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Title: At Start and Finish
Author: Lindsey, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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AT START AND FINISH



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

APPLES OF ISTAKHAR



AT
START AND FINISH


William Lindsey


[Illustration]


Boston
Small, Maynard & Company
1899



_Copyright, 1896,_ by
COPELAND AND DAY

       *       *       *       *       *

_Copyright, 1899,_ by
SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY



TO THE
ATHLETIC TEAMS OF OLD ENGLAND
AND NEW ENGLAND, OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE,
HARVARD, AND YALE, WHO
MET IN LONDON JULY 22, 1899, GOOD
WINNERS AND PLUCKY LOSERS,
I DEDICATE THIS BOOK



NOTE.


In the present volume I have drawn freely on my previous collection (now
out of print), "Cinder-path Tales," omitting some material, but adding
much more that is new.

I have also added headpieces, in which my suggestions have been very
cleverly carried out by the artist, W. B. Gilbert.

  W. L.



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE
  OLD ENGLAND AND NEW ENGLAND                                          1
  MY FIRST, FOR MONEY                                                 36
  THE HOLLOW HAMMER                                                   62
  HIS NAME IS MUD                                                     91
  HOW KITTY QUEERED THE "MILE"                                       107
  ATHERTON'S LAST "HALF"                                             131
  THE CHARGE OF THE HEAVY BRIGADE                                    153
  A VIRGINIA JUMPER                                                  176
  AND EVERY ONE A WINNER                                             213



[Illustration: Old England and New England]


It is something of an experience for an Englishman, after thirty years'
absence, to stand on the steps of "Morley's" and face the sunlight of
Trafalgar Square. He may not own a foot of English soil, he may have no
friend left to meet him, he may even have become a citizen of the Great
Republic, but he cannot look at the tall shaft on which the "little
sailor" stands without a breath of pride, a mist in his eye, and a lump
in his throat.

It was early afternoon of a warm July day. There was barely enough wind
to blow the spray of the fountains, and the water itself rose straight
in the soft air. I stood contentedly watching the endless procession of
busses, hansoms, and four-wheelers, with the occasional coster's cart,
and asked for nothing more. Long-eared "Neddy" dragging "Arry,"
"Arriet," and a load of gooseberries was a combination on which my eye
rested with peculiar fascination. No amateur "whip" in a red coat on a
bottle-green coach could handle the "ribbons" over four "choice uns"
with a finer air than "Arry" as he swung through the line and came
clicking up the street. I would rather see him pass than the Lord Mayor
in his chariot. I must have stood on the top step of "Morley's" for a
good half-hour, not caring even to smoke, so sweet was the smell of a
London street to me.

I was thinking, as a man must at such a time, of old days and old
friends,--not dismally, but with a certain sense of loss,--when a tall
gentleman came slowly up the steps and stopped immediately in front of
me. I moved aside, although there was plenty of room for him to pass;
but still he looked at me gravely, and at last held out a big brown hand
and said, as if we had parted only yesterday, "Well, Walter, old man,
how are you?" I was a bit in doubt at first. He was so tall that his
eyes were nearly on a level with my own, his figure erect and soldierly,
his face bronzed as if from long exposure to a tropic sun. Only when he
smiled did I know him, and then we gripped hands hard, our fingers
clinging until we saw we were attracting the notice of those around us.
Then our hands unclasped, and feeling a bit foolish over our emotion, we
sat down together.

At first we talked of commonplaces, though all the time I was thinking
of an evening more than thirty years ago when we stood together on the
river path, under the shadows of old Oxford towers, and said,
"Good-bye." He then offered to stand by me when the friendship would
have cost him something, and I declined the sacrifice. Would it have
been better? Who can tell?

Our first thoughts were a bit serious, perhaps, but our second became
decidedly cheerful at meeting again after so long a time. I learned that
he was "Colonel" Patterson, having gained his regiment a good ten years
ago; that he had spent nearly all his time in India; that he had been
invalided home; that he was, like myself, unmarried, and that he found
himself rather "out of it" after all these years away from the "old
country."

I told how I had gone to America, where, finding all other talents
unmarketable, I had become first a professional runner, and later a
college trainer. To this occupation, in which I had been something of a
success, I had given many years until a small invention had made me
independent, and a man of leisure in a modest way. I saw he was a bit
disappointed when I told him I had been forced to "turn pro." in order
to obtain my bread and butter. I knew exactly how he felt, and well did
I remember my sorrow when I dropped the "Mr." from my name. It is not a
particularly high-sounding title, but to appreciate it at its true value
a man need only to lose it and become plain "Smith," "Jones," or
"Robinson." That nothing could raise the "pale spectre of the salt"
between Frank Patterson and myself, not even going outside the pale of
the "gentleman amateur," I was very certain.

But when I told him a little later that I had become a full-fledged
citizen of the United States, he could not conceal his surprise,
although he said but little at first.

We talked of other things for a while, and then my friend came back to
what I knew he had been thinking about all the time, and he asked me
bluntly how it was I had come to give up the nation of my birth.

"It seemed only fair," I answered, "that I should become a citizen of
the country in which I obtained my living, whose laws protected me, in
which most of my friends were resident, and where I expected sometime to
be buried."

At this the Colonel was silent for a little while, and then he remarked
rather doubtfully: "I cannot make up my mind just what the Americans are
like. Are they what Kipling declared them in the 'Pioneer Mail' some
ten years ago, when he cursed them root and branch, or what the same man
said of them a few years later, when he affirmed just as strongly, 'I
love them' and 'They'll be the biggest, finest, and best people on the
surface of the globe'? Such contradictory statements are confusing to a
plain soldier with nothing more than the average amount of intelligence.
What is the use, too, of calling them Anglo-Saxon? They are, in fact, a
mixture of Celt, Teuton, Gaul, Slav, with a modicum of Saxon blood, and
I know not what else."

I could not help smiling a little at the Colonel's earnestness. I tried
to tell him that the American was essentially Anglo-Saxon in spite of
all the mixture; that his traditions, aims, and sentiments were very
much like his own; that he had the same language, law, and literature;
that the boys read "Tom Brown at Rugby," and the old men Shakespeare,
Browning, and Kipling. I told him that the boys played English games
with but slight changes, and that they boxed like English boys, and
their fathers fought like English men.

"Yes," said the Colonel, at last interrupting my flow of eloquence, "I
heard the statement made at the Army and Navy Club only last night, that
the American soldier was close to our 'Tommy,' and that the Yankee
sailor was second to none. Yet all the time I cannot adjust myself to
the fact that he is 'one of us.' Perhaps if I saw some typical Americans
I should be a little less at sea."

"Well," I answered, "if that is what you want, I can give you plenty of
opportunity. This afternoon occur the athletic games between Oxford and
Cambridge on the one hand, and Harvard and Yale on the other. I am going
with a party of Americans; we have seats in the American section, and I
have a spare ticket which you can use as well as not. You can study the
'genus Americana' at your leisure, and see some mighty good sport
meanwhile."

"That would suit my book exactly," declared the Colonel; and he had
scarcely spoken before I saw Tom Furness standing in the entrance of the
hotel evidently looking for me. He was clad, despite the heat, in a long
Prince Albert coat which fitted him like a glove, and wore a tall silk
hat as well. He saw me almost immediately, and a moment later was
shaking hands with the Colonel. The latter was dressed in a
loose-fitting suit of gray flannel and sported a very American-looking
straw hat, so that Tom really appeared the more English of the two.
Which was the finer specimen of a man it would be hard to say, and one
might not match them in a day's journey. They were almost exactly of a
height, the Colonel not more erect than Tom, and not quite as broad of
chest. The latter certainly had not the Colonel's clean-cut face, but
there was something about his rather irregular features that would
attract attention anywhere. I was pleased to see, too, that he gave to
the Colonel a touch of the deference due his age and rank, which I admit
some of Tom's countrymen might have forgotten.

Furness was very cordial, too. "We are in great luck," he declared, "to
have the Colonel with us, for a little later we should have been gone.
It is about time to start now, after, of course, a little something to
fortify us against the drive." So he took us into the smoking-room,
where he introduced the Colonel to Harry Gardiner and Jim Harding. He
also made him acquainted with a Manhattan cocktail, which the Colonel
imbibed with some hesitation, but found very decidedly to his liking.
Tom explained that he had taught them how to make it himself that very
morning, and that it could not be bettered in all London.

Furness always constitutes himself host if he has the least excuse for
so doing. It is a way he has. Nothing but a man's own hearthstone in
his own particular castle stops him. He takes possession of all neutral
ground like that of a hotel, and considers it his duty to make matters
pleasant for all around him.

Harding and Gardiner were a half-dozen years younger than Furness, and
it was not many years since I had trained them for very much the same
kind of games as those of the afternoon. Harding was a big fellow, with
broad shoulders, and a mop of yellow hair. He had been a mighty good man
in his day with both "shot" and "hammer." Harry Gardiner had been a
sprinter,--one of the best starters I ever knew,--and a finisher, too,
which does not always follow. The Colonel got along very well with them
all,--a little reserved at first, and studying all three of them in a
very quiet way. He could sometimes not quite make out what Harding, who
had a very choice vocabulary of Americanisms, was driving at, and one or
two of Tom's jokes he failed utterly to comprehend; but he seemed to
understand the men themselves fairly well, nevertheless. We chatted
together a few minutes, and then Furness declared it was time to start,
producing cigars which would have tempted a modern Adam more than any
apple in the Garden of Eden. So the Colonel and myself left the others,
and were soon comfortably ensconced in a clean hansom, behind a good
piece of horseflesh, and bowling along toward the Queen's Club Grounds
at a very respectable rate of speed.

We enjoyed our ride very thoroughly, and arrived at the Comeragh Road
entrance almost too soon, for the crowd was only beginning to gather. We
obtained programmes, and entering the gateway found ourselves in full
view of the grounds at once.

A mighty fine sight they were, too, the stretch of level greensward,
hard and velvety, with the dark brown cinder-path encircling it. The
seats rose on all sides but one, and there, outside the fence, was the
fringe of waving trees, and the red brick houses, trim and neat. Over
all was the soft blue sky, with here and there a drifting cloud. I could
see the Colonel's eyes glisten. He had spent the best part of his life
in a country which alternated between the baked brown clay of the dry
season and the wild luxuriance that followed the rains. He went to the
very outside edge of the track, and took a careful step or two on it,
examining it with the eye of a connoisseur, for he knew something of a
track, although he had not seen one for many years. "'Tis fast," said
he, knowingly. "With the heat and calm the conditions are right enough,
and the men will have nobody to blame but themselves if they do not come
close to the records."

We walked slowly by the telegraph office, and back of the tennis courts.
As we passed the Tea-room we could see a few people at the tables, and
quite a little group was gathered around the Members' Pavilion. We went
by the Royal Box, with its crimson draperies, and found our seats close
to the finish of the hundred-yard, half, mile, and three-mile runs. The
Colonel gave himself at once to the careful examination of the
programme, as did I myself. The "Oxford and Cambridge" was printed in
dark blue ink, and "Harvard and Yale" in crimson. For stewards there
were C. N. Jackson and Lees Knowles, the former once the finest hurdler
in England. For the Americans, E. J. Wendell and C. H. Sherrill
officiated; many a bit of red worsted had I seen the latter break across
the sea. Judges, referee, and timekeeper were alike well known on both
continents, and had all heard the crunch of a running shoe as it bit
into the cinders. Wilkinson of Sheffield was to act as "starter."

"He has the reputation of never having allowed a fraction to be stolen
on his pistol," remarked the Colonel.

"Let him watch Blount to-day then," I said.

The Colonel ran his finger down the list. "Nine contests in all. One of
strength, three of endurance, two of speed, two of activity, and the
'quarter' only is left where speed and bottom are both needed. How will
they come out?" he asked.

"About five to four," I answered, "but I cannot name the winner. On form
Old England should pull off the 'broad jump,' the 'mile' and 'three
miles,' and New England is quite sure of the 'hammer' and 'high jump.'
This leaves the 'hundred' and 'hurdles,' the 'quarter' and 'half' to be
fought out, although of course nothing is sure but death and taxes."

"I suppose it will be easy to distinguish the men by their style and
manner," said the Colonel.

"You will not see much difference," I replied. "The Americans wear the
colors more conspicuously, Harvard showing crimson, and Yale dark blue.
'Tis the same shade as Oxford's. The Americans have also the letters 'H'
and 'Y' marked plainly on the breasts of their jerseys. There are some
of the contestants arriving now," I remarked, pointing across the track;
"would you like to see them before they strip?"

"I certainly would," he answered; and we slipped out of our seats and
around the track to the Members' Pavilion, in front of which they stood.
Just before we reached them, however, we met Furness, Harding, and
Gardiner, the former holding a little chap about ten years old by the
hand, who was evidently his "sire's son," for his eyes were big with
excitement and pleasure.

"Which are they?" inquired the Colonel, a little doubtfully. "That chap
in front is an English lad or I miss my guess," looking admiringly at a
young giant apparently not more than twenty years old, and perhaps the
finest-looking one of the lot. His hat was in his hand, his eyes were
bright, and skin clear, with a color that only perfect condition brings.

"No," I answered, rather pleased at his mistake; "that is a Harvard
Freshman, though he bears a good old English name. Since Tom of Rugby,
the Browns have had a name or two in about every good sporting event on
earth. Would you like to know him?" I asked, for just then the young
fellow spied me out and came forward to meet me with a smile of
recognition. I was quite willing to introduce H. J. Brown to the
Colonel, although it was hardly fair to present him as a sample of an
American boy. As Tom would have said, it was showing the top of a
"deaconed" barrel of apples.

The young fellow shook the Colonel's hand with an easy self-possession,
coloring a little under his brown skin at the older man's close
scrutiny, who said a quiet word concerning the games, and asked him if
he felt "fit."

"I'm as fit as they can make a duffer," he answered. "Boal, over there,"
pointing to an older man with a strong face full of color and who was a
bit shorter and even more strongly built,--"Boal is the man who throws
the hammer. He's better than I by a dozen feet."

"Yes," remarked Tom, coming forward and shaking Brown's hand with a
hearty grip, "this young man is not an athlete at all; he worked so hard
at his studies that they sent him over here to recruit his health,
impaired by too close application. He is strong only in his knowledge of
Greek verbs and logarithms."

At this there was quite a laugh, in which Brown joined heartily and the
Colonel came in with a quiet chuckle, for he had come to quite enjoy
Tom's "little jokes;" and under cover of our amusement the young fellow
left us and disappeared in the dressing-room.

The Colonel watched the little string of well-groomed fellows file
along, taking particular notice of the smallest chap of all, who came
laughing by, swinging his dress-suit case as if it weighed a scant
pound. "What does he do?" the Colonel asked.

"That's Rice, the high jumper," spoke up Tom. "He is good for six feet
before or after breakfast. Indeed I think he could do the distance
between every course of a long dinner, with perhaps an extra inch or two
before the roast."

"He has the best style of any man we have," volunteered Gardiner, "and
goes over the bar as if he had wings."

I tried to get the Colonel to look over the English lads. "Oh, they 're
all right, I know. I want to see how near the American boys can come to
them," said he, for the Colonel was loyal to his own, and after his long
absence thought all the more of everything the Old Country produced. We
did get a look at one or two, among them Vassall, an Oriel man, whom Tom
pointed out, although how he knew him I could not guess. He was a
grand-looking fellow, very strongly put together, and he walked as if on
eggs.

"He looks like a winner, sure enough," said I.

"Yes," continued the Colonel, "old Oriel always has a good thing or two
on field and river both."

By this time the seats were filling rapidly, the stands were becoming
crowded, and around the track were rows of people seated on the grass.
We elbowed our way to our own places, and were settled at last, the
Colonel on my left, little Billy Furness next, and Tom last of the row.
In front of us were Gardiner and Harding, and behind, four or five
American girls, two of them pretty, and all of them well dressed, with
plenty of crimson and blue in their costumes.

We had scarcely taken our seats when one of the girls discovered the
royal carriage, jumping to her feet so hurriedly that she rather
disturbed the Colonel's hat, for which she apologized so prettily that
he must have felt indebted to her, despite the trouble. We all rose as
the royal party alighted from their carriage, and the London Victoria
Military Band played as only they can on such an occasion.

We could see the Prince plainly, and with his light clothes and hat he
set a good example of comfort to others. He looked to me much as he did
when I saw him last on a Derby day many years ago. A good patron of
sport has he always been, and his presence now gave color and zest to
the whole affair. When he appeared in the box, he stood for a few
moments, his eyes wandering over the grounds, and a smile of pleasure on
his face. A royal sight it was, too, for the sun was shining brightly on
the many-colored bank of spectators that circled the track. The hurdles
stood in straight rows on the farther side, and right in front were the
twin flag-staffs, at the feet of which hung the Union Jack and Stars and
Stripes ready to hoist as one or the other country won. In the middle of
the field were the blackboard and a megaphone, suspended from a tripod
for indicating to eye and ear the results of the contest and records
made.

The first contestants to show were the "hammer throwers," and the big
fellows were greeted with a rattling round of applause as they crossed
the track, Greenshields of Oxford, Baines of Cambridge, Boal and Brown
of Harvard, chatting cordially together as they walked over the field to
their places in the farther corner.

The little girl behind us offered the Colonel her field-glasses, which
he was glad to get, and for which he thanked her heartily.

"Take them whenever you want," she said with a smile; "you'll find them
right here in my lap."

Now this certainly was a freedom to which the Colonel was not
accustomed, but I noticed that he seemed to adjust himself to it very
easily. It was not, perhaps, the manner of the "Vere de Veres," but was
very cordial, which was something better still.

"Who is expected to win?" inquired the Colonel, as Greenshields began to
swing the hammer around his head.

"This is supposed to be a sure thing for Boal of Harvard," I answered.

"Yes," spoke up little Billy, "and I know him too. Case Boal is a
daisy."

"A daisy is he?" asked the Colonel, looking down at the little fellow's
flushed face. "He looks to me more like a big red rose. Do you throw the
hammer too?"

"No," answered Billy, gravely, "though I've got a cousin, most fifteen,
who throws the twelve-pound hammer, and is a 'cracker jack.'"

"A cracker jack, is he?" inquired the Colonel; "and are you a cracker
jack too?"

"Oh no," answered Billy, "I'm not much. I sprint a little, and won
second place in the 'hundred' at my school games this spring. I want to
run the 'quarter,' but dad won't let me till I'm older. That was his
distance, and when I go to college I shall try for the quarter too."

"Bless his heart," said the Colonel to me. "Are there many American boys
like him?"

"The woods are full of them," I answered. "There goes Brown; I want you
to see him throw. He will not do Boal's distance, but is improving every
day, and has a very pretty style. He is probably a few yards better than
Greenshields, and Baines can hardly get the hammer away at all. The
Englishmen have really no show in this event, for it is not cultivated
as it should be in the Universities."

"Why, then," asked the Colonel, "did our men include it with no hope of
winning?"

"It was a very sportsmanlike thing to do," declared Furness, "and
arranged in much the same spirit as the three-mile run, which is a
distance unknown in America, and in which we have not the least chance."

"Yes," said I, "I cannot remember a contest in which there was so little
jockeying in the preliminaries. They were conducted in the most liberal
manner on both sides, and many concessions were made. One of the best
illustrations is the 'hurdle race,' which will be run over turf, as is
the custom here, while the hurdles will be movable, as is usual in
America."

"That is the true spirit of amateur sport," said the Colonel, "and is a
mighty fine thing, whichever wins."

Now I must confess that at this moment I found myself in a very peculiar
state of mind. I was not sure which team I preferred to carry off the
odd event. This was very unusual for me, as I am always something of a
partisan, and cannot see two little chaps running a barefooted race
along the street without picking a favorite, being a bit pleased if he
wins and disappointed if he loses. But to-day there was on one side the
country of my birth and on the other that of my adoption, and between
them I was utterly unable to choose. So evenly did they draw upon my
sentiment that I made up my mind I should be satisfied either way, and
meanwhile I could enjoy myself without prejudice.

"There's the jumpers," suddenly cried out little Billy, whose quick eye
had first discovered them emerging from the crowd that fringed the track
in front of the dressing-rooms. Sure enough, there were Daly and Roche
in their crimson sweaters looking over the ground. The former carefully
paced off his distance from the joist and marked his start, and as he
did so, Vassall and Beven appeared, sporting respectively the dark and
light blue, and shook hands with their opponents.

"Who is the favorite here?" inquired the Colonel.

"Oh, Vassall will win in a walk," answered Tom.

At this the Colonel was entirely at sea.

"But," said he, "I did not think there was to be a walk at all,"
examining his programme carefully. Then catching Tom's meaning, he
continued, "You mean he wins easily? Well, I'm glad of that. I should
like to see one first at least pulled off by the old college."

"Nothing will stop him but an attack of apoplexy before his first jump,"
declared Tom, positively. "He will not need to take another. I saw him
in the spring games, and a more natural jumper I never saw. He is at
least a foot better than Daly, who I believe never made a broad jump in
public until it was known he might be needed by his college."

"You ought to see him play football," said Billy here, looking up at the
Colonel with admiring eyes. "He's a 'dandy,' and just as cool as that
'measurer' over there," pointing to a gentleman who had bent over the
many throws of the hammer until he was in a most profuse perspiration.
At this there was a laugh from all round, which was followed by another
as Billy's example of coolness wiped his beaded brow.

The "hammer" and "long jump" are not very rapid events at best, but
they answered very well while the late-comers were finding their seats.
I was particularly pleased to note that Tom had eyes only for Vassall,
whose easy style took his fancy amazingly, while the Colonel saw nothing
to admire but the Americans' exhibition with the weight.

He borrowed the glasses from the little girl behind him, with whom he
had become very friendly for so reserved a man, and watched Brown
carefully as he planted his feet firmly in the seven-feet circle, swung
the heavy hammer around his head again and again without moving from his
ground, until with a last fierce effort he sent the missile whirling
through the air in a long arc to strike with a dull thud.

Just as the Colonel started to comment on it admiringly, however, he was
interrupted by a cheer as on one of the flag-poles that rose side by
side in front of the royal box the Union Jack was hoisted to indicate
that England had won the first event. A little later on the other pole
the Stars and Stripes were run up, and we knew that the "hammer throw"
had gone to the Americans, and honors were easy.

The blackboard showed that Vassall had jumped his twenty-three feet, and
Boal had thrown one hundred and thirty-six feet eight and one-half
inches, both very excellent performances.

The Colonel was enjoying himself immensely, and I was gratified to see
how much at home he had made himself. He found in Furness a very
congenial spirit, Billy was a boy after his own heart, and the young
ladies behind him were interesting enough to take quite a little of his
attention. He was telling them something about a polo match in India
when I interrupted him to point out the men going to their marks for the
"hundred-yard dash."

We could look along the splendid track with the narrow laneways made by
the white cords. Hind of Oxford inside, then Quinlan with an "H" on his
crimson jersey, then Thomas with the narrow stripes of dark blue, and
outside Blount with a jersey of the same color and the "Y" on his
breast.

"Who wins here?" asked the Colonel.

"I give it up," answered Tom; "this is a race."

We could hear the starter's "Marks," "Set;" the wreath of smoke rose
from his pistol, and before the sound reached us, they were off, Blount
a bit the first, Hind and Quinlan close together, and Thomas a shade
behind. Did Blount beat the pistol? I am not sure. He was certainly in
the lead; then Quinlan came up, to be in turn collared by Thomas, who
had a shade the best of it until the last few strides, when the big
fellow in the crimson jersey made a supreme effort and shot by us, a
winner by a foot.

"Close work that," remarked Harding.

"Yes," said Tom, "it was a close fit, and not much cloth left."

When the American flag went up again, and the blackboard showed the ten
seconds with no fraction to mar its symmetry, there was very hearty
applause from the whole field. Even time in the "hundred"! Only the
aristocracy belong here. This is where fractions tell, this race "that
is run in a breath." There are thousands good for ten-two, tens are
equal to the ten-one, but the men who can do the straight ten can be
counted on the fingers of the hand, and even then the conditions must
suit them.

"Do you know," remarked the Colonel, with a far-away look in his eyes,
"I can remember the day when I would have given a year of my life to
have seen those figures after my name? I had a friend once who held the
watch over me on a still June afternoon who showed the figure, but I
never saw it again, and I fear that friendship made the watch stop a bit
too soon."

The "mile" was not a race at all. When Hunter of Cambridge romped in a
winner by a good twenty yards, with Dawson of Oxford beating out Spitzer
of Yale by a very determined finish, Tom declared that it was "a very
pretty procession, with a big gap after the band wagon." Freemantle gave
a beautiful example of pacemaking, and what Hunter might have done had
he been forced is only guesswork.

It now stood even again with a two to two, to which Oxford and Cambridge
had each contributed a win, and Harvard two. Yale had not distinguished
herself as yet; 1899 is certainly not Yale's year.

As the men went to their marks for the hurdles, starting in the farther
corner of the field and finishing far to our right, they were watched
with particular interest, for this was considered by many to be the
pivotal race. Paget-Tomlinson was known to be good for his sixteen
seconds, and might knock a fraction off this. Just what Fox could do was
more of a question, although the story of a very pretty trial had leaked
out in some way.

Tom told the Colonel it was a case of "horse and horse," which
expression he was forced to explain, as it was a shade too doubtful.

A hurdle-race is a pretty sight over cinders, but on turf as green and
level as a billiard-table it was doubly beautiful.

We could see Fox and Hallowell crouch for the start, and Tomlinson and
Parkes bend forward. I did not hear the pistol, so fascinated was I, as
the men came away, skimming over the ground like four swallows, and
rising over the first row of hurdles as if they had wings.

It is easy to judge a hurdle-race from any angle. All that is necessary
is to watch the men rise, for the one that lifts first is certainly
ahead. Sometimes a race is won in the "run in," but not often. At the
first hurdle the men rose almost together, at the second Parks and
Hallowell were a bit late, at the third they were plainly behind, and
Paget-Tomlinson was also a bit tardy. From this out, Fox drew ahead all
the time, finishing with a burst of speed that put the result entirely
out of doubt.

I had just remarked, after the applause had somewhat subsided, that
Tomlinson must have been "off form" when the board showed a fifteen and
three-fifths, and I revised my conclusion. The "Cantab" had done better
time than ever, but Fox had demolished the record.

It was right here that the Colonel received something of a shock, for a
little behind us and on our right a young fellow suddenly sprang to his
feet, and called out at the top of his voice: "All together now. Three
long Harvards, and three times three for Harvard." And then from a
hundred throats came "Harvard, Harvard, Harvard, rah rah rah rah rah rah
rah rah rah, Harvard."

The Colonel confessed to me afterward that his first thought was that
some one had gone crazy. "By Jove," said he, "I have heard 'Fuzzy Wuzzy'
make some queer noises in my time, but that beats them all."

I explained to him that it was a custom among the American colleges to
have a particular cheer to encourage or applaud, but I saw that it took
all the Colonel's accumulated enthusiasm to carry him through. It did
sound a bit queer on the Queen's Grounds, however it might go on the
Soldiers' Field in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The events now stood three to two in favor of New England, and their
chances did look very good to me. They needed but two more wins out of
the four remaining, and one of these was the "high jump," which on form
was a certainty for them. To be sure, it was whispered that Burke had
"gone stale," but I had seen him win so many times when he was plainly
not in condition, that I did not count him out. Then, again, there was
Boardman in the "quarter," and Yale was "about due," according to Tom.

At the very start of the "half" Struben started out to make pace in a
very business-like manner, which the Americans might have copied to
advantage. Indeed from first to last they showed little knowledge of
this useful accomplishment. That Burke tailed on was a surprise to no
one who had seen him run, for with his turn of speed his game is to keep
close up and run his man down in the last fifty yards. Yet I did not
like the way he took his first step. He seemed dead and in difficulties
after the first lap. I heard the little girl behind us declare
confidently, "Just wait till Tom Burke reaches the straight."

We did wait, sure enough, but he never came. Graham passed Struben, and
finished comfortably in one fifty-seven and one-fifth, with Adams a poor
third. The score was now even again, with three to three, and, as
Furness declared, he was "beginning to have a touch of 'heart disease.'"

"It is certainly 'up to Boardman' now," said Tom, as the men went to
their marks for the "quarter." "Unless he can pull this off we are
counted out, and no mistake."

The young Yale Freshman had before this run half round the track, to
limber up a bit, and appeared right on edge.

There was hardly a sound as the men waited for the signal. Nobody cared
to talk as they took their places for that most punishing of all
distances, the "quarter mile," and every one watched the little bunch of
men in the far corner of the field.

Hollins, the stocky little Oxford man, was away first, as if for one
hundred yards. He drew Boardman and Fisher after him at a killing pace,
Davison running easily behind. Round the first turn they came, Boardman
inside and on practically even terms with Hollins, the tall Yale man
looking a bit anxious even then. Down the stretch they sprinted, still
at top speed. At the last turn Boardman shot ahead, and for a brief
second looked all over a winner. It was only for a second, however, for
Hollins swung wide, and Davison came through like a locomotive, as
strong and speedy. Boardman made a plucky effort, but the big "Cantab"
would not be denied; he came to the front thirty yards from the finish,
and the best the Yale man could do was to stagger over, five yards to
the bad, and dead run out. Whether or no he would have done any better
if he had stayed back instead of following Hollins I cannot tell.

"Poor old Yale," said Furness, contemplatively, when the applause had
died out, the Americans joining gamely, although they knew their last
hope went with this event. "Poor old Yale, it was not always thus. I can
remember a time when Yale men had a very pretty knack of breaking the
worsted and letting the other fellows run between the posts, but this is
not Yale's day nor year."

We now had time to watch the "high jumping," which was going on in front
of us and a little to the right. The bar had reached five feet ten
inches, and Paget-Tomlinson had gone out at five-five. Rotch comes first
and is over, although he touches the bar, and it trembles a moment
uncertain. Adair is over too. The English lad takes his run a bit across
and goes over with a grand lift from his long legs. Here comes Rice, who
has not yet pulled off his sweater, although the bar is already several
inches over his head. The little chap bends forward, gets on his toes,
gives a short run straight at it, lifts in the air like a bird, shoots
over, turning in the air meanwhile, lands lightly with his face to the
bar he has just cleared, and runs back under it to his place. It is the
prettiest performance for a high jump that the Colonel has ever seen,
and he applauds vigorously, as do many others. At the next lift of the
bar Rotch goes out, for he has not been himself quite, and is not equal
to the six feet which he has so often negotiated. We expected also to
see Adair drop out here, for five eight and one-fourth had been his best
record; but he showed daylight between himself and the bar, and for the
first time I began to be anxious. I truly did not care which team won,
but I did not want to see anything worse than a five-four, and it looked
now as if it might be a six-three.

Up goes the bar to five-eleven, and again both Adair and Rice are equal
to the task before them. With Adair it is the performance of a grand
natural jumper, but with Rice it is all this, and a style that must be
worth inches to him.

At six feet the Oxford man did not go at the bar with quite the
determination he had previously shown, and down it came. Rice now pulls
off his sweater for the first time, showing how well put together he is
from head to foot. Straight for the bar he goes, just the same as when
it was at five-six, and he clears it with apparently the same ease as at
the lower distance. Adair struggles gamely, but his last try is
unsuccessful, and the score stands four to four, with only the
"three-mile" left.

I could see very plainly now that the Colonel was getting a bit nervous.
"Do you consider this a certain thing for Workman?" he asked me, after
Tom had declared that the Americans had no chance at all, and that the
contest was all over "but the shouting."

"Yes," I answered. "None of the Americans have ever done the distance,
and this is where condition tells. I doubt if they could pull it off on
neutral ground; after a sea voyage and a few days in a different climate
they are simply out of it."

"Well," said the Colonel, "I shall feel better when it is over. I have
seen enough of the Yankee boys to have considerable respect for them,
even in a race they have no right to win."

The six contestants took their places in that leisurely manner which is
always shown in a distance run. This race is not won at the start,--not
much. All the same the Britishers were quite willing to make pace, for
they swung ahead at the beginning, and for several laps Workman of
Cambridge, Smith and Wilberforce of Oxford, showed the way around at a
fair pace. Tom had his watch out and caught four fifty-eight for the
first mile. At the end of the fifth lap Smith retired, after having made
pace for a considerable part of the journey, leaving his man, Workman,
in the lead and running strongly. Only a little later Clarke, who had
given no clue to his difficulties and had been running well, suddenly
collapsed, dropping on the track without a word, almost without a
stagger, and was carried to the grass completely "run out." It was a
"run out" too, and not one of the grand-stand performances which we
sometimes see.

At the close of the two miles Wilberforce suddenly retired, having
suffered badly with a stitch in his side which he could not overcome,
and Workman, Palmer, and Foote only were left, the last dropping a bit
behind all the time, but sticking doggedly to it nevertheless.

"By Jove!" exclaimed the Colonel, in the middle of the seventh lap,
"that man Palmer looks dangerous; he is clinging to Workman's heels and
is running fully as easily."

"He is doing well," I answered, "but I do not like his color. Look at
Workman's face and you will see the difference."

"Difference or not," spoke up the Colonel, excitedly, "there he goes;"
and true enough, Palmer suddenly quickened his stride and took the lead.

"He'll do it," cried the Colonel; but the "Cantab" immediately regained
his premier place again, while a great cheer went up from the crowd.
Twice after in the eighth lap did Palmer repeat the performance, but
each time Workman came up again. Every one was now on his feet, as the
bell rang for the last lap. There was a hoarse murmur of excitement;
the Colonel muttered something under his breath. Tom was pressing his
leg against mine as if he thought he could push his man along. Billy was
jumping up and down, and the little girl behind us was laughing rather
hysterically. Which would win, Old England or New England?

It was settled in a most conclusive way by Workman himself, for the bell
seemed to act like an elixir of life to him. Suddenly he began to
lengthen and quicken his stride, and he left Palmer as if he were
anchored. Round the track he swung as if it was the first lap of the
"half," and when he broke the worsted he was raised by willing hands to
the shoulder and carried to the dressing-room in triumph. The crowd
surged onto the track, as they ought not, and interfered with Palmer's
finish; but it did not harm him, for he was really "run out," and Foote
was yards behind, though running pluckily.

We were all mixed up together for a few minutes, shaking hands all
round, all of us with flushed faces. Billy had a suspiciously red nose,
and the little girl behind us one big tear on her cheek.

Suddenly the Colonel caught my arm and pointed to the two flags, the
Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes waving side by side.

"Look at that," he cried; "that's a sight worth coming far to see."

"Yes," said Tom, uncovering, "and with lads like those who have fought
it out to-day to defend them, it would be a bad job to try to pull them
down."

We lingered for a little while, and when we separated it was agreed that
Tom and I should join the Colonel and a friend at the Army and Navy Club
for dinner.

There we talked of many things, but mostly of the two great nations
which we represented. "'Tis the same breed, after all," declared the
Colonel, oracularly. "Of course the cross strain is there, but it has
not hurt at all as far as I can see. Do you know what did the most to
convert me? Well, it was that handshake with young Brown. A Frenchman
can't shake hands, and neither can a German, though good fellows both
may be. But Brown had the good firm grip close to the crotch of the
thumb, and looked me straight in the eye meanwhile. 'Tis only the
Anglo-Saxon can do this properly."

When the evening was well on, we drank a toast or two; for the Colonel's
friend, who was a retired naval officer, declared that it was an
occasion where a dry dinner would be a disgrace, and he was strongly
seconded by Tom.

So first came "The Queen, God bless her."

Then "The President, God help him," as Tom piously ejaculated.

We drank to the two teams, good winners and plucky losers both, and then
to the flags.

"I have nothing against the other bits of bunting," declared Tom,
generously; "but what is the use of having more than two? Let us arrange
it now. The Union Jack shall fly over the eastern, and the Stars and
Stripes over the western hemisphere. The Frenchman, German, and Russian
shall take what is left."

"That leaves them the sea," I interposed.

"The sea!" cried Tom; "why, that is ours already beyond dispute."

It was just at midnight that we drank our last toast with all the
honors. It was the "Anglo-Saxon Race." May its two great nations never
meet in sterner conflict than that fought out in friendliness, on green
field and brown cinder-path, under a smiling sky!



[Illustration: First For Money]


It was late in the winter of 186- that I arrived in Boston, having bade
farewell to Old England for good and all.

It was not an easy thing to do, and it was with a wrench of the heart
that I made the break-away.

I confess the separation was not entirely of my own choosing, that I
left under a cloud I do not care to lift, that I had sinned the sins of
youth and repented of them. Nothing more shall I say; but one thing I
can never quite forget,--back in old Lancashire was I gentleman born and
bred.

When I landed, less than fifty dollars had I in my pocket; but that did
not fret me, for I had been assured an Englishman of good birth and
breeding had but to pick and choose in the "States." All my money and
most of my conceit were gone when I met Arthur Hacking a month later.

I had first stopped at a good hotel, and offered my services at genteel
occupations, such as banking and school-teaching. But business men,
very naturally, declined to trust a man without references who admitted
that his past was not clear; and from school-teaching I was prohibited
by a lamentable weakness in both mathematics and the languages. Indeed,
I then realized for the first time that there were more important
schools than that of the "cinder-path," and something more was needed to
get on in the world than a highly cultivated pair of legs.

As my money disappeared my ideas moderated. I moved to less and less
pretentious quarters, until an attic-room and a sickly fire became
luxuries I was likely soon to miss.

As if it were yesterday do I remember the raw March morning, when,
having spent a few cents out of my only remaining dollar, I set out to
make a last desperate effort for employment other than that of the
horny-handed son of toil. At noon I stood on the corner of Washington
street and Cornhill, utterly at a loss what to do. My overcoat was in
pawn, and an east wind, such as Boston only knows, was freezing my very
marrow. The streets were full of half-melted snow and ice, and my feet
were wet and cold.

As I stood there with much of the feeling and something of the attitude
of a lost dog, I suddenly recognized a man to whom I had applied a few
days before for a position as bookkeeper. I stopped him and asked
bluntly for work of any kind. He offered me a job as day laborer,
cutting ice on some pond several miles away; for he was the manager of
an ice company. I should have accepted at once had he not, with true
Yankee shrewdness, argued from my evident necessity and unskilfulness
that I should work for less than a regular day's pay. At this I
demurred, but should certainly have yielded had not Hacking, by some
freak of fortune, passing by, caught in my speech the accents of the
"old Shire."

He introduced himself without ceremony, and taking me by the arm, led me
away, telling the ice-cutter to go to a place where the climate would
give him no occupation, unless he changed his business.

Hacking was a big, bluff chap with a red face, and not a bit of the
Yankee about him, though he was then some ten years over. When he
offered me his friendship, and suggested that we could talk better in a
warm place, and after a lunch, you may be sure I did not refuse him. My
heart and stomach were alike empty.

All through my disappointments a stiff upper lip had I kept, but this
first bit of kindness was almost too much for me, and I nearly played
the woman for all my twenty years.

We adjourned to the "Bell-in-hand," where I told as little as possible
of my story to him, between alternate mouthfuls of cold beef and
swallows of old ale.

I confessed to him I was "dead broke," and could find no employment;
that is, no employment for which I was fitted. He asked me for what I
was fitted, and I told him I was blessed if I knew; that as near as I
could discover day labor was about all I was good for. He clapped me on
the back with a "Never say die, my lad!" but could think of no
suggestion which promised me any relief, and finally invited me to drive
home with him. He owned a little inn at Brighton, and promised me food
and shelter for a few days until I could "gather myself together."

That this very necessary feat could be performed in a "few days" I very
much doubted; but the invitation I accepted gratefully, and five o'clock
found me sitting beside him on the narrow seat of a light carriage, my
portmanteau tied on behind.

The road to Brighton was a very decent one, and the big roan mare he
drove reeled off the miles in a way that opened my eyes to the
possibilities of the trotting horse. I doubt if there was her equal in
all England.

A clock was striking six when we stopped before the door of the
"Traveller's Rest," and I slid off the seat on to the frozen ground, my
legs so stiff that I could scarcely walk.

It was a large white house, with green blinds, and a piazza with tall
white pillars in front. Cosy enough it seemed, too, with its lighted
windows and its smell of hot meats; while from the bar in the corner
came the sounds of a jingling piano and a good voice singing an Old
Country ballad of "Jack and his Susan."

I found the inside of the house as comfortable as the outside looked
inviting, and it was after a better dinner than I had eaten for many
days that I sat with Hacking in a little parlor off the bar, my feet
toasting at a coal fire, taking a comforting pipe and an occasional sip
of the "necessary."

It did not take me long to find that Hacking was most interested in
sporting matters, and our conversation gradually harked back to the
cracks of the cinder-path who were in their glory when he left
Lancashire, ten years before. A little information I gave him about old
friends, and then we talked of those who had taken their places, Hacking
bewailing the fact that there were none like the "good uns" of the past.

"How many men are there to-day," he asked, "who can do the hundred in
even time?"

"There are very few good sound even-timers in all England," I answered,
"and only two among the amateurs,--one a Cockney, the other a
Yorkshireman. The only Lancashireman who can do the hundred in ten
seconds is sitting with you to-night, and little likely to see the Old
Country again for many a long year, if ever."

At this, Hacking gave me a very comprehensive look, puffed a few times
vigorously at his pipe, and said, "Young fellow, boasting is a very bad
habit, particularly on sporting matters. I will bet you your board bill
for a month against the pipe you smoke, that you cannot show me better
than eleven seconds to-morrow morning."

"Eleven seconds!" said I, "a school-boy should do that."

"Yes, eleven seconds," spoke up Hacking again. "You are not in condition
and the track is slow, which will even matters up, and I'll give you the
advantage of the odd fraction."

I accepted his proposition very promptly, though the pipe was the only
friend I had, and a relic of old college days which I should have hated
to lose. While I was certainly not in training, poverty and worry had
left me no superfluous flesh, and it must be a bad track indeed which
could pull me back to eleven.

We talked and smoked until a little after ten, when I pleaded fatigue
and went upstairs to bed, Hacking agreeing to call me at six o'clock the
following morning, as he said he had reasons for wishing the trial
private. He showed me to a very comfortable room on the second floor,
which seemed luxurious after my experiences of the last two weeks.

Although I had left home without the formalities of farewell calls, and
under the cover of the night, I had put in my luggage, small as it was,
a pair of running shoes, trunks, and jersey. Why I did this I could not
have told; certainly not in expectation of using them again, for I
thought there was no sport in America, and that I had run my last race.

I think now it must have been the unconscious wish to keep one link with
the good old days when I had carried the "dark blue" to the front, or
thereabout, over brown cinder path and soft green sod.

I did not sleep very well for all my comfortable quarters, and when
Hacking knocked at my door on the following morning I had been up an
hour or more, and was clad in full running togs, having ripped from
trunks and jersey all trace of the well-loved color.

When he looked me over his eyes glistened, for he had not seen an
English athlete in a proper rig for many a long day.

We went down the back stairs and through the barn yard to a little track
behind the house. It was a foggy morning and one could barely see the
length of the hundred yards. I jogged once or twice over the course to
warm up, and discover some of the bad spots, and then announced that I
was ready for the trial.

Just then the sun came out, and as I waited at the start while Hacking
went to the finish, he walked through a golden haze. It seemed a good
omen. I felt more at home in my running-shoes than I had since I left
the Old Country, and was once again happy, with my foot on the mark,
drinking in full draughts of fresh air and waiting for the signal to be
off.

This was the drop of a handkerchief, for Hacking did not care to use a
pistol. There was the quick spring, the crunch of the cinders, the rush
of the soft wind, the ever-quickening stride, until with one last effort
I passed the post with a rush.

It was a rough trial, sure enough, but Hacking's watch showed ten and
four-fifths. He announced himself satisfied, confirmed his promise, and
my worry about food and shelter was over for a full long month.

I now spent a number of days trying still to find something to do which
I could fairly handle, going into the city each day, but entirely
without result.

I was at no expense, however, for I walked to and from town, and took a
cold lunch with me. This last was attended to by Hacking's niece, a
tall, fair-haired girl, a trifle awkward yet, for she was only sixteen,
but pretty, and promising to be a real beauty later.

She was very kind and gracious, as a good girl is sure to be toward one
in trouble. Indeed, Jennie's sympathy soon became liking, and might
perhaps have grown to something more had it received any encouragement.
I do not mean by this that I was irresistible or that she was at all
unmaidenly, for a more modest girl I never saw. But she was very lonely,
her uncle allowing her not the least word with any of his customers. I
was the first young fellow she had ever known, and sixteen is a romantic
age.

Never was I beast enough to have gone further than a mild flirtation
with a girl like Jennie, and now I was bound in honor not to abuse the
confidence of a friend, the only one I had. There were some old
Lancashire memories, also, which would not down.

I had not been long at the "Traveller's Rest" before, at Hacking's
request, I went into mild training, and soon after he broached to me a
plan by which I might make enough to keep me for some months, and
incidentally a comfortable penny for his own purse.

This was the plan:

There was in Boston a man by the name of Simmons, who was yards better
than any one in the country. Hacking plainly told me that while I ought
to win, even I had no sure thing, but that he would risk a hundred
dollars or more on my success; that he could get odds of at least two to
one, and that he would give me one-third of the winnings.

It may be a matter of surprise that I should decline this offer,--almost
an object of charity, with everything to win and nothing to lose; but
there was something very disagreeable to me in the thought of turning
professional. The line between amateur and professional was then, and is
now, much more closely drawn on the other side than here,--and rightly
so, to my mind.

While I do not propose to preach a sermon on this text, "I could, an' if
I would." The jockeying in our American colleges, though very skilfully
done, is bad in every way and hurts legitimate sport not a little.

I felt, I say, that in running for a wager with a professional I was
forfeiting my standing as a gentleman amateur, and my claim to be
considered a gentleman at all.

Jennie thought the same thing, and came mighty near a quarrel with her
uncle over the matter. But he, led more by the ambition to pull off a
good thing than by mercenary motives, would not give up his plan, though
Jennie begged with tears in her eyes,--an argument which had never
before been ineffectual.

It was only when I had lived on his bounty a full week over the month
that he hinted, delicately enough (for a right good fellow was he), that
my time was up. There was nothing else to do but consent, and a week
later the "Boston Herald" announced that there was "a match on between
Chipper Simmons and Hacking's Unknown, $200 to $100, distance one
hundred yards, to be run May 1, at Hacking's Brighton track, at four
o'clock in the afternoon."

I had three weeks of careful training on the wretched little track, and
when the morning of May 1 dawned I was fit as possible, and able to run
for my life. It was not an English May day, but more like what I was
used to seeing in the Old Country a month earlier. The sky was blue, and
across it drifted soft white clouds, for there had been showers in the
night. There was the smell of the moist earth, and what little wind
there was blew from the south, and carried the fragrance of the
pear-blossoms from a young orchard to my window as I threw it open.

I took my tub and Hacking gave me a right good rub down after; not a
very artistic performance, but given with good will and with a strong
hand. When it was done he looked me over with a critical eye,
pronouncing me very fit, "barring a heavy pound or two;" but as I had
done my work faithfully he could find no fault. He thought me a bit
over-confident, and told me so; but I had never for a moment doubted my
ability to defeat anything against me, and I paid little attention to
his words. I was not conceited, but I knew there were not a half-dozen
amateurs in all England in my class, and was sure an Old-Country crack
must outclass anything the States could produce.

As early as two o'clock the spectators began to arrive, and I, following
my own inclination as well as Hacking's suggestion to "get under cover,"
went upstairs and knocked at the door of Jennie's little sitting-room.

She greeted me most cordially with a handshake and a "good day to a good
winner." She was dressed in her best gown, and had been sitting at the
window to watch the arrivals. I took a seat by her side on the little
chintz-cushioned window-seat, and watched with her.

To those who to-day see the throngs of well-dressed and refined people,
many of them ladies, who attend college, amateur, and even professional
sports, it may not be amiss to describe the spectators of my first match
at Hacking's Brighton track, back in the sixties, for a typical sporting
crowd it was.

They drove to the door in all sorts and descriptions of vehicles, drawn
by animals as various. They soon filled the long sheds back of the
house, and then a dilapidated fence was utilized for hitching-posts, and
even a few trees of the young orchard.

The drivers were many of them Englishmen, for the average American was
too keen after the dollars in those days to leave them for sport of any
kind. The adjournment to the bar was almost unanimous, where enough
money was taken for fancy drinks to make good Hacking's stake had he
lost.

We could see them come swaggering up the steps, many of them carrying
whip in hand, and there was much loud talk of passing Tom, Dick, or
Harry on the road, with the "little bay" or the "brown colt."

We could hear them plainly, for the window was up a bit, and they did
not talk in whispers.

Every now and again some one would chaff Hacking on his Unknown, telling
him to "trot out the wonder," or "give us a sight of the man who runs
Simmons even."

It was three o'clock when a long moving wagon labelled "Boston Belle"
drove up to the door, containing Simmons, his backers and immediate
attendants; and the crowd at the bar sauntered out on the piazza to meet
them, and hurried back in augmented numbers to patronize still further
the tall bottles behind the mahogany.

I had a glimpse of Simmons as he stepped out; but he was enveloped in a
long ulster, and all I could discover was that he was extremely tall and
dark.

His supporters had plenty of money, and soon ran the odds up to three to
one, at which figures Hacking accommodated them to a considerable
extent. I had not another supporter, however, for they all seemed to
consider that Hacking had quite lost his head, and took the match as a
huge joke. It was very evident that, if I broke the tape, it would be a
most unpopular, as well as unexpected, win. Hacking stuck to them well,
but at last got all he wanted, and declined to risk any more. So
confident was Simmons' principal backer that he proposed another match,
though this was not yet pulled off, agreeing to concede three yards when
we ran again.

It is wonderful what effect such talk has on a contestant, no matter how
confident he may be. I had not for a moment doubted the ability of a
crack man like myself to beat anything in the States at my distance, but
I now began to admit the possibility of defeat, and to consider that it
meant almost starvation to me. You must remember I was barely twenty
years old, in a strange country, and a man trained close to the limit is
particularly liable to fancies.

Jennie had been talking to me all the time in her quiet way, for she had
the good old English habit of subdued speech; but little did I hear
then, and now I remember almost nothing at all.

I first noticed that she had become vastly indignant at a reflection on
the courage of the "Unknown who dares not show himself."

"Don't fret: you'll see him soon enough, my man," she said, with a toss
of her head. She was giving me some absurd instructions about letting
Simmons get the best of the start, and then sailing by him in the last
few yards, so that the disappointment might be more intense, when some
one in the crowd yelled out with a Yorkshire accent, "Fifteen dollars
to five on the long-legged Chipper. Fifteen to five against the 'veiled
lady.'"

There was a loud laugh at this, which was too much for Jennie. She
jumped up, went to her little desk in the corner, and took from one of
those secret drawers, which are so evident, her purse, and emptying it
in her lap counted out five dollars and a few cents over. She then
called the chamber-maid, gave her the five dollars, and told her to give
it to Jerry, the hostler, to bet on Mr. Brown.

"'Tis an easy way to make money," she said, with an immense amount of
disdain at my remonstrance.

I sat with her a while longer, she doing all the talking, for my mind
was occupied, to put it mildly. When the little clock on the shelf
pointed to three-thirty, I left to get into my running-togs, she giving
me a good grip with her soft warm hand, and saying, "I shall see you win
from the attic window."

When I reached my room, which Hacking told me to keep locked, I had a
difficulty in finding the key-hole that I had never experienced, except
"after dinner" or at late hours of the evening, my fingers being quite
unsteady. As I stripped, my courage seemed to leave me with every
garment. I remember I wondered if it would come back again when I put
on my running-clothes. A little better I did feel, but at the last
moment I broke the lace of my left shoe as I was pulling it tight.

Now, there is an old superstition that this means a lost race, and
though I had never thought of such a foolish thing before, it seemed now
a sure omen of defeat.

Indeed, I may as well confess first as last, that when Hacking knocked
at my door, for the first time in all my life (and the last as well) I
was in a blue funk.

Yes, a rank quitter was I on that afternoon of May 1, 186-, and I am not
sure I should not have cut and run, had there been the least chance to
get away.

Hacking discovered my condition at once, and grew mighty serious when
his efforts to hearten me were unsuccessful. And truly the man had good
reason to be serious,--a good three hundred dollars at risk, and here
was his man with knees kissing and lips white.

There was nothing to do but to go on with the game, though, to make it
worse, as I walked down the back stairs, I caught my spikes in a crack
and nearly put myself out of the race by a bad fall before the start. It
is almost an absurd thing to say, but when I picked myself up and
discovered I was entirely uninjured, I cursed the ill-luck which had not
allowed me to be disabled.

I did have pride enough to make a brace when I reached the open air, and
flattered myself I did not show how badly I felt.

I was enveloped in a long top-coat, which hid me completely, but as we
forced our way to the track through the spectators, who crowded around
to get a look at me, my teeth were set to keep them from chattering.
There were several offers of three to one, and one of four to one, as we
passed; but Hacking said he had enough, and I think he told the truth
and could have said "more." He hurried on with me to the start, where
Simmons stood with a little cluster of his most ardent admirers.

As we approached, Simmons threw off his ulster, and came forward to meet
me. His eye caught mine, and he smiled in a very peculiar way,
discovering immediately my condition, and held out a long brown hand,
without a word.

I extended mine mechanically, expecting an ordinary handshake, but
greatly to my surprise he gripped it in a most vicious squeeze which
brought almost a cry of agony to my lips. I learned afterwards that this
was a common trick to intimidate and dishearten, but was entirely
unprepared for anything of the kind, having always run against
gentlemen, where all proper courtesies were observed.

The effect upon me was, however, directly opposite that expected. My
trouble was not so much lack of courage as simple nervousness. With the
shock of the pain this disappeared as if by magic, and in its place came
at first a blind rage at the injury, which I could scarcely restrain,
and then the determination to win, if I never ran again.

I was a different man. I threw off my top-coat, and facing my opponent,
looked him over critically and carefully. I am free to say I could not
deny him a long breath of admiration. He was over six feet tall, dark
and slender, showing signs of the infusion of Indian blood which was in
his veins. He was clad in a common undershirt, far from clean. Instead
of trunks he wore overalls cut off just above the knees, and on his feet
were a pair of well-seasoned moccasins.

Yet despite his unsportsmanlike and ludicrous costume, a better-built
man for a sprinter I never saw, and I have seen some of the best.

His legs were long and lithe, well-rounded, but not too heavily muscled,
and every cord and sinew showed through the brown skin as fine and firm
as a bowstring. He carried not an ounce of extra weight above the belt,
although his chest was full and his arms sinewy. With the strong jaw and
piercing black eyes, there could be no question of their possessor's
determination. I knew my work was cut out for me with a big pair of
shears; that I had met a man as good if not better than myself, and I
must do all I knew to win. That I was to win I had now determined,--a
grand, good condition of mind for a contestant to possess.

Simmons observed me as critically as I did him, and I think that the
more he saw of me the less he liked me. The contrast between us was as
great as possible. I was as fair as he was dark, several inches shorter,
and although without any superfluous flesh, much larger boned and
muscled. Indeed I was built more like a "quarter-miler" than a sprinter.
I must have bettered his weight by several pounds, and had not the
top-coat covered me, and my nervousness shown itself, I question if he
would have tried his little bit of brutality upon me.

While the survey of my opponent was most comprehensive, it was the work
of seconds. He suddenly produced a roll of dirty bank-bills, and shook
them in my face with a "See here, young fellow, I go you one hundred to
fifty you're a loser." I opened my mouth to decline the bet, but my
words were drowned by a torrent of mingled abuse, invective, and I know
not what of "billingsgate." It ended in an endless repetition of the
very conclusive sentence, "Put up, or shut up," "Put up, or shut up,"
which evidently gave him an extreme amount of satisfaction. I was not
then the possessor of fifty cents, and was pleased when the starter
silenced him with the peremptory order to "Get on your marks."

I went to the line at once, followed by Simmons, and as the crowd was
being pressed back slowly behind the ropes, Hacking drew me a little
aside and gave me his last instructions. "Now, my lad, listen to what I
say. You've got your heart back all right, and can win if you use your
head. The starter will hurry the pistol a bit, for he would like to see
you win, and you need not be afraid of going away too soon. Get a yard
to the good, and hold it, for if you cannot show clear at the tape, you
will stand no show with the referee."

I learned afterwards that while both were supposed to be fair and
unprejudiced men, Hacking had practically named the starter, and
Simmons' backer the referee. The former would give me all possible
advantage, and the latter would see none but my opponent at the finish
without opera-glasses unless I had him plainly beaten.

To those who do not know, I will say that, in a sprint, very much
depends on the start; that a contestant must be off with the pistol, or
steal on it if he can. But if he gets away before the shot, he is
brought back and penalized a yard for each offence. Knowing that the
pistol would be a bit quick was a decided advantage to me, as I could
start without fear of being set back.

As I got in position, I had made up my mind to the following facts:
First, that I had the best side of the track. It was the west or
farthest from the house, and well I knew every inch of the brown
cinder-path that stretched before me. For the first fifty yards there
was nothing to choose; but on the east side, which Simmons had taken,
just before the finish was a soft spot which would trouble him. Second,
the rain of the previous night had made the track quite heavy, which
should also help me, as my greater strength must push me through. Third,
my appearance had not been without its effect on the crowd, and I had
heard a word or two of approval of my "get-up," also of the quiet and
business-like way in which I had met Simmons' tirade.

We were on our marks and waiting for the word when suddenly my opponent
discovered my running-shoes, and insisted that I must run in smooth
soles like himself.

He kept up a wordy warfare with Hacking on this subject for at least
five minutes, Hacking arguing that there were no restrictions, and that
I could wear top-boots or golden slippers if I chose.

Simmons was silenced at last by the crowd, who plainly saw I would not
run without spikes, and were bound to see a race.

All this controversy, together with the continued brutality of my
opponent, had put me fairly on edge. I was as cool as possible, ready to
do all I knew, eager to start, and growing more determined if not more
confident every minute.

I had given an occasional glance at the attic window of the hotel where
I could see Jennie, and every time I looked came the wave of a little
handkerchief that did me a heap of good.

As I "set myself," and looked down the track, fringed on either side by
the crowds of spectators pressed close against the ropes, not one of
whom was friendly to me, every nerve of my body tingled, and the
"fighting blood" passed down to me through many generations of good old
English stock was at a fever heat.

Now I saw nothing and thought of nothing but the red worsted at the
finish; I strained at the mark with every muscle tense, my weight well
forward, and a buzz in my ears like the song of a huge top.

From the starter's lips came the "On your marks,"--"Ready,"--"Set," and
then a bit ahead of time came the "crack" of the pistol, and we were
off.

Can any one describe the mad ten seconds of a sprint? 'Tis over in a
breath, and words are slow.

I doubt I had a foot the best of the start, but Simmons was a trifle
"phased" by the quick shot, and did not get his speed so quickly. But
when he did get it, how he came!

At fifty yards we were even, and at seventy-five (do all I could)
Simmons had drawn a yard to the good.

A yell went up from the crowd. It made him think he had me beat. But had
he? His easy wins had taught a fatal fault of slowing at the finish. The
soft ground helped it, and the yell that gave him a false confidence
drove me mad with glory. I let out the last link in me, and passing like
a shot, broke the tape, a clear winner by a yard.

There was no mistake: Hacking's "Unknown" had won.

I ran much farther over the finish than did Simmons, and when I worked
my way to the referee through the crowd, the decision was announced,
and my opponent was like a fiend. He threatened the referee, and swore
he would break the neck of the d---- "ringer" with the spiked shoes.

Although I was not looking for trouble, I should not have hesitated to
show him I knew another game beside running if he had laid a hand on me.
Thanks to his friends' persuasion, with some physical force added, he
was pulled away and through the crowd.

This last had now become quite friendly to me, having gone from
curiosity to admiration for the man who could beat the "Chipper" even.
Some shook my hand, others patted me on the back, and many suggested an
adjournment to the bar with unlimited liquid refreshment as the "proper
medicine for a good winner."

They took my declining in good part, and soon Hacking forced his way to
me, and tearing me from my admirers, gave me a chance to retire to my
room.

I found Jennie at the top of the stairs, with tears of joy in her eyes,
and a bit hysterical from excitement. Greatly to my surprise (and her
own as well, when she realized what she had done), she threw both arms
round my neck, and kissed me twice before she came to herself. Then
there was a bright blush, a quick turn, the rustle of skirts, and the
slam of the door.

I was glad enough to reach the solitude of my room, where from the
window I saw Simmons bundled into the "Boston Belle" by a half-dozen
dejected supporters, and with none to do him honor among the many.

"_Le roi est mort, vive le roi_," is as true on the cinder-path as in
the great world outside.

But as I sat in my room, a winner, with the cheers still echoing in my
ears, and good money awaiting me, it was a sad heart that beat under my
jersey.

For the "red pottage of Esau" I had sold my birthright.



[Illustration: The Hollow Hammer]


It was on a June day back in the late "sixties" that I first saw Angus
MacLeod, the hero of my story of "The Hollow Hammer."

I had given a boxing-lesson to a little jeweller in South Boston who was
burdened with a pugilistic ambition, and was walking leisurely homeward,
enjoying the fine weather and the exercise in the open air. As I
sauntered along at an easy pace, with my eyes wandering here and there,
something in the day or the neighborhood reminded me of the "Old
Country," and particularly the ancient town of Bury. I think it must
have been the sight of the iron-foundry down the street, with the flames
streaming from its chimneys.

I know I was harking back to almost forgotten scenes, and old
acquaintances who had doubtless long ago forgotten me (excepting one,
perhaps), when a chorus of rough voices brought me to myself with a
start. The noise came from behind the high fence which shut in the
iron-works yard, and I could not make out what it meant until I reached
the open gate and looked in.

It was the noon hour, and there were a lot of men lounging about, eating
from their tin pails, smoking short black pipes, and doing whatever else
they fancied. The yard was as level and smooth as a tennis-court, but
without the least sign of turf except along the fence and fringing the
foundation-stones of the foundry building.

The noise came from a crowd of workmen, clustered together not far from
the huge door. A row of them sat on the ground with their backs against
the wall, and there were a dozen or more standing together in a bunch.
These were mostly the younger men, who, not content with five hours'
work since sunrise, were having a friendly test of strength in putting
the shot.

They were using for the purpose an old cannon-ball, which must have
weighed a bit over the sixteen pounds by the size of it.

Cannon-balls were plenty in those days, for the war was not many years
over.

Now, there is always something interesting to me in the sport of a lot
of workingmen. They take a bit of a lark with all the more heartiness
because they do not have too many of them. Then, again, this
shot-putting contest was for the pure love of the game, and without the
selfish incentives of money, prize, or glory.

There was a running fire of good-natured chaff all the time, and at each
"put," good, bad, or indifferent, the contestant was guyed unmercifully
for his style or distance. Failing this, some old personality was raked
up, the allusion to which brought out no end of laughter and applause.

It was an interesting scene, with plenty of variety and color. The men
were mostly big, brawny fellows, with sleeveless flannel shirts of red,
blue, or gray, open at the breast; and grime or rust could not hide the
splendid development of arms, chests, and shoulders.

The sun was warm and bright, and here and there a tin pail would catch
the light, and shine as clear, I warrant, as ever the shield of a good
knight, back in the old days when there were sterner sports than tossing
an iron shot. Many a good man could I see, but at the game they were
trying they had much to learn. 'Twas a case of "bull beef," and little
more.

I watched them a few minutes, but was about to move on when there
appeared at the door of the foundry a young fellow who caught my eye at
once.

He was stripped to the waist, fresh from a struggle with the stubborn
iron, and his body was drenched and shining with sweat. His arms and
shoulders were round and firm; but there was no abnormal development, or
sign of a bound muscle, and he stood with an ease that proved good legs
under him, though hidden by the thick corduroys. His hair was light and
curly, and his face was smooth and clean cut.

Many bigger and some stronger men have I seen, but none whose
proportions were so perfect.

Among the few remembrances of my books is that dialogue of Plato which
describes the sensations of Socrates at first seeing the beautiful
youth, Charmides. Well (may Socrates forgive me the comparison), I had
the same feeling when I first looked at Angus MacLeod on that June day,
back in the "sixties." Barring the difference in costume, and the grime
which a little water would remove, I believe they were alike as two
peas.

The lad (he looked scarcely twenty years of age for all his development)
stood a moment or two in the doorway, watching with an amused smile a
big fellow put the shot a scant twenty feet, after an enormous amount of
effort. Then he was noticed by some one who called out, "Come here,
Mac, you porridge-eater, and show them how to do it."

At this he laughed, shook his head, and would not budge. But the call
was taken up by others, with a lot of chaff, like, "The lad's bashful,"
"A Scotch puddler's always shy except on pay-day," and a plenty more
like it.

At last a young fellow in a blue jersey, and an old chap, the color and
material of whose shirt were alike doubtful, took each an arm, and led
him, holding back a bit and laughing, to the circle within which the
shot lay.

He picked it up, dropped it while he drew his narrow belt a hole or two
tighter, and then picked it up again. He rolled it a bit in his hand,
raised it two or three times from his shoulder high above his head,
balanced a moment on his right leg, with the left lifted, and then, with
that easy wrist and hand motion, and that little "flick" at the end, he
sent the old cannon-ball a good two yards farther than any who had
tried.

It was a right good "put," though not a phenomenal one, and hardly a
fault could I find with the style, barring a little failure to get the
full turn of the body.

Almost as soon as the shot landed, and before the mingled applause and
good-natured chaffing were over, he left them with a parting joke, and
disappeared through the door, going back to his waiting furnace. This
was my first sight of Angus MacLeod.

I looked him up a few days later, got acquainted easily, and in fact hit
it off right well with him from the beginning. I was just enough older
for him to look up to me a bit in other matters beside athletics, and on
this last subject he gave me credit for possessing all the knowledge in
the market. I learned that he had been in this country some four years,
that he lived with an uncle, one of the pillars of a Scotch Presbyterian
church, and that Angus was himself a churchman, devout and regular in
his habits.

He had taken to athletics, with no other preparation than the school-boy
sports of old Aberdeen, making a specialty of the "shot-put" and
"hammer-throw."

This last was his favorite sport, and by dint of regular practice in an
open lot back of his house he was able to show about ninety feet as a
best performance. He improved this at once under my instruction, working
up to a regular hundred feet in a couple of weeks. This pleased him very
much, and he took kindly to my suggestion that he enter some open
competition, and see what he could do in a contest.

Indeed, he was quite confident that he could give a good showing, making
much of the fact that the MacLeods had been noted for their strength for
centuries. Many stories he told me of old John M'Dhoil-vic-Huishdon,
from whom he claimed to have descended. This John was the head of the
MacLeods of Lewis. He lived in the days of James VI., and, though a man
of small stature, was of matchless strength. Some of the tales, I
confess, I should have doubted, had not Angus been both a Scotchman and
a church member of good standing.

It was quite easy for us to choose an opportunity for Mac's début, as
there were some very convenient sports only a few weeks ahead.

These games, Scotch and otherwise, were the principal attraction at an
annual excursion of Caledonian societies, comprising all those within a
radius of one hundred miles of Boston.

Purses were small, but the enthusiasm great; and many a canny Scot,
under the influence of a "wee drappie," would back an impossible winner
for all his pockets might hold.

These were the good old days of Duncan Ross and Captain Daily, and at
one of these Caledonian excursions there afterward occurred that
never-to-be-forgotten wrestling bout on the deck of a boat moored in the
lake. So fierce was the struggle that the men worked overboard, and
neither being willing to break hold, they were well filled with water,
and in fact half-drowned before they separated.

Angus belonged to one of the Boston clans, and naturally chose these
Caledonian games for his first appearance, working hard, training
faithfully, and saying nothing, for a very quiet chap was Mac. If all
the men I have trained had been as easy to handle as MacLeod, I should
have one or two less gray hairs than I now possess. Unfortunately,
church members are not in as large a percentage as I would wish on the
cinder-path.

Now, I had at first no intention of pulling a dollar out of the affair,
except my regular fee for training. Even this I at first declined,
wishing to help my friend purely out of friendship. Mac would not have
it, however, and as his pay was high, I allowed him to have his way.

I had now been making a business of training athletes for nearly a year,
getting a good living out of it, and had at the beginning a nice little
nest-egg in the bank, ready for a rainy day.

Exactly how this was accumulated I do not care to say. These tales are
in no sense confessions, and I shall avoid the "strutting I" as much as
possible.

After my defeat of "Chipper" Simmons, at Hacking's Brighton track, there
were a couple of years passed not at all to my liking, though profitably
enough for one of small ideas. I took on matches wherever they promised
a dollar. I ran everybody, and every distance, from a fifty-yard dash to
a mile run, and almost invariably won, largely because of the pains I
took with myself, and my careful training. I learned all the tricks of
the trade, gave close finishes always, did an artistic "fainting act,"
and made myself a subject of regretful, not to say painful, remembrance
to a large part of the sporting fraternity.

They stood it all right for a couple of years, but the summer before I
met MacLeod I suddenly discovered I had about squeezed the orange dry.
They had, very naturally, grown more and more shy of me, until it had
become impossible to obtain a match, except under prohibitive
conditions. I tried giving good men eight yards in the "hundred" and one
hundred yards in the mile for a while, but discovered it was a hard
business, with nothing in it. My only profit, as far as I could see, was
to run crooked, and fake a race or two, but at this, though not
over-nice, I drew the line.

I was willing to underrate my powers, and fool the fancy on my
condition; to win by a scant yard with pretended effort, in order to
pull on my opponent to another race; but to back him on the sly and lie
down, to pull money from my friends, I could not. A gentleman I might
not be, but honest I would be still. Indeed, despite the "winning way" I
had, my reputation was of the best as a rare, good runner, as a square
man who gave his backers a straight run for their money, and as the most
knowing man in the States concerning work and training for the
cinder-path.

On this last I made up my mind to trade. I announced my absolute
retirement as a contestant, and my intention to make a business of
training and handling others.

My prices startled them a bit at the beginning, but after I had made a
few winners out of almost impossible timber, I was kept fairly well
occupied. When the winter put a stop to my out-of-doors work, I became
instructor in a gymnasium, and gave lessons in boxing and fencing. I
even prepared one man for a ring contest, which he won, thanks to his
perfect condition, after acting as a chopping-block to a better boxer
for a couple of hours, this affair satisfying me at once and forever
with the prize ring.

At the coming of the spring I found my book very well filled, and would
by June have been quite content to have trained Mac with no recompense
whatever.

Yet I had no objections to make money from others, and discovered a very
fair opportunity, as I thought, about two weeks before the games. I then
received a bit of information that there was a dark horse grooming for
the hammer throw, in the person of an Irishman by the name of Duffy. He
was an enormous fellow, as strong as an ox, could do nearly one hundred
feet, and the tip made him a sure winner.

Now, I was very confident I knew better, though ninety feet, in those
days, was phenomenal for an amateur, and a throw of one hundred had not
been made in any previous contest. The best of the news was kept for the
last, and that was that Duffy had plenty of friends with good money to
back him.

I figured at once that MacLeod could just about call the trick, that
being a smaller man would help the odds, and that, properly managed,
there was a pretty penny in it.

Mac was now doing from one hundred to one hundred and five in the most
consistent manner, and I made up my mind to plunge on him a bit, keeping
quiet so that Duffy's friends might show their hands first. This was
easy enough, for Mac did all his work after supper in the vacant lot
back of his house, where no one could pull a tape over his throws. It
was prudent, also, for MacLeod had very rigid ideas about betting
(gambling he called it), and would undoubtedly have protested, if he had
not declined to show at all.

Duffy's friends began very cautiously with small figures, and I took all
that showed through a third party. When one hundred dollars was promptly
covered, however, they made up their minds there was something else
good, and became a bit shy.

I let them alone until the evening before the excursion, when I sallied
into the Duffy neighborhood, and at one to two offered to produce a man
weighing under one hundred and seventy pounds who would win against all.
Now, a hammer-thrower of this weight is rare, and I found all the money
I cared to cover. Indeed, I exceeded my limit a trifle. Then I wandered
over to Mac's field, pulled the tape over his throw of one hundred and
eight, and went home and to sleep, for not a grain of anxiety had I over
the result. I doubt if I should have given five per cent. to be insured
a winner.

The day dawned, fine and hot. We went down from Boston a good three
hundred strong, men, women, and children, the last turning out a whole
clan by themselves. There were bagpipes squealing, babies crying, and a
Babel of rough Scotch tongues. Tartans were displayed in all the colors
of the rainbow. Some were content to show only a tie, ribbon, or shawl,
but a fair percentage were in full Highland costume, and far from
comfortable many of them looked.

The dress is wonderfully picturesque, and nothing is more becoming to an
athletic man with straight legs and strong brown knees. But for a petty
tradesman with legs like pipe-stems, knock-kneed, and ghastly white it
is particularly trying, and many of the gallant Scots looked as if they
would like to don the protecting "breeks" to which they had become
accustomed.

We all piled into the hot and dusty cars, and after an hour and a half
were glad to get a breath of fresh air as we steamed down the bay.

Indeed, when we reached the "Point," a little before noon, I was loath
to go ashore, for the trees on a ridge of land cut off the wind, and the
place was like a furnace.

Nothing looked comfortable but a pair of bronze lions who flanked the
roadway to the hotel, and had they been alive I am sure they would have
found the day altogether too tropical.

I could see the crowds flocking around the swings, merry-go-rounds, and
the monkey cage, and there was a motley crowd in hired bathing-suits
enjoying a dip in the salt water. Of these last only was I in the least
envious.

The clans, immediately upon landing, formed in procession, and marched
off in the broiling sun, a half-dozen pipers playing "The Campbells are
coming" as loudly as possible, skirling like so many pigs under a gate.

The most conspicuous figure was an old fellow who blew as if his life
depended on the effort, and until I feared he would burst his bagpipe if
he did not rupture a blood-vessel first.

He seemed to feel that the world was looking at him, and he was well
conscious of its admiration. He was big-boned, loose-jointed, and so
sandy that it was a riddle to guess his age. His shoulders were badly
rounded, but he straightened up every few seconds in an abortive effort
to appear erect on this occasion, if never again. He was clad in full
Highland costume, even to dirk and claymore,--a rather unusual
accompaniment, and dangerous as well, for a Scot on a merry-making
where Scotch whiskey and Scotch ale mingle freely. He wore the MacNab
tartan, and the kilt looked as if it had been slept in, all twisted and
wrinkled.

As the clans marched up the hill and between the lions, I could see the
bright red tartans of the Frasers, the black and green of the Gordons,
and the beautiful parti-colors of the Stewarts. There were many others,
all showing bright in the sun; and there was a lift to the heels of the
marchers which nothing could have caused but the shrill notes of the
bagpipes. Indeed, they were enough to start the sluggish blood in my
veins, though I suppose my ancestors had long years ago heard the same
sounds with resentment, as the Scots swarmed over the border. As a
parlor instrument I should admit it had its superiors, but for strong
men going to battle I doubt if it has its equal.

There were all kinds of men in the crowd, from the gray-haired veteran
to the little fellow, born on American soil, who had never seen the
tartan kilts except on a holiday. There were a number of contestants in
the line, with strong, athletic figures, but not one could compare with
Angus, in the yellow and black of the MacLeods, as he marched, almost
the last. I saw the girls had their eyes on him, though Mac neither
noticed nor cared, for he thought them "kittle cattle," and was much
fonder of handling hammer and shot.

I had seen little of Angus since the start, for he was a clan officer
and had many duties, but found him, to my surprise, not in the least
nervous, and quite confident of winning. Did not old John
M'Dhoil-vic-Huishdon outclass all competitors in the old days, and was
not Angus MacLeod a lineal descendant, to whom had come the family
strength?

He said he had heard that there had been considerable money bet on him
to win, which he deplored, and that he would not have gone into the
thing at all had he foreseen it. I told him he was very foolish, for a
man might bet how long a Sunday sermon would last, and that if he did
not risk anything himself, not to trouble himself about others. Though
unable to argue, he shook his head, and was, I saw, uneasy, but I had no
fear of his drawing out at this late day.

When the crowd disappeared, I went to the hotel, and engaged a quiet
room, on the cool side of the house, where Angus joined me as soon as
the procession broke ranks.

I made him lie down a little while, gave him a sponge and rub-down, and
after a good lunch, such as a man should eat who expects soon to call
upon the best powers of his body, he pronounced himself feeling strong
enough to throw the hammer into the bay. We could see the crowd,
contestants and all, file into the long dining-rooms, where "clam-bakes"
were served. A very nice lunch for an excursionist, but about the most
awful diet possible for an athlete, particularly if he gorge himself in
a laudable ambition to get the full value of his fifty cents.

We waited until it was after two o'clock, and found the games already
started when we arrived at the place called in compliment the "athletic
grounds." It was simply an enclosure roped off from an open field; track
there was none, except as the feet of contestants had worn off the turf
and the sun had baked the surface hard. There were no seats, and we
found our way with some difficulty through the spectators, who crowded a
dozen deep all the way round, and tested the strength of the rope and
the firmness of the wooden posts through which it was drawn. An eager,
hot, and perspiring crowd it was, jostling, pushing, and elbowing, and
the last half-dozen rows might as well have been in the Orkneys, as far
as seeing the sports was concerned. As usual the tall and strong were in
front, and the short and weak were behind.

We found the enclosure full of contestants and their friends, the latter
an insupportable nuisance, in everybody's way, not excepting their own.
We saw Duffy standing with a little knot of henchmen, and they gave Mac
a critical glance as he walked by my side. It had leaked out in some way
who my man was, and the interest in him was great. They knew I was not
in the habit of taking up anything unless it was good, and some of Mac's
friends from the foundry had got a day off, with their last pay
envelopes with them.

All the officials and two-thirds of the crowd were Caledonians, but the
contests were nearly all open, and there was a large number of other
nationalities represented, particularly the Irish.

Of system there was next to none, changes were frequent, and orders
given and countermanded in the same breath. The noise was deafening and
the heat insupportable. The dust was like a good Scotch snuff as far as
sneezing properties were concerned, and of about the same color.

We were just in time to see the "fat men's race," in which the
contestants ran themselves almost into apoplexies. I am sure some of
these mountains of flesh must have permanently injured themselves, and
endangered their lives by their exertions.

I do not pretend to remember all the contests that followed, but there
were opportunities for every one, man, woman, and child, old or young,
to distinguish himself. Beside the regular sprints, runs, jumps, and
weight contests, there were "sack," "wheelbarrow," "potato," and
"three-legged" races, all opportunities for great laughter and applause.

I ordered Mac back to the hotel when we learned that the "hammer-throw"
was the very last event, and only sent for him when the afternoon had
nearly dragged itself out.

The last casts were then being made at "tossing the caber," which, being
the most characteristic Caledonian game of all, had a most formidable
list. Indeed, Angus was much disappointed that he had not entered, in
which feeling I did not at all join, for I wanted him to save all his
strength.

I remember now a little bandy-legged fellow in a crazy-looking kilt who
struggled with the heavy log, which he could scarcely lift, let alone
toss. He turned to me after a superhuman effort, his face aglow with
pride and exertion, and remarked breathlessly, "Rinnin's weel eneugh for
laddies; thot's the sport of a mon."

The "hammer-throw" had been left for the last, as I was informed,
because none would leave until it was over, thus ensuring a full
attendance until the end. The reason the "hammer-throw" was so popular
was because there was more money on it than all the other events
combined, also because of the race feeling excited by the nationalities
of the two most-favored contestants.

Perhaps a third of the spectators were Irish, and being more aggressive
and outspoken, were almost as much in evidence as the Scotch themselves.
Indeed, the applause when an Irishman won (and they had more than their
proportion of firsts that day) was as loud as at the victory of a Scot.

In the "hammer-throw" there were a scant half-dozen entries, the reputed
prowess of Duffy and MacLeod disheartening the less ambitious. I was
surprised to see among them old Sandy MacNab, the piper, but learned
that he had been a famous man with the weights, and had pulled off the
event here only last year. Indeed, for all his age (and more than twenty
was he) he was a good man yet despite his cadaverous appearance. He had
for years pulled money out of these Caledonian games, although the
amount of his winnings had diminished with his increasing years.

To-day he had backed himself to win the "Old Men's Race," and won
easily, but unfortunately stood to lose all he had made, and more too,
in the "hammer-throw."

In making his book to get second or better, he thought he had been
remarkably conservative, but receiving startling information concerning
Duffy and Mac when it was too late, had found it impossible to hedge. He
went into the contest expecting to lose, but resolved to make a try for
his money all the same. His contortions were wonderful, and convulsed
the crowd every time he threw, although he was serious enough, and
succeeded in getting into the finals with nearly ninety feet.

I shall never forget how the old fellow threw down his bonnet in the
dust, spit on his hands, and braced himself for his first trial. There
was a little crowd around the measurer, who stood a good one hundred and
twenty feet away. These MacNab noticed just before he threw, and
insisted that they "gang awa oot o' dainger" before he would make his
try, although there was just as great chance of his hitting the
flag-staff of the hotel.

After he had finished his dialogue with the crowd, in which he held his
own, and more, he grasped the handle again with his long, bony fingers.
At first swinging very slowly, then faster and faster, until with a
double twist that made his kilt stand out like a ballet-dancer's skirt
about his long, knee-kissing legs, he gave a grunt and a gasp, and let
go. He watched the hammer through the air with bulging eyes, and when
it landed, ran after, and argued with the measurer over an extra
half-inch in a maddening fashion. Sandy was a privileged character,
however, and had a roar of applause every time he tried.

When MacLeod came up for his first throw, he caught the crowd
immediately, so handsome and modest was he. He found particular favor
with the "ladies," and not alone did I hear "Eh, but he's a braw
laddie," but one little Irish girl, close to the ropes, with blue eyes
and the proverbial smudge under them, set an example of cosmopolitan
freedom by clapping violently.

Yes, a right well-looking man was MacLeod that day, as he twisted his
fingers round the hammer-handle and prepared to throw. He had a fair,
open face, well colored by the sun; indeed, darker was it than the hair
that curled round his forehead. His arms and shoulders were splendidly
developed, and his legs brown, and corded like a distance runner's. So
well-proportioned was he that he did not look the twelve stone which he
really weighed, and there were murmurs of applause when he threw the
hammer ninety-eight feet in his first trial, Duffy having shown but
ninety-six just before him. Neither bettered in their second attempts,
but when Duffy sent the hammer over ninety-nine feet in his third,
putting into the effort all the enormous strength of which he was
master, a yell went up from his well-wishers which did his heart good,
and he came as near smiling as was possible for so surly a fellow. There
are no supporters on earth like an Irish crowd; they are hopeful to the
last, and many an event has an Irishman won, under the inspiration of
the cheers of his adherents.

Less loud, though not less hearty, was the applause when Mac sent the
hammer one hundred and one and a fraction, in the faultless style I had
taught him. Not the equal of Duffy in strength (for the Irishman was
almost a giant in height and girth), he knew how to use all he had to
the best advantage, and he was working himself slowly up to his best
effort to follow.

As I have already said, MacLeod, Duffy, and MacNab were left in the
finals. Duffy was grave and quiet when he made the first of his last
three throws, and grew graver yet when the measurer gave him less than
before, and while Sandy was doing his contortion act, twisting, jumping,
and breathing hard, like a man possessed, he had a conference with two
of his principal backers who stood by themselves apart.

I was feeling very comfortable, for Duffy, I was sure, had done all he
was capable of; and when Mac did one hundred and four I decided I was on
"Easy Street," and began to count my earnings. All the time I kept my
eyes about me, and was surprised to see the look of confidence with
which the Irishman came up for his next to last turn. He planted his
feet firmly, swung his huge arms round his head until he grew black in
the face, and then a last effort, and the hammer flew through the air.

I knew the moment it left his hand that it would best any throw made,
but I was astounded when the measurer announced over one hundred and
eleven. Where was my money? I could not believe it possible, for I had
sure information that Duffy had never quite covered one hundred feet,
and while Mac should do his one hundred and eight or a trifle better, I
did not believe he could make the one hundred and eleven to save his
life.

It was while Angus was making his next to last throw that a sudden
suspicion came to me. I was probably wrong, but my money was in danger,
and no chance would I throw away to save it. This time Mac was dead in
earnest, and getting his strength in just right threw only an inch short
of one hundred and ten. I waited until Duffy was about to make his last,
and then walked down just in time to be by the side of the measurer
when the hammer landed. I saw the tape, it was over one hundred and
twelve; and the yell that followed the announcement was enough to madden
one who stood to lose a half-year's earnings.

I picked the hammer up, and tested it carefully, balancing it in my
hand, and as I held it there came to me a grain of hope. Was it light,
or was I led astray by my wish? I had seen it weighed by the judge; the
head looked full size, and the handle all right. In those days the
handles were of wood weighing about a pound, and made the total
seventeen pounds or close to it. I had carried the hammer half-way back,
when Mac came to me and said, his eyes black with determination, "'Tis
my last chance, but I'll beat him yet." I gave him no answer, but walked
on until Duffy saw me. I was testing his hammer in my hand, doubtful
whether or not to ask for a reweighing, when I caught his eye, and
decided.

MacNab saw me too, discovering something queer about my face, and he and
Duffy were at my side together, the latter holding out his hand to take
the hammer, his face flushed and his voice husky, as he asked "What in
h----" I was trying to do. MacNab said something, just what it was I do
not know, but it showed his disposition to support me, for he was on
the anxious seat as well as myself.

To Duffy's demand I answered as calmly as possible, "I believe this
hammer under weight, and ask for a reweighing," holding it behind me
meanwhile. At this there was a "hurly-burly" at once, Duffy's friends
surrounding me, and had it not been for MacNab's support I should have
been in difficulties. The old man did not know what fear was; no one
dared lay a hand on him, because of his popularity with the crowd, and
he drowned all other voices with his shrill pipings.

He demanded a reweighing much more forcibly than I. "I winna gie it
'tell the weght iss weghted. I winna, na, I winna," he yelled again and
again, like a broken-winded bagpipe for all the world.

Mr. Fraser, the judge, and a very fair man, saw that he must do
something, and silenced the uproar, although old Sandy kept up a
muttering all the time. "You saw me weigh the hammer," said he, looking
at me. "I called it seventeen pounds one ounce, and you made no
protest."--"I do not cast any reflections on you," I answered, "but this
hammer which has just been thrown is certainly not a sixteen-pound
hammer. I can prove my statement, and ask that all throws with it be
disallowed." Then MacNab, who stood between me and Duffy, with one hand
on the handle, set up such an infernal din that Fraser immediately
consented, and I handed him the hammer. At this Duffy changed his tune,
and proposed to withdraw, saying he would not have any dirty Englishman
nor sneaking Scotchman doubt his word. He shook his huge fist in
Fraser's face and demanded the immediate return of his property. In this
he made a mistake, for the judge was as full of fire as a little Scotch
terrier, and he promptly walked to the scales and laid the hammer on
them.

Then there was a dead silence. MacLeod came to my side, for the lad had
not spoken a word since the row began; not that he lacked pluck, but he
had a mortal antipathy to a windy dispute, and knew I was fully
competent to protect his interests. The weight was on the
seventeen-pound mark, but the hammer did not lift it, and I saw by the
eager faces that the crowd was becoming suspicious. The little judge
pushed the weight to sixteen pounds, and still the beam hung; and only
at fifteen-eight did it rise. Everybody looked at Duffy's flushed face,
and Fraser demanded an explanation, though there did not seem to be much
that could be said.

The tall Irishman hemmed and hawed a bit, and then said huskily, "Faith,
I think it must have struck a stone and knocked off a piece." Despite
our seriousness, this ingenious explanation was too much for us, and the
whole crowd laughed until it could laugh no more, Duffy sneaking off in
the confusion.

Old man MacNab became almost delirious in his joy at saving his money in
this miraculous way, for Duffy's disqualification put the lank Scott
second; and after he had loaded me with acknowledgments, he left, with
the laudable ambition of getting outside all the whiskey on the
premises. The last I saw of him, his long legs were swinging gayly to
the notes of the Highland fling, with a fair prospect of winning the
prize.

As the crowd flocked back to the hotel, Fraser thanked me for my
firmness which had led to the discovery of the fraud, and I declined to
accept any, as I had only watched my money. I did agree to take the
light hammer, and he gave it to me together with another which had been
picked up from underneath the feet of the crowd.

On the way home MacLeod and myself compared them carefully, and were
greatly puzzled. They were almost identical; the size and form of the
heads, the turn of the handles, and the initials "P. D." burned into the
ends were alike in both. We could not understand where the difference in
the weights came in, until we arrived at my rooms. Here I knocked out
the handle of the light hammer, and found the centre of the head
hollowed out in a most artistic manner, and the mystery was solved. I
have no doubt but that Duffy did not use this until he was forced to do
so, and that he threw the full-weight hammer which Fraser tested for the
first four trials. Only when he was sure that MacLeod, "the little
Scottie," was a better man, and his (Duffy's) money was as good as gone,
did he fall back on the artistic reproduction, which could have been
easily handed to him by a friend in the crowd.

I confess I made a very pretty penny out of this transaction, and it was
all the more welcome because of the fright I had been in over it. Poor
Mac was not so fortunate, for although he positively declined to take a
penny from me, he was given credit at the church for having gambled
disgracefully, and was near being expelled for it.

If this should seem at all an improbable tale, I will assure you that
much the same incident occurred among our gentlemanly friends, the
college athletes, at a comparatively recent date, although it was kept
quiet in deference to somebody's feelings, and not exploited as was the
"hollow hammer" back in the late "sixties."



[Illustration: His Name Is Mud]


There is always a "post mortem" atmosphere about Fall track athletics.

Baseball shows a bit more life, for now the ambitious Freshman receives
his "trying out" and struggles valiantly to catch the critical eye of
the Captain, in search of new material for the "Nine."

The only "real thing" is football, which reigns supreme until
Thanksgiving Day dethrones him.

This period is the most trying one of all the year to a trainer. One
after another of his men on whom he depends for points on field and
track are drafted for the "gridiron," until there is scarcely one left
except the second-raters, whom he would gladly spare. Try to imagine my
feelings as I watch a football game from the side lines, when Hopkins,
my only ten one-fifth man is picked out of the bottom of a "scrimmage"
with one of his precious legs twisted, or Baily retires with a
dislocated shoulder,--Baily, who alone can be depended upon for any
distance with the "shot." Shaw pulls his sweater over his head and
takes Hopkins' place at "half back," Marlowe drops his blanket and fills
the gap at "tackle" caused by Baily's retirement, and the game goes on
just as before. No one seems to care much, but I think of the coming
Spring and wonder what kind of a showing we are destined to make.

I had seen a short practice game between the second and third elevens,
and had watched a few men listlessly circling the track, until the
gathering dusk warned me that it was time for dinner. I stopped a moment
at "Conner's" to arrange for some shoes for the team, and was half-way
across the square when I saw ahead of me, and in the middle of the
street, quite a little crowd, from the centre of which came a confused
jumble of barks, growls, yelps, and howls, the sure sign of a canine
disagreement. Now, of course, I did not countenance any such low sport
as a battle between two street curs, but I elbowed my way through, as I
am afraid most men would have done, and I am not quite sure that my
motive was wholly the separation of the combatants.

I found them to be a very large and very good-natured St. Bernard, not
quite full grown, and a very small and intensely angry terrier, weighing
about as much as his opponent's left leg. Indeed it was not, strictly
speaking, a fight at all, if it takes more than one to make a fight,
which is I believe an accepted axiom. The terrier, a mixture of hair,
mud, and impotent rage, would scramble over the wet pavement and make a
desperate spring at the big St. Bernard's throat, either to be avoided
by a lift of the head or a turn of the body, and the little fellow would
roll over and over, then gather himself up and attack his good-natured
foe again with renewed virulence.

It was really very funny, for neither of them was getting hurt, and when
at last the big fellow, in sheer desperation, placed his paw on his
assailant and held him down struggling vainly, it caused a hearty laugh
from all the crowd. The St. Bernard looked doubtfully at us, very much
as if to say, "Is not this a very awkward position for a gentleman to
find himself in?" and at last, seeing a gap in the crowd, he suddenly
lifted his paw and tried to make good his escape. In this he nearly
succeeded, but was not quite quick enough, for his crazy little
assailant caught him by the first joint of his hind leg, and buried his
sharp little teeth deep in the cartilages. This was really too much for
the big fellow's temper, already sadly tried, and turning with a howl of
pain, he seized his vicious little enemy in his big jaws, shook him a
second or two fiercely, and then dropped him on the pavement. It was all
over before we could interfere, and the big fellow's anger passed as
quickly as it came.

He saw at once that something was wrong, for the ragged little body lay
on its side entirely motionless, with the exception of a spasmodic
twitching of the legs. He sniffed at him carefully, then gave us a look
of reproach, at which I confess I felt ashamed, and trotted sadly away.

It was just at this moment that a number of the football men appeared,
led by big Shack Sawyer, who quickly elbowed his way to the inner circle
by my side, demanding "What's the row, Professor?"

"Only a little dog fight," I answered, a bit shocked at the sudden
transformation from comedy to tragedy.

"It looks more like a dog funeral than a dog fight," spoke up Seever,
who was as usual at Shack's elbow.

"I wonder what his name is?" inquired an hysterical woman with a
falsetto voice, who had appeared from I know not where, to ask this
particularly interesting question.

"The dog's name!" exclaimed Shack; "his name is 'Mud,' I guess, and no
mistake." At which there was a half-hearted laugh, for the silent
little chap on the pavement was a pathetic sight indeed. Somebody said,
"Throw some water on him," and a bareheaded boy with a dinner-pail in
his hand filled it at a horse-trough close by, and Shack took it and
threw half its contents on the terrier.

No sooner had the water struck him than he gave a sneeze, like the
hunchback in the "Arabian Nights" who had the unfortunate experience
with the fish-bone, struggled to his feet, and after a somewhat unsteady
circuit of the crowd in a vain effort to find his late antagonist,
decided he had put him to flight, and began to bark triumphantly.
Indeed, the "dying gladiator" showed every sign of being as good as new,
with the exception of a little patch of red at his throat and a very
muddy and bedraggled coat.

He went from one to another, wagging his stump of a tail frantically;
and when the crowd broke up he dropped in at Sawyer's heels as if he had
always belonged there. Shack allowed him to follow him home, and after a
somewhat perfunctory effort to find an owner, he became Shack's dog from
this time on, and a very lucky dog he was.

When "Mud," for Shack's random christening proved permanent, was treated
to the twin luxuries of a bath and a comb, he showed quite an
attractive personality. That his coat of arms bore the "bar sinister,"
there was not the least doubt. His master declared there was no "blot on
his scutcheon," and that he was a pure-blooded, wire-haired fox terrier;
but his legs were too short, and his hair both too long and too silky
for any such claim. Seever made out an imaginary pedigree for him, in
which many canine aristocrats of different breeds appeared; but Marlowe
declared he certainly must have numbered somewhere among his ancestors a
very plebeian New England woodchuck.

Shack took a deal of chaffing over his "high-bred dog," but clung to him
nevertheless, and Mud sprang into instantaneous popularity with the
whole college. He had indeed a number of very valuable qualities, the
most important of which was an undaunted courage. He was afraid of
nothing that walked on four legs, or two either, for that matter. A dog
of his own size or smaller he treated with an easy condescension. He
looked upon anything larger as an enemy, and a very big dog he
considered a personal insult, no matter how he behaved. I am inclined to
think that the root of his anger was simply jealousy of superior inches.
Whatever the motive was, however, Shack was kept busy pulling him out of
the jaws of bigger dogs whenever he took him for an airing.

Mud could certainly not claim to be "no respecter of persons," for he
had a very different manner with which to treat the gentleman from that
he gave the laboring man. He was suspicious of the latter, even in his
Sunday broadcloth, and when he met him clad in overalls and jumper he
greeted him with a canine fusillade that was irrepressible. For rags and
dirt, despite his very questionable past and decidedly suggestive name,
Mud had a great antipathy. The sign "No admittance to beggars and
pedlers," which decorated the lower hall, was quite unnecessary after
Mud became a tenant, for he could pick these gentry out, no matter how
skilfully disguised, and indeed showed qualities which would have made
him invaluable in Scotland Yard.

He was forever on the move, and could tire out the most persistent
visitor in any sort of a game. Mud's favorite was a sort of "rough and
tumble" in which his opponent tried to bury him in the sofa pillows, and
out of which he always emerged with every hair on end, his eyes like
live coals, and his voice cracked from his efforts to make himself heard
under a pyramid of cushions.

Shack tried to keep his hand in for the "hammer throw," and practised
rather intermittently when football gave him a few spare moments. Then
was Mud in his particular glory. He would trot to the gymnasium at his
master's heels, watch gravely from one of the long benches while Shack
stripped and dressed, and then follow him into the middle of the field
with an unmistakable air of pride.

When Shack took the hammer in hand Mud would begin to whimper, and as it
whirled faster and faster round Shack's head, the howl grew more and
more crescendo until the missile took to flight, with Mud after it so
fast that it seemed as if he must sometime get the good sixteen pounds
on the middle of his back.

So great was the danger that Shack hit upon the expedient of having Mud
guard his sweater, which turned out to be the only way to keep the
energetic little fellow still. It was surprising too what a changed dog
he became when this responsibility was put upon him. He watched
suspiciously every one who approached, and there was no friend near
enough to be allowed to encroach on the forbidden ground occupied by
Shack's old sweater. Marlowe tried to pull it away suddenly one day, and
left a piece of his sleeve between Mud's sharp teeth as a memento of
the encounter.

It was after two or three weeks' residence in Shack's hospitable
quarters that Mud attained the zenith of his popularity and became
mascot of the class of 188-. In fact, he bade fair to attain the very
pinnacle of a dog's ambition, and to occupy the position of "luck
bringer" to the whole college.

His predecessor had been a brindled bulldog of such extraordinary
ugliness that it approached the beautiful, but he had fallen into
disgrace after allowing the Freshmen to win the deciding game of
baseball in the Spring, and the class had not filled the vacant place
until Mud came to ornament it.

Shack failed this year to make the big team and played on his class
eleven, where he was a bright particular star. In the first game with
the Freshmen which they won, Shack at "centre," and Mud as mascot on the
side lines, divided the honors, and the game went eighteen to nothing in
their favor. After this Mud was solemnly installed in his position by
Seever, who gave him a charge much like that to a newly installed
minister, and to which Mud listened very seriously, with his head on one
side, as he sat on a big chair with Shack's cap over his left eye.

It was hoped that Mud would furnish sufficient magic to make his class
winner in the game with the Seniors, which would decide the college
championship. When the day arrived he appeared at the gymnasium with an
enormous ribbon at his throat and much pride in his breast. He was so
distinctly elated that when Marlowe threw Shack's moleskin trousers at
him and told him to "Shake 'em," he declined to descend to so
undignified a sport.

No, his game was to be football that day.

It was late in October, and there was a thin mist threatening rain,
through which they travelled to reach the gridiron on which the struggle
was to be fought out. It was rather a rough field, with the trees all
around it, and the ground was quite covered in places by the dead maple
leaves. There was a mixed mob composed of the two classes; much
enthusiasm and more noise.

Mud was installed in a place of honor on the side lines close to the
centre, and for a throne was given Shack's old sweater and told to
"Watch it."

Immediately across could be seen the Senior mascot, a very disreputable
Billy goat, "bearded like the pard" and with only one horn left. When
Mud got a glimpse at his rival, nothing but a distinct sense of duty
restrained him from an immediate attack. When "William" was led,
struggling violently, around the field just before the game started, Mud
ran out on the long sleeve in a vain effort to reach his very
disreputable-looking enemy, but even then could not be tempted to leave
his precious charge.

He became very much excited when the men took their places for the
"kick-off," and barked furiously at every "down" during the first
"half." It was a hard old game, too, and one remembered long after.
Class games are often more severe than contests with outside teams, for
class rivalry is very strong, and there are not the same pains taken to
restrain roughness. The Seniors kept bucking the line fiercely, and
Shack at "centre" had all the fun he wanted holding his ground against
repeated assaults. He was well backed up, however, by Marlowe on one
side and Terry on the other, and the "half" ended with the score six to
nothing in favor of the Sophs.

It was a proud moment indeed for little Mud when he was led around the
field with the big ribbon on his neck, and so important did he feel that
he did not even notice old "Billy," although he trotted close by him.

The Seniors started in with the same tactics when the whistle blew
again, although they had not been at all successful. Not a "round the
end" play did they make, and they were at last rewarded for their
perseverance by knocking the wind out of Marlowe so completely that he
was obliged to retire.

The man that took his place was sandy enough, and well up in the game;
but he was too light to keep his feet on the soft ground, and it did not
take the Seniors long to discover that a plunge at "right guard" was
good for from two to five yards every time. Old Shack gave all the
assistance he could, but he was fairly well employed in attending to his
opposite, and the result was that the ball was worked slowly but
steadily up the field with every prospect of being carried over the
Sophs' line.

Nothing but the call of time could save them, and they lined up more and
more slowly, struggling desperately and praying for the sound of the
whistle. Down the lines the spectators followed, cheering hoarsely, and
cutting up the soft turf like a huge drove of cattle. There were but two
more minutes of play and a scant five yards to make. Old Shack had a cut
over his right eye, and a little stream of blood trickled down his
mud-stained cheek. He was steaming like a "yoke of oxen," and his canvas
jacket was drenched with sweat, one stocking was down over his shoe, and
a sleeve of his jersey was gone, showing the huge arm with its corded
muscles.

He knew well enough that the "touchdown" must come unless something was
done, but no good chance did he get until the ball was inside the
five-yard line. "Four-twelve-twenty" called out the "quarter back," and
the big "senior centre," crouching low against Shack's strong shoulder,
snapped the ball back just as he had done a hundred times before that
day. He got a bit too low, in fact, for Shack gave him a jerk, and
before the little "quarter" could get the ball out of his hands Shack's
big paw was on him, rolling him over like a kitten, and before he knew
what had happened he had lost the ball, and Shack had it snugly tucked
under his arm.

How the Sophs cheered, and when a moment later the whistle blew they
would have shouldered Shack had he not made it impossible by lying flat
on the muddy ground.

During these last five minutes Mud had been deserted and well-nigh
forgotten, mascot though he was. The crowd had surged up the field where
the fierce struggle was going on, and the little fellow was left all
alone, with nothing to occupy him but his own thoughts. He could look
across to "Billy" on the other side, tied to a post, and alternately
barked at him and whined for the friends who had left him.

Mud had no chains but those of duty, yet for him they were sufficient.
He would very much have liked to follow the crowd, or better still to
have had his own little game of football with "Billy" across the way,
with neither an umpire nor a referee to keep account of distance or
prevent rough play; but here was Shack's precious sweater, and here he
was bound to stay.

It had been raining too for a little while, and the little fellow was
getting cold and wet. He trotted around the narrow limits of his desert
island, giving an occasional shiver of discomfort, and wishing in his
heart that he was in his own snug place by Shack's warm fireside. The
thought of Shack warmed him a bit, despite the cold, and he lay down
again, waiting patiently for his master.

When the whistle blew he sprang to his feet, for he knew as well as
anybody that the game was now over, and when he heard the shouts he gave
a bark or two of triumph. His friends would be back soon, and might
perhaps lead him around the field again. He could not see very well, for
it was almost dark, and still the crowd lingered at the far end of the
field. At last they began to come toward him; at first moving slowly,
then more hurriedly at the thought of dinner, until some started to
run, and there was a big rush for the narrow path which opened through
the trees not far from where Mud stood.

The latter saw them coming, and he waved his stump of a tail and wiggled
his little body as he thought of the hand touches, and the "Good old
Mud" he was so soon to hear from Shack himself.

The crowd came like a wide, wide sea; but little Mud had no thought of
danger until they were close to him. He saw the big wave about to roll
over, he half turned as if for flight, and then, crouching low, he
sprang at the first man who set foot on the sweater he was left to
guard. He made no sound, and in the darkness and confusion the wave of
humanity swept over him, and did not pause until it left him crushed and
scarce alive. When Seever saw him as he followed the rushing mob, the
little fellow was dragging himself painfully back to the big sweater and
had a bit of gray cloth in his sharp teeth, which he had torn from the
first intruder.

Shack was giving a shoulder to Marlowe when some one cried out, "Shack,
old man, Mud's hurt;" and he left Marlowe in an instant, and was off
like a shot with a dozen men after him.

When they reached the crowd that clung in a dense circle, much as on the
first night, they found Mud lying on the sweater, his poor little body a
shapeless thing.

Shack bent over him with a groan, then lifted him tenderly in his arms,
and for a moment there came in the little fellow's fast-glazing eyes the
light of recognition. He licked the big hand that held him so carefully,
shivered a little, crept close to Shack's stained jacket, trembled a
little longer, and then lay still at last on Shack's broad breast.



[Illustration: How Kitty Queered The Mile]


I hear it whispered every now and again that the reason a probable
winner disappoints is because he is drugged. This is why that quarter on
which Tom White had a mortgage goes to an inferior man, and because of
this Jack Lewis, who was yards better than his field, is beaten out in
the "run in" of the "220" hurdles.

Now, I am prepared to say, after a longer track experience than falls to
the lot of most men, that in almost all such affairs the fault is with
the men themselves, who have either not done their work, or, more likely
still, have overtrained and gone stale.

Indeed, I honestly believe that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred
the best man wins because he is the best man, and the rest of the field
lose simply because they have not the legs, lungs, heart, or courage
necessary to bring them in first. There is mighty little "hocus-pocus"
business in amateur athletics, and the atmosphere of the cinder-path
is, after all is said, as pure as any on earth, not excepting that of
politics and the legal profession.

I know a very few events where men were drugged to put them out of
contests, but they are, in the main, uninteresting tales which I do not
care to tell.

In the little crack I mean to have with you, although no drugs were
used, there is about the clearest case of "fix" I know, and, what is
more to the point, I'll bet a fiver you will read it to the end.

I became acquainted with Kitty Murray when I was putting the finishing
touches to the athletic team of a large New England academy, just what
and where I cannot say, for very obvious reasons.

They had on their list an annual contest in field sports with a rival
academy, and called in outside training talent only six or eight weeks
before the games.

Kitty, with whom I struck up a friendship a day or two after my arrival,
was a little English girl, as fresh and fragrant as an "Old-Country"
rose such as I used to find long ago in a distant Lancashire garden. She
was only five years over, and it seemed like going back again just to
hear her talk. We became great friends during my stay in the little
town, and I shall never quite forget her.

I hope the story I am about to tell will not be thought to reflect on
her, and it will not, unless I bungle badly in the telling of it. Now, I
do not, of course, defend the "queering" of a race, and Kitty as surely
put a contestant out of winning place as if she had used a drug, yet it
was not done for money. The man did not deserve to win, and I confess I
like her all the better for the deed.

Kitty's father had come from an Oldham factory, thinking, like many
another, that in America he would own his mill within a five year. The
five years had passed, and he was still running his eight looms in the
big weave-shed by the river, where he first went to work.

Kitty had tended her five looms by his side for a year or so, and then
found more congenial as well as more remunerative surroundings in a
little store near the academy grounds.

This store occupied the lower story of a dwelling-house, which had been
built out toward the street, until its wooden porch infringed on the
sidewalk, and its flight of long steps rose from the edge of the gutter.

Whether it fractured any of the town ordinances by preëmpting the
sidewalk in this way I do not know, but it had a particularly inviting
appearance, like a host coming half way to meet you, and the porch,
sheltering from sun and shower, was a perfect drag-net for customers.

The front was all window, and the stock in trade plainly visible from
the opposite side of the street. Here was candy in jars on the shelves
and in trays on the counter, fruit in boxes and baskets by the windows,
a huge soda fountain near the door, and an ice-cream parlor back of the
store, with its horrible marble-topped tables, like gravestones awaiting
the inscription of "Sacred to." I have travelled a bit, first and last,
but nothing more dismal than an American ice-cream parlor do I remember
to have seen.

While it cannot be denied that Kitty's confectionery was often stale,
her fruit flavorless, her soda frothy, and her ice-cream as full of
starch as a Chinese laundry, Kitty herself was all right, and fresh and
dainty enough to offset all the deficiencies of her wares.

I can see her now, as I tell this story, with her bright "Old-Country"
blushes, her soft brown hair, her blue eyes, and her trim little figure
which her gowns always fitted so snugly. She was a marvel of neatness
from ribbon to shoe tip, and was rather extravagant in the matter of
foot-gear, for Kitty had a sweet foot and ankle of her own, concerning
which she was not ignorant.

Cap'n Holden, the proprietor of the store, was a long, lank Vermonter,
who had run a ding-dong race with consumption for twenty years, and was
likely now to make an age record ahead of many a hearty man. He lived in
a couple of rooms back of the ice-cream parlor, and left the management
of the store very largely to Kitty, doing the drudgery, and leaving the
high artistic to his assistant, content to find the money-drawer
comfortably filled each night.

There was a steady stream of the academy boys flowing in and out the
door of Holden's store all day, ruining their digestions, and going
broke on pocket-money for the sake of basking in Kitty's smiles. A
clever little business woman was she, too, for eighteen years, and very
well aware of her worth, as Mr. Holden had learned to his cost, for he
paid her what seemed a fabulous salary.

Now, my coming to the town was a serious misfortune to Kitty's business.
The taking some thirty of her best customers and forbidding their
accustomed indulgence in sweets, under penalty of not making the team,
must have resulted in serious inroads on her trade.

She laughingly took me to task for this, one morning, soon after my
arrival, asking me how I expected her to get her living, and declaring
that Mr. Holden was looking at the poor-house with fearful glances. And
then, as I leaned on the counter, she began to pump me in a very pretty
way concerning the academy's chances in the coming games, showing an
especial interest in the mile. Would I please tell her who would win in
this event?

Now, it must not be thought that I have been in the habit of giving tips
to inquisitive young ladies, for one thing a successful trainer must
learn is to hold his tongue; but in this case there was no secret
involved, and almost no money on, so I told her frankly that there were
only two men of any use at all, Black and Harris.

Well, would I please tell her (ladies always say "please" in a
particularly wheedling way when they ask what they know they should
not),--would I please tell her which was the faster.

I answered that Harris was a very neat little runner who would win in
average company, but that Black's stride was too much for him, and
Harris could not show within five seconds of Black's time for the
distance. Here the corners of Kitty's pretty mouth dropped most
suddenly, and I then and there surprised the secret that under the folds
of her flowered muslin lurked a shy liking for Jack Harris.

This was not at all to be wondered at, for Jack was a mighty nice boy,
pleasant to every one, and a fine performer in almost all branches of
sport. Black was about the same age as Harris, nearly twenty, and,
unlike Harris, was tall and dark, and rather surly and superior. They
were both to leave for college at the end of the year, considered
themselves men grown, and cherished a mighty strong liking for little
Kitty. They were equally anxious to win the "mile," and to this end had
trained very conscientiously, breaking the tape in the sight of Kitty's
bright eyes being, after all, the strongest incentive.

I talked quite freely with the little girl, for she reminded me of old
Lancashire, and she on her part took no particular care to conceal the
fact that she should like very much to see Jack Harris win.

As the days went by I took special pains with Jack, but though he
improved nicely he could not quite reach Black, and as the time of the
contests approached I could give Kitty no encouragement, much as I
should have liked to do so.

The very night before the games I went into the store and, in answer to
her question, told her plainly that unless Black was taken suddenly ill,
he would certainly best Jack, and that from all reports Harris was just
as sure of second place, as the other academy had only moderate talent
to offer in the "mile."

"And would Jack win, then, if Black was out of it, or a bit off?" she
asked, with a little tremble of disappointment in her voice.

I answered that a race was never won until the tape broke, and the
judges had given their decision, but that it certainly looked that way;
and while Kitty was weighing out some peppermints to an old lady, with
an ounce of smiles for which she did not charge, I passed quietly
through the ice-cream parlor into Mr. Holden's little den in the rear.
Holden and I were quite cronies by this time; we often chatted together
of an evening, and I dropped quite naturally into a rocking-chair near
the door, which was ajar, and through which I could get a good view of
the store without being myself observed.

He was reading the "Boston Globe" with the aid of his glasses, his pipe,
and a pitcher of hard cider. He filled me a glass of the last, pushed
the tobacco-jar across the table toward me, and handed me the sporting
half of the paper without a word. I took a drink, lit my pipe, and
pretended to read the paper, keeping a close watch on the front shop
meanwhile.

Now, I had a method in all this, which was to be where I could see that
none of the boys broke training in this most dangerous place, on the
night before the contests. I had given the boys a much more rigorous
course of training than was usual, and was a bit afraid of some of them,
not accustomed to deprivations of any kind.

I sat smoking my pipe, and reading my paper, a fragment at a time,
customers coming and going, but saw nothing of interest until about nine
o'clock, when Harris entered, looking particularly well in tennis
flannels and sweater. He bade Kitty a "good evening," in that pleasant
way of his, and asked for a pound of mixed chocolates.

"A pound of mixed chocolates!" exclaimed Kitty, instantly alert. "Why,
Jack Harris, you know you ought not to touch a single piece, and you to
run to-morrow! Not an ounce will I give you."

I think Harris was pleased at the motherliness of the little girl, for
he told her without any chaffing that the candy was intended for his
sisters, who were spending the night at the hotel, with their aunt. "Do
you know, Kitty," said he, "they would not give up their chocolates to
win a world's championship?"

"I would, then," said Kitty. "It must be splendid to go over the line
first, with the rest following after. I suppose that's what you'll do
to-morrow."

"Not likely," he answered frankly; "Black is yards better, and unless he
has a stroke of paralysis in the stretch, I shall have the pleasure of
following him in, and must content myself with second place or worse."

"Oh, Jack," said Kitty, "I wish you could win; you must win. Can't I
help you in some way?"

"I don't know how," he answered, "unless you can furnish me a pair of
legs as long and as good as Black's, and they are hard to find."

"Don't joke," said Kitty, with a look of reproach. "If I were you I'd
beat him without any legs, I'd get ahead, and stay there if it killed
me."

There was in this just a hint of reflection on the boy's courage, but it
was given in such good heart, that he could not take offence, and he
laughed in rather a forced way and said, "I suppose I am an awful duffer
not to be able to call the trick, for I have worked my best, and not
thrown away a single chance. The truth is that Black is a better man at
the distance, has been as careful as myself, and is not likely to take
any liberties with himself until the race is over. I saw him a little
while ago, and he was looking 'out of sight.'"

At this there was silence for a little, for the outlook was certainly
quite hopeless. From my seat by the door I could see them plainly, and I
felt rather like an eavesdropper, when Kitty put her hand on Jack's
sleeve in her earnestness.

They made a pretty picture with their flushed faces and easy attitudes,
and I thought of an old garden-gate in Lancashire where there had been
much the same scene long ago.

They talked together a moment or two longer in low tones, and then Kitty
became suddenly conscious, and went back again behind the counter, with
a touch of embarrassment. Jack took his box of candy, and said "Good
night," stopping at the door a moment to say, "Win or lose, I shall do
all I know. I promise you he shall know he has been in a race, and I
shall run clear out, or run a winner."

There were only a few more customers, for we kept good hours in the
little town, and I was about to take my leave, satisfied that my men
were all in bed, when Black entered.

Now, this was clearly in disobedience of my instructions, which were,
for this night, bed at nine-thirty, and it was now five minutes later by
the clock over the stove. While the training of this academy team was a
small matter for me, some of my best friends whom I had handled on big
college teams were anxious for them to win, had considered the matter
well-nigh settled when they had prevailed on me to take them on, and I
had been very strict and painstaking in my handling of them. I was
naturally provoked that Black should openly disobey instructions, and I
sat back in my chair to watch developments.

I do not remember what Black said, but he made an effort to be agreeable
which was not particularly successful. There was something about his
manner indicating condescension, which was not at all pleasing to
Kitty's democratic spirit. She very promptly took him to task for being
out after hours, and with a very different tone from that used when
reproving Jack Harris.

"I don't mean to be dictated to by any old played-out martinet of a
trainer," said he gruffly. "It is all well enough for those who have no
sure thing. I saw Harris going to his room fifteen minutes ago, but I'll
sleep when I like, and beat him then."

At this very foolish and boasting remark, involving also a reflection on
Jack's prowess, I could see Kitty's eyes flash, and her cheeks redden,
and then there came over her face a very peculiar expression of
determination I could not at all understand. She changed gradually from
indifference to interest, and finally said, with a well-assumed air of
admiration, "It must be splendid to be so sure of winning; and don't you
have to train at all?"

"Deuced little," he answered; "I go through the motions with old Brown,
but eat and drink just what I like, and sleep four or eight hours, as I
prefer."

Now, this was a bare-faced lie, and his sin found him out as quickly as
in any "goody" book I ever read, for Kitty went on to say in her pretty
way, becoming every moment more genial and fascinating, "Isn't that
nice? then you can take a soda with me before I start for home."

Remember that I was all the time in the back room with Mr. Holden,
listening to the talk, rather hot under the collar at Black's "old
played-out martinet," and wondering what in the world little Kitty was
plotting.

Black looked a bit doubtful at her offer; he had trained to the dot, and
did not mean to throw away a single chance to win, but such an
invitation from Kitty was an unheard-of honor, he could not very well
eat his words, so he consented with an assumed alacrity, and Kitty
proceeded to draw a glass of soda for him.

And such a glass of soda as it was! If Mr. Holden had seen it he would
have had a fit; nothing like it had ever gone over his counter, expense
was not considered, and profit there could have been none. I could see
the whole devil's brew myself, but Black could not, for Kitty stood
between him and the glass.

First she put in a double quantity of heavy, thick chocolate, then a
liberal lump of ice-cream, and finally hardly enough soda to mix them.
She drew a glass of Vichy for herself, and I watched as they drank, and
chatted, and laughed together.

Now, what were the reasons why I did not interfere, while my best
mile-runner was getting outside of this horrible mixture?

The first was, that we did not need him to win the "mile"; the second
was, that his remarks concerning myself were not inclined to make me
care for him personally; the third was, that I thought defeat might
teach him a much-needed lesson; and the last and most potent, I must
confess, was, that I had not the heart to spoil Kitty's wicked little
game, which she was playing so beautifully.

As I said before, it was as clear a case of "fix" as if she had given
him a drug, and between a mild dose of poison and the glass she mixed,
there was little for an athlete in training to choose.

I sat in the back room for at least a half-hour longer, and saw Black
drink three more glasses of different flavors, chosen with special
reference to their baleful effects; and so pleasant and jolly was Kitty,
and so happy was Black, that I am sure she could have substituted a dose
of rhubarb without his notice.

It was after ten o'clock when Kitty put on her hat, and I afterward
learned that she talked a full hour longer with him at her gate, an
unheard-of thing for Kitty, who was particularly careful of gossip, and
it was midnight when he rolled into bed.

He must have had the digestion of an ostrich not to have been
immediately and positively ill; but he was not, and barring a little
lack of color, he gave no indication of his previous night's
extraordinary training, when he went to the mark for the mile.

It had been a mighty busy day for me; the boys were young, some of them
had never been contestants before, and they were nervous and uncertain.
I got through the morning as best I could, giving advice here, answering
a question there, telling some little fellow with a white face that
there was no doubt of his winning, and another, who was over-confident,
that he had no chance unless he followed instructions to the dot.

Dinner over (for at our boarding-house we dined at noon) I started for
the "grounds," which were over on the other side of the little town.
The wide street was well dotted with carriages, and the sidewalks
crowded with townspeople, country folk, and a liberal sprinkling of the
supporters of the rival academy. Most of the mill-hands were out, and
the rattle of the looms was subdued, half of them being silent.

I threaded my way through the mob as best I could, for, every few feet,
some one would buttonhole me to ask a fool question. Then again, did you
ever notice how much harder it is to work your way through a crowd of
country people than one of equal density in the city? There is a
sluggishness and inertness very different from the quick movements of
those whose feet are accustomed to tread city paves.

However, when I got beyond the shopping quarter, where the
dwelling-houses began, the streets were free enough, and I crossed over
to the south side, the day being warm, and the shade of the elms
grateful. I was passing Holden's store, when Kitty appeared in the
doorway, as if by accident, and with a very pretty look of mingled
surprise and pleasure. She looked as if she had just arrived from
Arcadia, or had stepped out of a Dresden dish, with her fresh muslin
figured with little sprays of flowers, a big hat on her soft brown
hair, and a parasol in her hand which displayed the academy color.

Her cheeks were bright, and grew a shade brighter as she asked, "Please,
Mr. Brown, may I walk along with you?" Receiving my very hearty assent
she tripped down the steps and across the street, taking special pains
to save the figured muslin from the dust of the street. I think I said
that Kitty's ankles were irreproachable.

Although it was very evident Kitty had been to some pains to see me, I
found her very silent and preoccupied. She had said not much more than a
silly word or two about the weather, when we reached the Lee place,
where she said she must leave me, as she had promised to stop for Sally
and Kate. As she put her hand on the latch of the gate she gave me the
first hint of what was burdening her mind by asking, "Are the boys all
feeling well?"

I said, "Yes, as far as I know," and then to try her, "though Black
looks a bit queer, for some unaccountable reason."

"That's too bad," answered Kitty, with considerable affectation of
sorrow, as she swung the gate open; but I noticed a little widening of
the mouth, and a tell-tale dimple in her cheek almost betrayed her. Not
once did she raise her eyes to mine either, something very unusual with
her, for she had the frankest glance possible.

I watched her as she mounted the steps and rang the bell, and then
walked on beneath the tall elms, philosophizing over that most
interesting subject, "a woman and her ways," something the masculine
mind cannot understand, but likes to struggle with.

The track was in the centre of the "campus," an enclosure of several
acres of soft green turf, fringed and fenced by its row of tall trees.
Around the track the spectators were gathering, and the grand stand was
beginning to fill. All the officials and most of the contestants were
already inside the ropes, the former bustling around with their
bright-colored badges flapping, and extremely busy doing nothing; the
latter, in their spotless trunks and jerseys, with bare brown legs and
arms, looking "sweet enough to kiss," so I heard a pretty little matron
say on one of the lower seats. Indeed, I know few finer sights than a
young fellow, clean-limbed and lithe, trained to perfection, with eyes
bright, and face darkened by the sun, waiting in his running-togs, with
a background of green grass, and overhead the cloudless sky.

As soon as I got among them, the boys flocked around me, and after a
hearty word or two I sent the team off by the catcher's fence, a little
beyond, for there were no dressing-rooms, and I wanted to know where to
find them. Jack was looking "finer than silk," and Black not half bad,
although a trifle dark under the eyes. I was not at all sure that even
Kitty's dose was enough to stop him.

Now, I do not propose to say a word about any event but the "mile." This
was the last event on the list, we were comfortable winners already, and
everybody was speculating how badly Black would fracture the record;
there seemed to be no doubt about his winning, and, unpopular as he was,
it was with many admiring exclamations that he ran a few yards to limber
up. His long legs moved like clock-work, and his stride was remarkable.

We had just lost the final heat of the "220," and when the starter's
whistle blew for the "mile" I could see the faces brighten up, for it
was confidently expected that Black and Harris would run first and
second, and leave a pleasant taste in the mouth to take home to supper.

There were six starters, and when Jack took his place on the outside, he
was the finest-looking boy of the lot. Not having grown so fast, he was
more rounded and filled out than the others, though he carried not an
ounce of useless tissue. His arms and legs were better developed, and
his face was clean cut as a cameo.

Kitty sat directly on a line with the tape, on the top row of seats,
between the Lee girls. One of them, I could see, was keeping a watchful
eye on the west, where the thunder heads were gathering.

But Kitty did not see any clouds, not she. She did not care if the
deluge came after this race; and what was a shower, or a wet gown? She
was red and pale by turns, breathing hard, and had both elbows on the
top rail behind her, as if to brace herself for the ordeal. Wonderfully
attractive was she in this attitude of repressed excitement, and though
the grand stand was full of pretty girls, dressed in their best bibs and
tuckers, I saw none to compare with her.

When Jack glanced up at her, she leaned forward and waved her hand,
giving him a look that brought the color to his cheeks. But when he
turned, got on his mark, and put out his hands, his flush faded, the
half smile disappeared, and in their place came as stern a look of
resolution as I ever saw in a boy's face.

And yet I doubted he could win.

True, he was just the one to do a shade better in competition than in
training, but Black was likely to do no worse (unless pulled back by the
sodas), and with a strong five seconds to the good, it was a beautiful
race to guess on.

"Marks! Set!" The bang of the pistol, with its little wreath of smoke
rising in the still air, and they are off. "Crunch, crunch, crunch"
sound the quick feet on the cinders, a stout fellow, not half trained,
taking the lead, and bound to drop out before the "half," unless I am no
judge. They disappear a second behind the catcher's fence, emerge again,
swing round the turn, straighten out again, and the men are well
trailed, as usual, at the lower turn. Down the stretch they come, and
just before they pass the posts Black jumps into the lead, amid the
applause of the grand stand. Where is Jack? Why, where he ought to be
with the pace like this, and three-quarters more to run. He has followed
my orders to the dot, starting off easily (one of the almost impossible
things to teach a young runner), trailing behind the field, and he
finishes the first quarter last of the six, and a full twenty yards
behind Black, running strong and well, though not so showily as his
rival.

I see poor little Kitty's face grow white and hopeless as they go by.

Round the track they swing again, two men dropping out at the lower
turn, already run off their feet, and one of them the stout fellow, as I
expected. Indeed, as they pass the posts the second time all have come
back a bit to Jack but Black, and Kitty's face is touched by grim
despair, for that dreadful twenty yards still stretches between the one
she wishes to win and the one she tried to put out of the race.

On the third quarter Jack lets out a link, picking up one after another,
until only Black leads him, and when they start on the last lap he is
running strong and fairly fresh, only ten yards behind, and the rest
trailed badly.

Kitty's face is the queerest mixture of hope and fear I ever saw.

Black runs with the confidence of repeated victories in trials, and
attempts to open up the gap again; but Jack has a bit up his sleeve
still, answers with a little spurt of his own, will not be denied, and
is only a bare five yards to the bad as they straighten out for the last
hundred yards.

Here Black glances over his shoulder, and I can see his look of
surprise. Jack has never been so close up at this stage of the game. It
is evident that both the boys are approaching "Queer Street," "Queer
Street" with its pounding heart and panting lungs, its parched mouth,
singing ears, and leaden feet. Both are game to the core, and it is now
only a question of endurance. Here is the runner's purgatory, where the
sins of the past are settled, and here it is that Kitty's ice-cream
sodas take a hand in the sport.

What would Black give if he had not imbibed their awful sweetness?

Inch by inch Jack draws up on him, his jaw set, his eyes aflame, his
stride shortening, but still quick and straight. Black's face is leaden,
his eyes glassy, his long legs giving at the knees at every stride.

Down the stretch they come, the crowd on its feet, but too excited to
yell, Kitty with her hand over one eye, and her handkerchief tight
between her white teeth.

For twenty yards they run almost side by side, and then Jack pumps ahead
and breaks the tape, a winner by a scant yard. Black follows over in a
heap, staggers a step or two, and falls before any one can catch him.

Sick, was he? Well, rather!

He had a touch of colic that doubled him up like a grasshopper. He
groaned and coughed, he writhed and twisted, like a lobster on the
coals. I knew it was not a dangerous matter, and gave him little
sympathy, extracting a half confession concerning his training escapade
of the previous evening.

Kitty, the little Jezebel, blushed like a rose when Jack waved his hand
at her, as he was carried off on the shoulders of some enthusiastic
friends.

Little did he know how he came to win over a faster man; little did
Black understand there had been a plot for his undoing; and unless she
reads this story, Kitty will always think her secret is a secret to all
the world.



[Illustration: Atherton's Last Half]


Back in the mountains of North Carolina, where the air is like a tonic,
free from all taint of river mist and swamp malaria, and medicined by
the fragrance of pine and hemlock, lives Teddy Atherton.

His house is perched on a spur of the mountains, and can be seen with a
good glass from Asheville on a clear day. It has green blinds, tall
wooden pillars, and granite steps. It is the pattern that New England
builders used to fancy fifty years ago or more, and looks a bit strange
in its setting of mountain and forest. Here Teddy spends his time among
his books, fishing and hunting, in the company of his dogs, or the
society of an occasional friend, truant from business or profession.

For a few weeks only in midsummer he risks the dangers of our east
winds, and is seen at the Somerset and Country Clubs, much to the
gratification of a host of friends.

He has had me South with him a couple of times, and never goes back
without inviting me to dine with him. I always accept, though the
pleasure of his society is more than offset by painful recollections. We
linger long at the table over my favorite madeira, and we talk of the
old days, the old contests, and the old boys, grown now to be stout
merchants, lawyers, and I know not what. Some of them have lads who will
bring new honor to names already famous on track and field, and some,
alas! have been beaten out by that famous runner and certain final
winner, old Death himself.

Often, as I sit and watch Atherton across the table, there comes into my
eyes, not at all accustomed to such a freak, so clear a hint of
moisture, that nothing but a mighty volume of smoke saves me from
detection.

He is a small man, five feet five or less, and not exceeding eight stone
in weight. His closely shaven face is thin and brown, his eyes dark and
full of fire, his mouth firm and sensitive. There is nothing of the
despairing or helpless invalid about him; his shoulders are square, and
his movements resolute; yet he knows, and I know, that his life hangs by
a thread. I know whose fault it is, in part at least, that his days are
numbered, that his chest is hollow, and that, despite his self-control,
he cannot restrain every now and again that hacking cough.

I shall tell the story, not because I like to, but as a warning to those
who are willing to make a winner, no matter what the risk or cost.

Late on an afternoon, just before the inter-collegiate games of 188-,
there sat on the gymnasium steps a group of college sports, with heavy
brows and serious minds.

Even the weather was dubious, for the wind had worked round into the
east, the clouds were gathering, and the air was damp and dismal. What
few men there were on the track wore sweaters, and one or two had pulled
long trousers over their trunks to keep their legs warm. The elms had
got their heads together, as if conspiring mischief, and we had talked
ourselves pretty well out, with no good results.

We had that day given the team a serious "try out," and were fairly
contented with its showing in all the events but the "half."

There was no question about it, Bates could not call the trick; that is,
not with his present showing.

We all agreed that he was good enough, but he had no head at all. He ran
his second quarter to the "queen's taste," and finished strong and well;
but on his first lap he sogered like a Turk, and came in at least five
seconds slow. He had no idea whatever of pace, was not a sprinter, and
was easy for any opponent with a turn of speed, who would trail him
round and pass him in the stretch.

We had told Sherman (who had no chance to win, and knew it) to run the
first lap in fifty-nine, instructing Bates to stay with him. Bates
stayed all right, but Sherman was as far off as the man he paced,--in
the first trial running in sixty-three, which was as bad as ever; and in
the second pulling him out to fifty-six, so that neither finished.

The question was, who should make pace for Bates.

There were, sprawling on the steps that night, beside myself, Griffith,
Smith, "Doc," and of course Tom Furness, for Tom had missed few such
conclaves in the last half-dozen years.

Now, the public knows pretty well who wins the events, but mighty little
about the planning and contriving by which the athletic material of a
college is developed and made the most of. Upon us five rested much of
the responsibility for making winners of the team of 188-. With me it
was a matter of business and professional standing; to the others, the
glory of their college, and the personal satisfaction of having added
to it. All of them were practical men, who had in days gone by carried
their college colors, and Tom Furness had been a mighty good athlete,
who had put a record where it stood untouched for a good five years. Tom
was tall, fair, and sanguine. An optimist by nature, he never dreamed of
anything but success, was a favorite with the graduates, while the
college worshipped him. I never saw the man who could put heart into a
losing team like Tom Furness.

Just below him sat "Doc" Peckham, dark and silent. He was short and
brown bearded, the very opposite of Tom, and had a rather embarrassing
way of puncturing Tom's pretty bubbles. He was not so well liked as
Furness, but was after all fully as valuable an adviser. He had a good
practice in the city, but managed, in some way, to leave it whenever he
was needed. Griffith and Smith were men who, as a rule, agreed with the
majority, and myself in particular; so they were quite as useful as if
they had been perpetually inventing foolish plans.

We had been silent a full minute, which is not long for a crowd of
college "gray-beards," when Tom Furness jumped to his feet with the air
of a man who has made up his mind, expects opposition, but is still
confident of the integrity of his position, and said, "Teddy Atherton's
our man."

"Teddy Atherton be blowed," said "Doc," who sat on the bottom step, his
knees under his chin, drawing inspiration from his pipe. "He's run
nothing but the 'quarter' for the last three years, and while he shows a
fraction slower than Allen and Waite in practice, has a better head, and
I would not give a toss-up for the difference between them."

"That's it," said Furness; "it's Teddy's good head that we want. Now
listen to me. We have three 'quarter milers' who finish under a blanket,
and any one of them is about good enough to win. Allen has shown a shade
the best time, and we certainly cannot pull him out, while Waite would
sulk like a bear with a sore head if asked to make pace, and probably be
worse than useless. Atherton, beside having better judgment, is a
particularly unselfish chap, and if handled right will consent, and fill
the bill exactly."

"Deuced hard on Atherton," said Smith; "he's trained faithfully, has a
chance to win in the 'quarter,' and yet we ask him to sacrifice himself
in the 'half' because Bates is a duffer and will not use his head."

We discussed the matter a while longer, and had barely arrived at an
agreement, when who should come briskly from the gymnasium but Teddy
himself. He jumped down the steps, and was hurrying away, with a joke at
our serious faces, when I spoke up and said (for such uncomfortable
commissions were usually assigned to me), "Wait a minute, Atherton, we
want a word with you."

"All right, old man," he said, "but be quick about it, for I've a dinner
waiting for me that will be cold after seven o'clock." He was fresh from
his shower-bath and rub-down, and looked as if he had stepped out of a
bandbox. We could guess where the dinner was, for Atherton was very
serious about Mollie Kittredge; and whether Mollie smiled or not,
Mollie's mamma was complacent enough, and did her best to give Teddy a
clear track and no contestants. Mollie was a howling favorite, "blonde,
bland, and beautiful," who, it was rumored, did not care to be won by a
"walk-over," and would have liked Teddy better if he had been a bit more
difficult.

Now, I believe it is best to go at once to the point with a disagreeable
matter, so I said bluntly, "I'm sorry, Atherton, but we have decided to
ask you to run in the 'half'; it is a late day to make the change, and
it will, of course, give you no chance to win; but it seems to us the
only thing to do under the circumstances."

The boy winced, looked at us keenly to see if we were serious, then grew
grave and said, rather sarcastically, "Your reasons for selecting me in
particular as the scape-goat are of course good and sufficient, and you
will pardon me for asking what they are?"

I went over the matter with him in detail, assisted by Furness, giving
all our reasons, doing my best to make the project as inviting as
possible; and Atherton finally consented, as we expected. It was,
however, a very serious face he carried off, and one very different from
that which smiled upon us at the beginning. We were all mighty sorry for
the boy, and I felt as if I had committed a petty theft, and deserved
the penitentiary, or worse. I had only been the spokesman for the rest,
and had racked my brains to think of some way to save Atherton from the
sacrifice; but Tom was really unassailable in his position, and even
"Doc" did not oppose him.

I watched the lithe figure as it disappeared around the corner of the
fence, realizing how full of disappointment my message must have been,
and was sorry enough about it.

Atherton had arrived at college without either athletic training or
ambition. A student of the first rank, so that he was known at once
where muscular ability is much more likely to obtain recognition than
mental strength, it was not until his second year that I saw much of
him.

He then took up running, not so much with a view of contesting, as to
fill out his lungs and increase his strength. It was not long, however,
before he began to show decided improvement, and steadily gaining, had
run unplaced, but close up, in his junior year. He had brought himself
out in this way without in the least losing rank as a scholar, and I
knew it was his one remaining ambition to get a place in athletics, and
win a point for the old college on this last competition to which he
would be eligible. If he had been a musty bookworm I should not have
cared so much, but he was a splendid fellow, of good family, and a great
favorite of mine, because of his pluck and good nature.

He appeared next day on the track, as agreed, a little serious, but not
at all disagreeable; which made me feel more guilty than ever. In fact,
I tried to apologize, and for this received, as I deserved, a sharp
answer, that the decision was doubtless correct, and there was no
necessity for further talk.

He listened to my instructions carefully, took Bates along within a half
second of the fifty-nine, and left him in the stretch to finish four
seconds better than ever before. Teddy was badly used up, of course, for
he was not at all accustomed to the distance, and when I gave him a
shoulder to the gymnasium, he was as limp as possible. He took our
congratulations with a half smile, and would not confess that he was
much the worse for the effort.

Tom Furness was much elated, insisting there was no question but that we
had made a change to the advantage of all but Teddy, and it was right
that he should suffer for the good of the cause. It is wonderful with
what complacency we look upon the sacrifice of others.

As I thought it over that night, I had serious doubts about Atherton's
condition, and the next morning I told Furness just how badly he was
used up; but I did not take a decided stand, as I should have done, and
the reason was purely selfish and unworthy. I was, of course, anxious to
win the cup; it meant much to me, and I decided to take the risk.

The day came round, particularly sultry and close. The sky was brassy,
the sun a ball of fire, and what little wind there was felt like the
breath of a furnace.

It was a day to break records, and to break a trainer's heart as well;
for often a man who is right "on edge" will show up limp and lifeless
under such conditions, going stale in a night.

I had changed rooms at the hotel so that the men might sleep with all
the air possible, given them an early breakfast, and got them over to
the grounds before the sun was very hot.

We settled ourselves in the dressing-rooms, and the men stripped at once
for the sake of comfort and coolness. A beautiful sight it was. An
athlete looks much like a city clerk with his clothes on, but stripped
to the buff there is a mighty difference. No weak, skinny legs, no fat
disfigured bodies, no bunched and rounded shoulders.

You may boast of your fine horses and beautiful women, but give me an
athlete in perfect training, particularly if I have had the handling of
him, and have seen the fat disappear and the strong, clean muscle take
its place.

The boys are seated on the long benches or standing in front of the
lockers. Here is the slender figure of a sprinter, not an ounce of
superfluous flesh or unused muscle, the cords of his shapely legs
standing out clear and firm through the satin skin. There is a
shot-putter, stopping a moment to chaff with a friend, stripped to the
waist, his shirt in his hand. See how the mighty muscles stretch across
his breast and back! See the big, square neck, and that right arm and
shoulder, round and firm and hard!

It is not men like the last that I worry about, for the heat will do
nothing but good to an anatomy like this; but the thin and slender
chaps, with not too much vitality at best, and trained close to the
limit--these I look over closely and carefully. I was more anxious about
Atherton than any other, and found him off in a corner by himself, near
the window. Perhaps the most popular man on the team, he was not over
jolly this morning, and the boys saw it, and left him alone. His clothes
were already hung in his locker, in that particularly neat way that some
of the boys might have copied to advantage. He had on his trunks and
jersey, and was lacing his running-shoes.

I asked him how he felt. "All right," he said; but I knew better. The
hot night had told on him, and he was a bit pale and tired-looking. I
told him to get into his wrap, find a cool and comfortable place, and
take it easy until he was wanted. He followed instructions, as usual,
and I saw almost nothing of him until the "half" was called, late in
the afternoon. As usual, we had pulled off some unexpected wins, and
lost several "lead-pipe cinches." The latter, however, were far more
numerous, and I was decidedly on the anxious seat. Indeed, as near as I
could figure, unless Bates won the "half" we were out of it.

Of Sherman we expected nothing; he was put in to fill out the string,
and because a man will sometimes surprise those best informed of his
incapacity.

Bates we hoped would win, and Atherton was expected to run his first lap
in fifty-nine cutting wind and setting pace, to keep on in the second
lap at the same speed until he reached the stretch, where he was to drop
out (probably dead beat), leaving Bates to run in and break the tape.
There was little glory in this programme for Atherton, and I had seen
his face lengthen out when Allen and Waite romped in, first and second
in the "quarter." It was "dollars to doughnuts" he would have made a
strong third or better, and I saw he thought so himself, although he
said nothing.

We had just won a first and third in the high jump, and I was feeling a
little better when the men were called for the "half." I met Teddy in
the middle of the field, and walked along with him to the start. He was
looking very white and serious; but I said nothing at all to hearten
him, for I knew he was clear grit and did not want it.

I did tell him that the race was more in his hands than Bates', and that
from those who knew he would receive all the credit of a win, if he
brought Bates in first. He said not a word in answer, only nodded his
head, threw me his wrap, and went to the mark.

As the numbers were being called, I had a chance to look around me.
There was the usual crowd inside the ring, the officials, the reporters,
and those infernal nuisances the men with a pull, who do nothing, and
interfere with all who have duties to perform.

The grand stand was right in front of me, spread like the tail of a huge
peacock, and a perfect riot of color, for every second person was a
lady, and what better opportunity than this to wear what was loud and
bright? As my eye wandered over the crowd, I began to pick out familiar
faces, for I have a keen sight for a friend.

There was Jack Hart and Tom Finlay, two of my old boys, sitting
together, one of them from Denver, and the other professor in a Maine
college; there was Dr. Gorden a bit lower, and Fred Tillotson with his
pretty wife; there was Charlie Thomas with a little fellow in a
sweater, evidently a dead game sport already, and a chip of the old
block, for his face is red with excitement, and his eyes like saucers
with enthusiasm.

I was taking my eyes away to look at the men, when they fastened on a
figure a few rows from the top. It was that of one of the most striking
girls I have ever seen, as perfect a blonde as even Old England could
show, and with a very British air of reserve, despite the excitement
around her. She was a marvel,--tall and well-developed, groomed and
gowned to the dot. I could see she was looking straight at Teddy in the
calmest style imaginable, but still rather surprised that he did not
return her glance.

But Teddy had for the moment quite forgotten her. He was bent over his
mark, his eyes straight ahead, ready for the first sound of the pistol,
for his instructions were to take the lead from the beginning.

There was a strapping field of a dozen or more, but most of the others
were prepared to take the customary start for a "half"--easy away, and
fast work when heart and lungs had worked up to it.

"Marks! Set!" the crack of the pistol, and Teddy shot out as if for a
sprint, slowing immediately, however, when he had taken his place.

Bates pulled out of the ruck at the turn, and fell in behind him,
following orders. Round the track they swung, stringing out, one and
another coming up and going back as if on wires, but Teddy and Bates
holding the lead. My watch showed fifty-eight and three-quarters as they
finished the first lap, a beautiful performance on Teddy's part, though
I had expected it, for he was a connoisseur on time, if I ever saw one.

There followed them over, and close up, a cadaverous-looking man from
one of the minor colleges, whose style I did not like, but who was going
very strong, and whom I might have thought dangerous had I not been told
he never finished. Sherman was twenty-five yards back, in the rear of
the lot, and running in a very hopeless fashion.

I was relieved to see how well Teddy did his work, and noticed the
slight flush on his cheeks as he passed.

I could see that Mollie Kittredge too had a little added color in her
cheeks, but in no other way did she show any particular interest in the
race.

For the first half of the second lap our programme was followed out all
right, Atherton still leading at a lively clip, Bates right at his
heels, and the tall outsider barely holding his own.

Then the unexpected happened. Bates began to show signs of tiring, fell
back inch by inch, and the tall outsider came up at the same rate. Just
before the lower turn they got together, and there was a short struggle;
but Bates was as arrant a cur as ever wore a shoe, and he yielded the
place, though he had strength enough to run another lap, had he the
heart to go with it.

Teddy was, perhaps, five yards to the good when he swung into the
stretch, and looked over his shoulder, expecting to see his college mate
close up and ready to take up the running. Instead, he saw an unexpected
contestant, coming fast, and Bates was full five yards behind, slowing,
and evidently out of it.

Now Atherton was, of course, well-nigh spent; he had followed
instructions to the dot, and was not expected to finish.

There was a half-second's hesitation and a look of fear; but as quick as
he realized the conditions, the little fellow swung his face to the
front and set his teeth with the evident determination of making a fight
for the race.

A mighty cheer went up from the spectators, for Teddy had many friends,
and the whole college knew under what circumstances he was running; but
I doubt if he heard anything but the crunch, crunch, crunch of the
swift feet behind him. I knew it was a hopeless task, for his opponent
was fresh as paint, and full of running. Gradually his longer stride
drew him up, but when he tried to pass, Teddy still had a word to say,
and met him with the most stubborn resistance. He was almost gone, his
face white as death, his eyes glazed, and he kept his speed only by
sheer force of will.

Somehow, I know not how, for I could hardly have taken my eyes from the
runners, I knew that Mollie Kittredge was on her feet with a look of
horror in her face.

Down the stretch they came, the little fellow with the drawn cheeks, and
his opponent tall and strong and confident. Side by side they came,
neither gaining, until perhaps fifteen yards from the finish, when the
big fellow shot by.

Teddy staggered on, but lurched forward, and fell, a few feet short of
the line, just as the winner broke the tape.

He fell without an effort to save himself, plowing through the cinders
with his white face. There was a convulsive struggle to crawl over, and
then he lay still, dead to the world, with one hand stretched out toward
the line.

The half-dozen who finished ran by the motionless figure, and I was over
it a second after. Tom Furness was almost as soon as myself, and
together we lifted and placed it on the soft turf inside the track. We
were surrounded by a crowd of contestants and track officials, but a
cry, followed by a commotion in the grand stand, drew their attention,
and we were left alone.

So full of agony was the cry, that I looked up myself, and was just in
time to see the statuesque Mollie throw up her hands and fall back in a
dead faint. Yes, blondes have hearts, after all.

We were not much troubled by the crowd, for they thought it was only a
man "run out," and that he would be all right in a minute or two, and
walk off as well as ever.

Alas! I knew better; it was a bad case, and I could find little sign of
life in the limp body. We made an effort to revive him, but Tom could
not get a drop from his flask through the clenched teeth, and one side
of the face was bleeding, where it had slid over the cinders. The crowd
was coming back, the spectators were beginning to notice us, so I told
Tom to take the legs, and I took the head and shoulders, and we started
for the dressing-rooms.

A pathetically light weight was it, and I was heart-sick, for, though
one hand was over the heart, I could feel no motion through the thin
jersey. "Doc" joined us at the door, and I was never so pleased to see
any one in my life, for I knew that he would do all that could be done,
and we need not experiment with some one we did not know.

When we got into a quiet room we placed Teddy on a rubbing-couch, and
"Doc" immediately applied the most powerful remedies to revive him. They
were at first unsuccessful, but by hypodermic injections of strychnine
and brandy, the wearied heart and lungs were at last induced to start
feebly on their accustomed tasks.

We were standing by the couch, watching the hint of color grow in the
boy's cheeks, when suddenly the limp figure made a convulsive effort
(consciousness taking up the thread where it had been broken, a few feet
short of the tape), and he almost lifted himself to his feet before we
could catch him. As he fell back in our arms, there came to his lips the
bright-red blood-spots, precursors of a fearful hemorrhage.

It was almost impossible for us to check it, for the boy was delirious,
would not lie still, and kept saying in a determined way, "I will win! I
must win!"

He would turn his head, and call, "Bates! Bates!" in a frenzy of fear
and disappointment. "Bates, where are you? My God, where are you? I'm
sure I followed orders, and did not come too fast."

Then he would find Bates, and say contentedly, "There you are, old man,
close up; I'll drop out now, I'm almost gone; push out and win."

Suddenly he would discover it was the outsider, and would cry out with
fevered lips, and try to break away from us and run.

Then he would lie still, but in his mind was going over the agony of the
finish again and again. He would turn to me and say excitedly, "You told
me I need not finish. I can't run the 'half,' and you know it. It's
dark, and they have run off with the tape. I finished long ago, and
still you make me run."

Sometimes he would drop his hands and say despairingly, "I cannot do it,
I cannot reach the worsted; O God, I cannot!"

Then he would discover Tom, who was almost as crazy as Teddy himself,
and had been utterly useless from the time the hemorrhage set in. He
would say to Tom, "Don't look at me like that, old man; I know I lost
the race, but I did my best, my very best, and ran clear out. Look at my
cheek, where I fell; you must see I was dead beat." He would try to
argue with Tom, who had not a word to say, except of sorrow and
self-reproach. He would look at Tom, and say, "Perhaps you're right,
and I'll not complain, but why did you tell me to set pace, if you meant
to make me finish?" Or he would say over and over again, "I was not
strong enough; I did the best I could; I did the best I could."

Indeed, he did not cease talking all the time we were with him, until he
was given opiates and taken to the hospital.

Here he spent many weary weeks, and was only pulled through after the
most persistent care. But though he got on his feet again, he did not
fully recover, and even a long trip to the Bermudas did not get his
lungs in shape. He spent some months in Southern California, and settled
finally among the Carolina hills, the nearest point to his old New
England home, where he could expect to prolong his days.

I have seen many gallant winners, many whose courage and determination
made them such; but when I tell the story that comes closest to my
heart, I tell of one a notch above them all. I tell of Teddy Atherton,
of his last "half" which he _lost_.



[Illustration: The Charge of the Heavy Brigade]


There were three of us in my office at the gymnasium. It was late
afternoon of a February day. The hail was beating against my windows,
and a punching-bag was drumming the "devil's tattoo" in the next room.
There were all sorts of sounds outside, from the clatter of pulley
weights dropped on the floor to the steady tramp of the runner's feet on
the track overhead, but in my room a Sabbath stillness reigned.

Fred Seever was perched on a chair in one corner ready dressed for
departure, and N. P. Sawyer, familiarly known as "Shack," sat on the
weighing scales clad only in trunks, jersey, and an air of melancholy.
It would not have been a comfortable seat for most anatomies, and the
metal work must have felt chilly; but Shack had eccentric tastes, and
never occupied a chair if he could find anything else to hold him.

I had just remarked in the quietest manner possible, "It is pretty well
settled that Seever does not run this year." This was the cause of
Shack's melancholy and Seever's silence.

"Well, if that's the verdict," said Seever, with considerable heat for
one so quiet, "it's mighty hard lines, and a blooming hothouse plant it
makes of me. I've been planning the whole year to get back at the
Dutchman, and now at the last moment you say I don't start."

"Yes," spoke up Shack, "you should get a glass case for the dear boy,
and put him in it, labelled 'Rare Specimen,' 'A Runner too Good to
Run.'" He followed up this ingenious suggestion by untangling his long
legs, rising slowly to his feet, and suddenly throwing a stray
boxing-glove which he had picked up from the floor, hitting the "Rare
Specimen" a blow in the short ribs that brought forth an involuntary
grunt. "By the way, Professor," he continued, "do you think it quite
safe for a little chap like me to toy with a sixteen-pound shot?
Mightn't I drop it on my precious toes some day?"

"I've told you my reasons plainly enough," I answered, looking up from
my desk and laughing at big Shack in spite of myself. "You remember last
year. Seever went into this same 'mile handicap,' running from scratch.
There were thirty-odd entries, and he was blocked, elbowed, and pocketed
all the way through, getting a toss from Kitson in the last lap that
sent him rolling into a corner with skin enough off his knees to make
parchment for his diploma."

"I wasn't hurt, though," argued Seever, "only sore for a few days."

"'Twas luck that saved you then," I answered; "suppose you'd broken a
leg, as you might easily have done on that hardwood floor, where would
we have been at Mott Haven, with not a man jack of you good for
four-thirty?"

"Give it up," said Shack. "Did you notice that the same field, too, let
the Dutchman through like a greased pig? Hartman had half a dozen club
mates in the lot, and as many more were quite willing to do all within
the law to keep a college man out of it."

"Well," continued I, "Fred Seever is neither a wrestler nor a football
player. These indoor games are all right, and for the average man there
is no better place to learn quickness than in a mob of runners swinging
round the raised corners of a slippery board track. But Fred has had
experience enough, and is sure to appear on the cinder-path with the
warm spring days in good condition if left entirely to himself. In the
second place, he is too slender to take any chances."

"Yes," interrupted Shack, "those pipe-stem legs are marked
'breakable.'"

I concluded with, "The verdict is that, unless I have some good reason
to change my mind, Seever's name will certainly be scratched."

At this there was a dead silence. Shack looked at Seever questioningly,
then shook his head, and began to whistle "Ben Bolt" in a particularly
dismal manner.

When I found they had nothing more to say, I resumed my examination of
the list of entries to the first big "Indoor Athletic Games" of the
season. I had just received it from the "official handicapper," and was
considerably interested to find what my men had been given. They figured
in every handicap, and in the "forty-yard novice" there were no less
than fourteen of them, nearly all Freshmen, with two or three who would
show a turn of speed. There were a few I did not intend should run,
among them Seever, for the reasons I had already given.

These games are a perfect godsend to a trainer, coming as they do at a
time when it is very hard to keep the men up to their work. The
gymnasium is indispensable in a country where from December to April the
cinder-path is either hard with frost or white with snow. But when a man
has done his fifteen minutes at the pulley weights for the hundredth
consecutive afternoon, he finds the excitement of "One, two, three,
four, five, six," begins to pall on him, and by the last of February
even "practising starts" loses its charms. It is then the circuit of a
billiard-table becomes the favorite track work, and the digestion of a
good dinner the principal muscular exercise.

I had checked off about half the names, finding few surprises, when the
quiet of my room was broken by the entrance of a dozen fellows who had
just learned of the arrival of the list. Did you ever hear the work of
that very conscientious gentleman the "official handicapper" discussed
by a crowd of contestants? Of half a dozen men perhaps one is pleased
and says so, two or three have no fault to find but do nevertheless
grumble out of principle, and the remainder "kick like veteran mules,"
and blackguard in shameful fashion the man whose only sin has been to
overrate their abilities.

"What's this?" cried Ferris, a high jumper, looking over my shoulder. "I
get only four inches, and Bob here gets six. That's highway robbery, and
I don't care who knows it. He did five-eight to my five-seven only
yesterday."

"Here's little Larry with five yards in the 'forty,'" spoke up Shack,
who had monopolized the view from my right side, his broad shoulders
shutting off all the rest; "the infant won't do a thing to them, will
he?"

"What do you get yourself?" inquired Turner, who was bigger than Shack,
but not quite quick enough to get a place of vantage.

"That's what I ought to be looking for," answered Shack, "but I always
think of others first. They'll put something of that kind on my
tombstone. Where's the 'shot'?" He ran his big finger down the page,
remarking meanwhile, "I gave Jones [the handicapper] a good cigar only
last week, and told him that I had not been myself the whole winter."
Shack said this with a deep sigh, as if he well knew he was threatened
with an early decline. "I expect to find nothing less than the same old
eight feet for yours truly." His finger suddenly stopped, as he said
this, and then straightening himself with an energy that sent two or
three men flying backward, he exclaimed: "Great Jupiter! Look at that!
Only look at that! And 'twas a good cigar too. He gives me just four
feet, the least of any of you, and Turner here, who tied me this
afternoon, gets the eight instead." At this there was a big laugh at
Shack, whose woes were a joke to all.

Down the list they went until all were informed, and then they gradually
sifted out, leaving Seever and Shack still with me. I could not
understand why they stayed, for they knew well enough that further
argument would be useless; but I paid no attention to them, going on
with my checking.

The "mile handicap" was almost the last event. I crossed out Seever's
name, which figured alone at "scratch," saw that Hartman had his
twenty-five yards, the same as last year, marked off Root at fifty and
Murphy at seventy yards, and then suddenly discovered, just below, the
names of G. Turner and N. P. Sawyer with the same allowances. To say I
was surprised would but faintly express my feeling, as Turner was a shot
and hammer man who had played football, weighed nearly one hundred and
ninety pounds, and had never to my knowledge run a yard on a track in
his life. N. P. Sawyer was the seldom used patronymic of Shack, who had
resumed his seat on the scales in the corner, and was evidently by his
air of expectancy waiting for an explosion. I had sent in neither name,
and was utterly at sea regarding the whole affair.

"Well, Sawyer," said I, turning rather abruptly toward him, "what does
this mean?"

"Simply this," replied Shack, very frankly, as if he had expected the
question and had his answer ready,--"simply this, that I thought we
would pay the devil in his own coin, and give Hartman and his
fellow-pirates of the 'Rowing Club' a taste of their medicine; let the
Dutchman carom against Turner and myself a few times, permit Kitson to
enjoy the experience of a tumble like that he gave Fred last year, and
carry the latter bit of 'rare porcelain' through the mob without getting
chipped."

"A very pretty plan," I remarked sarcastically, "but why was I not
consulted in the matter?"

"Simply because we were doubtful of your consent, and wished to get as
far along as possible before we had our little talk with you."

"Of course," remarked Seever, "we knew you would have the final word to
say, but we thought you would prefer not to have the plan yours, and to
be able to say that you did not even send in the entries."

"That was certainly very thoughtful of you."

"Yes," interposed Shack, "there is a remote chance of a little 'shindy'
when the 'Heavy Brigade' gets well started."

"If you and Turner are mixed up in it, I should think the chances
considerably more than even," I remarked; "but why in the world did two
ice-wagons like you and Turner go into it? You can neither of you run a
mile in ten minutes."

"Ten minutes," cried Shack. "We'll let you hold a watch over us and see.
You said just now that Seever was neither a wrestler nor a football
player. Well, this is, you admit, something of a football game, and we
have a football aggregation for it. Root is in it too. He played 'left
half,' Turner 'right,' and I 'full back' on the team all last fall. Root
has been doing the mile for a couple of years, and is a fair performer.
Turner is a mighty fast man for his weight, and can go the distance. As
for myself, although my well-known modesty shrinks at the assertion, I
am a 'crack-a-Jack' at any distance from one hundred yards to ten miles.
I am indeed. With a seventy-yard handicap Seever has no show with me. I
thought we three could do the trick nicely with a little of the
interference we worked up together and found mighty useful on the
'gridiron.'"

"That's your plan, is it?" I asked. "Well, 'tis as crazy as its maker,
which is saying a great deal."

At this there was silence again, Seever twirling his thumbs, and Shack
running his fingers through his mop of hair in a hopeless fashion.

"I am not sure, however, but that with some modification I shall let you
try it." At this Seever looked a shade less discouraged, and Shack gave
a broad smile of triumph, and then listened with much seriousness as I
said, "In the first place, there must be no interference with Hartman;
do you promise this?"

"We do," answered Shack, who was quite willing to make any condition if
Seever could be allowed to run.

"In the second place, you must make pace for Seever as decently as
possible, and not one of you catch a judge's eye."

"We swear it," replied Shack, raising his big hand solemnly above his
head.

"All right; if you will look out for these things I will let you try. It
is time something was done, and even an extreme step like this may be
the means of straightening matters out."

We talked the affair over for some time together, and when we parted our
plans were well matured. I found that Root, Turner, and Shack had been
training carefully for several weeks with this in view. They had all
done the "mile" in fair time, although the last "quarter" was something
of a task for big Turner. Shack, however, very much to my surprise,
showed me a performance on the short gymnasium track that proved with
seventy yards' start no one on earth could catch him, and the event was
simply at his mercy. Seever begged him to go in for himself and pull
the thing off, and I advised the same; but this did not tempt Shack at
all.

"I had rather see Fred beat out the Dutchman than to win a dozen races,"
he declared, rubbing his hands.

So the affair was settled. I gave him a careful trial a few nights
before the "games," and decided that Hartman with his first mate Kitson
and his "fellow pirates," as Shack called them, were likely to find
rough sailing on Saturday night.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is an almost endless variety in outdoor games. The weather
conditions alone are enough to make each day stand out by itself. Cloud
and sunshine, heat and cold, wind and calm, not to speak of the
occasional smart shower at about five o'clock when interest is at its
height, make an almost limitless combination.

There is none of this diversity to indoor games. The track is neither
fast nor heavy, and the boards are no softer on one evening than
another. The temperature is always a bit too high for comfort, the air
too close for laboring lungs, and the same bright light glares on all.
There may of course be something in the games themselves to make them
noteworthy, and those of February, 189-, I shall always remember through
the charge of the "Heavy Brigade," so called by Shack, who claimed it
quite outclassed the performance of the "Light Brigade," because the
danger was greater and there were no dead nor wounded.

When I arrived at the "hall" at a little after seven o'clock, they were
preparing to start the preliminary heats of the "forty-yard novice," a
weeding-out process quite necessary, but not particularly exciting. The
"clerk of the course" was calling off the names of the contestants, and
nearly a hundred young fellows were gathered around him, answering one
after the other, as he checked off the list. Some were hidden from
shoulder to toe by voluminous wraps, some wore sweaters of various
shapes and colors, and some were clad only in jersey, trunks, and
running shoes. The officials, who wore their badges and an air of
_blasé_ indifference to distinguish them from common mortals, were much
in evidence, and a good-sized squad of carpenters and helpers were
busying themselves around the track.

The men on the floor far outnumbered the spectators, who as a rule were
content to wait for the semi-finals at eight o'clock and enjoy an
unhurried dinner meanwhile. There were a few boys in the gallery, here
and there a little bunch of a half-dozen or so in the seats surrounding
the track, and on the platform only two pretty girls occupied seats on
the very back row, who were anxious to see somebody win his heat,--a
brother perhaps.

In a far corner of the gallery the musicians were arriving. They would
not begin to play for some time, however, and meanwhile the high walls
echoed to every sound, and the long strips of bunting hanging from the
ceiling waved slowly with the wind from the open windows.

I could see among the crowd of contestants who gathered around the white
lines at the start several boys in whom I was interested; but I had
nothing to say to them, and went over to the opposite corner, where the
judges clustered around the finish posts. The red worsted was waiting
for its first break, and beyond, hung against the walls, were the
mattresses to catch the sprinter unable to check his speed. On one side
were the hurdles in a long row ready to be pushed into place. In a third
corner was the seven-foot circle with its raised cleat for the "shot
put," and the last triangle was occupied by the standards and cross bar
for the "high jump." The movable platforms for the raised corners were
in two sections, and pulled apart so as not to interfere with the
"dash."

I had only time for a word or two, a nod here and a handshake there,
when, at a sign from the starter, the judges took their places, and the
timekeepers stood with watch in hand ready to record the flying fifth
seconds. I could look along the smooth floor and see the men take their
places. There was Downer, a little Freshman, white with the excitement
of his first public performance. He was a nervous chap, and one of my
most promising men. Up goes the starter's hand, "Marks," "Set," the
report of the pistol, and out of the circling crowd break the five
struggling forms. There is the beat of eager feet, one, two, three,
four, and between the posts they dash, little Downer coming away in the
last few strides. "Thud" he goes against the mattress; "thud," "thud,"
"thud," "thud," go the other four, and the first heat is over. As they
come back, the judges check off the "37" from Downer's back, his
nervousness all gone, and in its place a confidence for which there is
as little excuse.

There were a score of heats varying little from this, as many more in
the "forty-yard handicap," and when they were finished nearly every seat
in the building was taken, and the platform had blossomed out like a
bank of flowers with the bright colors which the ladies wore. Now the
band starts up with a swinging "March," and everything takes on a new
life.

In the next two hours there was nothing particularly worth recording.
Shack won the "shot put" in spite of the four feet about which he had
complained so loudly, thus proving the astuteness of the much maligned
"handicapper." Sawyer came to me with Root and Turner just before the
"mile" was called, his long wrap dangling loose around his heels, and a
broad grin on his face. He answered my inquiry as to whether everything
was all right with an expressive nod, and then quoted a line or two from
some pathetic ballad in which the horrors of a death on the battle-field
were vividly depicted. He called off the roll very solemnly. Root and
Turner answering to their names, he told them to look to their
accoutrements, to tighten their horses' girths, and when the starter
sent them to their places, he gave the order to "saddle" with great
seriousness, leaving me with a step or two in imitation of a
particularly clumsy charger.

He was fixed with Turner at the seventy-yard mark, among a crowd of a
score of limit men. When they took their places, Shack was well outside
in the first row, and Turner well inside on the second. Root was twenty
yards back with another smaller knot of men at the fifty-yard mark, and
there were half a dozen at the thirty-five.

Fritz Hartman was alone on the twenty-five-yard line, and Seever stood
by himself at "scratch." Fritz was a well put together little chap, with
curly yellow hair, round face, and a great favorite with the gallery and
the "Rowing Club." There were a half dozen of the latter among the
contestants, all of them showing the crossed oars on the breasts of
their jerseys. Seever was almost as fair as the Dutchman, but he was a
bit browner, his hair was darker without the curl, and he stood at least
three inches taller. He kept his wrap on until the last moment, taking
no chances with a draft of cool air which blew from an open window
behind him. I knew there was nothing to be said to him, for he knew his
business perfectly, but took my position near the limit men, who were
having considerable fun with Shack and Turner.

One little fellow told Shack he would be quite a sprinter when he "got
his growth." And Shack confessed he did not feel quite strong enough for
the distance. When Turner pulled off his sweater, revealing his enormous
shoulders and chest, he did appear a bit out of place among the lighter
men around him. One of them said Turner was in good shape, but a "bit
fine," and asked if he had not done a "trifle too much work." Another
declared that Shack was so wide, he blocked the whole track. There
seemed to be an impression that the two big fellows had gone in for a
lark, or with the idea of settling who was the best at the distance, and
with no idea of winning. Of the real plan of the "Heavy Brigade" there
was no sign that any one had the least suspicion.

There was some cheering from the galleries for Hartman when he took his
place, and when Seever threw off his wrap there came a little burst of
applause from the spectators on the platform, and from the seats which
circled the track.

Many remembered Seever's nasty fall of the previous year, and it was
pretty well surmised that he meant to make a mighty hard try to win
where he had failed before. Indeed, by that peculiar telegraphy which
runs through a large crowd, almost every one knew that the "mile" was to
be the event of the evening. Seever was a fine sight in his spotless
running suit, his arms a bit slender, not an ounce of useless weight
above the belt, and his legs long and lithe as a greyhound's. He might
not be a "hothouse plant," but he was certainly not qualified to join
the ranks of the "Heavy Brigade."

The band stops in the middle of a bar at a signal from the "announcer,"
while he calls out the winners of the "high jump" in stentorian tones.
Then comes almost perfect silence as the thirty-odd men bend over their
marks, and are off with the sound of the pistol. They make a noise like
a heavy freight-train, and when the limit men strike the first corner it
was a case of the "ready shoulder" and "useful elbow," sure enough.
Three or four went down, sliding along the smooth boards. A couple were
up almost without loss, but one of them has enough and goes limping off
the track. Big Turner, despite his football experience, almost comes to
grief, for he had a man right under his feet; he staggers through,
however, with a plunge that sends another man to the edge of the track,
and is by Shack's side a moment later. Of course anything with a pair of
legs can run a single lap at the speed with which the best of them start
out who mean to finish in good time. The first lap showed few changes,
except that the whole lot had strung out in a long procession, first one
and then another coming up or going back, but with no very radical
changes. There were a couple of fellows with no idea of pace who
started from limit as if they had a hundred yards only before them, and
who came up close to Seever, who was in no hurry yet.

In the second lap Hartman began to draw away, and at the end of the
third passed a man or two and came up to a little bunch of nine or ten
close together. Root was among them, and made a little spurt as Fritz
went by; but the rest opened a gap like a barn door, through which the
Dutchman slipped with ease, and set out for those ahead.

"That was very pretty," said I to myself; "now we will see if Seever
gets the same chance." Fred, who had now struck his gait, and got his
heart and lungs in good working order, quickening his stride, passed a
few stragglers almost before they saw him, and came up to the same bunch
through which Hartman had gone so easily. He trailed after them a
little, and then swung wide to go by on the outside; but a stout fellow
with the crossed oars on his breast went with him, his right arm well
out, and his elbows up, taking Seever almost to the rail. The latter was
forced back again, and in the straight tried to slip through a promising
gap, but they put the bars up as he came along, and he found himself,
despite his best efforts, nicely pocketed at this early stage of the
game. There was considerable indication of disapproval from the
audience, and some hisses; but there was Seever, sure enough, "in
Coventry" and no mistake.

All this time Shack and Turner were running easily, and they now began
to slip back faster still among the tail-enders, being joined by Root on
the way. When Seever found himself blocked, he slowed a little,
according to instructions, and a second or two later the three men came
back, and led him with Shack first, Root second, and Turner just ahead.
Then, as if a trumpet had been blown, the "Heavy Brigade" swung into
position something like the letter "V," with Shack at the apex, Root a
little back and outside, and Turner in the same relative position on the
inside. There was nothing at all conspicuous about all this, and I doubt
if any one noticed it but myself. Seever now came up a little, and took
his place behind the "troop." They ran in this way for a few strides,
and then, as if the order to charge had been given, the "Heavy Brigade"
started at speed.

I held my breath a bit as they came up to the bunch which had blocked
Seever a moment before. Shack tried to swing wide, but again the stout
fellow with the crossed oars came out, and with him a couple of others.
Then Shack came in a little, chose a place where there was a small gap,
the trio "hit her up," and went through the crowd like a particularly
powerful snow-plough. The stout fellow tried to swing in, but he could
make no more impression against Shack than a stone-wall, and when he
bumped back against Root the latter worthy sent him to the rear. Turner
took care of his corner without a stagger. It was a mighty neat
performance, for no one was taken off his feet, though several had been
thrown out of their strides when the "Brigade" cut through. The audience
cheered as Seever swung by, and set out behind his body-guard at a pace
that meant mischief to some one. They had all been running easily, and
now they passed one contestant after another until they came to a second
bunch a bit more solid than the first.

Shack trailed them for a half lap; looking in vain for an opening, he
swung wide, he made a try for the inside, he stepped this way and that,
and then suddenly, as if at the touch of the spur, the "Heavies" cut
into the line in front where it was weakest. There was no opening; so
Shack selected a little fellow in the middle, and ran right over him,
taking pains to send him wide out of Seever's way. Root had little
trouble, but Turner found himself in an awful hole. I could see his
huge shoulder as he forced through, and at one time I thought he was
surely down, but he came through a little behind the rest, puffing like
a grampus. He was strong and game, however, and a moment later was in
his place again, although far from comfortable.

The audience was now on its feet, for there were but a couple of laps
left, and the real race was now to come. Half of the starters had
dropped out, half of the remainder were hopelessly trailed, and the
leaders were close together. Hartman had perhaps ten yards over Kitson,
and about the same distance back were the "Heavies," with Seever close
up. This latter "piece of rare porcelain," as Shack called him, had been
taken through without a touch and was running as if on eggs. They pulled
Kitson back fast, and caught him at the last corner. He was a tall
fellow with a closely shaven head, who was a runner, sure enough, and
used his arms almost as much as his legs. It was almost impossible for a
light man to get by him on a narrow board track.

Just what he tried to do I never discovered, for the crowd of
contestants inside the track were all huddled together and partly hid my
view. All I am sure of is that the man with the "useful elbow" suddenly
performed a parabola of surpassing splendor, and landed in a very dazed
condition between the knees of a fat man in the front row of spectators.

Kitson had no sooner been put out of danger than Root and Shack swung
wide, and Turner also stepped out of the way, falling among the crowd
inside the track pretty well run out, and Seever came through and set
out for Hartman like the "Headless Horseman."

The Dutchman ran as if the famous spectre of Sleepy Hollow was indeed
after him, but Seever was as fresh as paint and would not be denied.
Foot by foot he gained, and passing him at the last corner broke the
tape a comfortable winner by a couple of yards.

Of course he received plenty of acknowledgment for his plucky race, but
not half the applause that came to Shack, the doughty leader of the
"Heavy Brigade," who came romping in third, with a grin on his face like
the first quarter of a harvest moon.



[Illustration: A Virginia Jumper]


I remember it was on a Monday morning that I sat in my office at the
gymnasium, opening a three-days' mail. I had been out of town, and found
quite a formidable accumulation of letters on my desk.

It was early, not later than eight o'clock. The November sun was
shining, and the woodbine that framed the eastern window was blazing
almost as brightly as the fire in the grate. It was all very cheerful. I
was glad to get back again, and with an old cricket jacket around my
shoulders I set myself to clean up the arrears of work.

I always handle my mail on the principle of elimination; that is, I
first open the unsealed envelopes containing circulars, then those of
apparently little consequence, and so on down to the most interesting
and important. Of course I sometimes make mistakes, but not very often.
I distinctly remember that on that day an envelope with a black border
was saved for the very last. The postmark was illegible, and it was
addressed to me in a particularly old-fashioned and graceful hand.

When at last I broke the seal, I found its contents as follows:

  THE OAKS, FAIRFAX CO., VA.

      DEAR SIR: I am desirous that my son may win distinction in some
      form of athletic sport. I understand that you have charge of the
      instruction in this department. It is my wish that he be given
      especial training in that exercise to which he is best adapted. I
      have already advised him concerning my plan. I write you also,
      because he has unfortunately little ambition in this direction,
      and I must ask that he be given particular care and attention. I
      shall be pleased to have you send me the customary bill for such
      extra work. My son comes of a family renowned for strength and
      vigor, and should be able to surpass all competitors. I should
      consider a second place no better than absolute failure. Asking
      your serious consideration of the above, I am,

  Sincerely yours,
  MARGARET LEE FAIRFAX.
  TO MR. WALTER BROWN.

Now, I have received a great many letters concerning athletic matters in
my time, but few more interesting than this. Concealed under a very
matter-of-fact speech and manner, there is in me a vein of the
imaginative which I occasionally indulge. Sometimes a very small matter
will be enough to send me on a very wild flight. I remember that I read
the letter with the black border again and again, trying to picture to
myself the one who wrote it. There were nine sentences, and six of them
beginning with the "I,"--evidently a woman of strong personality. "I am
desirous," "It is my wish," certainly indicated one accustomed to have
her inclinations respected. "He comes of a family renowned for strength
and vigor, and should be able to surpass all competitors," plainly
showed a woman proud of her birth, and ambitious for success. A
Virginian, a Fairfax. I made a mind picture of her as she wrote the
letter, sitting in a cool and shaded room in one of those
white-pillared, wide-halled mansions, built a century ago among the
oaks. She was dressed in black, her figure tall and slender, her back
straight and her head well poised. Her hair had a few threads of white
in it, but a hint of color still showed in her cheeks, and the light had
not yet gone out of her dark eyes. Her mouth I pictured a trifle
thin-lipped and positive. At an old mahogany desk with big brass
escutcheons she sat, the magnolias' heavy fragrance in the air, the song
of the darkies sounding faintly from the distant fields. This is the
picture I made on that November morning, and how long I should have
dreamed I cannot say, had not Paddy's voice from under my window waked
me from my trance, with "Jerry, ye Kildare divil, luk at the rake ye
lift out the night; it's half a mind I hev to comb yer thick hid wid
it."

Jerry protested his innocence in tones only less strident than Paddy's
own, and the remarkably fluent and aggressive tirade of the latter was
only lost to me when they had walked down the track and out of ear-shot.

Now, I defy any one to make mind pictures under such conditions, and I
became my practical self at once. I shut off the romantic stop with a
thud, and turning on the business pipe, proceeded to answer my mail.
Most of the circulars went into the waste basket; receipted bills into
one compartment, unpaid into another. I answered a few of the routine
letters, and then oddly enough I broke my rule, and took up the
black-bordered letter again.

Who was this candidate for athletic fame? His name was not even
mentioned in the letter. Evidently the son of Margaret Lee Fairfax was
supposed to be too well known to need any further title. A reference to
my list gave me among the freshmen, "Richard Spotswood Fairfax, The
Oaks, Fairfax Co., Va.," but this did not help me at all. He had
certainly not appeared on track or field, or I should have remembered
him, and he had even neglected a physical examination. He was probably
bandy-legged, big-waisted, round-shouldered, and hollow-chested. He
might be a sufferer from dyspepsia and heart disease; there were chances
that he had a fancy for Greek roots, and thought football brutal. I have
been asked by doting parents to make champion sprinters and weight
putters out of just such timber,--although the age of miracles is past.

I had a conventional way of answering such letters, and prepared to go
through the usual forms. A modest request it was indeed! "I should
consider a second place no better than absolute failure." Little did she
realize what a combination of excellences go to make up a winner, nor
how many good men train faithfully for four years without getting a
place.

Give him "especial care and attention"? Well, hardly, if he does not
care enough about himself even to have his chart made out.

I had taken the sheet of paper and written the "Dear Madam," when there
came a knock at the door, and at my "Come in," it swung leisurely open.
Just how I came to the conclusion I cannot tell, but I knew the first
moment I set eyes on my visitor that it was Richard Spotswood Fairfax
himself. He was not at all the monstrosity I had painted him; in fact,
he was a mighty good-looking fellow. He was a little above average
height, with a dark oval face, brown hair, and a wide smile that "wud
timpt a man to borry a dollar," as Paddy once said. His tailor knew his
business, though his suit of brown tweed fitted a trifle more loosely
than our Northern style would have permitted. He also wore a low
roll-collar, that showed a firm, round neck to advantage. He smiled when
he entered, and sank into a chair by the side of my desk with a sigh of
content and another smile. He was in no hurry to speak, and as I learned
after was never in a hurry to do anything. He looked me over a moment
with his handsome sleepy blue eyes, and then spoke in that melodious
drawl which is taught nowhere else but in "ole Virginny." I do not
remember how he introduced the subject, for I was too much taken with
his voice to notice. I cannot begin to describe it, or the easy way in
which the words followed each other, divorced from all such aggressive
letters as _r_, _g_, and _t_.

He told me he wished to be examined, and assigned some branch of sport
to which he could give his attention; in effect, just what his mother
had written, except that he omitted to say anything about winning or a
first place. I asked him if he had ever done anything in athletics, and
he said that barring a little gunning, a moderate amount of riding, and
considerable fishing, he had done nothing at all in sports. He expressed
a decided preference for the fishing, which I thought was
characteristic.

To my question as to whether he had any choice whatever concerning work
on track or cinder-path, he answered, none at all, except that which
called for the least exertion would best suit his book. I decided that
his mother had written truly when she said he "lacked ambition in this
direction," and might have said that he lacked ambition in any other. It
was surprising that I did not take a dislike to one who professed such a
decided aversion to manly sports, but the boy was so open and frank
about it that the impression was not at all disagreeable.

After Fairfax had told his story and answered a few questions, I ordered
him in a short, Yankee fashion (that seemed almost brutal compared with
his easy tones) to strip and I would take his measurements. At my
direction he rose slowly, went over to the corner, leisurely took off
coat and vest, and when he got down to the buff, and I looked up from
my writing, as I live, I had answered three letters, and the clock had
ticked off a full five minutes. (Two is usually enough to transform a
shackled slave of Fashion to the freedom of a state of nature.) I laid
my pen aside, and taking tape in hand began to look him over. I confess
I could hardly restrain an exclamation of surprise. His languid ways and
slow movements had not prepared me for any such development as he
showed. The conventional costume of the nineteenth century is a
wonderful disguise, designed by some man-milliner to hide the
imperfections of a degenerate race. The trained athlete and the flabby
dude look much alike in loose trousers and padded coats.

Now, Dick was neither athlete nor dude, though if I ever saw a man cut
out for the former, he was the one. His skin was dark, but clear and
velvety. He stood easily, with every muscle relaxed, and was as
symmetrical as a demi-god. There was nothing out of proportion, no fat,
no unused muscle, and no over-development. Indeed, I surmised, what
afterward proved true, that he was the best specimen of an embryo
athlete that it had ever been my good fortune to see.

I took him to the standard and found his height five feet ten and
one-half inches. He lifted the scales at one hundred and fifty-eight,
and then I put my tape on him and began my measurements. As I marked
down one after another my admiration grew, and when I had finished and
he had dressed and left me, I could not deny myself the pleasure of
making out his chart, even before I finished the mail. A wonderful chart
it was, too. The average percentage was not as high as that of one or
two fellows who had the advantages of intelligent handling by good men
at first-class preparatory schools, but when it came to symmetrical
development, there was not one in the same class with him. The line was
almost straight, a slight advantage only showing in measurements below
the waist.

After the chart was finished I put it in a conspicuous place on the
mantel, went back to my letters, and finally wrote Mrs. Fairfax as
follows: "I shall be pleased to give your son the attention you ask.
Although it is impossible to guarantee any degree of success, he has the
advantage of an unusually good development, and may make something of
himself if he is willing to work faithfully and follow orders. It rests
more with him than myself. There will be no extra charge."

It may seem rather a curt letter, but compared with what I usually write
in answer to like requests it was remarkably "Chesterfieldian." Not
that I am ever likely to so far forget myself as to neglect the common
courtesies, but it is often necessary to be very positive in order to
protect against further annoyance. I received an acknowledgment from
"The Oaks" a few days after, which was not quite as dictatorial as the
first, and in which the "I" was not nearly so much in evidence. It also
asked me to report occasionally, and hinted that maternal authority
might be invoked in case of difficulty, and that Richard Spotswood
Fairfax had been taught to respect it thoroughly.

Dick appeared on the cinder-path the second day after his call on me,
clad in irreproachable track costume, and I gave him a little trial with
some of the other freshmen who had been out several weeks. He had never
worn a running-shoe before that day, nor entered a contest, and yet he
ran the "hundred" in eleven and three-fifths, and the "quarter" a little
under the minute, coming in as fresh as paint, and without turning a
hair. It was odd to see him standing with a half-dozen other fellows,
who were drenched with perspiration, and wheezing like blacksmiths'
bellows, while he was not even tired.

The next day he cleared four feet eleven in the "running high," and
nearly seventeen in the "running broad." Now, these were wonderful
performances for a novice, particularly as Dick seemed not to exert
himself in the least.

That night, as I sat in my room smoking a comforting pipe, I thought the
matter over very thoroughly. I am a shy bird for "wonders," and doubtful
concerning "phenoms," but I made up my mind in cold blood that almost
anything was possible for Richard Spotswood Fairfax, of "The Oaks." With
the advantages of my handling, he ought to be a world beater, and no
mistake. As Tom Furness expresses a good thing, "There was frosting on
top, and jelly between the layers."

Of course I said nothing of this to Dick, but ordered him regular
all-round work in the gymnasium for the winter, and told him if he took
good care of himself, we might make something of him in the spring. In
those days we had no big indoor meets, and the men were allowed to do
very much as they pleased until near the end of the winter. I am of the
opinion that such rest is better in the end than a continuous course of
training, particularly for men under twenty-one.

I saw considerable of Dick, and was well satisfied to have him keep to
easy exercise. He filled out a bit, and the muscles on his shapely body
grew large and firm as the days went by. I was a bit troubled by the
boy's extreme popularity, for it brought continual temptation to shirk
work. Some one or another was perpetually asking him away, when if he
had possessed fewer friends, he would have been less troubled. He was a
mighty fine-looking fellow, and with an unlimited fund of good nature
and good cash (two most essential passports to college popularity),
spring found him the best known and best liked man of his class, a
favorite with man, woman, and beast. He had stuck to his work most
faithfully, and barring a little fling or so, such as all boys of his
age are likely to take, I had little fault to find with him. I remember
I expressed one day my surprise that he had not missed his hour in the
gymnasium more than once or twice since he started in, and was told, as
if the answer was conclusive, that he had given his promise. He also
added later that a Fairfax never broke his word, even in the least
degree.

One common difficulty I escaped with Dick, that of keeping him from the
football field, the grave for the hopes of so many a promising athlete.
Dick pronounced the game altogether too much like work to suit him, and
no entreaty would move him in the least; not even the plea that he was
"needed," or the threat that he would be considered disloyal to his
class, had any effect whatever on him.

Now, it must not be thought for a moment that I object to football in
its proper place. It is the king of sports, and stands by itself,
unrivalled in its attractions for all of Anglo-Saxon blood. It is the
best successor to the knightly tourney that this prosaic century has
left us. Neither an occasional accident, nor the foolishness of some of
its supporters, with excuses for defeat, nor demands for apologies, will
ever succeed in killing it.

The game is made, however, only for strong, stocky men. To see one with
a turn of speed, long, shapely legs, and slender body mixed up in a
scrimmage, and sure to end in the hospital at last, is more than I can
stand. It should not take those unfitted for its fierce struggles, but
qualified by nature for other forms of sport.

After considerable thought I decided to have Dick try for the running
broad jump, and for these reasons: First, the team was weak in this
department. Second, this was a trifle his best performance. Third, Dick
chose it, as calling for the least labor. Indeed, he absolutely declined
distant running, unless he was bound to it by his promise to his
mother.

So Dick settled down to regular work and practice at the "running
broad," and appeared each day as surely as the clock struck the hour;
not even Frost, a veteran of four years, was as much to be depended on.

Now, there is no more practical school than that of the cinder-path;
with given athletic material, a certain amount of work should bring
exact results. We look for them just as confidently as the farmer looks
for his crops in the autumn, after the planting of the spring and the
cultivation of the summer. There may be accidents, just as the farmer
has a hail-storm, or like fruit under an untimely frost a man may go
stale at the last moment. But, barring accidents, we expect a gradual
growth and development in just proportion to the natural ability of the
man.

Now, strange to say, Dick Fairfax contradicted all known laws; his style
improved, and his physical condition as well, but his jump was the same
old jump after several weeks of practice. He worked up to an average of
nineteen-six, but there he stuck, and no handling, instruction, or care
could pull him on to the even twenty feet. Encouragement, blame, the
incentives of trial contests, and even ridicule were all the same to
Dick. I did all I knew,--and a bit well-informed I claimed to
be,--giving him more attention than any three other men. This was
partly because I liked the boy, and partly because I received a letter
from "The Oaks" once every week asking how Richard was getting on. I
have a decided aversion to lying, and I disliked to tell the truth to
the lonely woman who looked forward so confidently to her son's success.
But most of all I stuck to Dick because of the possibilities I saw in
him. His legs were marvels; from toe to thigh, muscle, sinew, and bone
were perfect. And yet Seever, with his crooked joints and spindle
shanks, could best Dick's best effort by a good foot. I racked my brain
for reasons of the failure, but with no result. I tried all possible
changes, even to a take-off with the left, but all in vain. Nineteen-six
he could do before or after breakfast, and probably at midnight, if
tried at that unusual hour. He was the most consistent performer I have
ever seen. The trouble was that it was consistency to a distance of no
use at all to us. Little Jack Bennett, who had started in with something
like a thirteen-foot jump, had plugged away day after day, until he was
"hoss and hoss" with Dick, and the latter was quite content. Approval or
disapproval were all the same to him, and he answered both with a smile,
or a careless glance from his sleepy blue eyes.

Beside Dick and Jack there were Frost and Seever, two veterans who had
reached their limit, and were good for a scant twenty-one. We had not
one first-class man.

Now, while I am telling this tale more particularly for the initiated, I
mean to make it plain to others less well informed, and will for their
sakes say that the honor of the broad jump championship is to-day
divided between Reber in America and Fry in the Old Country, both of
whom have negotiated twenty-three feet six and one-half inches. No one
jumping less than twenty-one feet has any chance in a first-class
competition, and it would have done us as much good if Dick had done
nine feet as nineteen; that is, no good at all.

Mrs. Fairfax reminded me in her first letter, after I had informed her
that Dick had chosen the "running broad" as his special event, that this
was a traditional Virginia sport, and she was pleased with the
selection. She called my attention to the fact that Thackeray in his
story of the "Virginians" makes Harry Warrington cover twenty-one feet
three inches against his English rivals, and says that Col. George
Washington could better this by a foot. Now, if this is history, and the
truthful George did the distance with a short run on grass, and no
take-off but a line on the turf, he was a wonder, and better than any
we can show to-day. If Reber and Fry had lived in his time they would
not have been in his class, and should George Washington return to
earth, and enter a contest to-day (I hope there is nothing sacrilegious
in the thought), he would distance their best efforts. A mighty fine
pair of legs he must have had, and what he could have done with modern
improvements, such as spiked shoes, a five-inch joist, on a nice
cinder-path, and with prepared ground to land in, we can only guess; I
should say he could have bettered his record by a good yard. It is easy
to understand how such a man could succeed in the great game of war.

Our Virginian jumper, despite all his advantages, was content with a
performance of nearly three feet less than that of the father of his
country, who had hailed from the same State.

So matters went on, until one morning late in April I arranged with Dick
to give him an early morning trial alone. He demurred at this most
decidedly, being very fond of his morning nap, but consented finally, if
I would agree to call him. I cannot tell how I allowed him to wheedle me
as he did; but it was a way he had with all, and few could resist him.

It was a little after seven when I left my door and started for Dick's
room. Now, I am no spring poet; in fact, thirty years' connection with
the cinder-path has knocked most of the romance out of me, but I
remember that morning still. It had been a late winter, and this was
really the first dawn with no chill on the air; the trees were
blossoming, the birds singing, the sun shining, the air like a tonic,
and there was an indescribable something which told that winter was gone
at last.

After some delay at Dick's door,--for he was a wonderful sleeper,
particularly in the early morning,--I succeeded in waking him, and sat
in the window-seat while he took his tub. I helped him a little in the
rub-down, and a man more fit I never saw. This over, Dick pulled on his
trunks, jersey, and sweater, and taking his shoes in his hands he
followed me leisurely down-stairs. We waited a moment on the steps,
while he pulled his shoes on, and then jogged over to the track. So
fresh was the air, that just before we reached the ground I found myself
quickening strides with Dick, until we finished at a very pretty sprint,
something I had not done for a long time. It does not help a trainer to
compete under any conditions with his man.

Perhaps it was partly because I felt that I had unbent too much with him
that I made my lecture, already planned, more severe than intended; at
any rate, it was a mighty stiff talk the boy got. I knew it was useless
to mince matters, and was resolved to cut through his armor of good
nature and indifference, if there was a vulnerable point, and a straight
thrust could reach him. A couple of weeks before, the captain of the
team, disgusted with Dick's unsatisfactory work, had quite lost his
temper with him and told him in so many words that he was not worth the
salt of the training-table, and must make a brace or he would not make
the team at all.

Almost any other man would have either got hot and given a sharp answer,
or more likely still gone into his boots with disappointment. Dick,
however, did neither. He gave one of his wide smiles, maddening enough
to an earnest man, took the matter very calmly, and volunteered to get
his feed at his own expense whenever we tired of furnishing it. He
remarked that a table with a little more variety would suit his palate
fully as well, and after the talk went on with his tiresome jump of
nineteen-six just as if nothing at all had been said.

Now, while this was provoking enough, and under usual conditions would
have resulted in a summary drop from the team, we did not take the boy
at his word. We were in desperate need of a broad jumper, and hoped that
he might get out of the rut, and pick up that extra foot or two before
the games. We thought it possible, also, that in a big contest the boy
might be stirred up a bit, very much to his benefit.

On this April morning I talked about as plainly as I knew, using good
old Anglo-Saxon phrases, and not many French idioms. I would not care to
see my exact words in print, and I am afraid some of the bright eyes
that I hope to please with this book would open wide with surprise. A
trainer is given a certain license, like the driver of a yoke of oxen
and the captain of a football team. I knew one of the latter who was
seriously blamed because his puritanical training forbade the use of any
stronger language than "board of health" when a signal was lost or the
ball was dropped. Out in the open air, and among strong men, it is very
easy to form the habit of using strong words on occasions like this.

I told Dick, in effect, that I had given him time and attention that
rightfully belonged to other men on the team, and had nothing to show
for it; that he could do better, and must do better; that his lack of
improvement was a reflection on me as well as himself; and finally, if
he was not an arrant cur, without courage and without honor, he would
have tired of a child's jump long ago. "Why, man," said I, "if you had
sand enough for an ant-hill, with a pair of legs like yours, you would
be making a jump of twenty-three feet this morning."

Now, Dick was a great pet of mine and had never heard a hot word from
me; he was very much surprised, and when I called him an "arrant cur,
without courage and without honor," he flushed to the roots of his hair.
The question of his honor was what touched him most deeply, for his
Virginia atmosphere had made him especially sensitive, if not over
careful. I was pleased to see his face grow dark, and the smile fade
from the corners of his mouth. He was first indignant, and then in a
towering passion. He stepped toward me, with clinched hands, and opened
his mouth a couple of times to speak, but not a word did he say. Then he
turned suddenly on his heel, walked away from me down the cinder-path,
pulled his sweater over his head, dropped it on the grass, faced toward
me again, and set himself for his sprint.

I was standing with him close to the joist when I delivered my lecture,
and I remained where I was, wondering what the boy was up to.

He came down the path for his jump, with his jaw set, his eyes aflame,
his brows black, and with two bright red spots in his cheeks. One of
Dick's faults was that he would not force himself to full speed, an
absolute essential for a good broad jump. In fact, a man who will not or
cannot sprint should not be allowed to waste his energies on this event.
This morning was an exception to the rule with Dick, for he came toward
me like a whirlwind, apparently paying no attention to either stride or
distance. He fortunately reached the mark all right, caught the joist
firm and strong, and launched into the air with his knees high.

I cannot describe my sensations as he shot by me, better than to say he
seemed to fly. I knew before he landed that the old mark of nineteen-six
was gone forever, but when he broke ground close to the end of the box,
and fell forward, I could not gather my senses for a moment. Dick picked
himself up like a flash, his brows still threatening, and coming up to
me said hoarsely, "Measure that, you English blackguard!" and strode off
to his room without even stopping to pick up his sweater.

I said nothing at all in answer, for I was not in the least offended at
the uncomplimentary language. Not that I am accustomed to being
addressed in other than a respectful manner, but in this case I had
really brought the anger on myself intentionally, and I had been
successful beyond my fondest hopes.

As Dick disappeared behind the fence, Tom Furness swung round the
corner, out for an early spin round the track.

"What do you call that?" said he, looking at the marks.

"It is the biggest jump ever made by man," I answered solemnly.

"A jump from the hard ground, either sidewise or backward," said Tom;
"nothing but wings could carry a man from the joist to those marks."

"Look them over," I said, "before you question them."

Well, to make a long story short, the marks told their own tale; the
ground was unbroken except by his feet, for there had been a shower the
night before. There were proofs enough to convince Tom that Dick's shoes
with Dick in them had run down that cinder-path, and from the joist had
jumped the distance. Tom saw readily that the heel prints were too deep
for a short jump backward, and too even for one sidewise. There was the
broken ground, showing that the impetus was from the joist and the
jumper was at a high rate of speed, and had lifted high in the air.

When we had argued it all out satisfactorily, Tom suggested that we had
better measure it before we talked any longer, for it might not show up
to what I thought.

He took the end of the tape and held it to the joist, while I walked
ahead, with the reel rattling as I pulled it out. By the well-worn
figures up to twenty-one I went; twenty-two and twenty-three were
slightly blurred, but the twenty-four was fresh and bright, and at
twenty-four two and one-quarter I stopped, and looked back to see if the
tape was all right. I lifted my hand again, examined the ground very
carefully, pulled the tape tight, and made the mark twenty-four feet one
and three-quarter inches, back of which there was not the hint of a
break.

Then Tom and I changed ends and he found it just the same.

There was no mistake about it. Given a competition and witnesses on that
April morning, and the record would not stand to-day at twenty-three six
and one-half, but a good seven and one-quarter inches better, and the
name of Richard Spotswood Fairfax would be fastened to it.

Now, I expected that Dick would be all right with me the next time we
met. I thought he would be pleased that my words, however severe, had
forced him to the big jump, and even anticipated an apology for his
offensive words. In this, however, I was mistaken. I did not realize the
extreme sensitiveness of a Virginian and a Fairfax to any reflection
upon his honor. Dick met me courteously enough, but distantly, and
indeed was never the same to me again.

I found, too, that my lecture had only a temporary effect, for he took
up the old jump of nineteen-six the same as before, apparently as
contented as ever.

Tom Furness was foolish enough to tell the story of Dick's big jump, and
was jollied therefore by everybody, receiving credit for a most
Munchausen imagination. Tom let them rough him all right, for nothing
pleased him better, but came to me at last with Sam Hitchcock asking me
to settle a bet, whether or no Dick Fairfax had broken the record of the
running broad jump in practice.

Of course I could but tell the truth under such circumstances, although
I knew I was putting my reputation for veracity to a severe test. I
declared very seriously that Dick had certainly bested the
twenty-four-foot mark under record conditions. Sam was incredulous, and
went so far as to remind me that it was not at all a joking matter, for
a good ten-dollar note must change hands on my decision. At this, I
repeated my statement positively as before, and Sam paid over the money
without any further remark.

It was altogether too good a story for him to keep, and it soon became
an interesting subject of discussion. Those who knew me best (and Sam
among them, despite his loss) believed the tale, but there were many
"doubting Thomases." Some made it a subject for senseless jokes and
witless questions, such as, "Was the tape elastic?" "Did he jump from
the roof?" or "Did he do it very, very early in the morning?" Other
"smart Alecs" declared the twenty-four feet was all right, but the extra
one and three-quarters inches they could not go.

Now, I am not at all averse to a draw on the long bow when swapping lies
with a sporting friend and both know the game we play, but when I speak
seriously I wish to be taken in the same way. Beside, I had allowed
money to pass on it, and that should have settled the matter.

It was partly due to my resentment at this banter that Dick finally made
the team and little Jack Bennett did not. The latter certainly became
better in practice, but I claimed that neither were of any use at their
regular jumps, and that Dick's extraordinary performance, for which I
vouched again, while not likely to be repeated, was possible, and made
Dick the better man for the choice.

When the decision was finally made, about a week before the games, I
wrote Mrs. Fairfax a long letter, telling her the whole truth, giving
special emphasis to the early morning trial. I declared my only hope for
Dick's success (and that a faint one) was that the heat of a contest
with men of other colleges, and before a crowd, might wake him up and
get him a place. I did not see how he could win except by a miracle. I
declared that I had kept my promise to her most faithfully, and that my
disappointment was, if possible, greater than her own.

I received an answer promptly, which read as follows:

  THE OAKS, FAIRFAX CO., VA.

      DEAR SIR: I understand the conditions perfectly, but am still
      confident that Richard will win. He must win. Give him the
      enclosed note just before his last trial. On no account allow him
      to see it before, nor permit any considerable interval between the
      reading and Richard's last jump.

  Sincerely yours,
  MARGARET LEE FAIRFAX.
  TO MR. WALTER BROWN.

Now, I confess that when I finished the reading I really questioned the
sanity of the "châtelaine" of "The Oaks." What effect could a note have,
no matter how worded, upon easy-going Dick Fairfax? What appeal could
she make that would add the necessary feet to his jump? It made me think
of boyish stories of the age of chivalry, when talismanic words were
efficacious. I read this short note over as carefully and even more
wonderingly than the first black-bordered letter written by the same
hand. Then I put it away in my pocket, resolved to follow instructions
implicitly, no matter how foolish they might seem. I should have nothing
with which to reproach myself, and would give Mrs. Fairfax no occasion
for fault-finding. So the matter was left, and Dick went on with the
rest of the team, perfectly contented with himself and all around him.

The games that year were not particularly interesting, except the one
event for which we were so poorly prepared, and in which even Tom
Furness did not have the courage to claim a single point.

It was a clear day after a three-days' rain, and the track was heavy,
which happened to suit us. We had a couple of "mud larks" who scooped
the sprints, though a dry-track would not have given them a place.

Dick spent most of the day watching the contests, as disinterestedly as
if he was a native of the Isle of Java. He was clothed in a big gray
blanket wrap and an omnipresent smile. The wrap had crimson cords and
tassels, was extremely becoming, and more than one pair of bright eyes
looked at him approvingly from the grand stand. Our Virginia jumper was
certainly the handsomest and most distinguished-looking of all the
contestants, and the girls always wish such a man to win, and are
surprised and disappointed when some raw-boned chap with carroty hair,
freckled face, and not a regular feature beats out their favorite. It
was a glorious day, the sun bright, the sky cloudless, the seats
crowded, and the college cheers like volleys of infantry at short range.
When the "running broad" was on, and the numbers were called, Dick did
not answer to his, and we were forced to look him up, the clerk
meanwhile fussing and fuming, and using language more forceable than
polite. At last I found him looking dreamily across the track at a
pretty girl in the grand stand, as if this was his only business. He
followed me with a bored look, and several backward glances delayed his
sufficiently leisurely footsteps.

There was another delay on account of the ground; for, as frequently
happens, the soil in the box where the men landed was so soft that it
broke back several inches. Seever was the first man, and I did not want
him to throw away a single chance. A spade was sent for and the loose
earth flattened down a bit, but it took considerable time. The clerk,
measurer, and almost every one else were put out but Dick, who had
thrown himself full length on the soft turf by the side of the path, and
bore the delay with extreme fortitude.

Most of the other contestants had taken a trial jump or two to get their
strides and make their marks, but Dick waited contentedly for his number
to be called, and would have been just as well satisfied if he had been
skipped altogether.

Seever was the first of a large field, and when his number was announced
he threw off his wrap and walked down the path. He was one of the most
awkward men I ever saw, but as honest as he was homely. All his
opponents wished him well, and several of them, as they sprawled around
on the grass, had a joke or a bit of chaff for him as he left them. I
always like to see the first trial of the "running broad." There is the
narrow cinder-path, the whitewashed joist, and the soft earth, smoothed
by repeated rakings ready to receive the prints of the spiked shoes.
After that it is tedious until the weeding-out process is completed, and
the three best men fight it out for the places.

I could have told within three inches of what Seever would do before he
made his jump, for he was extremely steady, and had been at it for four
years, and reached his limit. He came down the track awkwardly, but at a
good speed, caught the joist firmly with his big foot, rose in the air
with a grunt, and landed with a thud. The measurer announced twenty feet
one-quarter inch without hesitation, for Seever always jumped high, and
kept his heels together. Two or three others tried, and then came Frost,
our second man, a little fellow with curly black hair. He was a bit
better or worse than Seever, but inclined to be careless, and to-day it
cost him dear. He overstepped the joist so far that he wrenched his
ankle badly and was forced to retire, limping off to the dressing-room
on a couple of the boys' shoulders.

Dick was almost last, and when he was called, he rose slowly, with a
yawn, threw the gray wrap over Seever's head, and walked down the path
as if he cared not where it led. When he turned, he looked up to the
grand stand and gave the little blonde in the blue dress a glance and
smile, for which he was most liberally applauded. At first only a few
pairs of little gloved hands clapped, but they were persistent; others,
who supposed for some reason or other applause was the proper thing at
this time, joined in, and Dick received quite an ovation, although he
had done nothing and was expected to do nothing.

I can see him to-day as he looked then. His arm out for his sprint; his
bare legs, brown and sinewy, but smooth and graceful as a girl's; his
whole figure a model for an artist. He was much surprised at the
applause, for he was not used to it, and did not expect it. The color
rose in his dark cheeks as he started down the path, quickening speed
with every step, until just as his college cheer sounded its first sharp
note he caught the joist, and bounded into the air. It was a perfect
jump, barring a little lack of determination, but with much more fire
than usual. I watched as the measurer pulled out his tape, and was
pleased enough when he gave the distance as twenty-one two. I had been
thinking all the day of the mother down in the old home, whose heart was
so bound up in the success of her boy. I would have given a month's
salary to have been able to send her the telegram she hoped for.

One after another, tall and short, stout and slender, good and bad, had
their three trials, and Dick was in the finals by an inch and a half.
Poor old Seever was out of it, and Dick was the only string we had left.
All of our people were perfectly satisfied at this, and Tom was smiling
as a Cheshire cat. I had absolutely no hope that Dick would do better
than third, for after his first attempt, although the applause had been
louder than ever, he had taken no notice of it, and had apparently lost
all interest in the sport. Being accustomed to his surroundings, he went
through his performances in a perfunctory fashion, showing a fraction
over twenty feet, and then a fraction under. Indeed, he had become his
old listless, careless self again.

In the finals he did first nineteen-nine, and then, despite the
desperate effort I made to stir him up with sharp words, he fell back to
his old maddening distance of nineteen-six and one-half.

The other two competitors, a little fellow with light hair, and a big
chap with not much hair of any color, had respectively twenty-two one
and one-half, and twenty-one and three-quarters inch to their credit.
All seemed over but the shouting when Dick walked slowly down the
cinder-path for his last trial. No applause did he get either, except
from the gloved hands, for men do not like to see an athlete without
determination, no matter how well they may like him in society.

As he walked down the path, I followed along a little behind him on the
turf. I waited until he put his hand out, in exact accordance with
instructions, and then I handed him his mother's message. He looked at
me a moment with surprise, then took the black-bordered note and broke
the seal.

He read it hastily, and the color left his face as if a mortal fear had
stricken him. Into his eyes there came first a far-away look, then one
of the fiercest determination. He crumpled the note in his left hand,
faced around for his sprint, and was off like a flash. I watched the
lithe figure and followed it, but Dick had landed long before I reached
the joist. He had caught the timber much as he had done on the April
morning, and had thrown his knees high as before. I saw him cut the air,
and my heart came into my mouth as I thought of a win and a broken
record both. But it was not to be. I saw him land in the end of the box,
far beyond any other jump; but, to my horror, he had reached too far
with his feet, and though he made a desperate effort, he balanced a
moment, and then threw himself on his back and side. He picked himself
up without a word, and throwing his gray wrap over his shoulder pushed
his way through the little crowd of contestants and officials, and
strode off toward the dressing-rooms without even waiting for the
measurer.

I had eyes now only for the tape. The footmarks were plain as possible,
and on the right and several inches back were the prints of Dick's thigh
and elbow in the brown earth. The measurer pulled the tape out
carefully, and I saw his finger slide by the twenty-two mark, where they
hesitated a moment. He examined the broken ground with eager eyes, and
at last his thumb stopped at the three and one-quarter inch. The little
fellow who had made the twenty-two one and one-half was close by my
side, and I heard him sigh at the sight. He had another trial; but the
first place had seemed his already, and now he must fight for it with
only one more chance. I was quite sure that Dick's jump was good enough,
and so it proved. Richard Spotswood Fairfax was a winner. I was delayed
a little, and when I reached the dressing-room I learned that the boy
had dressed hurriedly, and driven off in a carriage by himself, without
a word for any one. When I reached the hotel, he had taken his
departure, waiting neither for congratulations nor farewells.

The first telegram I sent that night was to Virginia, and the first
letter I read, on my return, was one with a black border.

  THE OAKS, FAIRFAX CO., VA.

      DEAR SIR: I am in receipt of your telegram. I must thank you for
      the faithfulness with which you have fulfilled my request. It is
      not probable that Richard will continue in athletics. I enclose
      herewith a compensation which is certainly due you. I shall be
      greatly disappointed if denied the pleasure of its acceptance.
      Wishing you the success you deserve in your profession, I am,

  Sincerely yours,
  MARGARET LEE FAIRFAX.
  TO MR. WALTER BROWN.

So closed my correspondence with the "châtelaine" of "The Oaks," whom I
never saw, but about whom I have often thought. What did she write in
that black-sealed, black-bordered note? I have puzzled my brain over it
many and many an hour. I think I have guessed the riddle; but true or
false, it must be kept a secret still.

Dick himself is certainly not an enigma. He is only the most pronounced
case of a description I have met before and since.

He had ability, but not the inclination nor the will. A temporary anger
on that April morning had given him the necessary determination to force
his muscles to their extreme exercise of power. His mother's note had
furnished a motive which had brought him in a winner. Without
incentives, his muscular powers were not exercised, and his performances
were ordinary.

Sometimes, as I sit by the fireside, smoking my pipe over old memories,
I think of Dick, and wonder what he would have done had he Teddy
Atherton's head on his shoulders, or his heart inside his ribs.

Of all my athletic disappointments Dick furnished me with the most
disheartening, and among all the surprises of field and track none has
equalled the Virginia jumper.



[Illustration: And Every One A Winner]


We are winners. The lobby of the hotel is crowded. Athletes, college
men, travellers, and a curious public are well shuffled together. It is
the same old pack of cards that I have seen for years, though the faces
change. That "know-it-all" by the post is a new man, yet he is telling
just how and why we won, like the wiseacres who preceded him, and the
others who will follow; for this line of succession never runs out. He
is telling how he has foreseen the result for weeks, and can call
witnesses to prove his faultless prediction of six months ago. Yes, he
can, though we only pulled out by the skin of our teeth, after sitting
on the anxious seat all the afternoon; and had not Jim Harding thrown
the hammer ten feet farther than ever before, we never should have won
at all. But this only makes the "know-it-all's" wisdom more remarkable,
and my ignorance as well, for I had thought the team a losing one,
though I had, of course, held my tongue.

Bah! Thirty years have not reconciled me to this gentry, with the addled
brains and brazen throats.

Most of the college men are gathered in little groups, around which the
crowds ebb and flow in a surging tide. That its strongest current is
through the swinging door of the bar-room cannot be denied, nor that it
shows signs of the source from which it sprang. There are at least three
grains of talk to one of listen, which is the regular dose, though the
athletes pull the proportion down. They are, as usual, quietest of all.
They have developed other muscles than those of the tongue; and yet even
they are a bit talkative to-night, and have an unmistakably festive air
about them.

After months of preparation and weeks of strict training, when rigid
rules prohibit, and all the pleasant things of life seem labelled "Keep
off the grass," there is a maddening pleasure in being free again,--free
to taste that favorite dish, palatable but indigestible; free to inhale
the fragrance of a good cigar; free to watch the hands of the clock
swing into the small hours; free, as Harry Gardner expresses it, "to do
as you darn please once more."

For those who have lost there is the necessity of drowning sorrow, and
it is certainly the duty of a good winner to give his victory a fitting
celebration. There is not as much difference in the two ceremonies as
might be imagined.

Our team has broken training, and some of them are breaking it badly.
There are the long summer months before them, with the leisure hours at
seashore or mountains, and no more work until the cool winds of autumn
begin to blow. Even those of the most regular habits are kicking over
the traces, and some of the wilder spirits, that make a trainer's hair
gray before its time, to whom the six months' restraint has been a
galling yoke, are giving themselves very loose rein. I am sorry to say
that this particular team has not a large percentage of either deacons
or clergymen, though Jim Harding afterward took holy orders, became an
honor to the cloth, and will some day be a bishop. I occasionally attend
his church; and when I see his huge form at the desk, and hear his
voice, powerful and earnest, as it echoes to the farthest corner, I
wonder if he has forgotten the night when we looked for "Paddy's cousin,
the copper," when "every one was a winner."

As I enter the hotel lobby, after dinner, on this evening of the games
of 188-, I discover Jim standing near the street entrance with Harry
Gardner, and a little knot of college friends and admirers. They are
smoking like bad chimneys, and between puffs are giving a green reporter
some most surprising bits of information, much to their own enjoyment
and the delectation of their friends. The little reporter is taking
copious notes, which will create a sensation in the morning, if the
sporting editor does not discover them before they get into print. Jim
is big and blond, and Harry slender and dark; the former has made a
first in the "hammer-throw;" the latter, after winning his trial heat in
the "hundred" with ease, got away badly in the finals, and had to
content himself with adding a single point to our score.

Now, Jim and Harry are particular friends of mine; I shall never handle
them again, and I want a last word or two of farewell. They have
developed under my care from awkward boys to the finished athletes they
are to-night. I have seen the firm, round muscles becoming more and more
perfect; the heart and lungs grow equal to more and more severe tests,
and the increasing courage and self-reliance (without which there can be
no success on the cinder-path) which will help them through many a
struggle with the world they are about to enter. It is one of the sad
parts of a trainer's life that he must lose such friends.

I force my way through the crowd, getting numberless nods and greetings
of a warmer nature, for I am a well-known man in such a gathering. I
strike the strong current flowing to and from the bar; but a little
patience, and a liberal use of the elbow, brings me to the boys at last.
I give them each a hand, and we exchange a word or two of
congratulation. Harry is, I see, a bit sore at his misfortune, for he
had been picked as a sure winner. I give him a word of praise for his
gallant effort to make up a three-yard loss at the start. There are many
sprinters who would not have tried at all, let alone have pulled off the
much-needed point. I tell Harding, with assumed resentment, that he has
been sogering all the time, abusing my confidence by playing the
sleeper, and that he has always been good for the extra ten feet.

At this Jim gives one of his basso profundo laughs, and in answer to my
question as to what mischief he is plotting, replies that Harry and
himself are waiting for Paddy, who has gone with Tom Furness for a
little something "to kape the night out," and that they have promised
the Irishman to help him look up his cousin "Dinny Sullivan, a copper."

I find that all they know about this cousin is that he is a policeman,
on duty somewhere in the Bowery district. The boys admit the scent is
not strong, but anticipate good sport in the hunt, whether they bag the
game or not. There is always fun with Paddy, for though he has become a
mighty knowing man on cinder-path and track, and is not as green as when
he tackled the "ghostly hurdler," he is a delicious bit still.

He appears a moment after, the "Knight of the Rake and Roller,"
accompanied by Tom; and judging from the aroma that clings to them, the
necessary precautions have been taken against the baleful influences of
the night air.

Tom is as happy and sanguine as ever, shakes me by the hand as if my arm
was a pump-handle in midsummer, and immediately protests that not a step
will he take out of the house unless I go with him.

At this they all insist that the party will be incomplete without me. I
must go, or I shall break up the party and spoil sport. After
considerable resistance, which I admit now was assumed, I consented at
last. The truth was that, while I had not trained as had the boys, I had
given many months of care and anxiety to them, and really wanted a bit
of a fling myself. I knew very well what the little walk would lead up
to, but reasoned that the boys were bound to get into trouble, and that
it would be a charity to look after them. In fact, I played the
hypocrite in a way for which I should have been ashamed.

Although Tom and the boys gave unmistakable signs of "having dined," and
Paddy of his heroic remedies against the night, we all meander to the
bar for a last measure of precaution, light fresh cigars, and sally
forth.

The clocks are striking eight as the door swings behind us, the stars
are beginning to show, and the street lights to shine. The air is mild,
and the pavements seem like a country road after the awful crowd of the
lobby. The rattle of the pavements is silence compared with the rattle
of tongues which we have left behind us.

We pile into a carriage which Paddy selects from a number drawn up to
the curb,--because the driver is a Connemara man. We are not
particularly comfortable with three on one seat, and five pairs of long
legs interlaced; but our ride is enlivened by Paddy's conversation, no
less brilliant than fluent, which is a magnificent compliment.
Occasionally Tom succeeds in getting in a word, but the rest of us are
out of it. He is about to give us some reminiscences of "Dinny's"
boyhood when the carriage stops, much to our surprise, for we do not
realize the lapse of time.

We alight before a corner drug-store, and Paddy calls the "Connemara
man" an "Irish thief" when Tom pays him an exorbitant charge. He is
easily placated, however, and goes into the store to inquire after
Dinny, while we wait outside. We look through the window, between the
red bottle on the right and the blue bottle on the left, and see him go
up to the clerk at the soda fountain. The latter, a tall, pale-faced
youth, answers shortly, and points to a big directory on a little shelf
in the corner. Paddy walks over, upsetting a rack of sponges on the way,
opens the directory doubtfully, turns over its leaves, runs his finger
down a page or two, looks more and more puzzled, and at last beckons us
in.

We enter, and find him looking blankly at an almost unending list of
Dennis Sullivans, engaged in many occupations, and several of them "on
the force." After a careful examination, befitting the seriousness of
the occasion, we pronounce the task hopeless, and file out again. Our
departure is apparently greatly to the relief of the pale young man, for
we had laughed until the bottles rattled when Paddy described his cousin
as a "big chunk av a man, wid a taste for gin, an' a bad habit av
snorin'."

We halt in the lee of the mortar and pestle, while the crowd surges
past, and hold a council of war. Harding suggests that our best plan is
to form a rush line, letting none pass until they tell all they know
about "Dennis Sullivan, the copper." This proposition is hailed with
delight by all but Tom and me, and though we are in the minority our
opposition succeeds. To spread a drag-net across a Bowery sidewalk I
believe to be a decidedly hazardous proceeding, and likely to result in
the catching of fish too big to land. We finally form, with Paddy ahead,
then Jim and Harry, Tom and myself bringing up the rear.

We had not taken a dozen steps before Paddy halts a tough-looking chap
with "Do yes know me cousin, Dinny Sullivan?" The prisoner wears a very
short sack-coat, plaid trowsers, and a tall silk hat. He has a "mouse"
under one eye, and the other, though lacking the honorable decoration of
its companion, is red and angry. His mustache is closely clipped and
dyed a deathly black; the cigar in the extreme corner of his mouth is
tilted at an acute angle. He blows a cloud of smoke over Paddy's
shoulder, and looks us all over suspiciously, each in turn.

Now, we are rather a formidable party: Paddy and Jim as big as houses,
Tom tall and angular, myself a rugged specimen, and Harry, though not
adding much to our physical strength, evidently spoiling for trouble.
As a rule, the little men are the aggressors, and most dangerous of all
if they have a crowd with them.

Paddy's first captive, in deference to our superior force, decides to
act the civil, and asks gruffly, "What's his biz?"

"He's a cop," answered Paddy, "a big chunk av a man, wid a scar over the
lift eye, under the hair." Identifying a man by a concealed scar is too
much for Tom, who breaks into a hearty laugh, and the prisoner himself
gives a half smile, when after denying all knowledge of "Dinny" he is
allowed to pass on.

We next halt a couple of young fellows, evidently gentlemen, out on a
lark. They recognize in Paddy a character worth cultivating, and keep
him talking several minutes, asking fool questions; but they finally
admit that "me cousin Dinny Sullivan" is not on their list of
acquaintances.

We spent some time in this way, Paddy doing picket duty, the main army
close up in support. After questioning a dozen or more we make up our
minds that Dinny is certainly not as well known on the Bowery as John L.
or Tony Pastor, and that the success of our mission is doubtful. We had
enjoyed the dialogues immensely, particularly that with a good-natured
German. The latter understood hardly a word of English, but spoke his
own language like a cuckoo clock. Paddy, of course, knew not a single
word he said, but stuck to him for several minutes, giving up English at
last, and treating us to the classic accents of old Ireland.

Nearly all we met had taken the matter good-naturedly, but one or two
did not see the joke, and turned ugly. One big fellow talked fight, but
the proposition was received by Paddy with such extreme joy, and
preparations were made with such alacrity, that he thought better of the
plan and withdrew his challenge. This was greatly to Paddy's
disappointment, and Harry's as well, the latter offering to take the
Irishman's place, though he would have been fifty pounds short weight.

We had been stopping frequently for Paddy to take further precautions to
"kape the night out," and the rest of us doctored with the same medicine
in smaller doses.

Paddy was now perfectly happy, and he had his reasons. The "byes" had
won; he was drinking, under Tom's most learned and experienced tuition,
a different new drink every time, and in his heart of hearts was sure of
a fight before the sun rose.

What more could an Irishman ask; and a Connemara Irishman at that? His
face was growing redder and more smiling every minute, and his feet,
although they performed their duties after a fashion, would certainly
not have been equal to the "crack in the floor test," as on the night
when he encountered the "ghostly hurdler."

But although Pat would have been contented to continue in the same
blissful state until the crack of doom, the rest of us began to tire of
the quest, and to look around in search of other things beside "Dinny,
the copper." The streets were crowded, the stores open, the bar-rooms
doing a rushing business, and the places of amusement in full blast.

Suddenly Jim stopped before the bulletin board of a little variety
theatre, and began to examine it critically. There was a long list of
names in black letters,--singers, dancers, acrobats, boxers, and I know
not what else; but Jim's eyes were fixed with great seriousness at the
tall red letters at the bottom. They declared, in extremely mixed
metaphor, "A Galaxy of Stars, and Every One a Winner."

"I'm going in," said Jim, with much gravity, throwing his cigar away.

"How about Paddy's cousin, the copper?" asked Harry.

"He's as likely here as anywhere," Jim answered; "beside, it says that
'every one's a winner,' and that's the only kind for us to-night."

We were all of us quite ready for a change, so we stepped into the
little lobby, Paddy first going up to the ticket office to ask, "Is me
cousin, Dinny Sullivan, the copper, inside?"

The ticket-seller, a big, fat fellow, with weak eyes and a Roman nose,
thought Paddy was trying to jolly him, and answered "No," quite tartly.
Paddy, of course, resented the incivility, and declared himself to be a
gentleman, and he cared not who knew it. He further ventured to doubt
whether the man behind the window was in the same class with himself,
and, gradually abandoning the reproachful accents with which he had
begun, became first unparliamentary, and then abusive.

The ticket-seller stood it for a while, and then told Paddy to pass
along, that "Dinny Sullivan" was not inside, but that they had two other
policemen who were no relation of Pat's, but would take care of him just
the same.

This last threat raised Paddy's anger to the boiling point, so that he
first tried unsuccessfully to enter through the locked door, and then
reaching his huge fist through the little open place in the window,
shook it as near the Roman nose as the length of his arm would permit.

We finally persuaded him to subside, and Harry took his place with a
roll of bills to purchase the tickets. He had hardly begun to speak,
however, before Harding caught him, and lifted him, despite his
struggles, on to the shoulder of a big statue of Terpsichore, in the
corner, reminding him, gently but firmly, that the invitation was his,
and he must be permitted to pay the bills. He obtained five seats in the
front row of the orchestra, and parted therefor with two dollars and
fifty cents.

We were inspected a trifle suspiciously by the door-keeper, but filed
in, and found the little theatre filled with a numerous and enthusiastic
audience. The gallery was packed, the cheap seats on the rear of the
floor well taken, and only a few of the more expensive ones in the front
of the house unoccupied. The air was hot, and full enough of the fumes
of alcohol to burn. Before we had adjusted our lungs to the new
conditions, a little fellow in a dirty zouave suit took the checks from
Jim, and ushered us down the centre aisle to our seats in the front row.
We made considerable noise, for the steps were of uneven depths, and at
unequal distances, and Paddy stumbled all over himself at every
opportunity.

Harry went in first, followed by Pat, Tom, myself, and Jim, in the order
named. We were obliged to squeeze by an old lady and her daughter who
occupied the end seats, and the former, sitting next to Jim, resented
the necessary crowding by sundry sniffs and looks of disgust. Her
displeasure was so evident that Jim felt called upon to apologize, which
he did in his most grandisonian manner, and in tones not less loud than
those of the singer on the stage, "I beg your pardon, madam; I assure
you it was unintentional; I have tender feet myself, and can sympathize
with you."

At this there was a burst of applause and laughter. I looked around and
could see a number of college men scattered through the orchestra,
evidently ready to encourage any exploit to which such "dare-devils" as
Jim and Harry might treat them.

There were a few of the gentler sex in the audience, but the great
majority were men, the flotsam and jetsam of the Bowery. Some of these
joined in the laughter at Jim's elaborate apology, and others scowled
their resentment at the disturbance. From the abode of the gallery gods
(filled mostly with boys, big and little) came a shrill "Put 'em out!"
and a big wad of paper composed of an entire "World," and thrown by a
skilful hand, which landed on the top of Jim's head.

But Jim, apparently not at all noticing the attention which he was
attracting, unfolded his play-bill, and began to study it with the air
of a connoisseur, or a provincial manager in search of talent. The
document was headed with "BILLY JAYNE'S REFINED VAUDEVILLE CO.," and
near the bottom of the first page was bracketed, "Robert Loring, Basso
Profundo, Nautical Songs, Without a Rival."

It was evidently Robert who was "doing his turn" when we entered, for
his song told of "wild waves, brave ships, oak timbers, fearful storms,
wrecks, and watery graves," in tones deep enough to make the heart
quake. He ended, just as we were well settled in our seats, with a row
of descending notes, the last several feet below the lowest brick of the
cellar, and bowed himself off the stage, amid a burst of applause, which
was followed by another demonstration, well mingled with laughter, when
Jim remarked very audibly to the old lady by his side, "I really wonder
how he does it," and "Shouldn't you think it would hurt him?"

Loring had already occupied the full time for "his turn" (we discovered
later that the performer came out and filled up his ten minutes just the
same, whether applauded and encored, or greeted with stony silence), so,
notwithstanding vigorous clapping, assisted by the more demonstrative
boot-heel, Robert only made his bow from the wings, and departed.

As he disappeared on one side, a diminutive little darky hurried on from
the other, and changed the cards, announcing as the next star, "Sam
Walker." An examination of the play-bill rewarded us also with the
information that Sam was the "World's Champion Clog Dancer, Lancashire
Style." Two attendants in ragged costumes brought out a big square of
white marble, which they deposited with considerable labor on one side
of the stage, and after a little delay, to make the audience impatient,
the distinguished Walker appeared, clad in well-chalked white tights,
and with the champion's belt buckled round his waist. It was at least
six inches wide, and so heavy with gold, silver, and precious stones
that the redoubtable Sam was obliged to remove it before he could dance
at all. Sam's brother Alfred, in a rusty dress suit, took his seat in a
chair on the other side of the stage, and with an enormous accordeon
furnished the music for the champion, who treated us to a continuation
of festive taps, stopping with wonderful precision whenever the music
broke off, even if in the middle of a note.

Next came "Annette Toineau," the "Queen of French Song, Fresh from Her
Parisian Triumphs;" and the big man at the piano began to execute a
lively tune, which set all the feet in the house in motion, until
Annette herself appeared. This she did with a nod, a wink, and a kick
that won instant applause, even before she opened her mouth to sing. An
enthusiastic admirer in the gallery called out, "You're all right, Liz,
old girl," from which remark, and the accent (much more Celtic than
French) with which she afterward treated us, I argued that Annette was
but a stage name, and the "Parisian Triumphs" probably a fiction of the
manager. Annette was a very pretty little girl, with a trim figure in
abbreviated skirts, and she sang rather naughty songs in a manner that
made them worse than they were written.

I could hear Jim, after she was through, remark to the old lady by his
side, that such songs were likely to lead to the perversion of youth,
and should not be sung except to those who had reached the age of
discretion; by which I suppose he meant himself and the old lady,
though she was old enough to be his grandmother. Jim's censorious
remarks were, however, more than offset by Harry, who, at the other end
of our line, applauded so vociferously that Annette rewarded him with a
direct and beaming smile when she made her last bow.

Then followed "Leslie and Manning, Knock-about Grotesques," "Cora, the
Queen of the Slack Wire," and "Sam Berne, the Dutch Monarch;" the last
of whom first convulsed us by asking Tom, in a sepulchral whisper, to
"Please wake your friend," pointing to Paddy, who was indeed asleep; and
then had a very funny dialogue with the piano-pounder, in which they
both pretended to get in a towering passion over the question as to
whether the singing or the accompaniment was the worse.

The delights of the play-bill were now well-nigh exhausted, the next to
the last on the list being "Alice Wentworth, America's Most Dashing
Soubrette." She appeared to the tune of some gay waltz notes from the
long-suffering piano. Alice was a slender girl, with brown hair and
large, dark eyes. I doubt she could ever have been "dashing," though
pretty she certainly had been. There were also signs that "once she had
seen better days," as the old song goes. But now, despite the
assistance of paint and padding, it was evident that sickness or
dissipation had robbed her of most of the attractions she had once
possessed. Her face was too thin for the bright color on her cheeks, her
steps were too listless for the generously filled stockings, and she
coughed several times before she began her song. It was a jolly little
thing, sung in good time and tune, and with those touches which indicate
unmistakably the rudiments, at least, of a musical education. The song
was well received, but at the end of the verse she had a dance, which
called for considerable exertion, and was very trying for her. She got
through the first two verses all right, but when she started the third
her strength was gone; she broke down, and gasped for breath. The piano
continued for a few notes, then stopped, and there was a dead silence.
It was a pitiful sight enough: the poor girl trying to get strength
enough to continue, coughing and gasping painfully; but some one in the
orchestra back of us hissed, there was a cry from the gallery of "Take
her off," and then a chorus of yells and cat-calls. It was the same old
wolf instinct which makes the pack tear to pieces the wounded
straggler,--the wolf instinct in some way transmitted to man.

I was indignant enough, and looked around at the audience after the chap
that made the first hiss, but should probably have done nothing had not
Tom Furness, who has the biggest heart in the world, made an effort to
stem the tide. He jumped on his feet, rising to his full height, and
began to applaud with all his might. Of course we all joined in, Paddy's
big feet and hands making a prodigious noise; and the better nature of
the audience being given a lead, the hisses were drowned by a great
storm of applause that fairly shook the old theatre.

Poor Alice succeeded in getting enough breath to finish her song, and,
dancing no more, gave as an encore "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonny Doon,"
in a way that reached the hearts of the toughest in the house. It is
wonderful how such an audience is affected by the pathetic. An allusion
to an "old mother," an "old home," or suffering from sin and wrong will
catch them quicker than the most doubtful verse.

The last word of the old Scotch song ended, Alice made her bow amid
applause as hearty if not as noisy as when we drowned the hissing, and I
hope the poor girl was able to keep her place, or, better still, went
back to the old home, among the New Hampshire hills, perhaps, or under
the shadow of the Maine pines.

There was now a great bustle on the stage, a rush of "supes," and a
clamor of orders. The scenery was pushed back and the drop-scenes
hoisted out of the way. Padded posts were set in the floor, ropes strung
and pulled taut, making a very satisfactory ring, and the chairs placed
in the corners. By the demonstration on the stage and the eagerness of
the audience, it was evident that we had now come to the great
attraction of the evening. The play-bill read "George Johnson,
Heavy-Weight Boxer, Will Knock Out Three Opponents in Three Rounds Each,
or Forfeit $50 to the Man Who Stays."

Now, although I was fairly well informed concerning the boxing world, I
was unable to remember "George Johnson's" name, and wondered why he had
not been taken on by some of the well-known men who intruded themselves
into the papers so frequently. The play-bill said clearly that he had
challenged the world, and Tom suggested that Johnson was probably too
good for them to take him on, or perhaps he had not a diligent backer
who could wield a vigorous pen. Harry, who stripped at one hundred and
thirty, declared his willingness to put on the gloves with Mr. Johnson
if they would let him stand on a chair. Paddy, to whom the performance
had become a dreadful bore, endured only through respect for the high
society in which he was travelling, had now become wide awake, and at
Harry's remark pricked up his ears and asked with much interest if they
gave any one in the audience a chance to put on the gloves. Jim told him
that there were probably three "stiffs" already engaged to go through
the motions of a knock-out, and Paddy remarked that it was a pity, and
subsided for the time.

When everything was arranged, the pails of water, sponges, and towels
handy, and the gloves thrown into the middle of the ring, the manager
introduced Mr. Richard Foley as the referee of the bouts, ending his
remarks with some very florid compliments to Mr. Foley's well-known
fairness in such matters. What was our surprise to discover in the
gentlemanly referee the identical man we had first stopped on the street
to inquire for "Dinny Sullivan, the copper." He wore the same short coat
and plaid trousers, but had discarded the tall hat and the cigar,
without which he looked lonely. The mouse under his eye had also
disappeared, the artist having succeeded in disguising its mournful hue
by a skilful application of flesh paint.

After the enthusiasm which greeted his appearance had a little
subsided, Mr. Foley raised his hand in a Napoleonic fashion to command
silence, stepped to the front of the stage, and hanging on the ropes in
an attitude of extreme ease and freedom from restraint, made the usual
little speech without which a boxing contest would seem out of joint. He
declared the bout to be one of "a friendly nature" for "scientific
points only," and ended with the warning that any disturbance from the
audience would stop the contest immediately.

At the close of his remarks appeared the celebrated George Johnson, a
tall mulatto, who took his seat in the chair facing the audience,
followed by his handlers. He was stripped to the waist, and wore a blue
sash, white trunks, and tan shoes. He was a powerful fellow, well
trained, and looked like a bronze statue when he rose, bowing and
smiling at a little group of colored friends who called to him from the
front of the gallery.

A moment later "Jack Costigan, the Jersey blacksmith," made his début,
and was greeted with even more enthusiasm than Johnson, probably because
of the predominating nationality of the audience, for he was certainly
not a beauty, or even a well-built man. Indeed, he was a mighty
tough-looking customer, his black hair clipped close enough to reveal a
number of white scars, his face pockmarked, his shoulders stooping, and
he was at least ten pounds lighter than Johnson, with much less height
and reach. He looked sheepish enough to prepare us for the "lie down"
that was to follow, and seemed pleased that his chair gave him the
opportunity to turn his back to the spectators.

After the very labored introductions by Mr. Foley, in which a slight
allusion was made to their previous records, the men took their corners,
and at the call of "time" they shook hands and got to business. Now, I
shall have hardly a word to say concerning this bout, for there was a
much more stirring one to follow. It was evident from the beginning,
although Johnson was the better man, and could have won anyway, that
Costigan was not sent to do his best. He was an old war-horse, performed
his part well, kept up the mill until the middle of the third round, and
then at a comparatively light blow went down. He pretended to make a
desperate effort to rise while the ten seconds were counted, then picked
himself up, and Johnson was declared the winner.

After Costigan disappeared there was a long wait, the house growing more
and more impatient. At last the manager appeared and announced his
great regret that the two other boxers had disappointed him. He
announced that one of them had a broken arm, and read a physician's
certificate to that effect. The other, as far as we could learn, was
suffering from a broken heart; that is, he had, after looking the
redoubtable Johnson over, declined to face him for any consideration.

The manager, again expressing his sorrow at the unavoidable
disappointment, handed our friend, Mr. Foley, a fifty-dollar bill,
making a great splurge about it, and asked if there were not some
gentlemen in the house who would take the places of the delinquents.

At this there was a dead silence, except the noise made by Paddy and
Harry whispering together, but what they said I did not understand.
Again the manager repeated the request, evidently not expecting its
acceptance, and ended with a challenge reflecting delicately upon the
courage of his audience.

He had hardly spoken the words when suddenly, to my surprise and dismay,
Paddy rose slowly to his feet, and clearing his throat said, in husky
tones, "Faith, thin, 'tis a pity it is not to hev the foight, and
lackin' a better I'll give him a bit av a go meself."

There had been many murmurs of disappointment when it looked as if there
would be but one bout, instead of three as advertised, and at Paddy's
speech there was deafening applause. I did my best to dissuade him, as
did Tom Furness as well; but Jim took up the plan with enthusiasm, and
despite our protests the three "devil-may-cares" crowded along the
aisle, and disappeared through a little door under the gallery, which
led to the stage. A few moments later they filed on, all three with
their coats off, stepped through the ropes, and Paddy took his seat in
the chair facing Johnson, his red face wreathed in smiles, and his
sleeves rolled up to the elbows, Jim and Harry going to work in a very
business-like manner to prepare for the contest.

Now, all this was great fun for the audience, the manager, and even
Johnson himself, who grinned back at Paddy, showing a long row of white
teeth. It took no expert to see that the Irishman was dead easy, and
there were the anticipated windmill swings, and abortive efforts to hit
on his part, and a scientific exhibition from Johnson, with a knock-out
to follow.

Tom and I expected nothing better, unless Johnson should be careless
enough to let Paddy hit him once, in which case he might be treated to a
surprise party, for Pat had an arm like a gorilla, and a fist as big as
a small ham. Indeed, when Jim tried to push the gloves on which
Costigan had discarded, after his lie down, he found it a job requiring
the exercise of patience and considerable strength as well.

At last Paddy was all right, Harry fanning him with the towel, Jim
kneeling behind him, whispering sage advice into his ear, to which Paddy
nodded his head with a confident grin. We were close enough to hear his
husky, "'Tis right you are," and "Sure that wud phase 'im." The boys
looked striking enough on the stage, with their refined faces,
fashionable clothes, and spotless linen. Not one in the building but
knew they were gentlemen, and nearly all wished them success with their
man. Paddy himself had caught the crowd also, the gallery becoming his
at first sight of his wide smile and the sound of his "illigant brogue."

Mr. Foley called "time," and at the word Harry gave a last flap, Jim a
final word of advice, and as Paddy rose to his feet they pulled the
chair through the ropes, and left their man in the ring, to do his
"_devoir_" as best he might.

He certainly was not anxious, nor did he lack confidence in himself. He
advanced cheerfully, shook his opponent by the hand, and got in
position. Now, where Paddy learned to "shape himself" I never heard,
but I doubt if there is anything like it in the long history of
"Fistiana." I have seen many queer things in old sporting prints, where
the fancy of the artist, I am sure, has maligned the science of good men
with their "fives," but nothing like Paddy's pose has ever appeared to
me before or since. His left foot was well forward, his left arm high,
as if he feared the rap of a "shillalah" instead of the straight blow of
a fist. His right hand he held low behind him, ready to hit, as if he
held a flail or a "bit av a scythe," and he swung his fist round and
round in a little circle. Even Tom and I could not refrain from
laughter, the crowd yelled themselves hoarse, and Johnson could hardly
restrain himself.

The latter shaped beautifully. After his first surprise was over he grew
serious, stepped in, led lightly, landing on Pat's nose, and when Paddy,
after a belated duck, swung a terrific blow at his opponent, he found
him well out of reach. It was just as I expected: Johnson could hit
Paddy when and where he pleased. He played with him as a cat would with
a mouse. He made a punching-bag of him, hit and got away. He ducked, he
countered, he dodged, he swung on Pat's jaw. He side-stepped, and tapped
him lightly; he uppercut him when he made a bull rush, so that his head
lifted as if on a hinge. He hooked him with right and left, and played
the "devil's tattoo" all over his body, ending with a rib-roaster that
made even Paddy sigh. In short, when Patrick O'Malley, our "Knight of
the Rake and Roller," took his seat at the end of the first round his
smile was gone, and he looked like a man in a trance.

Johnson had hit hard enough to have put most men to sleep, but on
Paddy's tough anatomy had made no serious impression, after all. Pat's
right eye was in a fair way to close, and his face looked puffy and his
neck sore, but he was as strong as ever, and his courage as good, though
he probably would have been willing to admit that over the picnic aspect
of the occasion there had come a cloud. Harry and Jim got at work at him
with sponge and towel the minute he took his seat. A very artistic
exhibition they gave, and no doubt Jim's advice which he whispered was
very good, but there was nothing before Paddy but a "knock-out" unless
the unexpected happened.

Johnson was without a mark, and I question whether he had been hit at
all. He took his drink, smiled up at his handlers as they worked the
cool sponge over his hot chest and arms, and leaned back on the ropes
with an air of extreme contentment.

When the bell rang for the second round Paddy came up in good condition,
but with a somewhat dubious expression on his countenance, and he kept
his left a little lower, ready to stop some of the straight punches he
had accepted so generously in the first round. He did not swing quite as
wildly as before, and although hit harder, the blows did not land quite
as often. In the last half-minute, however, Johnson cut loose, and
Paddy's broad face and thick neck were visited in a savage manner. The
bell barely saved him, for the poor fellow was fairly smothered with
blows, and yet he stood up to his punishment without flinching, and
fought back as best he could.

Tom had lost patience when he saw Paddy staggering like a bullock under
an axe, and though I told him we could do nothing to help, he insisted
we should at least be with the rest of the party. So the minute the bell
rang for the end of the round, we crowded along the seats, and hurrying
through the door, I was just in time to reach Paddy's corner before he
started in for the third and last round. Now, of all men on earth Paddy
believed in me; Jim and Harry were all right, and doing all possible for
him, but when he felt my hand on his arm, and heard my whisper in his
ears, his heart, almost gone, came back to him. He turned his swollen
face up to me, and with a new light in his eyes he said, "Tell me what
I'll do, Misther Brown; tell me, darlin', an' I'll lick the nager yet."

There was something wonderfully pathetic in his blind confidence, and I
never cared so much for the big-hearted Irishman as I did that minute.
To tell the truth, I had been half willing to see him knocked out after
his foolish persistence against my advice. Then again I knew it was not
at all a serious matter to one with his strength and vitality, and a
dash of cold water would leave him no worse memories than a sore head
and a few bruises. But after his appeal I felt very different. I racked
my brain, but though I had been studying his opponent from the
beginning, trying to find his weak point, he was so very shifty on his
feet, and Paddy was so deathly slow, I could think of nothing. Pat had
been swinging at his opponent's head, from the very start, the same old
blow, landing never. He had not tried for the body once, and I made up
my mind just before the bell rang, and whispered, "Never mind his
top-knot, Paddy; wait until he leads, then step in, and hit him in the
ribs; and hit him hard."

The third round started much like the others, but now on Paddy's face
was not the foolish smile of the first, nor the dubious look of the
second. "Misther Brown" had told him what to do, he was supremely
confident in my wisdom, and had no doubt of the result. His mouth was
firm and his eyes clear as he faced his opponent and waited for his
opportunity.

I could see that Johnson did not half like the change. He was altered
too, his face had grown cruel, his eyes fierce, and he came in like a
tiger crouching for a spring. The joke was all gone out of the game now;
he must knock Paddy out in the next three minutes or the fifty dollars
would be forfeited. Nothing but a blow in the right spot would be of any
use, and it must have the full swing of the body behind it. I could see
plainly by his high guard that he feared nothing from Paddy but a swing
on the head, and I doubt if he thought of much else beside how he could
land on the point of Paddy's jaw just the right blow. As I knelt between
Jim and Harry, peering through the ropes, I made up my mind that Paddy
had good enough advice if he knew how to use it.

As usual, Johnson stepped in, leading with his left a light tap, meant
only to open up Paddy's guard, so he could swing on him. As usual, he
landed on Paddy's nose, the blood starting freely; but instead of
answering with a blind swing as before, this time Paddy took the blow
coming on; indeed, he started in before he was hit, and the blow did not
stop him at all. The result was, he found himself, for the first time,
almost, since he had put his hands up, at a good striking distance. With
a fierce grunt he smashed his huge fist full on the mark where the ribs
branch, just above the belt. It was a terrible blow, unexpected, given
with all the good intentions that a sense of debt could foster, and with
the impetus of their two weights, for Johnson was coming in himself.

It doubled his antagonist up like a frog, and Paddy was kind enough to
undouble him with a straight push in the face that straightened him up
again. Harry could not refrain from calling, "Now's your time, Pat!" for
which he was very properly warned by the referee; but Paddy really did
not hear him, and needed no advice. Science was forgotten, and in the
mix-up that followed, Paddy showed a ready hand, cultivated by many a
boyish fight and youthful set-to. Johnson was now not so much interested
in putting Paddy out, as in saving himself; he was fighting blindly,
hugging and clinching when he could; keeping away as much as possible,
and growing more and more groggy under the shower of blows that were
rained on him. Time was nearly up when, after a break away, Paddy
stepped back, gathered himself, rushed in, and swung his huge right hand
with all the strength of his powerful body. It was a half hook, and it
landed on Mr. Johnson's jaw, and he went down like a felled tree,
falling with stiff knees, and striking nothing until his face reached
the floor with a thud. He made no effort to rise, and Paddy was so wild
that, had I not called to him, I think he would have gone into Johnson's
corner for a fresh antagonist among his handlers. Johnson lay on the
floor while the ten seconds were ticked off, and then Mr. Foley stepped
to the footlights, and, announcing that Mr. O'Malley had won the bout,
handed him the fifty-dollar bill.

Paddy hesitated a moment, for he had not thought once of the money; then
he drew from his hip pocket an old-fashioned leather folding wallet,
much worn and discolored, and with a chuckle put the big bill safely
away. The audience had risen as one man to cheer Paddy when the decision
was given, and now the tumult broke out again, and he was forced to bow
his acknowledgments from over the footlights. Even this was not enough,
and he finally cleared his throat, and made a short speech, of which I
could distinguish nothing but the last words, as he gave a comprehensive
sweep of his gloved hand, including our whole company, and yelled, "An'
ivery wan a winner." He would have spoken longer had not the manager,
with rare presence of mind, dropped the curtain in front of him. Johnson
had come to himself very quickly with the assistance of his handlers,
and now stepped up to Paddy with very honest congratulations, and the
contestants shook hands with mutual respect and no ill will.

We were delayed a few minutes by our inability to get the boxing-glove
off of Paddy's big right hand; the left he had removed himself on
receipt of the bill. We finally cut it off him, formed in line of march,
and threading our way through the wings, joined the last stragglers of
the audience as they filed out. I tried hard to subdue the spirits of my
companions, but with little success. Jim and Harry were greatly elated,
and Tom (who of all men enjoys winning) was now as bad as the others,
and deserting me, left the conservative vote in a very decided minority.

There was certainly nothing lacking in the perfect success of the
evening but the fact that "Dinny, the copper," the great object of our
search, had evaded us. I voted to give him up and go back to the hotel;
the others hesitated, but Tom, who never despairs,--Tom still declared
that Dinny would yet appear. Tom is a man who has faith that a ball team
will win with the score five to one against in the ninth inning, two
out, and a weak hitter at the bat.

Jim and Harry were too much elated by their success with Paddy in the
"squared circle" to ask for much else. In fact, they were slightly
hilarious. The intoxication of victory, on top of their efforts to "kape
the night out," was a bit too much for them. In passing along they
tipped over a table by the door, sending a shower of play-bills on the
floor, and when a stout fellow remonstrated, Jim promptly "crowned" his
derby hat with a blow that sent it down to his chin.

In the lobby the big wooden statue of Terpsichore, standing in scant
attire, with one foot lifted for the dance, caught Harry's eye. He
whispered to Jim and Paddy, and before I could interfere, they had torn
her from her fastenings, and "stood the old girl on her head." As the
muse was being balanced in this undignified position in the corner,
there suddenly arose a cry of "Police!" "Police!" in high-pitched and
nasal tones from the ticket office. It was Paddy's "ancient enemy" who
had discovered us, with his face close to the aperture, secure in the
protection of the window. He called lustily, until a huge fist swung
through the hole, and landed on the Roman nose with a dull, sickening
thud. Silence followed Paddy's skilful blow, but the mischief was done,
for there suddenly appeared through the door behind us a knock-kneed
bobby, club in hand. Tom called "'Ware the cop!" and by giving the
promptest kind of leg bail they just escaped him, bolting out the door,
and across the Bowery, the crooked-legged copper close after.

Harry, who was leading, swung down a dimly lighted alley, Jim and Paddy
following in order. The policeman, who apparently had little confidence
in his ability to catch such nimble-footed gentry, stopped at the
corner, and commenced a devil's tattoo with his night club on the
pavement as a signal for some compatriot to head off the fugitives. Tom
and I, who were close up, dashed by him without a word, resolved to
stick to our friends, no matter what the cost. Tom was chuckling with
delight, gave me a look over his shoulder, and set a killing pace, with
the laudable ambition of running me off my feet, as well as distancing
our pursuers. Chasing and being chased is one of the primitive
pleasures of man, and I doubt if we ever quite outgrow it. We cut
through the darkness, with the cool night air in our faces, sprinting
over the slippery cobble-stones of the pavement as if in the finals of a
"hundred." There was a mad pleasure in it all, and the listening for
sounds of pursuit and the looking sharply ahead for threatening danger
added a double zest. It reminded me of a night in old Lancashire, when
with some schoolmates I had raided a farmer's orchard, and with the
spoils under our jackets we had led him a cross-country run of a couple
of miles, knowing that a good thrashing was close behind as the
punishment for a stumble or a temporary shortness of breath.

We were gaining on the three dark forms ahead, for we could see them
more and more plainly as they bobbed against the lights at the end of
the street. Occasionally some one would yell at us from a window or
doorway, but the pounding of the knock-kneed bobby was growing more and
more faint, and we heard no footsteps at all behind us. We had almost
reached Paddy, whose boxing efforts had told on his endurance, and I was
just about to call to Jim and Harry, when suddenly there emerged from
the darkness a herculean figure in brass buttons.

It floated into the middle of the alley, like the ghost of Hamlet's
father, silent, huge, portentous. A long arm reached for Harry as he
dodged to one side of the alley, and gathered the little fellow in,
while Jim slid by on the other side. Paddy sprang to Harry's assistance,
and got a blow with the flat of the hand that sent him in a heap on the
pavement. Jim was about to mix in the fracas, but Tom and I, who knew
better than to assail the majesty of the law, caught and held him. For a
moment neither of us spoke, watching Harry's futile struggles. He was
being held firmly, but gently, like a fractious child, and a voice of a
richness that cast Paddy's brogue quite in the shade said soothingly,
"Arrah there, be aisy. It's hurtin' yesel' ye are. Be aisy, or I'll pull
ye in."

I was glad to hear the figure speak, for the silence was quite uncanny.
Tom advanced in that conciliatory way of his when he feels that he has a
delicate task before him, and was about to make his little appeal, with
one hand on the roll of bills in his pocket, when Paddy, who had sat up
at the sound of the voice, and was looking fixedly at Harry's captor,
gave a howl of mingled surprise and joy, and exclaimed, "Begorry, Dinny,
ye Connemara divil, let the lad go, or I'll break yer face."

At these words Harry stopped his struggles and Jim abandoned his efforts
to break away from me. Tom stood with his mouth wide open, uncertain
what to do, and I waited as if I was watching a play, and the dramatic
climax was about to be sprung on me.

Paddy rose slowly and unsteadily to his feet; and the big policeman took
him by the collar with his unoccupied hand, and led him to the light of
a little window, where he studied his face a moment in silence.
Gradually over the big copper's face there spread a grin of recognition,
his brown mustache drawing up at the corners, despite his efforts to
look severe.

"Sure, 'tis yesilf, Patrick, ye blaguard," he said at last, shaking his
head; "but frind or no frind, divil a wan o' me cares, if wrong ye've
done."

"It's only a bit av a lark, an' no harm at all, at all," answered Paddy;
and then he told the story of the evening, the search, the boxing
contest, and the mischief in the lobby, making as little as possible of
the latter, and expatiating at length on our efforts to find "Dinny, the
copper," with our extreme pleasure at final success. He ended by
introducing us all with much pride and satisfaction.

Dinny listened at first with suspicion, afterward with a flash in his
blue eyes as Paddy described his victory over Johnson, and finally with
a slow smile, expanding into a grin, as the adventure in the lobby was
described.

When Paddy finished, the "arm-of-the-law" turned without a word, letting
Harry and Paddy go free again, tapped on the little window, through
whose brown curtain enough light had streamed to make recognition
possible, and waited in silence until there came a sound of moving
bolts. He then pushed a door open, led us through a dark entry, and into
a little back room, where was a long table, plenty of chairs, and a
kettle singing on the stove in the corner. I have a suspicion that it
was from this very same snug retreat that Dinny emerged when the sound
of the rattling night club disturbed him. I learned that the little room
was the sanctum sanctorum of the widow Rafferty, whose bar-room in front
was too public to suit the refined taste of Mr. Dennis Sullivan, and was
also perhaps more exposed to the gaze of an inquisitive inspector.

Dinny went to a corner cupboard, with the air of a man who knew the way,
took from it a brown jug, and placed it carefully on the table with a
half-dozen tumblers. He pointed to the chairs with a wave of his hand,
and when we were seated he broke the silence with, "Gintlemen, 'tis
proud I am to meet ye all, though in bad company ye come" (the last with
a smile at Paddy). "I've a little something here" (looking fondly at the
jug) "will kape the night out; 'tis the rale old stuff, such as we used
to drink in old Connemara. 'Tis aisy I've been with yes, but, faith, I
swear to pull in ivery mother's son that will not drink with me."

We all filled our glasses, though Tom called us to witness that he drank
under protest, and only through fear of arrest. Just how long we
lingered in the widow Rafferty's back room I cannot tell, but we
discovered Dinny to be the very prince of coppers, able to tell a good
story and sing a better song. He was a broth of a boy, and would have
gladdened the eyes of the manager of a football team. He stood six feet
three in his stockings, and weighed two hundred and fifty pounds, all
good stuff, and as hard as nails. His uniform was fresh, and fitted him
like a glove, while every button was bright as a West Point cadet's.
When we came to part with him it was with mutual expressions of good
will, which were increased when we discovered he had sent for a
carriage, and the same awaited us in the dark alley. If he has his dues
he is chief of police by this time.

We were a bit quiet on the way home, a little weary, and very contented
and happy. There was a hint of the morning in the east as we alighted at
the hotel, and the lobby was silent and deserted.

We were much pleased to find that the elevator was still running, and we
climbed aboard, at peace with all the world, and just ready for bed. As
Tom said, a five minutes earlier or later would have spoiled it. When we
reached the third floor, Paddy insisted that we must go with him to the
fifth, so we kept on, and Harry unlocked the door and Jim lit the gas.
When we bade him "good-night" and the elevator began to drop, he stood
in his doorway, a smile of perfect bliss shining on his honest face. He
waved his big hand at us with a gesture that was half farewell, half a
benediction, and murmured huskily "An' ivery wan a winner."





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