MARS (as they enter). Ah! how! what say? Found! Art going away? Unfortunate rather! 'm sorry! but stay! Who hadst thou? How didst thou? Badly, I'm sure. Hadst done well they had not treated thee so.
RANSOM (sadly). Thou sayest aright. I did do my best, Which was but poorly I can but confess. The subject was hard. I could no better Unless I'd memorized to the letter.
MARS. Art unfortunate! but tho' 'twere amiss Me half thinks e'en that were better than this. Thou couldst have stood the trial, if no more Than to come out low. That were better, 'm sure.
RANSOM. But 'tis too late. 'Twas but an afterthought, Which now methinks at most is worth me naught; Le sort en est jetté, they say, you know; 'Twere idle to dream and still think of woe.
MARS. Thou sayest well! Yield not to one rebuff. Thou'rt a man, show thyself of manly stuff. The bugle calls! I must away! Adieu! May Fortune grant, comrade, good luck to you!
They shake hands, MARS hurries out to answer the bugle call. RANSOM prepares for immediate departure for home.)
"O dear! it is hawid to have this cullud cadet-- perfectly dre'fful. I should die to see my Geawge standing next to him." Thus did one of your models of womankind, one of the negro's superiors, who annually visit West Point to flirt, give vent to her opinion of the "cullud cadet," an opinion thought out doubtless with her eyes, and for which she could assign no reason other than that some of her acquaintances, manifestly cadets, concurred in it, having perhaps so stated to her. And the cadets, with their accustomed gallantry, have ever striven to evade "standing next to him." No little amusement --for such it was to me--has been afforded me by the many ruses they have adopted to prevent it. Some of them have been extremely ridiculous, and in many cases highly unbecoming a cadet and a gentleman.
While I was a plebe, I invariably fell in in the rear rank along with the other plebes. This is a necessary and established custom. As soon as I became a third-classman, and had a right to fall in in the front rank whenever necessary or convenient, they became uneasy, and began their plans for keeping me from that rank. The first sergeant of my company did me the honor of visiting me at my quarters and politely requested me--not order me, for he had no possible authority for such an act--to fall in invariably on the right of the rear rank. To keep down trouble and to avoid any show of presumption or forwardness on my part, as I had been advised by an officer, I did as he requested, taking my place on the right of the rear rank at every formation of the company for another whole year. But with all this condescension on my part I was still the object of solicitous care. My falling in there did not preclude the possibility of my own classmates, now also risen to the dignity of third-classmen, falling in next to me. To perfect his plan, then, the first sergeant had the senior plebe in the company call at his "house," and take from the roster an alphabetical list of all the plebes in the company. With this he (the senior plebe) was to keep a special roster, detailing one of his own classmates to fall in next to me. Each one detailed for such duty was to serve one week--from Sunday morning breakfast to Sunday morning breakfast. The keeper of the roster was not of course to be detailed.