The players went to a little country town a few miles distant from the seat of Yates University, and spent the afternoon in practicing signals on the hotel grounds. The next day, Friday, was a day of rest, save for running through a few formations and trick plays after lunch and taking a long walk at dusk. The Yates Glee Club journeyed over in the evening and gave an impromptu entertainment in the parlor, a courtesy well appreciated by the Harwell team, whose nerves were now beginning to make themselves felt. And the next morning the journey was continued and the college town was reached at half past eleven.
The men were welcomed at the station by a crowd of Harwell fellows who had already arrived, and the Harwell band did its best until the team was driven off to the hotel. There for the first time the men were allowed to see the line-up for the game. It was a long list, containing the names, ages, heights, and weights of thirty-six players and substitutes, and was immediately the center of interest to all.
“Thunder!” growled Joel ruefully, as he finished reading the list over Blair’s shoulder, “it’s a thumpin’ long ways down to me!”
BEFORE THE BATTLE.
“Harwell, Harwell, Harwell! Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Harwell!”
The lobby grew empty on the instant, and outside on the steps and on the sidewalk the crowd spread itself. The procession had just turned the corner, the college band leading.
“The freshmen won!” cried a voice on the edge of the throng, and the news was passed along from man to man until it swept up the steps, through the lobby and to the dining room upstairs where the football men of the Varsity team were impatiently awaiting lunch. “A good omen,” said the head coach.
Below in the street admonitory thumps upon the great drum, with its college coat-of-arms on the head, were heard, and a moment later the shouts of the exuberant freshmen and their allies were drowned in the first strains of the college song. Off came the silk hats of the frock-coated graduates and the plaided golf caps of the students, and side by side there in the sun-swept street they lifted their voices in the sweet, measured strains of the dear familiar hymn. And stout, placid-faced men of fifty, with comfortable bank accounts and incipient twinges of gout, felt the unaccustomed dimming of the sight that presages tears, and boyish, carefree students, to whom the song was as much an everyday affair as D marks and unpaid bills, felt strange stirrings in their breasts, and with voices that stumbled strangely over the top notes sang louder and louder. And upstairs in the dining room many a throat grew hard and “lumpy” as the refrain came in at the open windows.