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Title: The Arrival of Jimpson - And Other Stories for Boys about Boys
Author: Barbour, Ralph Henry
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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THE ARRIVAL OF JIMPSON



BY RALPH HENRY BARBOUR.

Each, 12mo, Cloth, Illustrated.


Weatherby’s Inning.

Illustrated in Colors. $1.25 net; postage, 12 cents additional.


Behind the Line.

A Story of School and Football. $1.20 net; postage, 12 cents additional.


Captain of the Crew.

$1.20 net; postage, 12 cents additional.


For the Honor of the School.

A Story of School Life and Interscholastic Sport. $1.50.


The Half-Back.

A Story of School, Football, and Golf. $1.50.


D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.



[Illustration: The captain was holding his head.]



                                  THE
                          ARRIVAL OF JIMPSON

                           And Other Stories
                          for Boys about Boys

                                  BY

                          RALPH HENRY BARBOUR

            AUTHOR OF BEHIND THE LINE, WEATHERBY’S INNING,
                          ON YOUR MARK! ETC.


                             _ILLUSTRATED_


                            [Illustration]


                               New York
                        D. Appleton and Company
                                 1904



                          Copyright, 1904, by
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

_Published, September, 1904_



                                  TO
                               H. D. R.

                           IN MEMORY OF THE
                           WINTER OF ’98-’99



The following stories first appeared in St. Nicholas, The Youth’s
Companion, Pearson’s Magazine, and The Brown Book. To the editors
of these periodicals the author’s thanks are due for permission to
republish the tales.



CONTENTS


                                 PAGE
  THE ARRIVAL OF JIMPSON            1
  BARCLAY’S BONFIRE                30
  MARTY BROWN--MASCOT              42
  PARMELEE’S “SPREAD”              75
  “NO HOLDING”                     96
  CLASS SPIRIT                    117
  THE FATHER OF A HERO            136
  THE HAZING OF SATTERLEE 2D      161
  A PAIR OF POACHERS              185
  BREWSTER’S DÉBUT                209
  “MITTENS”                       234



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                  FACING
                                                                   PAGE
  The captain was holding his head.           _Frontispiece_
  Jimpson felt like an outcast, and looked like an Indian.             9
  There was one kind of ball that Marty knew all about.               71
  “Duty!” frothed Morris.                                            130
  Tom moved the net toward the prey.                                 198
  Ned trotted over the plate into the arms of “Big Jim” Milford.     232



THE ARRIVAL OF JIMPSON

Copyright, 1898, by THE CENTURY CO. All rights reserved.


I

THE DEPARTURE

The rain fell in a steady, remorseless drizzle upon the rain-coats
and umbrellas of the throng that blocked the sidewalks and overflowed
on to the car-tracks; but the fires of patriotism were unquenchable,
and a thousand voices arose to the leaden sky in a fierce clamor of
intense enthusiasm. It had rained all night. The streets ran water,
and the spouts emptied their tides between the feet of the cheerers.
The lumbering cars, their crimson sides glistening, clanged their way
carefully through the crowds, and lent a dash of color to the scene.
The back of Grays loomed cheerless and bleak through the drizzle, and
beyond, the college yard lay deserted. In store windows the placards
were hidden behind the blurred and misty panes, and farther up the
avenue, the tattered red flag above Foster’s hung limp and dripping.

Under the leafless elm, the barge, filled to overflowing with departing
heroes, stood ready for its start to Boston. On the steps, bareheaded
and umbrellaless, stood Benham, ’95, who, with outstretched and waving
arms, was tempting the throng into ever greater vocal excesses.

“Now, then, fellows! Three times three for Meredith.”

“’Rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’rah, ’rah, ’rah! Meredith!” A
thousand throats raised the cry; umbrellas clashed wildly in mid-air;
the crowd surged to and fro; horses curveted nervously; and the rain
poured down impartially upon the reverend senior and the clamorous
freshman.

“Fellows, you’re not _half_ cheering!” cried the relentless Benham.
“Now, three long Harvards, three times three and three long Harvards
for the team.”

“Har-vard, Har-vard, Har-vard! ’Rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’rah, ’rah, ’rah!
’rah, ’rah, ’rah! Har-vard, Har-vard, Har-vard! Team!”

Inside the coach there was a babel of voices. Members of the eleven
leaned out and conversed jerkily with friends on the sidewalk. Valises
and suit-cases were piled high in the aisle and held in the owners’
laps. The manager was checking off his list.

“Cowper?”

“Here.”

“Turner?”

“All right.”

“Truesdale?”

“Hey? Oh, yes; I’m here.” The manager folded the list. Then a penciled
line on the margin caught his eye.

“Who’s Jameson? Jameson here?”

“Should be Jimpson,” corrected the man next to him; and a low voice
called from the far end of the barge:

“Here, sir.” It sounded so much like the response of a schoolboy
to the teacher that the hearers laughed with the mirth begot of
tight-stretched nerves. A youth wearing a faded brown ulster, who
was between Gates, the big center, and the corner of the coach, grew
painfully red in the face, and went into retirement behind the big
man’s shoulder.

“Who is this fellow Jimpson?” queried a man in a yellow mackintosh.

“Jimpson? He’s a freshie. Trying for right half-back all fall. I
suppose Brattle took him along, now that Ward’s given up, to substitute
Sills. They say he’s an A 1 runner, and plucky. He’s played some on the
second eleven. Taunton told me, the other day, that he played great
ball at Exeter, last year.”

The strident strains of the Washington Post burst out on the air,
urging the cheerers to even greater efforts. They were cheering
indiscriminately now. Trainer, rubbers, and coaches had received their
shares of the ovation. But Benham, ’95, with his coat soaked through,
was still unsatisfied, and sought for further tests. Two professors,
half hidden under umbrellas, had emerged from the yard, and were
standing at a little distance, watching the scene.

“Three times three for Professor Dablee!” The cheers that followed were
mixed with laughter, and the two professors moved off, but not until
the identity of the second had been revealed, and the air had filled
with the refrain of “’Rah, ’rah, ’rah! Pollock!”

“They look as though they ought to win; don’t you think so?” asked one
of them.

The other professor frowned.

“Yes, they look like that; every eleven does. You’d think, to see them
before a game, that nothing short of a pile-driver or dynamite could
drive them an inch. And a few days later they return, heartbroken and
defeated.”

Across the square floated a husky bellow:

“Now, then, fellows! Once more! All together! Three times three for
Harvard!”

The band played wildly, frenziedly, out of time and tune; the crowd
strained its tired throats for one last farewell slogan; the men in the
barge waved their hands; the horses jumped forward; a belated riser in
Holyoke threw open a front window, and drowsily yelled, “_Shut up_”;
and the Harvard eleven sped on its way up the avenue, and soon became a
blur in the gray vista.

“Say, Bob, you forgot to cheer Jimpson.”

The wearied youth faced his accuser, struck an attitude indicative of
intense despair, and then joyfully seized the opportunity.

“Fellows! Fellows! Hold on! Three times three for Jim--Jim--who’d you
say?”

“Jimpson,” prompted the friend.

“Three times three for Jimpson! Now, then, all together!”

“Say--who _is_ Jimpson?” shouted a dozen voices at once.

“Don’t know. Don’t care. Three times three for Jimpson!”

And so that youth, had he but known it, received a cheer, after all.
But he didn’t know it--at least, not until long afterward, when cheers
meant so much less to him.


II

A LETTER

    NEW HAVEN, CONN., November 19.

    DEAR MOTHER: I can imagine your surprise upon receiving a
    letter from this place, when your dutiful son is supposed to be
    “grinding” in No. 30 College House, Cambridge. And the truth is
    that the dutiful son is surprised himself. Here am I, with some
    thirty-five other chaps, making ready for the big football game
    with Yale to-morrow. Here is how it happened:

    Yesterday morning, Brattle--he’s our captain--came to my room,
    routed me out of bed, and told me to report to the coaches for
    morning practise. You know, I’ve been trying for substitute
    right half-back. Ward, the regular, sprained his knee in the
    Dartmouth game, and a few days ago it went lame again. So now
    Sills has Ward’s place, and I’m to substitute Sills. And if he
    gets laid out--and maybe I ought to hope he won’t--I go in and
    play. What do you think of that? Of course Sills may last the
    entire game; but they say he has a weak back, only he won’t own
    up to it, and may have to give up after the first half. Gates
    told me this on the train. Gates is the big center, and weighs
    196. He is very kind, and we chummed all the way from Boston.
    I didn’t know any of the fellows, except a few by sight--just
    enough to nod to, you know.

    We left Cambridge in a driving rain, and a big crowd stood out
    in it all, and cheered the eleven, and the captain, and the
    college, and everything they could think of. Every fellow on
    the first and second elevens, and every “sub” was cheered--all
    except Mr. Jimpson. They didn’t know of his existence! But
    I didn’t feel bad--not very, anyhow. I hope the rest of the
    fellows didn’t notice the omission, however. But I made up my
    mind that if I get half a show, I’ll make ’em cheer Jimpson,
    too. Just let me get on the field. I feel to-night as though
    I could go through the whole Yale team. Perhaps if I get out
    there, facing a big Yale man, I’ll not feel so strong.

    You know, you’ve always thought I was big. Well, to-day I
    overheard a fellow asking one of the men, “Who is that little
    chap with the red cheeks?” I’m a midget beside most of the
    other fellows. If I play to-morrow, I’ll be the lightest man on
    the team, with the exception of Turner, our quarter-back, who
    weighs 158. I beat him by three pounds.

    Such a hubbub as there is in this town to-night! Everybody
    seems crazy with excitement. Of course I haven’t the slightest
    idea who is going to win, but to look at our fellows, you’d
    think they would have things their own way. I haven’t seen
    any of the Yale players. We practised on their field for an
    hour or so this afternoon, but they didn’t show up. There
    was a big crowd of Yale students looking on. Of course every
    fellow of us did his very worst; but the spectators didn’t say
    anything--just looked wise.

    Most of the fellows are terribly nervous to-night. They go
    around as though they were looking for something, and would cry
    if they didn’t find it soon. And the trainer is the worst of
    all. Brattle, the captain, is fine, though. He isn’t any more
    nervous than an alligator, and has been sitting _still all the
    evening_, talking with a lot of the old graduates about the
    game. Once he came in the writing-room, where I’m sitting, and
    asked what I was doing. When I told him, he smiled, and said to
    tell you that if anything happened he’d look after my _remains_
    himself! Maybe he thought I was nervous. But if I am, I’m not
    the only one. Gates is writing to his mother, too, at the other
    table.

    Give my love to Will and Bess. Tell Will to send my old skates
    to me. I shall want them. There is fine skating on Fresh Pond,
    which, by the way, is a lake.

    We’re ordered off to bed. I guess some of us won’t sleep very
    well. I’m rather excited myself, but I guess I’m tired enough
    to sleep. I’ll write again when I get back to college. With
    bushels of love to all,

    Yours affectionately,

    TOM.


III

THE “ARRIVAL”

Jimpson sat on the ground, and watched with breathless interest two
charging, tattered, writhing lines of men. Jimpson felt a good deal
like an outcast, and looked like a North American Indian. Only legs
and face were visible; the rest of Jimpson was enveloped in a big gray
blanket with barbaric red borders. Some two dozen counterparts of
Jimpson sat or lay near by, stretching along the side-line in front
of the Harvard section of the grand stand. Behind them a thousand
enthusiastic mortals were shouting pæans to the goddess of victory,
and, unless that lady was deaf, she must have heard the pæans, however
little she approved of them. The most popular one was sung to a
well-known tune:

[Illustration: Jimpson felt like an outcast, and looked like an Indian.]

    “As we’re strolling through Fifth Avenue
     With an independent air,
     The ladies turn and stare,
     The chappies shout, ‘Ah, there!’
     And the population cries aloud,
    ‘Now, aren’t they just the swellest crowd,
     The men that broke Old Eli at New Haven!’”

And a mighty response swept across the field from where a bank of blue
rose from the green of the field to the lighter blue of the sky. It was
a martial air, with a prophecy of victory:

    “Shout aloud the battle-cry
       Of Yale, Yale, Yale!
     Wave her standard far and high
       For Yale, Yale, Yale!
     See the foe retreat before us,
     Sons of Eli, shout the chorus,
       Yale, Yale, Yale, Yale, Yale!”

Harvard and Yale were doing battle once more, and twenty thousand
people were looking on. The score-board announced: Harvard, 4; Yale, 0.
Yale’s ball. 15 minutes to play.

The story of twenty minutes of the first half is soon told. It had been
Yale’s kick-off. Haag had sent the ball down the field to Harvard’s
20-yard line, and Van Brandt had gathered it in his long arms, and,
with Meredith ahead, had landed it back in the middle of the field. But
the fourth down gave it to their opponents after a loss of two yards,
and the pigskin went down again to Harvard’s territory, coming to a
stop at the white line that marked thirty-five yards. Here Harvard’s
new half-back kick had been tried, and the ball went high in air, and
the field went after it; and when the Yale full-back got his hands on
it, he was content with a bare five yards, and it was Yale’s ball on
her 40-yard line. Then happened a piece of ill luck for the wearers of
the blue. On the second down, Kurtz fumbled the pass, the ball rolled
toward Yale’s goal, and Brattle broke through the opposing left tackle
and fell on it.

And while a thunderous roar of joy floated across the field from the
followers of the Crimson, the teams lined up on Yale’s thirty yards.
Twice Meredith tried to go through between center and left guard, and a
bare yard was the reward. Then Van Brandt had run back as for a kick;
the ball was snapped, passed to Sills, Harvard’s right half-back, and,
with it safely under his arm, he had skirted the Yale left, and fallen
and wriggled and squirmed across the goal-line for the first touch-down.

Then ensued five minutes of bedlam, and after the victorious seats had
settled into excited complacency, Van Brandt had tried for goal. But
success was too much to hope for, and the two teams trotted back to
the middle of the field, with the score 4 to 0. Then had the sons of
Eli shown of what they were made, and in the next ten minutes the ball
had progressed with fatal steadiness from the center of the field to
the region of the Crimson’s twenty yards. And now it was Yale’s ball
on the second down, and the silence was so intense that the signal was
heard as plainly by the watchers at the far end of the field as by the
twenty-two stern-faced warriors who faced each other almost under the
shadow of the goal-posts.

“_Twelve, six, twelve, fifty-two!_”

And the backs, led by the guards, hurled their weight against Harvard’s
right tackle; and when the ball was found, Baker held it within a few
inches of the 10-yard line.

The cheers of Yale had now grown continuous; section after section
passed the slogan along. The stand across the field looked to Jimpson
like a field of waving blue gentians. On the Harvard seats the uproar
was less intense, and seemed a trifle forced; and the men near by were
breathing heavily, and restively creeping down the line.

Again the lines were formed. Jimpson could see the tall form of the
gallant Gates settle down into a hunchback, toad-like position to
receive the coming onslaught. Billings, the right tackle, was evidently
expecting another experience like the last. He looked nervous, and
Gates turned his head and spoke to him under cover of the first numbers
of the signal.

The guards were back of the line again, and their elbows almost brushed
as they stood between the half-backs. Silence reigned. The referee
skipped nimbly out of the way.

“_Seven, seventeen, eighty-one, thirty!_”

Again the weakening tackle was thrust aside, and although the Crimson
line held better, the ball was three yards nearer home when the
whistle blew, and Billings, somewhat dazed, had to call for a short
delay.

“First down again,” muttered a brawny sub at Jimpson’s elbow. “Why
doesn’t he take Billings out?”

Again the signal came. Again a jumbled mass of arms and legs for a
moment hid the result. Then the men on the stand overlooking the
goal-line arose _en masse_, and a mighty cheer traveled up the field,
growing in volume until Jimpson could not hear his own groans nor the
loud groans of a big sub. Back of the line, and almost equidistant of
the posts, lay the Yale full-back; and the ball was held tightly to
earth between outstretched hands. The prostrate players were slowly
gaining their feet; but Billings and Sills lay where they had fallen.
Then Brattle stepped toward the side line, holding up his hand. With a
leap Jimpson was on his feet. But the big chap beside him had already
pulled off his sweater, and now, tossing it into Jimpson’s face, he
sped gleefully toward the captain.

Jimpson sat down again in deep disappointment; and a moment later,
Billings, supported on either side, limped from the gridiron, amid the
cheers of the Harvard supporters. Sills was on his feet again, and the
trainer was talking to him. Jimpson could see the plucky fellow shaking
his head. Then, after a moment of indecision, the trainer left him, the
whistle sounded, the Crimson team lined up back of the line, and Kurtz
was poising the ball for a try at goal. The result was scarcely in
doubt, and the ball sailed cleanly between the posts, a good two feet
above the cross-bar; and the score-board said, “Harvard, 4; Yale, 6”;
and there were three minutes more of the half.

Back went the ball to the 55-yard line, and loud arose the cheers of
the triumphant friends of Yale. Gates kicked off, and Warner sent the
ball back again, with a gain of ten yards. Sills caught it and ran, but
was downed well inside Harvard territory, and the half ended with the
ball in Yale’s hands. Jimpson seized his blanket, and trotted after the
eleven to the quarters. He found Gates stripping for a rub-down.

“Well, my lad,” panted the latter, “could you discern from where you
were just what kind of a cyclone struck us?” But Jimpson was too much
interested for such levity.

“Do you think I’ll get in this half, Gates?”

“Can’t say. Take a look at Sills, and judge for yourself.”

That gentleman was having his lame back rubbed by a trainer, but he
appeared to Jimpson good for at least another quarter of an hour.

It seemed but a moment after they had reached the rooms that the word
of “Time’s up, fellows,” was passed, and renewed cheering from without
indorsed the fact. But a moment or two still remained, and that moment
belonged to Brattle. He stood on a bench and addressed the hearers very
quietly:

“We’re going to kick, this half, fellows. I want every man to get down
the field on the instant, without stopping to hold. I don’t think they
can keep us from scoring at least once more; but every man has got to
_work_. When the time comes to put the ball over the line, I expect it
to go over with a rush. Let every man play the best game he knows, but
_play together_. Remember that lack of teamwork has often defeated us.
And now, fellows, three times three for Harvard!”

And what a yell that was! Jimpson went purple in the face, and the head
coach cheered his spectacles off. And then out they all went on a trot,
big Gates doing a coltish handspring in mid-field, to the great delight
of the Crimson’s wearers. The college band played; thirty thousand
people said something all together; and then the great quadrangle was
silent, the whistle piped merrily, and the ball soared into air again.

Jimpson took up his position on the side-line once more, and watched
with envious heart the lucky players. For the great, overwhelming
desire of Jimpson’s soul was to be out there on the torn turf, doing
great deeds, and being trampled under foot. He watched the redoubtable
Sills as a cat watches a mouse. Every falter of that player brought
fresh hope to Jimpson. He would have liked to rise and make an
impassioned speech in the interests of humanity, protesting against
allowing a man in Sills’s condition to remain in the game. Jimpson’s
heart revolted at the cruelty of it.

Some such idea as this he had expressed to Gates, that morning; and the
big center had giggled in deep amusement; in fact, he had refused to
recognize the disinterested character of Jimpson’s protest.

“Don’t you think,” Jimpson had pleaded, “that I might ask Brattle to
give me a show in the second half?”

“No, I don’t,” Gates had answered bluntly. “You’re an unknown quantity,
my boy; as the Frenchies say, you haven’t ‘arrived.’ For a player who
hasn’t ‘arrived’ to try to give the captain points would be shocking
bad taste. That’s how it is. Sills is a good player. As long as he can
hold his head up, he’ll be allowed to play. When he’s laid out, Brattle
will give you a show. He can’t help himself; you’re the only chap that
he can trust in the position. And look here; when that time comes, just
you remember the signals, and _keep your eyes on the ball_. That’s all
you’ll have to do. Don’t take your eyes off the leather, even if the
sky falls!”

Jimpson remembered the conversation, and thought ruefully that it was
easy enough for a fellow who has everything that heart can desire
to spout good advice to chaps on the side-lines. Perhaps if Gates
were in his (Jimpson’s) place he’d not be any too patient himself.
The score-board said fifteen minutes to play. Sills still held up his
stubborn head, and Jimpson’s chances grew dimmer and dimmer as moments
sped.

Harvard’s kicking tactics had netted her long gains time and again, and
twice had she reached Yale’s 10-yard line, only to be grimly held and
hurled back. Yale, on the other hand, had only once reached scoring
distance of their opponent’s goal, and had been successfully held for
downs. Veterans of the game declared enthusiastically, between bets,
that it was “the snappiest game of the decade!” and supporters of
Harvard said among themselves that it was beautifully conducive to
heart-disease. Perhaps never had the two colleges turned out teams so
evenly balanced in both offense and defense. The bets had become “one
to two that Harvard doesn’t score again.”

Harvard’s quarter had given place to a substitute, and her left guard
had retired injured. Yale had fared no better, possibly worse, since
her crack full-back had been forced to yield to a somewhat inferior
sub. And now the hands on the score-board turned again, and only ten
minutes remained.

The ball was down near Harvard’s 40-yard line, and when it was snapped
back, Sills took it for a “round-the-end run.” But Yale’s big left
half-back was waiting for him, and the two went to earth together near
the side-line and almost at Jimpson’s feet. And then it was that that
youth’s heart did queer feats inside him, and seemed trying to get out.
For Sills lay a while where he had fallen, and when he could walk the
doctor had sent him from the field. Brattle beckoned to Jimpson. With
trembling fingers Jimpson struggled with his sweater; but had not a
neighbor come to his assistance, he would never have wriggled out of it
before the game was called.

Brattle met him, and, laying an arm over his shoulder, walked him a few
paces apart. Jimpson’s heart, which had become more normal in action,
threatened another invasion of his throat, and he wondered if everybody
was looking on. Then he stopped speculating, and listened to what the
captain was saying.

“We’ve only eight minutes to play. The ball has _got_ to go over,
Jimpson. I’ve seen you run, and I believe you can make it if you try.
The ball is yours on the second down. Try the right end; don’t be
afraid of swinging out into the field. Whatever you do, don’t let go of
the ball. If Turner puts you through the line, keep your head down, but
jump high. Now, go in, and let’s see what you can do.” He gave Jimpson
an encouraging slap on the back that almost precipitated that youth
into the quarter, and Jimpson saw the broad backs before him settling
down, and heard the labored breathing of the men.

“_Ninety-one, twenty-eight, seventy-three, sixty-four--six!_”

Jimpson suddenly found himself pushing the left half-back against a
surging wall of tattered blue. Then some one seized him about the
waist, and he picked himself up from the ground eight feet away from
the scene of battle.

“That’s what comes of being so small and light,” he growled to himself,
as he trotted back. But the thirst of battle was in Jimpson’s soul,
and he marked the Yale end who had treated him so contemptuously.

The try between right tackle and end had netted a bare yard, and
Jimpson tried to look self-possessed while his back was running with
little chills and his throat was dry as dust. The next chance was his,
and he waited the signal anxiously, to learn whether the pass was
direct or double. The other half-back imperceptibly dropped back a
foot. The quarter looked around. The lines swayed and heaved.

“_Twenty-seven, sixty-three, forty-five, seventy-two--five!_”

Jimpson leaped forward; the left half-back darted across him, the
quarter passed neatly, and, with the Harvard left end beside him, he
was sweeping down to the right and into the field. The Yale end went
down before the mighty Cowper; and Jimpson, sighting a clear space,
sped through. He could feel the field trailing after him, and could
hear the sounds of the falling men. Before him in the distance, a
little to the left, came the Yale full-back. Almost upon him was the
Yale left half, looking big and ugly. But, with a final spurt, Van
Brandt ran even, and gave the shoulder to the enemy; and as they went
down together, Jimpson leaped free, and, running on, knew that at last
he was left to shift for himself. Of the foes behind he had no fear; of
the full-back running cautiously down on him he feared everything. But
he clutched the ball tighter, and raced on straight as an arrow toward
the only player between him and the goal that loomed so far down the
field.

He heard now the mighty sound of voices cheering him on, saw without
looking the crowded stands to the right; and then something whispered
of danger from behind, and, scarcely daring to do so, lest he trip and
fall, glanced hurriedly over his shoulder into the staring eyes of a
runner. And now he could hear the other’s short, labored gasps. Before
him but a scant ten yards was the full-back. Jimpson’s mind was made
up on the instant. Easing his pace the least bit, he swung abruptly to
the left. He well knew the risk he ran, but he judged himself capable
of making up the lost ground. As he had thought, the pursuer was
little expecting such a deliberate divergence from the course, and,
as a result, he overran, and then turned clumsily, striking for a
point between Jimpson and the left goal-post. The full-back had noted
the change, of course, on the instant, and was now running for about
the same intersecting point as the other. The three runners formed a
triangle. For the moment the pursuer was out of reckoning, and Jimpson
could give all his skill to eluding the full-back, who faced him, ready
for a tackle.

And here Jimpson’s lighter weight stood him in good stead. Clutching
the ball tightly, he made a feint to the left, and then flung himself
quickly to the right. As he did so he spun around. The full-back’s hand
reached his canvas jacket, slipped, and found a slight hold upon his
trousers; and Jimpson, scarcely recovered from his turn, fell on one
knee, the full-back also falling in his effort to hold. At that moment
the pursuer reached the spot, and sprang toward Jimpson.

The shouts had ceased, and thirty thousand persons were holding their
breath. The next moment a shout of triumph went up, and Jimpson was
speeding on toward the Yale goal. For as the last man had thrown
himself forward, Jimpson had struggled to his feet, the full-back
following, and the two Yale men had crashed together with a shock that
left the full-back prostrate upon the turf. The other had regained
himself quickly, and taken up the pursuit; but Jimpson was already
almost ten yards to the good, and, although his breath was coming in
short, painful gasps, and the white lines seemed rods apart, the goal
became nearer and nearer. But the blue-stockinged runner was not done,
and the cries of the Crimson well-wishers were stilled as the little
space between the two runners grew perceptibly less.

Jimpson, with his eyes fixed in agony upon the last white line under
the goal-posts, struggled on. One ankle had been wrenched in his rapid
turn, and it pained frightfully as it took the ground. He could hear
the steps of the pursuing foe almost at his heels, and, try as he
might, he could not cover the ground any faster. His brain reeled, and
he thought each moment that he must fall.

But the thought of what that touch-down meant, and the recollection of
the captain’s words, nerved him afresh. The goal-line was plain before
him now; ten yards only remained. The air was filled with cheers; but
to Jimpson everything save that little white line and the sound of the
pounding steps behind him was obliterated.

Success seemed assured, when a touch on his shoulder made the landscape
reel before his eyes. It was not a clutch--just fingers grasping at his
smooth jacket, unable as yet to find a hold.

The last white line but one passed haltingly, slowly, under his feet.
The fingers traveled upward, and suddenly a firm grasp settled upon
his shoulder. He tried to swing free, faltered, stumbled, recovered
himself with a last supreme effort, and, holding the ball at arm’s
length, threw himself forward, face down. And as the enemy crashed upon
him, Jimpson tried hard to gasp “Down!” but found he couldn’t, and
then--didn’t care at all.

When he came to he found a crowd of players about him. Faces almost
strange to him were smiling, and the captain was holding his head. His
right foot pained frantically, and the doctor and rubbers were busy
over him.

“Was it--was it over?” he asked weakly.

“Easy, old chap--with an inch to spare,” replied the lips above.
“Listen!”

Jimpson tried to raise his head, but it felt so funny that he gave up
the effort. But, despite the woolen sweater bunched up for a pillow, he
heard a deep roar that sounded like the breakers on the beach at home.
Then he smiled, and fainted once more.

But the score-board had changed its figures again: Harvard, 8; Yale, 6.
Touch-down. Harvard’s ball. 3 minutes to play.

And the deep, exultant roar went on, resolving itself into “H-a-r-vard!
H-a-r-vard!”

       *       *       *       *       *

The band was playing Washington Post. Harvard Square was bright under
a lurid glow of red fire. Cheering humanity was packed tight from the
street to the balustrade of Matthews, and from there up and across
the yard. Cannon crackers punctuated the blare of noise with sharp
detonations. The college was out in full force to welcome home the
football heroes, and staid and prim old Cambridge lent her quota to the
throng. From the back of Grays the cheering grew louder, and the crowd
surged toward the avenue. The band broke ranks and skeltered after. A
four-horse barge drew up slowly at the curb, and, one after another,
the men dropped out, tightly clutching their bags, and strove to slip
away through the throng. But each was eventually captured, his luggage
confiscated, and himself raised to the shoulders of riotous admirers.
When all were out and up, the band started the strains of Fair Harvard,
and thousands of voices joined in. The procession moved. Jimpson, proud
and happy and somewhat embarrassed, was well up in the line. When the
corner was turned and the yard reached the roar increased in volume.
Cheers for the eleven, for Harvard, for Brattle, were filling the air.
And then suddenly Jimpson’s heart leaped at the sound of his own name
from thousands of throats.

“Now, fellows, three long Harvards, and three times three for Jimpson!”
In the roar that followed Jimpson addressed his bearers.

“Won’t you please let me go now? I--I’m not feeling very well, and--and
I’m only a sub, you know.”

The plea of illness moved his captors, and Jimpson was dropped to
earth, and his valise restored. There was no notice taken of him as he
slipped stealthfully through the outskirts of the throng, and as he
reached the corner of Holden Chapel he paused and listened.

To the dark heavens arose a prolonged, impatient demand from thousands
of Harvard throats. The listener heard, and then fled toward the dark
building across the street, and, reaching his room, locked the door
behind him. But still he could hear the cries, loudly and impatiently
repeated: “We--want--Jimp-son! We--want--Jimp-son! Jimp-son!”



BARCLAY’S BONFIRE

Copyright, 1898, by THE YOUTH’S COMPANION. All rights reserved.


Cobb, 1901, assistant editor of the Daily Quarmazi, left the office,
crossed the road and entered the college yard by the simple expedient
of placing one hand on the fence and vaulting over upon the forbidden
grass. Cobb had a Latin book under one arm--for even if one labors on
a college paper to mold undergraduate opinion, he is not exempt from a
certain amount of class attendance--and carried an open letter in his
hand. His round, good-natured face wore a broad grin; and whenever he
looked at the letter the grin increased.

He entered the first entrance to Grays Hall, bounded up two flights of
narrow stairway, and pounded at a door. An invitation to enter came
faintly through two thicknesses of oak, and Cobb confronted the single
occupant of the room.

“How are you, Barclay? Thanks, no, can’t stop! Just dropped ’round
to leave this with you. Got it in this morning’s mail at the office.
Said to myself, ‘Just one man in college who’ll take interest in this;
that’s Barclay.’ So I brought it to you. Might answer it, eh? Good
idea, seems to me. Hope you’ll be able to do something about it. ’Bye!”
And Cobb, grinning like a jovial satyr, was gone.

Barclay, ’99, laid his pen aside with slow deliberateness, marked his
place in the big Greek lexicon beside him, and took up the letter. It
was addressed to the editor of the Quarmazi, and was signed “Hiram G.
Larkin, Yale, ’99.” The writer asked to be put in communication with
some student in the rival college who was interested in checkers. He
dwelt enthusiastically on the formation of a dual checker league. He
pointed out the fact that although chess, whist and other games of
skill and science were recognized and participated in each year by
teams representing the two universities, the noble game of checkers had
been hitherto wofully neglected. He suggested that teams be formed
at each university, and that a tournament be played to decide the
championship.

When Barclay laid aside the letter, his long and ascetic face held
an expression of enthusiastic delight. The one dissipation and hobby
of Barclay’s studious existence was checkers. He held a college-wide
reputation as a “grind” of the most pronounced type. Barclay did not
look down on the usual pleasures and frolics of the undergraduate;
they simply had for him no appeal. He had nothing against football or
baseball or track athletics; but he felt no enthusiasm for any of them.

Of course he was always glad when the college teams won; he was
“patriotic” to a high degree, and sometimes, when the bonfires burned
and the students cheered and sang, he acknowledged a wish, lying deep
down in his heart, that he, too, might be able to derive pleasurable
emotions from such celebrations. Barclay, in short, loved Xenophanes
and Xenophon; and next to them, checkers.

Before he went to bed that night he answered the Yale man’s letter;
indorsed the project voluminously; pledged immediate cooperation, and
remained fraternally his, Simonides P. Barclay.

I have no intention of specifying in detail the steps which resulted
in the formation of the Intercollegiate Checkers Association. Barclay
and Larkin wrote to each other at least every other day, and at the end
of three weeks the matter was settled--not, perhaps, just as they had
hoped for. Barclay had labored heroically to find a membership for the
Checkers Club, but without avail. None wanted to join. Many scoffed,
and instead of enthusiasm, he awakened only ridicule. And the Yale man
reported like results. So when the rival teams met in a private room in
Young’s Hotel one December day, they consisted of just Larkin, Yale,
’99, and Barclay.

The tournament was held behind tightly closed doors; consequently I am
unable to report the play for the reader’s benefit. Enough that deep
silence and undoubted skill held sway until dusk, at which time the
two teams passed into the dining-hall and ate a dinner, at which much
good feeling was displayed by both, and at which the day’s play was
rehearsed scientifically, from oysters to coffee. The teams then shook
hands and parted at the entrance.

Barclay boarded a car and returned to college, filled with overwhelming
triumph. He had won three out of the seven games and drawn two. The
checkers championship rested with Harvard!

Such a spirit of jubilation possessed Barclay that when he reached
his unadorned room and had changed his gold-rimmed glasses for his
reading spectacles, he found that Greek for once did not satisfy. He
tried light reading in the form of a monograph on the origin of Greek
drama, but even then his attention wandered continually. He laid down
the book, wiped his glasses thoughtfully and frowned at the green
lamp-shade. Plainly something was wrong; but what? He pondered deeply
for several minutes. Then his brow cleared, and he settled his “specs”
over his lean nose again; he had found the trouble.

“The victory,” said Barclay, soberly, to the lamp-shade, “demands a
celebration!”

The more he thought of it the more evident it appeared that the day’s
triumph over the Yale Checkers Club deserved some sort of a public
jubilee. He might, considered Barclay, put his head out of the window
and cheer. But he wasn’t sure that he knew how. Or he might shoot off a
revolver--if he had one. Or he might start a bonfire--ah, that was it;
a bonfire! The idea appealed strongly to him; and he remembered that as
a boy on a New Hampshire farm bonfires had ever moved him strangely.

He arose and thrust his feet into a pair of immense overshoes, tied
a muffler about his long neck, donned his worn ulster, turned down
the lamp, and passed out of the room. Yes, he would celebrate with a
bonfire. A victory over Yale at checkers was quite as important in
Barclay’s estimation as a triumph over the blue-stockinged football
warriors.

Fifteen minutes later a window at the upper end of the college yard was
slammed open, and a voice bawled into the frosty night:

“Heads out! All heads out!”

Then up and down the quadrangle, casements were raised and broad beams
of light glowed out into the gloom, while dozens of other voices
passed on the slogan:

“Heads out, fellows! Heads out!”

“What’s up?” cried a thin voice from an upper window of Thayer.

“Bonfire in front of University!” was the answer.

“Bonfire in the yard! All heads out!” sped the cry.

“Everybody get wood!” shouted a voice from Weld.

“Everybody get wood!” shouted half a hundred other voices.

Then windows were shut and eager youths clattered down-stairs and
into the yard, and suddenly the quiet night had become a pandemonium.
In front of University Hall a lone figure fed, with shingles and odd
bits of wood, a small bonfire, which cast its wan glow against the
white front of the sober pile, as if dismayed at its own temerity. For
bonfires in the yard are strictly forbidden, and it was many years
before that the last one had sent its sparks up in front of University.
Barclay knew this, and welcomed the danger of probation or dismissal as
adding an appropriate touch of the grand and heroic to his celebration.

“Everybody get wood!” “What’s it for?” “’Rah for the bonfire!” “Who’s
doing it?” “Wood, wood, get wood, fellows!”

One of the first to reach the scene was Cobb, 1901. A dozen others were
close behind him.

“Hello, what’s up? What we celebrating?” he asked breathlessly; then
he caught a glimpse of the thin, bespectacled visage of Barclay, and
gasped, “Why, why, it’s old Barclay!”

“’Rah for Barclay, old grind!” shouted another. “He’s the stuff!
Everybody get wood!”

At that moment a worn-out hen-coop arrived suddenly on the scene, and a
shower of sparks told that the fire was gaining courage.

“But, say, old man, what’s it all about?” asked Cobb.

“We are celebrating a victory over Yale,” answered Barclay, soberly,
as he adjusted a plank with his foot. There was no undue excitement
exhibited by this tall figure in the long ulster, but underneath
his calm the blood raced madly through his veins, and a strange and
well-nigh uncontrollable joy possessed him as the flames leaped higher
and higher. He stooped and picked a brand from the edge of the fire.
He waved it thrice about his head, sending the flaring sparks over the
ever-increasing crowd.

“Hooray!” he yelled, in queer, uncanny tones.

“’Rah, ’rah, ’rah!” answered the throng. “Everybody get wood!”

“But what’d we do to ’em?” asked Cobb, wonderingly. “What was the
victory?”

“Won the checker championship!” answered Barclay, proudly.

A roar of laughter went up; fellows fell on their neighbors’ necks and
giggled hysterically; a football man sat down in the fire and had to be
rescued by his friends; Cobb hugged Barclay and patted him on the back.

“Good old Barclay!” he gurgled. “Oh, good old Barclay! Won the checker
champ--champ--champ--oh, dear, oh, dear! Somebody hit me before
I--I----”

“More wood!” bawled some one. “’Rah for Barclay, the champion
checkerist! Everybody cheer for Barclay!”

And everybody did, many, many times. More wood leaped from out the
darkness and fell upon the flaming heap, which now rose to the fellows’
shoulders and crackled right merrily. The vicinity of the bonfire was
black with yelling, laughing students; and every moment their number
grew, as the light was seen at distant dormitories or the shouting was
heard across the avenue.

“Speech!” cried the throng. “Speech! Speech!” And Barclay was quickly
elevated to the shoulders of Cobb and another, and from there spoke
feelingly of the inception and growth of the Checkers Club; of the
tournament and of the victory. Very few heard all that speech, for it
was cheered incessantly; and those at the edge of the crowd yelled:
“Who’s the fellow that’s talking?” “What’d he do?” “It’s Dewey!” “No,
it’s----”

At that moment some one started a song, and by common impulse the
students formed in line and began the circuit of the yard, Barclay,
on the shoulders of the two riotous friends, leading the procession.
Thrice around they went, singing the college songs, cheering on every
provocation, clasping arms and swinging ecstatically from side to side
and raising such an uproar as the old college had not often heard.

“The most gorgeous bonfire since we won the boat-race!” panted a
senior, at the end of the parade. “And the biggest celebration; but I’d
like jolly well to know what it’s for!”

“Join hands!” was the cry, and soon three great rings of dancing,
striding youths were circling the fire, their fantastic shadows leaping
grotesquely across the front of the buildings. And just when the frolic
was at its height, and the fire was crackling more joyously than ever;
just when the quiet winter stars were hearkening for the fiftieth time
to the hoarse cheers in honor of Barclay, the dean and three professors
walked into the circle of radiance, and the throng melted as if by
magic, until Barclay, spectacleless, hatless, but exultant, was left
standing alone by his bonfire.

“Ah, Mr. Barclay,” said the dean, pleasantly, “will you kindly call on
me to-morrow?”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I think we will let the matter drop,” said the dean next day, hiding
a smile under an affected frown, “if you will promise, Mr. Barclay, to
indulge yourself in no more--ah--” the dean’s voice failed him, and
he swallowed spasmodically twice before he found it again--“no more
celebrations of victory.”

And Barclay, very remorseful and chastened this morning, promised, and
hurried off to his beloved Greek.

Both Barclay and the Yale Checkers Club graduated from their respective
universities the following spring, and consequently the Intercollegiate
Checkers Association died. But although gone, it is not forgotten; and
“Barclay’s bonfire” is still spoken of as “the most gorgeous thing that
ever happened.”



MARTY BROWN--MASCOT

Copyright, 1898, by THE CENTURY CO. All rights reserved.


Martin--more familiarly “Marty”--Brown’s connection with the Summerville
Baseball Club had begun the previous spring, when, during a hotly
contested game with the High School nine, Bob Ayer, Summerville’s
captain, watching his men go down like nine-pins before the puzzling
curves of the rival pitcher, found himself addressed by a small
snub-nosed, freckle-faced youth with very bright blue eyes and very
dusty bare feet:

“Want me ter look after yer bats?”

“No.”

“All right,” was the cheerful response.

The umpire called two strikes on the batsman, and Bob muttered his
anger.

“I don’t want nothin’ fer it,” announced the boy beside him,
insinuatingly, digging a hole in the turf with one bare toe.

Bob turned, glad of something to vent his wrath upon. “No! Get out of
here!” he snarled.

“All right,” was the imperturbable answer.

Then the side was out, and Bob trotted to first base. That half inning,
the last of the seventh, was a tragedy for the town nine, for the High
School piled three runs more on their already respectable lead, and
when Bob came in he had well-defined visions of defeat. It was his turn
at the bat. When he went to select his stick he was surprised to find
the barefooted, freckle-faced youth in calm possession.

“What--?” he began angrily.

Marty leaped up and held out a bat. Bob took it, astonished to find
that it was his own pet “wagon-tongue,” and strode off to the plate,
too surprised for words. Two minutes later, he was streaking toward
first base on a safe hit to center field. An error gave him second, and
the dwindling hopes of Summerville began to rise again. The fellows
found the High School pitcher and fairly batted him off his feet, and
when the side went out it had added six runs to its tally, and lacked
but one of being even with its opponent. Meanwhile Marty rescued
the bats thrown aside, and arranged them neatly, presiding over them
gravely, and showing a marvelous knowledge of each batsman’s wants.

Summerville won that game by two runs, and Bob Ayer was the first to
declare, with conviction, that it was all owing to Marty. The luck had
changed, he said, as soon as the snub-nosed boy had taken charge of the
club’s property.

Every one saw the reasonableness of the assertion, and Marty was
thereupon adopted as the official mascot and general factotum of the
Summerville Baseball Club. Since then none had disputed Marty’s right
to that position, and he had served tirelessly, proudly, mourning the
defeats and glorying in the victories as sincerely as Bob Ayer himself.

Marty went to the grammar-school “when it kept,” and in the summer
became a wage-earner to the best of his ability, holding insecure
positions with several grocery and butcher stores as messenger and
“special delivery.” But always on Saturday afternoons he was to be
found squatting over the bats at the ball-ground; he never allowed
the desire for money to interfere with his sacred duty as mascot and
custodian of club property. Every one liked Marty, and he was as
much a part of the Summerville Baseball Club as if one of the nine.
His rewards consisted chiefly of discarded bats and balls; but he
was well satisfied: it was a labor of love with him, and it is quite
probable that, had he been offered a salary in payment of the services
he rendered, he would have indignantly refused it. For the rest, he
was fifteen years old, was not particularly large for his age, still
retained the big brown freckles and the snub nose, had lively and
honest blue eyes, and, despite the fact that his mother eked out a
scanty living by washing clothes for the well-to-do of the town, had
a fair idea of his own importance, without, however, risking his
popularity by becoming too familiar. The bare feet were covered now by
a pair of run-down and very dusty shoes, and his blue calico shirt and
well-patched trousers were always clean and neat. On his brown hair
rested, far back, a blue-and-white baseball cap adorned with a big S,
the gift of Bob Ayer, and Marty’s only badge of office.

To-day Marty had a grievance. He sat on a big packing-box in front of
Castor’s Cash Grocery and kicked his heels softly against its side.
Around him the air was heavy with the odor of burning paper and punk,
and every instant the sharp sputter of fire-crackers broke upon his
reverie. It was the Fourth of July and almost noon. It was very hot,
too. But it was not that which was troubling Marty. His grief sprung
from the fact that, in just twenty minutes by the town-hall clock up
there, the Summerville Baseball Club, supported by a large part of the
town’s younger population, would take the noon train for Vulcan to play
its annual game with the nine of that city; and it would go, Marty
bitterly reflected, without its mascot.

Vulcan was a good way off--as Marty viewed distance--and the fare for
the round trip was $1.40, just $1.28 more than Marty possessed. He had
hinted to Bob Ayer and to “Herb” Webster, the club’s manager, the real
need of taking him along--had even been gloomy and foretold a harrowing
defeat for their nine in the event of his absence from the scene. But
Summerville’s finances were at low ebb, and, owing to the sickness of
one good player and the absence of another, her hopes of capturing the
one-hundred-dollar purse which was yearly put up by the citizens of the
rival towns were but slight. So Marty was to be left behind. And that
was why Marty sat on the packing-case and grieved, refusing to join in
the lively sport of his friends who, farther up the street, were firing
off a small brass cannon in front of Hurlbert’s hardware store.

Already, by ones and twos, the Vulcan-bound citizens were toiling
through the hot sun toward the station. Marty watched them, and scowled
darkly. For the time he was a radical socialist, and railed silently at
the unjust manner in which riches are distributed. Presently a group
of five fellows, whose ages varied from seventeen to twenty-one, came
into sight upon the main street. They wore gray uniforms, with blue and
white stockings and caps of the same hues, and on their breasts were
big blue S’s. Two of them carried, swung between them, a long leather
bag containing Marty’s charge, the club’s bats. The players spied the
boy on the box, and hailed him from across the street. Marty’s reply
was low-toned and despondent. But after they had turned the corner
toward the station, he settled his cap firmly on his head and, sliding
off the box, hurried after them.

The station platform was well filled when he gained it. Bob Ayer was
talking excitedly to Joe Sleeper, and Marty, listening from a distance,
gathered that Magee, the Summerville center-fielder, had not put in his
appearance.

“If he fails us,” Bob was saying anxiously, “it’s all up before we
start. We’re crippled already. Has any one seen him?”

None had, and Bob, looking more worried than before, strode off through
the crowd to seek for news. Of course, Marty told himself, he didn’t
want Summerville to lose, but, just the same, if they did, it would
serve them right for not taking him along. A long whistle in the
distance sounded, and Bob came back, shaking his head in despair.

“Not here,” he said.

A murmur of dismay went up from the group, and Marty slid off the
baggage-truck and approached the captain.

“Say, let me go along, won’t yer, Bob?”

Bob turned, and, seeing Marty’s eager face, forgot his worry for the
moment, and asked kindly: “Can you buy your ticket?”

“No.” Marty clenched his hands and looked desperately from one to
another of the group. The train was thundering down the track beside
the platform. “But you fellows might buy me one. And I’d pay yer back,
honest!”

“Say, Bob, let’s take him,” said Hamilton. “Goodness knows, if we ever
needed a mascot, we need one to-day! Here, I’ll chip in a quarter.”

“So’ll I,” said Sleeper. “Marty ought to go along; that’s a fact.”

“Here’s another.” “You pay for me, Dick, and I’ll settle with you when
we get back.” “I’ll give a quarter, too.”

“All aboard!” shouted the conductor.

“All right, Marty; jump on,” cried Bob. “We’ll find the money--though I
don’t know where your dinner’s coming from!”

Marty was up the car-steps before Bob had finished speaking, and was
hauling the long bag from Wolcott with eager hands. Then they trooped
into the smoking-car, since the day-coaches were already full, and
Marty sat down on the stiff leather seat and stood the bag beside him.
The train pulled out of the little station, and Marty’s gloom gave
place to radiant joy.

The journey to Vulcan occupied three-quarters of an hour, during
which time Bob and the other eight groaned over the absence of Magee
and Curtis and Goodman, predicted defeat in one breath and hoped
for victory in the next, and rearranged the batting list in eleven
different ways before they were at last satisfied. Marty meanwhile,
with his scuffed shoes resting on the opposite seat, one brown hand
laid importantly upon the leather bag and his face wreathed in smiles,
kept his blue eyes fixedly upon the summer landscape that slid by the
open window. It was his first railway trip of any length, and it was
very wonderful and exciting. Even the knowledge that defeat was the
probable fate ahead of the expedition failed to more than tinge his
pleasure with regret.

At Vulcan the train ran under a long iron-roofed structure, noisy
with the puffing of engines, the voices of the many that thronged the
platforms, and the clanging of a brazen gong announcing dinner in the
station restaurant. Marty was awed but delighted. He carried one end
of the big bag across the street to the hotel, his eager eyes staring
hither and thither in wide amaze. Vulcan boasted of a big bridge-works
and steel-mills, and put on many of the airs of a larger city. Bob told
Marty that they had arranged for his dinner in the hotel dining-room,
but the latter demurred on the score of expense.

“Yer see, I want ter pay yer back, Bob, and so I guess I don’t want ter
go seventy-five cents fer dinner. Why, that’s more’n what three dinners
costs us at home. I’ll just go out and get a bit of lunch, I guess.
Would yer lend me ten cents?”

Marty enjoyed himself thoroughly during the succeeding half-hour:
He bought a five-cent bag of peanuts and three bananas, and aided
digestion by strolling about the streets while he consumed them, at
last finding his way to the first of the wonderful steel-mills and
wandering about freely among the bewildering cranes, rollers, and other
ponderous machines. He wished it was not the Fourth of July; he would
like to have seen things at work. Finally, red-faced and perspiring, he
hurried back to the hotel and entered a coach with the others, and was
driven through the city to the ball-ground. This had a high board fence
about it, and long tiers of seats half encircling the field. There
were lots of persons there, and others were arriving every minute.
Marty followed the nine into a little dressing-room built under the
grand stand, and presently followed them out again to a bench in the
shade just to the left of the home plate. Here he unstrapped his bag
and arranged the bats on the ground, examining them carefully, greatly
impressed with his own importance.

The Vulcans, who had been practising on the diamond, trotted in, and
Bob and the others took their places. The home team wore gray costumes
with maroon stockings and caps, and the big V that adorned the shirts
was also maroon. Many of them were workers in the steel-mills, and to
Marty they seemed rather older than the Summervilles. Then the umpire,
a very small man in a snuff-colored alpaca coat and cap, made his
appearance, and the men at practise came in. The umpire tossed a coin
between Bob and the Vulcans’ captain, and Bob won with “heads!” and led
his players into the field. A lot of men just back of Marty began to
cheer for the home team as Vulcan’s first man went to bat.

It were sorry work to write in detail of the disastrous first
seven innings of that game. Summerville’s hope of taking the
one-hundred-dollar purse home with them languished and dwindled, and
finally faded quite away when, in the first half of the seventh inning,
Vulcan found Warner’s delivery and batted the ball into every quarter
of the field, and ran their score up to twelve. Summerville went to bat
in the last half plainly discouraged. Oliver struck out. Hamilton hit
to second base and was thrown out. Pickering got first on balls, but
“died” there on a well-fielded fly of Warner’s.

Vulcan’s citizens yelled delightedly from grand stand and bleachers.
Summerville had given a stinging defeat to their nine the year before
at the rival town, and this revenge was glorious. They shouted gibes
that made Marty’s cheeks flush and caused him to double his fists
wrathfully and wish that he were big enough to “lick somebody”; and
they groaned dismally as one after another of the blue-and-white
players went down before Baker’s superb pitching. Summerville’s little
band of supporters worked valiantly against overwhelming odds to make
their voices heard, but their applause was but a drop in that sea of
noise.

The eighth inning began with the score 12 to 5, and Stevens, captain
and third-baseman of the Vulcans, went to bat with a smile of easy
confidence upon his face. He led off with a neat base-hit past
short-stop. The next man, Storrs, their clever catcher, found Warner’s
first ball, and sent it twirling skyward in the direction of left
field. Webster was under it, but threw it in badly, and Stevens got
to third. The next batsman waited coolly and took his base on balls.
Warner was badly rattled, and had there been any one to put in his
place he would have been taken out. But Curtis, the substitute
pitcher, was ill in bed at Summerville, and helpless Bob Ayer ground
his teeth and watched defeat overwhelm him. With a man on third,
another on first, and but one out, things again looked desperate.

Warner, pale of face, wrapped his long fingers about the ball and faced
the next batsman. The coaches kept up a volley of disconcerting advice
to the runners, most of it intended for the pitcher’s ear, however.
On Warner’s first delivery the man on first went leisurely to second,
well aware that the Summerville catcher would not dare to throw lest
the runner on third should score. With one strike against him and three
balls, the man at bat struck at a rather deceptive drop and started for
first. The ball shot straight at Warner, hot off the bat. The pitcher
found it, but fumbled. Regaining it quickly, he threw to the home
plate, and the Vulcan captain speedily retraced his steps to third. But
the batsman was safe at first, and so the three bases were full.

“Home run! Home run, O’Brien!” shrieked the throng as the next man, a
red-haired little youth, gripped his stick firmly. O’Brien was quite
evidently a favorite as well as a good player. Warner and Oliver,
Summerville’s catcher, met and held a whispered consultation to the
accompaniment of loud ridicule from the audience. Then the battery took
their places.

“Play for the plate,” cried Bob at first base.

Warner’s first delivery was a wide throw that almost passed the
catcher. “Ball!” droned the umpire. The men on bases were playing
far off, and intense excitement reigned. On the next delivery Warner
steadied himself and got a strike over the plate. A shout of applause
from the plucky Summerville spectators shattered the silence. Another
strike; again the applause. O’Brien gripped his bat anew and looked
surprised and a little uneasy.

“He can’t do it again, O’Brien!” shrieked an excited admirer in the
grand stand.

But O’Brien didn’t wait to see. He found the next delivery and sent
it whizzing, a red-hot liner, toward second. Pandemonium broke loose.
Sleeper, Summerville’s second-baseman, ran forward and got the ball
head high, glanced quickly aside, saw the runner from first speeding
by, lunged forward, tagged him, and then threw fiercely, desperately
home. The sphere shot like a cannonball into Oliver’s outstretched
hands, there was a cloud of yellow dust as Stevens slid for the home
plate, and then the umpire’s voice droned: “Out, here!”

Summerville, grinning to a man, trotted in, and the little handful of
supporters yelled themselves hoarse and danced ecstatically about. Even
the Vulcan enthusiasts must applaud the play, though a bit grudgingly.
For the first time in many innings, Marty, squatting beside the bats,
drew a big scrawling 0 in the tally which he was keeping on the ground,
with the aid of a splinter.

It was the last half of the eighth inning, and Bob Ayer’s turn at the
bat. Marty found his especial stick, and uttered an incantation beneath
his breath as he held it out.

“We’re going to win, Bob,” he whispered.

Bob took the bat, shaking his head.

“I’m afraid you don’t work as a mascot to-day, Marty,” he answered
smilingly. But Marty noticed that there was a look of resolution in the
captain’s face as he walked toward the box, and took heart.

Summerville’s admirers greeted Bob’s appearance with a burst of
applause, and Vulcan’s captain motioned the field to play farther out.
Vulcan’s pitcher tossed his arms above his head, lifted his right foot
into the air, and shot the ball forward. There was a sharp _crack_,
and the sphere was sailing straight and low toward center field. Bob
touched first and sped on to second. Center field and left field, each
intent upon the ball, discovered each other’s presence only when they
were a scant four yards apart. Both paused--and the ball fell to earth!
Bob, watching, flew toward third. It was a close shave, but he reached
it ahead of the ball in a cloud of dust, and, rising, shook himself
in the manner of a dog after a bath. Summerville’s supporters were
again on their feet, and their shouts were extraordinary in volume,
considering their numbers. Vulcan’s citizens, after a first burst of
anger and dismay, had fallen into chilling silence. Marty hugged
himself, and nervously picked out Howe’s bat.

The latter, Summerville’s short-stop and a mere boy of seventeen, was
only an ordinary batsman, and Marty looked to see him strike out. But
instead, after waiting with admirable nerve while ball after ball
shot by him, he tossed aside his stick and trotted to first base on
balls, amid the howls of the visitors. Summerville’s first run for four
innings was scored a moment later when Bob stole home on a passed ball.

Summerville’s star seemed once more in the ascendant. Howe was now
sitting contentedly on second base. “Herb” Webster gripped his bat
firmly and faced the pitcher. The latter, for the first time during the
game, was rattled. Bob, standing back of third, coached Howe with an
incessant roar:

“On your toes! Get off! Get off! Come on, now! Come on! He won’t throw!
Come on, come on! That’s right! That’s the way! _Now! Wh-o-o-a!_ Easy!
Look out! Try it again, now!”

Baker received the ball back from second, and again faced the batsman.
But he was worried, and proved it by his first delivery. The ball went
far to the right of the catcher, and Howe reached third base without
hurrying. When Baker again had the ball, he scowled angrily, made a
feint of throwing to third, and, turning rapidly, pitched. The ball
was a swift one and wild, and Webster drew back, then ducked. The next
instant he was lying on the ground, and a cry of dismay arose. The
sphere had hit him just under the ear. He lay there unconscious, his
left hand still clutching his bat, his face white under its coat of
tan. Willing hands quickly lifted him into the dressing-room, and a
doctor hurried from the grand stand. Bob, who had helped carry him off
the field, came out after a few minutes and went to the bench.

“He’s all right now,” he announced. “That is, he’s not dangerously
hurt, you know. But he won’t be able to play again to-day. Doctor says
he’d better go to the hotel, and we’ve sent for a carriage. I wish to
goodness I knew where to find a fellow to take his place! Think of our
coming here without a blessed substitute to our name! I wish I had
Magee for a minute; if I wouldn’t show him a thing or two! Warner,
you’d better take poor Webster’s place as runner; I’ll tell the umpire.”

In another moment the game had begun again, Warner having taken the
place of the injured left-fielder at first base, and Sleeper having
gone to bat. Vulcan’s pitcher was pale and his hands shook as he once
more began his work; the injury to Webster had totally unnerved him.
The immediate result was that Sleeper knocked a two-bagger that brought
Howe home, placed Warner on third and himself on second; and the
ultimate result was that five minutes later, when Oliver fouled out to
Vulcan’s third-baseman, Sleeper and Wolcott had also scored, and the
game stood 12 to 9.

Bob Ayer meanwhile had searched unsuccessfully for a player to take the
injured Webster’s place, and had just concluded to apply to Vulcan’s
captain for one of his substitutes, when he turned to find Marty at his
side.

“Are yer lookin’ fer a feller to play left field?”

“Yes,” answered Bob, eagerly. “Do you know of any one?”

Marty nodded.

“Who?”

“Me.”

Bob stared in surprise, but Marty looked back without flinching. “I
can play, Bob; not like you, of course, but pretty well. And, besides,
there ain’t no one else, is there? Give me a show, will yer?”

Bob’s surprise had given place to deep thought. “Why not?” he asked
himself. Of course Marty could play ball; what Summerville boy
couldn’t, to some extent? And, besides, as Marty said, there was no one
else. Bob had seen Marty play a little while the nine was practising,
and, so far as he knew, Marty was a better player than any of the
Summerville boys who had come with the nine and now sat on the grand
stand. The other alternative did not appeal to him: his pride revolted
at begging a player from the rival club. He turned and strode to the
bench, and Marty eagerly watched him conferring with the others. In a
moment he turned and nodded.

A ripple of laughter and ironic applause crept over the stands as
Marty, attired in his blue shirt and unshapen trousers, trotted out
to his position in left field. The boy heard it, but didn’t care. His
nerves were tingling with excitement. It was the proudest moment of his
short life. He was playing with the Summerville Baseball Club! And deep
down in his heart Marty Brown pledged his last breath to the struggle
for victory.

Vulcan started in on their last inning with a determination to add
more runs to their score. The first man at bat reached first base on
a safe hit to mid-field. The second, Vulcan’s center-fielder and a
poor batsman, struck out ingloriously. When the next man strode to the
plate, Bob motioned the fielders to spread out. Marty had scarcely run
back a half dozen yards when the sharp sound of ball on bat broke upon
the air, and high up against the blue sky soared the little globe,
sailing toward left field. Marty’s heart was in his mouth, and for the
moment he wished himself back by the bench, with no greater duty than
the care of the bats. It was one thing to play ball in a vacant lot
with boys of his own age, and another to display his powers in a big
game, with half a thousand excited persons watching him. At first base
the runner was poised ready to leap away as soon as the ball fell into
the fielder’s hands--or to the ground! The latter possibility brought
a haze before Marty’s eyes, and for an instant he saw at least a dozen
balls coming toward him; he wondered, in a chill of terror, which was
the real one! Then the mist faded, he stepped back and to the right
three paces, telling himself doggedly that he _had_ to catch it, put up
his hands----

A shout of applause arose from the stands, and the ball was darting
back over the field to second base. Marty, with a swelling heart,
put his hands in his trousers pockets and whistled to prove his
indifference to applause.

The batsman was out, but the first runner stood safely on third base.
And then, with two men gone, Vulcan set bravely to work and filled
the remaining bases. A safe hit meant two more runs added to Vulcan’s
score. The fielders, in obedience to Bob’s command, crept in. The grand
stand and the bleachers were noisy with the cheers of the spectators.
Warner glanced around from base to base, slowly settled himself into
position, and clutched the ball. The noise was deafening, but his
nerves were again steady, and he only smiled carelessly at the efforts
of the coaches to rattle him. His arms shot up, and a straight delivery
sent the sphere waist high over the plate.

“Strike!” crooned the umpire. Applause from the Summerville deputation
was drowned in renewed shouts and gibes from the rest of the audience.
Warner received the ball, and again, very deliberately, settled his
toe into the depression in the trampled earth. Up shot his arms again,
again he lunged forward, and again the umpire called:

“Strike two!”

The batter stooped and rubbed his hands in the dust, and then gripped
the stick resolutely. The ball went back to Warner, and he stepped once
more into the box. For a moment he studied the batsman deliberately, a
proceeding which seemed to worry that youth, since he lifted first one
foot and then the other off the ground and waved his bat impatiently.

“Play ball!” shrieked the grand stand.

Warner smiled, rubbed his right hand reflectively upon his thigh,
glanced casually about the bases, lifted one spiked shoe from the
ground, tossed his arms up, and shot the ball away swiftly. Straight
for the batsman’s head it went, then settled down, down, and to the
left as though attracted by Oliver’s big gloves held a foot above the
earth just back of the square of white marble. The man at bat, his
eyes glued to the speeding sphere, put his stick far around, and then,
with a sudden gasp, whirled it fiercely. There was a thud as the ball
settled cozily into Oliver’s leather gloves, a roar from the onlookers,
and above it all the umpire’s fatal:

“Striker--out!”

Marty, watching breathless and wide-eyed from the field, threw a
handspring and uttered a whoop of joy. The nines changed places, and
the last half of the last inning began with the score still 12 to 9 in
favor of Vulcan.

“Play carefully, fellows,” shouted Vulcan’s captain as Hamilton went to
bat. “We’ve got to shut them out.”

“If youse can,” muttered Marty, seated on the bench between Bob and
Wolcott.

It looked as though they could. Bob groaned as Hamilton popped a short
fly into second-baseman’s hands, and the rest of the fellows echoed the
mournful sound.

“Lift it, Will, lift it!” implored Bob as Pickering strode to the
plate. And lift it he did. Unfortunately, however, when it descended
it went plump into the hands of right field. In the stand half the
throng was on its feet. Bob looked hopelessly at Warner as the pitcher
selected a bat.

“Cheer up, Bob,” said the latter, grinning. “I’m going to crack that
ball or know the reason why!”

The Vulcan pitcher was slow and careful. They had taken the wearied
Baker out and put in a new twirler. Warner let his first effort pass
unnoticed, and looked surprised when the umpire called it a strike. But
he received the next one with a hearty welcome, and sent it speeding
away for a safe hit, taking first base amid the wild cheers of the
little group of blue-and-white-decked watchers. Hamilton hurried across
to coach the runner, and Bob stepped to the plate. His contribution
was a swift liner that was too hot for the pitcher, one that placed
Warner on second and himself on first. Then, with Hamilton and Sleeper
both coaching at the top of their lungs, the Vulcan catcher fumbled
a ball at which Howe had struck, and the two runners moved up. The
restive audience had overflowed on to the field now, and excitement
reigned supreme. Another strike was called on Howe, and for a moment
Summerville’s chances appeared to be hopeless. But a minute later the
batter was limping to first, having been struck with the ball, and the
pitcher was angrily grinding his heel into the ground.

“Webster at bat!” called the scorer.

“That’s you, Marty,” said Wolcott. “If you never do another thing, my
boy, _swat that ball_!”

Marty picked out a bat and strode courageously to the plate. A roar of
laughter greeted his appearance.

“Get on to Blue Jeans!” “Give us a home run, kid!” “Say, now, sonny,
don’t fall over your pants!”

It needed just that ridicule to dispel Marty’s nervousness. He was
angry. How could he help his “pants” being long? he asked himself,
indignantly. He’d show those dudes that “pants” hadn’t anything to
do with hitting a baseball! He shut his teeth hard, gripped the bat
tightly, and faced the pitcher. The latter smiled at his adversary,
but was not willing to take any chances, with the bases full. And so,
heedless of the requests to “Toss him an easy one, Joe!” he delivered a
swift, straight drop over the plate.

“Strike!” droned the little umpire, skipping aside.

Marty frowned, but gave no other sign of the chill of disappointment
that traveled down his spine. On the bench Wolcott turned to his next
neighbor and said, as he shook his head sorrowfully:

“Hard luck! If it had only been some one else’s turn now, we might have
scored. I guess little Marty’s not up to curves.”

Marty watched the next delivery carefully--and let it pass.

“Ball!” called the umpire.

Again he held himself in, although it was all he could do to keep from
swinging at the dirty-white globe as it sped by him.

“Two balls!”

“That’s right, Marty; wait for a good one,” called Wolcott, hoping
against hope that Marty might get to first on balls. Marty made no
answer, but stood there, pale of face but cool, while the ball sped
around the bases and at last went back to the pitcher. Again the sphere
sped forward. Now was his time! With all his strength he swung his
bat--and twirled around on his heel! A roar of laughter swept across
the diamond.

“Strike two!” cried the umpire.

But Marty, surprised at his failure, yet undaunted, heard nothing save
the umpire’s unmoved voice. Forward flew the ball again, this time
unmistakably wide of the plate, and the little man in the snuff-colored
alpaca coat motioned to the right.

“Three balls!”

Bob, restlessly lifting his feet to be off and away on his dash to
third, waited with despairing heart. Victory or defeat depended
upon the next pitch. A three-bagger would tie the score, a safe hit
would bring Sleeper to the bat! But as he looked at the pale-faced,
odd-looking figure beside the plate he realized how hopeless it all
was. The pitcher, thinking much the same thoughts, prepared for his
last effort. Plainly the queer little ragamuffin was no batsman, and
a straight ball over the plate would bring the agony to an end. Up
went his hand, and straight and sure sped the globe.

Now, there was one kind of ball that Marty knew all about, and that was
a nice, clean, straight one, guiltless of curve or drop or rise, the
kind that “Whitey” Peters pitched in the vacant lot back of Keller’s
Livery Stable. And Marty knew that kind when he saw it coming. Fair
and square he caught it, just where he wanted it on the bat. All his
strength, heart, and soul were behind that swing. There was a sharp
_crack_, a sudden mighty roar from the watchers, and Marty was speeding
toward first base.

[Illustration: There was one kind of ball that Marty knew all about.]

High and far sped the ball. Center and left fielder turned as one man
and raced up the field. Obeying instructions, they had been playing
well in, and now they were to rue it. The roar of the crowd grew in
volume. Warner, Bob, and Howe were already racing home, and Marty,
running as hard as his legs would carry him, was touching second. Far
up the field the ball was coming to earth slowly, gently, yet far too
quickly for the fielders.

“A home run!” shrieked Wolcott. “_Come on--oh, come on, Marty, my
boy!_”

Warner was home, now Bob, and then Howe was crossing the plate, and
Marty was leaving second behind him. Would the fielder catch it? He
dared look no longer, but sped onward. Then a new note crept into the
shouts of the Vulcans, a note of disappointment, of despair. Up the
field the center-fielder had tipped the ball with one outstretched
hand, but had failed to catch it! At last, however, it was speeding
home toward second base.

“Come on! Come on, Marty!” shrieked Bob.

The boy’s twinkling feet spurned the third bag and he swung homeward.
The ball was settling into the second-baseman’s hands. The latter
turned quickly and threw it straight, swift, unswerving toward the
plate.

“_Slide!_” yelled Bob and Warner, in a breath.

Marty threw himself desperately forward; there was a cloud of brown
dust at the plate, a _thug_ as the ball met the catcher’s gloves. The
little man in the alpaca coat turned away with a grin, and picked up
his mask again.

“_Safe, here!_”

The score was 13 to 12 in Summerville’s favor; Marty’s home run had
saved the day!

In another minute or two it was all over. Sleeper had popped a high
fly into the hands of the discomfited center-fielder, and the crowds
swarmed inward over the diamond.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a tired, hungry, but joyous little group that journeyed back to
Summerville through the soft, mellow summer twilight. Marty and the
leather bat-case occupied a whole seat to themselves. Marty’s freckled
face was beaming with happiness and pride, his heart sang a pæan of
triumph in time to the _clickety-click_ of the car-wheels, and in one
hand, tightly clenched, nestled a ten-dollar gold piece.

It was his share of the hundred-dollar purse the nine had won, Bob had
explained, and it had been voted to him unanimously. And next spring he
was to join the team as substitute! And Marty, doubting the trustiness
of his pockets, held the shining prize firmly in his fist and grinned
happily over the praise and thanks of his companions.

“It wasn’t nothin’, that home run; any feller could have done that!”
And, besides, he explained, he had known all along that they were
going to win. “Why,--don’t you see?--the other fellers didn’t have no
mascot!”



PARMELEE’S “SPREAD”


The room was old-fashioned, a dark-walled parallelogram, the farthest
end of which was seldom reached by the light which crept through the
two small-paned windows. Overhead four huge rafters passed from side to
side.

The ledges beneath the windows formed wide seats, which were
upholstered in somber corduroy. The mantel above the large fireplace
was narrow, high, a mere shelf, designed a century ago to hold the twin
candlesticks and the snuffers on their silver tray.

The occupant had wisely confined the furnishings to old-style mahogany
in quaint Chippendale forms. The green-shaded student-lamp on the desk
under the heavy bronze chandelier gave almost the only modern touch.
Yet with all its gloom, the apartment was singularly homelike and
restful.

Perhaps this thought occurred to Parmelee, ’00, as he closed the door
behind him, for his gaze swept slowly over the room, and he sighed
once as he removed his cap and gown and laid them carefully aside. He
crossed to one of the windows, and sank back dispiritedly against the
cushions.

Parmelee’s face, seen in the warm light of a late June afternoon, lost
something of its usual paleness, but the serious lines about the mouth
and the pathos of the deep-set brown eyes were accentuated.

The face, on the whole, was strikingly handsome. The forehead under
the dark hair was broad and high; the nose straight and fairly large;
the mouth, despite its grave lines, seemed made for smiles; the chin
was full and firm. Yet the expression now was one of weariness and
melancholy.

Through the open windows came faintly the strains of a waltz from the
band in the college yard. Over the top of a vividly green chestnut-tree
the western sky was beginning to glow with the colors of sunset. Now
and then a student in cap and gown, or the more brilliant attire
appropriate to class-day, hurried past the house; but for the most the
little street was deserted and still.

Parmelee had done his duty. He had conscientiously taken part in
all the exercises of the day, excepting only those about the tree.
When the procession that had marched about the yard and cheered the
buildings had dissolved, he had hurried away to his room, lonesome and
downhearted.

Every one seemed so disgustingly happy! Fellows with nice mothers and
pretty sisters, cousins or sweethearts appeared to flaunt them before
Parmelee’s eyes; fellows hurrying off to somebody’s spread thrust him
unceremoniously out of the way with muttered apologies. He was so out
of it all! He had no womenfolk to take care of, no friends to greet, no
spreads to attend. He was simply a nonentity; merely “Parmelee, that
hunchbacked fellow.”

That was Parmelee’s trouble. All his life he had been a “hunchback.”
As a boy he had often taken flight before the merciless gibes of his
companions, too sick at heart to follow his first impulse to stand and
fight.

When he had entered the preparatory school he had enclosed himself
in a shell of sensitiveness, and had missed many a friendship that
might have been his. At college it had been the same. He believed
his deformity to be repellent to others, and credited them with
sentiments of distaste or pity, when, as was generally the case, the
attractiveness of his countenance made them blind to his defect of
form. Naturally fond of athletics, he believed himself barred from
them. He made few acquaintances and no friends; no friends, that is,
except one.

Philip Schuyler and he had met in their freshman year. Schuyler,
refusing to be repelled, had won his way through Parmelee’s defenses,
and the two had been inseparable until shortly before the last
Christmas recess. Then they had quarreled.

The cause had been such a tiny thing that it is doubtful if either
still remembered it. Pride had prevented the reconciliation which
should have followed, and the two friends had drifted widely apart.

Parmelee sometimes told himself bitterly that Schuyler had made the
quarrel an excuse for ending a companionship of which he was wearied.
Schuyler had quickly found new friends; Parmelee simply retired more
deeply than before into his shell. It meant more to him, that quarrel,
than to Schuyler. He had lost the only real friend of his life. The
wound was a deep one, and it refused to heal. On this day it ached more
than it had for months.

Parmelee glanced at his watch, suddenly realizing that he was hungry.
He had missed his lunch. It was yet far from the dinner-hour, he found.

Then he remembered that his boarding-house would be practically given
over that evening to a spread. He shrank from the idea of facing the
throng that would be present. The restaurants would be crowded. A
solitary dinner in town was not attractive. The only alternative was to
go dinnerless, or--yes, he could have something here in his room. He
smiled a trifle bitterly.

“It will be Parmelee’s spread,” he said.

He went out and turned his steps toward the avenue. In the store he
surprised the clerk by the magnitude of his order. The whimsical idea
of having a spread of his own grew upon him. The expense meant nothing
to him.

When he was ready to return, the bundle of his purchases was so large
that for the moment he was dismayed. Then he took it in his arms and
retraced his steps.

Back in his room, the first difficulty that confronted him was the lack
of a tablecloth, but this was presently solved by spreading two immense
white bath-towels over the study table. Then he began the distribution
of the viands.

The matter of table decoration was something of a problem, and in
the solving of it he forgot his depression, and even whistled a tune
while trying to decide whether to bank all the oranges together or to
distribute them in a sort of border about the edge of the table.

A few plates would have been an aid, but it was possible to do without
them. The olives occasioned much bother by refusing to emerge on the
point of the knife-blade from the narrow neck of their tall bottle.
This difficulty was at last obviated by pouring off the brine and
emptying the olives upon a sheet of letter-paper. The canned meats
and the glasses of jellies and the tins of crackers he arranged with
geometrical precision, forming stars, circles and diamonds in outline.
The oranges formed a pyramid in the center of the board, topped with a
bunch of vivid radishes.

Parmelee stood off and viewed the result, at first critically, then
with approval. Displacing the big armchair, he shoved the banquet-table
up to one of the windows, and set a fiddle-backed mahogany chair before
it. The effect was incongruous, and he chuckled aloud.

“You’re the loneliest-looking chair I ever saw!” he exclaimed. “Here,
this is better.”

He seized another chair and placed it at the opposite side of the table.

“There, that balances. Besides, one should always make provision for
the unexpected guest. Perchance, the president or the dean may drop in.”

He gave a final look at the repast and disappeared into the bedroom at
the back. Presently the sound of splashing water told its own story.

At that moment the house door slammed, footsteps sounded in the hall,
and there was a knock at Parmelee’s door. But Parmelee, rioting at the
basin in the back room, heard nothing. After an interval the knocking
was repeated. Then the knob turned and the door opened.

The visitor was a very erect, white-whiskered man of about fifty,
possessing a degree of stoutness that set off to the best advantage his
well-cut black coat, white waistcoat and gray trousers. His dark eyes
gleamed with kindliness and humor.

He held his shining hat and his gloves in his hand, and looked
questioningly about the room. Then the sound of Parmelee’s ablutions
caught his ear, and he took a step forward.

“Is there any one at home?” he called.

Parmelee, in his shirt-sleeves, the water dripping from the end of his
nose, came to the inner doorway, the towel clutched desperately in one
hand, and stared with amazement.

“I beg your pardon, sir, for this intrusion,” the visitor said.
“I knocked, and receiving no answer, took the liberty of entering
unbidden. We old graduates lay claim to many privileges on class-day,
you know; nothing is sacred to us.”

He paused. Parmelee grasped the towel more firmly, as if it were a
weapon of defense to be used against the invader, and nodded silently.
His gaze fell on the banquet, and amazement gave way to dismay.

“I escaped from my wife and daughter after much scheming,” continued
the visitor, “in order to slip down here and have a look at this room.
I haven’t seen it for--well, not since I graduated, and that was
twenty-nine years ago this month.”

“Ah!” Parmelee had found his tongue. “You lived here while in college?”

“Four years. After I entered the law school I roomed in town. But don’t
let me disturb you. I’ll just glance round a moment, if I may.”

Parmelee’s courtesy came to the surface again. The visitor’s designs
were plainly above suspicion. It was very awkward, but----

“Certainly, sir; just make yourself at home. If you’ll pardon me for a
moment, I’ll get my coat on.”

The visitor bowed deprecatingly, and Parmelee disappeared again. He
reentered the study a moment later, to find that the visitor had laid
aside his hat and gloves, and, with hands clasped behind him, was
looking from a window across the vista of trees and roofs at the sunset
sky. He turned as Parmelee approached, sighed, smiled apologetically,
and waved a hand toward the view.

“I have just accomplished a wonderful feat,” he said. “I have wiped out
a quarter of a century.”

Parmelee smiled politely. “I presume you find things much changed?” he
asked.

“Yes, yes; but not here. That view is almost the same as it was when I
sat in that window there, studying, reading, dreaming, just as we all
will when we’re young; just as I dare say you have done many times.”

“But I fancy, sir, your dreams came true.”

“My boy, none of our dreams ever come true just as we dream them. They
couldn’t; they are much too grand. I have nothing to complain of and
much to be happy for, but”--he shook his head, smiling wistfully--“I’m
not the hero of those dreams.”

“I suppose it’s idle work, picturing the future, dreaming of the great
things we’re going to do,” answered Parmelee, soberly; “but--it’s hard
not to.”

“No, no, don’t think that!” The visitor laid a hand for a moment on
Parmelee’s shoulder, then darted a quick look of surprise at the
place his fingers had touched. Parmelee saw it, and a wave of color
dyed his face. But the other continued after a pause that was almost
imperceptible. “Don’t think that, my boy. Life wouldn’t be half what it
is without dreams. And who knows? Perhaps yours are destined to come
true. I hope they will.”

“They never have,” said Parmelee, bitterly.

The older man smiled. “But there’s time yet.” He turned and walked
slowly about the apartment, nodding his head now and then, viewing the
dark rafters as he might have viewed old friends, and putting his head
in the bedroom door, but declining Parmelee’s invitation to enter.

Reminiscences came to his mind, and he told them lightly, entertainingly.
He stood for several moments in front of the empty fireplace, and sighed
again as he turned away.

He moved toward where he had laid his hat and gloves. “I left word with
my wife to tell my son to come here for me, but I don’t see him.” He
picked up his hat and looked out into the street. “He took part in the
tree exercises; he would have to change his clothes afterward, and that
would take some time. I dare say if I walk up the street I shall meet
him.”

Parmelee struggled in silence with his reserve; then he said:

“I--I wish you’d wait here for him, sir. You see, it’s just possible
that you might miss him if you went.”

“But you’re certain I sha’n’t be in the way? Your guests will not
arrive for a while?”

“I’m not expecting any one, sir.”

“Indeed!” The visitor glanced at the banquet and looked puzzled.
“Pardon me; I thought you were giving a small spread. I shall be very
glad to remain if I’m not in your way.”

He laid aside his hat and took a seat. Parmelee retired to the window
and frowned at the banquet. Of course he had not been asked to explain
it, but no other course seemed possible; the situation was ridiculous.
He would make a clean breast of it. Somehow it did not seem difficult
to tell things to the kind-faced stranger.

“I dare say you think I’m crazy,” he said, “with all that stuff spread
out there and--and nobody coming, but--” And then he explained things,
although not very lucidly, for he was disturbed by a realization of the
absurdity of the affair. But the visitor seemed to understand, and when
Parmelee had ended, he exclaimed, with concern:

“Why, then I’ve been keeping you from your supper! And no lunch, you
say? I’d no idea, I assure you--” He seized his hat again. Parmelee
sprang to his feet.

“No, no, I’m not in the least hungry! That is, I’m in no hurry.”

The older man hesitated.

“But if you’ve had no lunch, you must be starved! Indeed, I’m sure you
must be! I can appreciate your condition in a measure, for my own lunch
was a sorry affair, although I did get a few bites. Don’t let me keep
you a moment longer.”

“But--but--” exclaimed Parmelee. The visitor paused with his hand on
the door-knob. “Perhaps--you must be hungry yourself, and--if you
wouldn’t mind the lack of knives and forks--and plates--I’d be awfully
glad----”

“Well, really now, I’ve half a mind to accept,” laughed the other.
“The truth is, I’m as hungry as a bear. These boarding-houses on
class-day--” He shook his head expressively. “You are sure I’m not
taking some one else’s place?”

“No, indeed,” answered Parmelee. “The fact is, I set that chair there
for you half an hour ago.”

“For me?” inquired the visitor.

“Well, for the unexpected guest. You see, sir, the one chair looked so
lonely. Have you room enough? Shall I move the desk out a bit? It’s
awkward having no plates--or forks--or anything. If you will take this
penknife, sir? And--wait a moment! The very thing!”

Parmelee excitedly seized two old blue plates from over the mantel,
dusted them on a corner of the nearest bath-towel, and presented one
to the guest.

“Queer I didn’t think of these, isn’t it? I think you’ll find that
sliced chicken very fair. Do you eat olives? I’ve never tried cold
Saratoga chips myself, but they look rather good.”

He proffered one article after another in a very fever of hospitality.
In his eagerness he distributed the olives impartially over the whole
board and brought the _pièce de résistance_, the pyramid of oranges,
tumbling into ruins.

The guest laid down his pocket-knife and looked gravely across at his
host.

“Is--is anything the matter?” faltered Parmelee.

“I must refuse to go on until I see you eating something.”

“Oh!” Parmelee blushed and seized a tin of potted turkey at random.
After that the banquet progressed finely. The unexpected guest did full
justice to the repast, and the unaccustomed host remembered his own
hunger and satisfied it. More than that, he forgot his shyness and was
radiantly happy. And after a while, when the last of the strawberries
had disappeared, he suddenly found himself telling, in the most natural
way in the world, things that he had never told any one before, except,
perhaps, Philip Schuyler. He stopped short in the middle of a sentence
in sudden embarrassment.

“And so your deformity, such a little thing as it is, has worked all
this--this misery?” mused the guest. “Dear, dear, such a pity, my boy,
so unnecessary!”

“Unnecessary?” faltered Parmelee.

“Surely. You’ve been so mistaken when you have credited all kinds of
unpleasant sentiments to people. They can’t care any the less for you
because your back is not as straight as theirs. The fault has been
yours, my boy; you haven’t given people a chance to get near to you.
You’ve held them off at arm’s length all your life. Take my advice.
After this go out among them; forget your suspicions, and see for
yourself if I’m not right. When God put a hump between your shoulders
he made up for it in some other way, you may depend upon that. And
although I’ve known you but an hour, I think I know wherein the Lord
has made it up to you. But I’m not going to tell you; it might make you
vain.”

Parmelee raised his own eyes to the smiling ones across the table.

“I don’t think you need have any apprehensions on that score, sir,” he
said, a trifle unsteadily.

“Well, perhaps not. I dare say you need a little more vanity. But think
over what I’ve said, and if you can, act on it.”

“I will,” answered the other, earnestly. “And I’m--I’m very grateful. I
don’t think I ever--looked at it quite that way, you see.”

“I’m certain you never have. And another thing; I wouldn’t be too
quick to bring in a verdict in the case of that friend you’ve told me
of. I think when you learn the truth you’ll find you’ve done him an
injustice. And forgive me if I hurt you, my boy, but I think you’ve
been more to blame than he has. It seems to me that you were the one
to take the first step toward reconciliation. Well, I really must be
going to hunt up my family. They’ll think I’m lost. I don’t know what’s
happened to Philip, I’m sure.”

“Philip?” asked Parmelee, quickly.

“My son,” answered the visitor, proudly. “He graduates this spring.
Philip Schuyler. Perhaps you’ve met him?”

“I----”

There was a knock at the door. Parmelee drew himself up very straight,
perhaps to give the lie to the pallor of his face.

“Come in!” he called, and the door swung open.

The youth who confronted them looked with white, set face from one to
the other. There was an instant of awkward silence. Then, “Father!” he
exclaimed, in a low voice.

“Why, Philip, what’s the matter?” Parmelee’s guest moved quickly to the
door. “Did you think I was lost?”

The son laughed uneasily.

“I didn’t know you were coming here; I only learned it from mother a
few minutes ago.” It sounded like an apology, and the older man looked
apprehensively from his son to his host.

“But was there--any reason why I shouldn’t have come here, Phil?”

Philip Schuyler glanced from his father to Parmelee’s set face, then
dropped his eyes.

“Of course not, sir,” he replied. “It was only that I didn’t know but
I’d miss you. Such a crowd in town!” he muttered.

“That’s all right, then,” said his father. “And now I want to make you
acquainted with a friend of mine. I’ve only had the honor of calling
him such for an hour or so; but two persons can become pretty well
acquainted in that time, especially over the table,” he added, smiling.
“Phil, this is--but, dear me, I don’t know your name!”

“John Parmelee,” answered his host.

“Ah, Phil, this is Mr. Parmelee, who has been exceedingly kind and has
ministered to my wants, outward and inward. I want you to know him.
Somehow I have an idea you two youngsters will get on together. Mr.
Parmelee, this is my son, Philip.”

Philip bowed without moving from his place at the door. Parmelee gave a
gulp and strode forward, his hand outstretched.

“We--we’re not new acquaintances, Mr. Schuyler,” he said.

“Ah!” The older man watched while the two shook hands constrainedly.
“Ah!” he repeated. It was a very expressive word as he uttered it, and
Parmelee, glancing at his face, saw that he understood the situation.
The two unclasped their hands, and for a moment viewed each other
doubtfully.

“If you know each other, that makes simpler the request I was about to
make,” said Parmelee’s guest. “I want Mr. Parmelee to come and make
us a visit for a week or so, Phil. I think the North Shore sunshine
will take some of that white out of his face. Just see if you can’t
persuade him, won’t you?” He turned away toward the window. The two at
the doorway looked at each other for an instant in silence. Then Philip
Schuyler put out his hand, and Parmelee grasped it.

“You’ll come?” asked Philip, softly. Parmelee nodded.

“If you want me.”

“Of course I do! And, I say, Jack, it’s--it’s all right now, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Phil; it was never anything else,” answered Parmelee, a trifle
huskily. The two gripped hands silently, smilingly, and turned to Mr.
Schuyler.

“Are you ready, dad?”

“Eh? Oh, yes. And, Mr. Parmelee, perhaps you wouldn’t mind joining us?
I’d like you to meet Phil’s mother and sister. It--it might be a good
chance to test the value of my advice, eh?” Parmelee hesitated for a
moment, then took up his gown.

“Thank you, sir, I think it might,” he said.



“NO HOLDING”


The captain, the head coach and the trainer of the Hillton Academy
football team sat about the table in the head coach’s room. It was the
evening of November 27th, and on the morrow, Thanksgiving day, the
wearers of the crimson were to meet on the gridiron their old-time
rivals of St. Eustace Academy, in the final and most important contest
of the year.

The drop-light illumined three thoughtful faces. Bob Syddington,
captain, a broad-shouldered and fine-looking lad of eighteen, traced
figures on the green-leather table-covering and scowled intently.
Gardiner, the head coach, a man of thirty, wrote on a sheet of
paper with a scratching pen. The trainer and the school’s physical
director, Mr. Beck, leaned back in his chair, his eyes from behind
the gold-rimmed glasses fixed speculatively upon Syddington. Gardiner
looked up.

“Cantrell at left half, of course?”

Syddington nodded.

“He won’t last the game,” said the trainer, “but he’s good for the
first half.”

The coach’s pen scratched again. Syddington scowled more darkly and his
hand trembled a little over the leather.

“How about right half?” Gardiner glanced fleetingly at the captain and
then, questioningly, at the trainer. The latter spoke after a moment:

“Well, Lane’s first choice, isn’t he?”

“To my mind, yes,” answered Gardiner, “but Syddington thinks Servis
should start the game; that while he’s not so brilliant as Lane, he’s
more steady. I don’t share Syddington’s distrust of Lane, but if he
thinks he’s going to feel that he has better support behind him, I’m
willing to hold Lane out until he’s needed.”

“Then there’s Lane’s knee,” said Syddington, without looking up.

“The knee’s all right,” said Beck, decisively. “Physically Lane’s in as
good shape as he was before the injury.”

“Ye-es, but Servis has never been hurt,” answered Syddington. “Seems to
me that makes him less liable to injury now.”

His face was pale and there were little stubborn creases about the
mouth. The trainer opened his lips as if to reply, but closed them
again. Gardiner examined his pen and waited. Restraint was in the air.

“I think we’d better start with Servis,” said Syddington, after a
moment. He heaved a sigh of relief and shot a glance at Beck.

The latter’s face wore an expression of disappointment, which
disappeared under the lad’s scrutiny, but which, nevertheless, caused
Syddington to transfer his gaze to the table and sent a flush to his
cheeks.

Gardiner wrote for a moment. “That leaves only full-back, and Hale’s
our man there. And that finishes the line-up. I’ll read it over.”

Then he and Beck discussed once more the plan of the battle.

Bob Syddington heard nothing. He was fighting a battle of his own,
and his thoughts were far from pleasant. To do a dishonorable act
knowingly, deliberately, is in itself disagreeable enough to a boy who
has all his life hated mean actions. But to know that two persons in
whose eyes one particularly wants to appear clean and honorable are
aware of the act adds greater bitterness.

Syddington entertained no illusions. He knew that when he had caused
Servis’s name to be placed in the line-up instead of Lane’s he had done
a dishonorable thing. And he knew that both the head coach and the
trainer were equally aware of the fact, and that he had fallen far in
their estimation; that henceforth they must hold him, at the best, in
pitying contempt. A monstrous price, he told himself bitterly, to pay
for next year’s captaincy!

And he was not only injuring himself, but by deposing Lane he was
placing in jeopardy the team’s success in the “big game.” There was
never a doubt but that Lane was the man for the position of right
half-back. Without exception he was the most brilliant player at
Hillton. He had won the game with Shrewsburg by a sixty-yard run for a
touch-down. More than once in minor games he had brought the spectators
to their feet by his daring running or hurdling. It was almost a
certainty that if he went into the St. Eustace game he would do just
what the school expected, and by brilliant playing become the hero of
the year. And there lay the rub.

Only the day before, Carter, the right tackle, had warned him: “If
there was an election now, Bob, we’d make you captain again by a
majority of one or two. But if Lane goes in and does his usual
spectacular stunt, he’ll be the next captain as sure as fate. Take
my advice and keep him out somehow. You’ve got Servis and Jackson,
and--well, don’t be an ass!” And Syddington had shaken his head and
answered righteously, “I can’t do that, Tom.”

And now he had done it!

He clenched his hands under the table and hated himself with an
intensity that hurt. Gardiner and the trainer talked on. The clock on
the mantel ticked monotonously.

It was not as if Lane would make a poor captain. On the contrary,
Syddington knew that he would prove a good one. That the captain did
not altogether like him, Lane knew. He had said a few days before--it
had never been meant for Syddington’s ears, but nevertheless had
reached them--“I’ll never get into the St. Eustace game until
every other back is in the hospital. Syddington’s no fool!” And now
Syddington hated Lane more than ever because he had rightly judged him
capable of dishonesty.

And Lane would know, and Gardiner and Beck and Carter; and the fellows
would suspect. But--and that was the worst of all--he himself could
never forget. The clock struck the half-hour, and Gardiner looked up.

“Half after nine! This won’t do. We must get to bed. Don’t bother about
to-morrow, Syddington. Get your mind off the game and go to sleep.
It’ll be all right.”

Syddington rose and took up his overcoat. After he had struggled slowly
into it he faced the others as if about to speak, but instead walked to
the door in silence.

“Good night!” said Gardiner.

“Good night, Syddington!” echoed Beck.

The boy thought he could already detect a different tone in their
voices, a foretaste of that contempt with which in future they were to
consider him.

“Good night; good night, sir!” he answered, miserably. Then, with the
door opening under his hand, he turned, his face pale but resolute,
with something that was almost a smile playing at the corners of his
mouth.

“Mr. Gardiner, I wish you’d change that line-up, please.”

“Of course, if there’s anything----”

“I’d like Lane to go in at right half instead of Servis. Thank you,
sir. Good night!”

When the door had closed coach and trainer faced each other smilingly.

“I didn’t think he could do it,” said Beck.

“Nor did I,” answered Gardiner. “And he didn’t.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The autumn sunlight had disappeared slowly from the field of battle,
and the first shadows of evening grew and deepened along the fences.
The second half of the game was well-nigh over, and the score-board
told the story thus:

    Hillton 6       Opponents 8
          Hillton’s Ball
    3 Down        4 Yds to Gain
         7 Minutes to Play

Over on the Hillton sections of the stand the cheering was hoarse and
incessant, and crimson banners waved ceaselessly. It has ever been
Hillton’s way to shout loudest under the shadow of defeat.

Hillton’s one score had been secured in the first three minutes of
play. Quick, steady tackle-back plunges had carried the ball from the
center of the gridiron to St. Eustace’s six-yard line before the latter
team had awakened to its danger. From there Cantrell had skirted the
Blue’s right end and Hale, the Hillton full-back, had kicked an easy
goal.

But St. Eustace had pulled herself together, and from that time on had
things her own way, forcing her rival to abandon offense and use every
effort to protect her constantly threatened goal. Yet it was not until
the half was almost over that St. Eustace finally managed to score,
pushing her full-back through for a touch-down and afterward kicking
goal.

The second half had started with honors even, but on his five-yard
line Hale had failed miserably at a kick, and had been borne back
for a safety. And now, with but seven minutes left, with the ball on
Hillton’s fifty-yard line and four yards to gain on the third down,
the Crimson was fighting valiantly against defeat.

Syddington, pale and panting, measured the distance to the St. Eustace
goal with his eyes and groaned. If only Lane or Sanford, who had taken
Cantrell’s place, could be got away round an end! If only they could
get within kicking distance of that cross-bar! If----

“34--29--96--12!”

Lane was hurdling the line at right guard. Syddington dashed into the
_mêlée_, shoving, shouting hoarsely. The blue line gave and Lane fell
through, squirming, kicking. The Hillton stand went wild with joy. The
score-board proclaimed first down.

“Get up! Get up!” called Syddington, a sudden note of hope in his
strained voice. “That’s the stuff! We can do it again! Hard, fellows,
hard!”

Aching, dizzy, but happy, nevertheless, red-faced and perspiring, Carl
Lane dropped the ball and trotted back to his position.

“Signal!” cried Colton. “27--34--”

Lane crept, crouching, back of Sanford.

“--87--5!”

He dashed forward in the wake of the other half, the ball thumped
against his stomach, was clasped firmly, and the next instant he was
high in air. Arms thrust him back, others shoved him forward. For an
instant the result was doubtful; then the St. Eustace players gave, the
straining group went back, slowly at first, then faster. Lane, kicking
friend and foe impartially in his efforts to thrust himself forward,
felt himself falling head foremost. Some one’s elbow crashed against
his temple, and for a moment all was dark.

When he came to, his face was dripping from the sponge and his head
ached as if it would burst; but the score-board once more proclaimed
first down, and the crimson-decked section of the grand stand had gone
suddenly crazy. His name floated across to him at the end of a mighty
volume of cheers.

He picked himself up, shook himself like a dog emerging from water,
grinned cheerfully at Carter, and sped back of the line. Syddington,
his blue eyes sparkling with newborn hope, thumped him on the shoulder
as he passed.

They were past the middle of the field now, and once more Lane
struck the blue-stockinged right guard for a gain. St. Eustace was
yielding. Hillton was again on the offensive. From the fifty yards to
the thirty-two went the conquering Crimson, Lane, Sanford and Hale
hurdling, plunging, squirming between tackle and tackle. St. Eustace’s
center trio were weak, battered, almost helpless.

Syddington gazed longingly at the farthest white line, now well in
view. If only Lane could skirt the end! There was no longer any thought
of rivalry in his heart. If Lane could make a touch-down and save them
from defeat, he might have the captaincy and welcome.

The St. Eustace quarter called for time. The battered center and
right guard were taken out and their places filled with new men. The
timekeeper approached, watch in hand.

“Two minutes more,” he announced.

Syddington’s heart sank; the panting players reeled before his eyes,
and he grasped Carter’s shoulder to steady himself. Only two minutes!
And success almost within grasp! He turned swiftly to Colton.

“Two minutes, Dan! Did you hear? There isn’t time to work it down. Try
the ends; give it to Lane! We’ve got to score, Dan!” He thumped his
clenched hands against his padded thighs and stared miserably about
him. Colton patted him on the back.

“Cheer up, Bob,” he whispered--his voice was now such that he could
only whisper or shout--“cheer up! We’ll make it. Two minutes is time
enough to win in!” The whistle sounded again.

“Right tackle--back!” cried the quarter. Carter dropped out of the line.

“Signal! 16--34--58--5!”

A tandem play on left guard netted two yards; the new center was a good
man. Syddington’s heart was leaping into his throat and thumping back
again painfully. He clenched his hands, watched his man with every
nerve and muscle tense, and awaited the next signal. Would it never
come? What was the matter with Colton? Did he not know he was losing----

“Sig--” began the quarter; then his voice gave out in a husky whisper.
“Signal!” he repeated, hoarsely.

“Block hard!” shouted Syddington.

“Watch out for fake!” shrieked the St. Eustace captain.

“44--22----”

The Blue’s right half ran back to join the quarter up the field.
Hale, the Crimson’s full-back, stood with outstretched hands on the
thirty-six-yard line, with Lane and Sanford guarding him. Syddington
swung his arms and crouched as if on edge to get down under the punt,
yet out of the corners of his eyes he was watching the St. Eustace left
tackle as a cat watches a mouse.

“44--22--11--6!” gasped Colton.

Center passed the ball back straight and clean to Hale, and the latter
sped it on at a short side pass to Lane, who had dropped back; Sanford
dashed at the right end of the line, and Lane, the pigskin hugged
close and his right arm rigid before him, fell in behind. Sanford sent
the St. Eustace end reeling backward, and Syddington put the Blue’s
full-back out of the play and went crashing to the ground with him.
Sanford and Lane swept through outside of tackle and sped toward the
goal.

Crimson banners waved and danced. The game was lost or won in the
next few seconds. Victory for Hillton, defeat for her rival, lay in
the crossing of those eight trampled white lines by the lad who, with
straining limbs and heaving chest, sped on behind his interference.

Sanford, lithe and fleet, held a straight course for the right-hand
goal-post. Ahead, with staring eyes and desperate faces, the St.
Eustace quarter and right half advanced menacingly. Behind, pounding
footsteps told of stern pursuit.

Then the quarter-back was upon them, face pale and set, arms
outstretched, and Lane swung to the right. Sanford’s shoulder met
the foe, and the two went to earth together, Sanford on top. He was
up again in the instant, and, unharmed, once more running fleetly.
But Lane was ahead now, and before him, near the ten-yard line, the
blue-clad half-back was waiting. The man ahead stood for defeat, for
Lane doubted his ability to get round him. Even running was agony,
and dodging seemed out of the question. But just as hope deserted him
Sanford came into sight beside him.

“Faster!” he panted. “To the right.”

Lane had no time to make his lagging limbs obey ere Sanford and the foe
were piled together at his feet. He plunged blindly over the writhing
heap, stumbled, fell on one knee, staggered up again, saw the yellowish
turf rising and sinking before him, felt his knees doubling up beneath
him, fell, rolled over twice, crawled and wriggled on knees and elbows
from force of habit, and then closed his eyes, laid his head on his arm
and was supremely content.

Syddington sped down the field with the roar of three thousand voices
in his ears, and a great, almost sickening happiness at his heart.

Hillton had won!

For the moment thought refused to go beyond that wonderful fact. His
team, the boys whom he had threatened, coaxed, driven, struggled with
for months, had beaten St. Eustace!

He thrust his way through the little group and dropped to his knees.
Lane opened his eyes and for an instant stared blankly into his face.
Then recollection returned and he raised his head. Above him rose the
goal-posts. He grinned happily.

“Over, eh, Syddington?” he asked, weakly.

“Yes, Lane, over. Are you all right?”

“Yes; a bit tuckered, that’s all. Let me up, please.”

They helped him to his feet, and he stretched his aching muscles
cautiously. Beck handed him his head harness, and he turned and limped
off. The cheering, which had almost subsided for want of breath, took
on new vigor, and he went up the field to the wild refrain of “Lane!
Lane! Lane!”

Hale kicked goal and the teams lined up for the kick-off once more.
But when the ball had fallen into the arms of the Hillton left end the
whistle shrilled and the battle was at an end. The score-board said:

    Hillton 12.   Opponents 8.

The crowds were over the ropes on the instant, and while the wearied
crimson players were hoarsely cheering their defeated rivals, they
were seized and borne off to where the band was playing Hilltonians.
Then the procession round the field began. And when it had formed,
Carl Lane, left half-back, borne upon the shoulders of four stalwart,
shrieking friends, was at the head. And Syddington, almost at the end
of the line of swaying heroes, saw, and was more than content.

“They’ll make him captain the day after to-morrow,” he said to himself,
“and I’m glad--glad!”

And with the band playing as it had not played for two years, with
every voice raised in song, Hillton marched triumphantly back to the
campus.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was the evening of the day following Hillton’s victory. The songs
and cheering were over, and the big bonfire was only a mound of ashes.
Syddington had lighted a fire in the study grate, for an east wind was
sweeping across the Hudson and rattling the casements fiercely.

It was all over! The boys had broken training, the field was left to
the pranks of the winter winds, canvas jackets and padded trousers were
put away, and the football season was at an end. Well, it had been a
successful one, and next year----

His hands dropped and he sat upright, staring blankly before him. He
had forgotten. Next year meant little to him now. Lane had earned the
captaincy twice over. If it must go to some one other than himself, he
was glad that Carl Lane was to be that person. He would nominate Lane
himself. He began to fashion a little speech in his mind; and when
he was in the middle of it, there came a knock at the door and Lane
entered. Syddington stared a moment in surprise.

“How are you, Lane? Glad to see you,” he said, finally. “I--I was just
thinking about you when you knocked. Sit down, won’t you?”

“Thanks.” Lane tossed his cap on the table and drew a chair toward the
hearth. “Cold, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Syddington went back to the armchair and wondered what the visit
meant. Lane had not the air of a casual caller; his face was serious
and held a suggestion of embarrassment. There was a moment’s silence;
then Lane went on in a tone of frank sincerity:

“Look here, Syddington. The fellows are talking about the captaincy.”
He was watching Syddington closely. “And I find that I can have every
vote but four.”

“I don’t know who the four are,” answered Syddington, bravely, “but if
I’m one of them you can count me out. I’m going to vote for you, and if
you’ll let me, I’ll put your name up.”

“Thank you. I didn’t expect that. I fancied you’d want it yourself.”

“So I do. So does every fellow, I guess. But you’ve won it, Lane, fair
and square, and I don’t begrudge it to you. I’ll acknowledge that I did
at first, but after you won the game----”

“You mean that you knew before the game that I might get the
captaincy?” Lane’s voice was full of wonder.

“Yes. Carter told me.”

“And you let me play?”

“Yes, although--” he faltered--“although I came near not.”

“I see. And I owe you an apology. I didn’t think you’d let me on, and
I said so. I think it was a mighty plucky thing to do, mighty plucky,
Syddington, and--and awfully decent. And now, look here. What I came
here to say was just this.” He rose and took his cap from the table. “I
can have the captaincy to-morrow, perhaps, but of course I’m not going
to accept it.”

“Not going to--to----”

“Would you take it if you were in my place? If I had given you the
chance to win the big game, knowing that if you did you’d get the
captaincy; if you knew I’d set my heart on keeping it; if I’d slaved
all fall to turn out the finest team Hillton’s had in years; if--if----”

“But that has nothing to do with it,” faltered the other.

“Yes, it has everything to do with it,” said Lane, earnestly. “It’s a
matter of fair play--and no holding. If I took that captaincy after
what you’ve done I’d detest myself.”

“But--but it doesn’t seem right.”

“It is, though. You’re a captain from head to heels, and I’m not.
And--I guess that’s all.” He moved toward the door. Syddington
followed with pale face.

“I--I don’t know how I can thank you, Lane, honestly! If you change
your mind----”

“I sha’n’t. And as for thanks--I think we’re quits. Good night!”

“Good night!” replied Syddington. “I--” he faltered and the color
flooded into his cheeks--“I--I want to shake hands with you, Lane.”



CLASS SPIRIT


Peter Doe descended the marble steps of the big dormitory with
discouragement written large upon his face. When he reached
the sidewalk he drew a blank book from his pocket and studied
it with frowning brows until he had crossed the avenue, and,
half-unconsciously, perched himself on the top rail of the college
fence. Then he sighed and returned the book to his coat.

Peter had been canvassing for the freshman crew for four days. Armitage
and the rest had spoken cheerfully of eight hundred dollars as the
probable result of his labors. To-day Peter shook his head ruefully.
The book in his pocket held subscriptions representing only two hundred
and sixty-four dollars, of which nearly half was “pledged,” a term
possessing doubtful significance. And Peter was discouraged.

When Ronald Armitage--popular, influential and much sought--had
requested Peter to join the squad of canvassers, Peter had been
secretly much flattered, and had acquiesced instantly, gladly. For
two whole days he had haunted the dormitories, indifferent to all
discourtesies.

Peter was glad to be of service to his class. He believed that a
man’s first duty was to his college, his second to his class, his
third--well, the third did not as yet trouble him. He stood just five
feet six and one-half inches, and had all a small man’s admiration for
brawn and athleticism. His complexion was pink and white, a fact which
worried him so much that in summer he spent precious hours lying with
his face upturned to the sun in the hope that he would tan. But he
never did; he simply got very red and the skin peeled off his nose.

Peter’s crowning glory was his hair, which was of the color of red
gold. It was very beautiful hair from an artistic point of view, but
it did not please Peter. At preparatory school it had won him the
name of “Little Goldie,” a title which still clung to him among his
acquaintances. He was good at studies, and was visibly impressed with
the seriousness of existence.

After a while Peter slipped from the fence. He was eighteen years old,
and at eighteen discouragement is a matter of a moment. Peter set his
face toward Haworth Hall and Vance Morris, resolved to play his last
card. Vance Morris was one of the richest men in college, and by far
the wealthiest in the freshman class.

Peter had gone to school with him at St. Matthew’s, but their
acquaintance was only of the nodding kind. Armitage had told Peter that
Morris was “good for a hundred at least.” Fortune had apparently played
into the collector’s hands at the very beginning of his canvassing,
for, crossing the yard in the morning he had encountered Morris, and
had, not without a struggle with his diffidence, stopped him and asked
for a subscription.

“We, that is, Armitage and the others, you know, thought that about
one hundred dollars would be--er--enough,” he had announced. Whereupon
Morris, who was plainly in a hurry to reach the square, had grinned
and replied:

“Really? That’s very modest of them, isn’t it? Don’t you think they’d
rather have a thousand?”

The tone had made Peter feel a bit uncomfortable, but he had managed
to give audible expression to the belief that a hundred would do very
nicely; upon which Morris had again grinned down upon him from his six
feet two inches, and had started away.

But Peter had trotted after him. “Then we--then I may look for one
hundred, Morris?”

“You may,” the other had answered. “Oh, yes, you may look for it.
There’s my car.”

It was a hard race to the square, but Peter sprinted desperately and
swung himself up on the rear platform a second after Morris.

“You--you promise?” gasped Peter.

“Oh, yes, confound you! Get off or you’ll break your neck!”

Peter did not break his neck, but he afforded much amusement to a group
of students by rolling riotously over the street for several yards.
To-day, as he skirted the yard toward Morris’s room, he recalled that
hard-bought promise and was comforted. Another hundred would bring his
list up to the sum of three hundred and sixty-four dollars, far removed
from the fabulous amount predicted by Armitage, but, after the ill
success of the past four days, something over which to rejoice. During
the bitterest moments of his laboring, Peter had comforted his soul
with thoughts of that one hundred dollars.

Peter found Morris alone, lying at ease in a big, hospitable armchair,
and in good humor.

“Hello!” Morris held forth a big, brown hand. “Glad to see you. Sit
down.”

Peter made known the object of his visit, and finally Morris yawned and
stretched a hand toward his desk.

“All right; toss me my check-book.”

Peter eagerly brought book and pen, ink and blotter, and the big
freshman, using the arm of the chair for support, scrawled illegible
characters. Then he tore off the little strip of pale-green paper and
handed it to Peter.

“That’s the best I can do for you.”

He yawned again and closed his eyes. Peter opened his. “But--but
this--this is for only ten dollars!”

“You’re good at figures,” muttered Morris, sleepily.

Peter stared at him in silence while the brass-dialed clock ticked
twenty times. This, then, was the realization of his magnificent hopes!

A paltry ten dollars where he had looked for a hundred! What would
Armitage and the others say? What would they think of him? Peter’s
voice trembled in shrill, indignant protest:

“This isn’t fair, Morris! It isn’t honest! It isn’t--isn’t decent! Why,
you promised a hundred, and I--we all counted on it; and now--now you
give me this measly little ten!”

Morris swung slowly round and stared in bewilderment.

“Well!” he muttered, in awestruck tones.

“You ought to do more than this for the crew!” Peter went on, waving
the check wildly in air. “You can afford to give what you promised,
and--and by jiminy, _you’ve got to_!”

“Got to!” growled the other. He drew himself from the chair until
he towered above Peter like a step-ladder above a footstool. He put
his hands in the pockets of his jacket and looked down in frowning
amusement. “_Got to!_” he repeated.

Peter’s face blanched from pale to the perfect whiteness of newly
fallen snow, but he held his ground. His voice broke, but he answered:

“Yes.”

Morris laughed and slapped Peter on the shoulder.

“Good for you! But look here, take that check and get out. It isn’t
your funeral, you know. And besides, ten dollars isn’t to be sneezed
at. If every fellow in the class gave ten dollars----”

“But you know every fellow can’t!” broke in Peter. “You know lots of
them can’t afford to give anything! But you can, Morris; you can afford
to give what you promised--more than that.”

“Oh, leave off!” said Morris. “Run along with your check, like a good
little boy.”

Peter hesitated; then he folded the slip of paper and placed it in his
pocket. Taking the pen, he dipped it into the ink and wrote a receipt.
Then he faced Morris again.

“Yes, I’ll take this on account. But I’ve got to have ninety more,”
he said, doggedly. “And I’m going to have it. I’m going to keep at it
until I get it. You’ve got to do what is right, Morris!”

“You’re like what’s-his-name’s raven,” sighed the other. “But I’ll tell
you what I’ll do. When you get a hundred dollars out of me for the
crew, I’ll--I’ll give you another fifty!” He laughed uproariously.

Peter strode to the door, and when he reached it turned and faced
Morris impressively.

“Remember your promise!”

The door closed sternly behind him. Morris dropped into the armchair
and laughed until the tears came. That was on Thursday.

The next day Peter returned. Morris’s study was filled with students.
Morris was courteous to a fault, but Peter refused to be placated.

“Can you let me have that ninety dollars for the freshman crew
to-day?” he asked. The crowd grinned. Morris shook his head and looked
devastated with grief.

“I regret that I can not; not to-day. Perhaps next fall--or a year from
yesterday, now----”

When the door was closed between him and the laughing enemy, Peter
turned and shook a small, tightly clenched fist. “Wait!” he whispered,
hoarsely.

That was on Friday.

Returning across the yard from chapel the next morning, Peter
encountered Wyeth, Morris’s roommate. He carried a valise, and Peter
knew that he was going home over Sunday.

“Beg pardon,” said Peter, “but can you tell me where I can find Morris?”

Wyeth hesitated. Then he laughed and played traitor. He jerked his
head in the direction of Haworth, and scuttled for the car. Peter’s
heart leaped as he hurried across the campus. When he reached the
dormitory he crossed the courtyard and sprang up the stairs two at a
time. The outer door was ajar. On the inner he knocked boldly. There
was no response. He knocked again, then entered the study. The room was
deserted. The sunlight shone in brightly through one window, where the
curtain was drawn back. Peter investigated the bedroom to the left.
It was empty. He crossed to the opposite door. Within lay Morris on a
gorgeous brass bedstead, his big chest rising and falling in mighty
respirations, his half-opened mouth emitting sounds resembling the
subterranean roar of an idle geyser. One arm lay straight beside him;
the other crossed his body, clutching the embroidered quilt.

The clock in the next room ticked on, slowly, monotonously, while
Morris slept and Peter evolved an idea, an idea so grand, so desperate,
that his flaming locks stirred uneasily upon his scalp and his breath
came in gasps. Then he sighed as if from his very shoes. His mind was
made up!

He crept into the study and locked the hall door, dropping the key into
his pocket. On the wall by the fireplace hung a monstrous Mexican hat,
three pairs of spurs, a quirt, and, gracefully encircling these, a
long, braided rawhide lariat. With the aid of a chair Peter took the
lariat from its place and crept noiselessly back to the bedroom. The
giant still slept. With thumping heart Peter set to work.

For the next ten minutes he worked like a beaver--or a burglar. He
made eight trips under the bed. At seven minutes past nine by the
brass-dialed clock the last knot was tied, and Peter, trembling,
breathless but triumphant, viewed his work with satisfaction. His enemy
was delivered into his hands!

He returned to the study. He had no right, he told himself, to
disturb Morris’s slumber; he must wait until the sleeper woke of
his own accord. The hands of the clock crept round toward ten.
Peter recollected that he was missing an English lecture, and would
undoubtedly be kept from German. His regret, however, was but passing.

He took up a magazine, but had turned only two leaves when there
reached him a sound like the spouting of a leviathan. He drew his knees
together and shivered. The giant was waking! Then the bed creaked
alarmingly and Peter crept to the door. At the same instant Morris
opened his eyes, yawned, blinked, yawned again, tried to stretch his
arms, and stared.

“Hello, Goldie! That you? What in thunder----”

He raised his head as far as circumstances allowed and saw himself,
like Gulliver, enmeshed in a network of thongs. Amazement gave way to
understanding, understanding to appreciation, appreciation to laughter.
The bed shook. Peter gained courage and entered.

“Oh, Goldie,” cried the giant, “you’ll be the death of me yet, I know
you will!”

Peter waited in silence.

“I didn’t think you were such a joker, Goldie, honest, I never did!”

“I’m glad I’ve amused you,” replied Peter, with immense dignity. “I
assure you I had no idea of a joke.”

“No idea of a joke!” said Morris, vainly striving to wipe his streaming
eyes on the pillow-slip by rolling his head. “Then what do you call
this?”

“Business.”

“Business? Oh, well, call it what you like; it’s good, mighty good. To
think that you managed to hog-tie me like this without waking me up!
It’s--it’s-- By the way, what time is it?”

“Just ten o’clock.”

“Great Scott! You don’t mean it? Here, untie these knots and let me up.
I was going to be in town at eleven.”

Peter shook his head. Morris stared. The truth dawned.

“You don’t mean--” he began, incredulously. Peter nodded.

“_Well, I’ll be jiggered!_”

He lay and stared in amazement. Peter stared uncompromisingly back. The
study clock ticked unnaturally loud. Peter was pale and Morris was of a
redness that verged on purple. The storm broke suddenly.

“Why, you little red-headed, snub-nosed idiot!” bellowed Morris. “When
I get up I’ll smash you into slivers! I’ll----”

He strove mightily to wrest himself from the clutches of the
encircling lariat. He heaved, strained, twisted, writhed; but rawhide
is uncompromising to a degree. At the end of one strenuous minute he
subsided, panting, perspiring, glaring like a trapped lion. Peter sat
down on the edge of the bed.

“I don’t want you to think,” he announced, “that I have taken this
course willingly; you--you have driven me to it. I gave you full
warning.”

Morris roared loudly, inarticulately. Peter waited politely, then
continued, “I gave you fair warning. I told you I had to have the
money. I regret putting you to this--this inconvenience, and----”

For a space the bed rocked like a scow in a squall.

“And assure you that as soon as you do your duty to the freshman crew
and to yourself I’ll let you up.”

“Duty!” frothed Morris.

[Illustration: “Duty!” frothed Morris.]

Peter interlaced his fingers round one knee and settled himself
comfortably against the foot-rail. He observed the captive gravely,
dispassionately, almost indulgently, as a just parent might view a
disobedient child to whom punishment is being meted out. Then he began
to talk. He pointed out to Morris that a college man’s duty does not
end with himself; that he should consider the good of the university
and his class, and stand ready and eager to support the honor of each
to the best of his ability; that he should be willing to sacrifice his
personal pleasure to that end. Class spirit, said Peter, was one of the
most beautiful things about college life.

Peter talked leisurely, eloquently, even convincingly. Having
established--to his own satisfaction, at least--the claim that the
class body possesses on its members, he passed to the subject of the
benefits of athletics. When he had exhausted that, he indicated the
self-evident fact that athletics can prosper only with the support of
the students. Morris by this time had raged himself dry of expletives,
and was a silent, if unenthusiastic, auditor.

Peter was encouraged, and his eloquence increased. The freshman class,
he declared, was in many ways the most important of all. Its contests
on track, field and river were watched with interest second only to
that given to the struggles of the varsity teams and crews. The class
that attained honor in its freshman year established a stable basis
for future glory. Those whose privilege it was to make possible that
honor, either by labor or by financial support, should deem themselves
fortunate.

Morris was now groaning impotently. Peter brushed a stray wisp of
red-gold hair from his brow and went on, his eyes transfixing his
victim. There were many in the class, he said, who could afford to
contribute but little to the cause. There were others so fortunate as
to be in position to give generously. It was the duty, the privilege of
every fellow to give according to his means. In the case of Morris----

The clock chimed the half-hour. Morris gave a deep sigh and yielded.

“Goldie, for heaven’s sake cut it out!” he begged. “Let me up and I’ll
write you a check for fifty dollars.”

“Ninety,” corrected Peter, firmly.

“Well, ninety.”

Peter rose and untied several knots. The result was not quite what
Morris had expected. He found only his right arm free.

“Where’s your check-book?” asked Peter.

“In the desk. Aren’t you going to let me up?”

The only response was the sound of pen on paper. When Peter reappeared
he placed the book before his captive and put the pen into his hand.
“After you’ve signed,” he said.

Morris grumbled, but with some difficulty affixed his signature to the
check for ninety dollars. Peter tore it off and once more presented the
book. Morris stared. “What’s this?” he demanded.

“Another one for fifty,” answered Peter, quietly. “Remember your
promise.”

“My promise?” cried Morris.

“Certainly. When I got one hundred from you for the crew you were to
give me fifty more. Have you enough ink?”

Morris glowered, glancing from Peter’s inexorable countenance to the
open check-book. Then he grinned craftily and signed.

“Now you’ve got to untie me,” he said.

Peter folded the two slips carefully and placed them in his pocket.
Then he wrote a receipt for one hundred and forty dollars, Morris
watching him uneasily.

“Thank you!” said Peter, laying down the receipt. “I am certain that
you’ll be glad in the end that you were able to do so much for the
crew. I am now going over to the bank”--Morris writhed--“to get these
cashed. As soon as possible I’ll return and set you free.”

For a moment Morris fought against fate. Then he capitulated.

“Hold on, Goldie! I know when I’m beaten. I give you my word I won’t
stop those if you’ll let me up now. What’s more, I won’t lay a hand on
you, honor bright!”

Peter set about untying the knots; it was a long task.

“Had breakfast?” asked Morris, presently.

Peter had not. He had quite forgotten it.

“Well,” said Morris, “wait until I get my clothes on and we’ll go over
to Brimm’s and have some.”

“All right,” stammered Peter. He flushed with pleasure and
embarrassment.

“But what I can’t understand,” said Morris, a little later, stretching
his cramped arms above his head, “what I can’t understand is why you
want to go to all this bother about crew money. It isn’t your funeral.”

Peter Doe paused in the labor of undoing a particularly obstinate knot
that confined Morris’s chest, and stared at the conquered giant in real
surprise.

“Why, class spirit, of course!” he said.



THE FATHER OF A HERO


The Hero sat in the window-seat, and nursed his knee and frowned. He
was rather young to be a hero, he lacked a month of being twenty; he
looked eighteen. He had a round face, with a smooth, clear skin, over
which spring suns had spread an even coat of tan that was wonderfully
becoming. His eyes were blue, and his hair was as near yellow as hair
ever is. For the rest, he was of medium height, slim, and well-built.
His name was James Gill Robinson, Jr. Throughout college he was
known as “Rob”; on the baseball diamond, the players, according him
the respect due a superior, called him “Cap.” His father, with the
privilege of an extended acquaintance, called him “Jimmie.”

The father leaned back in a dark-green Morris chair, one gray-gaitered
foot swinging and his right thumb reposing between the second and third
buttons of his white vest. This was a habit with the thumb, and meant
that Mr. James Gill Robinson, Sr., was speaking of weighty matters, and
with authority. The father was well this side of fifty and, like his
son, looked younger than he was, for which an admirable complexion was
to be thanked. He wore side-whiskers, and the brows above the sharp
blue eyes were heavy and lent emphasis to the aggressive character
of the lower part of his face. But if he was aggressive he was also
fair-minded, and if he was obstinate he was kind-hearted as well; and
none of these are bad qualities in a lawyer. And of course he was
smart, too; as the father of James Gill Robinson, Jr., he couldn’t have
been anything else.

Through the open window the length of the Yard was visible, intensely
green and attractively cool. Fellows with straw hats adorned with
fresh new bands of all colors and combinations of colors, fellows
flannel-trousered and vestless, lounged on the grass or intersected the
verdant, tree-shaded oblong, bearing tennis racquets or baseball bats.
It was mid-June, warm, clear, and an ideal Saturday.

The Hero turned from a brief survey of the outside world and faced his
father again, listening respectfully to the latter’s remarks, but quite
evidently taking exception to the gist of them. At length he was moved
to defense.

“But look here, dad, seems to me the showing I made last year proves
that I haven’t neglected study.”

“That’s not the point, sir. I’ll acknowledge that you--ah--did
uncommonly well last year. I was proud of you. We all were. And I take
it for granted that you will do equally well, if not better, this year.
I expect it. I won’t have anything else, sir! But you don’t gather my
meaning. This is an old subject of controversy between us, Jimmie,
and it does seem to me that by this time you should have come to an
understanding of the position I take. But you haven’t; that’s clear,
sir, and so I’ll state it once more.”

He paused, and glanced at a massive gold watch.

“It is twelve minutes after two; I’m not detaining you?” he asked, with
a broad suggestion of sarcasm.

“No, sir, I have ten minutes yet,” answered the Hero.

“Ah, thank you. Well, now--” Mr. Robinson drew his eyebrows together
while he silently marshaled his arguments. Then--“I have never,” he
said, “opposed athletic sports in moderation. On the contrary, I think
them--ah--beneficial. Mind you, though, I say in moderation, distinctly
‘_in moderation!_’ In fact, in my own college days I gained some
reputation as an athlete myself.”

The Hero suppressed a smile. His father’s reputation had been gained
as short-stop on a senior class nine that, with the aid of pistols,
old muskets, and brass bands, had defeated, by a score of 27 to 16, a
sophomore team, his father having made three home runs by knocking the
ball into a neighboring back yard. The Hero had heard the history of
that game many times.

“But you, sir,” continued Mr. Robinson, severely, “you, sir, are
overdoing it. You are allowing athletics to occupy too much of your
time and thought. I take to-day to be an average one?”

“Hardly, sir,” answered the Hero. “Saturday is always busier than
week-days, and to-day we have one of our big games.”

“I am glad to hear it, very glad. I reached here at eleven o’clock,
and you dragged me out to the field while you practised batting. At
twelve you had a recitation. At one you took me to the training table,
where I sat among a large number of very--ah--frivolous young men who
constantly talked of things I do not, and do not care to understand.
You have now kindly allowed me a half-hour of your society. In a minute
or two you will tear off to the field again, to be there, so you tell
me, until half past five. Now, sir, I ask you, is what I have described
an equable adjustment of study and athletics, sir?”

“I’m very sorry, dad,” replied the Hero, earnestly. “If I’d known you
were coming to-day I could have fixed things a little differently. But
as it was, I couldn’t very well give you much time. I wish you’d come
out to the game, sir. It’s going to be a thundering good one, I think.
Princeton is after our scalps.”

“No, Jimmie, I refuse to lend countenance to the proceedings. You are
overdoing it, sir, overdoing it vastly! Why, confound it, sir, who are
you here at Harvard? What do I see in the morning paper? ‘Robinson is
confident.’ ‘Plucky captain and first-baseman of the Harvard nine looks
for a victory over the Tigers.’ That’s the sort of stuff I read, sir! A
whole column of it! That’s who you are, sir; you’re just the baseball
captain; you’re not James Robinson, Jr., not for a minute! And the
papers are full of silly talk about you, and refer to you as ‘Rob.’
It’s disgraceful, if nothing else!”

“Well, dad, I don’t like that sort of notoriety any better than you do,
but I don’t think it’s fair to blame me for it. When you win a big case
at home it’s just the same, sir; the papers even print your picture
sometimes, and that’s more than they do with mine, because they can’t
get it.”

His father glared silently. It was too true to bear contradiction. But
he wasn’t one to back down any further than was absolutely necessary.

“Maybe, sir, maybe. But let me inform you that winning an important
case in the courts is decidedly different from winning a game of
baseball before a lot of shouting, yelling idiots with tin horns and
flags! Eh? What?”

“Well, I don’t altogether agree with you there, dad. In either case
it’s a matter of using your brain and doing your level best and keeping
your wits about you. The results may not be on a par as to importance,
sir, although--” he smiled slightly--“maybe it depends some on the
point of view. I tell you what, sir,” he went on, “you come out to the
Princeton game this afternoon and if, when it’s over with, you say that
trying to win a big game of college baseball isn’t worth doing, why,
I’ll give up the captaincy and have nothing more to do with such things
next year! What do you say, sir?”

“I refuse to enter into any such agreement, sir. Moreover, I have no
intention of sitting on a plank in the hot sun and watching a lot of
idiots run around the bases. No, sir, if you’ve got to take part in
that game, as I suspect you have, you go ahead and I’ll look after
myself. Only I must have at least one undisturbed hour with you before
my train goes.”

“Certainly, dad; I’ll be with you all the evening. I hope you’ll be
comfortable. You’ll find the library at the Union very pleasant if you
want to read. I will be back here at about half after five. I do wish,
though, you’d come out, sir.”

“You’ve heard me on that subject, Jimmie,” replied Mr. Robinson,
severely. “Naturally, you--ah--have my wishes for success, but I must
decline to make myself miserable all the afternoon.”

After the Hero had gone, Mr. Robinson, with much grumbling, strove
to make himself comfortable with a book. But he had looked upon his
journey to Cambridge as something in the way of a holiday, and sitting
in a Morris chair didn’t conform to his idea of the correct way of
spending it. The Yard looked inviting, and so he took the volume and
went out under the trees. But he didn’t read. Instead he leaned the
back of his immaculate gray coat against a tree-trunk and fell to
thinking. From where he sat he could see, at a distance, the window
of the room that he had occupied during his last two years in the Law
School. That window suggested memories.

Presently he heard a voice near by. A fellow passing along in front of
Matthews was hailing another.

“Aren’t you going over to the game?” he asked.

“Sure. What time is it?”

“Ten of three. Better come along now. I’ll wait for you.”

A moment later the other emerged from the doorway.

“How are you betting?” he asked.

“Even that we win.”

“Think so? Princeton’s got a wonderful young nine, they say.”

“So have we. ‘Rob’ says we’re going to win, and what he says goes, my
boy.”

“Yes, he knows his business all right.”

“Well, I guess! He’s the best captain Harvard’s had for years and
years, and he’s as level-headed as they make them. All ready?”

They went off in the direction of the Square. Mr. Robinson watched
them and wondered what they would say if they knew “Rob’s” father had
overheard them. He rather wished they could have known who he was.
Then he frowned impatiently as he realized that in a moment of weakness
he had coveted glory in the rôle of “Rob’s” father. But he was glad he
had overheard that conversation. Even if Jimmie was paying altogether
too much attention to baseball and too little to the graver features
of college life, still he was glad that Jimmie was a good captain. He
was--yes, he was proud of that.

It was very cool and restful there on the grass, with the whispering
of the little breeze in the leaves above him, and he laid the book
carefully aside, folded his hands, and closed his eyes. The Yard was
deserted now save for the squirrels and the birds, and so for quite an
hour none disturbed Mr. Robinson’s slumber. Once his hat fell off, and
after a sleepy attempt to find it he let it go. His trousers gradually
parted company with his gaiters, exposing a length of thin, black-clad
ankle. Altogether he presented a most undignified spectacle, and a
squirrel who ran down the tree-trunk and surveyed him from a position a
foot or two above his head chattered his disapprobation. Perhaps it was
this that woke Mr. Robinson up.

He yawned, arranged his trousers, recovered his hat, and looked at his
watch. It was just four o’clock. He felt rather stiff, but the nap
had rested him, and so he returned the book to the room with the idea
of taking a walk. Swinging his gold-headed cane jauntily, he passed
through the Square and made his way toward the river. The breezes would
be refreshing, he told himself. But long before he reached the bridge
disturbing sounds came to him, borne on the little west wind that blew
in his face:

“Ha-a-ar-vard! Ha-a-ar-vard! Ha-a-ar-vard!”

He crossed the bridge, left the river behind and went on. Now from the
right, around the corner of the Locker Building, came wild, confused
cries:

“That’s pitching, old man; that’s pitching!” “Now, once more; make him
hit it!” “Put it over; you can do it!” “Hai, hai, hai! Now you’re off!
Down with his arm! On your toes, on your toes!” “_Look out!_ Twenty
minutes, Mr. Umpire!” “_He’s out at first!_”

Then the cheering began again.

Mr. Robinson frowned, but kept on his way. He was back of the stands
now. The scene was hidden from the street by a long strip of canvas.
He looked about him; the road was deserted hereabouts. He stooped and
strove to look under the canvas, but he saw only a pair of sturdy,
red-stockinged legs. The cheering became wild and incoherent, and was
punctuated with hand-clapping and the stamping of many feet on the
boards. Mr. Robinson went on at a faster gait, something of excitement
appearing in his face. At the gate a few loiterers stood about. Mr.
Robinson approached one of them and asked with elaborate indifference:

“What--ah--what is the score?” “Seven to six in favor of Princeton.
They’ve knocked Miller out of the box.”

“Indeed?” Mr. Robinson glanced at his watch. “I--ah--suppose the game
is about over?”

“Last of the sixth. There, that’s three out. This is the seventh now.”
From the left somewhere came cheers for Princeton.

“Thank you.” Mr. Robinson turned and went on, followed by long,
inspiriting “Ha-a-ar-vards!” But the scenery was not attractive
and the breeze was no longer cool. He stopped, frowned, and gazed
absorbedly at the sidewalk, drawing figures with the end of his cane in
the gravel.

“It must be very close,” he muttered. Then, after a moment, “Jimmie
will be badly disappointed if they’re beaten.”

With sudden resolution he stuck his cane under his arm, pulled his
waistcoat free of wrinkles, and walked quickly, determinedly, back to
the entrance. At the ticket booth he drew a bill from his pocketbook
and, in the act of purchasing, recalled his informant of a few minutes
before. He was still there, craning his head and listening.

“Here, do you want to see the last of this?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” was the eager answer.

“Two tickets, please.”

Mr. Robinson strode through the gate followed by a freckle-faced,
rather tattered youth of sixteen, and sought a seat.

“You come along with me,” he said to the boy. “I may want to know who
some of these fellows are.”

Seats were hard to find, but in the end they obtained them on a stand
back of third base. Mr. Robinson settled his stick between his knees
and looked about him. The triangle of stands was crowded with excited
men and women; men in straw hats and all sorts of vivid shirts, women
in cool cotton dresses, with here and there a touch of crimson ribbon.
The field stretched away green and level as a carpeted floor to the
river and the boathouse. Princeton was at the bat. Mr. Robinson turned
to his new acquaintance.

“Seven to six, you said?” The boy glanced at the little black
score-board.

“Yes, sir, that’s right. See? Harvard made three in the first and two
in the third and one in the fifth, and Princeton made three in the
third and four in the fifth. That’s when they didn’t do a thing to
Miller. Gee, I could hear ’em hittin’ him outside there! I’d like to
been inside then, wouldn’t you?”

“Hm, yes,” replied Mr. Robinson.

“Say, what made you so late?” asked the other with a suspicion of a
grievance in his voice. “Gee, if I’d been going to this game I bet you
I’d been on time!”

“I--ah--I was detained,” replied Mr. Robinson. He realized that the
boy held him in some contempt, and knew that it would never do to tell
the whole truth about it; the other would simply look upon him as a
lunatic. Clearly, too, he owed his acquaintance an apology. “I am
sorry that I didn’t get here sooner,” he said, “so that you could have
seen--ah--more of the contest.”

“So’m I,” was the frank response. Then, “Still, maybe if you’d come
before you wouldn’t have taken me in with you?”

“That’s true; maybe I wouldn’t have--ah--noticed you. So perhaps it’s
just as well, eh?”

“Yep. _Hi-i-i!_”

Mr. Robinson gave attention to the game in time to see the second
Princeton batter thrown out at first. The stands subsided again, and
the ushers waved their hats and the cheering broke out afresh.

“Supposing you tell me who some of the men are,” suggested Mr. Robinson.

“Sure thing. That’s Hanlon pitching. He’s pretty good, but he ain’t as
good as Miller, they say. I guess ‘Mill’ must have had an off day. And
that’s Morton catching. Say, he’s a peach!”

“Indeed?”

“You bet; a regular top-of-the-basket peacherina! You just keep your
eye on him.”

“Thank you, I will,” answered the listener. “And the small fellow at
first base?”

The boy turned and stared at him, open-eyed and open-mouthed. Then he
whistled softly but with emphasis.

“Say!” he exclaimed, finally, “where’ve you been?”

“Well, I--” Mr. Robinson faltered, and the other gave a grunt of
disgust.

“Gee, I thought everybody knew ‘Rob’!”

“Knew----?”

“‘Rob.’ His name’s Robinson; they call him ‘Rob’ for short. He’s the
captain, of course. Didn’t you know that?”

“Well, yes, I did, now that you mention it,” answered the man humbly.
“Is--is he pretty good?”

“Pretty good! Why, he’s a star! He’s a wonder! He’s--” Words failed
him. “Say, you must live in Chelsea!” he said at last.

“Chelsea?” repeated Mr. Robinson. “No, I don’t live there.”

“Anybody’d think you did,” muttered the boy.

The third man went out on a long fly to center field, and Harvard
trotted in to bat.

“If Harvard loses this game,” said the boy, “it’ll break her record.
She ain’t lost one this year. That’s Greene going to bat. He ain’t much
good at hittin’; he generally strikes out.”

Greene sustained his reputation, and a tall youth, whom Mr. Robinson
was informed was Billings, the left-fielder, made a hit to short-stop
and reached first by a bad throw. Harvard filled the bases in that
inning and the excitement became intense. A base-hit would bring in
the desired two runs. But the Princeton pitcher wound himself into
knots and untangled himself abruptly and threw wonderful balls, and the
umpire, a short, round, little man with a deep voice, yelled “Strike!”
“Strikes!” “Striker’s out!”

“Aw, thunder!” lamented Mr. Robinson’s companion. “That’s two gone.
Ain’t that mean?”

Mr. Robinson, sitting on the edge of his seat, clutching his cane
desperately with both hands, nodded. Over on the other stands, across
the diamond, they were standing up and cheering grimly, imploringly.
The Harvard short-stop took up his bat and faced the pitcher. Back of
second and third bases the coaches were yelling loudly:

“On your toes, Charlie, on your toes! Go down with his arm! Now you’re
off! _Whoa-a-a!_ Look out for second-baseman! All right! He won’t throw
it! _Whoa-a-a!_”

“Strike!” called the umpire.

“Aw, gee!” muttered the boy.

“Now, lively. Watch his arm! Come on, come on! _Hi, hi, hi!_ Look out
for passed balls! _Now you’re off!_”

“Strike two,” called the umpire.

Mr. Robinson thumped the boards with his cane.

Then there came a _crack_ as the batsman found the ball, and the men
on bases rushed home. But the arching sphere fell softly into the
left-fielder’s hands, and the nines again changed places. Mr. Robinson
and his acquaintance exchanged looks of disgust.

“Wasn’t that rotten?” asked the boy with the freckled face.

“Awful!” answered Mr. Robinson.

Nothing happened in either half of the eighth inning, but the suspense
and excitement were intense, nevertheless. Princeton reached second
once, but that was the end of her chances. Harvard got her first man
to first, but the succeeding three struck out. The cheers were hoarse,
incessant. The ushers waved hats and arms wildly. And Princeton went to
bat for the first of the ninth.

“Now, then, fellows, get together!” Mr. Robinson recognized his son’s
voice, cheerful, hopeful, inspiriting. The Hero was trotting to his
place at first. “Ginger up, everybody, and shut them out!”

“All right, Cap!” “We’ve got them on the run, Cap!” “Lucky ninth, Rob!”
The in-fielders were answering with the same cheerful assumption of
confidence. To the right of Mr. Robinson a section of the stand was
waving orange and black streamers and flags, and cheering joyously. The
Princeton pitcher stepped to the plate.

But Hanlon, if he wasn’t the equal of the deposed Miller, was on his
mettle. The batter had two strikes called on him, and then struck
at a deceptive drop. The ball thumped into the hands of Morton, the
“top-of-the-basket peacherina.”

“Striker’s out,” droned the little man in black.

Then came a long hit over short-stop’s head and the batsman reached
first without hurrying. A moment later he had stolen second. The next
man sent him to third, but was put out himself at first.

“Gee, a hit will bring him in, won’t it?” asked the boy. “But there’s
two out. Maybe----”

The man at bat had found a high ball and had sent it whizzing down the
base-line, eight feet or more in the air. The man on third was speeding
home, the runner racing for first. The Hero threw his arms over his
head and jumped lightly off his toes. The next instant he was rolling
head over heels, but one hand was held triumphantly aloft and in it was
the ball.

“_He’s out!_” called the umpire.

The panting, weary crimson-legged players trotted in amid a salvo of
applause. Mr. Robinson was beaming proudly, delightedly across at the
Hero. The boy was shouting absurdly and beating the planks with his
heels.

“Gee, if they can only make two runs they’ll have ’em beaten!” he
cried, excitedly.

“Yes,” said Mr. Robinson; “do you think they can?”

“I dunno. Maybe they can. Say, didn’t I tell you that ‘Rob’ was a
corker? Did you see that catch? That wasn’t anything for him; I’ve seen
him do better stunts than that; that was just ordinary, that was!”

Now had come Harvard’s last chance. After the one round of cheering
that greeted the first man at the plate, silence fell. The man was
Morton, the catcher, and he struck out miserably, and turned away
toward the bench with wobegone countenance. The Harvard second-baseman
took his place. With two strikes and two balls called on him, he hit
out a straight grounder between second-baseman and short-stop and
reached first by a good margin. The next man struck at the first ball
and it passed the catcher. The man on first took second. Then the
Princeton pitcher steadied down.

“Strike two,” said the umpire.

Then the batter hit at a low ball and popped it high and straight over
the base. The audience held their breath. Down--down it came plump into
the catcher’s hands.

“Two gone,” groaned the boy with the freckled face. And then, “Hi! Here
comes ‘Rob’!”

The Hero was picking out a bat, carefully, calmly, and the stands were
shouting “_Robinson! Robinson! Robinson!_” hoarsely, entreatingly. The
Hero settled his cap firmly, wiped his hands in the dust and gripped
his bat. Then he stood, blue-eyed, yellow-haired, smiling, confronting
the Princeton pitcher. The latter doubled and unbent.

“Ball,” droned the umpire. The Hero tapped the base and smiled
pleasantly. The pitcher studied him thoughtfully, while the catcher
knelt and beat his mitten in signal for a “drop.” Again the pitcher
went through his evolutions, again the ball sped toward the plate. Then
there was a loud, sharp _crack_!

High and far sailed the sphere. The Hero’s crimson stockings twinkled
through the dust as he turned first and raced for second. The man who
had been on second crossed the plate. The stands were sloping banks
of swaying, shrieking humanity. Far out in the green field beyond the
center’s position the ball fell, a good ten feet beyond the frantic
pursuers. Then the center-fielder seized it and hurled it in to
short-stop with a hard, swift throw that made the runner’s chances of
reaching the plate look dim. But he was past third and still running
like a twenty-yard sprinter, while along the line beside him ran and
leaped and shouted two coaches:

“_Come on, Cap! Come on! You can do it, Cap! You can do it! Run hard!
Hard!_”

Short-stop swung, and threw straight and sure toward where the catcher,
with outstretched arms and eager white face, awaited it above the
dust-hidden plate. Ball and runner sped goalward. The stands were
bedlams of confused shouts and cries. Mr. Robinson was on his feet with
the rest, his hat in one hand, his gold-mounted cane in the other. He
had been shrieking with the rest, stamping with them, waving with
them. His face was red and his eyes wide with excitement. And now he
measured the distance from ball to plate, from plate to runner, with
darting glances, and raised his voice in one final, triumphant effort:

“_Slide, Jimmie! Slide!_”

Above the riot of sound arose that despairing command. The ball
thumped against the catcher’s mit and his arm swung swiftly outward
and downward. But it didn’t hit the runner. He was sprawling face down
above the plate in a cloud of brown dust. Jimmie had slid.

“Safe!” cried the umpire.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two hours later the Hero and his father were at dinner in a Boston
hotel. Mr. Robinson dropped a crumb into his empty soup-plate and
smiled across the table in the manner of one well pleased with the
world.

“I haven’t seen a game of baseball like that, Jimmie,” he said, “since
we won the class championship back in ’73.” He looked reminiscent for a
moment; then asked suddenly: “By the way, didn’t you say they’d make
you captain again next year?”

“They will, if I’ll take it, sir.”

“If you’ll take it! What’s to prevent your taking it? Don’t be a fool,
Jimmie!”

The Hero applied his napkin to his lips to hide a smile.

“Very well, sir,” he replied, gravely, “I won’t.”



THE HAZING OF SATTERLEE 2d


Satterlee 2d tossed his arms over his head and opened his eyes. It was
of no use. As a much smaller boy--he was now thirteen years of age--his
mother, on putting him to bed, had always counseled “Now shut your eyes
and go to sleep.” And it had worked to a charm; so infallibly that
Satterlee 2d had unconsciously accepted it as a law of nature that in
order to go to sleep one had only to close one’s eyes. To-night, after
lying with lids forced so tightly together that they ached, he gave up
the struggle. Something was plainly wrong.

He snuggled the comforter up under his nose and stared into the
darkness. A thin, faint pencil of light was discernible straight ahead
and rather high up. After a moment of thought he knew that it stole in
at the top of the door from the hall, where an oil lamp flickered all
night on a bracket. From his right came faint gurgles, as regular as
clockwork. That was Sears, his room-mate, fast clasped in the arms of
Morpheus. Satterlee 2d envied Sears.

Back of him the darkness was less intense for a little space. The
shade at the window was not quite all the way down and a faint gray
light crept in from a cloudy winter sky. Satterlee 2d wondered what
time it was. Sears had blown out the light promptly at ten o’clock,
and that seemed whole hours ago. It must be very late, and still he
was not sleepy; on the contrary, he couldn’t remember having ever been
wider awake in his life. His thoughts flew from one thing to another
bewilderingly.

It had been very sudden, his change from home life to boarding-school.
His mother had not been satisfied with his progress at the
grammar-school, and when brother Donald, Satterlee 2d’s senior by two
years, had returned from Dr. Willard’s school for Christmas vacation,
healthy looking and as full of spirits as a young colt, the decision
was made; Thomas should go back to school with Donald.

Thomas was amazed and delighted. Until that moment he had conscientiously
treated all mention of Willard’s with scathing contempt, a course
absolutely necessary, since Don was in the habit of chanting its praises
at all times and in all places in a most annoyingly superior manner. But
as soon as he learned that he too was to become a pupil at Willard’s Tom
swore instant allegiance, for the first time hearkening eagerly to Don’s
tales of the greatness of the School, and vowing to make the name of
Thomas Polk Satterlee one to be honored and revered by future generations
of Willardians. He would do mighty deeds in school hall and campus--more
especially campus--and would win wonderful popularity. And then he bade
a moist-eyed farewell to home and parents, and, in care of his
travel-hardened brother, set forth for boarding-school, filled with
pleasurable excitement and fired with patriotism and grand resolves.

One thing alone had worried Satterlee 2d; the school catalogue, which
he had studied diligently from end to end, stated very distinctly--in
fact, in italics--that hazing was strictly forbidden and unknown at the
institution. Brother Don, on the other hand, told scalp-stirring tales
of midnight visitations to new boys by groups of ghostly inquisitors.
These two authorities, the only ones at Tom’s command, were sadly at
variance. But experience had taught Satterlee 2d that printed text was
on the whole more apt to be truthful than Brother Don; and he gained
comfort accordingly.

He had made his _début_ at Willard’s in proper style, had been formally
introduced to many other young gentlemen of ages varying from twelve to
eighteen years, had shaken hands humbly with Burtis, the school leader,
and had officially become Satterlee 2d.

He and his new roommate, Sears, had become firm friends in the short
period of three hours, and, realizing Sears’s good-will toward him, he
had listened to that youth’s enigmatic warning, delivered just as the
light went out, with respect.

“Say, if anything happens to-night, don’t wake me; I don’t want to know
anything about it.”

Satterlee 2d’s troubled questioning elicited only sleepy and very
unsatisfactory answers, and he had laid awake, hour after hour, or so
it seemed, with ears strained for suspicious sounds. But none had come,
and now--he yawned and turned over on the pillow--now he thought that
he could go to sleep at last. He closed his eyes.

Then he opened them again. It seemed hours later, but was in fact
scarcely five minutes. A bright, unhallowed light shone on his face.
White-draped figures, silent and terrible, were about him.

“_Ghosts!_” thought Satterlee 2d.

But just as he had gathered sufficient breath for a satisfactory
scream of terror, and just as some one had forced the corner of a
pillow into his mouth, recollection of Brother Donald’s tales came
to him and his fears subsided. With the supernatural aspect removed,
the affair resolved into an unpleasant but not alarming adventure. It
is idle to relate in detail the subsequent proceedings. Blindfolded
and attired only in a bath-robe, hastily thrown over his nightshirt,
he was conducted along corridors and down long flights of stairs,
over strange, uneven expanses of frozen ground, skirting frightful
abysses and facing dangers which, had he believed the asseverations
of his captors, were the most awful ever mortal braved. Despite his
incredulity he was glad when the end of the journey was reached. He was
led stumbling down three very chilly stone steps and brought to a halt.
The atmosphere was now slightly warmer, and this at least was something
to be thankful for.

“Neophyte,” said a deep voice which sounded suspiciously like Brother
Don’s, “you have passed unscathed through the Vale of Death. The first
period of your initiation into the Order of the Grinning Skull is
accomplished. We leave you now to dwell alone, until dawn gilds the
peak of yonder mountain, among the Spirits of the Under World. Should
you survive this, the most terrible ordeal of all, you will be one of
us and will be admitted into the secrets and counsels of our Order.
Farewell, perhaps forever!”

The hands that held him drew away, he heard the sounds of retreating
footsteps, of a closing door and a creaking bolt. He remained
motionless, his heart beating against his ribs. He wanted to cry out,
to bring them back, but pride was still stronger than fear. The
silence and damp odor of the place were uncanny. He thought of tombs
and things, and shuddered. Then summoning back his waning courage, he
tore the bandage from his eyes. Alas, he was still in complete darkness.

Satterlee 2d’s reading had taught him that the proper thing to do in
such situations was to explore. So he put forth his hands and stepped
gingerly forward. He brought up against a cold, reeking stone wall.
He followed it, found a corner, turned at right angles, soon found
another corner, and then worked back, at length coming in contact with
the steps and a heavy door. All efforts to move the latter were vain.
The floor was of wood and sounded hollow. The place had a clammy,
unwholesome feeling, and now was beginning to strike him as decidedly
wanting in warmth and comfort.

Suddenly his subsiding fear gave way before a rush of anger and he
stamped a slippered foot. A nice trick to play on a fellow, he declared
aloud; he’d tell Don what he thought of it in the morning, and he’d
punch somebody’s head, see if he didn’t! In his wrath he stepped
impetuously forward and gave a shriek of horror. He was up to his knees
in icy water.

He clambered out and sat shivering on the planks, while the knowledge
came to him that his prison was nothing else than the spring-house,
which Don had exhibited to him that afternoon during a tour of
sight-seeing. A narrow staging surrounded a large pool, he remembered;
in his journey about the place he had kept in touch with the walls, and
so had escaped a wetting, until his impetuous stride had plumped him
into it. Cold, wet, angry and miserable, he crept to the farther corner
of the house, to get as far as possible from the drafts that eddied
in under the door, and placing his back against the wall and wrapping
his wet garments about his knees, closed his eyes and tried to go to
sleep. He told himself that sleep was out of the question. But he was
mistaken, for presently his head fell over on one side and he slumbered.

When he awoke with a start, aroused by the sound of the opening of the
door, he stared blankly into the gloom and wondered for a moment where
he was. An oblong of gray at the end of the spring-house drew his
gaze. Two forms took shape, stumbled down the steps, and were lost in
the darkness. Then the door was closed again save for a narrow crevice.
His first thought that rescue was at hand was instantly dispelled. Some
one coughed painfully, and then:

“Phew, I’m nigh dead with cold,” said a weak, husky voice. “Two miles
from the village you said it was, didn’t yer? I’ll bet it’s five, all
right.”

“Well, you’re here now, ain’t yer?” responded a deeper voice,
impatiently. “So shut up. You make me tired, always kicking about
something. What do you expect, any way? Think the old codger’s going to
drive into town and hand the money over to yer? If you want anything
you’ve got to work for it.”

The two had sprawled themselves out on the floor to the left of the
doorway. Satterlee considered. Perhaps if he made his presence known,
the men, who were evidently tramps, would let him depart unmolested. On
the other hand, maybe they would be angry and cut his throat promptly
and very expertly, and drop his body into the pool. He shivered and
clenched his fists, resolved to perish bravely. He wished he were home
in his own bed; he wished--then he stopped wishing and listened.

“How long we got to stay here?” asked the first tramp wearily.

“We’ll wait till ’bout twelve. The doctor’s a great hand at staying up
late, I hear.”

“What time do you say it is now?”

“Half past eleven, I guess.”

“Phew!” The other whistled lugubriously. “I’ll be dead with the cold
by that time, Joe.” He went off into a paroxysm of coughing that made
Satterlee 2d, in spite of his terror, pity him, but which only brought
from his companion an angry command to make less noise.

“All right,” was the husky response, “give me some ’baccy, Joe? There’s
more’n time fer a bit of a smoke.” There followed sounds from across
the darkness and Satterlee 2d surmised that each was filling his pipe.
Then a match flared suddenly and lighted up the scene. The boy shut
his eyes and held his breath. Then he opened them the least crack and
peered across. The men were sitting just to the left of the doorway,
diagonally across from him. Between them lay the black oblong of water
splashed with orange by the flickering match. Satterlee 2d wondered
if it would never burn out! He could see only a tangled beard, a
glittering, half-closed eye, two big hands, between the fingers of
which the guarded light shone crimson. The light went out and he drew
a monstrous sigh of relief. The odor of tobacco floated across to him,
strong and pungent.

The two smoked silently for a moment. Satterlee 2d stared wide-eyed
into the darkness and tried to discover a way out of the difficulty.
From what little conversation he had overheard he judged that the
tramps meditated some crime against Doctor Willard, probably robbery.
If he entertained any doubt upon the subject it was quickly dispelled.
The tramp with the cough was talking.

“Who’s goin’ inside, Joe?”

“You; you’re smallest an’ lightest an’ can get through the window easy.
I’ll stand watch. If I whistle, make a run for it an’ try to get into
the woods across the road.”

“Ye-es, but I don’t know the lay of the room like you do, Joe.”

“Well, I’m goin’ to tell yer, ain’t I? When yer get through the window,
turn to yer right an’ keep along the wall; there ain’t nothin’ there
but bookcases; when yer get to the corner there’s a round table; look
out fer that. Keep along the wall again; there’s more book-shelves,
about six or eight feet of ’em. Then you comes to a high case with a
lid that lets down an’ makes a desk and swingin’ glass doors above it;
you know the sort o’ thing I mean, eh?”

“Old-fashion’ secretary,” said the other, evidently proud of his
knowledge.

“Correct! Well, you want to let down the lid----”

“Locked?”

“Likely it is; use ther little jimmy; the money’s in the lower drawer
on the left side. I don’t know what all’s there; better clean the
drawer out, see?”

Satterlee 2d was thinking hard, his heart in his throat and his pulse
hammering. He must get out of the spring-house somehow and warn the
doctor. But how? The men were practically between him and the door.
To make a dash for liberty would surely result disastrously; if they
caught him--Satterlee 2d’s teeth chattered! If he waited until they
went out and then followed he might be able to arouse the doctor or
scare the burglars away, _if_ they didn’t bolt the door again on the
outside, and so make him once more a prisoner. The only plan that
seemed at all feasible was to creep inch by inch to the doorway and
then make a dash for freedom. An impatient stir across the spring-house
warned him that whatever plan was to be tried must be attempted
speedily. He wriggled softly out of his bath-robe, gathered the skirt
of his nightgown in one hand, took a long breath, and started forward
on his hands and knees. The men were talking again, and one of the
pipes was sizzling loudly.

All went well for a moment, a moment that seemed an age, and he had
reached a point half-way to the door, when his hand slipped on the wet
boards with a noise, faint but distinct. He stopped short, his hair
stirring with fright.

“S--sh!” One of the men scrambled to his feet.

“What’s the matter?” growled the other.

“I heard somethin’--over there.”

“A frog, likely, you fool; got a match?”

Satterlee 2d was desperate. He was lost unless he could reach the
doorway first. He started forward again with less caution, and one
knee struck the floor sharply. A light flared out, and for a moment he
stared across the pool into two pairs of wide-open, gleaming eyes. Then
the match dropped into the water with a tiny hiss, and Satterlee 2d
leaped for the door. The streak of light was now but a scant two yards
distant. Near at hand sounded feet on the planking, and from the pool
came a splashing as one of the men rushed through the water. Then a
hand grasped the boy’s bare ankle. With a shriek he sprang forward, the
grasp was gone, and from behind him as he fled stumbling up the steps
came the sound of a heavy fall and a cry of triumph.

“I’ve got him!”

“You’ve got me, you fool! Let go!”

The next instant Satterlee 2d was through the doorway, had slammed
the portal behind him, and had shot the big iron bolt despairingly.
With closed eyes he leaned faint and panting against the oak while
blow after blow was rained on it from within and hoarse oaths told of
the terror of the prisoners. But the stout door showed no signs of
yielding, and Satterlee 2d opened his eyes and looked about him. The
night was cloudy, but the school-buildings were discernible scarce a
stone-throw away.

When Doctor Willard, awakened from sleep by the wild jangling of the
bell, drew his dressing-gown about him and looked forth, it was with
astonishment and alarm that he beheld a white-robed youth pulling
excitedly at the bell-knob. His astonishment was even greater when,
having found and adjusted his spectacles, he made out the youth to be
Satterlee 2d, who, by every rule of common sense, ought at that moment
to be asleep in the dormitory.

“But--but I don’t understand,” faltered the doctor. “Do you mean that
you have a gang of burglars locked up in the spring-house?”

“Yes, sir; two, sir; two burglars, sir!”

“Dear me, how alarming! But how----?”

“Don’t you think we could get the police, sir?”

“Um--er--to be sure. The police; yes. Wait where you are.”

The window closed, and presently the tinkle of a telephone bell
sounded. A minute or two later and Satterlee 2d, cold and aching, sat
before the big stove in the library, while the doctor shook and punched
the coals into activity.

“I’ve telephoned for the police,” said the doctor, gazing perplexedly
over his spectacles. “And now I would like to know what it all means,
my boy.”

“I--I was in the spring-house, sir,” began Satterlee 2d, “when I heard
a noise----”

“One moment,” interrupted the doctor. “What were you doing in the
spring-house at midnight?”

Satterlee dropped his eyes. He searched wildly for an explanation that
would not incriminate Donald and the others. Finally he gave it up.

“I--I’d rather not say, if you please, sir.”

“Um,” said the doctor. “Very well, we’ll pass over that for the
present. What happened when you heard a noise?”

Before Satterlee 2d had finished his story there came the sound of
wheels on the driveway without, which sent the doctor to the door. For
a minute the boy listened to the hum of voices in the hallway. Then he
commenced to nod--nod----

He awoke to find the winter sunlight streaming through the windows
of the doctor’s guest-chamber, and to learn from the clock on the
mantel that it was long after breakfast time. His clothes were beside
him on a chair and he tumbled into them hurriedly, the events of the
night flooding back to memory. He ate breakfast in solitary grandeur,
his thoughts fixed miserably on the explanation that must follow.
His indignation against Donald and the others had passed; he pitied
them greatly for the punishment which he felt certain would soon be
meted out to them. And he pitied himself because it was his lot to
bring that punishment about. His visions of popularity faded into
nothingness. For a moment he thought of cutting it all; of walking
straight from the dining-room to the station and disappearing from the
scene.

But when he pushed back his half-eaten breakfast and arose to his
feet it was to grip his hands rather tight, and with pale cheeks
walk, laggingly but directly, to the school hall. Prayers were over,
and the doctor was rubbing his spectacles reflectively, preparatory
to addressing the pupils. Satterlee 2d’s advent created a wave of
excitement, and all eyes were on him as he strode to his seat. The
doctor donned his glasses and surveyed the scene.

“Satterlee 2d!”

That youth arose, his heart thumping sickeningly.

“There was a portion of your story,” said the head master suavely,
“which you did not tell last night. Kindly explain now, if you please,
how you came to be in the spring-house at midnight.”

Satterlee 2d looked despairingly at the doctor, looked desperately
about the room. Brother Donald was scowling blackly at his ink-well.
Burtis, the school leader, was observing him gravely, and in his look
Satterlee 2d thought he read encouragement. The doctor coughed gently.

Satterlee 2d had been taught the enormity of lying, and his conscience
revolted at the task before him. But Don and the others must be spared.
He made a heroic effort.

“Please, sir, I went to get a drink.”

Depressing silence followed. Satterlee 2d’s eyes sought the floor.

“Indeed?” inquired the doctor, pleasantly. “And did you get your drink?”

“Yes, sir.” Satterlee 2d breathed easier. After all, lying wasn’t so
difficult.

“Ah, and then why didn’t you return to the dormitory?”

“The--door was locked, sir.”

Somebody near by groaned softly. Satterlee 2d wondered.

“On the inside?” pursued the doctor.

Too late Satterlee 2d saw his blunder. He gazed appealingly at the
inexorable countenance on the platform. Then,

“No, sir,” he answered in low tones, “on the outside.”

“Strange,” mused the head master. “Do you know who locked it?”

“No, sir.” He gave a sigh of relief. That, at least, was no more than
the truth.

“You may sit down.” Satterlee 2d sank into his seat.

“Which of you locked that door?” The doctor’s gaze swept the
schoolroom. Silence followed. Then two youths were on their feet
simultaneously. One was Burtis, the other was Satterlee 1st. The doctor
turned to the former.

“Am I to understand that you had a hand in this, Burtis?” he asked,
surprise in his voice.

“No, sir. If you please, sir, what I want to say is that the school as
a whole had nothing to do with this hazing, sir, and we--we don’t like
it. And if those that had a hand in it don’t own up, sir, I’ll give
their names. That’s all, sir.”

He sat down. Young Mr. Sears signified excited approbation by clapping
his hands until he found the doctor’s gaze upon him, whereupon he
subsided suddenly with very red cheeks. The doctor turned to Satterlee
1st.

“Well, sir?”

Brother Donald shot an angry glance at Burtis.

“Burtis needn’t talk so big, sir; he’d better give a fellow a chance
before he threatens----”

“That will do, my boy; if you have anything to say let me hear it at
once.”

“I--I locked that door, sir.”

“Indeed? And did you have any help in the matter?”

Brother Donald dropped his gaze and was silent. Then, with much
shuffling of unwilling feet, slowly, one after another, five other boys
stood up.

“Well, Perkins?” asked the doctor.

“I helped,” said that youth.

“And the rest of you?” Four subdued voices answered affirmatively. The
doctor frowned from one to the other. Then,

“You may take your seats,” he said, severely.

The six sank into their places and miserably awaited judgment. The
doctor ran his fingers thoughtfully over the leaves of the big
dictionary on the corner of his desk, then began to speak. The
discourse that followed was listened to with flattering attention.
It dealt very fully with the evils of hazing and seemed to promise
something quite unusual in the way of punishment. Brother Donald had
fully five minutes of the discourse all to himself, but appeared not at
all stuck up because of the attention. In fact, when he had listened
to all the doctor had to say on the subject of brotherly conduct, his
countenance was expressive of shame rather than conceit. Altogether,
it was quite the most exhaustive “wigging” in the recollection of the
oldest pupil in the school, and therefore it was with genuine surprise
that the Doctor’s concluding sentences were heard.

“In the present case,” he said, “I am inclined to be lenient.
Unwittingly you have prevented the probable loss to me of several
hundred dollars, and have secured the arrest of two members of society
who are--hem--better placed in jail than outside. This does not morally
exempt you from blame; your conduct is none the less despicable; but,
nevertheless, in view of these circumstances, I shall make your
punishment as light as is consistent. But first you will give me your
promise that never, so long as you are in my school, will you take part
in or countenance hazing in any form, shape or manner whatsoever. Have
I that promise?”

Six voices sounded as one.

“Very well. Now I shall require all six of you to remain within bounds
until the Easter vacation. This means that you will not be privileged,
as usual, to visit the village on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
That is all. You will please carefully remember what I have said. We
will now take up the lessons.”

A well-defined murmur of relief passed over the room. Then,

“If you please, sir,” said a voice, quietly, from among the boys.

The doctor glanced up.

“What is it, Satterlee 2d?”

“If you please, sir, I’d like to take the punishment with the others,
sir.”

“Indeed?” The doctor looked puzzled. “And for what reason?”

“For--for lying, sir.”

“For what?”

“For--for not telling the truth, sir.”

“H--m.”

The doctor removed his spectacles and polished them slowly, very
slowly, as if he were doing some hard thinking. Then he replaced them
and faced the class.

“I--hem--I will exempt you from punishment. It isn’t what you deserve,
not by a great deal, but--you may thank Satterlee 2d.”

Satterlee 2d’s popularity began at that moment.



A PAIR OF POACHERS


Tom Pierson strode briskly down the hill, fishing-rod in hand. As long
as he had been in sight of the school he had skulked in the shadow of
the hedges, for he knew that Satterlee 2d was looking for him, and the
society of that youth was the last thing he desired at present. For
Satterlee 2d possessed the highly erroneous idea that the best way to
catch trout was to make as much noise as possible and to toss sticks
and pebbles into the brook. And so Tom, a devout disciple of Izaak
Walton, preferred to do without his chum when he went fishing.

The time was a quarter after four of a late May afternoon. Tom had
tossed the last book into his desk and slammed the lid just fifteen
minutes before. From the school-hall he had sneaked to the dormitory,
and secured his rod, line, and flies. Even as he had descended warily
by means of the fire-escape, he had heard the voice of Satterlee
2d calling his name in the corridor. He had reached the brook
path undetected by dodging from dormitory to school-hall and from
school-hall to engine-house, and so to the protecting shadows of the
high hedge that marked the western limit of the school-grounds. Most of
the other two dozen pupils of Willard’s were down on the field, busy
with balls and bats. But no form of athletics appealed to Tom Pierson
as did angling, and to-day, with the white clouds chasing one another
across the blue sky and the alder-bordered brook in sight, he was
almost happy. Almost, but not quite; for even at sixteen life is not
always clear of trouble. Tom’s trouble was “Old Crusty.” If it were not
for “Old Crusty,” he thought gloomily, as he swung his pole through the
new grass, he would be quite happy.

“Old Crusty’s” real name, you must know, was Professor Bailey: he
was one of the two submasters; and as for being old, he was in truth
scarce over forty--a good ten years younger than Doctor Willard, the
head master, to whom, for some reason, the fellows never thought of
referring as “Old Willard.” Professor Bailey and Tom had never, from
the first, got on at all well together. The professor believed Tom
quite capable of mastering mathematics as well as others of his form,
and had scant patience for the boy’s sorry performances. Tom believed
that “Old Crusty” dealt more severely with him than with the rest--in
short, to use his own expression, that the professor “had it in for
him.” One thing is certain: the more the submaster lectured Tom and
ridiculed his efforts before the class, the more he kept him in after
school, the less Tom knew of mathematics, and the wider grew the breach
between pupil and teacher.

In all other studies Tom was eminently successful, and there is
no doubt but that with a better understanding between him and the
submaster the former would have made a creditable showing in the
science that was at present the bane of his life. But, as it was, Tom
hated “Old Crusty” with a great hatred, while the submaster felt for
Tom a large contempt, if not an absolute aversion. And it must be
acknowledged that Tom gave him sufficient cause.

A great deal of this passed through Tom’s mind as he descended the path
and reached the shelter of the low-spreading alders that marked the
course of the brook. But, with the sound of the bubbling water in his
ears, he put trouble behind him. Laying aside his coat, he fitted his
split-bamboo rod, and studied the sky and the pool before him. Then
he chose a rather worn brown fly, and cast it gently into the center
of the limpid basin. Above him the branches almost met, and he knew
from experience that if he hooked a trout he would have to play him
down-stream before he could land him. Ten minutes passed, but, save for
the inquiring nibble of a sunfish or similar small fry, he found no
encouragement. The sun went behind a large cloud, and Tom changed his
fly for a bright red-and-gray one. But even that failed to entice the
trout. He grew impatient, for the school rules required him to be back
in bounds by half past five. Presently he drew in his line, donned his
coat, and made his way noiselessly down-stream. When he had gone some
ten yards, creeping from bank to rock and from rock to bank again, not
without more than once filling his scuffed shoes with water, he came
to a fence, the rails of which reached straight across the stream,
which here narrowed to a rocky cascade. On the trunk of a big willow at
one side there was a board. On the board was the legend:

    PRIVATE PROPERTY

    TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED

    TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW

Tom winked at the sign, and climbed the fence. He did it so nimbly
and expeditiously as to suggest a certain amount of experience. In
truth, Tom had crossed that fence before, not once but several times,
since the trout had commenced to bite that spring. If it will make
his conduct appear any less heinous, it may be said in his behalf
that he always gave a fair trial to that part of the brook within the
school-grounds, and only when success failed him there did he defy the
law and become a trespasser on the estate of Fernwood. It would be
interesting to know whether old Father Walton always respected “No
trespassing” signs. Whether he did or did not, he appears to have left
as a heritage to his followers a special code of morals where forbidden
property is concerned; for often a man who will hold the theft of an
apple from a roadside orchard in utmost horror will not hesitate to
extract a fish from a neighbor’s brook and bear it off in complacent,
untroubled triumph. If I have dealt at undue length upon this subject,
it is because, for the sake of my hero, I wish the reader to view such
amateur poaching as his with as lenient an eye as possible.

Fernwood held one widely celebrated pool, from which, even when all
of the other pools refused to give up a single fish, the practised
angler could invariably draw at least a trio of good-sized trout.
Toward this ideal spot Tom Pierson, making his way very quietly that
he might not disturb and so cause unnecessary trouble to a couple of
very alert gardeners, directed his steps. Once, in spite of care, his
line became entangled, and once he went to his knees in the icy water.
Yet both these mishaps but whetted his appetite for the sport ahead.
When he had gained a spot a dozen yards up-stream from the big pool,
he paused, laid aside pole-rod and paraphernalia, and crept cautiously
forward to reconnoiter. If, he argued very plausibly, discovery was
to fall to his lot, at least it were better to be found guiltless
of fishing-tackle. He crouched still lower, as, over by a clump of
dead willows within the school bounds, he espied through the trees
the jauntily appareled Satterlee briskly whipping the surface of the
brook with unsportsmanlike energy and apparent disregard of results.
Tom, however, knew himself to be unobserved, so felt no fear from that
source. But just as the dark waters of the pool came into sight between
the lapping branches, a sound, close at hand and unmistakable as to
origin, caused his heart to sink with disappointment. There would be no
fishing for him to-day, for some one was already at the pool. The soft
click of a running-reel came plainly to his ears.

He paused motionless, silent, and scowled darkly in the direction
of the unseen angler. Then he went forward again, peering under the
leaves. At least he would know who it was that had spoiled his sport.
Three steps--four; then he suddenly stood upright and gasped loudly.
His eyes opened until they seemed about to pop out of his head, and
he rubbed them vigorously, as though he doubted their evidence. After
a moment he again stooped, this time sinking almost to his knees, and
never heeding the icy water that well-nigh benumbed his immersed feet.
On the farther side of the broad pool, in plain sight, stood “Old
Crusty!”

He was hatless and coatless, and palpitant with the excitement of
the sport. His lean and somewhat sallow face was flushed above the
prominent cheek-bones, and his gray eyes sparkled brightly in the
gloom of the clustering branches. He stood lithely erect, the usual
studious stoop of the shoulders gone for the time, and, with one hand
firmly grasping the butt of his rod and the other guarding the reel,
was giving every thought to the playing of a big trout that, fly in
mouth, was darting and tugging until the slender basswood bent nearly
double. As Tom looked, surprised, breathless with the excitement of
his discovery, the fish shot under the shelter of an overhanging
boulder, weary and sulky, and the angler began slowly to reel in his
line. Inch by inch came the trout, now without remonstrance, now
jumping and slashing like ten fishes, yet ever nearing the captor and
the landing-net. It was a glorious battle, and Tom, forgetting all
else, crept nearer and nearer through the leaves until, hidden only
by a screen of alder branches, he stood at the up-stream edge of the
basin. At length, resisting heroically, fighting every inch of the
way, the trout was drawn close in to the flat rock where stood his
exultant captor. The latter reached a hand softly out and seized the
landing-net. Then, kneeling on the brink of the pool, with one leg, he
made a sudden dip; there was an instant of swishing, then up came net
and trout, and----

At the end of the pool there was a terrifying splash, a muttered cry,
and Tom, forgetful of his precarious footing, sat down suddenly and
forcibly on a stone, his legs up to the knees in water. The landing-net
dropped from the angler’s hand, and the trout, suddenly restored to his
element, dashed madly off, while the reel screeched loudly as the line
ran out. The professor, white of face, stared amazedly at Tom. Tom
stared defiantly, triumphantly back at the professor. For a long, long
minute the two gazed at each other across the sun-flecked water. Then,
with a shrug of his shoulders, “Old Crusty” stooped and recovered his
rod. When he again faced the boy there was a disagreeable expression
about his mouth.

“Well, Pierson,” he said as he wound up his line, “you’re better at
playing the spy than at studying your lessons, it seems.”

The blood rushed into Tom’s face, but he held his tongue. He could
well afford to pass the insult, he argued with savage triumph; “Old
Crusty” was in his power. He had only to inform Dr. Willard, and,
beyond a doubt, the submaster’s connection with the school would
terminate instantly. The head master held poaching to be the deadliest
of sins, and poaching on Fernwood especially heinous. That his enemy
was poaching, that he did not hold permission to whip the big pool,
was evident from the confusion into which Tom’s sudden entry on to the
scene had thrown him. Yes, “Old Crusty” could vent his anger to his
heart’s content; for, when all was said, Tom still held the whip-hand.
But then the enormity of the crime with which he had been charged
struck Tom with full force, like a blow in the face. At Willard’s, as
at all schools, spying, like tale-bearing, was held by the pupils to be
something far beneath contempt. And “Old Crusty” had called him a spy!
The blood again dyed the boy’s face, and he clambered to his soaking
feet and faced the submaster angrily.

“It’s a lie!” he said hotly. “I was not spying. I didn’t follow you
here.”

The submaster raised his eyebrows incredulously.

“Is that the truth?” he asked.

“I don’t lie,” answered Tom, with righteous indignation, glaring hatred
across the pool.

“Ah,” said the other. “In that case I beg your pardon. I retract my
remark, Pierson.”

The line was again taut, and now, apparently indifferent to the boy’s
presence, he began to play the trout once more, warily, slowly. Tom
looked on from his rock, the intensity of his anger past. He was
forced to acknowledge that “Old Crusty” had at least apologized
honestly and fairly; he wished he hadn’t: somehow, he felt at a
disadvantage. And there was the enemy proceeding with his wicked sport
for all the world as though Tom did not hold his fate in his hand, as
it were! Tom swelled with indignation.

“I suppose you know you’re poaching?” he asked, presently, breaking the
long silence. The submaster did not turn his head; he merely drew his
brows together as though in protest at the interruption. Tom scowled.
What a hardened criminal “Old Crusty” was, to be sure!

The trout had but little fight left in him now, and his journey back
across the pool was almost without excitement. Only when he felt the
imminence of the shore did he call upon his flagging strength and make
one last gallant struggle for liberty. To such purpose did he battle
then, however, that the man at the rod was forced to play out a yard
or so of line. Tom’s interest was again engaged, and, much against his
inclination, he had to acknowledge that “Old Crusty” was a master
angler. And with that thought came another and a strange one, and it
was just this:

“Why,” he asked himself, “if he can be as wonderfully patient with a
trout as all that, why can’t he be a little patient with me?”

Suddenly, with the trout almost under the bank, the angler paused and
looked about him, at a loss. Tom instantly divined his quandary; the
landing-net was floating on the surface of the pool fully three yards
distant. Tom grinned with malicious satisfaction for a moment; but
then----

“Will you take the rod a minute?” asked “Old Crusty,” just as though
there was no enmity between them. “I’ll have to get that net somehow.”

Tom looked from the net to his soaking shoes and trousers. There was
but one thing to do.

“I’ll get it,” he answered. “I’m wet already.”

He threw aside coat and hat, and waded in. The professor watched him
with expressionless face. Tom secured the runaway net, and came out,
dripping to his armpits, at the submaster’s side. But when he offered
the net the other only asked anxiously:

“Do you think you can land him? The leader’s almost cut through, and
I’m afraid to bring him in any farther.”

Tom hesitated, net in hand.

“That will be all right,” continued the other; “I promise you I’ll
never tell that you had a hand in it.”

Tom flushed.

“I wasn’t thinking of that,” he said. “Hold him steady, and I’ll get
him.”

He knelt on the rock and looked for the trout. It was nearly two yards
away and well under the water. He put one foot over the edge and groped
about until he found a support for it below the surface. But even then
his arm was too short to get the net to the fish.

“Can’t you coax him in another foot?” he asked anxiously.

“I’ll try,” answered “Old Crusty.” “If the line will hold----”

He wound gingerly. The gleaming sides of the trout came toward the
surface. Tom reached out with the net, slipped it quietly into the
pool, and moved it toward the prey.

[Illustration: Tom moved the net toward the prey.]

“Now!” whispered the professor, intensely.

Up came the landing-net, and with it, floundering mightily and casting
the glittering drops into the air, came the captive.

“Well done!” cried the professor, laying aside his rod. Praise from an
enemy is the sweetest praise of all, and Tom’s heart gave a bound. The
professor seized the trout, took it from the net, and, laying it upon
the bank, removed the hook from its gasping mouth. Then, with a finger
crooked through its gill, he held it admiringly aloft.

“Isn’t he a beauty?” he asked.

“You bet!” replied Tom, in awestruck tones. “The biggest I ever saw in
this stream. Must be two pounds and a half, sir?”

“Well, two pounds easily,” answered “Old Crusty,” shutting one eye and
hefting his troutship knowingly.

“What will you do with him?” asked Tom.

The other smiled. For answer he knelt again on the rock, and, removing
his hold, allowed the fish to slide from his open palms back into the
pool. Tom’s eyes grew round with surprise. The trout, after one brief
moment of amazement quite as vast as the boy’s, scuttled from sight.
Tom turned questioning eyes upon the professor. The latter shrugged his
shoulders and smiled.

“I don’t want him; he would be of no use to me, Pierson. All I want is
the joy of catching him.”

He turned, donned his hat and coat, and began to wind up his
line, examining the frayed leader critically. Tom began to feel
uncomfortable; it seemed to him that the truce should be at an end now,
and that he ought to take his departure. But he didn’t; he merely stood
by and watched. Presently the professor turned to him again, a rather
rueful smile on his lips.

“Pierson,” he said, “what are you going to do with me now that you’ve
caught me here where poachers and trespassers are forbidden?”

Tom dropped his gaze, but made no answer. The submaster thrust the
sections of his rod into a brown leather case and slipped his fly-book
into his coat pocket. Then he said suddenly:

“Look here, Pierson, I’m going to ask a favor of you: don’t say
anything about this to the doctor, please.”

Tom’s momentary qualm of pity disappeared. “Old Crusty” was begging
for mercy! The boy experienced the glow of proud satisfaction felt
by the gladiator of old when, his foot on the neck of the vanquished
opponent, he heard the crowded Colosseum burst into applause. But
with the elation of the conqueror was mingled the disappointment of
one who sees the shattering of an idol. “Old Crusty” had been to him
the personification of injustice and tyranny; but never once had
Tom doubted his honesty or courage. An enemy he had been, but an
honored one. And now the honesty was stripped away. “Old Crusty” had
not the courage to stand up like a man and take his punishment, but
had descended so low as to beg his enemy to aid him in the cowardly
concealment of his crime! And this man had dared to call him a spy! Tom
gulped in an effort to restrain his angry indignation.

And all the while he had been looking across the pool, and so was not
aware that the submaster had been studying his face very intently, or
that the submaster’s lips held a queer little smile oddly at variance
with the character of a detected criminal at the mercy of his enemy.

The detected criminal continued his specious pleading.

“You see, Pierson,” he said, “there’s just one thing that can happen to
a person in my position convicted of poaching, and that’s discharge.
Of course you don’t recognize much difference between discharge and
resignation; but I do: the difference is apparent when it comes to
obtaining a new position. A discharged instructor is a hopeless
proposition; one who has resigned may, in the course of time, find
another place. And so what I ask you to do is to keep quiet and give me
time to resign.”

“Oh!” said Tom. His faith in mankind was reestablished. He had
misjudged the enemy. After all, “Old Crusty” was worthy of his hatred.
He was very glad. But before he could find an answer the other went on:

“If I were a younger man, Pierson, my chances would be better. But at
my time of life losing my position means a good deal. You must see
that. And--could you give me until to-morrow evening?”

Tom nodded without looking up. He wanted to say something, he didn’t at
all know what. But the elation was all gone, and he felt--oh, miserably
mean!

“Thank you,” said the submaster, pleasantly. “And now I think we’d best
go home. You should get those wet clothes off as soon as possible.”
He looked at his watch. “I had no idea it was so late,” he muttered.
“We’ll have to hurry.” He moved off along the edge of the stream, and
Tom recovered coat and hat and followed. He didn’t feel happy. His
thoughts were fixed on matters other than his footing, and more than
once he went into the brook. Presently he broke the silence.

“Are you going to--resign, sir?”

“Doesn’t that seem best, Pierson?”

“I--I don’t know,” muttered Tom. There was another silence, lasting for
a few yards. Then, “I--I wish you wouldn’t, sir,” he said with a gulp.

“Eh?” The submaster paused, turned, and faced him in surprise. “What’s
that, Pierson?”

Tom cleared his throat.

“I said--I wished you wouldn’t; resign, you know.”

“What do you mean?” asked the other. “Do you want to have me
discharged, or----”

“No, sir, I don’t,” answered the boy, getting his voice back. “I--I’m
not going to tell at all, sir--ever!”

“How’s that?” asked the submaster, in puzzled tones. “You don’t like
me the least bit in the world, my boy; in fact, I’m not sure you don’t
hate me heartily. Doesn’t it strike you that you’ve got your chance
now? Get rid of me, Pierson, and there’ll be no mathematics--for a
while.”

“I don’t want to get rid of you,” muttered Tom, shamefacedly. “I--I
didn’t like you: you’d never let me; you’ve always been as hard on me
as you could be. I can get those lessons--I know I can!--if you’ll only
not be down on me. I did hate you, sir”--he looked up with a gleam of
the old defiance--“but I don’t any longer.”

“Why?” asked “Old Crusty,” after a moment, very quietly and kindly. Tom
shook his head.

“I don’t know--exactly. I guess because you’re a good trout fisher, and
you begged my pardon, and--and you treated me like--like--” He faltered
and came to a pause, at a loss for words. But the other nodded his head
as though he understood.

“I see,” he muttered. Then, “Look here, Pierson,” he said, “I see that
I’ve been mistaken about you; I’ve been greatly at fault. I tell you so
frankly; and--I’m sorry. If I were going to remain I think you and I
would get on a lot better together.”

“Yes, sir,” answered Tom, eagerly. “And--and couldn’t you stay, sir?”

The other was silent a moment, looking smilingly at the boy’s bent
head. At length, “If I should accept of your--ah--mercy, Pierson, it
would have to be understood that there was no bargain between us. I
think we’d get on better, you and I, but I wouldn’t buy your silence.
If you ever needed a wigging or any other punishment I’d give it to
you. Would you agree to that?”

“I don’t want any old bargain, sir,” Tom cried. “And I’ll take the
punishment. I’m--I’m not a baby!”

“Good! Shake hands. Now let us hurry home.”

“Yes, sir, but--just a minute, please.” Tom darted into the wood and
came back with his rod and flies. He did not try to conceal them, but
he looked sheepishly up into the submaster’s face. This was a study
of conflicting emotions. In the end amusement got the better of the
others, and he viewed Tom with a broad smile.

“And so there is a pair of us, eh?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” answered Tom. The submaster laughed softly and put one hand
companionably upon the boy’s shoulder.

“Pierson,” he said, “suppose you and I agree to reform?”

“All right, sir.”

“No more poaching, eh? After this we’ll stick to our own preserves.”

“Yes, sir. I’m willing if you are.”

“Because, after all, we can’t improve on that trite old proverb which
says that honesty is the best policy, can we?”

“No, sir,” Tom responded.

They left the thicket together and began the ascent of the meadow hill.
Twilight was gathering, and a sharp-edged crescent of silver glowed
in the evening sky above the tower of the school-hall. It was the
submaster who broke the silence first.

“And yet there are fine trout in the big pool,” he said, musingly.

Tom sighed unconsciously. “Aren’t there, though?” he asked.

“I took one out one day last spring that weighed nearly three pounds,”
continued the submaster.

Tom sighed again. “Did you?” he asked dolefully.

“Yes; and--look here, Pierson, tell me, how would you like to fish
there as often as you wanted through the trout season?”

“I’d like it!” answered Tom, briefly and succinctly, wishing,
nevertheless, that the submaster wouldn’t pursue such a harrowing
subject.

“Would you? Well, now, I haven’t the least doubt in the world but that
I can obtain permission for you. Mr. Greenway is a friend of mine, and
while he wouldn’t care to allow the whole school to go in there, I’m
certain that----”

“A friend of yours?” gasped Tom. “Then--then----”

The submaster smiled apologetically as he replied:

“No, Pierson, I wasn’t poaching.”

Tom stared in amazement and dismay.

“But--but you said----”

“No, I didn’t say it, but I allowed you to think it; and I plead guilty
to a measure of deceit. But I think you’ll forgive it, my boy, because
it has led to--well, to a better understanding between us. Don’t you
think it has?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Tom, wondering but happy.

“Good; and-- Hello, there’s the bell!” cried the submaster. “Let’s run
for it!”

And they did.



BREWSTER’S DÉBUT


I

The gong clanged, the last man sprang aboard, and the car trundled
away to the accompaniment of a final lusty cheer from the crowd which
still lingered in front of the hotel. Then a corner was turned, and the
last long-drawn “_Er-r-rskine!_” was cut short by intercepting walls.
The throngs were streaming out to the field where, on the smooth green
diamond, the rival nines of Robinson and Erskine were to meet in the
deciding game of the season. For a while the car with its dozen or so
passengers followed the crowds, but presently it swung eastward toward
the railroad, and then made its way through a portion of Collegetown,
which, to one passenger at least, looked far from attractive.

Ned Brewster shared one of the last seats with a big leather bat-bag,
and gave himself over to his thoughts. The mere fact of his presence
there in the special trolley-car as a substitute on the Erskine varsity
nine was alone wonderful enough to keep his thoughts busy for a week.
Even yet he had not altogether recovered from his surprise.

Ned had played the season through at center field on the freshman nine,
and had made a name for himself as a batsman. On Thursday the freshman
team had played its last game, had met with defeat, and had disbanded.
Ned, trotting off the field, his heart bitter with disappointment at
the outcome of the final contest, had heard his name called, and had
turned to confront “Big Jim” Milford, the varsity captain.

“I wish you would report at the varsity table to-night, Brewster,”
Milford had said. Then he had turned abruptly away, perhaps to avoid
smiling outright at the expression of bewilderment on the freshman’s
countenance. Ned never was certain whether he had made any verbal
response; but he remembered the way in which his heart had leaped into
his throat and stuck there, as well as the narrow escape he had had
from dashing his brains out against the locker-house, owing to the
fact that he had covered most of the way thither at top speed. That had
been on Thursday; to-day, which was Saturday, he was a substitute on
the varsity, with a possibility--just that and no more--of playing for
a minute or two against Robinson, and so winning his E in his freshman
year, a feat accomplished but seldom!

Ned had been the only member of the freshman nine taken on the varsity
that spring. At first this had bothered him; there were two or three
others--notably Barrett, the freshman captain--who were, in his
estimation, more deserving of the good fortune than he. But, strange
to say, it had been just those two or three who had shown themselves
honestly glad at his luck, while the poorest player on the nine had
loudly hinted at favoritism. Since Thursday night Ned had, of course,
made the acquaintance of all the varsity men, and they had treated him
as one of themselves. But they were all, with the single exception of
Stilson, seniors and juniors, and Ned knew that a freshman is still a
freshman, even if he does happen to be a varsity substitute. Hence he
avoided all appearance of trying to force himself upon the others, and
so it was that on his journey to the grounds he had only a bat-bag for
companion.

The closely settled part of town was left behind now, and the car
was speeding over a smooth, elm-lined avenue. Windows held the brown
banners of Robinson, but not often did a dash of purple meet the gaze
of the Erskine players. At the farther end of the car McLimmont and
Housel and Lester were gathered about “Baldy” Simson, the trainer, and
their laughter arose above the talk and whistling of the rest. Nearer
at hand, across the aisle, sat “Lady” Levett, the big first-baseman.
Ned wondered why he was called “Lady.” There was nothing ladylike
apparent about him. He was fully six feet one, broad of shoulder,
mighty of chest, deep of voice, and dark of complexion--a jovial,
bellowing giant whom everybody liked. Beside Levett sat Page, the head
coach, and Hovey, the manager. Then there were Greene and Captain
Milford beyond, and across from them Hill and Kesner, both substitutes.
In the seat in front of Ned two big chaps were talking together. They
were Billings and Stilson, the latter a sophomore.

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” Billings was saying. “If we lose I’ll buy
you a dinner at the Elm Tree Monday night; if we win you do the same
for me.”

“Oh, I don’t bet!”

“Get out! That’s fair, isn’t it, Brownie?”

A little round-faced chap across the aisle nodded laughingly. His name
was Browne and he played short-stop. He wrote his name with an _e_, and
so his friends gave him the full benefit of it.

“Yes, that’s fair,” said Browne. “We’re bound to lose.”

“Oh, what are you afraid of?” said Stilson.

“No; that’s straight! We haven’t much show; we can’t hit Dithman.”

“_You_ can’t, maybe,” jeered Stilson.

“I’ll bet you can’t either, my chipper young friend!”

“I’ll bet I get a hit off him!”

“Oh, _one_!”

“Well, two, then. Come, now!”

“No; I won’t bet,” answered Browne, grinning. “If there’s a prize
ahead, there’s no telling what you’ll do; is there, Pete?”

“No; he might even make a run,” responded Billings. “But it’s going to
take more than two hits to win this game,” he went on, dropping his
voice, “for I’ll just tell you they’re going to pound Hugh all over the
field.”

“Well, what if they do get a dozen runs or so?” said Stilson. “Haven’t
we got a mighty batter, imported especially for the occasion, to win
out for us?”

“Whom do you mean?” asked Billings.

“I mean the redoubtable Mr. Brewster, of course--the freshman Joan of
Arc who is to lead us to vict----”

“Not so loud,” whispered Browne, glancing at Ned’s crimsoning cheeks.

Stilson swung around and shot a look at the substitute, then turned
back grinning.

“Cleared off nicely, hasn’t it?” he observed, with elaborate
nonchalance.

Ned said to himself, “He’s got it in for me because he knows that if I
play it will be in his place.”

The car slowed down with much clanging of gong, and pushed its way
through the crowd before the entrance to the field. Then, with a final
jerk, it came to a stop. “All out, fellows!” cried Hovey; and Ned
followed the others through the throng, noisy with the shouts of ticket
and score-card venders, to the gate and dressing-room.


II

Ned sat on the bench. With him were Hovey, the manager, who was
keeping score, Hill and Kesner, substitutes like himself, and, at the
farther end, Simson, the trainer, and Page, the head coach. Page had
pulled his straw hat far over his eyes, but from under the brim he was
watching sharply every incident of the diamond, the while he talked
with expressionless countenance to “Baldy.” Back of them the grand
stand was purple with flags and ribbons, but at a little distance
on either side the purple gave place to the brown of Robinson. Back
of third base, at the west end of the stand, the Robinson College
band held forth brazenly at intervals, making up in vigor what it
lacked in tunefulness. In front of the spectators the diamond spread
deeply green, save where the base-lines left the dusty red-brown
earth exposed, and marked with lines and angles of lime, which gleamed
snow-white in the afternoon sunlight. Beyond the diamond the field
stretched, as smooth and even as a great velvet carpet, to a distant
fence and a line of trees above whose tops a turret or tower here and
there indicated the whereabouts of town and college.

Ned had sat there on the bench during six innings, the sun burning
his neck and the dust from the batsman’s box floating into his face.
In those six innings he had seen Erskine struggle pluckily against
defeat--a defeat which now, with the score 12-6 in Robinson’s favor,
hovered, dark and ominous, above her. Yet he had not lost hope; perhaps
his optimism was largely due to the fact that he found it difficult
to believe that Fate could be so cruel as to make the occasion of his
first appearance with the varsity team one of sorrow. He was only
seventeen, and his idea of Fate was a kind-hearted, motherly old
soul with a watchful interest in his welfare. Yet he was forced to
acknowledge that Fate, or somebody, was treating him rather shabbily.
The first half of the seventh was as good as over, and still he kicked
his heels idly beneath the bench. Page didn’t seem to be even aware of
his presence. To be sure, there were Hill and Kesner in the same box,
but that didn’t bring much comfort. Besides, any one with half an eye
could see that Stilson should have been taken off long ago; he hadn’t
made a single hit, and already had three errors marked against him. Ned
wondered how his name would look in the column instead of Stilson’s,
and edged along the bench until he could look over Hovey’s shoulder.
The manager glanced up, smiled in a perfunctory way, and credited the
Robinson runner with a stolen base. Ned read the batting list again:

    BILLINGS, r. f.
    GREENE, l. f.
    MILFORD, 2b., Capt.
    LESTER, p.
    BROWNE, ss.
    HOUSEL, c.
    MCLIMMONT, 3b.
    LEVETT, 1b.
    STILSON, c. f.

There was a sudden burst of applause from the seats behind, and a
red-faced senior with a wilted collar balanced himself upon the railing
and begged for “one more good one, fellows!” The first of the seventh
was at an end, and the Erskine players, perspiring and streaked with
dust, trotted in. “Lady” Levett sank down on the bench beside Ned with
a sigh, and fell to examining the little finger of his left hand,
which looked very red, and which refused to work in unison with its
companions.

“Hurt?” asked Ned.

“Blame thing’s bust, I guess,” said “Lady,” disgustedly. “Oh, Baldy,
got some tape there?”

The trainer, wearing the anxious air of a hen with one chicken, bustled
up with his black bag, and Ned watched the bandaging of the damaged
finger until the sudden calling of his name by the head coach sent his
heart into his throat and brought him leaping to his feet with visions
of hopes fulfilled. But his heart subsided again in the instant, for
what Page said was merely:

“Brewster, you go over there and catch for Greene, will you?” And
then, turning again to the bench, “Kesner, you play left field next
half.”

Ned picked up a catcher’s mitt, and for the rest of the half caught
the balls that the substitute pitcher sent him as he warmed up to
take Lester’s place. Greene didn’t keep him so busy, however, that he
couldn’t watch the game. Milford had hit safely to right field and
had reached second on a slow bunt by Lester. The wavers of the purple
flags implored little Browne to “smash it out!” But the short-stop
never found the ball, and Housel took his place and lifted the sphere
just over second-baseman’s head into the outfield. The bases were full.
The red-faced senior was working his arms heroically and begging in
husky tones for more noise. And when, a minute later, McLimmont took up
his bat and faced the Robinson pitcher, the supporters of the purple
went mad up there on the sun-smitten stand and drowned the discordant
efforts of the Robinson band.

McLimmont rubbed his hands in the dust, rubbed the dust off on his
trousers, and swung his bat. Dithman, who had puzzled Erskine batters
all day and had pitched a magnificent game for six innings, shook
himself together. McLimmont waited. No, thank you, he didn’t care for
that out-shoot, nor for that drop, nor for-- What? A strike, did he
say? Well, perhaps it did go somewhere near the plate, though to see
it coming you’d have thought it was going to be a passed ball! One and
two, wasn’t it? Thanks; there was no hurry then, so he’d just let that
in-curve alone, wait until something worth while came along, and--_Eh!_
what was that? Strike two! Well, well, well, of all the umpires this
fellow must be a beginner! Never mind that, though. But he’d have to
look sharp now or else----

_Crack!_

Off sped the ball, and off sped McLimmont. The former went over
first-baseman’s head; the latter swung around the bag like an
automobile taking a corner, and raced for second, reaching it on his
stomach a second before the ball. There was rejoicing where the purple
flags fluttered, for Captain Milford and Lester had scored.

But Erskine’s good fortune ended there. McLimmont was thrown out while
trying to steal third, and Levett popped a short fly into the hands of
the pitcher. Greene trotted off to the box, and Ned walked dejectedly
back to the bench. Page stared at him in surprise. Then, “Didn’t I tell
you to play center field?” he ejaculated.

Ned’s heart turned a somersault and landed in his throat. He stared
dumbly back at the head coach and shook his head. As he did so he
became aware of Stilson’s presence on the bench.

“What? Well, get a move on!” said Page.

Get a move on! Ned went out to center as though he had knocked a
three-bagger and wanted to get home on it. Little Browne grinned at him
as he sped by.

“Good work, Brewster!” he called, softly.

Over at left, Kesner, happy over his own good fortune, waved
congratulations. In the Erskine section the desultory hand-clapping
which had accompanied Ned’s departure for center field died away, and
the eighth inning began with the score 12-8.


III

From center field the grand stands are very far away. Ned was glad of
it. He felt particularly happy and wanted to have a good comfortable
grin all to himself. He had won his E. Nothing else mattered very
much now. So grin he did to his heart’s content, and even jumped up
and down on his toes a few times; he would have liked to sing or
whistle, but that was out of the question. And then suddenly he began
to wonder whether he had not, after all, secured the coveted symbol
under false pretense; would he be able to do any better than Stilson
had done? Robinson’s clever pitcher had fooled man after man; was it
likely that he would succeed where the best batsmen of the varsity
nine had virtually failed? Or, worse, supposing he showed up no better
here in the outfield than had Stilson! The sun was low in the west
and the atmosphere was filled with a golden haze; it seemed to him
that it might be very easy to misjudge a ball in that queer glow. Of
a sudden his heart began to hammer at his ribs sickeningly. He was
afraid--afraid that he would fail, when the trial came, there with
the whole college looking on! Little shivers ran up his back, and he
clenched his hands till they hurt. He wished, oh, how he wished it was
over! Then there came the sharp sound of bat against ball, and in an
instant he was racing in toward second, his thoughts intent upon the
brown speck that sailed high in air, his fears all forgotten.

Back sped second-baseman, and on went Ned. “My ball!” he shouted.
Milford hesitated an instant, then gave up the attempt. “All yours,
Brewster!” he shouted back. “Steady!” Ned finished his run and glanced
up, stepped a little to the left, put up his hands, and felt the ball
thud against his glove. Then he fielded it to second and trotted back;
and as he went he heard the applause, loud and hearty, from the stands.
After that there was no more fear. Robinson failed to get a man past
first, and presently he was trotting in to the bench side by side with
Kesner.

“Brewster at bat!” called Hovey, and, with a sudden throb at his heart,
Ned selected a stick and went to the plate. He stood there swinging
his bat easily, confidently, as one who is not to be fooled by the
ordinary wiles of the pitcher, a well-built, curly-haired youngster
with blue eyes, and cheeks in which the red showed through the liberal
coating of tan.

“The best batter the freshmen had,” fellows whispered one to another.

“Looks as though he knew how, too, eh? Just you watch him, now!”

And the red-faced senior once more demanded three long Erskines, three
times three, and three long Erskines for Brewster! And Ned heard
them--he couldn’t very well have helped it!--and felt very grateful
and proud. And five minutes later he was back on the bench, frowning
miserably at his knuckles, having been struck out without the least
difficulty by the long-legged Dithman. The pride was all gone. “But,”
he repeated, silently, “wait until next time! Just wait until next
time!”

Billings found the Robinson pitcher for a two-bagger, stole third, and
came home on a hit by Greene. Erskine’s spirits rose another notch.
Three more runs to tie the score in this inning, and then--why, it
would be strange indeed if the purple couldn’t win out! Captain Milford
went to bat in a veritable tempest of cheers. He looked determined; but
so did his adversary, the redoubtable Dithman.

“We’ve got to tie it this inning,” said Levett, anxiously. “We’ll never
do it next, when the tail-enders come up.”

“There’s one tail-ender who’s going to hit that chap in the box next
time,” answered Ned.

“Lady” looked amused.

“You’ll be in luck if it comes around to you,” he said. “We all will.
Oh, thunder! Another strike!”

A moment later they were on their feet, and the ball was arching
into left field; and “Big Jim” was plowing his way around first.
But the eighth inning ended right there, for the ball plumped into
left-fielder’s hands. “Lady” groaned, picked up his big mitt, and
ambled to first, and the ninth inning began with the score 12 to 9.

Greene was determined that Robinson should not increase his tally, even
to the extent of making it a baker’s dozen. And he pitched wonderful
ball, striking out the first two batsmen, allowing the next to make
first on a hit past short-stop, and then bringing the half to an end
by sending three glorious balls over the corner of the plate one after
another, amid the frantic cheers of the Erskine contingent and the
dismay of the puzzled batsman. Then the rival nines changed places for
the last time, and Robinson set grimly and determinedly about the task
of keeping Erskine’s players from crossing the plate again.

And Milford, leaning above Hovey’s shoulder, viewed the list of batting
candidates and ruefully concluded that she would not have much trouble
doing it.

The stands were emptying and the spectators were ranging themselves
along the base-lines. The Robinson band had broken out afresh, and the
Robinson cheerers were confident. The sun was low in the west, and the
shadows of the stands stretched far across the diamond. Kesner, who
had taken Lester’s place in the batting list, stepped to the plate and
faced Dithman, and the final struggle was on.

Dithman looked as calmly confident as at any time during the game,
and yet, after pitching eight innings of excellent ball, it scarcely
seemed likely that he could still command perfect form. Kesner proved
a foeman worthy of his steel; the most seductive drops and shoots
failed to entice him, and with three balls against him Dithman was
forced to put the ball over the plate. The second time he did it,
Kesner found it and went to first on a clean hit into the outfield past
third, and the purple banners flaunted exultantly. Milford’s face took
on an expression of hopefulness as he dashed to first and whispered
his instructions in Kesner’s ear. Then he retired to the coaches’
box and put every effort into getting the runner down to second. But
Fate came to his assistance and saved him some breath. Dithman lost
command of the dirty brown sphere for one little moment, and it went
wild, striking Greene on the thigh. And when he limped to first Kesner
went on to second, and there were two on bases, and Erskine was mad
with joy. Milford and Billings were coaching from opposite corners,
Milford’s bellowing being plainly heard a quarter of a mile away; he
had a good, hearty voice, and for the first time that day it bothered
the Robinson pitcher. For Housel, waiting for a chance to make a bunt,
was kept busy getting out of the way of the balls, and after four of
them was given his base.

Erskine’s delight was now of the sort best expressed by turning
somersaults. As somersaults were out of the question, owing to the
density of the throng, her supporters were forced to content themselves
with jumping up and down and shouting the last breaths from their
bodies. Bases full and none out! Three runs would tie the score! Four
runs would win! And they’d get them, of course; there was no doubt
about that--at least, not until McLimmont had struck out and had turned
back to the bench with miserable face. Then it was Robinson’s turn
to cheer. Erskine looked doubtful for a moment, then began her husky
shouting again; after all, there was only one out. But Dithman, rather
pale of face, had himself in hand once more. To the knowing ones,
Levett, who followed McLimmont, was already as good as out; the way
in which he stood, the manner in which he “went down” for the balls,
proved him nervous and overanxious. With two strikes and three balls
called on him, he swung at a wretched out-shoot. A low groan ran along
the bench. Levett himself didn’t groan; he placed his bat carefully on
the ground, kicked it ten yards away, and said “Confound the luck!”
very forcibly.

“You’re up, Brewster,” called Hovey.

“Two gone! Last man, fellows!” shouted the Robinson catcher, as Ned
tapped the plate.

“Last man!” echoed the second-baseman. “He’s easy!”

“Make him pitch ’em, Brewster!” called Milford. The rest was drowned
in the sudden surge of cheers from the Robinson side. Ned faced the
pitcher with an uncomfortable empty feeling inside of him. He meant to
hit that ball, but he greatly feared he wouldn’t; he scarcely dared
think what a hit meant. For a moment he wished himself well out of
it--wished that he was back on the bench and that another had his place
and his chance to win or lose the game. Then the first delivery sped
toward him, and much of his nervousness vanished.

“Ball!” droned the umpire.

Milford and Levett were coaching again; it was hard to say whose voice
was the loudest. Down at first Housel was dancing back and forth on his
toes, and back of him Milford, kneeling on the turf, was roaring: “Two
gone, Jack, remember! Run on anything! Look out for a passed ball! Now
you’re off! Hi, hi, hi! _Look out!_ He won’t throw! Take a lead--go on!
Watch his arm; go down with his arm! Now you’re off! _Now, now, now!_”

But if this was meant to rattle the pitcher it failed of its effect.
Dithman swung his arm out, danced forward on his left foot, and shot
the ball away.

“Strike!” said the umpire.

Ned wondered why he had let that ball go by; he had been sure that it
was going to cut the plate, and yet he had stood by undecided until
it was too late. Well! He gripped his bat a little tighter, shifted
his feet a few inches, and waited again. Dithman’s expression of calm
unconcern aroused his ire; just let him get one whack at that ball and
he would show that long-legged pitcher something to surprise him! A
palpable in-shoot followed, and Ned staggered out of its way. Then
came what was so undoubtedly a ball that Ned merely smiled at it.
Unfortunately at the last instant it dropped down below his shoulder,
and he waited anxiously for the verdict.

“Strike two!” called the umpire.

Two and two! Ned’s heart sank. He shot a glance toward first. Milford
was staring over at him imploringly. Ned gave a gasp and set his jaws
together firmly. The pitcher had the ball again, and was signaling
to the catcher. Then out shot his arm, the little one-legged hop
followed, and the ball sped toward the boy at the plate. And his
heart gave a leap, for the delivery was a straight ball, swift, to be
sure, but straight and true for the plate. Ned took one step forward,
and ball and bat met with a sound like a pistol-shot, and a pair of
purple-stockinged legs were flashing toward first.

Up, up against the gray-blue sky went the sphere, and then it seemed
to hang for a moment there, neither rising nor falling. And all the
time the bases were emptying themselves. Kesner was in ere the ball was
well away, Greene was close behind him, and now Housel, slower because
of his size, was swinging by third; and from second sped a smaller,
lithe figure with down-bent head and legs fairly flying. Coaches were
shouting wild, useless words, and none but themselves heard them; for
four thousand voices were shrieking frenziedly, and four thousand pairs
of eyes were either watching the flight of the far-off ball, or were
fixed anxiously upon the figure of left-fielder, who, away up near the
fence and the row of trees, was running desperately back.

Ned reached second, and, for the first time since he had started
around, looked for the ball, and, as he did so, afar off across the
turf a figure stooped and picked something from the ground and threw
it to center-fielder, and center-fielder threw it to third-baseman,
and meanwhile Ned trotted over the plate into the arms of “Big Jim”
Milford, and Hovey made four big black tallies in the score-book.
Three minutes later and it was all over, Billings flying out to center
field, and the final score stood 13-12. Erskine owned the field,
and Ned, swaying and slipping dizzily about on the shoulders of
three temporary lunatics, looked down upon a surging sea of shouting,
distorted faces, and tried his hardest to appear unconcerned--and was
secretly very, very happy. He had his E; best of all, he had honestly
earned it.

[Illustration: Ned trotted over the plate into the arms of “Big Jim”
Milford.]



“MITTENS”


There was a loud and imperative knock at the study door. Stowell
growled to himself at the interruption, took a deep breath and
bellowed, “Come in!”

Then his eyes went back to the book on his knees. The knock was
unmistakably that of “Chick” Reeves, and with “Chick” Stowell never
stood on ceremony. But when a full minute had passed after the door
had closed, without any of “Chick’s” customary demonstrations, such as
the overturning of chairs, the wafting of pillows across the room, or
the emitting of blood-curdling whoops, Stowell became alarmed for his
fellow freshman’s health, and so, after many groans and much exertion,
he sat up and put his head around the corner of the big armchair. What
he saw surprised him.

The visitor was a stranger; a tall, raw-boned youth of about seventeen,
with a homely, freckled face surmounted by a good deal of tousled,
hemp-colored hair. His eyes were ridiculously blue and his cheeks held
the remains of what had apparently been a generous tan. Altogether
the face was attractive, if not handsome; the blue eyes looked candid
and honest; the nose was straight and well-made; the mouth suggested
good nature and strength of purpose. But it is not to be supposed that
Jimmie Stowell reached these numerous conclusions on this occasion.
On the contrary, the impression he received was of an awkward,
illy-clothed boy holding a small paper parcel.

“Hello!” said Stowell.

The visitor had evidently been at a loss, for the back of the armchair
had hidden his host from sight, and he had turned irresolutely toward
the door again. Now he faced Stowell, observing him calmly.

“Hello!” he answered. He crossed the study deliberately, unwrapping his
parcel as he went.

“Er--want to see me?” asked Stowell, puzzled.

“If you please.” There was no evidence of diffidence in the caller’s
manner, and yet Stowell found it hard to reconcile his appearance
with that commanding knock at the portal. The blue-eyed youth threw
back the wrapping from his bundle and held it forth. Stowell took it
wonderingly. Five pairs of coarse blue woolen mittens met his gaze. He
frowned and viewed the caller suspiciously.

“What is it,” he growled, “a joke?”

“Mittens,” answered the other imperturbably. “I’m selling them.”

“Oh, I see.” He handed them back. “Well, I never wear them.” He turned
toward his chair. “Hang these peddlers!” he said to himself.

“They’re very warm,” suggested the other.

“They look it,” answered Stowell, grimly. “But I wear gloves.”

“Oh, excuse me.” The visitor began to wrap them carefully up again.
“That’s what everybody says. I wish I’d known it before.”

“But, Great Scott!” exclaimed Stowell, “you didn’t really think that
any one wore that sort of thing nowadays? Why they look like--like
socks!”

“Yes, I suppose they do. But up our way we generally wear them. You
see, they’re warmer than gloves.”

“Where do you come from?”

“Michigan.”

“Michigan! Well, what are you doing here, then?”

“Studying.” He looked surprised at the question.

“Do you mean that you’re in college?” asked Stowell, in amazement. The
other nodded.

“I’m a freshman.” Stowell’s perplexity increased. “I thought,” the
other went on, “that I could sell some of these around college. I
didn’t know about you all wearing gloves. I--I guess I’ll have to give
it up.” There was disappointment in his voice.

“Are you doing this to make money?” Stowell asked.

“Yes, I’m only asking sixty cents. Does that seem too much?”

Stowell thought it was a good deal too much, but he didn’t say so, and
the other went on.

“They’re regular lumberman’s mittens, you know, made of best woolen
yarn and mighty warm. Of course, they don’t cost me that much, but I
have to make something on them.”

“Oh, that’s reasonable enough,” said Stowell, hurriedly, “and, I tell
you what you do. I’m dead broke this morning, but you come in later in
the week and bring me a couple of pairs and I’ll have the money for
you.”

But to his surprise the other shook his head smilingly.

“You just want to help me,” he said. “You wouldn’t wear them, I guess.
But I’m thankful to you.” He placed his parcel under his arm and moved
toward the door.

“Well, but hold on,” cried Stowell. “Don’t be an ass! Look here-- By
the way, what’s your name?”

“Shult.”

“Well, now you bring those along and I’ll wear them. You say they’re
warm; that’s what I want, something warm. And--look here, have you got
them in any other color?”

“No, they’re always blue, you know.”

“Oh!” Stowell felt that he had displayed unpardonable ignorance. “Yes,
of course. Well, you bring a couple of pairs, say, Wednesday, will you?”

“All right,” answered Shult. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” murmured Stowell. The door closed behind his visitor
and he went grinning back to his chair.

Half an hour later when “Chick” Reeves did come in, playfully tipping
Stowell and the armchair on to the hearth-rug by way of greeting,
Stowell told him about the Michigan freshie who was peddling blue
woolen mitts, and told it so well that “Chick” sat on the floor and
howled with delight.

“And you are going to wear them?” he gurgled.

“Why, I’ll have to,” answered Stowell, ruefully. “I wanted to help the
beggar, and he wouldn’t sell them to me unless I wore them.”

“Then I’ll have to have a pair, too.”

“Oh, you’ll need a couple of pairs,” laughed Stowell, “one for
week-days and one for Sundays.”

“Of course I will. A chap needs something nice for the theater. Where
does ‘Mittens’ hang out?”

“Don’t know, I’m sure. His name’s Shoot or Shult; you can find him in
the catalogue.”

“I will. And, say, maybe he sells blue socks, too, eh? If the
cooperative hears of it they’ll have the law on him. Did you ask him if
he had a license?”

“No.” Stowell looked down at Reeves thoughtfully.

Then he said slowly, “Now, look here, ‘Mittens,’ as you call him, is
all right. So don’t go to having fun with him, hear?”

“Not me,” grinned “Chick.”

“Oh, no, you naturally wouldn’t,” growled Stowell. “But if you do I’ll
break your head for you.”

Stowell had quite forgotten his strange visitor of the day before when,
on Tuesday morning, he met him on the steps of University. Shult’s
clothes looked more ill fitting than before, and it cost Stowell, who
was accompanied by two extremely select members of his class, somewhat
of an effort to stop and speak to him.

“Hello, Shult,” he said, “how are you getting along?”

The dealer in blue mittens flushed, whether with embarrassment or
pleasure Stowell couldn’t tell, and paused on his way down the granite
steps.

“Not very well,” he answered. “I--I’ve sold three pairs so far.”

“Hard luck,” answered Stowell. “Don’t forget mine, will you?”

“Oh, no; I’m--I’ll bring them to-morrow. Do you want them long or
short?”

“Er--well, what would you suggest?” asked Stowell gravely.

“The long ones keep your wrists warmer, of course,” said Shult.

“Of course, I’ll take that kind,” Stowell decided. “I’ve a friend, by
the way, fellow named Reeves, who said he’d take a couple of pairs. He
was going to look you up. Seen him yet?”

“No, I haven’t. I could--I could call on him if you think he’d like me
to?”

“No, it wouldn’t pay; you’d never find him in. I’ll tell him to look
you up. Where’s your joint?”

“Joint?”

“Yes, your room, you know.”

“Oh,” said Shult. He gave an address that Stowell had never heard of.
“I’m usually in at night,” he added.

They parted, and Stowell joined the two grinning freshmen inside. Their
names were Clinton and Hazlett.

“Who’s your handsome friend?” asked one.

“Looks like a genius,” laughed the other. “What’s his line?”

“Mittens,” answered Stowell, gravely.

“What?”

“Mittens.”

Then the green door swung behind him.

At four o’clock the next afternoon Clinton, Hazlett and Stowell were
sitting in the latter’s study. The fire roared in the grate and a
northwest wind roared outside the curtained windows. There came a
resounding thump on the door, and, without waiting a response, “Chick”
Reeves bounded in. Standing just inside, he closed the portal, shook
imaginary snowflakes from his cap, shivered and blew on his hands.

“Br-r-r,” he muttered, “’tis bitter cold! The river is caked with
chokes of ice! I can not cross the river to-night! Hark, how the wind
howls round the turret!”

Then, with sudden abandonment of melodrama, he made his way to the
grate, spread his legs apart, and, with his back to the flames, grinned
broadly upon Stowell. Gradually his grin grew into a laugh.

“You’re an awful idiot,” said Stowell.

“I know, I know,” chuckled Reeves. “But I’ve got the biggest joke you
ever heard! It’s--it’s like a story. Listen, my children.” He turned to
Stowell. “You remember ‘Mittens’?” Stowell nodded.

“I’ve been to see him, and----”

“Did you buy some mittens?” asked Hazlett, who, with Clinton, had at
last heard of Stowell’s _protégé_.

“Yes, but listen. He lives in the queerest place you ever heard tell
of; it’s down on one of those side streets toward the bridge; a regular
tenement-house with brats all over the front steps and an eloquent,
appealing odor of boiled cabbage and onions in the air. Well, I asked
a woman in a calico wrapper where Mr. Shult lived and she directed me
up two flights of stairs; told me to knock on the ‘sicond door to me
roight.’ I knocked, a voice called, ‘Come in, Mrs. Brannigan,’ and I
went in, politely explaining that, despite certain similarities of
appearance, I was not Mrs. Brannigan. Well”--“Chick’s” risibilities
threatened to master him again; he choked and went on. “Well, there was
‘Mittens.’ He was sitting in a sort of kitchen rocker with a Latin book
on his knee and--and-- Say, _what_ do you think he was doing?”

“Grinding,” said Clinton.

“Sawing wood,” said Hazlett.

Stowell shook his head.

“You’d never guess,” howled Reeves, “never in a thousand years! He
was--was--oh, golly!--he was _knitting_!”

“_Knitting!_” It was a chorus of three incredulous voices.

“Yes, knitting! Knitting blue-woolen mittens!”

“By Jove!” muttered Stowell.

Clinton and Hazlett burst into peals of laughter.

“You--you ought to have seen his expression when he saw that I wasn’t
Mrs. Brannigan,” went on “Chick,” wiping the tears from his eyes. “He
stared and got as red as a beet; then he tried to get the thing out of
sight. Of course, I apologized for intruding when he was busy, and he
said it didn’t matter. And after a while he told me all about it. Seems
he lives up in the backwoods--or whatever you call ’em--in Michigan;
up among the lumber-camps, you know. His father’s dead, he told me,
and his mother keeps a sort of hotel or boarding-house or something.
Of course,” added “Chick,” with a note of apology in his voice, “that
isn’t funny. But it seems that when he was a kid they taught him to
knit, and made him do socks and mittens and things. I’ve forgotten a
lot of it, but he wanted to go to college and hadn’t any money to speak
of, and so they borrowed a little somewhere--enough for tuition--and
now he’s trying to make enough on mittens to pay his board. He gets his
room free for teaching some of the little Brannigans, I believe. He’s
spunky, isn’t he? But I thought I’d keel over on the floor when I saw
him sitting there for all the world like an old granny in the Christmas
pictures, just making those needles fly. Maybe he can’t knit!”

“And then what?” asked Stowell, quietly.

“Chick’s” grin faded out a little.

“Why--er--that’s all, I guess. I ordered two pairs of the funny things
and came away.”

Clinton and Hazlett were still chuckling. “Chick” looked from them to
Stowell doubtfully and began to wonder what ailed the latter’s sense of
humor.

“Knitting!” murmured Clinton, “think of it!”

“Yes,” said Stowell, suddenly, “that’s awfully funny, ‘Chick.’ Funniest
thing I’ve heard for a long while. Do you know--” the tone made his
friend stare in surprise--“I think you’ve got one of the most delicate
humorous perceptions I’ve ever met up with. You have, indeed. Only
you, ‘Chick,’ could have seen all the exquisite humor in the situation
you’ve described. You ought to be proud of yourself.”

Clinton and Hazlett had ceased their chuckles and were looking over at
their host, their faces reflecting the surprise and uneasiness upon
“Chick’s.”

“Here’s a poor duffer,” went on Stowell, “without money; father dead;
mother takes boarders to make a living; wants to go to college and
learn to be something a little better than a backwoods lumberman. He
gets enough money together somehow--I think you said they borrowed it,
‘Chick’?”

That youth nodded silently.

“Yes, borrowed enough to pay the tuition fee. And then he’s thrown
on his own resources to make enough to buy himself things to eat. I
suppose even these backwoods beggars have to eat once in a while,
Clint? And having learned how to knit blue-woolen mittens--awfully
funny looking things, they are--he just goes ahead and knits them,
rather than starve to death, and tries to sell them to a lot of
superior beings like you and me here, not knowing in his backwoods
ignorance that we only wear Fownes’s or Dent’s, and that we naturally
look down on fellows who----”

“Oh, dry up, old man,” growled “Chick.” “I haven’t been saying anything
against the duffer. Of course he’s plucky and all that. You needn’t
jump on a fellow so.”

“Yes, he has got grit, and that’s a fact,” Clinton allowed. “Only, of
course, knitting--well, it’s a bit out of the ordinary, eh?”

“I suppose it is,” answered Stowell. “In fact ‘Mittens’ is a bit out of
the ordinary himself. He’s----”

There was a knock at the door, and, in response to Stowell’s
invitation, Shult, tall, ungainly, tow-haired, freckle-faced, entered
and paused in momentary embarrassment as his blue eyes lighted on
Reeves.

“Hello, Shult; come in,” called Stowell. “Have you brought those
mittens?”

Shult had, and he undid them carefully, and crossing the study, handed
them to their purchaser.

“Ah,” continued Stowell, drawing one of the heavy blue things on to
his hand, “long wrists, I see. That’s fine. Like to see them, Bob?”
Hazlett said that he would. Every one was very silent and grave.
Reeves, after nodding to Shult, had busied himself with a magazine. Now
he leaned over Hazlett’s shoulder and examined the mittens with almost
breathless interest. Clinton craned his head forward and Stowell handed
the other pair to him for inspection. Shult stood silently by, his
embarrassment gone.

“Look as though they’d be very warm,” said Hazlett, in the voice of
one hazarding an opinion on a matter of national importance. He looked
inquiringly, deferentially, up at Shult.

“Warm as toast,” said the latter.

“Seem well made, too,” said Clinton. Then he colored and glanced
apologetically at Stowell. Stowell turned his head.

“Do you get these hereabouts, Shult?” he asked. There was a moment’s
hesitation. Then,

“I--I knit them myself,” said the freshman, quietly.

“Not really!” exclaimed Stowell, in much surprise. “Did you hear that,
Clint? He makes them himself. It must be quite a knack, eh?”

“I should say so!” Clinton exclaimed, enthusiastically. “It--it’s an
accomplishment!”

“By Jove!” said Hazlett. They all stared admiringly at Shult.

“But, I say, don’t stand up,” exclaimed Stowell. “‘Chick,’ push that
chair over.”

Shult sat down. He was very grateful to Reeves for not telling what he
had seen during his call, and grateful to the others for not laughing
at his confession. It had taken quite a deal of courage to make
that confession, for he had anticipated ridicule. But instead these
immaculately dressed fellows almost appeared to envy him his knowledge
of the art of knitting woolen mittens. He was very pleased.

“I wonder--” began Clinton. He glanced doubtfully at his host. “I think
I’d like to have some of these myself. Have you--er--any more, Mr.
Shult?”

“Oh, yes; I can make a pair an evening, anyhow. I--I didn’t suppose you
fellows would care for them.”

“Nonsense,” said Stowell. “They’re just what a chap needs around here.
I--I used to wear them when I was a boy; after all, there’s nothing
like old-fashioned mitts to keep your hands warm.”

“Nothing!” said Clinton.

“Nothing!” echoed Hazlett.

“Nothing!” murmured Reeves.

“If you could let me have--ah--about two pairs----”

Clinton’s request was firmly interrupted by his host.

“Nonsense, Clint, you’ll need at least four. I’m going to have a couple
more myself.”

“I dare say you’re right. If you could let me have _four_ pairs, Mr.
Shult, I--ah--should be very much obliged.”

“And me the same,” said Hazlett.

“Yes, certainly,” answered Shult, flustered and vastly pleased. “You
shall have them right off.”

“And let me see, ‘Chick,’” said Stowell, “didn’t I hear you say you
wanted a couple more pairs?”

“Yes, oh, yes,” Reeves replied explosively. “Er--two pairs, please.”

Shult looked surprised. Fortune was favoring him beyond his wildest
hopes. He muttered an incoherent answer. Then Stowell gravely paid
him for the two pairs of intensely blue and shapeless objects in his
lap and Shult made the exact change after repeated searches in three
different pockets. At the door he turned.

“You are all very kind to me,” he said, gravely and earnestly.
“I’m--I’m thankful to you.”

Stowell murmured politely.

After the door had closed there followed several moments of silence.
Then a smile crept over Stowell’s face and was reflected on the faces
of the others. But nobody laughed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Possibly the reader recalls the epidemic of blue-woolen mittens that
raged in college that winter. One saw them everywhere. The fashion
started, they say, among a certain coterie of correct dressers in the
freshman class and spread until it enveloped the entire undergraduate
body. None could explain it, and none tried to; blue-woolen mitts were
the proper thing; that was sufficient. At first the demand could not
be supplied, but before the Midyears were over the Cooperative Society
secured a quantity, and the furnishing stores followed its example
as soon as possible. But blue-woolen mitts in sufficient quantities
to fill the orders were difficult to find, and long before the shops
had secured the trade in that commodity, one Shult, out of Michigan,
had reaped a very respectable harvest and found a nickname which,
despite the lapse of years and the accumulation of honors, still
sticks--“Mittens.”


THE END



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Colored Frontispiece and other Illustrations by William L. Jacobs.
12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

This is a tale for children of ten or twelve years of age, being
illustrated, and having an illustrative cover. It is a dainty book for
dainty children, but has the charm that interests the grown person, who
may read it aloud to those for whom it was written.


Miss Lochinvar.

A Story for Girls. Illustrated by William L. Jacobs. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

While this book is written for girls, it contains much of interest to
boys and much from which profit may be derived.


BY KATE DICKINSON SWEETSER.


Micky of the Alley and Other Youngsters.

With Illustrations by George Alfred Williams. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

A collection of tales for children of ten to twelve years of age. The
subjects are widely varied and contain much to fascinate.


BY GABRIELLE E. JACKSON


Three Graces.

Illustrated in Colors by C. M. Relyea. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

A story for girls of boarding-school life, full of incident and
wholesome characterization, with delightfully cozy scenes of indoor
enjoyment and an exciting description of a Hallowe’en escapade. The
Three Graces are interesting girls who may count upon finding among
youthful readers many who will follow their school experiences with a
sense of making new friends.


D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.



YOUNG HEROES OF OUR NAVY.


_NEW VOLUME._


With the Flag in the Channel.

The Adventures of Captain Gustavus Conyngham. By JAMES BARNES.
Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.00.


OTHER VOLUMES IN THE SERIES.

Illustrated. 12mo. Each, $1.00.


Reuben James.

A Hero of the Forecastle. By CYRUS TOWNSEND BRADY, Author of “Paul
Jones.” Illustrated by George Gibbs and others.


The Hero of Manila.

Dewey on the Mississippi and the Pacific. By ROSSITER JOHNSON.
Illustrated by B. West Clinedinst and others.


The Hero of Erie (_Commodore Perry_).

By JAMES BARNES, Author of “Midshipman Farragut,” “Commodore
Bainbridge,” etc. With 10 full-page Illustrations.


Commodore Bainbridge.

From the Gunroom to the Quarter-deck. By JAMES BARNES. Illustrated by
George Gibbs and others.


Midshipman Farragut.

By JAMES BARNES. Illustrated by Carlton F. Chapman.


Decatur and Somers.

By MOLLY ELLIOT SEAWELL. With 6 full-page Illustrations by J. O.
Davidson and others.


Paul Jones.

By MOLLY ELLIOT SEAWELL. With 8 full-page Illustrations.


Midshipman Paulding.

A True Story of the War of 1812. By MOLLY ELLIOT SEAWELL. With 6
full-page Illustrations.


Little Jarvis.

The Story of the Heroic Midshipman of the Frigate Constellation. By
MOLLY ELLIOT SEAWELL. With 6 full-page Illustrations.


D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.



ILLUSTRATED JUVENILE STORIES.


Jacks of All Trades.

A Story for Girls and Boys. By KATHARINE N. BIRDSALL. Illustrated in
two colors by Walter Russell, with many text cuts. 12mo. Cloth, $1.20
net; postage, 12 cents additional.

Here is a story that shows conclusively that “the child is father of
the man.” Miss Birdsall has written a book that should be read by every
boy and girl who has any ambition or purpose to develop the best that
is in them. The author has taken nobility of character as the key-note
for a most wholesome and inspiriting story, the plot of which is of
absorbing interest.


Along the Florida Reef.

By C. F. HOLDER. Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

The story of camping and fishing adventures in company with a
naturalist in Florida. The author combines entertainment with
instruction, and his book is filled with illustrations which will be
prized by every young reader who has ever visited the sea-shore, or
cares for information regarding fishes, shells, and the various forms
of marine life.


Christine’s Career.

A Story for Girls. By PAULINE KING. Illustrated. 8vo. Cloth, $1.50.

This book tells of an American girl who has been raised in France, with
her father, who is an artist. She comes to America with her aunt, and
the girls and customs of the two countries afford scope for agreeable
elements of contrast.


Stories of American History.

By CHARLOTTE M. YONGE (Aunt Charlotte) and H. H. WELD, D.D.
Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

A book for young people just beyond the elementary histories of the
United States, and able to enter in some degree into the real spirit of
events.


Hermine’s Triumphs.

A Story for Girls and Boys. By Mme. COLOMB. With 100 Illustrations.
8vo. Cloth, $1.50.

The popularity of this charming story of French home-life, which has
passed through many editions in Paris, has been earned by the sustained
interest of the narrative, the sympathetic presentation of character,
and the wholesomeness of the lessons which are suggested. One of the
most delightful books for girls published in recent years.


Madeleine’s Rescue.

A Story for Girls and Boys. By JEANNE SCHULTZ, Author of “The Story of
Colette,” “Straight On,” etc. With Illustrations by Tofani. 8vo. Cloth,
$1.00.

The charmingly sympathetic quality and refined humor of the author
of “Colette” has never been more happily illustrated than in this
picturesque story of a girl and her boy friends--a story which grown
people as well as children will read with keen delight.


King Tom and the Runaways.

By LOUIS PENDLETON, Author of “In the Wire Grass.” Illustrated. 12mo.
Cloth, $1.50.

A tale of the strange experiences of two boys in the forests and swamps
of Georgia, in which are described some remarkable adventures in a
little-known region.


Little Peter.

A Christmas Morality for Children of any Age. By LUCAS MALET, Author
of “Colonel Enderby’s Wife,” etc. With numerous Illustrations by Paul
Hardy. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

The story of a little boy and his cat, his friend, a misshapen charcoal
burner, and life in the pine forest, with the myths and legends, the
superstitions and quaint fancies of an earlier day. A book that will
delight the little folk of a winter’s evening.


We All.

A Story of Outdoor Life and Adventure in Arkansas. By OCTAVE THANET.
With 12 full-page Illustrations by E. J. Austin and others. 8vo. Cloth,
$1.50.


D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.



 Transcriber’s Notes:

 --Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

 --Except for the frontispiece, illustrations have been moved to
   follow the text that they illustrate, so the page number of the
   illustration may not match the page number in the List of
   Illustrations.

 --Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected,
   except as noted below.

 --Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

 --Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

 --The author’s em-dash style has been retained.

 --Inconsistencies in punctuation, formatting and spelling of proper
   names, in individual advertisements, have been retained.





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