“Calculus!” cried the four youngsters in unison.
“Why, once you begin to see daylight in calculus it’s just as easy as taking a nap,” declared the first classman.
“At present it seems more like suffering from delirium,” sighed Dave.
“What’s the hard one for to-morrow?” asked Freeman.
“Here it is, right here,” continued Dave, opening his text-book. “Here’s the very proposition.”
The others crowded about, nodding.
“I remember that one,” laughed Freeman lightly. “Our class named it ‘sticky fly paper.’”
“It was rightly named,” grumbled Farley.
“None of you four youngsters see through it?” demanded Midshipman Freeman.
“Do you mean to claim, sir, that you ever did?” insisted Dan Dalzell.
“Not only once, but now,” grinned Mr. Freeman. “You haven’t been looking at this torturing proposition from the right angle—that’s all. Now, listen, while I read it.”
“Oh, we all know how it runs, Mr. Freeman,” protested Page.
“Nevertheless, listen, while I read it.”
As the first classman read through the proposition that was torturing them he threw an emphasis upon certain words that opened their eyes better as to the meaning.
“Now, it works out this way,” continued the first classman, bending over the disk and drawing paper and pencil toward him. “In the first place.”
Freeman seemed to these youngsters like a born demonstrator. Within five minutes he had made the “sticky fly paper” problem so plain to them all that they glanced from one to another in astonishment.
“Why, it does seem easy,” confessed Farley.
“It sounds foolish, now,” grinned Darrin. “I’m beginning to feel ashamed of myself.”
“Mr. Freeman,” protested Page, “you’ve saved us from suicide, or some other gruesome fate.”
“Then I’ll drop in once in a while again,” promised the first classman.
“But that will take time from your own studies,” remonstrated Darrin generously.
“Not in the least. I won’t come around before release. By the time a fellow reaches the first class, if he’s going to graduate anyway, he doesn’t have to study as hard as a youngster does. The man who reaches the first class has had all the habits of true study ground into him.”
Darrin, Dalzell, Farley and Page were all in different sections in mathematics. When they recited, next day, it so happened that each was the man to have the “sticky fly paper” problem assigned to him by the instructor. Each of the quartette received a full “4” for the day’s marking.
“Did you have any assistance with this problem, Mr. Darrin?” asked Dave’s instructor.
“Yes, sir; a member of the first class tried to make it plain to me last night.”
“He appears to have succeeded,” remarked the instructor dryly.
There was, however, no discredit attached to having received proper assistance before coming into section.