boys, a committee was appointed, and while they were consulting in another room over the program the boys indulged in singing glee club songs, so many of them joining in the chorus as to almost raise the roof.

Before the committee was ready to report, Professor Lambert entered the room and the boys set up a great shout of welcome. They escorted him to the platform and insisted on a speech.

"My dear boys," said he, "I merely dropped in to see bow you were enjoying yourselves. I can't help but feel like a father toward every one of you, and I want the satisfaction of knowing that all present have a good time, and when you desperse to your homes feel that it was good that you came to the old academy again to renew acquaintances."

"Mr. Brown has just informed me that you are going to indulge in various games of skill and strength, and I assure you that I shall be pleased to witness your performances." Just then the committee filed into the room to report, and the Professor sat down.

The committee reported that games played indoors should be gone through first. Those outside to follow. The first was to be some wrestling matches; then glove contests, followed by fencing with the foils, after which would come the regular gynamsium exercises on the crossbars with Fred Fearnot as leader or instructor.

"Oh, we don't need any instructors," protested Fred.

"You have nothing to say about it, my boy," said Teacher Brown, "you were captain of the various teams while a student at the academy and it is but natural that you should officiate as such on this occasion, so I rule your protest out of order."

The boys cheered the decision and proceeded at once to their dressing-rooms to prepare for the beginning of the exercise

Nearly a score of them appeared to indulge in wrestling, and an hour was passed in the exercises, the end of which found that Fred Fearnot was the only one that had not been thrown. He was declared the winner.

"Upon My word," exclaimed professor Lambert, "I don't think I ever witnessed finer wrestling in my life."

"Oh, wait" laughed Terry. "till you see the boys get the gloves on, then you'll see something exciting."

"Well, I hope that there will be no slugging."

"Oh, it isn't slugging when you have the gloves on," laughed Terry. "It's somewhat like the college girls' pillow fight, only on a pretty forcible scale."

Fred, Terry, and Dick Duncan, who had been together so much leaving the academy, proved to be the best boxers. They knocked the others right and left until they remained masters of the field. Then Terry and Dick had a bout in which the latter was knocked out. Then Fred and Terry went at it and, after a tremendous set-to of several rounds Fred was proclaimed the victor.

Then came the contest with the foils, and it was surprising to see the number of experts among the graduates. But Fred and Terry proved again to be the best of the whole lot, for they had given more attention to it than all the others. The majority of them had heard of Fred's famous duel with two French officers in France, and were afraid to cross foils with him. Only two of them attempted it, and were conquered in a couple of minutes. Terry was the only one who could hold his own with him, but he finally succumbed to his endurance and lightening-like work.

"He's a young man," whispered Professor Lambert to teacher Brown.

"He is indeed," assented the fatter, "and what Terry knows about things he taught him. You know his motto, which is 'Work and Win,' and his rule is that whatever you undertake to do, do it well. That is the secret of his marvelous success. Notice the muscles of his arms and limbs. He has trained until they are like limbs of oak, and his muscles like steel."

Then came the exercises on the trapeze, during which Professor Lambert actually caught his breath several times, fearing fatal accidents.

"Why, bless my soul," he gasped, "I never saw better work in a circus ring!" laughed Brown. "They could organize the best circus in the world on extremely short notice. Fred and Terry can turn somersaults and land on their feet as easily as the best acrobat, and Dick Duncan and Jencks are not far behind them. You see they have been together a great deal since leaving the academy."

"But how can he stand so much of it? He has been for over two hours now in the exercises and won in all."

"It's marvelous endurance; his training. He can do more with less exertion than any one I ever saw. If you watch him you will find him husbanding his strength where others waste theirs for lack of knowledge. It seems to be intuitive with him."

"It does, indeed'" assented the professor.

"Now, gentlemen," said Brown, rising to his feet. "we've had nearly three hours of exercise. We will adjourn until after lunch, when the field sports will begin. Bicycle riding, foot race, and other exercises. Mr. Fearnot is proclaimed winner of all the contests so far."

The boys nearly raised the roof with their cheers for Fred Fearnot, and insisted on a speech from him.

"Oh, let up on that, boys," he sang out. "You'll hear speaking enough before we break up."

"That's all right," said Osgood, "we have heard for more than two years of your splendid record, is an all-around athlete and a leader in field sport. We want to hear from your own lips how you have succeeded so well in that direction."

"That's it! That's it!" said Professor Lambert, looking toward Fred. "There are scores of friends present who don't understand how you have acquired so much skill."

"Well, that is easily told," said Fred. jumping up on the platform alongside, of the professor. "It is just like everything else. If a boy or man desires to do a thing, and goes at it with a determination to do it, it is nearly half done at that point. My motto is 'Work and Win,' and the whole secret lies in those three words. I have made it a rule that whatever I have to do, to try to do if well. When I saw others do things better than I could I knew that it was the result of intelligent work and skill, and went at it with a fixed, determination to become a thorough master of the same art myself. Strength is a good thing, and when combined with skill it is the best thing. Skill saves strength; one may have the strength of an ox, but if he hasn't the knowledge of how to apply that strength it is of but little value to him. Of what use would Professor Lambert's great learning be to him as a teacher if he didn't know how to impart that knowledge to others? That is the secret of his great fame as an instructor of youth. What he knows he understands how to impart to others, so as to make it easy to be understood, and you will find the same rule good in physical as well as mental exercise. One must keep perfect control of his mental and physical faculties in the gymnasium in order to avoid disaster. If he doesn't keep his eyes about him on the crossbars, he will be as apt to land on his head as on his feet. In a glove contest, if your eyes wander away from those of your antagonist you will find thunderbolts wandering all over your head and chest. You must study to be quick so as to slip in between the guard of the other fellow, and get onto his solar plexus, for frequently the opening lasts but the fifth of a second, after which it may be closed and you will find yourself receiving a blow instead of giving one."

"The most sensible talk I ever heard," said Professor Lambert when Fred ceased talking, and it applies equally as to every branch of business that one can enter."

"Yes. I found it so," remarked Fred. "Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and in all branches of mechanical art the most skillful receive the best pay, and those who are negligent and ship-shod in their work earn the least. Say, Terry," said Fred, as the two hurried to their dressingroom in the gymnasium "we've got to hustle in order to reach the depot in time for the train, to meet mother and Margie, if they should come up."

"Do you really think they will be here, Fred?"

"I don't know what to think, Terry. It seems to me that if they were coming they would have telegraphed me; but I have received no dispatch, yet it won't do to take any chances, we must hurry to the train."

They dressed themselves with all dispatch and hurried away from the clubhouse to a carriage which Fred had ordered sent over front town for him.

"Take us to the depot as quick as you can. We haven't more than five minutes to spare," said he to the driver.

"All right, boss," and they dashed away, not having time even to stop at the house for Evelyn and Mary Hamiliton.

The train was about five minutes late and when they reached the station they were surprised to find Evelyn and Mary already there in a carriage, as well as Mrs. Lambert and Eunice in another.

"Oh, Fred, come here!" called Evelyn from the carriage, and on reaching it she handed him a dispatch, saying:

"It was delivered at the house not more than ten minutes ago, and as it was addressed to you I suspected it was from your mother or Margie and knowing that it couldn't be sent over to the academy in time for you to reach the train, I took the liberty of opening it to see if they were coming up, I found that they were, so I sent around to the stable for a carriage in order to meet them. I know you will forgive me the liberty I have taken."

"Why, bless you, old girl, you did just right. I was wondering why it was that I had not received any dispatch. It was thoughtful of you to bring a carriage for them. I see Mrs. Lambert and the Advocate are here in their carriage waiting for them too."

"Well, do they know that they are coming up?" Evelyn asked.

"No, no more than I did, but the Advocate told me last night that she would come down to meet them anyway."

"Well, where are they going to stop, Fred? You haven't secured quarter for them have you?"

"No, but I believe there is one room yet at Mrs. Hawthorne that they can have. The Advocate told me last night that they had to stop with her, or she would know the reason why."

"Oh, indeed! She expressed her regrets to me that they didn't have room for us over at the academy?"

"Hush, dear," he whispered, placing his hand over her mouth, as she sat back in the carriage. "She thinks she is under obligations to make any kind of a sacrifice under the circumstances, because she was Margie's guest several weeks you know last winter."

Just then they heard the whistle of the train as it approached the station.

"Come, let me help you out," and he opened the carriage door and assisted Evelyn and Mary out, while Terry did the same for Mrs. Lambert and the Advocate. They were on the platform when the train slowed up, Fred sprang aboard, rushed into the car and greeted his mother and sister only as loving son and brother could.

"Never got your dispatch until a few minutes ago," he said to his mother.

"Well, it looked as though we would not be able to get away, said Mrs. Fearnot.

"Oh, there's Evelyn, Mary, and Miss Lambert!" exclaimed Marguerite, looking out the car window to those on the platform.

"Yes, they are all here waiting for you," and he assisted his mother out of the car while Marguerite ran forward and sprang off the steps almost into the arms of Terry.

It was a glad, joyous meeting of friends, and there were a great many exclamations and osculatory smacks accompanied by much laughter. Marguerite was introduced to Mrs. Lambert for they had never met, and the dignified wife of the professor gave her a motherly kiss and embrace.

"Now, my dear Mrs. Fearnot," said the Advocate's mother, "Eunice and I insist that you shall make your home with us while here. I believe that Fred has secured quarters for you elsewhere but he did so without my knowledge or consent. and really I cannot sanction it."

"Well, I will leave it with you and Fred to settle that matter," laughed Mrs. Fearnot, "provided you don't quarrel about it."

"The matter is already settled," spoke up the Advocate. "You come home with us, and if Fred wants to fight about it, he'll have to pick a quarrel with his shadow. He is stopping over there at the academy himself, and I am sure it would be more pleasant for all for his mother and sister to be there too."

"Evelyn, where are you and Mary stopping?" Mrs. Fearnot asked.

"We are stopping over in town at Mrs. Hawthorne's," replied Evelyn. "and there is a room there for you; but really I think that it is due Mrs. Lambert that you should go home with her."

"Thank you, dear," said Mrs. Lambert, scarcely able to conceal her surprise at generosity.

"Then I guess we will accept your kind invitation," said Mrs. Fearnot, turning to the professor's wife.

"Of course, that's the best thing to do mother" put in Fred

"Let me assist You to the carriage," and he and Terry conducted the ladies to the, Lambert carriage, while Evelyn and Mary returned to theirs and entered it without assistance.

As the Lambert carriage drove away, Fred and Terry returned to the two girls.

"By George the Advocate captured them, didn't she?" said Terry.

"Oh, it was the best for them to go over there," returned Evelyn. "I'm really glad they did."

"So am I," added Fred, -but I don't envy the Advocate's frame of mind under the circumstances."

"Why, what's the matter with her. Fred?" Evelyn asked.

"Oh, she's in a peck of trouble. She never heard that they were coming up until last night, and you remember how she apologized to you and Mary about her inability to take care of you during your visit here. The truth is, she knew that your popularity with the boys was such that she preferred to keep you as far away from them as possible, and now mother and Marie's coming plainly reveals the fact that she didn't mean just exactly what she said."

"Oh, circumstances after cases, Fred. Don't think hard of her at all. for she and her mother doubtless think that it is obligatory upon them to entertain your mother and sister, as neither of them has ever been in Avon before."

"Well. I confess feeling a little bit vindictive about it old girl. She's well acquainted with both you and Mary, and she's always claimed that Terry and I were favorites of hers as well as the professor's. She's afraid of you two girls, and if I don't touch her up a little bit on it when I get the chance, it will be because I don't know how.

"Now, Fred, don't do that. It would be ungenerous on your part, because if the truth were known it is all on your account."

"I don't think so, but even if it were I don't like to have my best girl slighted on anybody's account."

"Say, Fred," said Terry, "Let's dismiss our carriage and ride back with these girls."

"All right, go and pay him off, and I'll wait here for you; or, hold on, old man. You take your girl out of this carriage, and use the other one. Evelyn and I can fill this one."

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