Quarter-Back Batesñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“Had to call him something, and Harold sounded sort of convincing, sort of like what a Phillipsburg fellow would be called. Get me?”
“Oh! Well, say, suppose Summer didn’t go back to his room until after supper or something? Have you seen Sandy since?”
“Oh, yes, he’s aboard. I saw him in the station. He didn’t see me, though. I think he wants to. That’s one reason I wasn’t keen for going after the chocolate. Something tells me that Sandy has misconstrued my innocent efforts to save his money for him!”
“Gee, but I’ll bet he’s mad enough to bite a nail!” chuckled Stanley. “Of all the crazy stunts, Rusty, that’s the craziest! How did you know Summer wouldn’t have a room-mate and that the room-mate wouldn’t be in when you got there?”
“I didn’t. I couldn’t find that out without going through the whole catalogue, and there wasn’t time for that. If there’d been anyone in when I knocked I’d have just asked for a fictitious name and backed out again. Anyway, I don’t see what Sandy has to be peeved about. He saw the game without paying a cent!”
“Except for the caramels and soda,” laughed Blash. “I wish I could have been behind a door or some place when Summer walked in and found Sandy sitting there!”
“Maybe Sandy got wise and got away before Summer came back,” suggested Stanley anxiously. But Rusty shook his head. “He probably got wise, all right, but I’ll bet he didn’t get out! There was only one door and that was locked. There wasn’t any transom and the window was two stories up. And I don’t believe there was a soul in the building; every fellow was at the game.”
“How the dickens did you ever think of the scheme?” asked Stanley admiringly. Rusty shrugged modestly.
“Oh, it just sort of came to me. Like an inspiration, you know. Well, that settles one or two old scores between Sandy and me, I guess. I hope Summer didn’t beat him up, but still, if he did – ” Rusty shrugged again. “I should grow faint and be carried out!”
“Rusty, you’re a wonder!” said Blash earnestly. “You’ll be hung if you live long enough; there’s no doubt about that: but in the meanwhile you certainly do add to the joy of nations!”
“What do you mean, hung?” demanded Rusty indignantly. “My record is as clean and my life as stainless – Oh, my sainted grandmother! Here he comes! Hide me behind your stalwart frame, Blash!”
From the farther end of the swaying coach came Sandy Halden, gloom and wrath upon his brow, his gaze seeking his enemy. A few seats away his eyes fell on Rusty and they blazed in triumph. He shoved his way past an accumulation of suit-cases and faced his benefactor, his shock-hair standing up defiantly under the cap he wore and his long nose twitching like a rabbit’s. Rusty viewed him calmly.
“Hello, Sandy,” he greeted. “Great game, wasn’t it?”
“A great game you put up on me!” sputtered Sandy. “I suppose you think you’re mighty smart, eh? You wait till I’m through with you, Crozier! I’ll make you wish you weren’t so blamed funny! I’ll show you what a real joke is! I’ll – ”
“There, there,” said Rusty, soothingly.
“What’s your kick, Sandy? You saw the game all right, didn’t you? And you saved a whole half-dollar, didn’t you? What more do you want? By the way, I suppose you introduced yourself to Harold? Sorry I couldn’t stick around!”
“He was all right, don’t you worry! I told him about you and he said a few things you ought to have heard! His name isn’t Harold – ”
“What? You don’t mean that we got into the wrong room!” exclaimed Rusty incredulously. “Wasn’t it Harold Jones’ room, Sandy?”
“You know mighty well whose room it was!” answered the other indignantly. “That’s all right! I’ll get even with you! I’ll – ”
“Oh, I am sorry!” declared Rusty miserably. “Such an awkward mistake to make. I don’t see how I could have been so stupid! Whatever can I do to show my contrition, Sandy?”
By this time most of the fellows within hearing were listening eagerly and amusedly, and it dawned on Sandy that he was making a mistake to advertise the joke. “Never mind your contrition,” he growled in a lower voice, “I’ll fix you, Crozier. Don’t think you can get away with it.” His eyes swept the grinning or amused faces of Rusty’s companions. “You make me sick, anyway, the whole lot of you!” he added. “If I tell Jud what you did, Crozier, you won’t think it’s so funny!” With which veiled threat he swung angrily away and the car door crashed resoundingly behind him.
Blash and Stanley were somewhat sobered, but Rusty still beamed. “I wonder what Summer did say!” he chuckled. “I wish I knew!”
“Look here,” said Stanley, “you don’t suppose he will go to Jud, do you? You know, Rusty, Jud’s a bit down on you!”
“He won’t. He knows that if he did I’d beat him to a stiff froth! Anyhow, what of it? Jud will only appreciate my kindness of heart. It wasn’t really my fault if we stumbled into the wrong room.”
“That won’t go with Jud,” said Blash, shaking his head. “Still, I don’t believe Sandy will blab. What say, Gus? Oh, he was sort of peeved over something that happened.” Blash turned to Gus Stone, who was leaning over the back of the seat. “You know how Sandy is. Thinks fellows are trying to put something over on him.”
“What was it?” persisted Stone, smiling broadly in anticipation.
“Why, nothing much, really. It was all – a mistake.” Blash looked as innocent as a new-born babe. “You see, Rusty offered to introduce Sandy to a friend of his at Phillipsburg whose room overlooked the football field so that Sandy wouldn’t have to pay to see the game, and by accident they got into the wrong room and Rusty went out to look for his friend and thoughtlessly locked the door behind him. Of course, when the fellow who lived there got back and found Sandy, he was surprised! And Sandy has got it into his head that Rusty put up a job on him. Which just shows, Gus, that even with the best intentions in the world you sometimes go wrong!”
“Warne! Warne!” called a trainman. “Change for Sturgis, Bradfield, Seppit’s Mill and points on the Westfield Branch! Wa-a-arne!”
CAPTAIN PETERS ENTERTAINS
Dick received his meed of praise for his part in securing Parkinson’s victory over Phillipsburg, but naturally the greater credit went to Findley, as it should have. Dick found, however, on the following Monday that he had become of a little more importance on the gridiron. Billy Goode was most solicitous as to his condition and Coach Driscoll was a little bit “fussy” over him. He saw plenty of hard work, however, for Gus Stone and Cardin, together with several others, were excused from practice that afternoon. Dick and Pryne were kept busy and when the Second Team came over for a scrimmage it was Dick to whom fell the honour of generaling the First. The team made hard sledding that day, and the Second put over a touchdown and a safety in the first half and made her opponent hustle in the second half to win. The substitutes acted stale and were slower than cold molasses, to use Gaines’ metaphor, and even Dick, who had certainly not been overworked on Saturday, found it hard to put snap into his play. Perhaps the weather had something to do with it, for the day was mild and misty and even the ball felt heavy.
After practice Dick went back to the gymnasium with lagging feet, paying little heed to the talk of the fellows about him. Somehow, nothing was vastly interesting today, and the thought of supper held no attraction. A cold shower braced him somewhat, however, and as it was still short of five o’clock – for practice had been slightly shorter than usual – he turned his steps back to the field where the Track Team candidates were still at work. The high hurdles were being set and Stanley and five other boys were waiting at the head of the straight-way. Dick spoke to several of the group and seated himself on a stone roller beside the cinders. Billy Goode was in charge and Billy called to Dick remonstratingly.
“Bates, you oughtn’t to be sitting around here like that,” he said. “Put a sweater over your shoulders. Take one of those on the bench there.”
“I’m as warm as toast, Billy,” answered Dick.
“You do as I tell you,” said Billy in a very ferocious voice. And so Dick got up and crossed the track and picked up a sweater from among the half-dozen tossed on the bench. Stanley, overhearing the colloquy, left his place near the starting line and joined Dick on the roller. “Hello, what are you doing here, Dick?” he asked.
“Just came over to see you fellows at your play.”
“Play, eh? Son, this isn’t play, this is har-r-rd work. I’ve done four sprints and I’ve got a kink in my calf – ” he rubbed his left leg ruefully – “and now Billy says we’ve got to do time-trials. How did football go?”
“Rotten, I guess. The Second scored nine on us.”
“What? For the love of Pete! What did you do?”
“Oh, we got eleven, finally. But everyone was dopey today and Driscoll was peevish and nobody loved us. Who’s the elongated chap with the pipe-stem legs, Stan?”
“Arends. He’s a corking hurdler, though the low’s his best game. The little chap, Mason, is good, too. Doesn’t look like a hurdler, does he? Well, here’s where I suffer. Wait around and I’ll go back with you.”
“Maybe,” answered Dick, doubtfully.
“Maybe! How do you get that way? You talk like an expiring clam! I’ll be back here in a minute, you chump.”
“All right. Go to it, Stan. Beat ’em, son!”
“Beat ’em nothing! I tell you I’ve got a kink in my left leg that’s no joke. But I’ll do my bestest for you, Dickie.”
Stanley pranced back to the start and Dick watched while the first three, Stanley, Arends and another, got on the mark and awaited the pistol. There was one false start and then they were off, three lithe, white-clad bodies, speeding down the straight-way over the cinders. Arends reached his first barrier a half stride ahead of his team-mates, skimmed above it with never an inch to spare, and took his stride again. Then the other two flashed up and down in unison, and after that from Dick’s post of observation it was anyone’s race. Arends upset his fourth hurdle, and the third boy, whose name Dick didn’t know, had trouble with them all without knocking any down, and ultimately finished a good five yards behind the winners, for Stanley and Arends ran a dead-heat. While the other three hurdlers were preparing for their turn and Dick awaited Stanley, Sandy Halden arrived at the bench across the track and fumbled at the sweaters there. Dick noted the fact without interest. After a moment Sandy moved across to where Dick sat, and:
“That your sweater you’ve got?” he asked.
“What did you say?” asked Dick.
“I said, is that your sweater you’re wearing?”
“My sweater? Oh, this! No, I found it over there on the bench. Is it yours?” He untied the sleeves from around his neck and held it out.
“It certainly is,” answered Sandy indignantly as he snatched it away. “And I’ll thank you to leave my things alone, Bates!”
Now Dick happened to be in a poor sort of mood just then, and Sandy’s unreasonable displeasure accorded illy with it.
“If I’d known it was yours I wouldn’t have touched it with a ten-foot pole,” he replied angrily, “much less worn it!”
“Well, you did touch it, and you’d no business to. Wear your own things after this and let mine alone.”
“Oh, for-get it!” cried Dick, jumping up impatiently.
Perhaps Sandy misunderstood that move, for, dropping the sweater to the sod, he stepped forward and sent a blow straight at Dick’s face. The latter, seeing it coming, ducked at the last instant and then, as Sandy followed the delivery, brought him up short with a blow on the chin. After that there was a merry scrap while it lasted, which wasn’t long, for Billy Goode, who had an instant before sent the hurdlers away, and several of the fellows about the starting line, dashed in between.
“Here! Here!” cried the trainer. “What do you boys think you’re doing? Behave now, the both of you! Suppose someone had seen you! Right here on the field! Are you crazy?”
“He started it,” panted Sandy.
“Never mind who started it,” replied Billy severely. “I’m stopping it. You beat it in, Halden. You’ve no business loafing around here anyway. Didn’t Jimmy tell you to go to the showers? You’d be better off somewhere else, too, Bates, and not coming around here starting ructions!”
“I didn’t start any,” growled Dick. “He tried to slam me one and I gave it back to him.” Then, wiping his knuckles on his trousers, to the detriment of that garment, he managed a grin. “I’m sorry, Billy,” he said. “Maybe it was my fault, although I didn’t hit first.”
“Well,” grumbled the trainer, mollified a trifle, “don’t take chances like that again. It’s my duty to report the both of you, but maybe I’ll forget it if I don’t see you around.”
Sandy Halden had already gone off and now Stanley arrived, his eyes round with curiosity, and hauled Dick away in his wake. “What the dickens was the matter?” he demanded. “First thing I saw was you and Stanley dancing around like a couple of trained bears. I thought it was fun until I saw you land one. What did he do?”
Dick thought a moment. “Nothing, I guess. Nothing much, anyway. He found me wearing his sweater over my shoulders and told me to leave his things alone, and I lost my temper and got up to go away, and I guess he thought I was going at him and tried to land on my nose.”
“Hm, looks as if he’d landed on your cheek,” said Stanley. “Hope you didn’t let him get away with that.”
“I don’t think so, not from the way my hand aches,” responded Dick grimly. “I suppose if Billy told faculty I’d get the dickens, eh?”
“You would, my misguided friend. You’d get about a month’s probation. But Billy won’t tell. He’s never told anything yet, and he’s had lots of chances. If you have to scrap here, Dick, go over to the brickyard. That’s where all the best things are pulled off. It’s funny about that, too,” continued Stanley musingly. “Faculty usually knows what’s going on, but in my time there have been at least two dozen fights in the brickyard and nothing’s ever been said or done about them. Looks as if Jud sort of winked at it, doesn’t it? Maybe he has a hunch that a square fight is the best medicine sometimes.”
“Well, if Sandy wants to go on with it I’ll meet him there.”
“Sandy? Oh, he won’t, I guess. He likes to scrap sometimes, but he’s most all bluster. Guess he’s the sort that has to get good and mad before he can get his courage up. I’ll doctor that face of yours before we go to supper so Cooper or Wolan won’t ask embarrassing questions. Cooper’s a hound for scenting scraps. Not that he’d do anything, though, except look wise and say, ‘Hm, you don’t tell me, Bates? Most int’sting!’”
Dick laughed at Stanley’s mimicry of the instructor’s pronunciation. “I like Cooper, though,” he said. “And I don’t like Wolan.”
“Nobody does – except Wolan! By the way, I told Bob Peters I’d come around tonight and bring you along. He’s giving a soiree.”
“A – a what?” asked Dick as they entered the dormitory.
“A soiree,” laughed Stanley. “That means eats, son. Bob’s soirees are famous. He’s got an uncle or something in the hotel business in Springfield – or maybe it’s Hartford: somewhere, anyhow – who sends him a box of chow about every two or three months. Then Bob invites a crowd in and there’s a feast.”
“Sure he asked me along?”
“Absotively! He was quite particular about you. ‘Be sure and fetch Bates,’ he said. So, if you know your business, you’ll go light on supper.”
“I shall anyway,” replied Dick. “I’m not hungry – much. Say, if you show any chance of making the team in earnest, Stan, they take you on one of the training tables, don’t they?”
“Yes, of course, but that needn’t worry you. Some fellows don’t get on until the season’s half over.”
“It’s half over now,” said Dick thoughtfully. “There are only four more games.”
“Is that right? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost your charming society very soon, Dick. Now let’s have a look at the – er – abrasions. Say, he certainly handed you something, didn’t he? Good it didn’t land a couple of inches further to the left. If it had it would have closed one of your cute little peepers. Wait till I get some water and stuff. Did you see a bottle of witch-hazel – I’ve got it! I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
Dick critically observed his countenance during Stanley’s trip to the lavatory. There was a fine big lump over the right cheek-bone that made him look curiously lop-sided. He heartily wished he had kept his temper. The swelling would be there until morning at least and it wouldn’t require a giant intellect to guess the reason for it. Of course, he could say he had done it in football, only if he had got the contusion in that way Billy Goode or one of the assistants would have had it dressed with arnica long ago. Stanley came back with a mug of water and administered quite professionally, and a few minutes later Dick went across to supper redolent of witch hazel and very puffy as to his right cheek. Facetious remarks were many and Dick’s unsmiling explanation that he had “got it on the field” didn’t appear to deceive any of his table companions. The subsequent sight of Sandy Halden with a roseate blush around his right eye somewhat consoled Dick. By morning the rosy tinge would have changed to green and yellow, shading to purple.
There were eight fellows in Bob Peters’ room in Leonard Hall when Dick and Stanley arrived, and the eight didn’t include the host himself, for, as Sid Crocker explained, Bob had gone to the village to get some lemons. Dick met three or four fellows not previously known to him, one of them the spindle-shanked Arends he had noticed on the track earlier. At intervals other fellows arrived and, before Bob Peters returned, the two rooms, for Bob shared a study and bedroom with “Babe” Upton, were filled almost to capacity. Leonard was the newest of the Parkinson dormitories and, in comparison with such as Williams and Goss, was most luxurious. There was a real, “sure-enough” fireplace in the big study and in it this evening a cannel-coal fire was burning in spite of the fact that the windows were open. A folding card-table was set against the wall and a blue-and-white checked cloth hid enticing mysteries. Jerry Wendell aroused laughter by edging up to the table and with elaborate carelessness lifting a corner of the cloth. What he saw, however, he refused to divulge. Presently, into a babel of talk and laughter, hurried Bob with a bag of lemons.
“Hello, everybody!” he shouted. “Glad to see you. Babe, stick these on the bed in there. I bought a knife, too. Catch! How many lemons does one need for a dozen cans of sardines, Sid? I got two dozen. That ought to do, what?”
“I’d say so,” laughed Sid. “What’s your idea? Serve a sardine on every lemon? A half-dozen would have been enough, you chump.”
“Would? Well, I asked the Greek at the fruit store and he said two dozen. I thought maybe he was deceiving me. Hello, Fat!”
Arends smiled genially at the ironic appellation and hunched his elongated person into a smaller compass on the window-seat to make room for new arrivals. Most of the fellows there were football players, and all, it seemed, were connected with some sport. Sid, beside whom Dick found a seat on a leather couch, pointed out several celebrities: Colgan, the hockey star; Cheever, Parkinson’s crack two-miler, who also did satisfactory stunts with the hammer; Lewis, the tall and keen-eyed first baseman, and one or two more. Everyone’s mood appeared to be peculiarly happy, even flippant, and if football or baseball or any other form of “shop” was mentioned someone immediately howled the speaker down. Two or three of the guests had brought musical instruments and soon there came the sound of tuning and then someone began to hum under the babel of talk and someone else joined, and presently conversation had ceased and everyone was singing. Between songs the talk went on. Bob demanded “How We Love Our Faculty” and the elongated Arends obediently stood up and was joined by a short, plump and red-cheeked youth with a guitar. Arends was preternaturally solemn and the plump chap who pressed against him and looked up into his face as he strummed the strings had the expression of a melancholy owl. Everyone ceased talking and waited, smiling broadly. The plump youth struck a chord and Arends began in a whining voice:
“There’s old Jud Lane, our Principal,
You know him? We know him!
He is a dear old, grand old pal.
You know him? We know him!
I hope no harm will e’er befall
This dear old, grand old Principal,
And if into the drink he’d fall
We’d pull him out, one and all.
Now would we? Well, would we?”
The responses were made in chorus by the rest of the crowd, and the final “Well, would we?” had a peculiar suggestion of sarcasm! Then came the refrain, measured and sonorous:
“Oh, how we love our Faculty, our Faculty, our Faculty!
Oh, how we love our Faculty!”
(Ensued a silence in which Dick saw every mouth forming words that were not uttered, and then a final outburst, long-drawn-out, like a solemn benediction:)
More verses followed in which various lesser lights were celebrated, and through it all Arends preserved his solemn countenance and the accompanist gazed soulfully up into it. Everyone seemed to enjoy the song immensely. Dick, by watching Sid’s lips, discovered that the unuttered sentiment was “We hope the blame things choke!”ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
ñòðàíèöû: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16