And he halted, leaning back implacably against the Yocum’s iron fence. Ramsey was scandalized.
“Come on!” he said, hoarsely. “Don’t stop here!”
“I will, and if you go on alone I’ll yell at you. You got to stand right here with all of ’em lookin’ at you until—”
“I promise! My heavens, come on!”
Fred consented to end the moment of agony; and for the rest of the summer found it impossible to persuade Ramsey to pass that house in his company. “I won’t do it!” Ramsey told him. “Your word of honour means nothin’ to me; you’re liable to do anything that comes into your head, and I’m gettin’ old enough to not get a reputation for bein’ seen with people that act the idiot on the public streets. No, sir; we’ll walk around the block—at least, we will if you’re goin’ with me!”
And to Fred’s delight, though he concealed it, they would make this detour.
The evening after their return to the university both were busy with their trunks and various orderings and disorderings of their apartment, but Fred several times expressed surprise that his roommate should be content to remain at home; and finally Ramsey comprehended the implications. Mrs. Meigs’s chandelier immediately jingled with the shock of another crash upon the floor above.
“You let me up!” Fred commanded thickly, his voice muffled by the pile of flannels, sweaters, underwear, and raincoats wherein his head was being forced to burrow. “You let me up, darn you! I didn’t say anything.” And upon his release he complained that the attack was unprovoked. “I didn’t say anything on earth to even hint you might want to go out and look around to see if anybody in particular had got back to college yet. I didn’t even mention the name of Dora Yo— Keep off o’ me! My goodness, but you are sensitive!”
As a matter of fact, neither of them saw Dora until the first meeting of the Lumen, whither they went as sophomores to take their pleasure in the agony of freshmen debaters. Ramsey was now able to attend the Lumen, not with complacence but at least without shuddering over the recollection of his own spectacular first appearance there. He had made subsequent appearances, far from brilliant yet not disgraceful, and as a spectator, at least, he usually felt rather at his ease in the place. It cannot be asserted, however, that he appeared entirely at his ease this evening after he had read the “Programme” chalked upon the large easel blackboard beside the chairman’s desk. Three “Freshmen Debates” were announced, and a “Sophomore Oration,” this last being followed by the name, “D. Yocum, ’18.” Ramsey made immediate and conspicuous efforts to avoid sitting next to his roommate, but was not so adroit as to be successful. However, Fred was merciful: the fluctuations of his friend’s complexion were an inspiration more to pity than to badinage.