Chapter XVIII Good-Bye to Brill - The Rover boys on a Tour by Edward Stratemeyer

The celebration at Brill that evening was one long to be remembered.

Bonfires blazed along the river front, and the students marched around them, and around the campus and the college buildings, singing songs and having a good time generally.

The others had insisted that the Rovers take part in these festivities, and so the boys had taken the girls to Hope, where Dora and Nellie were to remain until the next day.

"I must say I am mighty glad I came," said Dick to his brothers, as he surveyed the shouting and marching students. "This certainly takes me back to the days when I was here."

"I'm going in for some fun," announced Tom, and was soon in the midst of the activities. The students played jokes on William Philander Tubbs, old Filbury, and on a number of others, and the fun-loving Rover helped them all he could. An attempt was also made to get the captured banners of the freshmen and sophomores from Sam's room, but this failed.

"The boys are rather noisy to-night," said one of the professors to Dr.


"I agree with you, sir," returned the head of Brill, "but then they have something to be noisy about. Their victory was certainly well earned,"

and the doctor smiled indulgently.

Many had come forward to congratulate Sam on his fine work in putting through a double play unassisted in the last inning.

"It saved the day for Brill," announced Stanley, and many agreed with him.

The great game had taken place on Saturday afternoon, so, as the next day was Sunday, Sam could do as he pleased. The Rovers had an early breakfast, and then lost no time in riding over to the seminary, where they found the others waiting for them.

"Oh, Sam, your playing was simply wonderful!" declared Grace, as she beamed on him. "How you ever caught that fly in the last inning is beyond me."

"Yes, and what do you think?" put in Grace's sister. "Mr. Waltham said he thought it was quite an ordinary play--that any good, all-around player could have done what Sam did!"

"Maybe he was a bit jealous of Sam," was Dora's comment, and as she spoke she looked rather keenly at Grace, who, of a sudden, blushed deeply.

"I suppose Waltham brought his sister and those girls back here last evening," said Sam.

"Oh, yes," answered Nellie, "and they insisted that we join them in a little treat. Mr. Waltham drove down to Ashton for some ice cream, fancy crackers and candy, and we had quite a spread under the trees. It certainly was very nice of him to do it."

"I suppose he's got so much money he doesn't know what to do with it,"

was Dick's comment.

"He was asking me about that tour that we propose taking this summer,"

said Dora. "He added that he and his sister and maybe others were going to take a tour in his new car, but he hadn't decided on where they were going, and he thought it might be rather jolly if he joined our touring party."

"Humph! I don't see----" began Sam, and then broke off suddenly.

"It would be lovely to have Ada along," said Grace. "She is a splendid girl, and we've become quite chummy since Nellie and Dora went away."

"Well, we haven't any time to settle about that tour just now,"

announced Dick. "Our train leaves in a couple of hours and you girls have got to pack up before we start for the Ashton depot."

The mention of Chester Waltham, along with the fact that he might join them on their proposed automobile tour, put rather a damper on Sam's feelings. He acted very soberly, and his remarks to Grace were not half as cordial as they usually were. Evidently Sam's "nose was out of joint," although he was not willing to admit it, even to himself.

All drove down to the Ashton depot, and there Sam and Grace said good-bye to the others, who were going on to the home farm at Valley Brook and then to New York City. On the return to the seminary Sam had hoped to have a long talk and an understanding with Grace, but unfortunately two girls turned up who wished to get back to Hope, and there was nothing for the Rover boy to do but to invite them to ride along, so that the confidential talk between them had to be abandoned.

After the great ball game matters quieted down at Brill. All of the seniors were hard at work getting ready for the final examinations, which would start on the week following.

"If you make as good a showing in the examinations as you made on the ball field, you sure will prove a winner," declared Bob to Sam one day.

"Well, I'm going to do my level best, Bob," was the reply. "You see, neither Dick nor Tom had a chance to graduate, so I've got to make a showing for the entire family."

During those days nothing further had been heard regarding Blackie Crowden or the missing money. Sam and Songbird had met Belright Fogg once on the streets of Ashton, but the lawyer had marched past without deigning to speak to them.

"He's a foxy customer," was the comment of the would-be poet of Brill.

"If he had anything to do with Blackie Crowden, he'll try his level best to keep it to himself."

At last the examinations began. They were to continue for the best part of two weeks, and during that time Sam cut out all sports and confined himself to his studies with greater diligence than ever. He had several important papers to hand in, and he worked over these early and late, rewriting and polishing until there seemed to be absolutely nothing more that could be done. Songbird also was busy, for in addition to his studies and themes he had been asked by the class to write a poem in honor of the coming occasion.

"I only wish I could write something that would bring in some cash,"

remarked the would-be poet one afternoon.

Although he had not apprised Sam of that fact, Songbird had copied off several of his best poems and sent them to various publishers, hoping that they might prove acceptable and bring in some money which he might turn over to Mr. Sanderson as an evidence of what he hoped to do in the future. So far, however, he had not heard from any of the poems but one, which had been promptly returned.

At last came the day when the examinations ended. All the themes written by the students had been handed in, and Sam found himself free to do as he pleased. He at once sought Grace by means of the telephone, hoping to get her to take an automobile ride with him.

"I am sorry," she answered over the wire, "but I have still another examination to take and a theme to finish, so I don't dare to think of going out."

"How have you made out so far?" questioned the youth.

"I don't know, Sam. Sometimes I think I have done very well, and then again I am afraid that I missed a great many things. How did you make out?"

"Oh, I think I'll pass, but how high up I don't know. I am hoping for great things, but I may be mistaken." And there the conversation had to come to an abrupt end, for a professor came in to use the Brill telephone.

It must be confessed that Sam slept rather uneasily on the night before the morning on which the announcement concerning each student's standing was to be made.

"I'm scared to death," came from Spud. "I missed a whole lot of questions."

"So did I," put in Paul. "And I boned hard too," he added dismally.

Finally came the announcement. Out of a class of sixty-five seniors, sixty-two had passed. Sam's name was at the head of the list with a percentage of ninety-seven; Songbird came fourth with a percentage of ninety-three; Spud had ninety-one, and Stanley the same; while Paul, William Philander Tubbs and a number of others were listed at from eighty to eighty-eight per cent.

"Sam, allow me to congratulate you!" cried Songbird, as he came up to wring his friend's hand. "You certainly made a splendid showing."

"You made a pretty good showing yourself," answered Sam, his face beaming.

"Your folks will be mighty glad to hear of this," went on the would-be poet of Brill. "Why don't you telegraph to them?"
"Just what I'm going to do," answered the Rover boy. "And I'm going to telephone to Hope, too," he added.

"That's the talk. I wish I could telephone over to the Sandersons."

"Never mind, Songbird, I'll drive you over there when I drive to the seminary," replied Sam.

The days to follow were delightful ones for Sam. True to his promise, he took Songbird over to the Sanderson homestead and then visited Grace.

The girl had passed third from the top of her class and was correspondingly delighted.

"We had such dreadfully hard questions I thought I should never get through," she confessed to the youth when they were alone. "And you came out on top, Sam. Oh, it's wonderful--simply wonderful!" and she caught both his hands.

"Well, I'm glad--glad for myself and glad for you, Grace," he answered, and looked her full in the eyes. She looked at him in return and blushed prettily.

"Oh, Mr. Rover, allow me to congratulate you," came from somebody near by, and Ada Waltham came tripping up. "Grace told me all about your wonderful showing."

"Ada made a splendid showing herself," answered Grace, before Sam could speak.

"I was one point behind Grace," answered the rich girl, "and that certainly was wonderful for me. I never was very keen about studying--in fact, I didn't want to go to college, only I had to do it if I wanted to inherit the money that my uncle left me."

"Oh, Sam! and to think our days of studying are over at last!" burst out Grace. "I can scarcely believe it."

"I can't believe it myself, Grace," he answered. "It seems to me I've been going to school all my life. Just think of the years and years I put in at Putnam Hall Military Academy before I came to Brill!"

"Yes, and to think of the years I put in at the Cedarville school before I came to Hope," returned Grace. "Now it is all over I feel quite old,"

and she laughed merrily.

As was the usual custom, it had been decided that graduation exercises at Hope should take place two days before those at Brill, which would give ample opportunity for those desiring to do so to attend both functions.

"My folks are all coming to the graduations," announced Grace, a day or two after the conversation just recorded.

"Yes, and my folks will all be on hand," answered Sam. "Even Uncle Randolph and Aunt Martha are coming. Dear, old Aunt Martha!" he said.

"She has been a regular mother to us boys ever since I can remember. I'm awfully glad she will be present, and I'll be mighty glad to have Uncle Randolph too, not to say anything about dear, old dad."

After that there seemed to be so much to do and so many things to think about that time sped with amazing swiftness. The Rovers and the Lanings had engaged rooms at the leading hotel in Ashton, and arrived on the day previous to the graduation exercises at Hope.

"Tell you what, education is a great thing!" remarked Mr. John Laning when speaking of the matter to Mr. Rover. "I didn't have much of a chance at it when I was a boy--I had to go out and scrap for a living--but I'm mighty glad that I had the means to give the girls the learning they've got."

"You're right--it is a great thing," answered Mr. Anderson Rover. "I am only sorry now that Dick and Tom didn't have the chance to graduate as well as Sam. But, you know, I was very sick and somebody had to look after our business affairs. And what those boys have done for me is simply wonderful!"

"The greatest boys that ever lived," announced Randolph Rover. "They used to bother the life out of me with their fun and noise, but now that they have settled down and made men of themselves I forgive them for all the annoyances."

Sam's father had brought for him as a graduation present a very fine diamond scarf pin, while his uncle and aunt presented him with a handsomely engraved cardcase and Dick and the others brought him a ring set with a ruby. Grace's folks and the others had also brought several gifts of value for the girl, and to these Sam added a bracelet and the finest bouquet of flowers he could obtain in Ashton.

The graduation exercises at Hope were exceedingly pretty. All the girls were dressed in white, and they formed a beautiful picture as they stood in a long line to receive their diplomas. The onlookers clapped vigorously, but no one with more fervor than did Sam when Grace received her roll. The exercises were followed by a reception that evening at which the fair girl graduates shone as they never had before.

"And now for the big event at Brill!" said Dick, when on the way back to Ashton that evening. "Sam, aren't you a bit sorry to leave the old college?"

"I certainly am, Dick. At the same time, now that you and Tom have buckled down to business, I feel that I ought to be doing likewise."

"Yes, but all of you young folks are going on that tour first,"

announced the boys' father. "I think you have earned it, and I want you to have it. I'll supply all the funds necessary, and I'll see to it that everything goes right at the office while you are away."

Never had Brill been so crowded as it was at those graduation exercises.

Every seat in the college hall was occupied, and every doorway and open window held its group of eager onlookers. The Rover family had seats almost in the center of the auditorium, and all of the Lanings were with them.

"Oh, it's grand! just grand!" murmured Aunt Martha, as she saw Sam and the rest of the senior class gathering. "Oh! how proud I am of that boy!" and the tears coursed freely down her cheeks.

The valedictory address had been written by Sam and was delivered by the class orator, Stanley. This was followed by a class poem written by Songbird and delivered by a student named Wells. Sam's valedictory was received with loud clapping of hands.

"A well written paper--very well written, indeed," was Dr. Wallington's comment, and a great number of visitors agreed with him. Songbird had worked hard over his class poem, which contained many allusions to local matters, and was received with many smiles and expressions of good humor.

"Songbird is certainly becoming something of a poet," was Dick's comment. "If he keeps on, some day he'll become the simon-pure article."

At last it was over, and Sam, with his sheepskin rolled up and tied with a ribbon, joined his folks. His father was the first to congratulate him, and then came old Aunt Martha, who wept freely as she embraced him.

"I'm proud of you, Sam, proud of you!" she said, in a voice trembling with emotion. "What a pity your own mother couldn't be here to see you!

But the good Lord willed it otherwise, so we must be content."

"Sam, you've certainly done the family proud this day," announced his oldest brother. "To graduate at the top of the class is going some."

"Well, I've got to do something for the Rover name," said the happy youth, modestly.

There was another reception that night, and again the bonfires blazed along the bank of the river. The undergraduates "cut loose" as usual, but those who were to leave Brill forever were a trifle sober.

"It's been a fine old college to go to," was Dick's comment.

"You're right there, Dick," came from Tom. "A fine place, indeed!"

"The best in the world!" answered Sam. He drew a deep breath. "No matter where I go in this old world of ours, I'll never forget my days at Brill."