IN THE COMPANY OF HEROES:

  Chapter 3: STANFORD UNIVERSITY, July 1915

     Leaving the Engineering Quad, Victor Lindal swung onto his bicycle for a ride across the Stanford campus. He felt a private satisfaction in wearing his athletic award sweater -- not that he could remember ever being shy about his accomplishments. He had to admit though, that this award was an honor which stirred his pride. It was much better than the good looks he was grateful to have inherited from his mother. The sweater had been earned.
     He pedaled slowly, taking time to admire two new buildings painted white and glistening in the sun. Clubhouses for men and women had been built replete with arcades to complement the larger, Stanford Union. The French doors looked smart, and there was a new dance floor in the Women's Clubhouse where a broad balcony wrapped around the second level. He waved in a good natured way to two coeds looking down at him.
     "Hey, Vic," one called, while striking an elaborate pose: hand on hip, and a finger pointing to the dimple on her cheek. "Save me a dance Saturday?
     "Victor laughed at her bravura. "You bet," he called back before pedaling on. He was tempted to stop and talk. He liked girls, maybe too much for his own good, he knew. There was something about them; an anticipation in their watchfulness perhaps. Whatever it was, he imagined he could sense the expectation of joy in their searching eyes, or at least a hidden question, and invariably he felt moved to answer it – or to try. But if he stopped now he would most likely be late for rugby practice. Besides, there was business to look after. He would need a summer source of income since he had just been accepted into the Graduate Languages Department, and the quickest, sure-fire deal that he'd heard of, was advertised over at the Men's Clubhouse. It was something to look at.
     Vic slowed the bicycle by scraping his feet on the gravel in front of a porch with wide white pillars which invited the breeze. Red tiles on a slanting roof deadened the heat from the lunch-hour sun. On the lawn stood a notice-board. He sat on the bicycle seat reading the latest poster:

          ATTENTION VIGOROUS YOUNG MEN.
          JOIN THE PREPAREDNESS MOVEMENT.
          TRAVEL. TRAINING. SUMMER MANEUVERS.
          THE EUROPEAN WAR DEMANDS WE BE PREPARED!

     He read the poster a second time to contemplate the art work, designed, he supposed, to emphasize the urgency for preparation. A fierce looking soldier wearing a spiked German helmet stood in a threatening pose with bayonet pointed down a wild-eyed stare. Victor grunted at this exaggeration and dismounted to guide the front wheel into the wooden frame of a bicycle rack.
     He strolled through an entrance archway to the Student Union Building, and then turned down a Mexican tile staircase into the cool basement. He kept walking through the long arcade, past the billiard room, past the shoe repair stand, and the barbershop, until his eye caught a sign which read: JOIN THE PLATTSBURG PREPAREDNESS MOVEMENT. Here, he turned in.

   

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