Jimmie waved his hand to them and they pulled up alongside. We exchanged enthusiastic “How-do-do’s” with them, although we had never seen one of them before.
“Are you going to row to-morrow?” asked Jimmie.
“If you are we will decorate the house-boat with orange and black,” I said.
Their faces fell.
“We are only the Track Team,” said one. “Princeton has no crew, you know.”
“No crew,” I cried. “Why not?”
“Well, we haven’t any more water than we need to wash in, and we cannot row on the campus.”
“Too many trees,” said another.
“No water,” I cried, “then won’t you ever have a crew?”
“Not until some one gives us a million dollars to dam up a natural formation that is there and turn the river into it,” said one.
“I’d give it to you in a minute, if I had it, the way I feel now,” said Jimmie.
“Well, don’t we send crews over here to row?” asked Bee.
“Cornell sent one, but they were beaten,” said the Captain with a grin.
“But you wouldn’t be beaten,” said Bee, decidedly, with her eye on the Captain.
“Come to dinner, all of you, to-morrow night,” I said, genially.
Mrs. Jimmie looked frightened, but Bee and Jimmie so heartily seconded my generosity with Jimmie’s boat that she resigned herself.
“Wear your sweaters,” commanded Bee.
“To dinner?” they said.
“Certainly!” said Bee, decidedly. “That’s the only way people will know we are in it. We’ll wear shirt-waists to keep you in countenance.”
They accepted with alacrity and we parted with mutual esteem.
“I wonder what their names are,” said Mrs. Jimmie, reproachfully.
“And they don’t know our boat,” I added.
“Hi, there!” Jimmie shouted back, “that’s our boat yonder—the Lulu.”
And with that they all struck up “Lu, Lu, How I love my Lu,” at which Bee blushed most unnecessarily, I thought, and murmured:
“How well a handsome athlete looks with bare arms.”
“And bare legs,” added Jimmie, genially.
We found so much to do on the house-boat, and Jimmie had brought so much bunting and so many flags, that Bee volunteered to go back to the Cecil and have our clothes packed up by Mrs. Jimmie’s maid, while we decorated the house-boat.
The next morning bright and early we rowed down to the landing for Bee. Such a change had taken place on the Thames in twenty-four hours! There were hundreds upon hundreds of row-boats bearing girls in duck and men in flannels, and a funny sight it was to Americans to see fully half of them with the man lying at his ease on cushions at the end of the boat, while the girls did the rowing. English girls are very clever at punting, and look quite pretty standing up balancing in the boats and using the long pole with such skill.
It may be sportsmanlike, but it cannot fail to look unchivalrous, especially to the Southern-born of Americans, to see how willing Englishmen are to permit their women to wait upon them even before they are married!