The Half-Back
Ralph Henry Barbour

Part 3 out of 4

they deserve.

"But I wish to say to you that all along it has been the belief of the
faculty, the entire faculty, that you had no hand in the matter, and we
are all glad to have our judgments vindicated. An announcement will be
made to-morrow which will set you right again before the school. And
now, in regard to Richard Sproule; do you know of any reason why he
should wish you harm?" "No, sir. We don't get along very well, but--"

"I see. Now, it will be best for you to change either your room or your
roommate. Have you any preference which you do?"

"I should like to change my room, sir. I should like to go in with West.
He has a room to himself in Hampton, and wants to have me join him."

"But do you realize that the rent will be very much greater, March?"

"Yes, sir, but West wants me to pay only what I have paid for this room,
sir. He says he'd have to pay for the whole room if I didn't go in with
him, and so it's fair that way. Do you think it is, sir?"

"What would your father say, West?"

"I've asked him, sir. He says to go ahead and do as I please." The
principal smiled as he replied:

"Well, March, then move over to West's room to-morrow. It will be all
fair enough. And I shall be rather glad to have you in Hampton House.
Digbee is an example of splendid isolation there; it will be well to
have some one help him maintain the dignity of study amid such a number
of--er--well, say lilies of the field, West; they toil not, if you
remember, and neither do they spin. Don't get up in the morning if your
head still hurts, March; we don't want you to get sick.--Keep a watch on
him, West; and, by the way, if he wants more tea, run over to the dining
hall and tell the steward I said he was to have it. Good-night, boys."

"Good-night, sir." Remsen shook hands with Joel.

"March, I hope I shall be able to repay you some day for what you did
this afternoon. It meant more to me, I believe, than it did to even you
fellows. I'm going Thursday next. Come and see me before then if you
can. Good-night."

When the door had closed Outfield shouted, "Hurrah!" in three different
keys and pirouetted about the room. "It's all fixed, Joel. Welcome to
Hampton, my lad! Welcome to the classic shades of Donothing Hall! We
will live on pickles and comb-honey, and feast like the Romans of old!
We--" He paused. "Say, Joel, I guess Cloud will be expelled, eh?" Joel
considered thoughtfully with a spoonful of rice pudding midway between
saucer and mouth. Then he swallowed the delicacy. "Yes," he replied,
"and I'm awful glad of it."

But Joel was mistaken; for Cloud was not to be found the next morning,
and the condition of his room pointed to hasty flight. He had taken
alarm and saved himself from the degradation of public dismissal. And so
he passed from Hillton life and was known there no more. Clausen escaped
with a light punishment, for which both Joel and West were heartily
glad. "Because when you get him away from Cloud," said West, "Clausen's
not a bad sort, you know."

Richard Sproule was suspended for the balance of the fall term, and was
no longer monitor of his floor. Perhaps the heaviest punishment was the
amount of study he was required to do in order to return after Christmas
recess, entailing as it did a total relinquishment of Mayne Reid, Scott,
and Cooper. And when he did return his ways led far from Joel's. Very
naturally that youth had now risen to the position of popular hero, and
unapproachable seniors slapped him warmly on the shoulder--a bit of
familiarity Joel was too good-natured to resent--and wide-eyed little
juniors admired him open-mouthed as he passed them. But Joel bore
himself modestly withal, and was in no danger of being spoiled by a
state of things that might well have turned the head of a more
experienced lad than he. It is a question if Outfield did not derive
more real pleasure and pride out of Joel's popularity than did Joel
himself. Every new evidence of the liking and admiration in which the
latter was held filled Outfield's heart with joy.

At last Joel found time to begin his course in golf, and almost any day
the two lads might have been seen on the links, formidably armed with a
confusing assortment of clubs, Outfield quite happy to be exhibiting the
science of his favorite sport, and Joel plowing up the sod in a way to
cause a green-tender, had there been such a person on hand, the most
excruciating pain. But Joel went at golf as he went at everything else,
bending all his energies thereto, and driving thought of all else from
his mind, and so soon became, if not an expert, at least a very
acceptable player who won commendation from even West--and where golf
was concerned Outfield was a most unbiased and unsympathetic judge.

One afternoon Whipple and Blair, the latter once more free from
probation, played a match with Joel and West, and were fairly beaten by
three holes--a fact due less, it is true, to Joel's execution with the
driver than West's all-around playing. But Joel, nevertheless, derived
not a little encouragement from that result, and bade fair to become
almost if not quite as enthusiastic a golfer as West. At first, in the
earlier stages of his initiation, Joel was often discouraged, whereupon
West was wont to repeat the famous reply of the old St. Andrews player
to the college professor, who did not understand why, when he could
teach Latin and Greek, he failed so dismally at golf. "Ay, I ken well ye
can teach the Latin and Greek," said the veteran, "but it takes
_brains_, mon, to play the gowf!" And Joel more than half agreed
with him.

Remsen departed a week after Thanksgiving, being accompanied to the
train by almost as enthusiastic a throng as had welcomed him upon his
arrival. He had consented to return to Hillton the following year and
coach the eleven once more. "I had expected to make this the last year,"
he said, "but now I shall coach, if you will have me, until we win a
decisive victory from St. Eustace. I can't break off my coaching career
with a tie game, you see." And Christie occasioned laughter and applause
by replying, "I'm afraid you're putting a premium on defeat, sir,
because if we win next year's game you won't come back." He shook hands
cordially with Joel, and said:

"When the election of next year's captain comes off, my boy, it's a
pretty sure thing that you'll have a chance at it. But if you'll take my
advice you'll let it alone. I tell you this because I'm your friend all
through. Next fall will be time enough for the honors; this year should
go to hard work without any of the trouble that falls to the lot
of captain."

"Thank you, Mr. Remsen," Joel answered. "I hadn't thought of their doing
such a thing. I don't see why they should want me. But if it's offered
you may be sure I'll decline. I'd be totally unfitted for it; and,
besides, I haven't got the time!"

And so, when two weeks later the election was held in the gymnasium one
evening, Joel did decline, to the evident regret of all the team, and
the honor went to Christie, since both Blair and Whipple were seniors
and would not be in school the next autumn. And Christie made a very
manly, earnest speech, and subsequently called for three times three for
Blair, and three times three for Remsen, and nine times three for
Hillton, all of which were given with a will.

As the Christmas recess approached, Joel spent a great deal of valuable
time in unnecessary conjecture as to his chance of winning the Goodwin
scholarship, and undoubtedly lessened his chance of success by worrying.
The winners were each year announced in school hall on the last day of
the term. The morning of that day found Outfield West very busy packing
a heap of unnecessary golf clubs and wearing apparel into his trunk and
bags, and found Joel seated rather despondently on the lounge looking
on. For West was to spend his vacation with an uncle in Boston, and
Joel, although Outfield had begged him to go along, asserting positively
that his uncle would be proud and happy to see him (Joel), was to spend
the recess at school, since he felt he could not afford the expense of
the trip home. West hesitated long over a blue-checked waistcoat and at
length sighed and left it out.

"Isn't it most time to go over?" asked Joel.

"No; don't you be in a hurry. There's a half hour yet. And if you're
going to get the Goodwin you'll get it, and there isn't any use stewing
over it," replied West severely. "As for me, I'm glad I'm not a grind
and don't have to bother my head about such tommyrot. Just sit on the
lid of this pesky thing, Joel, will you? I'm afraid that last coat was
almost too much for it."

But even suspense comes to an end, and presently Joel found himself
seated by West in the crowded hall, and felt his face going red and pale
by turns, and knew that his heart was beating with unaccustomed violence
beneath his shabby vest. Professor Wheeler made his speech--and what a
long one it seemed to many a lad!--and then the fateful list was lifted
from the table.

"Senior class scholarships have been awarded as follows," announced the
principal. "The Calvin scholarship to Albert Park Digbee, Waltham,
Massachusetts." Joel forgot his unpleasant emotions while he clapped and
applauded. But they soon returned as the list went on. Every
announcement met with uproarous commendation, and boy after boy arose
from his seat and more or less awkwardly bowed his recognition. The
principal had almost completed the senior list.

"Ripley scholarships to George Simms Lennox, New York city; John Fiske,
Brookville, Mississippi; Carleton Sharp Eaton, Milton, Massachusetts;
William George Woodruff, Portland, Maine. Masters scholarships to Howard
McDonnell, Indianapolis, Indiana; Thomas Grey, Yonkers, New York;
Stephen Lutger Williams, Connellsville, Rhode Island; Barton Hobbs,
Farmington, Maine; Walter Haskens Browne, Denver, Colorado; and Justin
Thorp Smith, Chicago, Illinois."

Joel's hands were cold and his feet just wouldn't keep still. The
principal leaned down and took up the upper middle class list. West
nudged Joel smartly in the ribs, and whispered excitedly:

"Now! Keep cool, my boy, keep cool!"

Then Joel heard Professor Wheeler's voice reading from the list, and for
a moment it seemed to come from a great distance.

"Upper middle class scholarships have been awarded as follows:" There
was a pause while he found his place. "Goodwin scholarship to Harold
Burke Reeves, Saginaw, Michigan."

West subsided in his seat with a dismal groan. Joel did not hear it. It
is doubtful if he heard anything until several minutes later, when the
pronouncement of his name awoke him from the lethargy into which he
had fallen.

"Masters scholarships to Joel March, Marchdale, Maine--"

"It's better than nothing, Joel," whispered Outfield. "It's fifty
dollars, you know." But Joel made no reply. What was a Masters to him
who had set his heart on the first prize of all? Presently, when the
lists were over, he stole quietly out unnoticed by his chum, and when
West returned to the room he found Joel at the table, head in hands, an
open book before him. West closed the door and walked noiselessly
forward in the manner of one in a sick-room, At length he asked in a
voice which strove to be natural and unconcerned:

"What are you doing, Joel?"

The head over the book only bent closer as its owner answered doggedly:

"Studying Greek!"



The balance of that school year was a season of hard study for Joel. It
was not in his nature to remain long despondent over the loss of the
Goodwin scholarship, and a week after the winter term commenced he was
as cheerful and light-hearted as ever. But his failure served to spur
him on to renewed endeavors, and as a result he soon found himself at
the head of the upper middle. Rightly or wrongly--and there is much to
be said on both sides--he gave up sports almost entirely. Now and then
West persuaded him to an afternoon on the links, but this was
infrequent. The hockey season opened with the first hard ice on the
river, and West joined the team that met and defeated St. Eustace in
January. There was one result of his application to study that Joel had
not looked for. Outfield West, perhaps from a mere desire to be
companionable, took to lessons, and, much to his own pretended dismay,
began to earn the reputation of a diligent student.

"You won't talk," growled West, "you won't play chess, you won't eat
things. You just drive a chap to study!" As spring came in the school
talk turned to baseball and rowing. For the former Joel had little
desire, but rowing attracted him, and he began to allow himself the
unusual pleasure of an hour away from lessons in the afternoon that he
might go down to the boathouse with West, and there, in a sunny angle of
the building, watch the crews at work upon the stream. Hillton was
trying very hard to turn out a winning crew, and Whipple, who was
captain of the first eight, toiled as no captain had toiled before in
the history of Hillton aquatics.

The baseball season ended disastrously with a severe drubbing for the
Hillton nine at the hands of St. Eustace on the latter's home ground.
The fellows said little, but promised to atone for it when the boat race
came off. This occurred two days before class day, which this year came
on June 22d, and very nearly every pupil traveled down the river to
Marshall to witness it. The day away from school came as a welcome
relief after the worry and brain-aching of the spring examination, and
Joel, although he knew for a certainty that he had passed with the
highest marks, was glad to obey Outfield's stern decree and accompany
that youth to the scene of the race.

They went by train and arrived at the little town at noon. After a regal
repast of soup and sandwiches, ice cream and chocolate eclairs, the two
set out for the river side. The Hillton crew had come down the day
before with their new shell, and had spent the night at the only hotel
in the village. The race was to be started at three, and West and Joel
spent the intervening time in exploring the river banks for a mile in
each direction from the bridge, and in getting their feet wet and their
trousers muddy.

By the hour set for the start the river sides were thronged with
spectators, and rival cheers floated across the sparkling stream from
bank to bank. That side of the river whereon St. Eustace Academy lies
hidden behind a hill held the St. Eustace supporters, while upon the
other bank the Hillton lads and their friends congregated. But the long
bridge, something more than a mile below, was common ground, and here
the foes mingled and strove to outshout each other.

The river is broad here below Marshall, and forms what is almost a
basin, hemmed in on either side by low wooded bluffs. From where Joel
and West, with a crowd of Hillton fellows, stood midway upon the bridge,
the starting point, nearly a mile and a half up stream was plainly
visible, and the finish line was a few rods above them. West was
acquainted with several of the St. Eustace boys, and to these Joel was
introduced and was welcomed by them with much cordiality and examined
with some curiosity. He had accomplished the defeat of their Eleven, and
they would know what sort of youth he was.

While they were talking, leaning against the railing of the bridge, Joel
suddenly caught West's arm and drew his attention to a boy some distance
away who was looking toward the starting point through a pair of field
glasses. West indulged in a long whistle, plainly indicative of

"Who's that fellow over there?" he asked. One of the St. Eustace boys
followed the direction of his gaze.

"Well, you ought to know him. He knows you. That's Bartlett Cloud. He
was at Hillton last term, and left because he was put off the Eleven; or
so he says."

"Humph!" ejaculated Outfield West. "He left to keep from being
expelled, he did. He left because he was mixed up in some mighty dirty
work, and knew that, even if they let him stay in school, no decent
fellow would associate with him. And you can tell him from me that if he
says I know him he's a liar. I don't know him from--from mud! I should
think you'd be proud of him at Eustace."

"We didn't know that," answered the St. Eustace boy in perplexity. "We

"What?" demanded West as the other paused.

"Well, he said that the coach was down on him, and gave his place to
your friend here, and--"

"No," answered Joel quietly. "I didn't take his place. He tried to
strike me one day at practice, and Remsen, our coach, put him off. That
was all. Afterward he--he--But it isn't worth talking about."

"But I didn't know that St. Eustace made a practice of taking in
cast-off scamps from other schools," said West. The other lad flushed as
he answered apologetically:

"We didn't know, West. He said he was a friend of yours and so--But the
other fellows shall know about him." Then there was a stir on the bridge
and a voice cried, "There they go to the float!"

Up the stream at the starting point two shells were seen leisurely
paddling toward a float anchored a few yards off the right bank. The
colors were easily distinguishable, and especially did the crimson of
Hillton show up to the eager watchers on the bridge. Every eye was
turned toward the two boats, and a silence held the throng, a silence
which lasted until sixteen oar-blades caught the water almost together,
and the two boats began to leave the float behind. Then cries of
"They're off!" were raised, and there was a general shoving and pushing
for places of observation on the up-stream side of the structure, while
along the banks the crowds began to move about again.

It was Joel's first sight of a boat race, and he found himself becoming
very excited, while West, veteran though he was, breathed a deal faster,
and talked in disjointed monosyllables.

"Side by side!... No, Hillton's ahead!... Isn't she?... Eh ... You
can't... see from here ... which is ... leading.... Get another hold on
my ... arm, ... Joel; that one's black ... and blue! ... Hillton's
ahead! Hillton's ahead by a half length!"

But she wasn't. Side by side the two shells swept on toward the first
half-mile mark. They were both rowing steadily, with no endeavor to draw
away, Hillton at thirty strokes, St. Eustace at thirty-two. The course
was two miles, almost straight away down the river. The half-mile buoy
was not distinguishable from where Joel stood, but the mile was plainly
in sight. Some one who held a stop-watch behind Joel uttered an
impatient growl at the slow time the crews were making.

"There'll be no record broken to-day," he said. "They're eight seconds
behind already for the first quarter."

But Joel didn't care about that. If only those eight swaying forms might
pass first beyond the finish line he cared but little what the time
might be. The cheering, which had ceased as the boats left the start,
now began again as they approached the finish of the first quarter of
the course.

"Rah-rah-rah; rah-rah-rah; rah-rah-rah, Hillton!" rang out from the
right bank.

"S, E, A; S, E, A; S, E, A; Saint Eustace!" replied the left bank with a
defiant roar of sound that was caught by the hills and flung back in
echoes across the water. "Saint Eustace! Saint Eustace! Saint Eustace!"
"Hillton! Hillton! Hillton!"

Then the cheering grew louder and more frenzied as, boat to boat, the
rival eights passed the half-mile buoy, swinging along with no
perceptible effort over the blue, dancing water.

"Anybody's race," said Outfield West, as he lowered his glasses. "But
Hillton's got the outside course on the turn." The turn was no more than
a slight divergence from the straight line at the one-mile mark, but it
might mean from a half to three quarters of a length to the outside
boat should they maintain their present relative positions. For the next
half mile the same moderate strokes were used until the half-course buoy
was almost reached, when Hillton struck up to thirty-two and then to
thirty-four, and St. Eustace increased her stroke to the latter number.
It was a race for the position nearest the buoy, and St. Eustace won it,
Hillton falling back a half length as the course was changed. Then the
strokes in both boats went back to thirty-two, Hillton seemingly willing
to keep in the rear. On and on they came, the oars taking the water in
unison, and shining like silver when the sun caught the wet blades. And
back, the wakes seemed like two ruled marks, so straight they were.
There was no let up of the cheering now. Back and forth went challenge
and reply across the stream, while the watchers on the bridge fairly
shook that iron-trussed structure with the fury of their slogans.

As the boats neared the three-quarter buoy it was plain to all who
looked that the real race was yet to come. Hillton suddenly hit up her
stroke to thirty-four, to thirty-six, to thirty-eight, and, a bit ragged
perhaps, but nevertheless at a beautiful speed, drew up to St. Eustace,
shoved her nose a quarter length past, and hung there, despite St.
Eustace's best efforts to shake her off.

Both boats were now straining their uttermost, and from now on to the
finish it was to be the stiffest rowing of which each was capable.
Hillton _was_ ragged on the port side, and bow was plainly tuckered.
But St. Eustace also showed signs of wear, and there was an evident
disposition the length of the boat to hurry through the stroke. Joel was
straining his eyes on the crimson backs, and West was vainly and
unconsciously endeavoring to see through the glasses from the wrong end.
The three-quarter mark swept past the boats, and Hillton still
maintained her lead.

The judges' boat, a tiny, saucy naphtha launch, had steamed down to the
finish, and now quivered there as though from impatience and excitement,
and awaited the victor. Suddenly there was a groan of dismay from the
St. Eustace supporters. And no wonder. Their boat had suddenly dropped
behind until its nose was barely lapping the rival shell. Number Four
was rowing "out of time and tune," as Joel shouted triumphantly, and
although he soon steadied down, the damage was hard to repair, for
Hillton, encouraged by the added lead, was rowing magnificently.

But with strokes that brought cries of admiration even from her foes St.
Eustace struggled gloriously to recover her lost water. Little by little
the nose of her boat crept up and up, until it was almost abreast with
Number Three's oar, while cries of encouragement from bridge and shore
urged her on. But now Green, the Hillton coxswain, turned his head
slightly, studied the position of the rival eight, glanced ahead at the
judges' boat, and spoke a short, sharp command.

And instantly, ragged port oars notwithstanding, the crimson crew seemed
to lift their boat from the water at every stroke, and St. Eustace,
struggling gamely, heroically, to the last moment, fell farther and
farther behind. A half length of clear water showed between them, then a
length, then--and now the line was but a stone-throw away--two fair
lengths separated the contestants. And amid the deafening, frenzied
shrieks of their schoolmates, their crimson-clad backs rising and
falling like clock-work, all signs of raggedness gone, the eight heroes
swept over the line winners by two and a half lengths from the St.
Eustace crew, and disappeared under the bridge to emerge on the other
side with trailing oars and wearied limbs.

And as they went from sight, Joel, stooping, yelling, over the railing,
saw, with the piercing shriek of the launch's whistle in his ears, the
upraised face of Green, the coxswain, smiling placidly up at him.



Joel took the preliminary examination for Harwell University in June,
and left class day morning for home. He had the satisfaction of seeing
his name in the list of honor men for the year, having attained A or B
in all studies for the three terms. The parting with Outfield West was
shorn of much of its melancholy by reason of the latter's promise to
visit Joel in August. The suggestion had been made by Outfield, and Joel
had at once warmly pressed him to come.

"Only, you know, Out," Joel had said, "we don't live in much style. And
I have to work a good deal, so there won't be much time for fun."

"What do you have to do?" asked West.

"Well, milk, and go to mill, and perhaps there will be threshing to do
before I leave. And then there's lots of other little things around the
farm that I generally do when I'm home."

"That's all right," answered West cheerfully. "I'll help. I milked a cow
once. Only--Say, what do you hit a cow with when you milk her?"

"I don't hit her at all," laughed Joel. "Do you?"

"I _did_. I hit her with a plank and she up and kicked me eight times
before I could move off. Perhaps I riled her. I thought you should
always hit them before you begin."

Joel had not seen his parents since he had left home in the preceding
fall, and naturally a warm welcome awaited him. Mr. March, to Joel's
relief, did not appear to regret the loss of the Goodwin scholarship
nearly as much as Joel himself had done, and seemed rather proud than
otherwise of the lad's first year at the Academy.

In August Outfield West descended at the little station accompanied by
two trunks, a golf-bag, a photograph camera, and a dress-suit case; and
Farmer March regarded the pile of luggage apprehensively, and
undoubtedly thought many unflattering thoughts of West. But as no one
could withstand that youth for long, at the end of three days both
Joel's father and mother had accepted him unreservedly into their
hearts. As for Joel's brother Ezra, and his twelve-year-old sister, they
had never hesitated for a single instant.

Mr. March absolutely forbade Joel from doing any of the chores after
West arrived at the farm, and sent the boys off on a week's hunting and
fishing excursion with Black Betty and the democrat wagon. West took his
camera along, but was prevailed on to leave his golf clubs at the farm;
and the two had eight days of ideal fun in the Maine woods, and
returned home with marvelous stories of adventure and a goodly store of
game and fish.

West was somewhat disappointed in the golfing facilities afforded by the
country about Marchdale, but politely refrained from allowing the fact
to be known by Joel. Outside of the "pasture" and the "hill-field" the
ground was too rocky and broken to make driving a pleasure, and after
losing half a dozen balls Outfield restricted himself to the pasture,
where he created intense interest on the part of the cows. He found that
he got along much more peaceably with them when he appeared without
his red coat.

In September, happy, healthy, and well browned, the two boys returned to
Hillton with all the dignity becoming the reverend Senior. West had
abandoned his original intention of entering Yates College, and had
taken with Joel the preliminary examination for Harwell; and they were
full of great plans for the future, and spent whole hours telling each
other what marvelous things awaited them at the university.

Joel's Senior year at Hillton was crowded with hard work and filled with
incident. But, as it was more or less a repetition of the preceding
year, it must needs be told of briefly. If space permitted I should like
to tell of Joel's first debate in the Senior Debating Society, in which
he proved conclusively and to the satisfaction of all present that the
Political Privileges of a Citizen of Athens under the Constitution of
Cleisthenes were far superior to those of a Citizen of Rome at the Time
of the Second Punic War. And I should like to tell of the arduous
training on the football field and in the gymnasium, by means of which
Joel increased his sphere of usefulness on the Eleven, and learned to
run with the ball as well as kick it, so proving the truth of an
assertion made by Stephen Remsen, who had said, "With such long legs as
those, March, you should be as fine a runner as you are a kicker."

And I should like to go into tiresome detail over the game with St.
Eustace, in which Joel made no star plays, but worked well and steadily
at the position of left half-back, and thereby aided in the decisive
victory for Hillton that Remsen had spoken of; for the score at the end
of the first half was, Hillton 5, St. Eustace 0; and at the end of the
game, Hillton 11, St. Eustace 0.

Joel and Remsen became fast and familiar friends during that term, and
when, a few days after the St. Eustace game, Remsen took his departure
from the Academy, no more to coach the teams to glorious victory or
honorable defeat, Joel of all the school was perhaps the sorriest to
have him go. But Remsen spoke hopefully of future meetings at Harwell,
and Joel and West waved him farewell from the station platform and
walked back to the yard in the manner of chief mourners at a funeral.

Outfield West again emerged triumphant from the golf tournament, and the
little pewter mug remained securely upon his mantel, a receptacle for
damaged balls. For some time the two missed the familiar faces of
Digbee and Blair and Whipple and some few others. Somers and Cooke still
remained, the latter with radiant hopes of graduation the coming June,
the former to take advanced courses in several studies. Clausen was a
frequent visitor to Number Four Hampton, and both West and Joel had
conceived a liking for him which, as the year went by, grew into sincere
friendship. Those who had been intimate with Wallace Clausen when he was
under the influence of Bartlett Cloud saw a great difference in the lad
at this period. He had grown manlier, more earnest in tone and
attainments, and had apparently shaken off his old habit of weak
carelessness as some insects shed their skins. He, too, was to enter
Harwell the coming fall, a fact which strengthened the bond between the
three youths.

One resolve was uppermost in Joel's heart when he began his last year at
Hillton, and that was to gain the Goodwin scholarship. His failure the
year before had only strengthened his determination to win this time;
and win he did, and was a very proud and happy lad when the lists were
read and the name of "Joel March, Marchdale, Maine," led all the rest.
And it is to be supposed that there was much happiness in the great
rambling snow-covered farmhouse up north when Joel's telegram was
received; for Joel could not wait for the mail to carry the good news,
but must needs run at once to the village and spend a bit of his
prospective fortune on a "night message."

Despite this fortune of two hundred and forty dollars, Joel elected to
spend his Christmas holidays again at Hillton, and Outfield, when he
learned of the intention, declined his uncle's invitation and remained
also. The days passed quickly and merrily. There was excellent skating
on the river, and Joel showed West the methods of ice-fishing, though
with but small results of a finny nature.

Cicero's Orations gave place to De Senectute, the Greek Testament to
Herodotus, and Plane Geometry to Solid; and spring found Joel with two
honor terms behind him, and as sure as might be of passing his final
examination for college.

Again in June St. Eustace and Hillton met on the river, and, as though
to atone for her defeat on the gridiron, Fate gave the victory to St.
Eustace, the wearers of the blue crossing the finish a full length ahead
of the Hillton eight. The baseball team journeyed down to Marshall and
won by an overwhelming majority of runs, and journeyed home again in the
still of a June evening, bringing another soiled and battered ball to
place in the trophy case of the gymnasium.

And finally, one bright day in early summer, Joel put on his best
clothes and, accompanied by West and Clausen, took his way to the
chapel, where, amid an eloquent silence, Professor Wheeler made his
farewell address, and old, gray-haired Dr. Temple preached the
Valedictory Sermon. Then the diplomas were presented, and, save for the
senior class exercises in the school hall in the afternoon, Class Day
was over, and Joel March's school days were past. Joel was graduated at
the head of the class, an honor man once more; and Outfield West,
greatly to every one's amazement, not excepting his own, was also on the
honor list. Cooke passed at last, and later confided to West that he
didn't know what he'd do now that they wouldn't let him stay longer at
Hillton; he was certain he would feel terribly homesick at Harwell. West
playfully suggested that he stay at Hillton and take an advanced course,
and Cooke seemed quite in the notion until he found that he would be
obliged to make the acquaintance of both Livy and Horace.

A lad can not stay two years at a school without becoming deeply
attached to it, and both Joel and West took their departures from
Hillton feeling very melancholy as the wooded hill, crowned by the
sun-lit tower, faded from sight. West went directly to his home,
although Joel had tried to persuade him to visit at Marchdale for a few
weeks. In July Joel received a letter from Outfield asking him to visit
him in Iowa, and, at the solicitation of his parents, he decided to
accept the invitation. The West was terra incognita to Joel, and he
found much to interest and puzzle him. The methods of farming were so
different from those to which he had been accustomed that he spent the
first week of his stay in trying to revolutionize them, much to the
amusement of both Outfield and his father. He at length learned that
Eastern ways are not Western ways, and so became content to see wheat
harvested by machinery and corn cultivated with strange, new implements.

He received one day a letter forwarded from Marchdale which bore the
signature of the captain of the Harwell Varsity Football Eleven. It
asked him to keep in practice during the summer, and, if convenient, to
report on the field two days before the commencement of the term.
Remsen's name was mentioned and Joel knew that he had him to thank for
the letter.

The friends had decided to take a room together, and had applied for one
in the spring. Much to their gratification they were given a third floor
room in Mayer, one of the best of the older college dormitories. When
the time came for going East both West and Joel were impatient to be on
the way. Mrs. West accompanied the boys, and the little party reached
the old, elm-embowered college town four days before the opening of the
term. Agreeably to the request of the football captain, Joel reported on
the field in football togs the day after reaching town, and was given a
cordial welcome. Captain Button was not there, but returned with the
Varsity squad from a week's practice at a neighboring village two
days later.

Mrs. West meanwhile toiled ceaselessly at furnishing the boys' room, and
the result was a revelation to Joel, to whom luxurious lounges and
chairs, and attractive engravings, were things hitherto admired and
longed for from a distance. And then, bidding a farewell to the lads,
Outfield's mother took her departure for home, and they were left
practically rulers of all they surveyed, and, if the truth were told, a
trifle sobered by the suddenness of their plunge into independence.

And one warm September day the college bell rang for chapel and the two
lads had begun a new, important, and to them exciting chapter of
their lives.



Picture a mild, golden afternoon in early October, the yellowing green
of Sailors' Field mellow and warm in the sunlight, the river winding its
sluggish way through the broad level marshes like a ribbon of molten
gold, and the few great fleecy bundles of white clouds sailing across
the deep blue of the sky like froth upon some placid stream. Imagine a
sound of fresh voices, mellowed by a little distance, from where, to and
fro, walking, trotting, darting, but ever moving like the particles in a
kaleidoscope, many squads of players were practicing on the football
field. Such, then, is the picture that would have rewarded your gaze had
you passed through the gate and stood near the simple granite shaft
which rises under the shade of the trees to commemorate the little
handful of names it bears.

Had you gone on across the intervening turf until the lengthened shadow
of the nearest goal post was reached you would have seen first a
squad--a veritable awkward squad--arranged in a ragged circle and
passing a football with much mishandling and many fumbles. Further along
you would have seen a long line of youths standing. Their general
expression was one of alertness bordering on alarm. The casual observer
would have thought each and every one insane, as, suddenly darting from
the line, one after another, they flung themselves upon the ground,
rolled frantically about as though in spasms, and then arose and went
back into the rank. But had you observed carefully you would have
noticed that each spasm was caused by a rolling ball, wobbling its
erratic way across the turf before them.

Around about, in and out, forms darted after descending spheroids, or
seized a ball from outstretched hands, started desperately into motion,
charged a few yards, and then, as though reconsidering, turned and
trotted back, only to repeat the performance the next moment. And
footballs banged against broad backs with hollow sounds, or rolled about
between stoutly clad feet, or ascended into the air in great arching
flights. And a babel of voices was on all sides, cries of warning, sharp
commands, scathing denouncements.

"Straighten your arm, man; that's not a baseball!" "Faster, faster! Put
some ginger into it!" "Get on your toes, Smith. Start when you see the
ball coming. This isn't a funeral!" "Don't stoop for the ball; fall on
it! The ground will catch you!" "Jones, what _are_ you doing? Wake up."
"No, _no_, NO! Great Scott, the ball won't _bite_ you!"

The period was that exasperating one known as "the first two weeks,"
when coaches are continually upon the border of insanity and players
wonder dumbly if the game is worth the candle. To-day Joel, one of a
squad of unfortunates, was relearning the art of tackling. It was Joel's
first experience with that marvelous contrivance, "the dummy." One after
another the squad was sent at a sharp spurt to grapple the inanimate
canvas-covered bag hanging inoffensively there, like a body from a
gallows, between the uprights.

There are supposed to be two ways to tackle, but the coach who was
conducting the operations to-day undoubtedly believed in the existence
of at least thrice that number; for each candidate for Varsity honors
tackled the dummy in a totally different style. The lift tackle is
performed by seizing the opponent around the legs below the hips,
bringing his knees together so that further locomotion is an
impossibility to him, and lifting him upward off the ground and
depositing him as far backward toward his own goal as circumstances and
ability will permit. The lift tackle is the easiest to make. The dive
tackle pertains to swimming and suicide. Running toward the opponent,
the tackler leaves the ground when at a distance of a length and a half
and dives at the runner, aiming to tackle a few inches below the hips. A
dive tackle well done always accomplishes a well-defined pause in the
runner's progress.

Joel was having hard work of it. Time and again he launched himself at
the swaying legs, bringing the canvas man to earth, but always picking
himself up to find the coach observing him very, very coldly, and to
hear that exasperating gentleman ask sarcastically if he (Joel) thinks
he is playing "squat tag." And then the dummy would swing back into
place, harboring no malice or resentment for the rough handling, and
Joel would take his place once more and watch the next man's attempt,
finding, I fear, some consolation in the "roast" accorded to the latter.

It was toward the latter part of the second week of college. Joel had
practiced every day except Sundays, and had just arrived at the
conclusion that football as played at Harwell was no relation, not even
a distant cousin to the game of a similar name played at Hillton. Of
course he was wrong, since intercollegiate football, whether played by
schoolboys or college students, is still intercollegiate football. The
difference lies only in the state of development. At Hillton the game,
very properly, was restricted to its more primary methods; at Harwell it
is developed to its uttermost limits. It is the difference between whist
over the library table and whist at the whist club.

But all things come to an end, and at length the coach rather
ungraciously declared he could stand no more and bade them join the rest
of the candidates for the run. That run was two miles, and Joel finally
stumbled into the gymnasium tuckered out and in no very good temper just
as the five o'clock whistle on the great printing house sounded.

After dinner in the dining hall that evening Joel confided his doubts
and vexations to Outfield as they walked back to their room. "I wouldn't
care if I thought I was making any progress," he wailed, "but each day
it gets worse. To-day I couldn't seem to do a start right, and as for
tackling that old dummy, why--"

"Well, you did as well as the other chaps, didn't you?" asked Outfield.

"I suppose so. He gave it to us all impartially."

"Well, there you are. He can't tell you you're the finest young tacklers
that ever happened, because you'd all get swelled craniums and not do
another lick of work. I know the sort of fellow he is. He'll never tell
you that you are doing well; only when he's satisfied with you he'll
pass you on. You see. And don't you care what he says. Just go on and do
the best you know how. Blair told me to-day that if you tried you could
make the Varsity before the season is over. What do you think of that?
He says the coaches are puzzling their brains to find a man that's fit
to take the place of Dangfield, who was left-half last year."

"I dare say," answered Joel despondently, "but Durston will never let me
stop tackling that dummy arrangement. I'll be taking falls out of it all
by myself when the Yates game is going on. Who invented that
thing, anyhow?"

But, nevertheless, Joel's spirits were very much better when the two
lads reached the room and West had turned on the soft light of the
argand. And taking their books in hand, and settling comfortably back in
the two great cozy armchairs, they were soon busily reading.

Hazing has "gone out" at Harwell, and so, when at about nine the two
boys beard many footfalls outside their door, and when in response to
West's loud "Come" five mysterious and muffled figures in black masks
entered they were somewhat puzzled what to think.

"March?" asked a deep voice.

"Yes," answered Joel with a wondering frown.


"Yep. What in thunder do you want? And who in thunder are you?"

"Freshies, aren't you?" continued the inexorable voice. The maskers had
closed and locked the door behind them, and now stood in rigid
inquisitorial postures between it and the table.

"None of your business," answered West crossly. "Get out, will you?"

"Not until our duties are done," answered the mask. "You are freshies,
nice, new, tender little freshies. We are here to initiate you into the
mysteries of the Sacred Order of Hullabalooloo. Stand up!" Neither
moved; they were already standing, West puzzled and angry, Joel
wondering and amused.

"Well, sit down, then," commanded the voice. Joel looked meaningly at
Outfield, and as the latter nodded the two rushed at the members of the
Sacred Order of Hullabalooloo. But the latter were prepared. Over went
the nearest armchair, down from the wall with a clatter came a rack of
books, and this way and that swayed the forms of the maskers and the
two roommates. The battle was short but decisive, and when it was done,
Joel lay gasping on the floor and Outfield sprawled breathless on
the couch.

"Will you give up?" asked the first mask.

"Yes," growled West, and Joel echoed him.

"Then you may get up," responded the mask. "But, mind you, no tricks!"
Joel thought he heard the sound of muffled laughter from one of the
masks as he arose and arranged his damaged attire. "Freshman March will
favor us with a song," announced the mask.

"I can't sing a word," answered Joel.

"You must. Hullabalooloo decrees it."

"Then Hullabalooloo can come and make me," retorted Joel stubbornly.

"What," asked the mask in a deep, grewsome voice, "what is the penalty
for disobedience?"

"Tossed in the blanket," answered the other four in unison.

"You hear, Freshman March?" asked the mask. "Choose."

"I'll sing, I guess," answered Joel, with a grin. But West jumped up.

"Don't you do it, Joel! They can't make you sing! And they can't make me
sing; and the first one that comes in reach will get knocked down!"

"Oh, well, I don't mind singing," answered Joel. "That is, I don't mind
trying. If they can stand it, I can. What shall I sing?"

"What do you know?"

"I only know one song. I'll sing that, but on one condition."

"Name it?" answered the mask.

"That you'll join in and sing the chorus."

There was a moment of hesitation; then the masks nodded, and Joel
mounted to a chair and with a comical grimace of despair at West, who
sat scowling on the couch, he began:

"There is a flag of crimson hue,
The fairest flag that flieth,
Whose folds wave over hearts full true,
As nobody denieth.
Here's to the School, the School so dear;
Here's to the soil it's built on!
Here's to the heart, or far or near,
That loves the Flag of Hillton.'"

Joel was not much of a singer, but his voice was good and he sang as
though he meant it. Outfield sat unresponsive until the verse was nearly
done; then he moved restlessly and waited for the chorus, and when it
came joined in with the rest; and the strains of Hilltonians rang
triumphantly through the building.

"Hilltonians, Hilltonians, your crimson banner fling
Unto the breeze, and 'neath its folds your anthem loudly sing!
Hilltonians, Hilltonians, our loyalty we'll prove
Beneath the flag, the crimson flag, the bonny flag we love!"

The Knights of the Sacred Order of Hullabalooloo signified their
approval and demanded the next verse. And Joel sang it. And when the
chorus came the maskers lost much of their dignity and waved their arms
about and shouted the refrain so loud that doors up and down the hall
opened and wondering voices shouted "Shut up!" or "More! M-o-r-e!" for
two minutes after. As the last word was reached Joel leaned quickly
forward toward an unsuspicious singer, and, snatching the mask from his
face, revealed the countenance of Louis Whipple.

And then, amid much laughter, the other masks were slipped off, and the
remaining members of the Sacred Order of Hullabalooloo stood revealed as
Blair, Cartwright, Somers, and Cooke.

And Outfield, joining in the laugh at his own expense, was seized by
Cooke and waltzed madly around the table, while the rest once more
raised the strains of Hilltonians:

"Hilltonians, Hilltonians, your crimson banner fling
Unto the breeze, and 'neath its folds your anthem loudly sing!
Hilltonians, Hilltonians, we stand to do or die,
Beneath the flag, the crimson flag, that waves for victory!"



Despite Joel's dark forebodings, he was at last released from tackling
practice. And with that moment he began to take hope for better things.
Under the charge of Kent, one of the coaches and an old Harwell half,
Joel was instructed in catching punts till his arms ached and his eyes
watered, and in kicking until he seemed to be one-sided. Starting with
the ball he no longer dreaded, since he had mastered that science and
could now delight the coach by leaping from a stand as though shot from
the mouth of a cannon.

Signals he had no trouble with. His memory was excellent, and he
possessed the faculty of rapid computation; though as yet his brain had
been but little taxed, since the practice code was still in use. At the
end of the third week both Varsity and scrub teams were at length
selected, and Joel, to his delight, found himself playing left-half on
the latter. Two match games a week was now the rule for the Varsity, and
Joel each Wednesday and Saturday might have been found seated under the
fence dividing the gridiron from the grand stand wrapped nearly from
sight, if the afternoon was chilly, in a great gray blanket, and
watching the play with all the excited ardor of the veriest schoolboy on
the stand behind.

One Saturday Prince, the Varsity left-half, twisted his ankle, and Joel
was taken on in his place. They were playing Amherst, and Joel has ever
since held that college in high esteem, for that it was against its
Eleven he made his _debut_ into Harwell football life. And how he
played! The captain smiled as he watched him prance down the field after
a punt, never content to be there in time, but always striving to get
there first, and not seldom succeeding. Once he succeeded too well.

It was in the second half. Blair--it was his first year on the team--was
playing full-back. On a first down he punted the ball a long and rather
low kick into Amherst's territory. Joel bowled over an Amherst end who
was foolish enough to get in the way and started down the field like an
Indian warrior on the war path. The Harwell ends were a little in
advance but off to the sides, and Joel sprinted hard and easily passed
them both. Kingdon, the right half, gave him a good run, but he too was
passed, and Joel reached the Amherst full-back just as that gentleman
turned for the ball, which had passed unexpectedly over his head. The
goal line was but thirty yards distant. Joel saw only the full-back, the
ball, and the goal line. He forgot everything else. A small cyclone
struck the full, and when he picked himself up it was to see a
crimson-legged player depositing the pigskin back of goal and to hear a
roar of laughter from the seats!

Then he yelled "Off side!" at the top of his lungs and tore down on
Joel, and, much to that young gentleman's surprise, strove to wrest the
ball from him. It was quite uncalled for, and Joel naturally resented it
to the extent of pushing violently, palms open, against the Amherst
man's jacket, with the result that the Amherst gentleman sat down
backward forcibly upon the turf at some distance. And again the stands
laughed. But Joel gravely lifted the ball and walked back to the
thirty-yard line with it. The center took it with a grin, and, as the
five yards of penalty for off side was paced, Joel was rewarded for his
play with the muttered query from the captain:

"What were you doing, you idiot?"

But too great zeal is far more excusable than too small, and Joel was
quickly forgiven, and all the more readily, perhaps, since Amherst was
held for downs, and the ball went over on the second next play. But Joel
called himself a great many unpleasant names during the rest of the
game, and for a long while after could not think of his first touch-down
without feeling his cheeks redden. Nevertheless, his manner of getting
down the field under kicks undoubtedly impressed the coaches favorably,
for when the scrub was further pruned to allow it to go to training
table Joel was retained.

One bright October day Joel and Outfield went into town to meet the
former's parents at the station; for Mr. and Mrs. March had long before
made up their minds to the visit, and the two boys had been looking
forward to it for some time. It was worth going a long way to see the
pleasure with which the old farmer and his wife greeted the great
long-legged youth who towered so far above them there on the station
platform. Joel kissed his mother fondly, patted his father patronizingly
but affectionately on the back, and asked fifty questions in as many
minutes. And all his mother could do was to gaze at him in reverent
admiration and sigh, over and over:

"Land sakes, Joel March, how you do grow!"

It must not be thought that West was neglected. Farmer March, in
especial, showed the greatest pleasure at meeting him again, and shook
hands with him four times before the street was reached and the car that
was to carry them to the college town gained. The boys conducted the
visitors to their room, and made lunch for them on a gas stove, Outfield
drawing generously on his private larder, situated under the foot of his
bed. Then the four hunted up a pleasant room in one of the student
boarding houses, and afterward showed the old people through
the college.

There was a good deal to see and many questions to answer, since Joel's
father was not a man to leave an object of interest until he had learned
all there was to be told about it. The elms in the yard were fast losing
their yellow leaves, but the grass yet retained much of its verdancy,
and as for the sky, it was as sweetly blue as on the fairest day in
spring. Up one side of the yard and down the other went the sightseers,
poking into dark hallways, reading tablets and inscriptions, the latter
translated by West into the most startling English, pausing before the
bulletins to have the numerous announcements of society and club
meetings explained, drinking from the old pump in the corner, and so
completing the circuit and storming the gymnasium, where at last Joel's
powers of reply were exhausted and Outfield promptly sprang into the
breech, explaining gravely that the mattresses on the floor were used by
Doctor Major, the director of the gymnasium, who invariably took a
cat-nap during the afternoon, that the suspended rings were used to
elevate sophomores while corporeal punishment was administered by
freshmen, and that the queer little weights in the boxes around the
walls were reserve paper weights.

Then the line of march was taken up toward Sailors' Field, where they
arrived just in time to see the beginning of the practice game between
the Varsity and the scrub. Joel had been excused from attendance that
day, and so he took his seat beside the others on the grand stand and
strove to elucidate the philosophy of football.

"You see the scrubs have the ball. They must get it past the Varsity
down to the end of the field, where they can either put it down over the
line or kick it over that cross-piece there. That's center, that fellow
that's arranging the ball. He kicks off. There it goes, and a good kick,
too. Sometimes the center-rush isn't a good kicker; then some one else
kicks off. Blair has the ball. Look, see him dodge with it. He gained
ten yards that time."

"Oh!" It was Joel's mother who exclaimed. "Why, Joel, that other man
threw him down."

"That's part of the game, mother. He did that to keep Blair from getting
the ball any nearer the scrub's goal. He isn't hurt, you see."

"And do you mean that they do that all the time?"

"Pretty often."

"And do _you_ get thrown around that way, Joel?"

"Sometimes, mother; when I'm lucky enough to get the ball."

"Well, I never."

"Football's not a bad game, Mr. March," West was saying. "But it doesn't
come up to golf, you know. It's too rough."

"It does look a little rough," answered Mr. March. "Do they often get
hurt? Seems as though when a boy had another fellow on his head, and
another on his stomach, and another on his feet, and the whole lot of
them banging away at once, seems like that boy would be a little

West laughed.

"Sometimes a fellow has his ankle sprained or a knee twisted, or a
shoulder-bone bust, or something like that. But it isn't often anything
worse occurs."

"Well, I suppose it's all right then. Only when I was a boy we never
went round trying to get our ankles sprained or our collar-bones broke;
you young fellows are tougher than we were, I guess."

"I shouldn't wonder, sir. I believe Joel has been feeling pretty bad for
a long time because he's got nothing worse than a broken finger."

"What? Broke his finger, did he? Eh? He didn't write anything about it;
what's he mean, getting broken to pieces and not telling his parents
about it?" West glanced apprehensively at Joel, but the latter had
missed the conversation, being busy following the progress of Barton, of
the scrub, who was doing a long run along the side line.

"Well, it wasn't much of a break, sir. It's all right now, and I think
he thought you'd be worried, you know. I'm sure if it had been anything
important he would have written at once."

"Humph," grunted Joel's father. "If he's going to break himself in
pieces he'd better stop football. I won't have him taking risks. I'll
tell him so!"

The fifteen-minute half had come to an end, and the players were either
resting on the ground or going through some pass or start under the
tuition of a coach. Suddenly Joel looked down to see Briscom, the scrub
captain, climbing the seats. He ducked his bare head to the others and
sank into the seat at Joel's side.

"Look here, March, can you help us out the next half? They've taken
Webster on the Varsity, and"--he lowered his voice to a confidential
roar--"we want to make a good showing to-day."

"Of course," answered Joel, "I'll come at once. Can I get some togs from
some fellow?"

"Yes. I'll ask Whitman to find some. I'm sorry to take you away from
your folks, but it's only fifteen minutes, you know."

So when the whistle blew Joel was at left half-back on the scrub,
attired in borrowed plumage that came far from fitting him. And Mrs.
March was in a tremor of dismay lest some one should throw Joel down as
she had seen Blair thrown. Mr. March had not quite recovered from his
resentment over his son's failure to apprise him of the broken finger,
which, after all, was only broken in West's imagination, and viewed his
advent on the field with disfavor.

Outfield began to wonder if his pleasant fiction regarding Joel's finger
was to lead to unpleasant results, when Mr. March relieved his mind
somewhat by suddenly taking interest in the career of his son, who was
trying to make an end run inside Dutton with half the scrub hauling,
pushing, pulling, shoving him along.

"Er--isn't that likely to be bad for that finger of his?"

"Oh, no, sir," answered West. "He looks out for his finger all right
enough. There, he made the distance. Bully work. Good old Joel."

"Did he do well then, Mr. West?" asked Joel's mother. "Of course he
did, mother," answered Mr. March disdainfully. "Didn't you see him
lugging all those fellows along with him? How much does that
count, West?"

"Well, that doesn't score anything, but it helps. The scrub has to pass
that line down there before it can score. What they're trying to do now
is to get down there, and Joel's helping. You watch him now. I think
they're going to give him the ball again for another try around end."
West was right in his surmise. Kicks were barred to-day save as a last
resort, and the game was favoring the scrub as a consequence. The ball
was passed to the right half-back; Joel darted forward like an arrow,
took the ball from right, made a quick swerve as he neared the end of
the line, and ran outside of the Varsity right end, Captain Dutton, who
had been playing pretty well in, in the expectation of another try
through tackle-end hole. As Joel got safely by it is more than likely
that he found added satisfaction in the feat as he recalled that remark
of Dutton's the week before: "What were you doing, you idiot?"

Joel got safely by Dutton, and fooled the sprightly Prince, but very
nearly ran into the arms of Kingdon, who missed his tackle by a bare six
inches. Then the race began. Joel's path lay straight down by the side
line. The field followed him at a distance, and the most he could hope
for was a touch-down near the corner of the field, which would require
a punt-out.

"Ain't that Joel?" cried Mr. March, forgetting his grammar and his
dignity at one and the same moment, and jumping excitedly to his feet.
"Ain't that Joel there running? Hey? They can't catch him. I'll lay Joel
to outrun the whole blame pack of 'em. Every day, sir. Hey? What?"

"I think he's all right, sir, for a touch-down," answered West gayly.
"Hello, there's Blair leaving the bunch. Tally-Ho!"

"I don't care if it's a steam-engine," shouted Mr. March, "he can't--I
don't know but as he's gaining a little, that fellow. Eh?"

"Looks like it," answered West, while Mrs. March, with her hand on her
husband's arm, begged him to sit down and "stop acting so silly."

"Geewhillikins!" cried Mr. March, "Joel's caught! No, he's
not--yet--Eh?--Too bad, too bad. Run, Joel, he's got ye!" Suddenly Mr.
March, who had almost subsided on his seat, jumped again to his feet.

"Here! Stop that, you fellow! Hi!" He turned angrily to Outfield, his
eyes blazing. "What'd he knock him down for? Eh? What's he sitting on my
boy for? Is that fair? Eh?"

West and Mrs. March calmed him down and explained that tackling was
quite within the law, and that he only sat on him to prevent him from
going on again; for Blair had cut short Joel's triumph fifteen yards
from the goal line, and the spectators of the soul-stirring dash down
the field were slowly settling again in their seats. Mr. March was
presently relieved to see Joel arise, shake himself like a dog coming
out of water, and trot back to his position.

Another five minutes, during which the scrub tried desperately to force
the ball over the Varsity's goal line, but without success, and the
match was over, and Briscom was happy; for the Varsity had scored but
once, and that on a fumble by the scrub quarter-back. Joel trotted off
with the teams for a shower and a rub-down, and West conducted his
parents back to the gate, where they awaited him. On the way Mr. March
confided to West that "football wasn't what he'd call a parlor game, but
on the whole it appeared to be rather interesting."

In the evening the quartet went into town to the theater and Joel's
mother cried happily over the homely pathos of The Old Homestead, and
Outfield laughed uproariously upon the slightest provocation, and every
one was extremely happy. And afterward they "electriced" back to
college, as West put it, and the two boys stayed awake very, very late,
laughing and giggling over the humors of the play and Joel's
broken finger.

Mr. and Mrs. March left the next day at noon, and Joel accompanied them
to the depot, West having a golf engagement which he could not break.
And when good-by had been said, and the long train had disappeared from
sight, Joel returned to college on foot, over the long bridge spanning
the river, busy with craft, past the factories noisy with the buzz of
wheels and the clang of iron, and on along the far-stretching avenue
until the tower of the dining hall loomed above the tops of the autumn
branches, entering the yard just as the two o'clock bell was ringing.



Give a boy the name of being a hero and it will stick. Joel was still
pointed out by admiring Hillton graduates to their friends at Harwell as
"March, the fellow who kicked the winning goal-from-field in the St.
Eustace game two years ago." And while Joel had performed of late no
doughty deed to sustain his reputation for valor, the freshman class
accepted him in all faith as a sort of class hero, off duty for the
moment, perchance, but ever ready to shed glory upon the class by some
soul-stirring act.

Consequently when it was told through college that Joel March had been
taken on to the Varsity Eleven as substitute left half-back no one was
surprised, unless it was Joel himself. The freshman class wagged its
head knowingly and said: "I told you they couldn't get on without
March," and held its head higher for that one of its members was a
Varsity player. It is not a frequent thing to find a freshman on the
Varsity team, even as substitute, and Joel's fame grew apace and many
congratulations were extended to him, in classroom and out. Blair was
one of the first to climb the stairs of Mayer and express pleasure at
the event. He found Joel seated in the window, propped up with half a
dozen crimson pillows, attempting to sketch the view across the yard to
send home to his sister. West was splicing a golf shaft and whistling
blithely over the task.

"Hello, Sophy," cried that youth, "have you come to initiate us into the
Sacred Order of Hullabalooloo? Dump those books off the chair and be
seated. March is such a beastly untidy chap," he sighed; "he _will_
leave his books around that way despite all I can say!"

"These books, Out," replied Blair, "bear the name of one West on their
title pages, and, in fact, on a good many other pages, too. What say
you?" A look of intense surprise overspread the face of Outfield.

"How passing strange," he muttered. "And is there a chemistry note-book
among them?"

"I think so. Here is one that contains mention of C2H6O, H2SO4, and
other mystic emblems which appear very tiresome; it also contains
several pages filled with diagrams of the yard and plans of Pompeii
before the devastation."

"Yes," answered West, "that's my chem. note-book. It's been missing ever
since Tuesday. But those are not diagrams of the yard, my sophomoric
friend; they're plans of the golf course."

"Well, just as you say. Catch! Say, March, I've just heard that you've
made the Varsity. I'm most splendidly glad, my young friend. You make
three Hillton fellows on the team. There's Selkirk, and you, and yours
tenderly; and we'll show them what's what when Yates faces us. And I'll
tell you a little fact that may interest you. Prince won't last until
the Yates game, my lad. He's going silly in his ankle. But don't say I
told you, for of course it's a dead secret. And if he gives out you'll
get the posish. And then if you can make another one of those
touch-downs in the Yates game--"

"Shut up, please, Blair!" groaned Joel.

"Nonsense, you're all right. I heard Button saying last week that
nothing short of a ten-story house could have stopped you that day."

"He must think me an awful fool," responded Joel. "The idea of not
remembering that I was off-side!"

"Pshaw; why, the first time I played against Eustace at Hillton I
tackled the referee in mistake for the man with the ball! And threw him,
too! And sat on his head!" West grinned.

"And they _did_ say, Blair, that you were feeling aggrieved against that
referee because he had called you down for holding. And I _have_ heard
that you weren't such a fool as you looked."

"Nothing in it, my boy," answered Wesley Blair airily. "Mere calumny. Am
I one to entertain feelings of anger and resentment against my fellow
men? Verily, very much not. But he put me off, did that referee chap.
He was incapable of accepting the joke. What is more depressing than a
fellow who can't see a joke, March?"

"Two fellows who can't see--et cetera," answered Joel promptly.

"Wrong, very wrong. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm quite
certain it isn't that. Well, I must be going. _I_ have studies. _I_
don't waste the golden moments in idleness. I grind, my young and
thoughtless friends, I grind. Well, I only came up to congratulate you,
Mr. March, of Maine. I have done so. I now depart. Farewell! Never allow
the mere fact of being off-side interfere with--"

Blair slammed the door just in front of a whizzing golf ball and
clattered downstairs. Presently he appeared on the walk beneath the
window and wiggled his fingers derisively with the thumb against a
prominent feature of his face. But at the first squeak of the window
being pushed up he disappeared around the corner.

Joel's days were now become very busy ones. Every morning he was
awakened at seven, and at eight was required to be on hand at the
training table for breakfast. The quarters were at Old's, a boarding
house opposite the college yard, and here in a big, sunny front room the
two long tables were laid with numerous great dishes of oatmeal or
hominy, platters of smoking steak, chops or crisp bacon, plates of
toast, while potatoes, usually baked, flanked the meat. The beverage was
always milk, and tall pitchers of it were constantly filled and emptied
during this as well as the other meals. And then there were eggs--eggs
hard boiled, eggs soft boiled, eggs medium, eggs poached--until, at the
end of the season, the mere mention of eggs caused Joel's stomach to
writhe in disgust.

During breakfast disabilities were inquired after, men who were known to
have nerves were questioned as to their night's rest, and orders for the
day were given out. This man was instructed to see the doctor, another
to interview the trainer, a third to report to the head coach. The meal
over, save for a half hour of practice for the backs behind the
gymnasium the men were free to give all their energies to lessons, and
so hurried away to recitation hall or room.

At one o'clock the team assembled again for lunch, with books in hand,
and at break-neck speed devoured the somewhat elaborate repast, each man
rushing in, eating, and rushing out, with no attempt at sociability or
heed to the laws of digestion.

Afternoon practice was at four o'clock. Individual practice was followed
by team practice against an imaginary foe, and this in turn gave place
to a line-up against the second eleven. Two stiff twenty-minute halves
were played. Then again individuals were seized on by captain and
coaches and put through paces to remedy some fault or other. And then
the last player trots off the field, and the coaches, conversing
earnestly among themselves, follow, and the day's work is done. There
are still the bath and the rub-down and the weighing; but these are
gone through with leisurely while the day's work is discussed and the
coaches, circulating among the fellows, inflict an epilogue of criticism
and instruction.

There remained usually the better part of an hour before dinner, and
this period Joel spent in his room, where with the lamp throwing its
glow over his shoulder, he strove to take his mind from the subject of
tackling and starting, of punting and passing, and fix it upon his
studies for the morrow.

For life was far from being all play that fall--if hard practice and
strict training can be called play!--and Joel found it necessary to
occupy every moment not taken up by eating, sleeping, and practicing on
the gridiron with hard study. It can scarcely be truthfully asserted
that Joel's lessons suffered by reason of his adherence to athletics,
though a lecture now and then was slighted that he might use the time in
pursuing some study that lack of leisure had necessitated his

But a clear head, a good digestion, and racing blood render studying a
pleasure rather than a task, and Joel found that, while giving less time
than before to lessons, he learned them fully as well. One thing is
certain: his standing in class did not suffer, even when the coaches
were more than usually severe. Joel's experience that fall, and many a
time later, led him to conclude that the amount of outdoor athletics
indulged in and the capability for study are in direct ratio.

West, too, was a most studious young gentleman that term, and began to
pride himself on his recently discovered ability to learn. To be sure,
golf was a hard taskmaster, but with commendable self-denial he did not
allow it to interfere with his progress in class. Both he and Joel had
earned the name of being studious ere the end of the fall term, and
neither of them resented it.

Unlike the preceding meal, dinner at the training table was a sociable
and cheerful affair, when every man at the board tried his best to be
entertaining, and when "shop," either study or football, was usually
tabooed. The menu was elaborate. There were soup, two or three kinds of
meat, a half dozen vegetables, sauces, the ever-present toast, pudding
or cream, and plenty of fruit; and for drinkables, why, there was the
milk, and sometimes light ale in lesser quantities. At one end of the
table--whether head or foot is yet undecided--sat the captain, at the
other end the head coach. Other coaches were present as well, and the
trainer sat at the captain's left.

There was always lots of noise, for weighty things were seldom touched
upon in the conversation, and jokes were given and taken in good part.
When all other means of amusement failed there were still the potatoes
to throw; and a butter chip, well laden, can be tossed upward in such a
manner that it will remain stuck more or less securely to the ceiling.
This is a trick that comes only with long practice, but any one may try
it; and the ceiling above the training table that year was always well
studded with suspended disks of crockery. Bread fights--so named because
the ammunition is more likely to be potatoes--were extremely popular,
and the dinner often came to an end with a pitched battle, in which
coats were decorated from collar to hem with particles of that clinging

His evenings usually belonged to Joel to spend as he wished, though not
unfrequently a blackboard talk by the head coach or a lecture by some
visiting authority curtailed them considerably. He had always to be in
bed by ten o'clock.

But sleep sometimes, especially after a day of hard practice, did not
readily come, and he often laid awake until midnight had sounded out on
the deep-toned bell in the old church tower thinking over the events of
the day, and wondering what fate, in the person of the head coach, held
in view for him. And one night he awoke to find Outfield shaking him
violently by the shoulder.

"Wh-what's the row?" he asked sleepily.

"You," answered Outfield. "You've been yelling '4, 9; 5, 7; 8, 6' for
half an hour. What's the matter with you, anyhow?"

"The signals," muttered Joel, turning sleepily over, "that's a
run around left end by left half-back. And don't forget to start
when the ball's snapped. And jump high if you're blocked.
And--don't--forget--to--" Snore--snore! "Well," muttered West as he
stumbled against an armchair and climbed into bed, "of all
crazy games--"

But West was not in training and so possessed the faculty of going to
sleep when his head struck the pillow. As a consequence the rest of his
remark was never heard.



"MARCH! Joel March!"

Joel was striding along under the shadow of the chapel on his way from a
recitation to Mayer and his room. The familiar tones came from the
direction of the library, and turning he saw Stephen Remsen trotting
toward him with no regard for the grass. Joel hurdled the knee-high wire
barrier and strode to meet him. The two shook hands warmly, almost
affectionately, in the manner of those who are glad to meet.

"March, I'm delighted to see you again! I was just going to look you up.
Which way were you going?"

"Up to the room. Can't you come up for a while? When'd you arrive? Are
you going to stay now?"

"Third down!" laughed Remsen. "No gain! What a fellow you are for
questions, March! I got in this morning, and I'm going to stay until
after the Yates game. They telegraphed me to come and coach the tackles.
Instead of going to your room let's go to mine. I've taken a suite of
one room and a closet at Dixon's on the avenue. I haven't unpacked my
toothbrush yet. Come over with me and take lunch, and we'll talk it
all over."

So Joel stuck his books under his arm and the two crossed the yard,
traversing the quadrangle in front of University and debouching on to
the avenue near where the tall shaft of the Soldiers' Monument gleams in
the sunlight. But they did not wait until Remsen's room was gained to
"talk it all over." Joel had lots to tell about the Hillton fellows whom
he had not lost sight of: of how Clausen was captain of the freshman
Eleven and was displaying a wonderful faculty for generalship; how West
was still golfing and had at last met foemen worthy of his steel; how
Dicky Sproule was in college taking a special course, and struggling
along under popular dislike; how Whipple and Cooke were rooming together
in Peck, the former playing on the sophomore class team and going in for
rowing, and the latter still the same idle, good-natured ignoramus, and
liked by every fellow who knew him; how Digbee was grinding in Lanter
with Somers; how Cartwright had joined the Glee Club; and how Christie
had left college and gone into business with his father.

"And Cloud?" asked Remsen. "Have you seen him?"

"Yes, once or twice. I've heard that he was very well liked when he left
St. Eustace last year. I dare say he has turned over a new leaf since
his father died."

"Indeed? I hadn't heard of that."

"West heard it. He died last spring, and left Cloud pretty near
penniless, they say. I have an idea that he has taken a brace and is
studying more than he used to."

"The chap has plenty of good qualities, I suppose. We all have our bad
ones, you know. Perhaps it only needed some misfortune to wake up the
lad's better nature. They say virtue thrives best on homely fare, and,
like lots of other proverbs, I guess it's sometimes true."

Then Remsen told of his visit to Hillton a few weeks previous. The
Eleven this year was in pretty good shape, he thought; Greene, an upper
middle man, was captain; they expected to have an easy time with St.
Eustace, who was popularly supposed to be in a bad way for veteran
players. That same Greene was winning the golf tournament when he was
there, Remsen continued, and the golf club was in better shape than ever
before, thanks to the hard work of West, Whipple, Blair, and a few
others in building it up.

The two friends reached the house, and Remsen led the way into his room,
and set about unpacking his things. Joel took up a position on the bed
and gave excellent advice as to the disposal of everything from a pair
of stockings to a typewriter.

"It's a strange fact," said Remsen as he thrust a suit of pajamas under
the pillow, "that Outfield West is missed at Hillton more than any
fellow who has graduated from there for several years past. Perhaps I
don't mean exactly strange, either, for of course he's a fellow that
every one naturally likes. What I do mean is that one would naturally
suppose fellows like Blair or Whipple would leave the most regrets
behind them, for Blair was generally conceded to be the most popular
fellow in school the last two years of his stay, and Whipple was surely
running him a close second. And certainly their memories are still
green. But everywhere I went it was: 'Have you heard from Outfield
West?' 'How's West getting on at college?' And strange to say, such
inquiries were not confined to the fellows alone. Professor Wheeler
asked after West particularly, and so did Briggs, and several others of
the faculty; and Mrs. Cowles as well.

"But you are still the hero there, March. The classic history of Hillton
still recounts the prowess of one Joel the First, who kicked a goal from
field and defeated thereby the hosts of St. Eustace. And Professor
Durkee shakes his head and says he will never have another so attentive
and appreciative member of his class. And now tell me, how are you
getting on with Dutton?"

So Joel recited his football adventures in full, not omitting the
ludicrous touch-down, which received laughing applause from his
listener, and recounting his promotion to the position of Varsity

"Yes, I saw in the paper last week that you had been placed on the sub
list of the Varsity. I hope you'll have a chance to play against Yates,
although I don't wish Prince any harm. He's a good fellow and a hard
worker. Hello, it's one-fifteen. Let's get some lunch."

A half hour later they parted, Joel hurrying off to recitation and
Remsen remaining behind to keep an appointment with a friend. After this
they met almost every day, and Remsen was a frequent caller at Joel's
room, where he with Joel and Outfield held long, cosy chats about every
subject from enameling golf balls to the Philosophy of Kant and the
Original Protoplasm.

Meanwhile the season hurried along. Harwell met and defeated the usual
string of minor opponents by varying scores, and ran up against the red
and blue of Keystone College with disastrous results. But one important
contest intervened between the present time and the game with Yates, and
the hardest sort of hard work went on daily inside the inclosed field. A
small army of graduates had returned to coach the different players, and
the daily papers were filled, according to their wont, with columns of
sensational speculation and misinformation regarding the merits of the
team and the work they were performing. Out of the mass of clashing
"facts" contained in the daily journals but one thing was absolutely
apparent: to wit, the work of the Harwell Eleven was known only to the
men and the coaches, and neither would tell about it.

At last, when chill November had been for a few days in the land, the
game with the red and white clad warriors from Ithaca took place on a
wet and muddy field, and Joel played the game through from start to
finish, Prince being engaged in nursing his treacherous ankle, which had
developed alarming symptoms with the advent of wet weather. The game
resulted in a score of twenty-four to five, the Ithacans scoring a neat,
but inexcusable, goal from field in the first half. Joel played like a
Trojan, and went around the left end of the opposing line time and again
for good gains, until the mere placing of the ball in his hands was
accepted by the spectators as equal to an accomplished gain.

Wesley Blair made a dashing charge through a crowded field for twelve
yards and scored a touch-down that brought the onlookers to their feet
cheering. Dutton, the captain, played a steady brilliant interfering
game, and Kingdon, at right half-back, plunged through the guard-tackle
holes time and again with the ball hugged to his stomach, and kept his
feet in a manner truly marvelous until the last inch had been gained.

But critics nevertheless said unkind things of the team work as they
wended their way back over the sodden turf, and shook their heads
dubiously over the field-goal scored by the opponents. There would be a
general shaking up on the morrow, they predicted, and we should see what
we should see. And the coaches, too, although they dissembled their
feelings under cheerful countenances, found much to condemn, and the
operations of bathing, dressing, and weighing that afternoon were less
enjoyable to the breathless, tattered men.

The next day the team "went into executive session," as Joel called it,
and the predicted shake-up took place. Murdoch, the left guard, was
deemed too slight for the place, and was sent to the side line, from
where he presently crawled to a seat on the great empty stand, and
hiding his blanketed head wept like a child. And there were other
changes made. Joel kept his place at left half, pending the bettering of
Prince's ankle, and Blair was secure at full. But when the practice game
began, many of the old forms were either missing or to be seen in the
second Eleven's line, and the coaches hovered over the field of battle
with dark, forbidding looks, and said mean things whenever the
opportunity presented itself, and were icily polite to each other, as
men will be when they know themselves to be in the right and every one
else in the wrong. And so practice that Thursday was an unpleasant
affair, and had the desired effect; for the men played the game for all
that was in them and attended strictly to the matter in hand, forgetting
for the time the intricacies of Latin compositions and the terrors of
coming examinations. When it was over Joel crawled off of the scale with
the emotions of a weary draught horse and took his way slowly toward
home. In the square he ran against Outfield, who, armed with a monstrous
bag of golf requisites, had just leaped off a car.

"Hello, Joel," he cried. "What's happened? Another off-sider? Have you
broken that finger again? Honest Injun, what's up?"

"Nothing, Out; I'm just kind of half dead. We had two thirty-minute
halves, with forty-'leven coaches yelling at us every second, and a
field like a turnip patch just before seeding. Oh, no, there's nothing
the matter; only if you know of any quiet corner where I can die in
peace, lead me there, Out. I won't keep you long; it will soon be over."

"No, I don't, my flippant young friend, but I know something a heap

"Nothing can be better any more, Out. Still--well, what is it?"

"A couple of hot lemonades and a pair of fat sandwiches at Noster's.
Come along."

"You're not so bad, Out," said Joel as they hurried up the street. "You
have _moments_ of almost human intelligence!"



The backs and substitute backs, together with Story, the quarter,
Captain Dutton, and one or two assistant coaches, including Stephen
Remsen, were assembled in Bancroft 6. The head coach was also present,
and with a long pointer in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other
was going through a sequence for the benefit of the backs, who had been
called a half hour ahead of the rest of the Eleven. The time was a half
hour after dinner.

On the blackboard strange squares and lines and circles confronted the
men in the seats. The head coach placed the tip of the pointer on a
diagram marked "No. 2. Criss-Cross."

"This is the second of the sequence, and is an ordinary criss-cross from
left half-back to right half-back. If you don't understand it readily,
say so. I want you to ask all the questions you can think of. The halves
take positions, as in the preceding play, back of the line behind the
tackle-guard holes. The ball goes to left half, who runs just back of
quarter. Right half starts a moment after the ball is put in play, also
going back of quarter and outside of left half and receiving the ball
at a hand pass from the latter, and continuing on through the hole
between left end and tackle. Right end starts simultaneously with left
half, taking the course indicated, in front of quarter and close to the
line, and interfering through the line for the runner."

[Illustration: 2nd PLAY]

"Left end blocks opposing end outward. Quarter clears the hole out for
the runner. Full-back does not start until the pass from quarter to left
half is made. He must then time himself so as to protect the second
pass. In case of a fumble the ball is his to do the best he can with
through the end-tackle hole. If the pass is safe he follows left half
through, blocking opposing left end long enough to keep him out of
the play.

"You will go through this play to-morrow and you will get your slips
to-morrow evening here. Now is there anything not clear to you?"

Apparently there was a great deal, for the questions came fast and
furious, the coaches all taking a hand in the discussion, and the
diagram being explained all over again very patiently by the head. Then
another diagram was tackled.

[Illustration: 3rd PLAY]

"The third of this sequence is from an ordinary formation," began the
head coach. "It is intended to give the idea of a kick, or, failing
that, of a run around left end. It will very probably be used as a
separate play in the last few minutes of a half, especially where the
line-up is near the side line, right being the short side of the field.
You will be given the signal calling this as a separate play
to-morrow evening.

"Full-back stands as for a kick, and when the signal is given moves in a
step or two toward quarter as unnoticeably as possible; position 2 in
the diagram. He must be careful to come to a full stop before the ball
is snapped back, and should time himself so that he will not have to
stay there more than a second. The instant the ball is snapped full-back
runs forward to the position indicated here by 3, and receives the ball
on a short pass from quarter. Left half starts at the same instant, and
receives the ball from full as he passes just behind him, continuing on
and around the line outside of right end. It is right half's play to
make the diversion by starting with the ball and going through the line
between left tackle and guard; he is expected to get through and into
the play on the other side. Left end starts when the ball is snapped,
and passing across back of the forwards clears out the hole for the
runner. Quarter interferes, assisted by full-back, and should at all
costs down opposing half. Right end helps right tackle throw in opposing
end. Much of the success of this play depends on the second pass, from
full-back to left half, and it must be practiced until there is no
possibility of failure. Questions, fellows."

After the discussion of the last play a half hour's talk on
interference was given to the rest of the Eleven and substitutes, who
had arrived meanwhile. Remsen and Joel left Bancroft together and
crossed the yard toward the latter's room. The sky was bright with
myriads of stars and the buildings seemed magnified by the wan radiance
to giant castles. Under the shadow of University Remsen paused to light
his pipe, and, without considering, the two found themselves a moment
later seated on the steps.

From the avenue the clang-clang of car gongs sounded sharp and clear,
and red and white and purple lights flitted like strange will-o'-wisps
through the half light, and disappeared into the darkness beyond the
common. The lights in the stores beamed dimly. A green shade in Pray's
threw a sickly shaft athwart the pavement. But even as they looked a
tall figure, weariness emanating from every movement, stepped between
window and light, book in hand, and drew close the blinds.

"Poor devil!" sighed Remsen. "Three hours more of work, I dare say,
before he stumbles, half blind, into bed. And all for what, Joel? That
or--that?" He pointed with his pipe-stem to where Jupiter shone with
steady radiance high in the blue-black depths; then indicated a faint
yellow glow that flared for an instant in the darkness across the yard
where a passer had paused to light his pipe.

"We can't all be Jupiters, Remsen," answered Joel calmly. "Some of us
have to be little sticks of wood with brimstone tips. But they're very
useful little things, matches. And, after all, does it matter as long
as we do what we have to do as well as we can? Old Jupiter up there is a
very fine chap undoubtedly, and if he shirked a minute or two something
unpleasant would probably occur; but he isn't performing his task any
better than the little match performed his. 'Scratch--pouf' and the
match's work's done. But it has lighted a fire. Can you do better,
Mr. Jupiter?"

Remsen made no reply for a moment, but Joel knew that he was smiling
there beside him. A little throng of students passed by, humming softly
a song in time with their echoing footsteps, and glanced curiously at
the forms on the steps. Then Remsen struck a match on the stone.

"'Scratch--pouf!'" he said musingly, relighting his pipe. In the act of
tossing the charred splinter away he stopped; then he laid it beside him
on the step. "Good little match," he muttered. Joel laughed softly.

"March," asked Remsen presently, "have you changed your mind yet about
studying law?"

"No; but sometimes I get discouraged when I think of what a time it will
take to arrive anywhere. And sometimes, too, I begin to think that a
fellow who can't talk more readily than I ought to go into the hardware
business or raise chickens for a living instead of trying to make a
lawyer out of himself."

"It isn't altogether talk, March," answered Remsen, "that makes a good
lawyer. Brains count some. If you get where you can conduct a case to a
successful result you will never miss the 'gift o' the gab.' Talking's
the little end of the horn in my profession, despite tradition.

"I asked for a reason, March," he went on. "What do you say to our
forming a partnership? When you get through the Law School you come to
me, if you wish, and tell me that you are ready to enter my office, and
I'll answer 'I'm very glad to have you, Mr. March.' Of course we could
arrange for a regular partnership a year or so later. Meanwhile the
usual arrangement would be made. It may be that you know of some very
much better office which you would prefer to go to. If you do, all
right. If you don't, come to me. What do you say?"

"But--but what good would I do you?" Joel asked, puzzled at the offer.
"I'd like it very much, of course, but I can't see--"

"I'll tell you, March. I have a good deal of faith in your future, my
boy. You have a great deal of a most valuable thing called application,
which I have not, worse luck. You are also sharp-witted and level-headed
to a remarkable degree. And some day, twenty or thirty years from now,
you'll likely be _hard_-headed, but I'll risk that. By the time you're
out of college I shall be wanting a younger man to take hold with me.
There will be plenty of them, but I shall want a good one. And that is
why I make this offer. It is entirely selfish, and you need not go
searching for any philanthropy in it. I'm only looking a bit ahead and
buttering my toast while it's hot, March. What do you say? Or, no, you
needn't say anything to-night. Think it over for a while, and let me
know later."

"But I don't want to think it over," answered Joel eagerly. "I'm ready
to sign such a partnership agreement now. If you really believe that I
would--could be of use to you, I'd like it mightily. And I know all
about your 'selfishness,' and I'm very grateful to you for--for
buttering your toast."

Later, when they arose and went on, Remsen consented to accompany Joel
to his room, bribed thereto with a promise of hot chocolate. They found
Outfield diligently poring over a Greek history. But he immediately
discarded it in favor of a new book on the Royal Game which lay in his
lap hidden under a note book.

"You see," he explained, "old Pratt has taken a shine to me, and I
expected him to call this evening. And I thought at first that you were
he--or him--which is it? And of course I didn't want to disappoint the
old gentleman; he has such a fine opinion of me, you know."

While Outfield boiled the water and laid bare the contents of the
larder, Joel told him of Remsen's offer. A box of biscuits went down
with a crash, and Outfield turned indignantly.

"That's all very fine," he exclaimed. "But where do I come in? How about
Mr. West? Where does he get his show in this arrangement? You promised
that if I studied law, too, Joel, you'd go into partnership with _me_.
Now, didn't you?"

"But it was all in fun," protested Joel, distressedly. "I didn't
suppose you meant it, you know."

"Meant it!" answered Outfield indignantly. "Of course I meant it. Don't
you expect I appreciate level-headedness and sharp-wittedness and
applicationousness just as much as Remsen? Why, I had it all fixed. We
were to have an office fitted with cherry railings and revolving
bookcases near--near--"

"A good links?" suggested Remsen smilingly.

"Well, yes," admitted Outfield, "that wouldn't be a half bad idea. But
now you two have gone and spoiled it all."

"Well, I tell you, West," suggested Remsen, "you come in with us and
supply the picturesque element of the business. You might look after the
golf cases, you know; injuries to bald-headed gentlemen by gutties;
trespassing by players; forfeiting of leases, and so forth. What do
you say?"

"All right," answered Outfield cheerfully. "But it must be understood
that the afternoons belong to the links and not to the law."

So Stephen Remsen and Joel March sealed their agreement by shaking
hands, and Outfield grinned approval.

One afternoon a few days later Outfield pranced into the room just as
dusk was falling brandishing aloft a silver-plated mug, and uttering a
series of loud cheers for "Me." Joel, who had returned but a moment
before from a hard afternoon's practice, and was now studying in the
window seat by the waning light, looked languidly curious.

"A trophy, Joel, a trophy from the links!" cried West. "Won by the great
Me by two holes from Jenkins, Jenkins the Previously Great, Jenkins the
Defeated and Devastated!" He tossed the mug into Joel's lap.

"I'm very glad, Out," said the latter. "Won't it help you with the

"It will, my discerning friend. It will send me to New York next month
to represent Harwell. And Lapham says I must go to Lakewood for the open
tournament. Oh, little Outie is some pumpkins, my lad! It was quite the
most wonderful young match to-day. Jenkins led all the way to the
fifteenth hole. Then he foozled like a schoolboy, and I holed out in one
and went on to the Cheese Box in two."

"I'm awfully glad," repeated Joel, smiling up into the flushed and
triumphant face of his chum. "If you go to New York it will be after the
big game, and, if you like, I'll go with you and shout." Outfield West
executed a war-dance and whooped ecstatically.

"Will you, Joel? Honest Injun? Cross your heart and hope to die? Then
shake hands, my lad; it's a bargain! Now, where's my chemistry?"

The days flew by and the date of the Yates game rapidly approached. The
practice was secret every afternoon, and the coaches lost weight eluding
the newspaper reporters. Prince disappointed Joel by returning to the
Varsity with his ankle apparently as well as ever, although he was
generally "played easy," and Joel often took his place in the second
half of the practice games.

And at last the Thursday preceding the big game arrived, and the team
and substitutes, together with the trainer and the manager and the head
coach and two canine mascots, assembled in the early morning in the
square and were hustled into coaches and driven into town to their
train. And half the college heroically arose phenomenally early and
stood in the first snow storm of the year and cheered and cheered for
the team individually and collectively, for the head coach and the
trainer, for the rubbers and the mascots, and, between times, for
the college.

The players went to a little country town a few miles distant from the
seat of Yates University, and spent the afternoon in practicing signals
on the hotel grounds. The next day, Friday, was a day of rest, save for
running through a few formations and trick plays after lunch and taking
a long walk at dusk. The Yates Glee Club journeyed over in the evening
and gave an impromptu entertainment in the parlor, a courtesy well
appreciated by the Harwell team, whose nerves were now beginning to make
themselves felt. And the next morning the journey was continued and the
college town was reached at half past eleven.

The men were welcomed at the station by a crowd of Harwell fellows who
had already arrived, and the Harwell band did its best until the team
was driven off to the hotel. There for the first time the men were
allowed to see the line-up for the game. It was a long list, containing
the names, ages, heights, and weights of thirty-six players and
substitutes, and was immediately the center of interest to all.

"Thunder!" growled Joel ruefully, as he finished reading the list over
Blair's shoulder, "it's a thumpin' long ways down to _me!_"



"Harwell, Harwell, Harwell! Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah,

The lobby grew empty on the instant, and outside on the steps and on the
sidewalk the crowd spread itself. The procession had just turned the
corner, the college band leading.

"The freshmen won!" cried a voice on the edge of the throng, and the
news was passed along from man to man until it swept up the steps,
through the lobby and to the dining room upstairs where the football men
of the Varsity team were impatiently awaiting lunch. "A good omen," said
the head coach.

Below in the street admonitory thumps upon the great drum, with its
college coat-of-arms on the head, were heard, and a moment later the
shouts of the exuberant freshmen and their allies were drowned in the
first strains of the college song. Off came the silk hats of the
frock-coated graduates and the plaided golf caps of the students, and
side by side there in the sun-swept street they lifted their voices in
the sweet, measured strains of the dear familiar hymn. And stout,
placid-faced men of fifty, with comfortable bank accounts and incipient
twinges of gout, felt the unaccustomed dimming of the sight that
presages tears, and boyish, carefree students, to whom the song was as
much an everyday affair as D marks and unpaid bills, felt strange
stirrings in their breasts, and with voices that stumbled strangely over
the top notes sang louder and louder. And upstairs in the dining room
many a throat grew hard and "lumpy" as the refrain came in at the
open windows.

But, as the trainer muttered presently, it was only the freshmen who had
won, and the real battle of the day was yet to come. And soon the band
and the shouting parade wheeled away from beneath the windows and swung
off up the street to make known far and wide the greatness of Harwell,
her freshmen, and the grandeur of their victory over the youngsters of
Yates. And, as the last cheer floated up from the procession as it
disappeared around a far corner, lunch was served, and player and coach,
trainer and rubber, substitute and mascot, drew up to the last meal
before--what? Victory or defeat?

It was not a merry repast, that lunch before the fray. Some men could
not bring themselves to eat at all until the coaches commanded with dire
threats. Others, as though nothing out of the ordinary was about to take
place, ate heartily, hungrily, of everything set before them. At the far
end of the room Joel March played with his steak and tried to delude
himself into thinking he was eating. He felt rather upset, and weak in
the joints, and as for the lad's stomach it had revolted at sight of the
very first egg. But luckily the last meal before a game has little
effect one way or the other upon the partaker, since he is already keyed
up, mentally and physically, to a certain pitch, and nothing short of
cold poison can alter it.

In the streets below, for blocks in all directions, the crowds surged up
and down, and shouts for Harwell and yells for Yates arose like
challenges in the afternoon air. Friends met who had not done so for
years, enemies accorded enemies bows of recognition ere they remembered
their enmity. The deep blue and the deeper crimson passed and
counterpassed, brushed and fluttered side by side, and lighted up the
little college city till it looked like a garden of roses and violets.

And everywhere, over all, was the tensity that ever reigns before a

The voices of the ticket speculator and of the merchant of "Offish'l
Score Cards" were heard upon every side. The street cars poked their
blunt noses through the crowd which closed in again behind them like
water about the stern of a ship. Violets blossomed or crimson
chrysanthemums bloomed upon every coat and wrap, or hung pendant from
the handle of cane and umbrella. The flags of Harwell and Yates, the
white H and white Y, were everywhere. Shop windows were partisan to the
blue, but held dashes of crimson as a sop to the demands of hospitality
and welcome.

At one o'clock the exodus from town began. Along the road that leads to
the football field hurried the sellers of rush cushions and badges, of
score cards and pencils, of blue and crimson flags and cheap canes, of
peanuts and sandwiches, of soda water and sarsaparilla, bent upon
securing advantageous stands about the entrance. A quarter of an hour
later the spectators were on the way. The cars, filled in and out with
shouting humanity, crept slowly along, a bare half block separating
them. Roystering students swung arm in arm in eccentric dance from side
to side across the street. Ladies with their escorts hurried along the
sidewalks. Carriages, bright with fluttering flags, rolled by. Bicycles
darted in and out, their riders throwing words of salutation over their
shoulders to friends by the way. In the windows along the route was
displayed the bravery of blue banners. A window in a college hall was
piled high with great comfortable-looking pillows, each bearing a great
challenging Y in white ribbon or embroidery. And overhead the sky arched
a broad blue expanse from horizon to horizon.

In this manner on some fair morning, centuries ago, did all Greece wend
its way to the Stadium and the Games of Olympia.

In the hotel the lunch was over and that terrible age between it and the
arrival of the coaches was dragging its weary length along. Joel and
Blair were standing by the window talking in voices that tried to be
calm, cool and indifferent, but which were neither.


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