6. A Hazing, And What Followed
 

The stream of water came from a small hose that was being played through a transom window over the door of the room. A lad was holding the hose, and in the dim light Dick recognized the face of a youth named Bart Larkspur, a sophomore who did not bear a very good reputation. Larkspur was poor and Dick had heard that he was used by Flockley, Koswell and others to do all sorts of odd jobs, for which the richer lads paid him well.

"Stop that, you!" cried the oldest Rover, and then, rushing to the door, he flung it open and gave a shove to what was beyond. This was a short step-ladder upon which Larkspur and several others were standing, and over the ladder went with a crash, sending the hazers to the floor of the hallway in a heap.

"Get the hose," whispered Tom, who had followed his brother, and while the sophomores were endeavoring to get up, he caught the squirming hose and wrenched it, nozzle and all, from Bart Larkspur's hand.

"Hi, give me that!" yelled Larkspur.

"All right, here you are," answered Tom merrily, and turned the stream of water directly in the sophomore's face. Larkspur spluttered and shied and then plunged to one side into a fellow student standing near. This was Dudd Flockley, and he was carried down on his back.

"Play away, Six!" called out Tom in true fireman style, and directed the stream on Flockley. It hit the dudish student in the chin and ran down inside his shirt collar.

"Stop, I beg of you! Oh, my!" screamed Flockley, trying to dodge the water. "Larkspur, grab the hose! Knock that rascal down! Why don't somebody do something?"

"Give me that hose, you freshie!" called out Jerry Koswell, who was in the crowd. "Don't you know better than to resist your superiors? I want you to understand--"

"Keep cool, old man, don't get excited," answered Tom brazenly. "Ah, I see you are too warm. Will that serve to keep your temperature down?" And now he turned the hose on Koswell, hitting the fellow directly in the left ear. Koswell let out a wild yell and started to retreat and so did several others.

"Don't go! Capture the hose!" called out Flockley, but even as he spoke he took good care to get behind another sophomore.

"Capture it yourself!" growled the youth he was using as a shield.

"Say, you're making too much noise," whispered another student. "Do you want the proctor down on us? And turn that water off before you ruin the building. Somebody has got to pay for this, remember," he added.

As it was an unwritten law of Brill that all hazers must pay for any damage done to college property while hazing anybody, one of the sophomores started for the lavatory where the hose had been attached to a water faucet. But while the water still ran, Tom, aided by Dick and Sam, directed the stream on the sophomores, who were forced to retreat down the hallway.

"Now rush 'em! Rush 'em!" yelled Flockley, when the water had ceased to run. "Bind and gag 'em, and take 'em down to the gym. We can finish hazing 'em there!"

"Get into the room!" whispered Dick. "Hurry up, and barricade the door!"

"Right you are, but no more hose water for me," answered Tom, and pulled on the rubber with all his might. It parted about half way down the hallway, and into the room he darted with the piece in his hands. Then Sam and Dick closed the door, locked it, and shoved a bed and the table against the barrier. They also turned the button of the transom window so that the glass could not be swung back as before.

"Now they can't get in unless they break in," said Dick grimly, "and I doubt if they'll dare to do that."

"Say, maybe I'm not wet," remarked Sam, surveying his dripping shirt.

"Never mind; we sent as good as we got, and more," answered Tom with a grin. "Let us put on our coats so we don't catch cold. No use of putting on dry clothing until you are sure the ball is over."

"Tom, you're a crack fireman," said Dick with a smile. "I'll wager those sophs are mad enough to chew nails."

"What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," quoted the fun- loving Rover. "What's the good of living if you can't return a compliment now and then?"

For several minutes all was silent outside. Then came a light knock on the door. Dick held his hand up for silence and the knock was repeated.

"Don't answer them," whispered the oldest Rover.

"Say, I want to talk to you fellows," came in low tones. "This is important."

"Who are you?" asked Dick after a pause.

"I'm Larkspur--Bart Larkspur, I want to tell you something."

"Well, what is it?" demanded Tom.

"Your resistance to our class won't do you any good. If you'll come out and take your medicine like men, all right; but if you resist it will go that much harder with you."

"Who sent you--Frank Holden?" asked Sam.

"What has Holden to do with it?" growled Larkspur.

"We know he's the leader of your class."

"He is not. Dudd Flockley is our leader."

"Then Flockley sent you, eh?" put in Dick.

"Yes, if you want to know it."

"Well, tell Flockley to mind his own business," answered Dick sharply. "If Frank Holden wants us we'll come, but not otherwise."

"Are you hazing any of the other fellows?" asked Tom.

"We'll haze them after we get through with you," growled Larkspur, and then the Rovers heard him tiptoe his way down the hall.

"I think this attack was gotten up by the Flockley-Koswell crowd," was Dick's comment. "Maybe it wasn't sanctioned by the other sophs at all."

The Rovers waited a while longer and then with caution they pulled back the bed and the table and opened the door. By the dim light in the hallway they saw that the place was deserted. Somebody had run a mop over the polished floor, thus taking up most of the water.

"I guess they have given it up for to-night," said Dick, and his words proved correct.

After waiting a good hour the three Rovers rearranged the room, hanging up some of the bedding and rugs to dry near the window, which they left wide open. Then they locked the door and went into Dick's room, which had not been disturbed. As they did this another door opened, and Stanley poked out his head, followed by Max.

"We heard it all," said the Southern lad with a chuckle. "Hope you doused 'em good!"

"We did," answered Tom. "They didn't tackle you, did they?"

"No; but I suppose they will later, or to-morrow."

"I am ready for them if they come," came from Max. "I got this," and he held up a long, white sack.

"What is it?" asked Sam.

"Plaster of Paris. If they tackle me I'll make 'em look like marble statues already." And the German-American youth winked one eye suggestively.

Despite the excitement the Rover boys slept soundly for the rest of the night. All were rather sleepy in the morning, but a good wash in cold water brightened them greatly. While getting ready for breakfast they looked for Flockley and Koswell, but those two students, as well as Larkspur, kept out of sight.

"They don't like the way matters turned out last night," said Dick.

On entering the dining-room they saw the sophomores at a nearby table. Flockley and Koswell glared darkly, while as they passed, Larkspur put out his foot to trip Sam up. But Sam was on guard, and instead of stumbling he stepped on the fellow's ankle, something that caused Larkspur to utter a gasp of pain.

"What did you do that for?" he demanded savagely.

"Sorry, but you shouldn't sprawl all over with your feet," answered the youngest Rover coldly, and passed on to his seat. When he looked back, Larkspur, watching his chance so that no teacher might see him, shook his fist at Sam.

"We have got to keep our eyes wide open for that bunch," was Dick's comment. "Last night's affair will make Flockley and Koswell more sour than ever, and Larkspur is evidently their tool, and willing to do anything they wish done."

After chapel the Rovers were assigned to their various classes and given their text-books. It was announced that no regular classes would be called until the following Monday morning.

"That gives us plenty of time to study our first lessons," said Sam.

"Yes, and gives us time to get acquainted with the college layout and the rest of the students," added Tom. "Do you know, I think I am going to like it bang-up here."

"Just what I was thinking," returned Dick. "It isn't quite so boyish as Putnam Hall was--some of the seniors are young men--but that doesn't matter. We are growing older ourselves."

"Gracious, I'm not old!" cried Tom. "Why, I feel like a two-year-old colt!" And to prove his words he did several steps of a jig.

Only about half of the students had as yet arrived, the others being expected that day, Friday, and Saturday. The college coach was to bring in some of the boys about eleven o'clock, and the Rovers wondered if Songbird Powell would be among them.

"You'll like Songbird," said Dick to Stanley Browne. "He's a great chap for manufacturing what he calls poetry, but he isn't one of the dreamy kind--he's as bright and chipper as you find 'em."

The boys walked down to the gymnasium, and there Sam and Tom took a few turns on the bars and tried the wooden horses. While they did this Dick talked to a number of the freshmen with whom he had become acquainted.

"We are to have a necktie rush Monday," said one boy. "Every fellow is to wear the college colors. Meet on the campus an hour before supper time."

"I'll be there," said Dick. He knew what was meant by a necktie rush. All the freshmen would don neckties showing the college colors, and the sophomores, and perhaps the juniors, would do their best to get the neckties away from them. If more than half the boys lost their ties before the supper bell rang the freshmen would be debarred from wearing the colors for that term.

Shortly before eleven o'clock a shout was heard on the road, and a number of the students made a rush in that direction. The college coach swung into sight in a cloud of dust. It was fairly overflowing with boys and young men, all yelling and singing and waving their hats and caps. At the sight those on the campus set up a cheer.

"This is something like!" cried Tom enthusiastically. He wanted to see things "warm up," as he expressed it.

The coach was followed by three carriages, and all deposited their loads at the main building steps and on the campus. There were more cheers and many handshakes.

"There he is!" cried Sam, and rushing forward, he caught John Powell by the hand, shook it, and relieved the newcomer of his suit case.

"Hello, Sam!" cried Songbird, and grinned from ear to ear. "Hello, Dick! Hello, Tom! Say, did I surprise you?" And now he shook hands with the others.

"You sure did," replied Dick. "I was afraid I was going to have a stranger for a roommate. Your coming here suits me to a t!"

"I didn't write to you because I wanted to surprise you," explained Songbird. "I've composed some verses about it. They start--"

"Never mind the verses now," interrupted Tom. "Come on in and we'll introduce you to the fellows, and then we'll listen to your story. And we'll tell you some things that will surprise you."

"And I'll tell you some things that will surprise you, too," returned John Powell, as he was led away by the three Rover boys.