THE LISTS ARE POSTED

Payson appeared on Monday and took up his lodgings in the village. But,
as events proved, he might just as well have delayed his arrival for
another week, for on Sunday morning it began to rain as though it meant
to flood the country, and it continued practically without interruption
until Wednesday night. By that time the river was over its banks,
Meeker’s Marsh was a lake, the athletic field was like a sponge, and
outdoor practice was impossible. The work in the cage went on, but the
fellows were getting tired of it, and longed for sod under foot and
sky overhead. Payson didn’t waste that week, by any means, but, with
the first game only a fortnight off, the enforced confinement to the
gymnasium was discouraging.

John Payson was about thirty years of age, and weighed in the
neighborhood of two hundred pounds. He was large, broad-shouldered,
and, in spite of his weight, alert and quick of movement. He had played
baseball and football in his college days, first at Cornell, and
later, as a graduate student, at Yale. “Whopper” Payson was his name
in those days, and for two years he had made the All-America Football
team as a guard. While at Cornell he had caught for two years on the
Varsity Baseball nine, and they still remember him there as one of the
best. During his five years as coach at Yardley he had helped at three
football and two baseball victories over Broadwood. It would be an
exaggeration to say that Payson was universally popular at Yardley. He
was a good deal of a martinet, had a quick temper and a sharp tongue.
But he was just in his dealings with the fellows, was a hard worker,
and as unsparing of himself as of his charges. The older boys, those
who had known him longer, liked him thoroughly, while the younger
fellows, many of whom blamed him for their inability to make the teams,
called him hard names.

The baseball candidates finally got out of doors a week later than
expected. By this time the April sky appeared to have emptied itself of
rain, and a warm sun was busy drying up the sodden land. The fellows
felt and acted like colts that first afternoon. It was bully to feel
the springy turf underfoot, to smell the moist fragrance of growing
things, and to have the west wind capering about the field. Even a
full hour and a half of hard work failed to quench their spirits,
and they swarmed into the gymnasium at half-past five as jolly as
larks. The next afternoon practice ended with a four-inning game
between the first and second teams, and Dan played during two of the
innings in center-field. He had but one chance and accepted it. At
his single appearance at bat he got to first on fielder’s choice,
having knocked a miserable little hit half way to third base, and was
caught ingloriously in an attempt to steal second. And yet he could
congratulate himself on having made as good an appearance as any of
the other dozen or so candidates for fielding positions. By the middle
of the week practice had settled down to hard work, and on Friday the
first cut was made. Some twenty candidates were dropped from the squad,
only enough being retained to compose two nines and substitutes. Dan
found himself on the second nine, playing when the opportunity offered
at right or center-field. But he felt far from secure, for it was well
known that a further reduction of the squad was due some time the
following week.

Meanwhile Gerald had astounded Dan and the rest of his friends, not yet
many in number, by winning a place on the Fourth Class team. I think
Gerald must have been a natural-born baseball player, if there is such
a thing; otherwise he would never, with his slight experience, have
made the showing he did. Perhaps the standard of excellence required
of a candidate for admission to the team wasn’t very high, but there
were many fellows amongst those trying for places who had played ball
for two or three years. Gerald showed unsuspected alertness in handling
the ball, accuracy in throwing, and a good eye at the bat. And so, a
week after the class teams had begun work, Gerald found himself playing
shortstop on his nine. Naturally, he was in the seventh heaven of
bliss, and talked baseball, thought baseball, and dreamed baseball. Alf
amused Dan and Tom by claiming some of the credit. Personally, I think
there was reason in his contention. At all events he made out a good
case.

“Oh, you may laugh,” said Alf earnestly, “but it’s so. If Gerald hadn’t
had those boxing lessons he wouldn’t have made good. They taught him to
see quick and act quick, and they taught him accuracy. When you come to
think of it, boxing and baseball aren’t so much unalike. In boxing you
have a fellow’s glove to stop and your own to get away, and get away
quick and accurately. In baseball you have the ball to stop and to get
away. In either case it’s quickness and accuracy of eye and brain and
body that does the trick.”

“Pooh!” scoffed Tom. “If Gerald ever gets to be President you’ll try to
show that it was because you gave him boxing lessons when he was a kid.”

But whether or not part of the credit was due to Alf, it remains a fact
that Gerald was about the proudest and happiest youngster in the whole
school, with only one thing to worry him. That thing was the fact that
devotion to baseball was playing hob with his lessons. It was Kilts who
first drew his attention to the fact. He asked him to remain behind the
class one morning.

“What’s wrong, lad?” he asked kindly. Gerald hesitated a moment, trying
to find a plausible excuse. In the end he decided that the truth would
do better than anything else.

“It’s baseball, sir,” he answered frankly. “I’m on my class team,
and–and I guess I haven’t been studying very hard.”

“Well, well, that won’t do,” said Kilts gravely. “Baseball is a fine
game, I have no doubt, but you mustn’t let it come between you and your
studies, lad. Better let baseball alone a while, I’m thinking, until
you can do better work than you’ve been doing the last week. Baseball
and all such sports belong outdoors; they’re well enough there;
but when you take them into class with you–” Kilts shook his head
soberly–“you’re brewing trouble. You know I’m right, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” Gerald answered. “I’ll try and–and do better.”

“That’s the lad! Youth must have its pleasures, but there’s work to do,
too. Ye ken what Bobby Burns said?

“‘O man! while in thy early years,
How prodigal of time!
Misspending all thy precious hours,
Thy glorious youthful prime!’

“He was no the hard worker himself, was Bobby,” added Mr. McIntyre with
a chuckle, “but he sensed it right, I’m thinking. Well, run along, lad,
and remember, I’m looking for better things from you.”

So Gerald ran along, just as the next class began crowding into the
little recitation room, and when study time came that evening, instead
of leaning over his books with one hand in a fielder’s glove, as had
been his custom of late, he put glove and ball out of sight behind a
pillow on the window seat before he sat down. Dan saw, and breathed
easier.

The second cut in the Varsity squad came, and Dan survived it. The
first game, a mid-week contest with Greenburg High School, found the
Yardley team somewhat unprepared. Kelsey, a second string pitcher, was
in the box and was extremely erratic. Greenburg had no difficulty in
connecting with his delivery, and the Yardley outfield was kept pretty
busy during the six innings which were played before a sharp downpour
of rain sent the teams and spectators scurrying from the field. Dan
didn’t get into the game, much to his regret, for there were lots of
chances for the outfielders that afternoon. Yardley managed to pull the
game out of the fire in the fifth inning, and won, 8-6.

So far Dan had not flaunted his ambition to play on one of the bases.
But the following Monday he found himself sitting on the bench beside
Stuart Millener. Millener was watching the base-running practice, his
place on first being occupied for the time by a substitute. He asked
Dan where he had played before, and learned that at Graystone Dan had
occupied second base.

“Well,” said Millener, “Danforth is making pretty good at second, and
unless something happens, he will stay there, I guess. But there’s no
harm in being prepared, Vinton, and I’ll let you see what you can do
there.”

Millener was as good as his word, and when practice began Dan found
himself in Danforth’s place. Of course, he was rusty, and he and
Durfee, shortstop, failed to work together at first. But he made no bad
plays, and shared in a speedy double with Millener. At the bat Dan was
still rather weak. After practice Payson called him.

“You’ve played on second before, Millener says, and so I’m putting
you down for a substitute baseman, Vinton. You’d rather play there,
wouldn’t you?”

“Much,” answered Dan. “But I’d rather make good as a fielder than try
for a base and not make it.”

“Well, you see what you can do. I don’t believe you’ll have much show
for second, but you might possibly make third. Ever play there?”

“No, sir, but I guess I could.”

“Well, we’ll see. You want to be a little shiftier on your feet,
though, Vinton. You haven’t got as much time to make up your mind in
the infield as you have in the out.”

Dan told Alf of his promotion while they were dressing in the gymnasium.

“That’s good,” said Alf. “I guess Payson means to get you on third.
Condit isn’t much; Lord beat him out for the place last year, and would
have had it this if he’d returned. I guess Payson thinks he owes you
something for pulling us out of the hole in the Broadwood game last
Fall.”

“Oh, well, I don’t believe I want to get it that way,” said Dan
thoughtfully.

“What way?”

“I mean I don’t want to get it by favor.”

“Piffle! Don’t you worry. If you get it, it’ll be because you deserve
it. Payson may help you, Dan, but you needn’t worry about having the
place presented to you on a plate. Payson isn’t that sort. He never
lets his liking for a fellow influence him much. I rather wish he
did. He and I are pretty good friends, and I’d rather like to play
shortstop. But nothing doing.”

“It doesn’t seem exactly fair for me to step into the infield when
you’ve been on the team two years,” said Dan.

“Pshaw, I was only fooling! I’m happy enough out in left field. Why, I
couldn’t play short for a minute. I’ve tried it. I can catch flies and
throw to base pretty well, but if it wasn’t for the fact that I can bat
with the next fellow I wouldn’t hold down my place a minute. I know
some schools where you can have almost anything in reason if you happen
to be football or baseball captain. But the rule doesn’t work that way
here. Millener couldn’t have made the scrub last fall, and he knew it,
and didn’t try. And I know that the only thing that keeps me on the
nine is the fact that I bat better than any one except Colton. Oh, you
have to work for what you get at Yardley. A good thing, too. Over at
Broadwood they have about half a dozen societies and society men have
the first choice every time. Considering that, it’s a wonder they do as
well as they do.”

“I should say so,” agreed Dan. “It’s about a stand-off in athletics,
isn’t it?”

“It’s run pretty evenly the last ten or twelve years in baseball and
football,” replied Alf, “but we win three out of four times in track
games. And we’re away ahead in hockey, in spite of this year’s fizzle.
They usually do us up at basket-ball, though. But who cares about
basket-ball, anyway–except Tom?”

“I should think we’d go in for rowing here,” said Dan.

“Well, there isn’t a decent course within a good many miles,” said Alf.
“I don’t believe Yardley ever tried rowing. The year before I came here
they had an ‘Aquatic Tournament,’ whatever that is; Broadwood came over
and there were canoe races and swimming races and diving stunts on the
river. But Broadwood got so everlastingly walloped that there wasn’t
much fun for any one and it was never tried again.”

A little later, on the way across the Yard, Dan said:

“By the way, Alf, Cambridge sends out invitations in about two weeks. I
want to get Gerald in, if I can. How do you feel about it?”

“Me? Why, I’ll help, of course. Gerald’s not a bad little chap, not
by any means. I guess we can make it go all right. We’ll have to do
a little political work, though. I wonder whether he’d rather join
Cambridge than Oxford. He and Tom get on pretty well together, you
know, and Tom’s had him up to Oxford twice.”

“I think he will take Cambridge if he gets a chance,” Dan replied. “I’m
going to take him again Saturday night. I suppose we’d better talk him
up with the fellows.”

“Yes. I guess we’re certain of five or six votes already. And we can
get that many more without much trouble.”

“Just what is the method of selecting fellows?” asked Dan, as they came
to a pause at the doorway of Dudley.

“You get a majority of the meeting to agree on the candidate, first.
Then his name is put down on the list, and the list goes to the
Admission Committee. The Committee is composed of the President and two
members from each class of the three upper classes, seven in all. They
vote on the names as they’re read off. One black ball keeps a fellow
out.”

Dan whistled softly.

“That doesn’t sound so easy,” he said.

“Oh, I guess we won’t have any trouble. I know most of the Committee.
Colton’s president, you know; he will vote the way I ask him to. Then
there’s Millener and Kapenhysen of the First Class, both good chaps;
and Chambers and Derrick of the Second. Chambers will vote for Gerald
anyway without asking, and Derrick is a particular friend of Tom’s, and
will do as Tom says. The Third Class men–blessed if I know who they
are; do you?”

Dan shook his head.

“Well, I’ll find out to-morrow,” said Alf. “Don’t you worry, we’ll get
little Geraldine in all right. By the way, why didn’t you come over to
the gym Saturday morning? We had a lively little bout, I tell you. I
guess it will be the last for a while, too. Now that practice has begun
neither Gerald nor I seem to have much time for punching each other’s
noses. Well, be good, Dan. Come around to-night if you can.”

Dan was too busy to call that evening, but the following night found
him and Gerald in Number 7. For some time past Tom had been teaching
Gerald chess, and to-night the board was brought out and the two were
soon deep in the game. Dan and Alf had been talking baseball, but after
a while Dan interrupted to ask:

“By the way, did you find out about that?”

“About–? Oh!” Alf looked rather queer, as he drew a slip of paper
toward him and scribbled two names on it. “Yes, I found out this
morning. Here they are.” He pushed the slip across to Dan. Dan read and
returned Alf’s look with one of frowning surprise.

“Hm,” he said.

“Just so,” returned Alf dryly.

“Do you think–” began Dan. Alf shrugged his shoulders.

“Blessed if I know. I thought you might.” He looked hesitatingly over
at Gerald’s bowed head. “Perhaps–?”

Dan nodded.

“I say, Gerald,” said Alf, “I hate to interrupt that absorbing game of
yours, but would you mind telling me how you and your friend Arthur
Thompson are getting on these days?”

Gerald looked blank for a moment.

“Thompson?” he repeated. “Oh! Why, we always nod when we meet each
other. We’ve never spoken since the night of the snowball fight. Why,
Alf?”

“I was just wondering,” replied Alf vaguely. “I wondered whether you
were friends or not. Does he seem inclined to be decent?”

“We-ell, he hasn’t tried to be smart with me,” answered Gerald. “But I
don’t think he cares for me much. And I’m pretty sure I don’t like him.”

“I see. And do you know a fellow named Hiltz, Jake Hiltz, a Third Class
fellow; lives in Whitson?”

Gerald shook his head.

“I don’t think so. I may know him by sight. Ought I to know him, Alf?”

“N-no, I guess not. I don’t believe he would prove much of an addition
to your visiting list.”

“Your move, Gerald,” said Tom.

When the players were absorbed again, Alf said:

“It doesn’t look so easy now, does it?”

Dan shook his head. “No, it looks rather bad.”

“I think maybe Tom had better work his end,” suggested Alf. “Know what
I mean?”

“Oxford?” asked Dan.

“Yes, we wouldn’t want him to miss them both, eh? I’ll speak to him
about it to-night. Maybe he means to anyway, he’s taken quite a shine
to–someone.”

“All right,” said Dan. “I’m sorry, though. I don’t suppose there is
anything I could do with–” He tapped the slip of paper.

“No, he’d probably resent it, as you don’t know him. Besides, we don’t
know that he will object. It may go through all right. But if I were
you I’d speak to–you know who, and tell him how it stands. Perhaps he
will have a chance to smooth things over with Thompson.”

“I can’t quite imagine him doing it,” replied Dan, with a smile. “He’s
more likely to punch his head, if only to make use of what you’ve
taught him.”

“Well, we’ll see the thing through, anyway,” answered Alf hopefully.
“We’ll get his name up to the Committee. After that–well, it’s past
us. But if G could make it up with T, I guess he’d go through all
right.”

“He never would, though. Still, I’ll suggest it to him when we go back.”

“Got you,” said Tom quietly.

“How? Why?” asked Gerald, studying the board perplexedly. “Why can’t I
move–.” He stopped. Then: “O-oh!” he said expressively. Dan and Alf
laughed.

“Beat you again, did he?” asked Dan. Gerald nodded, smiling somewhat
sheepishly.

“Don’t you care, Gerald,” said Alf. “Tom is really a pretty neat little
chess player. I dare say there isn’t more than one fellow in school
who can beat him, and modesty forbids my mentioning that fellow’s
name.” Tom snorted. “Chess is a fool game, anyway; a game for children
and idiots.”

“Don’t you play?” asked Gerald innocently.

“Play?” answered Alf above the laughter. “Well, you just ask Tom who
wins when we play together.”

“Yes, ask me,” said Tom dryly. “Checkers is your game, Alf.”

“Oh, I’m not saying I can’t do pretty well at that, too, but when it
comes to chess–well, again my inherent modesty forbids me to pursue
the subject.”

“Huh! You don’t know a king from a pawn,” jeered Tom.

“That’s a challenge,” replied Alf. “Let me at him, Gerald. Just you
fellows watch if you want to see pride humbled and a haughty spirit
destroyed. Let me see, Tom, where do I put these things?”

“I guess we’ll have to be going,” laughed Dan, “although I can see that
it is going to be a rare battle.”

“Rare?” repeated Alf, with a grin. “Oh, no, not rare, Dan; I’m going to
do him to a turn. Move, Tom, but be careful how you do it. Remember
that I have my argus eye on you. Here! You can’t do that! Of course you
can’t. Did you see the way he moved, Dan? That’s cheating, sure! Here,
where are you fellows going?”

“Home, before the trouble begins,” answered Dan. “Come on, Gerald.”

“Trouble! There isn’t going to be any trouble,” said Alf. “This is
going to be the easiest thing I ever did. But if you must go, see you
to-morrow. Gee, he’s pinched my knight!”

Back in Clarke, Dan and Gerald spread out their books on opposite sides
of the table for an hour or more of study. Gerald was keeping his
promise to Mr. McIntyre, and was really doing the best he was capable
of at algebra. But it did seem as though Fate was against him, for, in
order to do full justice to mathematics, he had to give less time to
his other studies, with the result that his French had been suffering
of late, and Mr. Von Groll had once or twice showed impatience. It
seemed desperately hard to please everyone, thought Gerald.

Across the table Dan browsed through his morrow’s Latin, and then
settled down to geometry. Now and then Gerald interrupted to ask
assistance, and once Dan reached over for the younger boy’s book and
puzzled out a line in Cæsar’s Gallic War for him. Nine o’clock struck,
and Gerald looked up from his book with a sigh, glanced hopefully at
Dan, found that youth still absorbed, and, with another sigh, went back
to work. But ten minutes later Gerald pushed his book resolutely away,
yawned, stretched, and spoke.

“I wish this universal disarmament they talk about nowadays had been a
fact about 50 B. C.,” he said regretfully.

“Yes? Why?” asked Dan, looking up.

“There wouldn’t have been any Gallic War, and I wouldn’t have to read
about it.”

“Well,” said Dan, “you’d better not let Collins hear you put the date
of the Gallic War as 50.”

“Oh, well, it was around there somewhere,” answered Gerald indifferently.
“What’s the good of being particular about the date of a thing that took
place thousands of years ago? I never could remember dates, anyway. I
guess I’m only sure about three.”

“And what are those?” asked Dan, closing his books and piling them in
place.

“My birthday, the day they fired on Fort Sumter, and the date of the
Third and Fourth Class baseball game.”

Dan laughed. “You want to be careful and not overtax that brain
of yours, Gerald,” he said. Then: “That reminds me,” he said more
seriously. “There’s going to be a good debate Saturday evening. Want to
go along?”

“Yes, thanks, I’d like to very much.”

“Cambridge and Oxford take fellows from the Fourth Class in a week or
two,” continued Dan. “Have you made up your mind which you want to
join?”

“Cambridge,” answered Gerald promptly. “They both seem very nice, but
you and Alf are both in Cambridge, and–and I think I’d rather go
there–that is, if I can. Do you think I can?”

“That’s what I want to talk about,” replied Dan, pushing back his chair
and clasping his hands behind his head. “You see, the Society holds a
meeting–it’s a week from Friday–and takes up the names of the fellows
in order. If a majority of the fellows there are in favor of the chap
his name goes to the Admission Committee. That committee is made up of
the President and two members from each of the three upper classes,
that is, seven members in all. They pass finally on the candidates for
admission, and a candidate has to get the whole seven votes to receive
an invitation. Understand?”

“Yes,” answered Gerald anxiously.

“Well, we can get you past the meeting all right, Gerald, and we’re
pretty certain of five of the seven on the Committee, but the other
two, the Third Class members, are rather more difficult. Neither Alf
nor I know them very well. One is a chap named Hiltz and the other is
this fellow Thompson.”

“I guess that queers me, then,” said Gerald mournfully.

“You think Thompson would vote against you?”

Gerald nodded. “I’m pretty sure he would.”

“But he said awhile ago, didn’t he, that you and he were quits?”

“Ye-es, but I don’t think he meant it. He doesn’t like me, I know.”

“Well,” said Dan hesitatingly, “Alf suggested–in fact, I think so,
too, that you might sort of let him understand that you are ready to
be friends. It won’t be necessary to say very much, I guess; you might
just speak to him when you see him, and then, if you have the chance,
get into conversation with him. It wouldn’t be hard.”

“I’d rather not get into either society than do that,” declared Gerald
vehemently. “And–and I don’t believe you’d do it yourself, Dan!”

“Well, I don’t know,” said Dan hesitatingly. “Maybe you’re right.
But I felt that I ought to let you know how things stand, so you can
do as you like about–making up with Thompson. I guess this fellow
Hiltz hasn’t anything against you, and so it’s up to Thompson. He can
undoubtedly keep you out of the society if he wants to, Gerald. But
maybe he won’t; perhaps we’re crossing our bridge before we come to it.”

Gerald was silent for a moment. Dan could see that he was greatly
disappointed. Finally:

“Well,” he said, “if I can’t get in, I can’t. But I was hoping–”

“Well, we’re not beaten yet,” said Dan cheerfully. “Besides, I wouldn’t
be surprised if you got an invitation from Oxford. Of course, we
Cambridge fellows pretend that our society is better than the other,
but there isn’t any particular difference, you know. Oxford has some
dandy fellows, and you and Tom get on pretty well together, and–”

“I shan’t join Oxford,” muttered Gerald. “If I can’t get into Cambridge
I don’t want to join anything.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” said Dan soothingly. “You’d have just as
good fun in Oxford, Gerald. And you know some of the fellows there now,
and Tom can introduce you to lots more.”

But Gerald shook his head and refused to compromise, and all Dan’s
arguments failed to shake his determination to stand or fall by
Cambridge. Nothing more was said about currying favor with Thompson.
After all, Dan scarcely approved of it himself; it savored too much of
what, in school parlance, was known as “swiping.”

Perhaps it would have been just as well if Dan had not suggested it to
Gerald at all, for the latter fearing in his pride that Thompson might
think he was trying to ingratiate himself, went to quite the opposite
extreme, and, whereas hitherto he had responded to Thompson’s careless,
good-natured nods of greeting, he now refused to notice that youth at
all! The first time this occurred Thompson thought nothing of it. The
second time he scowled and confided to the fellow he was walking with
that “that Pennimore kid was a stuck-up little chump.”

Meanwhile May came softly in and all Yardley was out of doors. The
field and track team was preparing for another victory over Broadwood,
golf enthusiasts were holding tournaments on the slightest provocation,
and the baseball teams, almost a dozen of them in all, were disputing
every foot of the field. Besides the Varsity nine, there were four
Class teams, as many dormitory teams, and several “scrub” nines.
Yardley would have seemed to a stranger to be baseball-mad that Spring.

The Varsity had a schedule of eleven games. Of these, four had been
played by the end of the first week in May, and the Blue had three
victories and one defeat to her credit. The defeat had come at the
hands of Forest Hill School, and it had been such a drubbing for
Yardley that it quite took the fellows’ breath away. Fourteen to three
was the score. Most of the enemy’s tallies had been made during a
tragic three innings in which Reid, a substitute pitcher, had occupied
the box. Reid had subsequently steadied down, but for three innings
more Forest Hill had added an occasional run to her score, and when,
at the beginning of the sixth, Colton had stepped in to the rescue the
game was past recovery. One result of the game had been to greatly
endanger Condit’s position at third base, and now Dan was holding down
that bag quite as often as the Second Class boy. It was not, however,
until the contest with St. John’s Academy, which took place on a
Saturday toward the middle of May, that Dan found himself starting a
game at third.

St. John always brought down a strong team, and Yardley always did
her level best to win the contest, which was looked upon as being a
test of the Yardley team’s ability. A week later St. John’s would meet
Broadwood, and so it was possible to make a comparison between Blue and
Green. Colton started the game in the box, it being planned to use him
until the game was safely “on ice.” Then Reid or Kelsey was to replace
him. As it happened, though, neither of the substitute twirlers got
into the game, for St. John’s proved to be a hard-hitting lot, and it
was not until the last of the eighth inning that the Yardley supporters
breathed easy. Then a lucky streak of batting, inaugurated by Captain
Millener, and continued by Left-fielder Loring and Shortstop Durfee,
added three runs to the Blue’s tally, and the scorebook showed the home
team leading by two runs. But it wouldn’t do to take risks even then,
and so Colton pitched the game out, managing to blank St. John’s in the
half-inning that remained.

Dan played a good game at third, accepting three chances and making
good each time. He had three assists and one put-out to his credit when
the game was over, while his batting record, if not startling, was
creditable for a first game. He made one hit, struck out twice, and
reached first once on four balls and once on fielder’s choice. There
was a good deal of luck mixed up with this showing, but Dan didn’t
worry about that. Taken altogether, he had made good, and Payson as
much as said so later in the gymnasium. And Dan was so elated that he
actually forgot to yell when the cold water struck him in the shower!

On the following Monday the invitations came out from Cambridge and
Oxford. The lists were posted in Oxford Hall at noon. Cambridge had
issued twenty-one invitations and Oxford twenty-six. Gerald Pennimore’s
name was on the Oxford list, but not on the other. The expected had
happened.

Dan ran across Alf in the corridor of Oxford soon after the lists were
posted. Alf made a grimace of disgust as he leaned against the base of
the plaster Mercury.

“Well, we lose,” he said.

Dan nodded. “Gerald will be disappointed.”

“Still, he’s made Oxford.”

“He says he won’t take it, and I guess he means it. He’s a stubborn
little chump. I suppose Thompson queered the game.”

“I guess so. I’ll have a talk with Colton and Rand; they’ll probably
have a fair idea what happened. Does Gerald know yet?”

“Guess not. I haven’t seen him. I think he’s in the room. Come on over
with me: you’re through, aren’t you?”

“Want me to break the news to the bereaved?” asked Alf, with a grin.
“All right, I’ll go along. We ought to induce him to take Oxford,
although I suppose we might get him in next Fall.”

“I don’t see how. If Thompson voted against him to-day he will
probably vote against him then.”

“Gee, Dan, you’ll never make a politician,” said Alf. “It isn’t
absolutely necessary, is it, that Thompson should be re-elected to the
Admission Committee next year?”

“Oh, I see! Still, I don’t see how we could prevent it.”

“I don’t say for certain that we could, but you’re in his class, and I
guess if you made up your mind to keep him out, you could do it. All
you’d have to do would be to find a popular chap willing to take the
place, and run him for all you are worth. Why not make a bid for it
yourself? You could beat Thompson easily enough. He’s not especially
popular, I guess. Besides, no one cares a whole lot about getting on
the committee, anyhow. The honor doesn’t amount to much. Yes, I guess
we could cook Thompson’s goose all right if we set out to. In fact, I
rather like the idea. I don’t like to be beaten, Dan, and–say, hanged
if we don’t get Gerald into Cambridge in spite of Mr. Thompson! What do
you say? Will you go in for it?”

“Why, yes, I guess so. I suppose it’s fair enough?”

“Of course it is! Anything’s fair in politics, you know.”

“No, but really, Alf! Would it be all right to scheme around that way?”

“Absolutely!” declared Alf with emphasis. “We want Gerald in Cambridge.
There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be there. So we just go ahead and
get him there. Come on and let’s find him. Of course, if he’s changed
his mind and decides to take Oxford, all right. If he hasn’t, and he
asks my advice, I’ll tell him to wait until Fall, and we’ll get him
into Cambridge. And you back me up.”

They found Gerald in his room. A glance at his face showed Dan and Alf
that he had learned the result of the Admission Committee’s labors, in
spite of the fact that he was striving to look unconcerned.

“Say, Gerald, I’m awfully sorry about Cambridge,” said Alf heartily.
“It’s a shame. And I’m afraid you’ll hate us for letting you think you
were going to make it.”

“Of course I won’t,” replied Gerald soberly. “You fellows did all you
could, and I’m much obliged. It isn’t your fault. It was Thompson that
did it.” Gerald’s face darkened. “And I’m going to–” He stopped.

“Going to what?” asked Dan suspiciously. Gerald turned a rebellious
countenance toward him.

“I’m going to tell him what I think of him! That’s what!”

“Come now, look here, Gerald,” exclaimed Dan. “You can’t do that,
you know! You don’t know for certain that Thompson blackballed you.
And even if you did know, you wouldn’t have any right to call him to
account for it. Any member of that committee has a right to vote as he
likes, and–”

“I’m going to punch his head, just the same,” said Gerald doggedly.

“No, Dan’s right,” said Alf soothingly. “You can’t do that, Gerald.
At any rate, you can’t fight him on that pretense. Of course, if you
happened to meet him and didn’t like the way he wore his hair, or the
color of his eyes, and said so–”

“Cut it out, Alf,” said Dan. “There’s no reason for scrapping and you
know it. Besides, Gerald can go into Oxford–”

“I’ve told you half a dozen times,” interrupted Gerald warmly, “that I
don’t want Oxford.”

“Sure?” asked Alf eagerly.

“Yes, I’m sure,” answered Gerald.

“All right. You stick to that, my boy, and we’ll have you in Cambridge
next Fall as sure as shooting.”

Gerald viewed him doubtfully.

“Do you mean it, Alf?” he asked. “You’re not just saying that to–to
make me feel better?”

“Not a bit of it,” replied Alf gayly. “Dan and I have got the whole
thing planned. We thought that if you wanted to go in for Oxford we
wouldn’t say anything about it; just let you go. But if you don’t, why,
don’t even think of it. The next election is in November, and we’ll get
you through with flying colors. You’ll only be in the Third then, and
will have three years before you. You really aren’t missing much, you
see; lots of fellows don’t make a society until they’re in the Third.”

“That’s mighty nice of you,” said Gerald gratefully. “I don’t care so
much now. Only–about Oxford; do you think Tom will mind if I don’t
take it?”

“Not a bit,” said Dan.

“That’s right,” Alf agreed. “He knew you preferred Cambridge, and
only got you through there in case you missed it with us, and wanted
consolation. Tom understands perfectly.”

“Then I’ll write and decline it,” said Gerald cheerfully. “What shall I
say?”

“Oh, most anything,” said Alf. “Just tell them to be blowed; tell ’em
you’re sort of particular about whom you associate with, and that–”

“Shut up,” laughed Dan. “Just say that ‘Mr. Pennimore declines with
thanks the kind invitation of Oxford Society.’ That’s all that’s
necessary, isn’t it, Alf?”

“Ye-es, I suppose so. But you might add in a postscript that you hope
they’ll choke.”

Thus Gerald’s disappointment was mitigated by the promise held out by
Alf, and the note declining the invitation to Oxford was despatched
without regrets. Even had Gerald been inclined to feel sore over his
failure he would not have had much time to indulge his feelings. The
inter-class baseball games were approaching, and practice demanded
much of his time. Gerald was winning friends now, for his fellow
members of the Fourth Class nine had to admire his playing, if nothing
else. But as they got to know him better they found other things to
like. They soon discovered that his reserve, which looked so much
like arrogance, was only a cloak to hide a sort of shyness that was
the result of his earlier experiences at Yardley. They found that he
wasn’t stuck-up–a heinous sin at Yardley–and that he never referred
to wealth or influence. He was “Pennimore” now; in some cases “Gerald”;
the nicknames, “Miss Nancy,” or “Moneybags,” seemed to have fallen into
disuse.

Gerald thrived and grew happier every day. He stopped thinking
about Thompson, and paid no heed to that youth when he met him.
And gradually, but perceptibly, he was undergoing a physical
transformation. His work in the gymnasium under the careful supervision
of Mr. Bendix, and now his daily exercise on ball-field and tennis
court had not failed of effect. He had taken on flesh, his color was
good, his muscles had hardened and developed, and his shoulders and
chest had broadened and deepened. And with his physical betterment came
an increased capacity for study. He found that after an hour’s baseball
practice, followed by a shower and a brisk rubdown, he was ready to
tackle cheerfully the hardest task in algebra that Mr. Wentworth could
invent. I don’t mean that his marks were all A’s and B’s. On the
contrary, he exhibited a seeming preference for C’s, with an occasional
B by way of variety. But he was doing good work, for all of that, and
Kilts was pretty well satisfied. His other studies, English, French,
and Latin, were going better, too, and he was no longer worrying about
his chances of passing the finals in June. He felt pretty sure of B’s
in English and Latin, and believed he could get C’s in the other two
studies.

The boxing lessons, which had been transferred from Saturday afternoons
to Saturday mornings, when Alf’s baseball work had claimed the former
hours, had now ceased altogether. Alf declared that Gerald had already
learned almost all he could teach him, and that further development and
improvement depended on himself.

“Go up against the punching-bag, Gerald, two or three times a week, and
keep your muscles limbered up. Next Fall we’ll go at it again. It’s
bully exercise and it’s bully fun; and it’s a mighty good thing to know
something about boxing. Maybe you’ll never need the knowledge, and
maybe you will. There’s no harm in having it, anyway.”

The discontinuance of the boxing lessons left Gerald his Saturday
mornings for other pursuits, and he chose to devote them to tennis. He
had played tennis a good deal ever since he had been large enough to
swing a racket. Sometimes his father had been his opponent, sometimes
the tutor. For his age Gerald was a good player, and was extremely fond
of the game. There were six courts at Yardley, and it was almost always
possible to secure one at some time during the morning. There was a
rule, and a necessary one it was in view of the large number of fellows
who played, that if others were waiting to use a court, only three sets
could be played at a time. As a general thing, Gerald’s opponent was
Harry Merrow. Harry was only twelve years of age, but he played good
tennis and was a spirited, hard-fighting youngster. Gerald usually won,
but Harry always proved a worthy foe.

On a morning in the last week of May, the two were sitting on the grass
beside one of the courts, waiting for their turn. They had skimped
their breakfasts in order to be early at the courts, but they found
that others had been even more enterprising, and all the courts were in
use. But it was still far short of nine o’clock, and they had plenty
of time before them. Besides, it wasn’t bad fun lolling here on the
grass in the warm morning sunlight, and there was plenty to see. On
the court which they had elected to wait for, two First Class fellows,
“top-notchers” both of them, and members of the Tennis Club, were
putting up an exhibition well worth watching. Beyond, on the river,
several canoes were in sight, their brightly-colored sides reflected
gayly in the quiet water. The canoes put an idea into young Merrow’s
head.

“I say, Gerald,” he asked, “can you swim?”

“Of course,” was the answer. It seemed to Gerald that Harry might as
well have asked him if he could breathe. All his summers had been spent
at Sound View, and looking back he could scarcely remember a time when
he hadn’t been able to swim.

“Well, can you paddle?” was Harry’s next question.

“Paddle? Oh, you mean in a canoe? No, I guess not. I never was in a
canoe. It doesn’t look hard, though.”

“It isn’t–very,” answered Harry. “It’s lots of fun, though. I was
wondering why you and I couldn’t have a canoe, Gerald.”

“That would be dandy!” cried Gerald. “Could we?”

“Yes, we could rent one. It only costs three dollars a month. You have
to be able to swim, though, or Faculty won’t let you have one. What I
thought was that–”

“What?” asked Gerald, as the younger boy hesitated.

“Well, you see, I haven’t much money. I thought perhaps you’d be
willing to pay the three dollars if I’d show you how to paddle.”

“Of course I will,” said Gerald. “That’s fair enough. I’d like mighty
well to know how. Can we get a canoe at the boathouse?”

“Yes. Let’s go down after we finish tennis and see what they’ve got.
Shall we?”

Gerald at once agreed, and for a while they talked canoeing and
boating, Harry narrating some of the good times he had had at home on
the river. Gerald, not wanting to be quite outdone, mentioned his
ability to row a boat, and then, led on by Harry, described life on
his father’s big steam yacht, which Harry had often seen lying at its
moorings off Sound View.

Then the talk worked around to baseball, as it was almost certain to
do sooner or later at this time of the year, and Gerald exhibited with
pride the callousness of his hand and showed the little finger that
had been “mighty near broken, I tell you!” Harry had tried for a place
on the Merle Hall team, but had failed. However, he had been made
official scorer, and that had brought consolation. It was evident that
in Harry’s estimation that position qualified him as a critic, for he
pretended to know just what was the matter with every member of his own
team and the Varsity, and would tell you on the slightest provocation.

“I tell you, Gerald, Dan Vinton played a great game at third the other
day. He’s going to make a fine player when he’s had more experience. I
should think you’d be mighty proud to be rooming with him.”

It had never occurred to Gerald to be proud of the fact, and he
considered it a moment before replying. Then:

“I’d rather room with him than any fellow I know,” he replied with
conviction. “He–he’s been mighty good to me ever since I knew him.
You know he–he saved my life last Fall.”

“Yes, we heard about it, but I never knew just how it was.”

So Gerald recounted the adventure of the burning playhouse, and Dan’s
rescue, and Harry listened with round eyes.

“Say, though, you were a chump to go in after the dog,” he said, when
Gerald had finished. “You might have been all burned up!”

“Well,” answered Gerald simply, “I couldn’t let Jack burn. He’s the
best dog in the world, Jack is.”

“I’d like to know Vinton,” said Harry, after a moment’s silence, during
which they watched the tennis battle. “You might ask me up to your room
some night, Gerald.”

“Come whenever you like,” said Gerald. “I didn’t suppose you needed an
invitation.”

“Well, Vinton might not like a kid like me bothering around him. He
was awfully decent to me once, though. He and I came up from the
station together after Christmas vacation, and I guess he saw that I
was feeling sort of–of homesick. And he told me to come around that
evening and see him if I was lonesome.”

“Didn’t you go?”

“N-no. I wanted to, but–I didn’t like to. I was afraid he’d think I
was a baby.”

“Dan wouldn’t,” said Gerald. “He understands. He told me once that when
he came here last Fall he was so homesick that he came near running
away home.”

“Really!” exclaimed Harry. “Think of a fellow like Dan Vinton being
homesick! I wish I’d known that. I’d have gone and seen him that time.
But I’m going to come around some evening, if you think he won’t mind.”

“Of course he won’t,” said Gerald scornfully. “He–he isn’t that sort.
Come on; they’re through. I’ll toss. Rough or smooth?”

After they had played their allowance of three sets, Gerald winning
6-3, 6-4, 7-5, they went down to the boathouse and rented a bright
green canvas canoe for the period of one month, and Gerald had his
first lesson in paddling.

It wasn’t long before Gerald reached the conclusion that Harry had
made a very smart bargain, for paddling isn’t a thing that can be
successfully taught; a fellow must pick it up himself. Gerald’s
instructions consisted principally of the advice: “Now just do as I do,
Gerald; see?”

And Gerald, occupying a most uncomfortable and cramped position at
the stern of the canoe, did as Harry did till his arms ached. Harry
insisted on staying close to shore.

“Faculty raises an awful rumpus,” he explained, “if you upset. Two
Fourth Class fellows went over last Fall, and Collins wouldn’t let them
go out again.”

Gerald tried to emulate the example of Harry, but wasn’t very
successful that day. Harry’s work with the paddle was clean and
graceful, while Gerald had difficulty in refraining from using his
blade like an oar. Once, in shifting his position a little, he caused
the canoe to rock. Harry almost dropped his paddle as he looked around
in alarm.

“Here!” he cried. “What are you trying to do? Upset us?”

“No, I was just trying to get comfortable,” answered Gerald.

“Well, you want to be awfully careful in a canoe. It’s mighty easy to
upset.”

“What of it?” asked Gerald, with a laugh. “I’d rather like a dip.
Besides, we could almost wade ashore from here.”

“No, we couldn’t. This river’s awfully deep, even right along shore.
I–I won’t go out with you if you’re not careful. The water’s too cold
for a bath.”

“All right,” Gerald agreed. “I’ll be careful. Let’s go back now,
though; my arms ache like anything.”

After that scarcely a day went by without seeing Gerald and Harry on
the river, and by degrees the former got so that he could paddle very
well indeed. One day they accepted a challenge of two Third Class
fellows, and raced them from Flat Island to the boathouse, a distance
of nearly an eighth of a mile, and beat them handily. But usually their
canoeing took place before recitations in the morning, or after dinner,
when each had an hour of freedom, for Gerald’s afternoons were pretty
well occupied.

The Fourth Class team had played three games with outside nines, and
although they had lost two of them, the experience had done them
good, and developed team-play. The third contest, that with Greenburg
Grammar School, they had won in the last inning by a single tally. The
inter-class series was due the first week in June, and already fellows
had begun to wear their class colors and speculate as to the outcome.
It was generally conceded that Second would win the championship but
the real interest lay in the game between Third and Fourth. Third had,
as usual, the advantage of age and experience, but, again as usual,
it was Fourth who made the greater preparation, who practised most,
and who excelled in enthusiasm. Nowadays little was talked of save
baseball, although for a few days preceding the dual track and field
meeting with Broadwood, the runners and jumpers and weight men claimed
some attention.

The meet was at Broadwood, and Yardley’s team went over well supported.
The track meet was the one athletic event of the school year which
could be absolutely depended on to add to the Blue’s laurels, and this
year’s contest was no exception. Yardley won decisively, 89 to 54.
Tom did himself proud, winning two firsts and a fourth, or 11 points
in all, and establishing a new dual record for the 16-pound shot of
41 feet 4 inches. First place in the hammer throw also went to him,
while the broad jump, which he entered to fill the card, netted him one
point. Tom was the hero of the day, and Yardley journeyed home happy
and triumphant.

“Well, it’s certainly a cinch to get out a paper during the baseball
season,” laughed Alf, as he turned the leaves of the _Yardley
Scholiast_, the weekly paper published by the students. The _Scholiast_
was playfully referred to as “the School weakly,” but it was in reality
a very good example of its kind of journalism. “Look here,” continued
Alf, holding up the sheet. “Here’s three pages of baseball; the two
Varsity games and six miscellaneous, every last one of them in full
detail. That’s an easy way to fill a paper,” he declared in disgust.

“And the rest of the paper all advertising, I suppose,” said Tom, who
was stretched out along the window seat, with one foot on the sill.

“Pretty near. Here’s a highly-colored account of the Track Meet, with a
whole lot of slush about you, and an editorial about the circus.”

“An editorial about the circus?” asked Dan in surprise. “What’s that
for?”

“Oh, that’s a regular feature at this time of the year. I think they
keep it set up and run it every Spring. About four years ago, I guess,
anyway, before I got here, the fellows went to the circus over in
Greenburg, and rough-housed the show so that they had to clear the
tent. Faculty didn’t approve and for a couple of years we weren’t
allowed to go to circuses.”

“Is the circus coming here?” asked Gerald.

“Yep, two weeks from Friday. Going?”

“You bet!” replied Gerald. “I love circuses, don’t you?”

“Crazy about them,” answered Alf cheerfully. “We’ll all go and feed
peanuts to the elephant.”

“I’d rather eat them,” murmured Tom.

“The elephants?” asked Dan.

“Oh, no,” said Alf quickly, “that would be cannibalism!”

But Tom paid no heed to the insult. He was smiling broadly at his
thoughts. “Say, Alf,” he asked, “do you remember that write-up of the
Bridgeport football game? Talking about the _Scholiast_ and the games
in detail reminded me of it.”

“Do I!” asked Alf, laughing. “I’ll never forget it.” He turned to Dan
and Gerald. “It was my first year here. There was a chap named Bridges,
a Second Class fellow, who got on the _Scholiast_ as reported. He was
a queer duck, was Bridges. The editor then was Ames Bradley, and Brad
and I had known each other at prep. Well, one day we played Bridgeport,
and Brad thought it would be a good chance for Bridges to show what he
could do. So he told him to go and write up the game, and be sure to
give all the details. Well, I wish you could have seen the report he
handed in! It was the funniest thing you ever–Say, I wonder if I ever
threw that away, Tom. I begged Brad for it, and he gave it to me, and
I had it kicking around my desk for a long time. I’ll look and see if
it’s there.”

Alf rummaged through several drawers and finally found what he was
after, half a dozen pages of foolscap pinned together at the corner.
Alf gave a chuckle and settled himself in his chair again.

“Here it is. Let me read some of it to you. It turned out afterwards,
by the way, that Bridges had never watched a game of football through
in his life and didn’t know anything about it. Now, let’s see.”

“‘Yardley vs. Bridgeport. On Tuesday last our football players played
a game on the School gridiron against the players of Bridgeport and
won. The weather was inclement and threatened to snow as the two
bands of determined players took up their several positions about
the field of play. It was a battle royal from first to last and our
players deserve great credit for the manner in which they outplayed
the Bridgeport players. The audience–’ Hum, never mind that. Here we
are. Now listen to this and bust into tears! ‘The details of the game
follow. At the commencement a Bridgeport player placed the ball in
the middle of the field and retiring for a few yards ran forward and
kicked the ball toward our players. One of the latter nimbly caught
the ball and proceeded to run with it toward the goal. At this point
it was evidenced that the Bridgeport players were determined to stop
at nothing in order to win, for almost half of them threw themselves
against our player and bore him to earth with a shock that could be
plainly heard on the stands. Luckily, however, the plucky Yardley
man was not injured and was soon on his feet again. The Bridgeport
players had by this time clustered so closely about him that he saw
that further running was impossible. So he yielded the ball to another
of his side and the opposing players drew up into what is called a
scrimmage. The ball was placed on the ground and one of our players,
uttering signals designed to confuse the enemy, thrust the ball into
the hands of one of our best players, who, although small, is very
fleet of foot. His name is Worrell, and he is one of our four speedy
quarter-backs. Worrell seemed at first in doubt which way to run and
by the time he had made up his mind the opposing players had seized
him in their arms and borne him to the ground. As the Yardley team had
not gained any advantage they were allowed to try again. This time the
ball was given to another player whose identity was not clear to the
scribe. This player, trusting to force rather than elusiveness, jumped
into the fray with the ball in his arms and the rest of our team,
quickly grasping the situation, pushed him for quite some distance, the
Bridgeport players doing their level best to frustrate the endeavor.
This maneuver succeeded so well that it was tried many more times, the
different players of our team taking turns at carrying the ball. When
about three-quarters of the field had been so conquered and the goal of
our desire was near, the Umpire’s keen vision detected an infringement
of the rules of play and he took the ball away from our players and
handed it to Bridgeport. Some members of the audience expressed
displeasure at this seemingly high-handed exercise of authority and
hooted. But the consensus of opinion amongst those with whom the
scribe discussed the episode is that the Umpire was quite within his
rights. The Yardley players bore up bravely in the face of this keen
disappointment and stood nobly shoulder to shoulder while Bridgeport
strove to take the ball back the way it had come. Time and again–’ Oh,
pshaw, that’s enough! But isn’t it great?”

“That was surely going some!” laughed Dan. “I suppose it didn’t get
into the paper, did it?”

“Hardly,” answered Alf. “I begged Brad to run it as a joke, but
he wouldn’t. That was Bridge’s first and last assignment on the
_Scholiast_.”

“But the funniest part’s to come,” said Tom, sitting up, and Alf nodded
gleefully. “After that Bridges was out at every game and the next year
he went out for his Class Team and made it as–as ‘one of the four
quarter-backs’; only they called him right half!”

“I’ve often wondered what became of him after he left here,” said Alf.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was playing good football somewhere.”

“I suppose the fellows teased him a lot about his story,” said Gerald.
But Alf shook his head.

“No, Brad was a mighty decent sort. He never told anyone except me and
I never showed that around much; just to a few fellows who promised to
keep it dark.”

“He wasn’t a bad sort, Bridges,” said Tom lazily. “Someone tell me the
time.” And when Gerald had obeyed, “Gosh!” cried Tom. “I’ve got a
recitation in one minute and a quarter. Where’s my Anabasis? Throw it
over, Dan; it’s under your elbow. Anybody coming my way? So long, then.”

“Hold on, you idiot,” said Alf. “I’m coming. See you at practice,
Dan.” And he and Tom hurried out and clattered down the stairs of
Clarke three steps at a time. Dan seized his water pitcher, leaned out
a window, and sprinkled them as they ran by on their way to Oxford.
There were howls from below, and shaken fists, but Dan and Gerald only
laughed.

“Got Tom in great shape,” said Dan as he returned the pitcher to its
place. “He won’t find his Greek as dry as usual to-day.”

Two days later Yardley played Porter Institute on the diamond and Dan
started the game at third base. He and Condit, a Second Class boy,
were having a hard fight for the position. Most of the other places
on the Varsity were pretty well settled, but third base was a bone
of contention and the whole school was watching with interest Dan’s
struggle to oust Condit. Dan himself was not satisfied with the game
he was putting up. Somehow, he didn’t seem as sure of himself on
third as he did on second, and whenever he found himself there he was
handicapped by the ever constant fear that he would fail at some
critical moment. And in the Porter game his fear was verified.

It was the sixth inning, the score was five to three in favor of
Yardley, and Porter had a man on first and a man on second. Porter
was enjoying a batting rally and using Reid rather rudely. There was
only one out and a hit meant two runs in all probability. The fourth
man up chose a ball to his liking and sliced it down the first-base
line. Millener, playing off base, made a wild scramble for it, but it
sped by him, just inside the white mark, and went bounding into right
field. The runners sped for home. Lawrence, right-fielder, was not
asleep, however, and had raced in as soon as the ball was hit, and now
he managed to smother it some fifteen yards back of first, recovered
quickly, and threw to the plate. Richards, the catcher, got it nicely,
but was too late to put out the first runner. Quick as a flash he threw
to third. Dan was not napping, but in some unaccountable manner the
ball went through him, the man from first raced by and sped home and
the score was tied. And Porter had a man on second and only one out.

The expected had happened to Dan and he could guess the delight in
the heart of Condit over there on the bench. But he settled down when
Alf’s voice reached him encouragingly from left-field:

“Hard luck, Dan! Never mind! Keep after ’em!”

Reid, too, settled down and disposed of the next two batters and the
teams changed places. Dan walked back to the bench with a grave face.
But no one, not even Payson, the coach, made any allusion to his
mishap, and, much to his surprise, he was allowed to finish the game
at third. Yardley took the lead again in the eighth, was tied in the
ninth, and lost the game finally in the eleventh inning, 8 to 7.

That game decided the contest for third-base. Condit stepped into first
place again and Dan had to be satisfied with a seat on the bench with
the other substitutes. He was keenly disappointed and rather inclined
to wish that he had been content with a place in the outfield, where,
at least, he would have been a regular instead of a mere sub. But Alf
insisted that there was still a chance.

“Condit isn’t any great shakes,” he declared. “The same thing’s likely
to happen to him any day. Just you keep on edge and make the most of
your opportunities and it’s a safe bet you’ll play as much of the
Broadwood game as he does. And another thing, Dan; do your level best
at the bat. If you can show yourself a little better there than he
is it may decide Payson in your favor. Why, he knows that accidents
are likely to happen to the best fellows. Just you peg away at it, old
chap!”

So Dan pegged away and worked hard at the batting net and made the most
of his chances in the practice games. And all the time he was watching
Condit as a cat watches a mouse, hoping uncharitably enough that that
youth would make a costly fumble or go stale. But Condit kept himself
up to the mark and June wore along and the baseball schedule was
nearing its end.

In the first week of June the Class Championship was decided. There
were three consecutive afternoons when Yardley flamed forth in Class
colors and baseball was the sole subject of conversation. On the first
day the Fourth and Third Classes clashed on the Varsity diamond and
the respective colors, brown and green, waved wildly. The whole school
turned out to watch and cheer, the First Class fellows joining forces
with the Third, and the Second with the Fourth. Even the Faculty
attended, their coats decorated with ribbons of brown and green and
blue and red to prove that they were incapable of favoritism.

I think that perhaps the scorers worked harder that day than any of the
players, for it was a game of runs and errors, and it lasted until
the umpire, Captain Millener of the Varsity, was forced to call it at
the end of the eighth inning. Gerald played shortstop and did well. To
be sure he made two errors, but then almost every other player made as
many or more. And there weren’t many who did as well at the bat as he
did. He got three hits, one a two-bagger, and scored two of the twelve
runs which won the day for his side. Yes, Gerald did bravely, and Dan
and Alf and Tom were proud of him, and told him so, and Gerald’s head
swam with pride and delight. The final score was 12 to 9, and the
Fourth Class marched off the field bearing their warriors on high and
chanting pæans of victory.

The next day the Second Class Nine did what was expected of it and
drubbed the First heartily. That contest didn’t occasion as much
enthusiasm as the preceding one or the one which followed. The third
day’s game was almost certain to go to the Second Class, but the Fourth
Classmen refused to concede it and kept their enthusiasm on tap every
instant. Nor, as it turned out, was the Fourth so greatly mistaken in
their estimate of their team’s chances. For although the Second finally
won by a safe margin, there were moments when a victory for the wearers
of the brown ribbons and the wavers of the brown flags seemed not
unlikely. Gerald again covered himself with glory, taking part in a
double play that retired the opposing side just when it seemed about
to run away with the game. And again he batted well, and if he didn’t
score any runs himself he helped two others to do so. And although
vanquished at last, 10 to 6, the Fourth Class went off the field
cheering and quite well pleased with itself.

One morning a day or two after the final Class game Gerald met Payson,
the coach, on the steps of the gymnasium. Payson nodded, as he always
did when he met one of the fellows, whether he knew him personally or
not, passed, and then turned back.

“Aren’t you Pennimore?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” answered Gerald.

“You played shortstop for Fourth Class, eh? Well, you’ll make a pretty
fair player if you keep on, Pennimore. Next Spring you come and see me
and perhaps we’ll find room for you somewhere on the squad. How old are
you now?”

“Fourteen, sir.”

“Hm; well, get some more flesh and muscle, my boy, and you’ll do. By
the way, I see that your father has been pretty busy.”

“Sir?”

“Oh, you haven’t seen the morning paper, I guess.”

“No, sir, I don’t read the papers much.”

“Well, you get to-day’s and you’ll find something that ought to
interest you. I’m sure it would me if I were in your place,” laughed
Payson. “Don’t forget to report to me next Spring.”

With a smile and a nod he passed on, leaving Gerald consumed with
curiosity. He hurried over to Oxford and sought the library, but
the morning papers had not yet been placed on file. But there still
remained a quarter of an hour before his next recitation, and so he
went on down to the station and bought a _New York Herald_. A glance
at the first page explained Payson’s meaning. One of the columns was
headed:

BIG MERGER OF
TRANSATLANTIC
STEAMSHIP LINES

LARGE INTERESTS IN BRITISH AND FRENCH
COMPANIES NOW CONTROLLED BY
JOHN T. PENNIMORE

BLUE CRESCENT, GLASGOW, AND FRANCO-AMERICAN
LINES TO BE CONSOLIDATED
WITH STEAMSHIP KING’S
PRESENT HOLDINGS

GERMANY’S SUPREMACY IS SERIOUSLY THREATENED

Then followed a lengthy despatch from London containing an interview
with Mr. Pennimore. But Gerald was disappointed. His father was always
doing something of this sort and Gerald didn’t find anything very
interesting about it. He read the article through, just as he would
have read anything concerning his father, and then thrust the paper
into his pocket. The only feature of the despatch that interested
him was the announcement that Mr. Pennimore would sail that day from
Southampton, a fact which Gerald already knew.

But if the news didn’t excite Gerald, he found that there were others
who were not so indifferent. Mr. Collins stopped him in the Yard after
dinner and discussed it at some length.

“A wonderful man, your father, Gerald. You must be very proud of him.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Gerald.

“Well, you don’t seem very enthusiastic,” said Mr. Collins with a smile.

“No, sir–that is–well, you see, sir, father’s always doing something
of this sort. I guess it’s very clever, sir, but I don’t think I’m
proud of him on that account.”

“Then why?” asked the Assistant Principal to draw him out.

“I don’t quite know,” answered Gerald diffidently. “I–I guess because
he’s kind and good, sir. You see, he’s a pretty nice father, Mr.
Collins.” And Gerald looked up smiling a little and blushing a little.
Mr. Collins returned the smile.

“That’s so, Pennimore. And you’re right. It’s the man himself and not
his success that one should admire. But big things always enthuse me,
and this last achievement of your father’s is a big thing, a great big
thing. We little fellows who sit at home and count our fingers have to
admire the big men who get out in the world and do things.”

Gerald shook his head soberly.

“I don’t think you’re one of the ‘little fellows,’ sir,” he said. Mr.
Collins laughed.

“I’m only a big toad in a little puddle, Pennimore. Your father is a
big toad in a big puddle; that’s the difference. Well, and how are you
getting on nowadays?”

“Pretty well, sir, thank you,” answered Gerald.

“That’s good. Come and see me if you strike a snag at any time.” And
Mr. Collins went on.

The fellows, too, had heard of the Steamship King’s latest exploit
and they let Gerald know it. But, whereas four months ago they might
have said things that would have hurt Gerald’s feelings, to-day their
allusions were all good humored. Millener came across Gerald watching
baseball practice.

“Say, Pennimore,” he said gravely, “I wish you’d ask your father when
you see him if he hasn’t got a steamship he doesn’t need. Just a small
one will do, say eight or ten thousand tons.”

And Gerald laughed and promised.

Mr. Pennimore had written Gerald that he would be home nine days
after the latter’s receipt of the letter; that he had sent orders
for the opening of Sound View for the summer and that Gerald should
move over there from the school dormitory as soon as he liked. Gerald
was delighted at the prospect of seeing his father again, but the
permission, which virtually amounted to a suggestion, to change
his abode from Number 28 Clarke to the big room in the big house
overlooking the Sound didn’t please him at all.

“I don’t want to live at home, Dan,” he exclaimed. “Why, that’s no fun
at all! I–I want to stay here with you; and the other fellows,” he
added as an afterthought.

“Well, you wait until your father comes and tell him about it,”
counselled Dan. “It will only be for a couple of weeks, anyway, and I
guess he won’t mind that.”

“Anyhow,” declared Gerald anxiously, “I just won’t go!”