Quarter-Back Batesñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
Having completed the reading of that, Dick not only shuddered again but groaned loudly, so loudly that Stanley, at the table, looked up from his studies and viewed him with alarm.
“What’s the matter?” asked Stanley.
“It’s that rotten paper again,” moaned Dick, casting the offending sheet to the floor and turning a disheartened gaze to the window. Stanley smiled, pulled the paper toward him dexterously with one foot, rescued it and read. And as he read he chuckled, and Dick, seeing what was happening, made a dash to wrest the paper away.
“No, get out of here! Let me read it, you simp!” Stanley fended Dick off with feet and one hand. “Everybody else has,” he laughed, “so why shouldn’t I?”
Dick scowled, shrugged, thrust his hands into his pockets and subsided on the window-seat. “Go ahead then,” he muttered. “But if you laugh I’ll kill you!”
So Stanley put the paper between them and made no sound, although certain twitchings of his hands aroused the other’s suspicions. When he was through Stanley lowered the paper from in front of a very serious countenance.
“Well?” said Dick morosely. “Say it, you chump!”
“Why, I – well, of course, Dickie, it’s a bit – a bit fulsome, you know, but I can’t see anything in it to be mad about.”
“You can’t, eh? Well, I can! What do you suppose dad thinks when he reads that sort of piffle? No wonder he wasn’t more – more cordial in his letter!”
“But the paper says a lot of very nice things about you, Dick,” protested Stanley. “That about the exclusive Banjo and Mando – ”
“Oh, shut up!” growled Dick. “They make me sick.”
“And I’m sure,” pursued the other gravely, “any fellow would be flattered at having his friends come all the way from Pennsylvania to see him play in the big game.”
“Huh! That’s only guff, thank goodness! Gee, if that happened – ”
“But this paper says it’s likely to happen,” Stanley objected. “If it was me, I’d be pleased purple!”
“Yes, you would!” jeered Dick. “Someone’s been filling that newspaper chap with a lot of hot air. That’s the sort of stuff they print about anyone that – that does anything; like moving away or dying or – or getting married. It doesn’t mean anything, but the trouble is that dad has seen it and I’ll bet he believed it.”
“Why not? Besides, it says here ‘In his classes Richard stands high.’ That ought to please him, anyway!”
“I’d like to know what they know about my classes. The whole thing’s sickening.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” murmured Stanley judicially, casting his eyes down the column again. “Say, you never told me that ‘a number of schools and colleges’ were after you, old man. That’s hot stuff! You’ve been hiding your bush under a lightning.”
“Well, they really were, Stan, but I didn’t brag of it. Not here, anyway. I did show the letters to Blash one time when he was here, just as a sort of joke. But I don’t see how the paper got hold of it. I suppose Sumner White blabbed.”
“Well, cheer up, Dickie.
Folks may not think you wrote that yourself. There’s always that chance. Even if they do – ”
“Stan! Does it – does it sound as if I’d – I’d done it?”
“N-no, only the election to the Banjo – ”
“The High School Argus got that from The Leader, you idiot! I suppose the guy that wrote all this drivel found it in the Argus and just – just dilated on it.”
“Dilated is good,” chuckled Stanley. “Whoever he is, I’d say he delights to dilate. Well, cut it out and paste it in your scrap-book, Dick. It’ll interest your grandchildren some day.”
“Yes, I will!” declared Dick venomously. He seized the paper and tore it into shreds and then cast it from him into the general direction of the waste-basket. “Like fun!”
“When – er – that is, how many do you think there’ll be in the party, Dick?” asked Stanley innocently.
“What party?” Dick scowled his puzzlement.
“Why, the party that’s coming on to see you – ”
But he didn’t finish, for Dick was on him like a whirlwind, the chair went over backward – Stanley accompanying it – and there was a rough time in Number 14 for the ensuing four minutes. At the end of that time Dick sat astride Stanley’s chest and demanded apologies, and Stanley, weak from laughing, gave in. “Just the same,” he added, wiping his eyes as he scrambled to his feet again, “just the same, Dick, I think you ought to make some sort of plans for their entertainment – All right! All right! I won’t open my mouth again! I was just thinking – ”
“Don’t think!” ordered Dick sternly. “Sit down there and help me write a letter to that editor man that’ll blister his hide and make him let me alone after this! Come on now. How would you begin it?”
In the end it turned out to be a very brief and very formal and extremely polite epistle which thanked the Leonardville Sentinel for its interest but requested that hereafter Mr. Richard Bates’s name be excluded from its columns since Mr. Richard Bates disliked publicity.
“Great stuff!” commented Stanley when Dick had read over the final draft. “Sounds so fine and modest. Hadn’t you better enclose a check for that write-up, though? You don’t want him to think – ”
Stanley, however, was now looking into the muzzle of a paper-weight, so to speak, and his words dwindled to silence. Dick, cowing him further with a sustained glare, replaced the paper-weight and directed an envelope. When the letter was sealed and stamped Dick again fixed his companion with a ferocious and intimidating look. “You keep quiet about this, Stan,” he said, “or I’ll bust you all up into a total loss! Understand?” Stanley nodded.
“Well, say so then!”
“Dick, you have my sacred word of honour that never so long as I do live will I so much as breathe a single syllabub of this thing save that I do have your permission to so do, though wild hearses drag my body asunder and – ”
“Oh, shut up! But you remember! If I find you’ve told Blash or – or anyone I’ll lick you, Stan!”
“I hear and I obey in fear and trembling,” responded Stanley humbly. “Least of all will I ever divulge a word to that exclusive organization, the Banjo and Mandolin Club, Dick! And if you want any assistance in entertaining – ”
Stanley beat the paper-weight to the door by one fifth of a second, establishing what was undoubtedly a record over the course!
Dick mailed the letter to the editor of the Sentinel and tried to dismiss the annoying affair from memory. In this effort he was well aided by Coach Driscoll, for the coach didn’t allow him much time that week for vain regretting. Dick and Stone were alternated in practice every day and none could have said with any degree of certainty that either was the favourite. Cardin was quite evidently relegated to third place, in token of which he drove B Squad around the field in signal drill while Dick and Gus Stone confined their attentions to A. The Second Team was licked to a frazzle on Tuesday in a thirty-minute session, was held scoreless on Wednesday, although given the ball eight times on the First’s ten-yard-line, and was again decisively beaten Thursday. On Friday the First Team went through signals and did some punting and catching and then were sent back to the showers. But work was no longer over when twilight fell these days, for there was an hour of black-board talk in the gymnasium Trophy Room after supper each night. There, with the squad seated on some old yellow settees dragged in from the balcony, Coach Driscoll, with chalk and eraser and pointing finger, explained and questioned. On Friday night Mr. Driscoll talked defence against shifts, first chalking his diagram on the black surface beside him.
“Chancellor uses several forms of shift plays,” he began. “For a punt she uses a tackle-over. You know how to meet that, I think, but we’ll go over it again to refresh your memories. When you see the opponent shifting a tackle to either side you must yourselves shift a full space in that direction. I’m speaking to the five centre men now. Suppose Chancellor calls for ‘tackle-over left.’ Centre, guards and tackles move a space to the left. That brings centre opposite the opposing right guard and left guard opposite the opposing right tackle, as shown on the board. Our left tackle is out here opposite their right end, our left end still further out where he can dash around to spoil the kick – if he’s smart enough! Right end stays well out and a little back of the line, and it’s his duty to spot fakes and give the news the moment he does it. If a forward-pass develops on his side his place is under the ball. Right half-back plays about three yards back, between his guard and tackle. Full-back occupies a similar position on the other side, ready to go in or out, as play develops. He and left tackle must look after the opposing tackle and end. Behind him, more to the right and well back, is the left half. The quarter, of course, is up the field. Chancellor will almost always punt from that formation, but she may fake, and it is those fakes you must watch out for. Full-back must be especially alive. He must watch the enemy’s back-field and her right end too. If the latter goes out to receive a pass he must get to him promptly and block him. On the other hand, if a punt comes, as it is likely to nine times in ten, this defence puts three men where they ought to be able to sift through in time to hurry the punter if not to actually block the kick. And if you can hurry the punter, in Chancellor’s case her left half-back, you are doing something. For ‘tackle-over right’ you merely reverse this diagram. Chancellor will sometimes punt from ordinary formation to fool you, but not often, for her punter likes plenty of room. Now, fellows, are there any questions? Let’s have this perfectly understood, for it’s a formation you’ll have to use often tomorrow.”
Sometimes they adjourned to the gymnasium floor and lined up and then walked through the evolutions of some play not clearly understandable in the Trophy Room. After these evening s?ances Dick, for one, was likely to have much difficulty in getting to sleep, his mind being a weird confusion of plays and signals.
ON THE SCREEN
Parkinson played Chancellor on the latter’s home field this year, and a good half of the school accompanied the team to Mount Wansett Saturday morning. Dick, of course, went with the squad of twenty-one players that left on the ten-forty-three train, and others of our acquaintance followed after an early dinner, reaching Mount Wansett with just time to reach the field before Babe Upton kicked off. The line-up for the visitors at the start was, with one exception, what it would be for the Kenwood game a week later. Gleason was at left guard in place of Cupp, the latter being out because of a bad ankle. Stone started at quarter-back and played a good defensive game but was, as usual, slow in getting at the attack. Toward the last of the second period, when Parkinson had finally worked the ball down to Chancellor’s twenty-seven yards, Dick took his place, bearing instructions to try a forward-pass and, should that fail, to score on a field-goal. Stone had been intent on hammering the enemy line for a touchdown, without apparently realising that Chancellor was getting more invulnerable with every plunge and that time was working in her behalf. The attempt at a forward almost succeeded, but not quite, and on third down, standing on Chancellor’s thirty-five-yard line, Kirkendall dropped a pretty goal directly over the centre of the bar. That was the only score of the half, and it was becoming apparent to Parkinson rooters why Kenwood had been able to win from Chancellor by only one score, and that a field goal.
To Dick’s surprise, Cardin started the third period, and played an excellent game. In fact it was due to Cardin that Parkinson secured a second score soon after play was resumed. A muffed punt on Chancellor’s twenty yards had been captured by Bob Peters and two plunges had carried the pigskin on to the fourteen yards. There, however, a mass attack on the left of the home team’s right tackle had resulted in no gain and a try-at-goal seemed necessary, with the probabilities against success since the ball was at a wide angle with the goal. Cardin solved the difficulty by faking a kick and, after hiding the ball until the Chancellor line had broken through, dodging his way around the enemy’s left for enough ground to secure the down. From there Kirkendall and Warden had alternated and had eventually carried the ball across.
Later, Chancellor, not for a moment acknowledging defeat, pulled off two long forward-passes that took her from her own thirty yards to Parkinson’s twenty-eight. Two line attacks netted five more and a third was stopped for no gain. Then a long-legged back put a neat field-goal over for the home team’s first score. Dick went back at the beginning of the final quarter and, with a line-up consisting largely of second– and third-string players, did his best to hold the enemy at bay, and succeeded, although there were some heart-stirring moments for the visiting audience. When the last whistle blew the score was 10-3 in Parkinson’s favour and she had the satisfaction of having bettered Kenwood’s performance against the opponent. For Chancellor had scored a touchdown against the Blue but had failed to seriously threaten the Parkinson goal-line. At that, however, the Brown-and-White’s superiority over the Blue was still questionable, and wise prophets refused to be unduly optimistic as to next Saturday’s contest.
When Dick arrived home long after six o’clock and made a hurried trip to Sohmer to leave his suit-case and prepare sketchily for supper, he found a letter awaiting him. It was from Sumner White, he saw, and he concluded that it could wait until after supper. But, at the last moment, he seized on it as he hurried out of the room and tore the envelope open as he took the stairs three at a time, and skimmed the first page on the way along the Yard to Alumni Hall. At the bottom of the page he came on something that brought him up standing. With a perplexed frown he started back and re-read the beginning.
“I suppose you saw what we did to Norristown (Sumner wrote.) It was a corking game and Sid Nellis got his wrist broken and a lot more of us got pretty well scrapped. The score was 14 to 6, but we sure had to work for it. Jim Cleary played most of the game at full-back and was a wonder, better than Ed ever was. But I guess you read all this. The big news is that three or four of us, maybe more, will be over on the twenty-third to see you play in the Kenwood game. Charlie Stone and Will Meens and Theo Harris and I sure, and maybe Cleary and Townsend. I guess you saw the swell articles in the Sentinel last week. I meant to send you a copy, but it got lost, and anyway I guess your father saw to it. I met him on High Street a couple of days ago and he asked me what I knew about that article and I said nothing and he said it was confounded nonsense, but he acted like he thought it was pretty fine just the same, Dick. We’re coming over on the midnight from Philly and that will get us to Warne about noon Saturday. Lucky we haven’t any Saturday game, isn’t it? We hold last real practice Friday and then only do some signal drills Monday and Tuesday. So we have lots of time. Charlie Stone’s old man is sort of financing the trip, he and Mr. Harris, but we are all paying part. You mustn’t put yourself out on our account, for we know you’ll be awfully tied down that day. But we’ll dig around to your room when we get in and see you for a few minutes. Then maybe after the game we can have a good chin. Great, isn’t it? Gee, I’m crazy about it. Hope you whale Kenwood good. I’ll write again about Wednesday and let you know if any other fellows are going. A lot of them want to only they haven’t got the coin.”
Dick read that remarkable letter over twice and then stuffing it into a pocket, took up his hurried journey again. He didn’t know whether to be pleased or peeved. Of course, it was flattering that his old team-mates should want to come all that way to see him play, and he supposed he really appreciated it, but somehow it made him feel sort of foolish too. It wasn’t as if he was the captain, or even the first-choice quarter. If fellows here in Parkinson heard of it they’d think him beastly conceited and probably laugh like anything. Besides, hang it all, how did he know he would even get in on Saturday? Suppose Stone played the game right through! Of course, the coach would probably let him in for a minute or two at the end, just as he would Cardin, to get his letter, but what a fool he would feel in that case! Folks coming all the way from Leonardville, Pennsylvania, to see him do stunts and he sitting on the bench all the time! Gee, that would be fierce! He wished Sumner White and Charlie and all the others, especially including the editor of the Sentinel, would mind their own business! He was hungry enough for supper to forget the letter in his pocket save at infrequent intervals. When he did recall it the pucker returned to his forehead and he thrust a hand over the offending missive to be sure that it hadn’t got away. It would be awful if he dropped it and someone picked it up and read it!
Stanley and Blash and Rusty and he had arranged for a movie party that night. The idea had been Blash’s and Dick had at first declined to go, pleading that he would be too tired and that, besides, he had a lot of studying that ought to be done. But he had been persuaded to go, and so he got through supper rather hurriedly, knowing that the others would be waiting. He wanted to read that awful letter to Stanley and ask advice and sympathy, but he would have to wait until they got back from the movie house. On the way there he was silent, and Rusty, walking beside him, rallied him on his “pensivity.” Dick was tempted to confide in Rusty, but he resisted, perhaps wisely, and only responded that he was tired. As a matter of truth, he was, for even had he not played a minute, the trip was sufficient to weary one.
“Well, the movies will rest you,” answered Rusty gaily. “They do me, always, Dick. After I’ve studied too hard or anything I can go to a movie house and get rested wonderfully. You see, you have your mind taken from your worries, and you sort of relax your body and there you are! Besides, Dick, it’s a corking good picture tonight. And then there’s the weekly review. I like that about as well as anything, I think. ‘Bath, Maine; Largest schooner afloat is launched from yard of the builders with appropriate ceremonies.’ ‘Miss Mary Ellen Dingbottle, daughter of Senator Hiram Dingbottle, breaks a bottle of tomato catsup over the bow.’ ‘In her native element!’ ‘Los Angeles, Cal., Harold Whosthis, America’s favourite moving picture star, signs contract calling for largest salary ever paid to an actor.’ ‘Tie Siding, Wyoming. Members of Boys’ and Girls’ Hog Club hold annual parade.’ ‘Procession passing in review before Mayor Scrugg and invited guests.’ ‘Little Willie Dingfingle and his prize porker: Willie is at the left of the picture.’ ‘Minneapolis, Minn. Fire destroys million-dollar barber-shop.’ ‘Firemen fighting flames as hundreds of celluloid combs explode.’ ‘New York City. Twelve thousand – ’”
“Shut up!” laughed Dick. “That’s awfully like it, though! And the picture of the burning barber-shop is thrown on the screen in red.”
“Always! Just as a picture of the Whirlpool Rapids taken from an airplane is always blue. There are certain laws that can’t be – Well, here we are. Keep your hand out of your pocket, Dick. This is Blash’s treat. When Blash shows the least sign of paying for anything, for the love of mud don’t stop him! I’m all for the encouragement of miracles! Better get ’em reserved, Blash; there’ll be a crowd tonight!” And Rusty winked gravely at Dick.
Blash, however, paid no attention to the disinterested advice, but bought the usual tickets, and the quartette made their way into the darkened theatre and peered about for seats. Fortunately, Rusty’s prophecy proved false and there were plenty of vacancies. There did not, though, appear to be four together, and while Dick suggested sitting in pairs none of the others seemed to like the notion. “Oh, no,” whispered Stanley, “let’s keep together. It’s more fun. There’ll be seats in a minute or two.”
“I see four now,” said Rusty. “On the side there, pretty well front. Come on!”
Dick thought them rather too close to the screen when he was finally seated between Blash and Rusty, with Stanley beyond the latter, but the others declared them to be just right. As Blash was usually a stickler for sitting well back, Dick was slightly puzzled. The first show was almost over and they witnessed the final exploits of Dick’s favourite movie hero through half a reel, pretending not to look. Then the house lighted and a brief intermission ensued.
“I do hope they have a good weekly tonight,” observed Rusty, “don’t you, Blash?”
“Yes,” answered the other, rewarding the questioner with a scowl that Dick saw and didn’t understand. Beyond Rusty, toward the aisle, Stanley was grinning widely. Dick began to experience the uncomfortable feeling that the others were enjoying a joke that he was not in on, and to wonder if the joke was on him! Then the lights were lowered, an ornate “Welcome” flashed on the screen, the piano began its jig-time music and the weekly review of current events started. There were the usual scenes, so like Rusty’s travesty that Dick had to smile. There happened to be no ship launching on this occasion, but there was a series of views aboard a United States warship during target practice, and there was a gorgeous fire, thrown on in crimson hues, and Rusty’s parade of the Hog Club was overlooked in favour of a poultry show. Then came the ingenious trademark at the finish and Dick settled back to enjoy the comedy. But the weekly appeared to have taken a new lease of life, for another title flashed on the screen. Dick read idly and then jumped forward in his seat and read again, his eyes fairly popping from his head, read incredulously and amazedly the legend trembling on the white background:ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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