“I tell you what you do,” called West, leaning over. “You get a bit of a run and get up as high as you can, and try and catch hold of this stick; then I’ll pull you up.”
The other obeyed, and succeeded in getting a firm hold of the brassie, but the rest was none so easy. West pulled and the other boy struggled, and then, at last, when both were out of breath, the straw hat rose above the ledge and its wearer scrambled up. Sitting down beside West he drew the ball from his pocket and handed it over.
“What do they make those of?” he asked.
“Gutta percha,” answered West. “Then they’re molded and painted this way. You’ve never played golf, have you?”
“No, we don’t know much about it down our way. I’ve played baseball and football some. Do you play football?”
“No, I should say not,” answered West scornfully. “You see,” more graciously, “golf takes up about all my time when I haven’t got some lesson on; and this is the worst place for lessons you ever saw. A chap doesn’t get time for anything else.” The other boy looked puzzled.
“Well, don’t you want to study?”
West stared in amazement. “Study! Want to? Of course I don’t! Do you?”
“Very much. That’s what I came to school for.”
“Oh!” West studied the strange youth dubiously. Plainly, he was not at all the sort of boy one could teach golf to. “Then why were you trying for the football team awhile ago?”
“Because next to studying I want to play football more than anything else. Don’t you think I’ll have time for it?”
“You bet! And say, you ought to learn golf. It’s the finest sport going.” West’s hopes revived. A fellow that wanted sport, if only football, could not be a bad sort. Besides, he would get over wanting to study; that, to West, was a most unnatural desire. “There isn’t half a dozen really first-class players in school. You get some clubs and I’ll teach you the game.”
“That’s very good of you,” answered the boy in the straw hat, “and I’m very much obliged, but I don’t think I’ll have time. You see I’m in the upper middle, and they say that it’s awfully hard to keep up with. Still, I should really like to try my hand at it, and if I have time I’ll ask you to show me a little about it. I expect you’re the best player here, aren’t you?” West, extremely gratified, tried to conceal his pleasure.
“Oh, I don’t know. There’s Wesley Blair—he’s captain of the school eleven, you know—he plays a very good game, only he has a way of missing short puts. And then there’s Louis Whipple. The only thing about Whipple is that he tries to play with too few clubs. He says a fellow can play just as well with a driver and a putter and a niblick as he can with a dozen clubs. Of course, that’s nonsense. If Whipple would use some brains about his clubs he’d make a rather fair player. There are one or two other fellows in school who are not so bad. But I believe,” magnanimously, “that if Blair had more time for practicing he could beat me.” West allowed his hearer a moment in which to digest this. The straw hat was tilted down over the eyes of its wearer, who was gazing thoughtfully over the river.