“Wait,” said Ramsey.
“What is it?”
He made a great struggle. “I’m not influencing Fred not to go,” he said. “I—don’t want you to trust me to do anything like that.”
“I think it’s all right for him to go, if he wants to,” Ramsey said, miserably.
“You do? For him to go to fight?”
He swallowed. “Yes.”
“Oh!” she cried, turned even redder than he, and ran up the stone steps. But before the storm doors closed upon her she looked down to where he stood, with his eyes still lowered, a lonely-seeming figure, upon the pavement below. Her voice caught upon a sob as she spoke.
“If you feel like that, you might as well go and enlist, yourself,” she said, bitterly. “I can’t—I couldn’t—speak to you again after this!”
It was easy enough for him to evade Fred Mitchell’s rallyings these days; the sprig’s mood was truculent, not toward his roommate but toward Congress, which was less in fiery haste than he to be definitely at war with Germany. All through the university the change had come: athletics, in other years spotlighted at the centre of the stage, languished suddenly, threatened with abandonment; students working for senior honours forgot them; everything was forgotten except that growing thunder in the soil. Several weeks elapsed after Dora’s bitter dismissal of Ramsey before she was mentioned between the comrades. Then, one evening, Fred asked, as he restlessly paced their study floor:
“Have you seen your pacifist friend lately?”
“No. Not exactly. Why?”
“Well, for my part, I think she ought to be locked up,” Fred said, angrily. “Have you heard what she did this afternoon?”
“It’s all over college. She got up in the class in jurisprudence and made a speech. It’s a big class, you know, over two hundred, under Dean Burney. He’s a great lecturer, but he’s a pacifist—the only one on the faculty—and a friend of Dora’s. They say he encouraged her to make this break and led the subject around so she could do it, and then called on her for an opinion, as the highest-stand student in the class. She got up and claimed there wasn’t any such thing as a legitimate cause for war, either legally or morally, and said it was a sign of weakness in a nation for it to believe that it did have cause for war.
“Well, it was too much for that little, spunky Joe Stansbury, and he jumped up and argued with her. He made her admit all the Germans have done to us, the sea murders and the land murders, the blowing up of the factories, the propaganda, the strikes, trying to turn the United States into a German settlement, trying to get Japan and Mexico to make war on us, and all the rest. He even made her admit there was proof they mean to conquer us when they get through with the others, and that they’ve set out to rule the world for their own benefit, and make whoever else they kindly allow to live, to work for them.