Ralph Barbour.

Right Tackle Todd





No, Ill let you off, Woodie. But dont bank too much on seeing Todd out there. Ill do what I can, but when you said he was a nut you spoke a mouthful. By the way, whos your trusty lieutenant this year?

A fellow named Barr, Johnny Barr. Know him? Not a bad sort, Johnny. Theres likely to be some confusion, though. Some day Ill yell Johnny and Johnny Cade will think Im getting fresh and crown me!

I hope Im there, laughed Clem. Where are you eating to-night?

Anywhere you say, if youre host.

Nothing doing. Im talking Dutch. How about the Beanery?

All right. What time? Im going to get under a shower before Im ten minutes older. It was as hot as Tophet on that field to-day!

Say half-past six. Ill meet you in front of Upton.

You will not. Im in Lykes this year. Got the room Spence Halliday had; Number 9; hot stuff!

No! Whos with you? Billy Frost?

No, Hick Powers. Come and see our magnificence. Should think youd have changed, Clem.

What for? Youve got nothing in your dive the Lykes of this!

Oh, good night! Im off! Six-thirty, eh? If Im not there, step inside and yell. So long!

Wait a minute! Listen, Woodie. What would you do with this junk? Theres only enough stuff to fill that case about three-quarters full, and if I ship it like that itll be an awful mess when it arrives, I guess. Whats the answer?

Stick in some of your own things.

No, but really! No joking, Woodie. What would

Have a heart! Have a heart! Lowell waved his hands protestingly at the doorway. Boy, Ive got problems! Dont pester me with trifles like that!

The football manager was off, taking the stairs four at a time. Clem went to the window and leaned over the sill. When Lowell emerged from the doorway below he hailed him.

Oh, Woodie!

Yeah, what you want? Lowell peered up blinkingly through the sunlight.

Listen, Woodie, went on Clem earnestly. Havent you got half a dozen old footballs over at the gym that you cant use?

Old foot Say, whats your trouble? What do you want em for?

To fill up this box, jeered Clem. Run along, sonny!

Clem didnt pass a very restful night. For one thing, Number 15 Haylow was hot and stuffy. Then, too, Clem and Lowell Woodruff and two other fellows had sought to mitigate the heat of the evening by partaking of many and various concoctions of ice cream and syrups, and his stomach had faintly protested for some time. He awoke in the morning, scandalously late, from what seemed to have been a night-long succession of unpleasant dreams. But a bath and breakfast set him right, and afterwards he completed the packing of Marts belongings. By rummaging about in the store-room he collected enough pieces of corrugated straw-board and excelsior and old newspapers to fill the top of the packing-case after a fashion, and he hammered the lid down with vast relief, addressed it with a paper spill dipped in the ink bottle and pushed it into the corridor.

A visit to the express office completed his responsibilities, and, since it was then only a little after ten, he returned to school and took the path that led, between Academy and Upton Hall, and past the gymnasium, to the athletic field.

Morning practice was already in full swing when he reached the gridiron, and the small squad of perspiring youths were throwing and catching, punting and chasing half a dozen pigskins about the field. Clem greeted the trainer, whose real name was Jakin but who was never called anything but Jake, was introduced by Lowell to Johnny Barr, the assistant manager, and exchanged long-distance greetings with several of the players. Then he found a seat on the edge of the green wheelbarrow in which Peter, Jakes underling, trundled the football paraphernalia back and forth from the gymnasium and looked on. It wasnt a vastly interesting scene. Clem, who, while he thoroughly enjoyed watching a football contest, had never felt any urge to play the game, wasnt able to get any thrill from watching practice. He amused himself identifying some of the candidates, not such an easy task when old gray jerseys, ancient khaki pants and disreputable stockings comprised the attire of each and every one and effectually disguised individuality. There, however, was Gus Fingal, the captain, tall, with hair the color of new rope; and Charley Levering, taller and lighter and as black of head as a burnt match; and Pep Kinsey, a solid chunk of a youth slated for quarter-back position. And the big, square fellow was, of course, Hick Powers, and the long-legged chap farther down the field who was trying drop-kicks none too successfully was Steve Whittier. The others Clem couldnt place until Lowell came to his assistance. Lowell pointed out Roland Roice it was fated that he should be known as Rolls! Sawyer, Crumb, Cheswick, two or three others, but Clem wasnt greatly interested. Later, Coach Cade came off the field and shook hands. Johnny, as he was called by the fellows, though not to his face, was perspiring freely, and his face was the color of a ripe tomato. The coach was a short man, perhaps twenty-eight years of age, with a broad, solid body, a head of thick, bristle-like black hair and two sharp eyes set wide apart. Clem reflected, not for the first time, that Johnny Cade must have been a bad man to say Whoa to on a football field in his playing days! He had a regular fighting chin under that smiling mouth of his. Just now, having exchanged greetings with Clem, he was mopping his face with the sleeve of a tattered jersey.

Hot, isnt it? he asked. Weve had nearly a week of it here. Mean weather for football work. We usually get it about like this every Fall, though. Sometimes I doubt that this pays very well; this before-season practice. I dont know but that wed get along just as well without it. But as long as the other fellow does it I suppose weve got to. You look well, Harland. Then his smile deepened. Lucky for you, though, youre not in my gang. Youd lose about ten pounds on a day like this!

I guess so, agreed Clem. Fact is, Mr. Cade, Ive been pretty lazy this summer. Played some tennis and a few games of golf, and thats about all.

Tennis? Seems to me tennis ought to have kept you harder than you look.

Well, it wasnt very strenuous, you see. Mixed doubles usually.

He cant keep away from the girls, Coach, interpolated Lowell, shaking his head sadly. By the way, Clem here is rooming with that Todd guy that didnt R. S. V. P. to our invitation, and I told him hed be held accountable for Todds appearance on this here field not later than one day hence.

That so? Good idea. We want all the promising material we can get, Harland.

You think Todd is promising, then, sir?

Why, yes, Id say so. He gave us a mean deal last year, and I ought to refuse to have anything more to do with him, but I cant afford to indulge my personal tastes. Todd looked to me like good material last fall, and I told him that if he would buckle down and learn the game I could pretty nearly promise him a job this year. But he got tired of it and quit in the middle of the season. An odd chap. Stubborn, too. He got my goat for fair, and I said some harsh things to him, but he didnt seem to mind much. About all I could get him to say was I guess Id rather quit.

Well, as I told Woodie, Coach, Ill speak to him, but I wouldnt be surprised if he didnt see it.

Huh! said Lowell. Hes got to see it! Ill make his life a burden to him until he does! You know me, Clem.

Yes, indeed, Woodie, I know what a nuisance you can make of yourself. Go to it, old son.

Mr. Cade chuckled at Lowells look of outrage and said: Well, I wouldnt bother with him too much. If he doesnt want to come out after Harlands talked with him I guess well be better off without him. After all, a mans got to have some liking for football before he can play it well.

Clem, Lowell and Hick Powers went to luncheon together after practice was over and then repaired to Lowells room in Lykes and lolled about for an hour or so, by which time the summer-long peacefulness of the school was at an end. Taxi-cabs sped, honking, up Meadow street and swirled into the drive that led along in front of the dormitories, voices awoke echoes in the corridors, feet clattered on the stairs, trunks banged and dust floated in at the window before which the three boys, divested of coats and collars, lounged. The clans gather, murmured Lowell. Another year of beastly grinding begins. Ah, woe is me!

Hick Powers, big, homely and good-natured, chuckled deeply. Hear him, Clem. The old four-flusher! Of all the snaps, hes got it. Four courses, mind you!

How do you get that way? demanded Lowell indignantly. Im taking six the first half-year!

Yeah, four required and two snaps! Bible History or or Eskimo Literature, or something! Gee, it doesnt take much to get you guys through your senior year!

But think how we worked to get there! laughed Clem. Youre junior, arent you, Hick?

Sure! Finest class in school! First in war, first in peace, first

First at table, ended Lowell. What time is it?

Twelve after two, answered Clem. Guess Id better mosey along and see if Jim Todds arrived.

Oh, dont go, protested Lowell. Were just beginning to like you. What times he due?

I dont know. Maybe he wont get in until late. I suppose it takes quite a while to get here from Maine.

Sure. Two or three days. You do the first thousand miles on snowshoes. Then you take a dog-sled at the trading post

Youre a nut, laughed Clem. Im sorry for you, Hick. How do you think youre going to get through nearly nine months with him?

Oh, he wont get funny with me, answered Hick comfortably. Ill give him a paddling every now and then. Ill make a new man of him by Spring.

You, you big flat tire! responded Lowell. It would take three like you to paddle me! If it wasnt so hot Id box your ears for making a crack like that right in front of visitors!

Clems progress from Lykes to Haylow was retarded by encounters with several acquaintances, and once, having passed the corner of his own building, he spent ten minutes with his arms on the window-sill of a lower-floor room talking to the inmates of it. But he reached his corridor eventually and found the door of Number 15 ajar. As he had closed it behind him in the morning he reached the conclusion that Jim had arrived, and when he had thrust it farther inward and crossed the threshold he decided that the conclusion was correct. Then, as the occupant of the room straightened up from the business of unpacking a suit-case opened on the window-seat, he was in doubt for an instant. If this was Jim, what had happened to him?

CHAPTER VI
JIM REPORTS

After they had shaken hands, Clem took a good look at his new room-mate. The change in Jims appearance was due to two things, he decided. In the first place, Jim was dressed differently. He wore trousers of a grayish brown, a white negligee shirt with a small blue stripe, a semi-soft collar and a neatly tied dark-blue four-in-hand. The shoes were brown Oxfords and evidently new. The coat that matched the trousers was laid over the back of a chair. That suit, Clem reflected, had probably cost very little, but it fitted extremely well and looked well, too. Then Jim had filled out remarkably. He was still a long way from stout, but there was flesh enough now on his tall frame to take away the lanky look that had been his most striking feature last year. He seemed to hold himself straighter, too, as though he had become accustomed to his height, and to move with far less of awkwardness.

What have you been doing to yourself? asked Clem.

Jim stared questioningly. Apparently he was not aware of any change, and Clem explained. Well, you look twenty pounds heavier, Jim; maybe more; and But he stopped there. To approve his present attire would be tantamount to a criticism of his former.

Yes, I guess I am heavier, replied Jim. I got mighty good food up at Blaisdells, and a heap of it; and then I was outdoors most of the time. Right healthy sort of life, I guess. Didnt work hard, either; not really work.

I suppose it was pretty good fun, mused Clem. Id liked to have got up there for a few days, but it didnt seem possible.

Wish you had. Id have shown you some real fishing. Like to fish, Harland?

N-no, I dont believe I do. Maybe because Ive never done much. But it sounded pretty good, what you wrote, and if father hadnt arranged a motor trip for the last part of the summer I think Id have gone up there for three or four days.

Guess you thought that was pretty cheeky, that letter of mine, said Jim consciously.

Not a bit, Clem assured him heartily. If he had, he had forgotten it now. Awfully glad to have you, Jim.

I hope you mean that. Jim laughed sheepishly. I tried hard to get that letter back after Id posted it, but it happened that the fellow who carried the mail out got started half an hour earlier that morning, and I was too late.

Glad you were, said Clem, and meant it. Hope you dont mind having Marts things left around. He thinks now he will come back next year and finish out.

Jim looked about the room and shook his head. Mighty nice, he said. Ive got a few things upstairs that Ill have to move out, but they aint scarcely suitable for here: theres a cushion and a couple of pictures and a sort of a thing for books and two, three little things besides.

Bring them down and well look them over, said Clem. What you dont want to use can go in your trunk when you send it down to the store-room. Dont believe we need any more cushions, though. He thought he knew which of the cushions in Number 29 was Jims! Too much in a place is worse than too little, eh?

I suppose tis, Jim agreed. This rooms right pretty now, Harland, and I guess those things of mine wouldnt better it none.

Youll have to stop calling me Harland sooner or later, said Clem, so you might as well start now, Jim.

Jim nodded. I was trying to work round to it, he answered. Guess Ill go up and get those things of mine out of 29.

Ill give you a hand, said Clem.

It was not until late that evening that Clem found an opportunity to broach the subject of football. By the way, he said, Lowell Woodruff was in yesterday. Hes football manager, you know. Said hed sent you a call for early practice and that you hadnt made a yip.

Why, thats right, replied Jim. I found a letter from him when I got home three days ago. You see, after I left Blaisdells I went over Moose River way with another fellow for a little fishing. Got some whopping good trout, too. So I didnt get back to Four Lakes until Monday. Then I didnt know if Id ought to answer the letter or not. He didnt say to.

No, I fancy he expected youd show up. Well, theres no harm done, I guess. Be all right if you show up to-morrow afternoon. Clem spoke with studied carelessness and stooped to unlace a shoe.

Show up? asked Jim. Where do you mean?

On the field. For practice. Youre going to play, of course. This was more an assertion than a question.

No, said Jim, I tried it last fall and quit. It takes a lot of a fellows time, and then I aint Im not much good at it.

Well, Jim, youll have a lot more time this year than you had last, you know. And as for being good at it, why, Johnny Cade said only this morning that you looked like promising stuff. Better think it over.

You mean Mr. Cade is looking for me to play?

Of course he is. You see, the team lost a good many of their best players last June and Johnnys pretty anxious to get hold of all the material he can. I gathered from what Woodie said that they are looking to you to fit in as a tackle.

Tackle? Hes the fellow plays next to the end, aint he? Well, I dont see what hed want me back again for, after the way he laid me out last year. Jim chuckled. Gosh, he most tore the hide off me, Clem!

Well, if you ask me, it was sort of cheeky, throwing him down in the middle of the season, Jim, and I cant say I blame him for getting a bit waxy about it. However, hes all over that. He isnt holding anything against you; Ill swear to that; and if you go out youll get treated right. Johnny and Woodie both believe in you as a football player, Jim.

If they do, laughed Jim in a puzzled way, theyve got more faith than I have. Why, honest, Clem, I dont know much about the game, even after what they showed me last fall, and I cant say that Im keen about it, either. I always thought playing games was supposed to be fun, but I call football mighty hard work!

What of it? Arent afraid of hard work, are you? You know, Jim, a fellow has a certain amount of of responsibility toward his school. I mean its his duty to do what he can for it, dont you see? Now, if you can play football

But I cant, Clem.

You dont know. Johnny Cade says you can. Johnnys a football authority and ought to know.

Jim was silent a moment. Then he asked, almost plaintively: You want I should play, dont you?

Why, no, Jim. That is well, I want you to do what you want to do. Of course, if you think

Yes, but you think I ought to, Jim persisted. Thats so, aint it?

I think, responded Clem judicially, that as long as Johnny Cade wants you, and as long as you have no good reason for not playing, you ought to try. I dont want to influence you

Clem became aware of Jims broad grin and ran down. Then: What you laughing at, confound you? he asked.

Wasnt laughing, chuckled Jim. Just smiling at the way you dont want to influence me.

Well, suppose I do? asked Clem, smiling too. Its for the good of the football team, Jim. And, if you must have the whole truth, I promised Woodie Id talk to you. And I have. And now its up to you. You do just as you please. Guess you know best, anyway.

Well, maybe I havent got any good reason for not playing this year, or trying to, mused Jim, enveloping himself in an enormous nightshirt. I dont think Ill ever make a good football player, but if those folks want I should try, and you want I should

Hang it, Jim, dont drag me into it! Id feel to blame every time you got a bloody nose!

I dont mind doing it, concluded Jim. Last year it didnt seem like I was really needed out there. Maybe this year it will be different. Maybe Mr. Cade can make me into a tackle. If he can hes welcome. Maybe after Ive been at it a while Ill get to like it. Maybe

Maybe youll put out that light and go to bed, said Clem. Of course youll like it. Youll be crazy about it after a week or two, or a month or two, or

Well, if I got so I could really play, said Jim musingly, as the light went out, maybe I would. You cant tell.

The next afternoon, having resurrected the football togs he had worn the season before, Jim went dutifully over to the field and stood around amongst a steadily growing gathering of old and new candidates. He found several fellows that he knew well enough to talk to, but, having arrived early, much of his time was spent in looking on. He observed the coming of Peter, preceded by a wheelbarrow laden high with necessities of the game, the subsequent appearance of Manager Woodruff and Assistant Manager Barr, the latter apparently weighted down with the cares of all the world, and then the arrival of Coach Cade, in company with Captain Gus Fingal. By that time fully sixty candidates were on hand and balls were beginning to hurtle around. Formalities were dispensed with to-day. Mr. Cade clapped his hands briskly and announced: Give your names to Mr. Woodruff or Mr. Barr, fellows, and hustle it up. Men reporting for the first time will start to work on the other gridiron. Last-year fellows report to Captain Fingal here. Lets get going, Mr. Manager!

Jim gave his name and other data to Johnny Barr and went across to the second team field. No one seemed interested in his presence there, and he stood around a while longer. Eventually the new candidates stopped coming, and Latham, a substitute quarter-back of last season, took them in charge. Jim went through just such a program as had engaged him a year ago. The afternoon, while not so hot as yesterday, was far too warm for comfort, and the work was a whole lot like drudgery. He caught balls and passed them, chased them and fell on them, awkwardly rolling around the turf, made frantic and generally unsuccessful grabs at them as Latham sent them bouncing away, and then, after a few minutes of rest, started all over again. At four-thirty he trotted two laps of the field, keeping, by injunction, close to the edge of the cinder track.

Save that he weighed in on the gymnasium scales the next afternoon, while the worried looking Johnny Barr set the figures down against his name, Saturdays program was just like Fridays. He wasnt quite so stiff Saturday night, though, as he had been after the first session. Clem, feeling responsibility in the matter, asked how he had got along. Jim said: All right, I guess. Thats about all he did say regarding his football experiences for the next week. He had bought a book of rules, and Clem observed that every evening he spent a matter of ten or fifteen minutes on it. Once or twice he invited Clems aid, but Clem wasnt much use to him.





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