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The winter term of Willis' freshman year was drawing to a peaceful close. The class rivalry between freshmen and sophomores, hitherto the feature of absorbing interest in the college life of the year, had been little in evidence of late, for since the great indoor meet in Infantry Hall when the freshman relay team had won the championship cup, and Wheeler, the big 'Varsity tackle, pride of the freshman class, had taken two straight falls out of the champion of the sophs. in the wrestling match for championship of the college, there had been little to stir up emulation among the underclassmen. But beneath this dead calm was working a spirit of great unrest. Smarting under the sting of continuous defeat, first in the fall athletic meet, then in freshman-soph. foot-ball game, the January debate, and, finally, the reverses in Infantry Hall, the sophomores burned midnight oil in their inner chambers and planned deeply for revenge.

Elated by their long string of victories, puffed up with typical freshman pride, as yet unhonored, the men of 'or planned for a grand coup, which should be the crowning feature of their remarkable record. As captain of the class foot-ball team and president of freshman class, Willis felt it incumbent on himself to give definite form to this unexpressed but pronounced desire of his classmates. So a few days before, he had called a meeting of the chosen few who stood high in the freshman councils. Wheeler was there, adding to his athletic prestige the clear, sagacious head which entitled him to first place in the conclave, and "Eph." Green, the astute secretary ; Davis, the great mathematician and class treasurer ; Hal Waller, small, keen and wiry, notable for the wily plot by which the freshmen had been able to outwit the sophs. and keep their class banner waving triumphantly for twenty-four hours from the flagstaff of University Hall. Then was developed a scheme of daring effrontery, no less a plan than the holding of a freshman class banquet. When Willis had unfolded the details


of his plot, Wheeler smote the table with his mighty fist and exclaimed, “The very thing, 'twill cap the climax and make the sophs. green with rage.” He voiced the sentiment of the meeting and the scheme was at once perfected. Everything was done with the profoundest secrecy. Tickets were printed and sold only to the tried and true of “aughty one.” The hall was secured, and Victor Gelb, the steward of the feast, was a caterer well known for his partiality toward freshmen. No untoward event ruffled the smooth progress toward the great high feast, and the evening before that set for the banquet Wheeler, lounging on the cushions in Willis's “den” in Hope, remarked, “Well, Howard, old boy, all is quiet along the Potomac; the sophs. are all in the dark; and, say, won't they be wild tomorrow night when they wake up to the fact that we have scored again and are banqueting in state 'while the enemy slept,' as it were?” Knocking the ashes from his pipe, he departed with a jovial "so long” for his own room in University, singing in triumphant notes, “Glory, glory to the Freshmen!"

Wheeler slept late the next morning; it lacked but three minutes of nine when he awoke, and consequently he came into math. just ofter the roll had been called. No sooner had he taken his seat than Stevens, a prominent classmate, defying the discipline of the class-room, rushed over to him and exclaimed, “How did you get away? We thought they had got you, too; where is Willis and Green and Waller? "What the devil do you mean?" shouted Wheeler, springing to his feet. “Mean!" cried Stevens, "Why, don't you know? Willis and Green and Waller and Guild have gone! vanished !! disappeared!!! been kidnapped, most likely, by the sophs !! and when you failed to show up at breakfast or chapel we thought they had you!" It was all too true. Willis's room had been entered in the night and there were evidences of a most violent struggle. The bed was broken, desks were overturned, furniture smashed and the door hung on a single hinge. "Mr. Slocum," said Wheeler to the instructor, “I will take it upon myself to ask you to dismiss this division; it seems, fellows," turning to his dumb-founded classmates, “that there has been foul play here." Then, taking Stevens by the shoulders, "Here are my keys; take the fellows to my rooms!" Wheeler darted swiftly to the next room in Wilson, where the second division was in session. In a few hasty, broken sentences he explained the situation, dismissed the class and passed in like manner through the remaining five divisions, which were gathered in the hall. So it came about that, before a quarter of an hour had elapsed, the entire freshman class had assembled in Wheeler's rooms, filled them to overflowing and were thronging about the door and in the corridors. Shouldering through this mass, Wheeler mounted the table and in well-chosen words, ringing with intense, suppressed excitement, made known the absence of their officers and his suspicions. With a master hand, he guided the eager but irresolute crowds into an organized, efficient body. Elected by acclamation as director, with full powers of action, he quickly selected twelve of the brightest men to assist him in the search to begin at once for their missing comrades. Every man was utilized. Headquarters were established in Wheeler's rooms, and a line of men connected with the telephone in the office on the floor below, where a committee was left in charge. Detachments spread over the city, visited the city hall, learned from the inspector of hacks that three carriages had taken a dozen men, with five prisoners, bound hand and foot, from Hope College to the Fox Point wharves; that here they had chartered an oyster boat and steamed down the river, leaving the quay just before daylight. These investigations consumed nearly the entire morning, and just as the whistles were sounding high noon Wheeler's committee, assembled on the wharf, had succeeded in chartering a swift tug to set out in instant pursuit of the fleeing sophs, and their captives. Already a picked band of the strongest, boldest freshmen had passed to the deck of the impromptu cruiser, when a messenger from headquarters on the hill, hatless and coatless, covered with dust and perspiration, rushed into their midst, gasping for breath and crying, "Hold, we win; they've got away!"

As we have already seen, Willis and his fellow officers were carried away by force. Wheeler's committee had traced them to the wharf. Here the sophomore leaders had brought their boat and into it they hurried their shackled prisoners. The cool air from the river fanned their heated brows, and the first, faint streaks of dawn lighted the gray east as the tug steamed slowly down the river. Past the hulls of the great New York steamers, through the barges laden with coal, out among the scows half filled with dredgings from the channel, the puffing tug held on its way. By Starve Goat Island and on, past Field's and Rocky points they went, and not till the yearning eyes of the captive freshmen beheld the shores of Prudence island in the distance, did their captors deign to parley with them. Four of the prisoners accepted the proffered parole, receiving in return the liberty of the oyster boat. Willis alone, undaunted, silent, resolute, refused to treat with them and was cast into the cabin, still fettered, with the eye of a trusty guardian fixed on his every movement.

After a brief conference the sophomore leaders decided to put into Newport harbor to replenish their stock of coal and lay in some provisions for the feast they planned to make before the eyes of the fasting freshmen. The boat lay to, some little distance from the wharf, and the tender went ashore.

Meanwhile, Willis in the cabin, while pretending to be asleep was meditating a plan of escape. He had overheard the talk of his captors and knew the position of the boat. The man set to watch him, thinking him asleep, and himself wearied, moreover, with long vigil and intense excitement of the night, was nodding in his clair with drooping eyelids. Slowly and cautiously, his eyes fixed on the sentinel, and guarding against the slightest noise of a movement, Willis wormed his way toward the table, where a case knife lay beside the remnant of a loaf of bread. With infinite pains he raised himself on his knees by the table. His hands were tied behind his back, but he had used the interval of the voyage to good effect in loosening the knots to obtain greater freedom of motion with his wrists. Turning his back to the table, he groped for the knife; it was just beyond his reach. Great beads of sweat stood out on his brow and he was well nigh sufsccated as he struggled to his feet and, leaning back over the table's edge, grasped the coveted blade, slowly lowered himself again to his knees and writhed back to his corner. The nodding head of his watcher had fallen over against the wall and he was sound asleep. Then the president of the freshman class began to work with desperate haste. How he blessed those long hours




on the foot-ball field and track! those fierce bone-racking, muscle rending games that had built his frame anew with sinews of iron and cords of steel! It stood him in good stead now, and the man who had never "quit" on the gridiron or the track, was fighting here the gamest uphill battle of his young, courageous life. It seemed as though the dull edge of his knife made no impression on the stout cords which bound his wrists and his fingers ached with the unwonted strain. But he kept to his work with the tenacity of a bull-dog and at last a strand parted, then a cord, the knot loosened and his hands were free. It was the work of a moment to unbind his ankles, and the next instant he sprang up, freed from his bonds, ready to cope with tremendous odds. His foot struck against a chair and his watchers came wide awake. Before he could move or cry out, Willis was upon him and, dealing him a sledge hammer blow between the eyes that felled him like a smitten ox, he seized a chair, dashed up the narrow staircase to the deck, struck down two sophs. who attempted to stop him, plunged headlong over the side into the harbor and swam for the shore with mighty strokes. The dock officials, thoroughly aroused at this unusual scene, put out in a launch and prevented the sophomores who, alarmed at Willis's escape, would fain have made off from leaving the harbor with their remaining prisoners. Willis at once stated his case before the inspector, threatening the sophs. with arrest on charge of kidnapping, but at length compromising with them on condition that they give up their remaining prisoners and agree not to hinder their return to college hill. This done, the sophomore put out to sea, and Willis's party, making for the depot, had just time to send off the telegram which so happily interrupted their classmates' pursuit, and jumped aboard the 12.02 express for the city.

There remains little more to be told. Needless to say, the freshman class was on fire with joy at the safe return of their leaders, and the procession which escorted them in triumph from the depot to the college campus surpassed any celebration within the memory of the oldest post-grads. And the glory of the banquet outshone the wildest dreams of that most sanguine body of all mankind, the Freshman Class.

"There was joy supreme in the freshman heart,
There was beer in the freshman throat,
And he toasted the freshman victory,
And he toasted the ‘oyster boat.""

E. G. H., 'or.

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