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The Plastic Age

Hugh avoided the Nu Delta house for the remainder of the term and spent more
time on his studies than he had since he had entered college. The result was, of
course, that he made a good record, and the A that Henley gave him in English
delighted him so much that he almost forgot his fraternity troubles. Not quite,
however. During the first few weeks of the vacation he often thought of talking to
his father about Nu Delta, but he could not find the courage to destroy his father's
illusions. He found, too, that he couldn't talk to his mother about things that he
had seen and learned at college. Like most of his friends, he felt that "the folks
wouldn't understand."
He spent the first two months at home working on the farm, but when Norry
Parker invited him to visit him for a month on Long Island Sound, Hugh accepted
the invitation and departed for the Parker summer cottage in high feather. He
was eager to see Norry again, but he was even more eager to see New York. He
had just celebrated his twentieth birthday, and he considered it disgraceful that
he had never visited the "Big City," as New York was always known at Sanford.
Norry met him at Grand Central, a livelier and more robust Norry than Hugh had
ever seen. The boy actually seemed like a boy and not a sprite; his cheeks were
tanned almost brown, and his gray eyes danced with excitement when he
spotted Hugh in the crowd.
"Gee, Hugh, I'm glad to see you," he exclaimed, shaking Hugh's hand joyously.
"I'm tickled to death that you could come."
"So am I," said Hugh heartily, really happy to see Norry looking so well, and
thrilled to be in New York. "Gosh, you look fine. I hardly know you. Where'd you
get all the pep?"
"Swimming' and sailing. This is the first summer I've been well enough to swim all
I want to. Oh, it's pretty down where we are. You'll love the nights, Hugh. The
Sound is wonderful."
"I'll bet. Well, where do we go from here? Say, this is certainly a whale of a
station, isn't it? It makes me feel like a hick."
"Oh, you'll get over that soon enough," Norry, the seasoned New Yorker, assured
him easily. "We're going right out to the cottage. It's too hot to-day to run around
the city, but we'll come in soon and you can give it the once-over." He took
Hugh's arm and led him out of the station.
It had never entered Hugh's mind that Norry's father might be rich. He had
noticed that Norry's clothes were very well tailored, and Norry had told him that
his violin was a Cremona, but the boy was not lavish with money and never
talked about it at all. Hugh was therefore surprised and a little startled to see
Norry walk up to an expensive limousine with a uniformed chauffeur at the wheel.
He wondered if the Parkers weren't too high-hat for him?
"We'll go right home, Martin," Norry said to the chauffeur. "Get in, Hugh."