The day was fine and sunny, and I felt in myself a more acute delight in life. I could not help it; I put Stroeve and his sorrows out of my mind. I wanted to enjoy. I did not see him again for nearly a week. Then he fetched me soon after seven one evening and took me out to dinner. He was dressed in the deepest mourning, and on his bowler was a broad black band.

"No time to say good-bye!" he cried. And he meant that as a punishment to her. He snatched his bowler hat, dashed out of the house, and swung down the garden path. Yes, the coach was there waiting, and Beryl, leaning over the open gate, was laughing up at somebody or other just as if nothing had happened. The heartlessness of women!

And it was while we were splashing and struggling through this that I saw, lying at the foot of an aloe of all created things an old hat. I thought for a moment that the sun had got to my brain. An old, hard, black bowler hat it was, caved in a bit, and soaked, and all that, but a hat all the same. I couldn't have been more surprised if it had been an iceberg.

He was fat and did not mind, which persuaded me that he was very easy to please. Nature had prevented him from playing football with any success, but for six or seven overs, on a cool day, he was reported to be a dangerous fast bowler.

He rolled the ball back to the bowler in silence. One of those weary periods followed when the batsman's defence seems to the fieldsmen absolutely impregnable. There was a sickening inevitableness in the way in which every ball was played with the very centre of the bat. And, as usual, just when things seemed most hopeless, relief came.

The Oxford team was unlucky in its bowling, as Mr. Butler had strained his arm. In one University match, Mr. Butler took all ten wickets in one innings. He was fast, with a high delivery, and wickets were not so good then as they are now. Mr. Francis was also an excellent bowler, not so fast as Mr. Butler; and Mr. Belcher, who bowled with great energy, but did not excel as a bat, was a useful man.

Stone and Robinson themselves, that swash-buckling pair, who now treated Mike and Psmith with cold but consistent politeness, were both fair batsmen, and Stone was a good slow bowler. There were other exponents of the game, mostly in Downing's house. Altogether, quite worthy colleagues even for a man who had been a star at Wrykyn. One solitary overture Mike made during that first fortnight.

But I dare say he was right to be annoyed, for it was a left-handed bowler, bowling round the wicket, and it is very hard to get leg-before to that. However, that's all Greek to you." "What's Gweek?" "Well, I mean you can't understand that. Now I am going." "No, no, Daddy; wait a moment! Tell us about Bonner and the big catch." "Oh, you know about that!"

Mike's masterly treatment of the opening over had impressed the spectators, and there was a popular desire to see how he would deal with Mr. Downing's slows. It was generally anticipated that he would do something special with them. Off the first ball of the master's over a leg-bye was run. Mike took guard. Mr. Downing was a bowler with a style of his own.

His companion is a more delicate-looking boy, of about the same age, with a cheery face, and by no means unpleasant to look at. He is Gayford, as great a favourite in his way as Bowler, a boy whom nobody dislikes, and whom not a few, especially Bowler, like very much. These are the two who walked that afternoon towards Raveling.