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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

As my farm borders Lake Waupegan


"Why?" snapped the editor, pulling the green shade away from his eyes and glaring at the reporter.

"Because he's the sort of man you feel you'd like to please! He's the only one of these fellows I've tackled who didn't tell me a lot of highfalutin rot they wanted put into the article. Bassett didn't seem to care about it one way or another. I rewrote most of that stuff half a dozen times to be sure to get the punk out of it, because I knew he hated punk."

"You did, did you! Well, McNaughton of Tippecanoe County is the next standard-bearer you're to tackle, and you needn't be afraid to pin ribbons on him. You college fellows are all alike. Try to remember, Harwood, that this paper ain't the 'North American Review'; it's a newspaper for the plain people."

Dan, at some personal risk, saw to it that the illustrations were so minimized that it became unnecessary to sacrifice his text to accommodate it to the page set apart for it. He read his screed in type with considerable satisfaction, feeling that it was an honest piece of work and that it limned a portrait of Bassett that was vivid and truthful. The editor-in-chief inquired who had written it, and took occasion to commend Harwood for his good workmanship. A little later a clerk in the counting-room told him that Bassett had ordered a hundred copies of the issue containing the sketch, and this was consoling. Several other subjects had written their thanks, and Dan had rather hoped that Bassett would send him a line of approval; but on reflection he concluded that it was not like Bassett to do so, and that this failure to make any sign corroborated all that he knew or imagined of the senator from Fraser.

CHAPTER VII

SYLVIA AT LAKE WAUPEGAN

The snow lay late the next year on the Madison campus. It had been a busy winter for Sylvia, though in all ways a happy one. When it became known that she was preparing for college all the Buckeye Lane folk were anxious to help. Professor Kelton would not trust his own powers too far and he availed himself of the offers of members of the faculty to tutor Sylvia in their several branches. Buckeye Lane was proud of Sylvia and glad that the old professor found college possible for her. Happiness reigned in the cottage, and days were not so cold or snows so deep but that Sylvia and her grandfather went forth for their afternoon tramp. There was nothing morbid or anaemic about Sylvia. Every morning she pulled weights and swung Indian clubs with her windows open. A mischievous freshman who had thrown a snowball at Sylvia's heels, in the hope of seeing her jump, regretted his bad manners: Sylvia caught him in the ear with an unexpected return shot. A senior who observed the incident dealt in the lordly way of his kind with the offender. They called her "our co-ed" and "the boss girl" after that. The professor of mathematics occasionally left on his blackboard Sylvia's demonstrations and pointed them out to his class as models worthy of their emulation.

Spring stole into the heart of the Wabash country and the sap sang again in maples and elms. Lilacs and snowballs bloomed, and Professor Kelton went serenely about among his roses. Sylvia passed her examinations, and was to be admitted to Wellesley without conditions,--all the Lane knew and rejoiced! The good news was communicated to Mrs. Owen, who wrote at once to Professor Kelton from the summer headquarters she had established on her farm in northern Indiana that just then required particular attention. It ran:--

I want you to make me a visit. Sylvia must be pretty tired after her long, busy year and I have been tinkering the house here a little bit so you can both be perfectly comfortable. It's not so lonely as you might think, as my farm borders Lake Waupegan, and the young people have gay times. My niece, Mrs. Bassett, has a cottage on the lake only a minute's walk from me. I should like Marian and Sylvia to get acquainted and this will be easy if only you will come up for a couple of weeks. There are enough old folks around here, Andrew, to keep you and me in countenance. I inclose a timetable with the best trains marked. You leave the train at Waupegan Station, and take the steamer across the lake. I will meet you at any time you say.


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