“What do you mean? Who you talkin’ about? Whose ’pacifist friends’?”
“See here!” Fred exclaimed, as Ramsey seemed about to rise. “You keep sitting just where you are, and don’t look at me out of the side of your eye like that—pretendin’ you’re a bad horse. I’m really serious now, and you listen to me. I don’t think argufying and debating like that little Fraulein Werder’s does much harm. She’s a right nifty young rolypoly, by the way, though you didn’t notice, of course.”
“Why didn’t I?” Ramsey demanded, sharply. “Why didn’t I notice?”
“Oh, nothing. But, as I was saying, I don’t think that sort of talk does much harm: everybody knows it goes on among the pro-Germans, and it’s all hot air, anyhow. But I think Linski’s sort of talk does do harm, prob’ly among people that don’t know much; and what’s more, I think Dora Yocum’s does some, too. Well, you hit Linski in the snoot, so what are you— Sit still! My lord! You don’t think I’m askin’ you to go and hit Dora, do you? I mean: Aren’t you ever goin’ to talk to her about it and tell her what’s what?”
“Oh, you go on to bed!”
“No, I’m in earnest,” Fred urged. “Honestly, aren’t you ever goin’ to?”
“How could I do anything like that?” Ramsey demanded explosively. “I never see her—to speak to, that is. I prob’ly won’t happen to have another talk with her, or anything, all the time we’re in college.”
“No,” Fred admitted, “I suppose not. Of course, if you did, then you would give her quite a talking-to, just the way you did the other time, wouldn’t you?” But upon that, another resumption of physical violence put an end to the conversation.
Throughout the term Ramsey’s calculation of probabilities against the happening of another interview with Dora seemed to be well founded, but at the beginning of the second “semester” he found her to be a fellow member of a class in biology. More than that, this class had every week a two-hour session in the botanical laboratory, where the structure of plants was studied under microscopic dissection. The students worked in pairs, a special family of plants being assigned to each couple; and the instructor selected the couples with an eye to combinations of the quick with the slow. D. Yocum and R. Milholland (the latter in a strange state of mind and complexion) were given two chairs, but only one desk and one microscope. Their conversation was strictly botanical.
Thenceforth it became the most pressing care of Ramsey’s life to prevent his roommate from learning that there was any conversation at all, even botanical. Fortunately, Fred was not taking the biological courses, though he appeared to be taking the sentimental ones with an astonishing thoroughness; and sometimes, to Fred’s hilarious delight, Ramsey attempted to turn the tables and rally him upon whatever last affair