"Aha! my dear fellow," said he in a cheery voice, quite unlike his usual tone, "I'm glad to see you. It's a comfort to get away from the old perch once in a while without being caught by that demon Jones, and to have a pleasant chat with friends. A few of us are going to meet here to-night, and perhaps you may like to see us in our unofficial capacity, - for, like those wise men, the Faculty, it makes a difference whether you see us before or behind the scenes. But, ha! ha! my dear boy, just imagine how Jones would howl if he missed me. Somebody would be suspended for it Monday night, I tell you."
I was just going to get off a pun about suspension, when, looking up, I saw the Bulletin Board from the front of University come pegging along towards us. He gave me welcome, and then sat down to wipe the perspiration from his forehead, and adjust his wooden leg. Not knowing exactly how to enter into conversation with him, I began on a subject in which mankind takes universal interest at a first meeting, and never thinks of again, - the weather.
"I wonder if we shall have better weather tomorrow than we've been having lately," I said in an inviting tone.
"Ahem! For New England, partly cloudy weather, followed by increasing cloudiness and rain areas, variable winds, mostly from the north-east, falling barometer and stationary temperature," promptly responded the Bulletin Board, in a voice that told me not to bother him with useless questions. Before I could say anything more I saw in the distance four individuals, so lean and lank that I thought they must have some connection with Memorial Hall; and, in fact, they proved to be the Gargoyles from the tower. Following them came the two Pumps, who extended to me their handles, and shook hands in a painfully brisk manner.
"Why!" said the Bell to one of the Pumps, "how did you get your head so fearfully bruised?"
"O, those rascally students!" replied the Pump. "It's always my luck. I stand right on the way to Carl's; but the fellows never take any notice of me until they come back from there; and just now one of them took me for a Freshman, and began to haze me. O dear! dear!"
"There, there, calm yourself," said the Bell. "Well, now we're all here, what's the subject for discussion? Any news, brother B. B."
"Faculty talk of abolishing prayers," briefly responded the Bulletin Board.
"Is that really so though? By Jove, glorious news! I can get more sleep then; for I'm so sleepy now when I'm called up that I can't get awake until the second bell is rung. I have to stretch and yawn every time before I strike."
"I should think you did," said the Bulletin Board. "You sound like a death-tolling when you're first rung."
"If you don't have prayers," said the Gargoyles, "how will you make the men come to breakfast?"
"Hang it!" replied the Bell warmly. "If I ring simply to get the men to breakfast I'll hold my tongue hereafter."
"But immorality and intemperance will increase among the students if we don't have prayers," said the Pump with a sigh.
"Great decrease of catarrh and asthma," replied the Bulletin Board.
"Now, don't pour cold water on the plan," said the Bell to the Pump. "What puzzles me is to know what to do with those worthy young men, the monitors, who'll lose their places if prayers are abolished."