Midshipman Darrin explained the trouble as well as he could. "So the idiot accused you of keeping him off the football eleven!" demanded Hepson in astonishment. "Yes; and I offered to prove, by you, that I had nothing to do with his exclusion from the team."
You're proud of the wonderful influence you exercise over me. And all I get out of you is a 'aughty smile." "The fact is," declared Mrs. Mills, "you get too much attention from the ladies. It spoils you!" "See how she spurns me," he cried, turning to Gertie. "You wouldn't treat a gentleman like that, would you, missy? You wouldn't play football with an honest, loving heart, I'm sure.
Some of my readers may perhaps know from actual experience what are the numerous and serious anxieties which always beset the captain of the football fifteen. If the fellow is worth his salt he knows to a nicety where he is strong and where he is weak; he knows, if the wind blows one way, which is the best quarter-back to put on the left and which on the right.
The Mayor, in the chair, was a mild old gentleman who knew nothing whatever about football and had probably never seen a football match; but it was essential that the meeting should have august patronage and so the Mayor had been trapped and tamed.
He was a very big boy of twelve, as tall as Merle, with merry grey eyes that looked capable of fun. He was, of course, full of the affairs of his own preparatory school, but as he found they were ready to listen to his accounts of football matches or dormitory 'rags' he took them into his masculine confidence and extended the hand of friendship.
There were no coaches in the old days. Football history relates that in the beginning fellows who wanted fun and exercise would chip in and buy a leather cover for a beef bladder. It was necessary to have a supply of these bladders on hand, for stout kicks frequently burst them. In those days the ball was tossed up in the air and all hands rushed for it.
They had been runners-up for the House football cup that year, and this term might easily see the cricket cup fall to them. Amongst the few, however, it was known that the House was passing through an unpleasant stage in its career. A House is either good or bad. It is seldom that it can combine the advantages of both systems. Leicester's was bad.
"Doesn't his lumber yard furnish all the wooden goods that are needed for fences, seats, and all that sort of thing up at the athletic grounds? Doesn't Beck know that, if he said a word against football, he never get another order for lumber from the H.S. Alumni association. Then there's Carleson. He's one of the directors of the railroad, therefore a big enough man to interview."
On the one occasion when public opinion had driven him to put up his fists, he had been saved from disgrace only because the bully against whom he had turned proved to be an arrant craven. He remembered how he had been induced to go out and try for the football team at the university. His fellows knew him as a fair gymnast and a crack tennis player.
The sun had never seemed to Mike so bright or the grass so green. It was one of those days when the ball looks like a large vermilion-coloured football as it leaves the bowler's hand. If ever there was a day when it seemed to Mike that a century would have been a certainty, it was this Saturday. A sudden, bitter realisation of all he had given up swept over him, but he choked the feeling down.