ARRIVAL OF JIMPSON
And Other Stories
for Boys about Boys
AUTHOR OF BEHIND THE LINE, WEATHERBY’S INNING,
ON YOUR MARK! ETC.
D. Appleton and Company
Copyright, 1904, by
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
Published, September, 1904
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.
Copyright, 1898, by The Century Co. All rights reserved.
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
“Now, then, fellows! Three times three
“’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
“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.
“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
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
“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!
“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
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.
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
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,
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:
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
“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
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
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
“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 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,
“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
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
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
“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,
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
“Twenty-seven, sixty-three, forty-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
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
“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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
“Bonfire in the yard! All heads out!”
sped the cry.
“Everybody get wood!” shouted a voice
“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
“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
“’Rah for Barclay, old grind!” shouted
another. “He’s the stuff! Everybody get
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?”
“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
“Hooray!” he yelled, in queer, uncanny
“’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
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,
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
“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
“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
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.”
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?”
“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
“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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“Yes,” answered Bob, eagerly. “Do you
know of any one?”
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
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:
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:
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
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
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
“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.
“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.
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
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.
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
“Come on! Come on, Marty!” shrieked
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
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
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
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!”
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
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
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
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
Parmelee glanced at his watch, suddenly
realizing that he was hungry. He had missed
his lunch. It was yet far from the dinner-hour,
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
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
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
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
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
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,
“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
“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
“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
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
“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
“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
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
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
The guest laid down his pocket-knife and
looked gravely across at his host.
“Is—is anything the matter?” faltered
“I must refuse to go on until I see you
“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
“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?”
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
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
“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.
“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
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?”
“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
“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
“Of course, if there’s anything——”
“I’d like Lane to go in at right half
instead of Servis. Thank you, sir. Good
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
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
Hillton 6 Opponents 8
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
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!
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.
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
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
“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
“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.
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
“Block hard!” shouted Syddington.
“Watch out for fake!” shrieked the St.
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
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
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
“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
Syddington sped down the field with the
roar of three thousand voices in his ears, and
a great, almost sickening happiness at his
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.
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,
“Yes, Lane, over. Are you all right?”
“Yes; a bit tuckered, that’s all. Let me
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
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
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,
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
“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,
Peter stared at him in silence while the
brass-dialed clock ticked twenty times. This,
then, was the realization of his magnificent
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
“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
“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
“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:
Morris laughed and slapped Peter on the
“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
“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
“Oh, leave off!” said Morris. “Run
along with your check, like a good little
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
“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,
When the door was closed between him and
the laughing enemy, Peter turned and shook
a small, tightly clenched fist. “Wait!” he
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
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
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? 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.
“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
For a space the bed rocked like a scow in
“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.
“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,
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
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
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.
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
“In the desk. Aren’t you going to let me
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
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
“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 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
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
“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
“It is twelve minutes after two; I’m not
detaining you?” he asked, with a broad suggestion
“No, sir, I have ten minutes yet,” answered
“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,
“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
“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?
“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
“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
“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
“Aren’t you going over to the game?” he
“Sure. What time is it?”
“Ten of three. Better come along now.
I’ll wait for you.”
A moment later the other emerged from
“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
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
“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
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
“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
“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,
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!”
“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
“Well, I—” Mr. Robinson faltered, and
the other gave a grunt of disgust.
“Gee, I thought everybody knew ‘Rob’!”
“‘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! Why, he’s a star! He’s
a wonder! He’s—” Words failed him.
“Say, you must live in Chelsea!” he said at
“Chelsea?” repeated Mr. Robinson.
“No, I don’t live there.”
“Anybody’d think you did,” muttered
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
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
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
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
“Striker’s out,” droned the little man in
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.
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
“Gee, if they can only make two runs
they’ll have ’em beaten!” he cried, excitedly.
“Yes,” said Mr. Robinson; “do you think
“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
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
“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
“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
“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
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
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,
“Say, if anything happens to-night, don’t
wake me; I don’t want to know anything
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
“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
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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“S—sh!” One of the men scrambled to
“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
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
“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,
“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
“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
“One moment,” interrupted the doctor.
“What were you doing in the spring-house
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
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
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
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
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
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—door was locked, sir.”
Somebody near by groaned softly. Satterlee
“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
“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
“Am I to understand that you had a hand
in this, Burtis?” he asked, surprise in his
“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.
Brother Donald shot an angry glance at
“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
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
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—for not telling the truth, sir.”
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
Satterlee 2d’s popularity began at that
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
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
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:
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
Tom looked from the net to his soaking
shoes and trousers. There was but one thing
“I’ll get it,” he answered. “I’m wet
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.”
“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
“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.
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,
“Well, two pounds easily,” answered
“Old Crusty,” shutting one eye and hefting
his troutship knowingly.
“What will you do with him?” asked
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
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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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,
Tom cleared his throat.
“I said—I wished you wouldn’t; resign,
“What do you mean?” asked the other.
“Do you want to have me discharged,
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
Tom sighed again. “Did you?” he asked
“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
“A friend of yours?” gasped Tom.
The submaster smiled apologetically as he
“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
“Good; and— Hello, there’s the bell!”
cried the submaster. “Let’s run for it!”
And they did.
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
“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
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
“I’ll bet I get a hit off him!”
“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
“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
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.
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.
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
“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——
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
“What? Well, get a move on!” said
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.
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
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
“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
“Lady” looked amused.
“You’ll be in luck if it comes around to
you,” he said. “We all will. Oh, thunder!
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
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
“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.
“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
“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,
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
“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
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.
Ned trotted over the plate into the arms of “Big Jim” Milford.
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
“Er—want to see me?” asked Stowell,
“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
“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
“But, Great Scott!” exclaimed Stowell,
“you didn’t really think that any one wore
that sort of thing nowadays? Why they look
“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! Well, what are you doing
“Studying.” He looked surprised at the
“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
“Are you doing this to make money?”
“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
“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
“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
But to his surprise the other shook his
“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
“Well, but hold on,” cried Stowell.
“Don’t be an ass! Look here— By the
way, what’s your name?”
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“Of course I will. A chap needs something
nice for the theater. Where does ‘Mittens’
“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
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
The dealer in blue mittens flushed, whether
with embarrassment or pleasure Stowell
couldn’t tell, and paused on his way down the
“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
“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
“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
“Looks like a genius,” laughed the other.
“What’s his line?”
“Mittens,” answered Stowell, gravely.
Then the green door swung behind
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
“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
“Yes, knitting! Knitting blue-woolen
“By Jove!” muttered Stowell.
Clinton and Hazlett burst into peals of
“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
“And then what?” asked Stowell,
“Chick’s” grin faded out a little.
“Why—er—that’s all, I guess. I ordered
two pairs of the funny things and came
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
“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
Clinton and Hazlett had ceased their
chuckles and were looking over at their host,
their faces reflecting the surprise and uneasiness
“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
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
“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
“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.
“I—I knit them myself,” said the freshman,
“Not really!” exclaimed Stowell, in much
surprise. “Did you hear that, Clint? He
makes them himself. It must be quite a
“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
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
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
“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
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.”