"I will," drawled Trench. "The only friend you ever had. I'll carry my troubles up to Big Chief Funnybone. Like as not he'll sentence me to tumble you through the chapel door of the south turret down the `road to perdition.' No use though, you go that road every day. Better treat me right and tell me all your troubles. If there is any cool handle to take hold of Gehanna by next to Funnybone, I'm the one fellow in Sunrise to grab onto it."
And the days of a long, hot Kansas summer, a glorious autumn, and a short, nippy winter swung by in their appointed seasons. And now the springtime was unrolling in dainty beauty of tender green leaf, and growing grass, and warm, sweet air, and trill of song bird. College students philosophize little in the springtime of their sophomore year. Having learned all that books can teach, and a little more, they seek other pastime. Nobody in Sunrise except Dr. Fenneben took the time to remember how stiff and ungenial Professor Burgess was when he first came West; nor what an awkward gosling Victor Burleigh was the day he entered Sunrise; nor that once it could have seemed just a little odd to invite Dennie Saxon, a poor student, daughter of a half-reformed drunkard, to the class parties; nor that even Elinor Wream, "Norrie the beloved," was not supposed to be engaged to Vincent Burgess. Supposed! And that, when her senior year was well along, the engagement would be openly spoken of as now in her sophomore year, it was quietly accepted, even if Professor Burgess was often Dennie Saxon's escort. That was because he was such a gentleman. Nor that with all these changes Trench had remained the same old lazy Trench, the comfortable idol of the girls, for he was right guard to all of them, and cared for none. And they never knew till afterward that for all the four years he was faithful to a little sweetheart out in the sandy Cimarron River country, to whom he took back clean hands and a pure heart, when he went home after four years of college life.
None of these things were noted especially, save by Dr. Lloyd Fenneben, and he wasn't a sophomore nor a professor in love with a pretty girl; a professor learning for the first time that sympathy has also its culture value, as well as perfectly translated Horace, and that the growth of a human soul means something as beautiful as the growth of a complete conjugation on an old Greek stem from an older Greek root. Fenneben had learned all this while he was chasing about the Kansas prairies with a college in his vest pocket.
There were some unchanged things, however, which Fenneben only guessed at. Victor Burleigh had never apologized to Professor Burgess for his rude attack, unless a certain strained dignified courtesy be the mark of a tacit apology. And Burgess could give only cold recognition to the big fellow who had choked him into submission and had gone unpunished by the college authorities.
Between these two Fenneben guessed there was no change. But he did not grieve deeply. There must be a personal phase in this grudge that no third person could handle. It might be a girl--but the face of the returns indicated otherwise. Meanwhile the college was doing its perfect work for Burleigh, whose strength of mind, and self-control, and growing graciousness of manner betokened the splendid manhood that should rest on this foundation. While the spirit of the prairie sod, the benediction of the broad-sweeping air of heaven, and the sturdy, wholesome life of the sons and daughters of freedom-loving, broad-spirited men and women--all were giving to Vincent Burgess a new happiness in his work unlike any pleasure he had ever known before.
Little Bug Buler, now four years of age, had changed least of all among changing things about Lagonda Ledge. A sweet-faced, quaint little fellow he was, with big appealing eyes, a baby lisp to his words, and innocent ways. He was a sturdy, pudgy, self-reliant youngster, however, who took long rambles alone and turned up safe at the right moment. All Lagonda Ledge petted him, even to Burgess, who never forgot the day in the rotunda when Bug's pitying voice had broken Burleigh's grip on his neck.
Bond Saxon had not changed, nor the white-haired woman of Pigeon Place-- nor the reputation of the ravines and rocky coverts for hiding law breakers across the Walnut River. And Fenneben noted often the slender blue smoke rising where nobody had a house.
It was an April day in the Walnut Valley, with all the freshness of the earth just washed and perfumed by April showers. The sunshine was pale gold. There was a gray-green filmy light from budding trees, and the old-time miracle of the grass was wrought out once more before the eyes of men. The orchards along the Walnut were faintly pink, and the eggs in the robin's nest, the south winds purring through the wooded spaces, the odor of far-plowed furrows on the prairie farms, all gave assurance of the year's gladdest days. From the Sunrise ledge the beauty of the landscape was exquisite. There was no haze overhanging the earth now, and the Walnut Valley was a picture beyond a Master's dream. Victor Burleigh sat on the top of the flight of steps leading from the lower campus, looking lazily out with dreamy eyes on all that the earth had to give on this sweet April afternoon.