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Nellie's Uncle

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"College work is very hard" sighed my chum as he wearily bent over the speech he was endeavoring to commit to memory. "Yes," said I, raising my eyes from my book, ''college work ís rather hard ; wearDg on the bram n fact." Then I turned to Homer with renewed ïeal, for it was Saturday and I wished to get as many as possible of Monday's lessons "off' so that I might have the evening free to cali on Nellie. "Who is Nellie?" Well, to teil the trutb, she is the prettiest girl in the class, y ou never saw such a complexion as hers; it is just like cream and roses. Her eyes are the brightest, clearest blue, - like the wild violets I used to gather for mother when I was a little boy. Then her hair ! I cannot attempt to describe its color. It is not strictly golden. It is too light for that. At times it reminds one of gold, at other times of silver. Has a brilliant appearance, as though exposed to a continuous ray of sunlight. But to resume, I studied hard all day, and after supper hastened to Nellie's. On my arrival whom should I find but Arthur Barnes, seated in the best chair the room contaioed. If there was anyone I disliked it was Arthur Barnes. He roomed aboutablock from where Nellie did, and I used to wish he roomed on Washtenaw-ave instead of William-st. All this happened last year when we were freshmen. We had just got our class hats, - dandies they were too, - grey with red tassels. Nellie did not get one, - said she was going to make her hat, I didn't think she could do it. But that evening, after Barnes had taken his timely departure, she triumphantly displayed her new hat, - as nice a mortar-board as one could wish. To say that I was surprised does ot express it, but Nellie is certainly very skilllul in regard to such matters. " It was nothing to make t," she said laughingly, as I expressed my surprise and admiration. " I only wish everything were as easy for me." " Yet I never could have made it," I sighed. " I would prefer to read the entire Odyssey at sight." " Don't talk to me about Greek," said Nellie, pretending to shudder, "I'm glad lm not a classic." " I wish you were," I said quickly, and then we talked of other matters. On the whole I had a very pleasant cali, although Barnes' presence, when I first carne, troubled me a little. To be sure I had nothing against Barnes prsonallv. He carne to see me a few days after his presence had so annoyed me at Nellie's. To save my lile I couldn't help liking the fellow. There was actually an expression on his face that reminded me of Nellie. He bad the assurance however, to banter me about Nellie. Can't say I liked that very well, I don't like to hear other fellows talking about Nellie, anyway. I tried to laugh off my annoyance, but I turned quickly to my book and left my chum to contiuue the conversation. Presently they entered intO a discussion in regard to the manner in which the girls prepare their lessons. " We boys," said Barnes, " learn a lesgon in a general sort of a way ; we get at the facts so as to understand the author's meaning. But girls never get a lesson in a practical manner like that. They get the entire lesson down fine so that they known every word by heart, then they stand up in class and recite by the hour just like regular talking machines." "I've often noticed that," said my chum, " I can't learn a lesson that way myself." At this point I feit impelled to join the conversation. " lts true," I said. " The other day in history the professor sat with folded arms while a row of girls recited. Didn't ask a single question after one of them commenced to recite. She stood there and talked like a walking English history until the professor told her to stop. However they do it, I don't know." " How were they on review ?" asked my chum signiflcantly. " Oh," said I, laughingly, " on review they were no better than the boys. They learn everything by rote and forget it in twenty-four hours. They don't understand what they are talking about half the time." "Certainly not," said my chum, "how can they?" "Was Nellie in the class?" queried Barnes with a peculiar smile. "Miss Cameron understands her lessons and recites them well," I answered with dignity, and turned again to my book. In a short time Barnes said good-bye, and I was glad. I do not like to think of the week that followed. The events of those day 8 have furnisbed the only gloomy recollections of my freshman year. Sunday I quarreled with my chum, and Monday evening the sophomores stacked our rooms. Kind reader, do you fully comprehend the meaning of the word " stacked ?" Unless you have had experience such as ours, you cannot understand the depth of woe comprised in that one little word. After supper, Monday evening, we went directly to class prayer-meeting and from there to a lecture. A little after ten, all unconscious of what was before us, we returned home. Even now I am overeóme with indignation when I think of that " stacked" room. My chum took the matter quite calmly, but as for me, I was beside myself. As I told Mrs. Smith, the lady of whom we rented rooms, I thought college work was very hard, - wearing on the brain. Mrs. Smith replied that she found college work very hard indeed, in fact the hardest work she knew of, - wearing on the nerves as well as on the brain. This was only the beginning of my troubles. I became so excited over the matter that I took a severe cold, could not study or recite the remainder of the week. It was exceedingly provoking to be obliged to remain at home all the time for I was anxious to discover who stacked our rooms. Thursday evening my chum went down to the office and brought me a letter from father. I was reposing on the couch meditating revenge on the sophomores, when the letter carne ; but the instant I saw father's well-known writing I forgot everything and received the letter with a cry of joy. The letter, however, contained news of lossesof property and means. Father stated that he had delayed writing this as long as possible, but it was uaeless to try to conceal the matter from me any louger, ! would hear it from others if not from him I can't say that this intelligence tnade me any happier although I thought more o father and mother than of myself. The next morning, thinking a walk might be beneficial, I sauntered towari the campus. My head was achine; terribly Up to that time I had not entertained a distrustful thought of Nellie. In the pas I had been glad for her sake that so much wealth wonld be mine, but I thought she cared for me, not for my wealth. That morning, however, as I was passing through one of the halls I heard a couple of fellows talking outside. They did not see me or hear me coming. One of them was saying: " I'm sorry for Clark, he is such a üne fellow ; always been accastomed to having all the mouey he wighes. It will be hard for him." " I wonder how Miss Cameron will receive the news," said the other. "I think I can imagine," was the reply, " Clark is not the first man who has Deen deceived by a pair of blue eyes." For a moment I stood motionless. Then I turned quietly and went out by the same door I had entered and re turned home. For some reason the words I had heard kept haunting me. In the atternoon, thinking I would have the matter settled at any cost, I went to see Nellie. Nellie had a recitatiou that hour, but I talked with hor chum, Miss Rivers, until she too was obliged to go to recitation. Then I sat alone swaiting Nellie's return. The minutes seemed ages. I looked around the dainty little parlor and it was Nellie, Nellie, everywhere. The lace curtains with their ribbon loops, the pretty table scarf, the numberless devices for making a room pleasant, all spoke to me of Nellie. Could I give her up ? Would ghe discard me because I was no longer wealthy ? How often had I been reminded of angels as I gat in church and saw her far from me in the choir and heard her sweet voice floating down to me. Would that same sweet voice speak coldly to me now ? As I sat, absorbed in nr.y own sad thoughts, Nellie returned. Never had she appeared to me as lovely as then. As I looked into her fair face and met the gaze of those bright blue eyes I almos t trusted her again. In a few words I told my story. She listened attentively until I had finished, then said gently, " I know, Arthur told me this morning." I winced a little at this but said nothing. Then she expressed her sympathy so kindly, so sincerely, so like the same dear Nellie whom I had loved for the past six months that I waqgalreost happy. But I was a little out of temper and very jealous. Therefore I said : " Mr. Barnes appears to be quite at home here. To my certain knowledge he has cailed four times during the past week." Nellie opened her blue eyes wide, "Why certainly," she said, "didn't you know that Arthur is mamma's brother?" "Your mother's brother," I exclaimed in a6tonishment : "Then he must be your uncle! " "Yes," laughed Nellie, ''mamma is the oldest of the family, and Arthur is the youngest. He seems more like a brother to me tban an uncle." I did not know whether to laugh or cry. It seemed as though I had awakened from gome horrid dream. I arose quickly and going to Nellie confessed all my doubt and folly. Of course she foreave me. My troubles were now all ended. Father found he had not lost as muchas he thought; and one or two business ventures were so successful that he is nearly as wealtby as last year. Arthur Barnes is my chum this year and we are firm friends. But how I could have passed so many months without learning that Arthur Barnes was Nellie Cameron's uncle will forever remain to me a profound mystery.


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