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

CHAPTER VI.
FRED FEARNOT'S DAY.

Several other games were played, keeping the crowd on the athletic grounds till near sunset, and during the entire time Evelyn had the Alumni around her, following her wherever she went, yet she appeared to be utterly unconscious of the attention she was attracting. Her passionate love of athletic sport, her familiarity with all the rules and her enthusiasm over the desperate struggles of the contestants, seemed to electrify every man on the ground.

"Gracious what a girl!" exclaimed one of the young men. "She an entire host in herself."

"Yes," said another, "I never saw one so well up in the different games in my life."

"No, there isn't another one like her in all the country," put in a third. "She is absolutely infallible on all the rules of baseball. As a mascot she pulled Fred Fearnot through some of the hardest fought games ever seen on the diamond."

"The deuce! Is she the girl?" exclaimed a fourth. "I remember reading of those games at the time they were played."

"Yes, she's the girl."

"Well, it's not to be wondered at that they swept the field, east and west."

When the last game was won the entire crowd unanimous proclaimed it "Fred Fearnot's Day," as he had come off victorious over every competitor. He was the leader for his class, and his companions took him on their shoulders and bore him around the field. Again Evelyn burst forth into a triumphant song that was more appropriate to the occasion than anything else yet heard on those grounds, and again the boys joined in at the top of their lungs. Fred waved his cap at her as they bore him past on their shoulders and all the girls waved their handkerchiefs and fans at him.

The boys finally stood him on his feet in front of her and some of them called out:

"Crown him! Crown the victor," and she laughingly took off her hat in the absence of anything better, placed it on his head and tied it under his chin.

How the boys screamed and yelled.

They sang song after song, and kept up the racket for some ten or fifteen minutes longer. Then Teacher Brown called out:

"Attention!" and is the noise subsided he pronounced is the result of the games that it should be known in the records of the Alumni of the academy as "Fearnot's Day."

"How about Miss Olcott's day?" some one called out to him.

"It's her day all the time," responded Brown. "One of perpetual sunshine, from the first day in the year till the last one."

"Good! Three cheers for Browny," sang out Dick Duncan.

"Oh, my!" exclaimed Evelyn to those around her. "Even Mr. Brown has caught on to Fred's style of speaking."

"That's the neatest thing I ever knew Browny to say," said Terry. "He's a bachelor, and a bashful sort of a fellow, but pure gold."

Just then Professor Lambert, accompanied by his wife and Mrs. Fearnot, appeared on the scene, wondering what all the wild enthusiasm was about. A dozen of the boys tried to tell him at once.

"Oh, it's the work of the dear little mascot," he laughed. "She can put more heart into the boys than any young lady I ever heard of."

"Oh, but you ought to have heard what Browny said about her," remarked one of the boys, and when his compliment to Evelyn was repeated, he laughed and said:

"Very fine! Very fine indeed!"

Mrs. Fearnot put her arm around Evelyn's waist and kissed her, saying:

"My dear child, you've been helping my boy out again, have you?"

"Oh, I couldn't help it," was the laughing reply. "He beat everybody on the ground, won every game, and Terry was next to him every time!"

Mrs. Fearnot looked at Mary Hamilton. who had been blushing like a rose all the time, and asked if she had enjoyed the games.

"Yes," replied Mary, "but I wasn't a mascot to-day."

"Oh, she's a mascot all the time," said Terry, who was standing alongside of her.

Mrs. Fearnot looked at him and smiled, for she knew well that the remark came from his very heart.

"Oh, mother!" exclaimed Margie, "Evelyn is a captain. I believe she could lead all the games herself."

"Yes, I was with her on the grand-stand at Yale, and she kept saying that Fred would win when every one of us had lost heart entirely."

"Now, boys," sang out Professor Lambert, "come up the academy and sing some of the old songs for the ladies, they want to hear you."

"All right, lead the way, we'll follow," and nearly a dozen of the boys scrambled over each other trying to got up to act as her escort; but she reached out and caught hold of Teacher Brown's arm and clung to him.

Another one of the boys took charge of Mary, while Lawyer Osgood succeeded in capturing Eunice. Fred and Dick Duncan escorted the Wellborn sisters so the procession up to the academy began.

It was a hilarious crowd. They sang all the way and Mrs. Fearnot and Mrs. Lambert laughed till their sides ached.

"I never really understood what the attractions of these reunions were until to-day," remarked Fred's mother to the professor. "I am tempted to register a vow never to miss one of them in the future."

"Do so! Do so!" urged the professor, "I feel younger by several years every time they occur, and by and by I will be a boy again."

In the great hall of the academy the boys burst forth into song again accompanied by Evelyn, Mary and Eunice, the Wellborn sisters not being familiar with the club songs.

As night was coming on the four girls spoke of returning to the carriage, when the professor, his wife and daughter strenuously protested. The girls insisted, but Mrs. Lambert went to each one in person and begged her to remain and spend the evening with them. Eunice, however, stood talking with Anne Wellborn, and of course failed personally to invite Evelyn or even Mary to remain; but Mrs. Fearnot and the professor's wife prevailed on them finally, and they all went to the cottage to await the announcement of supper.

"Say, Mr. Brown," said Fred, "I want to ask a favor of you. "

"All right, my boy, I'll grant it if I can."

"Well, look after Evelyn, take her in to supper, and see that she has a good time."

"Why, my dear boy, you are conferring upon me the greatest favor, I could ask. That's just what I wanted to do."

"All right, then," and Fred forthwith took charge of one of the Wellborn girls, while Dick Duncan took charge of the other. Another one of the graduates offered his services to Mary while Terry was standing alongside of her.

She turned and looked at him and Terry remarked:

"That's all right, Mary, he's a good fellow."

"Do you want to get rid of me?" she asked.

"No, but I do want to make the poor fellow happy once in his life."

"Well, that's just the way to do it," said the other, and Mary yielded and took the young man's arm.

Eunice had excused herself to nearly a dozen of the young men, nor did she accept any offer until she found that Fred had charge of Miss Wellborn.

It was really a banquet, but not so termed, for they remained nearly two hours at the table listening to toasts and short speeches. Terry made the hit of the evening by making an excruciatingly funny speech of about fifteen minutes' length. He told a story how some students, when he was attending at the academy, went to the Advocate in the deepest distress to get them out of trouble with the faculty, and his description of the suspense the boys were in until word came from the Advocate that sentence was suspended sent the crowd almost into convulsions. During the time he was relating the story, Eunice's face would have been a picture for an artist, for his embellishment of the scene was at times quite embarrassing to her on account of the warmth of his praises of her generosity and kindness of heart. Then he had the laugh on Teacher Brown by describing how one of the students, who was quite a ventriloquist, had brought about a dog fight in room 40 of the dormitory, and how the teacher, who had charge of that end of the boys' department, made a vain effort to find the two canines. He described how he got down on his hands and knees and searched under the bed and in the closet of the room, and then roasted the boys about their hardihood in getting up dog fights right inside the building.

Brown twisted and squirmed like a worm on a hook, then he blushed like a school girl, but was forced to join in the laugh at his expense. The venerable professor, his wife and Mrs. Fearnot, laughed till the tears coursed down their cheeks.

Then they called on Fred, and he astonished every one in the room by singing a sentimental song. "With all her faults, I love her still," and as he was standing alongside of Miss Wellborn's chair, he frequently turned and gazed at her as he sang, but not once did he look at Eunice or Evelyn. It was rather embarrassing for the young lady, but she stood it well, and joined in the applause when he finished. He attempted to resume his seat, but the graduates yelled at him:

"Speech! Speech!"

"I don't do it!" he retorted; "I want to give you fellows a little show, for I've beaten you at everything to-day."

It was a hard hit at which the boys laughed, and he was permitted to keep his seat.

After two hours spent at the table the party broke up into groups, the majority of them remaining with the young ladies, and it was not until a very late hour that Evelyn, Mary and the other girls could get away to return to the Hawthorne residence over in town.

When they were escorted out to the carriage, Mary Hamilton made the discovery that the horses had been unhitched from it.

"Why, where are the horses?" she asked.

"They've been sent to the stable for their feed." said one. "They'll be here in a few minutes," and the young ladies were assisted into the carriage, the door shut, and the boys started off with it on a run. They drew up in front of the Hawthorne residence with nearly fifty boys drawing it.

"Well, this is something I'll never forget," remarked Evelyn. "I believe it is the first time in my life I was ever so escorted anywhere."

It was such a late hour that very few of the denizens the town witnessed the unique procession. The boys gave the girls a farewell cheer, and started off with the carriage to leave it at the stables where it belonged.

In the house the girls had something to talk about. The Wellborn sisters declared it was an episode in their lives which they could never forget.

"Oh, they are just the best boys in the world," said Evelyn. "It's the greatest fun to be with Terry and Fred, and Dick and Joe when they have any games on hand; but really I was surprised when I found they were going to draw us over here themselves."

"I think, though, that Eunice is angry," remarked Mary.

"I'm afraid so, too, but really we are not to blame."

"No, of course not. I had no idea the boys would become so enthusiastic, but it was all on your account, Evelyn."

The next morning the little Avon paper was filled with accounts of the incidents of the day previous, calling it "Fred Fearnot's Day." It was a very graphic description, and of course the reporter exhausted his vocabulary of fine words in trying to portray the beauty and enthusiasm of the young lady who cheered the boys in the games.

Over at the academy Fred and Terry, as soon as they were up and dressed, waited at the door of the Lambert cottage to escort Marguerite and her mother to the breakfast room up the large building. Eunice and Marguerite came out together.

"Oh, you two boys!" exclaimed Marguerite, "what a racket you raised last night."

"Well, you had a good time, didn't you?" Fred asked.

"Of course we did. I think it mean of you, though, for not inviting Eunice and me to a ride in that carriage."

"Why, you two were already at home. I didn't know you wanted to go."

"Oh, I would have enjoyed it ever so much."

"But there was no room for you," exclaimed Fred.

"Oh, we could have been crowded in had you wanted us."

"Say, Terry," said Fred, turning to his chum, "what do you think of that?"

"I don't know what to think," was the reply.

"Neither do I. Say, Advocate, why the deuce don't you let us know when you wish us to do anything that we don't happen to think of?"

"Oh, had you wanted us to go you would have asked us," and Eunice looked reproachfully at him. Fred caught his breath, staggered toward Terry and fell into big arms as though in a fainting condition.

"Brace up, old man," laughed Terry, trying to stand him on his feet. "It isn't the first time that we've been accused wrongfully, and it probably won't be the last."

Just then the breakfast bell rang, and Fred straightened up, looked Eunice full in the face and asked:

"Can I have the pleasure?"

"Would it be a pleasure?" she asked in turn.

"Yes, if you'll just smile once more."

"What is there to smile at?"

"Why, your humble servant, of course."

"Oh, you feel very humble, I suppose. You ought to, anyway, for you slighted me outrageously last night."

"Great Scott, Terry, it's a suit of sackcloth and ashes for the next six months! When one thrives so hard to please everybody, and finds that he has succeeded in pleasing nobody, life loses all its charms."

"Oh, you pleased several last night." retorted Eunice. "You didn't try to please everybody at all, and I was astonished at your showing so much partiality at a time when impartiality was an imperative duty."

"Well, I assure you, Advocate, that whatever errors I committed emanated from the head, not from the heart. Let me plead with you to smile again and not spoil the very great pleasure that I have anticipated at this great reunion. "

Terry had led off with Marguerite hanging on his arm, and as soon as they were out of hearing of Fred and Eunice, he asked:

"What in thunder is the matter with the Advocate this morning?"

"Don't ask me, Terry. I don't believe she knows herself, but she is considerably out of sorts."

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