The following day Joel arrived on the football field to discover the head coach in full charge. He was talking earnestly to Wesley Blair. His dress was less immaculate than upon the preceding afternoon, although not a whit less attractive to Joel. A pair of faded and much-darned red-and-black striped stockings were surmounted by a pair of soiled and patched moleskin trousers. His crimson jersey had faded at the shoulders to a pathetic shade of pink, and one sleeve was missing, having long since “gone over to the enemy.” In contrast to these articles of apparel was his new immaculate canvas jacket, laced for the first time but a moment before. But he looked the football man that he was from head to toe, and Joel admired him immensely and was extremely proud when, as he was passing, Blair called him over and introduced him to Remsen. The latter shook hands cordially, and allowed his gaze to travel appreciatingly over Joel’s five feet eight inches of bone and muscle.
“I’m glad to know you, March,” he said, “and glad that you are going to help us win.”
The greeting was so simple and sincere that Joel ran down the field a moment later, feeling that football honors were even more desirable than before. To-day the throng of candidates had dwindled down to some forty, of whom perhaps twenty were new men. The first and second elevens were lined up for the first time, and Joel was placed at left half in the latter. An hour of slow practice followed. The ball was given to the first eleven on almost every play, and as the second eleven were kept entirely on the defensive, Joel had no chance to show his ability at either rushing or kicking. Remsen was everywhere at once, scolding, warning, and encouraging in a breath, and the play took on a snap and vim which Wesley Blair, unassisted, had not been able to introduce. After it was over, Joel trotted back with the others to the gymnasium and took his first shower bath. On the steps outside was West, and the two boys took their way together to the Academy Building.
“Did you hear Remsen getting after Bart Cloud?” asked West.
“No. Who is Cloud?”
“He plays right half or left half, I forget which, on the first eleven,” answered West, “and he’s about the biggest cad in the school. His father’s an alderman in New York, they say, and has lots of money; but he doesn’t let Bart handle much of it for him. He played on the team last year and did good work. But this season he’s got a swelled head and thinks he doesn’t have to play to keep his place; thinks it’s mortgaged to him, you see. Remsen opened his eyes to-day, I guess! Whipple says Remsen called him down twice, and then told him if he didn’t take a big brace he’d lose his position. Cloud got mad and told Clausen—Clausen’s his chum—that if he went off the team he’d leave school. I guess few of us would be sorry. Bartlett Cloud’s a coward from the toes up, March, and if he tries to make it unpleasant for you, why, just offer to knock him down and he’ll change his tune.”