4. What Happened At The Campus Fence
 

"Gone?"

"Yes, gone Are you sure you put it in the carriage?"

"Positive," was Tom's answer. "I put it on top of yours and Dick's."

"Then it must have jounced out somewhere on the road."

"What's up?" asked Dick, catching a little of the talk.

"Tom's case is gone. He put it on top of ours, and I suppose coming over that rough road jounced it out."

"One of the satchels gone, eh?" came from Mr. Sanderson. "Sure you put it in?"

"Yes, I am positive."

"Too bad. Reckon I'd better go back at once and pick it up."

"I'll go with you," said Tom.

The matter was talked over for a minute and then Tom and the farmer reŽntered the carriage and drove off. As they did this a man came out to meet Dick and Sam.

"New students?" he asked shortly.

"Yes," replied Dick.

"Please step this way."

The doorman led them along a broad hall and into a large office. Here they signed a register and were then introduced by an under teacher to Dr. Wallington, a gray-haired man of sixty, tall and thin, with a scholarly aspect. The president of Brill shook hands cordially.

"I feel that I know you young gentlemen," he said. "Your father and I were old school chums. I hope you like it here and that your coming will do you much good."

"Thank you, I hope so too," answered Dick, and Sam said about the same. The two boys felt at once that the doctor would prove their friend so long as they conducted themselves properly, but they also felt that the aged president of Brill would stand for no nonsense.

Having been questioned by the doctor and one of the teachers, the boys were placed in charge of the house master, who said he would show them to their rooms in the dormitory. Dick had already explained the absence of Tom.

"Your father wrote that you would prefer to room together," said the house master. "But that will be impossible, since our rooms accommodate but two students each. We have assigned Samuel and Thomas to room No. 25 and Richard to room No. 26, next door."

"And who will I have with me?" asked Dick with interest. He did not much fancy having a stranger.

"Well, we were going to place a boy with you named Stanley Browne, a very fine lad, but day before yesterday we received a new application and the applicant said he desired very much to be put with the Rovers. So he can go with you, if you wish it."

"Who was the applicant?" asked Dick quickly.

"John A. Powell. He said he was an old school chum of yours at Putnam Hall and had been on a treasure hunt with you during the past summer."

"Songbird!" cried Dick, and his face broke out in a smile. "Oh, that's good news! It suits me perfectly."

"Did you call the young man Songbird?" queried the house master.

"Yes, that's his nickname."

"Then he must be a singer."

"No, he composes poetry--or at least verses that he calls poetry," answered the eldest Rover.

"I wish some more of the old Putnam Hall crowd were coming," put in Sam. "Think of having Hans Mueller here!" And the very idea made him grin.

"Hans isn't fit for college yet, Sam. But there may be others," added Dick hopefully.

They soon reached the dormitory, located across the campus from the main building and followed the house master up-stairs and to rooms No. 25 and 26. Each was bright, clean and cheerful, with big windows looking to the southward. Each contained two clothes closets, two beds, two bookshelves, a bureau, a reading table, two plain chairs and a rocker. The walls were bare, but the boys were told they could hang up what they pleased so long as they did not mar the plaster.

"The lavatories are at the end of the hall," said the house master. "And the trunk room is there, too. Have you had the trunks sent up yet?"

"No, sir," answered Dick.

"Then let me have your checks and I will attend to it. I see the man has already brought up your suit cases. I hope your brother has no trouble in recovering the one that was lost."

"When is John Powell coming?" asked Dick.

"To-morrow, so he telegraphed."

The house master left Dick and Sam and the two boys looked over the rooms and put some of the things from their suit cases in the closets and in the bureaus. Then they walked down to one of the lavatories and washed and brushed up. Everything was so new and strange to them that they did not feel at all at home.

"It will take a few days to get used to it I suppose," said Sam, with a trace of a sigh. "I know I felt the same way when first I went to Putnam Hall."

"Let us go down and take a look around and watch for Tom," replied his brother. "Say, but I'm glad Songbird is coming," he added. "I don't care much for his doggerel, but John's a good fellow just the same."

"None better," replied Sam heartily. "And his poetry isn't so very bad, always."

The two brothers went below and strolled around. They found the main building formed the letter t, with the top to the front. In this were the offices and the classroom and also the private apartments of the president and his family and some of the faculty. To the east of the main building was a long, one-story structure, containing a library and a laboratory, and to the west the three- story dormitory the lads had just left. Somewhat to the rear was another dormitory and beside it a large gymnasium, with a swimming pool attached. A short distance away was a house for the hired help and a stable and carriage sheds. Down by the river was a boathouse, not unlike that at Putnam Hall but larger.

"This is a fine layout and no mistake," observed Dick with satisfaction.

"Did you see that fine athletic field beyond the campus?" returned Sam. "That means baseball and football galore."

Having walked around the outside of the various buildings the Rover boys made their way to the highway to watch for the coming of Tom. Hardly had they reached the road when they saw a crowd of six students approaching. Among the number were Dudd Flockley and Jerry Koswell.

"See those two, Dick?" whispered Sam. "Won't they be mad when they see us here?"

"Well, I don't care," answered Dick coolly. "If they say anything, let me do the talking." And thus speaking, Dick sat down on the top of a stone fence and his brother hopped up beside him.

The six students came closer, and of a sudden Dudd Flockley espied the Rovers. He stopped short and pulled his crony by the arm, and Jerry Koswell likewise stared at Dick and Sam.

"You here?" demanded Flockley, coming closer and scowling at the youths on the fence.

"We are," answered Dick briefly.

"Freshmen?"

"Yes."

"Humph!" And Flockley put as much of a sneer as possible in the exclamation.

"How did you get here?" asked Koswell.

"Got a carriage at the Sanderson place," answered Sam with a grin.

"You did!" cried Flockley. "Say, you're a fresh lot, aren't you?" he went on, glaring at Dick and Sam. "Where's the third chap?"

"None of your business," answered Dick sharply.

"Don't you talk to me like that!" cried Dudd Flockley, and then his face took on a look of cunning. "Freshmen, eh? Then you don't know what we are. We are sophs, and we want you to answer us decently."

"That's the talk!" cried Koswell. "Boys, these are freshmen, and on the fence, too. We can't allow this, can we?"

"No freshies allowed on that fence!" answered another boy of the crowd. "Off you go and quick!"

As he spoke he approached Sam and tried to catch him by the foot to pull him off. Sam drew in his foot and then sent it forth so suddenly that it took the sophomore in the stomach and sent him reeling to the grass.

"At them!" yelled Flockley. "Show them how they must behave! Sophs to the front!"

"Wait!" The command came from Dick, and he spoke so clearly and firmly that all the sophomores paused. "Is this an affair between Flockley and Koswell and ourselves or is it simply two freshmen against six sophs?"

"Why--er--have Flockley and Koswell anything against you two?" demanded one of the boys curiously.

"I think so," answered Dick. "We had the pleasure of knocking them both down a few hours ago. As it was a private affair, we won't go into details."

"Didn't do it because you were freshmen?" asked another lad.

"Not at all. We were total strangers when the thing occurred."

"Yes, but--" came from another sophomore.

"Sorry I can't explain. Flockley and Koswell can if they wish. But I advise them to keep a certain party's name out of the story," added Dick significantly. He felt bound to protect Minnie Sanderson as much as possible.

"It's all stuff and nonsense!" roared Dudd Flockley. "They are freshies and ought to be bounced off the fence and given a lesson in the bargain."

"That's it--come and hammer 'em!" added Jerry Koswell.

"What's the row here?" demanded a tall lad who had just come up. He had light curly hair, blue eyes and a face that was sunshine itself.

"Two freshies on the stone fence, Holden," said one of the sophomores. "We can't allow that, you know."

At this Frank Holden, the leader of the sophomore class, laughed.

"Too bad, fellows, but they've got you. Term doesn't begin until to- morrow and they can sit where they please until twelve o'clock midnight. After that"--he turned to Dick and Sam--"well, your blood will be on your own heads if you disturb this fence or the benches around the flagstaff."

"My gracious! Frank's right, term isn't on until to-morrow," cried another student. "I beg your pardon, boys!" And he bowed lowly to the Rovers.

"Gee, it's a wonder you fellows wouldn't say something before I was kicked off the earth!" growled the sophomore who had been sent to the grass by Sam.

"Don't thank me for what I did," said Sam pleasantly, and this caused some of the other college fellows to grin.

"Don't say a word," cried the one who had gone down. "Only--well, if I catch you on the fence, it will be who's best man, that's all."

"Aren't we to do anything to these freshies?" demanded Dudd Flockley. He did not at all relish the turn affairs had taken.

"Can't do a thing until to-morrow," answered Frank Holden decidedly.

"Bah! I believe in making a freshie toe the mark as soon as he arrives."

"So do I," added Jerry Koswell.

"Can't be done--against the traditions of Brill," answered the class leader. "You've got to give a freshman time to get his feet planted on the ground, you know," he added kindly and with a smile at Dick and Sam.

"Thank you for that," answered the older Rover. "We'll be ready for the whole sophomore class by to-morrow."

"We'll see," answered Holden and passed on, and the majority of the second-year fellows followed. Flockley and Koswell lingered behind.

"See here, you chaps," said Flockley. "What are your names?"

"If you want to know so bad, my name is Dick Rover and this is my brother Sam."

"And who was the other fellow?" asked Koswell.

"My brother Tom."

"Three brothers, eh, and named Rover!" growled Dudd Flockley. "All right, I'll remember that, and I'll remember how you treated us up to the Sanderson place."

"And I'll remember it too and square up," added Koswell.

"We'll make Brill too hot to hold you," snapped Flockley, and then he turned into the gateway leading to the campus and his crony followed.