THE CUP

THE first suggestion of the Triangular League came from a certain
aspiring and nimble-witted graduate of the Newbury Latin named John
Smith, whose surname, occurring on every page of every daily paper,
should safely conceal his identity from any over-curious reader of this
story. Moreover, it may be asserted with truth that the particular John
Smith who called the first meeting of representatives of the three
schools is not to be found on any of the eighteen pages of Smiths in the
last Boston directory. It is enough for our purpose to know that he
looked over the material in the upper half of the Newbury Latin and
found it to his liking—good for the present and promising for the
future. He considered within himself, with what he imagined to be
uncommon shrewdness, that it is better for a school to be at the head of
a small league than to swell the troop at the conqueror’s heels in a
larger one. His reason for selecting Westcott’s and the Trowbridge
School as complements to the Newbury Latin in this laudably patriotic
scheme was that while they contained decent fellows and were nominally
fair rivals, they were probably beatable without killing exertion. This
last item was not included in the argument for the organization which he
presented to the first meeting. His speech here took loftier grounds,
such as the charms of an alliance between naturally friendly schools,
and the splendid athletic ideals for which the new league would stand.

Either John Smith’s idea or John Smith’s argument carried weight, for
the league was formed, and the three schools pledged themselves to
maintain it and abide by its rules. In recognition of his unselfish
services in behalf of the cause, and at the suggestion of Mr. Snyder, an
instructor at Trowbridge, who insisted that the direction of affairs
should be in the hands of some mature person, Mr. John Smith was elected
president. It was voted that a managing committee consisting of two
representatives from each school, together with the president, _ex
officio_, should be empowered to draw up rules, arrange schedules,
select officials, and act as general board of control.

The first meeting of this permanent committee was held at Westcott’s, in
Boston, just before the end of the school year. After the visitors had
departed, Sumner and Talbot remained behind to discuss events from the
Westcott point of view.

“It’s going to be great!” opined Sumner, with his usual outburst of
enthusiasm for what he approved. “Everything was pleasant and straight,
and nobody tried to get the advantage of anybody else.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” answered Joe Talbot, commonly called
“Pete.” The origin of this nickname is involved in obscurity. Some boys
derived it from a character in a play; some asserted that Joe’s family
had given him the name in jest when he was a toddler. Steve Wilmot, the
wag of the class, maintained that it was descriptive,—he was called
Pete because he looked Pete,—and this explanation was on the whole
popular, especially as Talbot stoutly protested against it.

“Why not?” demanded Sumner.

“I’ve no confidence in that Smith. He’s too oily and smug. He’s got some
scheme he means to work.”

“Shucks!” retorted Jack. “Your brother Bob has prejudiced you against
him with his talk about that old football squabble. If I were a junior
in college, like Bob, I’d try to forget about school rows.”

“Those are the things you remember longest,” Pete answered wisely. “You
can’t change the facts, can you? You can’t make a low trick any better
by forgetting it. If it happened, it’s history, as much as Bunker Hill.
It shows the kind of man Smith is.”

“Was!” corrected Jack. “That was a long time ago, and he’s probably
changed as much as we have since we came into the sixth together. Just
think what little fools we were then, how we thought the verb _amo_ was
too hard to learn, and cried when Mr. Lawton lectured us, and Mussy used
to send us out of French every day for whispering in class.”

“We weren’t anything but kids then. Neither of us was over twelve.”
Talbot spoke as if seventeen, which was their present age, represented
the climax of maturity.

“I was just trying to make you see that people change. Smith has changed
too.”

“Perhaps he has,” growled Talbot, “but I don’t believe it’s for the
better. He’s got us into the league just because he thinks Newbury can
beat us. You don’t suppose he’s doing it out of love for us, do you?”

“No doubt he thinks we are a good crowd for his school to tie up with,”
answered Sumner, with ready complacency. “I really believe those fellows
would rather beat us than any other school, but that’s because they are
jealous of us. We are only a private school, more than half of us little
kids in knickerbockers, but we have the inside track in Harvard, and
we’re on the top socially. They don’t like that.”

“It’s the little kids and getting into college so early that spoils our
athletics,” remarked Talbot. “Newbury is a public endowed school with
lots of big fellows who don’t go to college, and Trowbridge is a
boarding-school in the country where the fellows have nothing to do but
play games all day. We aren’t anything but a school building in town and
a playground in Brookline.”

“And Adams’s,” put in Sumner.

Adams’s was the house of the instructor who lived at the athletic field.
It contained a schoolroom for such boys as were condemned to prepare the
next day’s lessons before they left the field in the afternoon, and
quarters for a limited number of boarding pupils.

“Adams’s!” exclaimed Pete. “What good is that? A half-dozen little kids
who play on the fourth or third, and a few older fellows whose parents
are abroad or can’t stand them at home. There wasn’t a fellow there last
year who did anything for the school.”

“There was Pitkin,” Sumner remarked. “He’d have made the second crew if
he hadn’t caught the measles.”

“He might,” responded Talbot, in a tone which implied that he probably
wouldn’t. “But what’s Pitkin, anyway?”

“Ben Tracy is going there next year,” went on Sumner, “and that cousin
Louis of his who lives in Worcester, and some one from New Jersey. There
may be some other new fellows.”

“The usual orphan asylum!” commented Talbot, savagely. “It’s four to one
that none of ’em will be good for anything. You always see things about
one hundred per cent better than they really are.”

“That’s not half so bad as seeing them one hundred per cent worse than
they are, as you do, you old growler!” retorted his friend, with a
laugh.

“They can’t be a hundred per cent worse,” maintained Talbot. “That’s a
logical impossibility. It would bring ’em below the zero point.”

And then, being boys, in spite of their advanced age and the seriousness
of their interest and the fact that both, avowedly at least, were
putting every available minute into their preparation for the next
week’s battle with the Harvard preliminaries, they wrangled for a good
quarter of an hour over the possibility—logical, actual, or
theoretical—of things being a hundred per cent worse than they were
without reaching the vanishing point. The reader will be spared this
argument. If he is a boy, he can manufacture it for himself; if a
grown-up, he has only to listen quietly to a knot of boys waiting in
idleness for a bell to ring or a train to appear, and he will understand
how it is done.

When the discussion had run its length, they recurred naturally to the
first theme of conversation. It was Pete who reintroduced the topic of
the new league.

“Whether Smith is straight or crooked,” he said, “he certainly expects
his school to come out ahead. I’d give something to beat him at his
little game.”

“Wouldn’t it be great!” Sumner’s exclamation was like an anticipatory
smack of the lips; his eyes were fixed in a fervent but unseeing stare
on the blank wall, his face beamed with delight at the mental foretaste
of the joys of triumph. “We may do it, too!”

“And we may not!” answered Talbot, rising. “Let’s get after those French
sentences.”

WHATEVER his faults, the president of the new league possessed
unquestionably the virtue of activity. While the Westcott boys,
scattered up and down the coast from Long Island Sound to Bar Harbor,
were amusing themselves in their own idle but wholesome
fashion,—camping, cruising, racing boats, playing tennis matches, and
exchanging visits,—Mr. John Smith was devoting his surplus energy to
the cause. One tangible result of his labors formed the basis of much
curious questioning when Westcott’s gathered at the end of September for
the year’s work. A prize was to be offered to stimulate interest in the
contests of the league. Though many of the Westcott graduates had been
laid under contribution and might be supposed to know definitely the
purpose for which their money had been expended, it was soon discovered
that no one possessed information extending beyond the statements in the
newspapers. These began with encomiums on Mr. John Smith for his
enthusiastic and efficient services and the success with which he had
“rallied about him his hosts of friends”; they ended with
congratulations to the new league on having a man of Mr. Smith’s caliber
and influence at its head. In between was sandwiched the meagre news
that a cup was to be competed for by the schools on terms to be
announced later.

But Westcott’s had no notion of waiting until later. The boys stirred up
the contributing graduates, and the graduates addressed to Mr. Smith
certain pointed inquiries which suggested to the astute leader that it
would be wise to announce the conditions immediately, even at the risk
of losing some advantage for his own school. He appeared, therefore, at
Westcott’s, one day during the second week of the term, bearing a big
box of tinted cardboard, and made a speech to the assembled school in
which he set forth the conditions of the gift and the high hopes of the
givers. Then, with great impressiveness and in the midst of quivering
expectancy, he removed the cover of the box, undid a bag of canton
flannel and held forth the glittering thing to the general admiration.

“To remain from year to year in the possession of the school which shall
last have won it, and to be held permanently when three times won.”

To this announcement the school gave bountiful applause. The older boys,
though harassed by grave doubts of their ability to fulfil the
conditions, understood the privilege offered them and were grateful;
while the knee-trousered, flattering themselves with the assurance that
the splendid, two-handled vase, like a reward for good behavior, must
ultimately be theirs, smote their hands together long and violently.
Whereupon Mr. John Smith, who showed himself to be a sharp-featured,
somewhat over-dressed young man, with no semblance of that personal
diffidence with which great men are often handicapped, smiled blandly,
restored the treasure to its double envelope, shook hands with Mr.
Westcott, gave the school another benevolent and congratulatory smirk,
and departed—bearing his cup with him.

At the recess period for the first and second, four fellows took places
round the small table in the corner of the lunch room; a fifth seized a
chair and pushed in among them as if he belonged there. Others bought
themselves handfuls of munchable food at the other end of the room and
hurried to get a position at the railing which separated the
hot-lunchers from those who patronized the counter. The confusion of
half a dozen talking at once obscured the opening of the discussion.

“The crew’s in it. That’s good for us,” declared Rolfe, getting the
first hearing in the babel. “We’ll trust you to win that for us, Pete.”

Talbot, the captain of the crew, would probably have disputed this loud
assumption if he had been given an opportunity to speak; but others were
readier of tongue.

“And the track’s out!” cried Seamans. He held a sandwich untasted within
three inches of his lips and stared over the railing into Rolfe’s face
with an expression of disgust.

“Bad for you, Sim,” called out Jack Sumner. “You’ll have to go in for
baseball.—Some soup, please.”

“Newbury lost all her track men last year, that’s why the track’s out.”
Talbot had found his tongue.

“That’s not the reason,” proclaimed Sumner. “Mr. Westcott doesn’t
believe in track work for schoolboys. He thinks it’s too much of a
strain for young fellows like us. Your brother Bob has the same idea. He
told me just the other day that it usually spoiled fellows for college
running.”

“Smithy would have put it in all the same, if Newbury had any show for
it.”

“I don’t quite understand about those conditions,” came from the lips of
a boy at the railing, who was poising a buttered bread stick before a
broad, big-featured face crowned with shaggy hair.

“You never understand anything, Fluffy,” cut in Wilmot. “A fellow who
asks ‘why’ about the laws of falling bodies—”

He hesitated, giving Fluffy a chance to ejaculate, “You don’t know
yourself—”

“And don’t care!” retorted Wilmot. “I know they fall, and there’s a rule
about it.”

“I don’t mean falling bodies, I mean about the cup!” Fluffy got this out
in the face of a storm that threatened to sweep him the whole length of
the railing. No one wanted to hear a debate between Fluffy Dobbs and
Wilmot on the laws of falling bodies.

“It’s clear enough,” said Sumner. “There are three sports that count,
football, baseball, and crew. Whoever wins two of them gets the cup for
a year. The school that gets it three times has it to keep.”

“Do you understand that, Fluffy?” called Wilmot. “Because if you don’t,
we’ll get you a map and a guide-book.”

“But supposing each of the three schools wins at one sport?” proposed
Fluffy, undisturbed by Wilmot’s jeers, to which he was evidently well
accustomed.

“No score!” returned Sumner, quickly.

“Are they going to have special crew races with Newbury and Trowbridge?”
asked Tracy.

“No, we all row in the Interscholastic.”

“Then the first thing for us to do is to win at football,” said Trask.
“It’s up to you fellows to start the thing right.”

“Easy enough for you to say when you don’t play,” said a tall, wiry,
light-haired boy who up to this time had been listening in silence.
“Give us the material, and we’ll do it. We can’t make bricks without
straw.” Harrison was captain of the eleven.

“Oh, yes, you can, only it’s harder. A really good captain could make a
team out of ’most anything. Any fool captain can win with a bunch of
stars.” Wilmot’s significant grin disarmed this seemingly insulting
remark of all its sting. Everybody respected Eliot Harrison, and Wilmot
enjoyed a liberty of his own.

“The lot we had out yesterday was more like a flock of goats than a
bunch of stars,” growled Pete.

“A goat ought to be mighty good in the centre of the line,” said Wilmot,
reflectively. “He could butt a hole right through the other side, and
that’s about all guard and centre have to do. Now if you could only get
a few good butting goats into the line—”

“Or teach your own goats to butt,” suggested Tracy.

Wilmot slammed the table. “That’s the best idea yet! Get a goat as
assistant coach, a good old side-hill, can-eating, whiskered billy
that’s practiced butting from his youth up. He’d show the line how to
open holes!”

The audience warmed noisily to Wilmot’s proposition.

“He’d look fine on the side-lines, wouldn’t he?” This sarcastic comment
came from sober-faced little Stanley Hale of the sixth, whose class, by
the necessities of the school schedule, shared the recess hour of the
older boys. The influence of the kindergarten and the fairy tale was
still effective in Stanley’s mind. Ideas still translated themselves for
his intelligence into pictures, and the picture of the goat stood out
vividly before him.

“He could be a mascot, Stan,” said Sumner, turning to smile at Stanley.

“He’d be a great help in the cheering,” went on Wilmot. “The sixth could
give him lessons. He’d cheer bass to their soprano.”

By this time there was a general and hilarious interest in the
development of Wilmot’s suggestion which rendered impossible all serious
discussion of the morning’s announcement. Foolish jesting became
epidemic, and wit soon ran into silliness. Two boys showed no
disposition to share in the levity. Harrison smiled but rarely, and then
feebly and against his will; Talbot’s scowl grew deeper and blacker as
Wilmot’s fancy spread from the centre, where it had originated, out into
the ranks of the clumsy-wits who seized upon it with rough hands, tossed
it to and fro, squeezed it dry of whatever freshness and cleverness it
might have contained, and dropped it in ennui for some new catchword ten
minutes later.

The bystanders drifted forth for a walk, the sixth ran into the yard and
played goat tag, the pursuer being the goat.

“I wish you wouldn’t say that kind of thing, Steve,” began Harrison,
when the coast was clear. “It hurts the team to make sport of it or any
one on it.”

Wilmot opened his eyes. “I didn’t make sport of it. I just offered a
suggestion. You don’t have to take it, if you don’t want to.”

“We’ve got to have the respect and support of the school if we are going
to do anything,” went on Harrison, trying to be sensible and keep his
temper. “All that talk about goats makes the team ridiculous.”

“It puts everything to the bad right at the beginning of the season,”
broke in Talbot, roughly. “If you want to spoil all our chances, just
keep it up. You don’t care, of course, as long as you get your fun out
of it, but the rest of us have a little school spirit left and a little
self-respect!”

“Who introduced the subject, anyway?” demanded Wilmot, triumphantly. “It
was you that did it, and it was you that called the team goats. I just
built on your suggestion.”

“I won’t argue it,” answered Pete, savagely. “You’d twist my words
against me. But just try the goat business with the crew, and see what
you’ll get. Harry may put up with it if he wants to. I wouldn’t!”

“Now you’re getting peevish.” Wilmot rose from the table, still keeping
his smile of indifference, but by no means content at heart. “I don’t
like you when you’re peevish!”

The bell rang; the boys came flocking in and crowded up the stairway.
Harrison took Tracy’s arm as they leisurely followed the stream.

“Isn’t that new fellow at Adams’s coming out?”

“Who? Hardie?”

“Yes. He sat opposite us at luncheon to-day with the kids and didn’t
peep.”

“He hasn’t said much to any one yet. He’ll be out to-day if he gets his
clothes.”

“Do you think he’ll be good for anything?” pursued the captain,
anxiously. “We need about six more good men.”

Tracy gave his chin a side tip that might have expressed doubt, or
merely reserve of judgment. “I don’t know. He isn’t very heavy, but if
you’d seen him chucking trunks around this morning, you’d think him
fairly strong.”

“Trunks?”

“Yes, we piled a few in front of his door last night.”

“It’s a good thing to be strong, but a lot depends on spirit,” began
Harrison. What further he may have intended to say, we shall never know,
for the sight of Mr. Spaulding standing at the head of the stairs put a
sudden gag upon his lips.

ROGER HARDIE knew absolutely no one at Westcott’s when he moved into his
room at Adams’s that fall. His father was engaged in the Argentine
trade; and the day after Roger was safely established in school the
whole family sailed for Buenos Aires to spend the winter there. He took
his fate stoically, trying hard to persuade himself that he should soon
feel at home, but he could not avoid the sense of isolation and
exclusion which comes naturally to one of a very few new boys among a
great many very intimate old ones; and he lacked entirely the aptitude
for quick friendships. Boys are seldom temperate in their opinions of
their own merits. Eliminate the over-confident who run to freshness and
the under-confident who lack courage to assert themselves, and there
remain but a small percentage who wisely follow the middle course. The
over-modest in the end is likely to outstrip the over-bold, whose rash
spirit is easily broken by unexpected and humiliating defeats. The
average boy, however, takes very little thought for ultimate results. He
lives vividly in the present, is captivated by boldness and dash and
ready wit, ranks caution with timidity, and suspects steadiness to be
mere feebleness in disguise.

Roger was naturally reticent; he was likewise inclined to regard himself
as neither attractive nor clever. The first impression which he produced
on his mates at Adams’s was that of mediocrity. They took him at his own
valuation and disregarded him. The consciousness that he wasn’t
considered worth while increased his reticence, and at the same time
stirred his obstinacy. He certainly didn’t care for the boys if they
didn’t care for him. He would go one way, and let them go another.

Hardie’s pique was enhanced by the apparently different reception
accorded to another new Adamsite, Archibald Dunn. As a matter of fact,
the principle followed by the boys in the treatment of the two cases was
identical: each was accepted at the outset at his face value. While
Hardie made no claim to ability, importance, or friends among the great,
Dunn’s method was to assume everything, to throw himself frankly on the
credulity and friendliness of his new companions. Of course he played
football; he had been end on the Westport High School at the beginning
of last season, but a shoulder bruise got in the practice had thrown him
out of the regular games. He liked baseball better; he and a friend of
his, who made the Yale Freshmen, used to be the battery of a corking
little nine they got up at their summer place. His favorite sport was
automobiling; in his first half-hour in Tracy’s room he told five
astonishing stories of marvellous escapes from death or the police. He
sailed, too,—used to take charge of his uncle’s forty-footer in
cruises. Dunn’s manners were undeniably easy. In twenty-four hours he
knew all the small boys at Adams’s by their nicknames, and treated the
older ones as if they were intimates of years’ standing.

The Tracys, Ben and Louis, might smile a little incredulously at the
broadest of Dunn’s claims, but he amused them, and, provisionally at
least, they accepted him. “He’s good sport, anyway,” said Ben, on the
second day of school, while describing the Adams household to Sumner.
“He can talk more than any person I ever saw, and he likes himself to
beat the band, but he seems to be a good fellow to have round.”

“What about Hardie?”

“Oh, he’s a zero, a good little boy that never speaks unless he’s spoken
to. He sat up in his room all last evening, grinding at algebra and
Latin. Just think of being so fierce about the first day’s lessons!”

“All the new ones do that,” opined Sumner; “they’re scared.”

“Dunn didn’t. He loafed round Louis’s room, telling stories, the first
two hours, and spent the rest of the evening looking for a trot to
Xenophon. He says it’s a waste of time trying to get along without one.”

“Flunked to-day, didn’t he?”

“Don’t know. He’s not in any of my classes.”

By favor of chance, Dunn did not flunk. He was called up in Latin on
grammar questions which he happened to know. Hardie did not escape so
easily. His lot fell upon a difficult passage which in his preparation
he had not fully understood. Confused by the new surroundings and
agitated by a nervous eagerness to do well, he floundered along like a
pig in the mud, getting nowhere and accomplishing nothing but the
amusement of a cruelly grinning class.

To escape unscathed without having prepared a lesson was, of course, a
piece of good fortune which a boy could not expect to experience often.
Before the week was out, Dunn had been pretty well gauged by his
teachers, and one of the most conscientious had already begun in the
simple old-fashioned way—which Dunn reviled as antiquated—to detain
him after school to make up neglected work. But what he lost in prestige
by classroom deficiencies—boys never charge such failures up against a
good comrade—he made ample amends for by marked success on the football
field, where he was generally regarded as the most promising addition to
the available material which the new season had brought.

Here Dunn’s own lively tongue had prepared for him a favorable
reception. While he did not actually declare himself a great player, his
ready vocabulary of football terms, his anecdotes of games which he had
seen or taken part in, the air of familiarity with styles of play which
he showed—all marked him as a veteran. Besides this, he was an end, and
the eleven lacked an end. With Harrison, the captain, at one extremity
of the line and Dunn at the other, the two important wings of the
fighting force would be well equipped. The idea pleased the school fancy
and produced a strong prejudice in Dunn’s favor. The boys believed in
him because they needed him, and it was more agreeable to believe than
to doubt.

The first week’s work on the football field, as every one knows, is
largely concerned with the individual elements of the game,—tackling,
dropping on the ball, running down under punts, charging. Through these
Dunn’s self-confidence and previous experience carried him with flying
colors. He threw himself on the ball with admirable spirit; and the way
in which he scampered down the field after punts, getting the direction
of the kick by a single, quick, accurate glance over his shoulder, and
fairly hugging the waiting receiver, was a joy to the beholder. In open
work he was not quite so successful. He missed a few hard tackles, but
he made some good ones, and the balance remained in his favor. Talbot
was so malevolent as to remark that Dunn got the smaller fellows and let
the big ones by, but Talbot was from aye a surly growler. The opinion
which Dunn himself delivered in the dressing rooms after the first
tackling practice found by far the wider acceptance.

“Nobody can tackle in the open in cold blood,” he averred. “A fellow
might get his man every time in a game when he feels the excitement and
forgets everything but the play, and yet miss every tackle when you put
him out to show what he can do. There was a half-back we had in school
who afterwards made the Dartmouth eleven; he couldn’t make one out of a
dozen of those practice tackles. They’re dangerous, too. If I was a
coach, I’d cut ’em out altogether.”

After the middle of the week there were short line-ups in which Dunn
played left end. Behind him was all the superior weight and prestige of
the first backs, and before him as opposing tackle only “Skinny”
Fairbanks, who had barely made the third the year before. Dunn’s work
here was of the lively, striking kind that sets partial spectators agog
with delight. He shoved Fairbanks back for holes as if Fairbanks were a
dummy. When the ball by way of variety was given to the second, he lay
outside like a keen-eyed bird of prey and fell upon the fearful
seconders with a sudden, calamitous swoop. Hardie stood on the
side-lines the day before the first real game, and reproached himself
for a feeling of envy. Apparently he and Dunn had started fair in school
but a few days before, and now Dunn was leagues beyond him. He felt
inclined to send word to the dilatory outfitter that he shouldn’t want
any football clothes at all.

Then on the first Saturday came the game with the Suffolk school, which
Newbury had just soundly beaten. It was a discouraging contest that took
the fire out of the hearts of the players and set the school to jesting
about the team. Westcott’s won in the last five minutes through a long
run by Harrison, who got the ball on a fumble and carried it half the
length of the field; but the record of six to nothing looked very small
alongside of Newbury’s twenty-six to eight. The plan of the coach had
been to push the attack generally through the left side of the line
behind Eaton and Dunn; and when Suffolk had the ball to concentrate the
secondary defence behind centre and right, leaving the strong wing to
make its own resistance. The scheme did not work, and after much waste
of time was abandoned. Holes did not develop where they were expected,
and Suffolk pounded the left with great success. The fault was not easy
to place. Dunn seemed so devoted to playing a safe outside that he
rarely got into the path of the Suffolk runner; and the Suffolk right,
it was generally conceded, had been greatly strengthened since the
Newbury game. Two bad fumbles that lost Westcott the ball at critical
moments were charged against Horr, the half-back.

“You could have saved us the ball both times if you’d only dropped quick
enough!” Talbot remarked with undisguised frankness to Dunn, as the team
walked moodily into the dressing rooms after the game.

“I couldn’t, really!” protested Dunn. “Once some one piled into me just
as I was going to drop, and the other time I tried to pick it up because
I had a clear field, and my foot slipped. It was the correct thing to
do, wasn’t it, Harry?”

“I didn’t see,” answered the captain. “I thought you might have got
Jefferson, though, on that crisscross.”

“The end blocked me off just as I was going to tackle. Eaton really
ought to have taken him.”

“It’s your business not to be blocked off!” snapped Talbot.

“Shut up, Pete!” called the captain. “What’s the good of kicking now?
None of us played well.”

“My playing was rotten, I know,” rejoined the pessimist, “but I don’t
shirk the responsibility for it.”

“It takes time for a team to get shaken together,” said Dunn. “We’ll all
do better when we’ve had more practice.”

Dunn’s remark showed a forgiving and conciliatory spirit that by all the
rules of story-book morality should have extracted from a contrite
Talbot an apology; but the surly half-back went his way unappeased.

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