The boot-boy was forgiven; Princeford faded into the background of insignificance from which he had temporarily emerged. But the matter did not end there: other fingers were itching to be in the pie. Christy and Rogers, walking up from the field together, came to the conclusion that that incorrigible nuisance Caruthers had disgraced Fernhurst football.
For the rest of the term, every time Princeford passed the School House on his way to the common room, a whistle blew from the dark recesses of the studies, and some voice shouted: "No try; off-side!" "The Bull" himself was looked on with a general suspicion. The inevitable had happened.
Princeford was a master from Sedbury; he had only come for one term as a special concession, because his headmaster was a great friend of the Chief. What sort of an impression would he carry away of Fernhurst manners and sportsmanship, if Caruthers should be allowed to go unpunished, not only for playing a deliberately foul game, but also for using most foul language?
Honest rivalry is all right; but there seems so much spite about it all nowadays. It was not so when I was a boy, and it wasn't so three years ago. I don't understand." A climax was reached in the Two Cock, a match rendered famous in Fernhurst history by the amazing refereeing of a new master named Princeford, who had come as a stop-gap for one term.
There was no doubt about it. The school lined up behind the posts. But Princeford would have none of it. He came up, fussing and important: "No try, there. Knock on. Scrum!" A gasp went up from both sides. Was the man blind? "What is the fool talking about?" thundered Gordon. Princeford was round in a second: "Who said that?" Gordon stepped forward. "Ah, I shall remember you."
He missed the ball, and caught the back on the side of the head. "Oh, damned sorry," he said. It was quite unintentional, as would have been obvious to anyone who knew anything about the game. No one would be fool enough to kick the man, when by kicking the ball he might score a try. But Princeford was on Gordon like a shot.