Walter Sherwood's Probation by Horatio Alger
Chapter IV. The Day After the Feast
The same morning, in a comfortably furnished room in Simpson Hall, sat, or rather lounged, Walter Sherwood.
"I feel sleepy this morning, Gates," he said to his chum. "I can't fix my mind on this confounded logic."
"No wonder, Sherwood. You have good reason to be tired after last evening."
"That's so! We had a good time, though. I am sorry you couldn't accept my invitation."
"I couldn't afford it, Sherwood. You know we are very differently situated. You are rich, while I am the oldest son of a country minister, with all I can do to get through college. As it is, I shall be in debt."
"Why not be in debt to me? You never would accept anything from me."
"Yes, I did. I have let you go to the entire expense of furnishing this room, though I have an equal share in it."
"Oh, that's nothing! You pay me in helping me through my lessons when I am behind. If you hadn't read my Horace to me the other day I should have flunked as sure as can be."
"It would be better for you to get your own lesson, Walter." "Well, I suppose it would," answered his roommate, yawning. "I wish you could drive this logic into my head. I suppose I am unusually stupid this morning."
"Suppose we go over it together."
Fifteen minutes later Walter said complacently: "Thanks, old fellow; you have made it as plain as a pikestaff."
"And very likely you will get a higher mark at the recitation than I."
"Well, perhaps so," laughed Walter. "I suppose it is because I have more cheek than you."
"You can do better on slight preparation, certainly. You talk like a professor when you are on your feet."
"You want to be a professor some time, Gates, don't you?"
"Yes," answered his chum, his face flushing, "I should be proud to become a professor in old Euclid."
"It would be awfully slow, I think," returned Walter, stifling a yawn.
"What then, is your ambition?"
"I want to go out among men. I want to take an active part in the world."
"You will have to work harder than you do in college, then."
"I suppose I shall. But I am young, Gates. I am only seventeen."
"And I am nineteen, and look twenty-one."
"All the better! The older you look the better, If you are going to be a college instructor. I would have to wait a long time if I wanted to, even if I were a good deal wiser than I am now. I am so young, in short, that I can afford to have a good time."
"It seems to me that is all you think of, Sherwood."
"Oh, well, I'll reform in time and become a sober old duffer like you," and Walter Sherwood laughed carelessly.
"I hope, at any rate, that you will change your views of life. You know what Longfellow says: 'Life is real! Life is earnest!'"
"Oh, yes, I know that by heart. But it's no use, Gates, you can't make an old man of me before my time. Will it disturb you if I play a tune or two on my violin?"
"Well, to tell the truth, it will. I want to get my Greek lesson, and you had better do the same."
"No, I will read a novel, and you can read over the Greek to me when you have dug it out."
"I will if you wish, but I am afraid I am spoiling you by doing your studying for you."
"Remember, I was out late last night."
"You have something almost every evening, Walter."
"Oh, well, I'll turn over a new leaf next term."
"Why not begin now?"
"If you knew how stupid I feel you wouldn't ask."
Walter stretched himself out on a comfortable lounge, and took up a new novel which he had partially read, while Gates spread the big Greek lexicon on the study-table, and opening his Aristophanes, began slowly and laboriously to translate it into English.
Fifteen minutes passed when a knock was heard at the door.
"Come in!" called out Walter.
He looked up eagerly, hoping the visitor might prove to be one of his jovial comrades of the night before. But he did not look so well pleased when, as the door opened, he caught sight of the pudgy figure and shrewd face of Elijah Daniels, the proprietor of the Euclid Hotel.
"Good morning, Mr. Daniels." he said, rather apprehensively. "So you have found me out."
"No, I have found you in," returned the landlord, with a smile. "I hope I don't intrude upon, your studies, young gentlemen."
"Well, I am taking a little rest from my labors," said Walter.
"You were up rather late last evening, Mr. Sherwood."
"That's a fact, and you gave us a first-class supper, Daniels. You did yourself proud."
"I did my best, Mr. Sherwood, and I am glad you were satisfied."
"All the fellows praised the supper." "That's good. I know what you young gentlemen like, and I get it, no matter what it costs. I don't make much on the suppers I give the college boys, but of course I like to please them."
"Your price is quite reasonable, I think."
"I am glad you do. I have brought in the bill for last night's entertainment, and if you can let me have the money, I shall be glad."
"Well, the fact is, Daniels, I haven't got the money by me this morning."
The landlord's countenance changed.
"I like prompt pay," he said. "It is a good deal of trouble, and, as I said, there isn't much money to be made."
"That's all right. You won't have to wait long."
"How long, Mr. Sherwood?"
"I expect a check for a hundred dollars from my guardian to-day. I wrote three days since, for I knew you wouldn't like to wait."
"A hundred dollars!" repeated the landlord, feeling a little easier in mind.
"Perhaps your guardian may object to sending it."
"Oh, no! He's a nice old fellow, Doctor Mack is. He is very indulgent."
"What name did you mention?
"Doctor Mack. Ezekiel Mack."
"Indeed! Why, we had a gentleman stopping at the hotel last night of that name."
"What!" ejaculated Walter, in astonishment. "Do you mean to tell me that Doctor Mack--my guardian--was at the hotel last night? It can't be. He would have called on me."
"It may not have been the same man. Now I come to think of it, he didn't put himself down on the book Doctor Mack. He just put himself down E. Mack. He seemed a plain sort of man."
"Where did he register from?" asked Walter eagerly.
"Is he at the hotel now?"
"He went away by the morning train."
"Then it couldn't have been he," said Walter, in a tone of relief. "He doesn't live in Albany. Besides, he would have called on me. No, it must have been some other Mack."
"Perhaps you wouldn't have liked to have him catch you at a gay supper, Mr. Sherwood?" said the landlord shrewdly.
"Well, no, I'd a little rather receive him in my room, with a book open before me."
"He might object to pay out money for such doings."
"He won't know anything about it. Just leave your bill, Mr. Daniels, and as soon as I get the check I'll call round and pay it."
"There's another bill, too, a livery bill. I brought that along, too."
"How much is it?" asked Walter anxiously.
"I didn't think it was as much as that!"
"Bills mount up faster than you young gentlemen think for. I suppose, however, you can afford to pay it?"
"Oh, yes!" said Walter carelessly.
"Your uncle may think it rather steep, eh?"
"I wrote him that I had some extra expenses this time."
"Then I suppose you can't do anything for me this morning?"
"No, Daniels; just leave both bills, and I feel quite sure that I can pay you in a day or two. I suppose you can change a check?"
"I'll manage to."
The landlord retired, leaving the bills behind him.
"Do you know, Sherwood," said his chum gravely "I think you are foolishly extravagant."
"Well, perhaps I am."
"You are spending three times as much as I am."
"I'll do better next term. I wish my guardian would hurry along that check."
Two days later a letter came for Walter in the familiar handwriting of Doctor Mack. He tore it open hastily, and as he read it he turned pale and sank into a chair.
"What's the matter?" asked Gates.
"Matter enough!" answered Walter, in a hollow voice. "My money is lost, and I've got to leave college!"