Nearly all the guests—relatives and dear friends—remained for some hours after the departure of the bride and groom, some conversing together upon the veranda, some wandering in couples or little companies about the grounds or sitting in the shade of the beautiful trees on the lawn.
Most of the young people, especially those of them who had been attendants of the bride and groom, gathered about Grandma Elsie—for they all loved her, and everyone felt that she had particular need of some pleasant distraction of thought just at that time, to prevent her from dwelling upon the partial loss of her youngest daughter.
Walter was, of course, one of the group, and he presently plunged into lively accounts of his college-boy experiences, very interesting and amusing to him and presumably so to others, as, in fact, they were to most if not all of his auditors, his older brothers among the rest; for it seemed to carry them back, in at least a measure, to their own Freshman days, with all their trials and triumphs, their pleasures and annoyances.
“Did anybody do anything very bad to you, Walter?” asked Grace.
“No; not very,” he replied; “hazing has been almost abolished, and what is still done is by no means unendurable.
“Oh! I must tell you of a bit of fun we had only the other day. On the porch of one of our boarding houses a countryman had set down a basket of eggs—about twenty dozen I was told—that he had brought in for customers; and there they stood, looking as tempting as possible, especially to wild young college boys, some of whom, coming there when recitations were over and the dinner hour approaching, saw them and were immediately smitten with a desire to handle, if not to taste them. One fellow snatched up an egg and threw it at another; it struck him, broke, and bespattered his clothes. He, naturally, retaliated in kind, and other fellows followed their example, the fun growing fast and furious, till every egg the basket had contained was gone, and porch, students, and their clothing were a sight to behold.”
“And what did the farmer say when he came back for his basket and found it empty?” asked Lucilla.
“He was very angry, but those who had broken the eggs paid him his full price, and he went off tolerably well satisfied, though he growled that he was compelled to disappoint his customers.
“The boarding house keeper was angry, too, but stopped scolding when told that the mischief should be repaired at the expense of those who had caused it.”
“The clothes of those engaged in the row must have been in a pretty bad condition,” remarked Harold.
“Yes, of course; and they had some fine tailors’ bills to pay before they were again presentable.”
“A shameful waste of good food provided by our Heavenly Father, that someone’s hunger might be satisfied,” remarked Grandma Elsie gravely. “Surely the young men engaged in it must have forgotten the teaching of our Saviour when he said, ’Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.’”