5. Getting Acquainted
 

"Dick, we have made two enemies, that's sure," remarked Sam to his brother as they watched Flockley and Koswell depart.

"It couldn't be helped if we have, Sam," was the reply. "You are not sorry for what we did at the Sanderson house, are you?"

"Not in the least. What we should have done was to give those chaps a sound thrashing."

"They seem to have a number of friends here. Probably they will do all they can to make life at this college miserable for us."

"Well, if they do too much, I reckon we can do something too."

Some new students had been standing at a distance watching the scene described in the last chapter. Now one of them approached and nodded pleasantly.

"Freshmen?" he asked.

"Yes," answered both of the Rovers.

"So am I. My name is Stanley Browne. What's yours?"

"Dick Rover, and this is my brother Sam."

"Oh, are you Dick Rover? I've heard about you. My cousin knows you real well."

"Who is your cousin?"

"Larry Colby."

"Larry!" cried Dick. "Well, I guess he does know us well. We've had some great times together at Putnam Hall and elsewhere. So you are Larry's cousin? I am real glad to know you." And Dick held out his hand.

"Larry is one of our best chums," said Sam, also shaking hands. "I remember now that he has spoken of you. I am glad to know somebody at this place." And Sam smiled broadly. Soon all three of the boys were on good terms, and Stanley Browne told the Rovers something about himself.

"I come from the South," he said. "My folks own a large cotton plantation there. Larry was down there once and we had a lot of fun. He told me of the sport he had had with you. You must have had great times at Putnam Hall."

"We did," said Sam.

"I thought there were three of you, from what Larry said."

"So there are," answered Dick, and told about Tom and the missing dress-suit case. "Tom ought to be getting back," he added.

Stanley had been at Brill for two days and had met both Flockley and Koswell. He did not fancy either of the sophomores.

"That Frank Holden is all right," he said, "but Flockley and Koswell are very overbearing and dictatorial. I caught them ordering one of the freshmen around like a servant. If they had spoken that way to me I'd have knocked them down." And the eyes of the Southern lad flashed darkly.

"Where do you room?" asked Dick. He remembered what the house master had said about Stanley and felt that the youth would make a nice roommate for anybody.

"I'm in No. 27, right next to you fellows. Mr. Hicks was going to put me in with you first, but afterward said a friend of yours was going to fill the place."

"Yes," said Dick. "But you will be right next door, so it will be almost the same thing. Who is your roommate?"

"A fellow named Max Spangler. I don't know much about him, as he only came this noon. But he seems all right. Here he comes now."

As Stanley spoke he motioned to a short, stout lad who was walking across the campus. The boy had a distinctly German face and one full of smiles.

"Hello, Friend Browne," he called out pleasantly and with a German accent. "Did you find somebody you know?"

"I've made myself known," answered Stanley, and then he introduced the others. "They bunk next door to us," he added with a nod toward Dick and Sam.

"Hope you don't snore," said Max Spangler. "I can go anybody but what snores."

"No, we don't snore," answered Sam, laughing.

"Then I'm your friend for life and two days afterward," answered the German-American lad, and said this so gravely the others had to laugh. Max put the Rovers in mind of their old friend Hans Mueller, but he spoke much better English than did Hans, getting his words twisted only when he was excited.

Dick suggested that they all walk down the road to meet Tom, and this was done. The conversation was a lively one, Stanley and Max telling of their former schooldays and the Rovers relating a few of their own adventures. Thus the four got to be quite friendly by the time the carriage with Tom and Mr. Sanderson came in sight.

"Find it?" sang out Sam to his brother.

"No," was Tom's reply.

"You didn't!" cried Dick. "How far back did you go?"

"Way back to Rushville. I know it was in the carriage at that place, for I saw it."

"Too bad," said Sam. "Did you have much of value in it?"

"Not a great deal. Most of my stuff is in my trunk. But the case alone was worth six dollars, and it had my comb and brush and toothbrush and all those things in it."

"Want me any more?" asked Mr. Sanderson. "If you don't, I'll get home. It's past milking time now."

"No, I'll not need you," answered Tom and hopped to the ground. A minute later the farmer turned his team around and was gone in a cloud of dust.

Tom was introduced to Stanley and Max, and the whole crowd walked slowly back to the college grounds. Then Tom was taken to his room, the others going up-stairs with him. He washed and brushed up, went to the office and registered, and then the bell rang for supper.

The dining hall at Brill was a more elaborate affair than the messroom at Putnam Hall, but the Rovers were used to dining out in fine places, so they felt perfectly at home. Dick and Sam had already met the instructor who had charge of their table, Mr. Timothy Blackie, and they introduced Tom. Stanley and Max were at the same table and also a long-haired youth named Will Jackson, although his friends called him "Spud."

"I don't know why they call me Spud," he said to Dick, "excepting because I like potatoes so. I'd rather eat them than any other vegetable. Why, when I was out in Jersey one summer, on a farm, I ate potatoes morning, noon and night and sometimes between times. The farmer said I had better look out or I'd sprout. I guess I ate about 'steen bushels in three weeks."

"Phew!" whistled Sam. "That's a good one."

"Oh, it's a fact," went on Spud. "Why, one night I got up in my sleep and they found me down in the potato bin, filling my coat pockets with potatoes, and--"

"Filling your coat pocket?" queried Stanley. "Do you sleep with your coat on?"

"Why, I--er--I guess I did that night," answered Will Jackson in some confusion. "Anyway, I'm a great potato eater," he added lightly. Later on the others found out that Spud had a vivid imagination and did not hesitate to "draw the long bow" for the sake of telling a good story.

The meal was rather a stiff and quiet one among the new students, but the old scholars made the room hum with talk about what had happened at the previous term. There was a good bit of conversation concerning the last season of baseball and more about the coming work on the gridiron. From the talk the Rovers gathered that Brill belonged to something of a league composed of several colleges situated in that territory, and that they had held the football championship four and three seasons before, but had lost it to one of the colleges the next season and to another college the season just past.

"Football hits me," said Dick to Stanley. "I'd like to play first- rate."

"Maybe you'll get a chance on the eleven, although I suppose they give the older students the preference," was the reply.

Stanley had met quite a few of the other students, and after supper he introduced the Rovers and Max and also Spud. Thus the Rovers were speedily put on friendly terms with a score or more of the freshmen and also several of the others. One of the seniors, a refined young man named Allan Charter, took the crowd through the library and the laboratory and also down to the gymnasium and the boathouse.

"We haven't any boat races, for we have no other college to race against," said the senior. "The students sometimes get up contests between themselves, though. Dick Dawson used to be our best oarsman, but last June a fellow named Jerry Koswell beat him."

"Koswell!" cried Sam. "I thought he was too much of a dude to row in a race."

At this remark the senior smiled faintly.

"Evidently you have met Mr. Koswell," he remarked pointedly.

"We have," answered Tom.

"Well, he can row, if he can't do anything else."

"I'd like to try my skill against him some day," said Tom, who during the past year had taken quite a fancy to rowing.

"Perhaps Koswell will be glad to let you have the chance," said Allan Charter.

A little later the senior left the freshmen, and the latter strolled back in the direction of the college buildings. It was now growing dark, and the Rovers concluded to go up to their rooms and unpack their trunks, which had just come in from the depot.

"You fellows want to keep your eyes wide open to-night," cautioned Stanley, who came up with them.

"Hazing?" asked Dick.

"So I was told."

"Will they start in so early?" asked Sam.

"Any time after midnight. I hate to think of it, but I reckon a fellow has got to submit."

"That depends," answered Dick. "I'll not stand for everything. I'll not mind a little hazing, but it mustn't be carried too far."

"That's the talk," cried Tom. "If they go too far--well, we'll try to give 'em as good as they send, that's all."

"Right you are!" came from Sam.

They unpacked their trunks and proceeded to make themselves at home as much as possible. As Dick was alone in his room, he went over to his brothers' apartment for company, locking his door as he did so.

"I'll tell you what I'd do if I were you, Dick," said Tom. "Stay here to-night. My bed is big enough for two on a pinch. Then, if there is any hazing, we can keep together. To-morrow, if Songbird comes, it will be different."

This suited the oldest Rover, and he brought over such things as he needed for the night. The boys were tired out, having put in a busy day, and by ten o'clock Sam and Tom were both yawning.

"I think I'll go to bed," said Sam. "If anything happens wake me up."

"Oh, you'll wake up fast enough if they come," answered Tom. "But I am going to lay down myself. But I am not going to undress yet."

Taking off their shoes and collars, ties and coats, the boys said their prayers and laid down. Sam was soon in the land of dreams, and presently Tom and Dick followed.

Two hours passed and the three lads were sleeping soundly, when suddenly Tom awoke with a yell. A stream of cold water had struck him in the head, making him imagine for the instant that he was being drowned.

"Hi, stop" he spluttered and then stopped, for the stream of water took him directly in the mouth. Then the stream was shifted and struck first Dick and then Sam. All three of the Rovers leaped from the beds as quickly as possible. Although confused from being awakened so rudely, they realized what it meant.

They were being hazed.