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"You look as though you were going to devour
me or do something else just. as terrible. Here
•take this rocker and try to smooth out some of
those hard corners of your face." Pushing up a
big easy chair she continued, "I want you to take
ten points in the games so that I can be proud of
you, for you are the only friend I have among the
This was too much. He might have broken
the news more gently, but this seemed to abso
lutely force it out of him. He could not bear to
have her say anything more. "I'm• not going to
run. at all in the Inter-collegiate, "he blurted,
"Johns insulted me yesterday, and I broke train
ing last night. He has treated me like a dog all
along, and I've decided not to stand it any lon-
She had been looking in the other direction,
but slowly turned toward him her face full of re
monstrance, sorrow and surprise. For fully a
minute she looked at him in a kind of mute ap
peal and his eyes dropped, unable to meet her re
proachful gaze. "Why Jack," was all she said.
Then started one of the most memorable eve
nings Of his whole life. She argued, sbe pleaded,
she tried every device. Sometimes it was all she
could do to fight back the tears that kept coming
to her eyes. It was all of no use. With his chin
buried in his hands he sat and gazed at one cor
ner of the room while she talked. Time and
again he almost promised but then that old an-.
swer would come, "I can't do it. It would be
nothing but a confession of weakness," and he
would go off into another fit of sulks.
The call was cut short, and it was two very
miserable young people who stood in the vestibule
when he rose to go. When he took her hand to
say "good-night" she let it rest in his awhile and
said, "Jack, won't you promise me this one thing.
Keep yourself in condition anyhow and don't
break training even if you are not going to run."
"Yes, if you will only promise me in return to
accompany me to the games," was his reply, and
THE FREE LANCE.
they parted not to meet again till the afternoon
of the sports.
The three days that intervened were a. season Of
torture to him, but he would not give in. All the
stubbornness in his nature was called up and ar•
rayed on the side of his false pride and he could
not yield. All the athletes and men of influence
in the college came to him and pleaded personal
ly for their sakes and the sake of the "Varsity."
To all he gave the same answer. Even Harry
Keene could not do anything with him, and at
last gave up in disgust. Friday came and with it
the visiting athletes. Simms had thirty-two men,
and Heath twentythree. Nordson College, a re
cently admitted member, brought twenty-four
dark horses from whom everyone was prophesying
great things, but no one knew a thing about thein.
Long University and Lime Lake College also
sent contestants. That night was a busy one for
the trainers, and ointment ad /Milton was rubbed
into brawny backs and limbs, keying the men up
to the last supreme effort.
The next morning dawned bright and joyous,
One of the best that the bright month of May
could provide, vocal with the songs of birds and
with the air subtly perfumed by myriad blossoms.
It was an ideal day, and as Jack Hammer gazed
out of the window at the fresh dew covered land
scape, lit up by the first slanting rays of the rising
sun, he felt an indescribable sense of peace grow
ing within him, which seemed to stream into his
mind from the great peace . of nature. Why was
it, he asked himself, that he felt such a load tak
en from his shoulders ? It was not because he
had decided to give in. Oh no, he didn't have
any intention of running, but somehow or other
he felt that things were all going to be straight
ened out that day. Probably it was a natural re
action from his superb physical state. He had
Dept his promise faithfully, and as far as care of
himself went he was in as good condition as if he
were expecting to run in the afternoon. The ice
cream of Monday night had caused no evil effects
while the rest from actual work had been all the