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

CHAPTER X.
CONCLUSION.

The next day there was a great crowd at the railway station at Avon to see the departing Alumni off to their respective homes. They lived in all parts of the State, and some beyond its boarders. The professor and all the faculty of the academy were present, including the Advocate and her mother. The entire senior class of the girls' high school came down in carriages, and again the inquiry passed around as to who the two engaged couple were.

"Terry, old fellow," sang out one of the Alumni, "you are going to hang on a while longer here, are you?"

"Yes. It's about the hardest place to get away from I ever was in."

"How long are you going to stay, Fred?" another asked.

"Just waiting on my mother," he replied, "who was never in Avon before."

"No waiting on your girl, eh?"

"Yes, I wait on her all the time, and the fact is, I'm waiting for her."

"Just what I suspected," and he looked at Evelyn, who laughed and remarked:

"Fred will say anything, you know. He can say more and mean less than any of you academy boys."

"Well, whatever he says, he says well."

"Oh, yes, he's a good talker, and we all like to listen to him,"

After the train moved out the professor and his wife turned to Fred, Terry, Dick and Joe and invited them and the young ladies to make their homes over at the academy during the remainder of their stay in Avon.

"It's better," added the professor, "that you should all be together, and now that the others have gone, we have ample room for your entertainment."

"Thank you, professor," said Fred, "we'll go back to the house and consult the ladies about it. I believe that Tom and his wife are going to leave in a day or two, and the Misses Wellborn will go with them as far as Fredonia, where they will take the train for Ashton, where they are summering."

The professor's party returned to the academy, while Fred and Terry accompanied the girls back to the Hawthorne residence, where they remained the greater part of the day resting quietly from the fatigue of the convention and the banquet of the evening before.

"I'm glad it's all over with, Terry," remarked Fred, as they sat on the piazza talking over the Incidents of the great reunion.

So am I. It has been a splendid advertisement for the academy, and I think the professor is about the happiest man in the State to-day."

"No doubt of that," assented Fred. "it hasn't cost him a cent less than a thousand dollars."

"A thousand dollars wouldn't cover it, Fred," said Terry. "But it will be worth ten thousand dollars to him in the future. He has a good head for business, and he knows as much about advertising as the famous showman Barnum did."

After a little more talk they decided that it was best for them to accept the professor's invitation to go over to the academy and be his guests during the remainder of their stay in Avon. Evelyn insisted that it was Fred's duty to keep with his mother and sister as much as possible and see that they enjoyed their visit.

"But really," she added, "I think that the rest of us should go home because the invitation extended to us was merely on your account."

"Oh, drop that now," said Fred, "the professor and his wife think just as much of Terry as they do of me or any other student, and if you and Terry and Mary don't go over, I won't either."

"Well, we leave to-morrow," said Tom Tipps, "and the Misses Wellborn will go with us."

"Well I'm sorry you break up the party," returned Fred.

"We'll stay here then until you and the ladies leave. Then Terry and I will take the girls over to the academy. Dick, what are you and Joe going to do?"

"Just as we please,'" said Dick. "We'll go over to the academy for a few days to relieve you and Terry of the burden of four young ladies."

"Good!" laughed Terry. "I like a fellow that sticks to his friends."

"See here," said Fred, "I suggest that we all go over to the academy this evening and have a jolly time, return here, see Tom and the ladies off to-morrow and then move over and stay there until we are fired out."

The suggestion was acted upon, and that evening after tea, the entire party went over to the academy where they spent several hours singing songs and telling stories.

Tom Tipp and his wife and the two Wellborn girls then took leave of the professor's family, Mrs. Fearnot and Margie, after which they all returned to the Hawthorne residence.

The next morning Tom and his party left, and an hour or two later the two girls and four boys moved to the academy to prolong their visit to the professor's family.

"Now, there's four pair of us," laughed Fred. "and we ought to have a good time while we are together. I suggest that every morning we draw straws to settle the question as to which of the girls we shall have for the day."

"Why, what an idea," exclaimed Marguerite.

"Well, it's the only way to prevent us boys from fighting," laughed Terry. "We've got sporting blood enough in us to stand by the decision of the straws for twenty-four hours."

"I think it's a good idea," laughed Evelyn, and of course the girls agreed to it.

They remained together in a bunch pretty much the whole day, and spent the evening singing and chatting till a late hour. On the following morning the straws were drawn to settle the question of escorts for the day, and the result was extremely laughable. Both Fred and Terry drew their own sisters for partners.

"Say, let's try this over," suggested Terry. "This isn't just In accordance with the fitness of things."

Amid a great deal of laughter the straws were drawn again, when Fred won Eunice, Dick secured Evelyn, Terry had Margie, while Joe was to take charge of Mary.

"Now, that's just as it ought to be," said Terry.

It was extremely satisfactory to the Advocate, who greatly feared that she had seriously blundered the day before, after listening to Fred's remarks about the jealousies of people. She had heard him declare that jealousy was a detestable trait, and that he would cut off both his hands rather than marry a jealous-hearted girl. She had resolved never to exhibit any jealousy again in his presence, even though she might be almost consumed by it.

Fred never found her so pleasant before, and he exerted himself to his utmost to entertain her, but adroitly managed to keep them all pretty much together in order to avoid any tendency toward spooning.

In the afternoon he suggested that they all go down to the boathouse and row up to the Andrews farm to indulge in a feast of watermelon. The suggestion was hailed with delight, and they hurried down to the boathouse where each of the boys procured a boat and put his girl into it.

"Now, girls," called out Fred, "these are racing sculls, you know, so you must sit perfectly still, or overboard you'll go. They are the easiest things capsized of anything on the water."

"I'm very much afraid of them," remarked Eunice. "I think it would be better if we either walked or went up in carriages."

"Oh, we'll stick to the boat," said Fred, and they managed to get the girls seated in the boats and started off up the river. They reached the Andrews place after a brisk row, and were welcomed by the family of the old farmer.

There was a great feast of melons, and the party remained there for two or three hours, after which they started back on their return to the academy. When within about a hundred yards of the boathouse, Evelyn called to Eunice. The latter in trying to turn around so as to look at her, capsized the boat and she and Fred were in the water. The other girls screamed, when Evelyn and Dick were upset.

Of course the two boys were excellent swimmers, as was Evelyn also; but Eunice couldn't swim and she came within an ace of drowning Fred, who of course was doing his utmost to swim ashore with her. It was an utter impossibility to climb into the little boat. Evelyn swam ashore, telling Dick to secure the boat as she could swim like a fish. Dick, however, gallantly kept alongside of her till they reached the river bank a little above the boathouse, while Fred was exerting himself trying to persuade Eunice to keep still and let him get her ashore. She was so terribly frightened, however, that she clutched him around the neck with both arms, greatly impeding his efforts to save her. He managed to reach the shore with her, however, where Joe Jencks, after landing Mary, pulled her out of the water. She fainted dead away, and the girls had a lot of trouble bringing her to.

Evelyn, though, dripping wet, laughed at the accident, and said she didn't mind it at all. She devoted herself to looking after Eunice, who, when she came to, threw her arms around Fred's neck, and called him her savior.

"That's right," laughed Evelyn, "he saved me several times, and I kissed him for all I was worth. The rascal likes it. I believe he turned the boat over just for the very purpose of playing the hero."

"Did Dick turn the boat over for you?" snapped Eunice.

"No, I did it myself, just to keep you company. I knew I could swim out."

"Yes," laughed Dick, "she can swim like a duck. I tried to hug her in the water but she wouldn't allow it, while you were nearly choking Fred to death."

Oh, but Eunice was mad! Dick and Evelyn were disposed to destroy the romance of the rescue.

"Say, Evelyn, you and Dick shut up now. Just because you two can swim is no reason why you should make light of such a serious matter. It was a new experience for the Advocate, who can't swim, and I tell you it was a pretty hard effort on my part to save her. I made up my mind if I couldn't get her out alive, I'd go to the bottom with her."

"Oh, you would have to," retorted Evelyn, "judging from the way she held on to you, it was evident that if she couldn't get out, you shouldn't."

"Oh, you did the very same thing once, old girl, out at the lake, too," retorted Fred, "before you learned how to swim, and I had the mark of arms around my neck for a week afterward. Terry, run up to the house, get the carriage and have it sent down here for these two half-drowned girls."

Terry started off, but before the carriage could get there, the two mothers, Mrs. Lambert and Mrs. Fearnot, came running down to the boathouse frightened almost to death.

"All's well that ends well," laughed Fred. "There's nobody hurt, and none of the sweetness of either girl has been dissolved by the water."

Next week's Issue will contain "FRED FEARNOT IN THE SOUTH; OR, OUT WITH OLD BILL BLAND."

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