Изображения страниц
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


it's for the good of the school. If they don’t play me at center this fall, who are they going to play? Well, Joe thought I–well, he seemed to think I had n’t acted just right about keeping my weight down. He-he was sort of peeved with me. So I wanted to smooth him down a bit. You understand. That 's why I told him what I did.” “Well, what did you tell him?” “Why, I sort of well, it was n’t what I said exactly; it was what he thought I meant!” “Proudtree, you ’re telling a whopper,” said Ned, sternly. “And you told one to Stevenson, too, or I miss my guess.” “I only said that you were a swell football player.” “For the love of lemons! call that but a whopper?” Kewpie looked both ashamed and distressed. He swallowed hard and glanced furtively at Laurie as though hoping for aid.

What do you

mean to tell what was n’t so. I just wanted to get Joe's mind off his troubles. You understand.” “Well, you got me in a mess,” grumbled Ned. “I got by all right to-day, I suppose, but what 's going to happen to-morrow?” Kewpie evidently did n’t know, for he stared morosely at the floor for a long minute. Finally, “I’ll go to Joe and fess up if—if you say so,” he gulped. “I think you ought to,” responded Ned. “Where 's the sense in that?” demanded Laurie. “What good would it do? Proudtree did fib, but he did n’t mean to. I mean he did n’t do it for harm. If he goes and tells Stevenson that he fibbed, Stevenson will have it in for him harder than ever; and he will have it in for you, too, Ned. Maybe he will think it was a scheme that you and Proud tree hatched together. That 's a punk idea, I say. Best thing to do is prove that Proudtree did n’t fib.”


“How?” asked Ned. “Why, Proudtree—” “There 's an awful lot of that “Proudtree' stuff,” complained the visitor. “Would you mind calling me Kewpie?” “All right. Well, Kewpie told Captain Stevenson that you are a swell player. Go ahead and be one.” “Huh, sounds easy the way you say it,” scoffed Ned; “but how can I, when I don't know anything about the silly game? I wish to goodness you ’d taken up football instead of me!” “You got through to-day all right, did n’t you?” asked Laurie. “Well, keep it up. Keep your eyes open and learn. You can do it. You're no fool, even if you have n’t my intellect. Besides, you 're the best little fakir that ever came over the range.” “You can’t fake kicking a football,” said Ned, scathingly. “Look here!” exclaimed Kewpie, his round face illumined by a great idea. “Tell you what, Ned! I'll show you how to kick!” The silence that greeted the offer might have offended a more sensitive youth, but Kewpie went on with enthusiasm. “Of course, I’m no wonder at it. I'm a little too short in the leg and, right now, I–I'm a bit heavy; but I used to kick and I know how it ought to be done. Say we have a half-hour or so at it every morning for awhile?” “Would n’t Stevenson know what was up?” asked Ned, dubiously. “He need n’t know. We'll go over to the lot behind the grammar school. Even if he saw us, he 'd think we were having some fun.” “He must have a strange idea of fun,”

sighed Ned. “Still, if you want to take the trouble—” “Glad to! Besides, I owe you something

for-for getting you in wrong. And I can put you wise to a lot of little things about handling a ball. We could do some passing, for instance. Wonder who 's got a ball we could borrow. I 'll find one somewhere. You understand. Now, what hour have you got free in the mornings?”

A comparison of schedules showed that on two mornings a week the boys could meet at ten, and, on two other mornings, at tenthirty. The remaining days were not accommodating, however.

“Well, even four times a week will show results,” said Kewpie, cheerfully. “This is Thursday. We'll have the first lesson Saturday at ten.”

“I hope they don't ask me to do any kicking before then,” said Ned. “Not likely. You 'll get about the same stuff to-morrow as you had to–day. You 'll get by, take my word for it. That's settled then.” Kewpie referred to an ornate gold wrist-watch. “It 's after eight. You 're going over to Johnny's, are n’t you?” “Johnny's?” repeated Laurie. “Oh, Doctor Hillman's! I suppose so. What 's it like?” “Oh, it is n’t bad. The eats are pretty fair. Anyway, he sort of likes the fellows to go, and he 's a good sort. You 'll be introduced to the faculty and their wives, if they have any, and meet a lot of fellows whose names you 'll forget the next minute. Take my advice and sort of work in toward the dining-room. Last year, the harlequin ice-cream gave out before I could get to the table.” Kewpie sighed. “Tabby has bully cake, too, and I’m off of cake. Is n’t that rotten luck?” “Awful!” laughed Ned. now?” “Yes. Come on and I'll introduce you to some of the fellows you ought to know. I'll wash my dirty paws and meet you in two minutes.” The principal's reception proved rather enjoyable. The “eats” were excellent and, under Kewpie's guidance, the twins reached the long table in the dining-room well in advance of the crowd. As Laurie remarked afterward, it was worth the amount of trouble involved just to watch Kewpie's mouth water as he gazed soulfully at the chocolate layercake. To his credit, be it narrated that he manfully resisted it. Besides consuming much delectable food, the twins were impressively introduced by their guide to a number of their fellow-students, the introduction being prefaced in each case by a sort of biographical note, as: “There 's Dan Whipple. The tall fellow with the trick collar talking to Mrs. Wells. Rows stroke on the crew. Senior class president. Honor man last year. President of Attic, too. Good chap to know. Come on.” In such manner they met at least a half-dozen school notables, most of whom were extremely affable to the new boys. Sometimes, to be sure, the twins had a suspicion that Kewpie was pretending a closer intimacy with a notable than in fact existed, but he always “got away with it.” The only fly in the ointment of the evening's enjoyment occurred when Kewpie mischievously introduced them to Mrs. Pennington,

“You going over the wife of the Greek and Latin instructor, and sneaked away. Mrs. Pennington was tall and extremely thin, and viewed the world through a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles. She had a high voice and what Ned

them at last and they scurried away, neglecting, in their hurried departure, to say good night either to the doctor or Miss Tabitha, a breach of etiquette which probably passed unnoted by the hosts. Back in East Hall, the twins hammered


termed a “very Lake Superior” manner, and, since she confined her conversation to the benefits to be derived from an earnest study of the Latin poets, philosophers, and historians, the twins were not happy. Fortunately, very little was demanded from them conversationally, Mrs. Pennington being quite competent to do all the talking. But unfortunately, she gave them no chance to get away. Ned descried Kewpie grinning heartlessly from the doorway and rewarded him with a terrific and threatening scowl. Kewpie, however, but waved blandly and faded into the night. Release came to

loudly at Number 15, but Kewpie was either absent or discreet. At any rate, there was no response, and revenge had to be postponed. To Laurie's surprise, a notice on the bulletin-board in the corridor of School Hall the following morning announced that autumn baseball practice would begin that afternoon. He had supposed that his hour to offer himself on the altar of schoolpatriotism would not arrive until the next spring; and later, when he strode down Walnut Street with Ned, in search of football togs for the latter, he broached the subject diplomatically. “Funny idea to have baseball practice this time of year, I think,” he remarked carelessly. “Not much good in it. A fellow would forget anything he learned by next April.” “Did n’t know they did,” replied Ned, uninterestedly. “Who told you that?” “Oh, there was a notice on the board in School Hall. Don't believe many fellows go out in the fall.” “Thought baseball was a spring and summer game. Still, I dare say you can play it just as well now. Seems to me I’ve heard of having spring football practice, have n’t you?” “I dare say. Crazy scheme, though, playing games out of season.” “Ye—es.” Ned went on thoughtfully a moment. Then he shot a suspicious glance at his brother. “You going out?” he demanded.


“N-no, I don’t think so,” answered Laurie, lightly. “There 's that building we had the bet on the other day. We never did find out—” “Never you mind about that building,” interrupted Ned, severely. “I’m onto you, partner. You ’re trying to renege on baseball. Well, it does n’t go! You ’re a baseball hero and you ’ve got to get busy!” “Aw, Ned, have a heart! There 's plenty of time—” “No, sir, by jiminy! You got me slaving for the dear old school, now you do your bit!” “Yes, but it is n’t fair to start the baseball season in September. You know it is n't.”

“Cut out the alibis! You can get some baseball togs right now. Good thing you spoke of it. What 'll you need?” “All I need is kindness,” wailed Laurie. “Ned, I don’t want to be a hero! I don’t want to save the dear old school from defeat in the ninth inning! I—I-” “You ’re going to do as you agreed to,” answered Ned, grimly. “Remember that the honor of the Turners is at stake!” Laurie sighed deeply. Then, “You speak of honor! Say no more. I yield,” he declaimed dramatically. “You bet you do,” answered Ned, unhesitatingly. “You for the baseball field!”

(To be continued)


STRANGE thing, this Time, of which we speak so lightly, which we take so for granted, and that we imagine we can waste or save according to our will. Yet here it is, all of it the world can hold, all the time. On it goes steadily, yet it remains. How can we waste or save anything that exists constantly? There is, as Arnold Bennett remarked years ago, a day of twenty-four hours for each of us, no more, no less. All we do or think is accomplished inside of time, and we can not lose a single second or increase the measure one iota. Of course, we don’t really save or lose time; it is ourselves we save or lose, waste or gain. It is n’t what we are doing with our twenty-four hours a day, but with ourselves, that is the important business. We don’t alter Time, don't improve or spoil the day. Always it is our own being that we make or spoil. Everything changes, except Time. Time is even outside what looks like time —outside the rising and sinking suns and the marching of the universes. Nevertheless, it is convenient to speak of time as something we own, to do what we like with, to spend as we choose. The twenty-four hours a day that we receive are our own, to make or mar. We can save or waste our time, according as we employ ourselves during each passing day. And since there is just so much time allotted us, it is better to spend it in the best

way, to get the very most possible out of it, for there won’t be any more. When we have used up our share, it's done with. Not a second more remains. This being so, it is worth while thinking a bit over what things save time for us, and what waste it. Here comes a certain hour, let us call it four o'clock in the afternoon. During that hour you are going to read. It is, of course, an hour that will never come again. Now, you can give that hour of reading to a cheap and silly book or paper, or to a fine and true one. You can finish with that hour having spent it in the company of splendid thoughts and characters; you can have learned during that time a little of the wonderful story of this world in nature or in human life; you can have been made to feel the beauty of words and the moving force of a great mind, or have been charmed with tenderness or amused with real wit and humor; or you can have crammed it with false, affected, untrue material. There are more good books in the world than you will ever have the time to read, but you have given your hour to the reading of a poor one. Wasted time, since wasted time means wasted you! It is the same, let us say, with a moving picture. Here you have your precious hour to spend. You buy with it a poor motion picture in a stuffy room. Nothing worth thinking about or looking at has happened. All the best of you is bored or inattentive. You might have spent that hour for something worth while. You might have bought an hour of healthy exercise in the open air, or in joyous play with your friends. You might have given it to one of a thousand vital interests, whether work or play or thought or talk. In a rich world, full of marvels to be had for the choosing, you have wasted that hour on something badly made, stupid, vulgar perhaps. More than that, you have helped to make such a poor and vulgar thing popular, have made it more likely that it will succeed in crowding out a better and nobler picture, which might make you a full and interesting hour instead of a wasted one. For, as I said before, it is you who make this world, all of you together, deciding what it shall be like, what ideals and aims shall prevail in it. Many people have a notion that idle time is wasted time. But this is not so. Idleness is of many sorts, and some of it is glorious idleness. An hour or two spent lying on your back of a spring day under a blossoming apple-tree, thinking your own thoughts, might be the best and wisest expenditure of the whole twenty-four. The only sound reason for being alive is in becoming the most complete expression of a human creature you possibly can become. It has always seemed to me that what many call idle hours do more to accomplish this result than hours of hardest work—if that work is a thing of dull routine, certainly. Work of the right sort is a first-rate developer, surely. But unfortunately, we have managed to get this world of ours into a state where much of the work done is of little or no use in the making of a real human being. It makes other things, but other things are far less important. The hours you give to work you delight in, work that trains your mind and body to fine result, work that can be done by you as a man or a woman, not as a machine, those are splendid hours. But we have so filled our life with useless things, so crowded it with material that we do not need, that many of us have to be busy most of the time making all this stuff, cluttering up our hours with labor that does not use our mind or spirit or imagination, and that leaves us weary. Time is more likely to be wasted, from this point of view, in the school or the workshop than in blessed idleness. The idleness that leads you to the woods and fields, to study the natural things that exist

there, to find the simple delight of sunshine and the beauty of flower, tree, bird, and butterfly, is idleness that pays. The idleness that dreams over a great poem, or ponders the action and the life of some great man, the idleness that plans, through a daydream, something fine, such idleness is blessed. We all need those hours in our life, need them desperately. We need the beautiful sense of leisure, which is born in such hours, the release of soul that comes in them. There is no more decided waste of time than the moments given over to fretting and stewing. I have known children who will sulk or whine a whole hour because of being denied some wish or request. Sheer wasted time. Think of spending one of those precious twenty-four hours that way! A few minutes of lively rage will come to us all under disappointment or injustice or cantankerousness of any sort. That can't be helped, and is probably rather useful. But to whine and grouch for sixty minutes or more over anything at all is too ridiculous. There are too many much better things to be done. Up and at them, and let the sulks go to limbo. It is n’t only children who waste hours that way, either. All of us do it, some very little, some more. Think of spending a good dollar on some ugly, tiresome thing you hated, when all around were nice, attractive things you wanted. Yet that is just like spending an hour in the dumps, buying a sour and unhappy thing when there were good and jolly ones to be had. Wasted hours are hours spent in mean, wrong, unhappy ways. Time gone that way is loss indeed. Unhappiness comes to us, of course, unhappiness that has its own great building qualities. But we bring another sort of unhappiness upon us by our own will, and sink into it weakly because we allow our hours to go in silly jealousies and envies, in fretting for what we can not have or do, in thinking ourselves put upon, in bewailing the customary disappointments of the day, that every one meets, as though it were we alone who had to bear them. Good, unreturning hours gone on that sort of thing! The secret of the careless way we have with time is the fact that there seems to be such a lot of it; and not only seems to be, but is. Only, once we get the notion into our heads that it is ourselves and not time, which we are flinging away so easily, and that, after all, there is only just so much of our

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »