Adventures and Letters HTML version

and they wouldn't think I was simply hotheaded and stubborn. I was very cool about it
all. They broke in with all sorts of explanations; hazing was the last thing they had
thought of. No, indeed, Davis, old fellow, you're mistaken. I told them if that was so, all
right, I was going home. I saw several of my friends in the crowd waiting for me, but as I
didn't want them to interfere, I said nothing, and they did not recognize me. When among
the crowd of sophomores, the poor freshman made a last effort, he pulled me by the coat
and begged me to come with him. I said no, I was going home. When I reached the next
corner I stopped. "I gave you fair warning, keep off. I tell you I'll strike the first man, the
first one, that touches me." Then the four who had been appointed to seize me jumped on
me, and I only got one good blow in before they had me down in the gutter and were
beating me on the face and head. I put my hands across my face, and so did not get any
hard blows directly in the face. They slipped back in a moment, and when I was ready I
scrambled up pretty wet and muddy, and with my face stinging where they had struck. It
had all been done so quickly, and there was such a large crowd coming from the theatre,
that, of course, no one saw it. When I got up there was a circle all around me. They hadn't
intended to go so far. The men, except those four who had beaten me, were rather
ashamed and wished they were out of it. I turned to Emmerich, a postgraduate, and told
him to give me room. "Now," I said, "you're not able to haze me, and I can't thrash twelve
of you, but I'll fight any one man you bring out." I asked for the man that struck me, and
named another, but there was no response.
The upper classmen, who had just arrived, called out that was fair, and they'd see it fair.
Goodnough, Purnell and Douglas, who don't like me much, either. Ruff was beside me by
this time.
He hadn't seen anything of it, and did not get there until he heard me calling for a fair
chance and challenging the class for a man. I called out again, the second time, and still
no one came, so I took occasion to let them know why I had done as I did in a short
speech to the crowd. I said I was a peaceable fellow, thought hazing silly, and as I never
intended to haze myself, I didn't intend any one to haze me. Then I said again, "This is
the third time, will one of your men fight this fair? I can't fight twelve of you." Just then
two officers who had called on some mill-hands, who are always dying for a fight, and a
citizen to help them, burst into the crowd of students, shouldering them around like sheep
until they got to me, when one of them put his arm around me, and said, "I don't know
anything about this crowd, but I'll see you're protected, sir. I'll give 'em fair play." One
officer got hold of Ruff and pretty near shook him to pieces until I had to interfere and
explain. They were for forming a body-guard, and were loud in their denunciations of the
college, and declaring they'd see me through if I was a stranger to 'em.
Two or three of the sophomores, when they saw how things were going, set up a yell, but
Griffin struck out and sent one of them flying one way and his hat another, so the yells
ended. Howe and Murray Stuart took me up to their rooms, and Ruff went off for
beefsteak for my eye, and treated the crowd who had come to the rescue, at Dixon's, to
beer. The next day was Saturday, and as there was to be a meeting of the Athletic
Association, of course, I wanted to show up. The fellows all looked at my eye pretty hard
and said nothing. I felt pretty sure that the sympathy was all with me.