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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Half-Back.

And now the watchers moved about restlessly, and Joel found his heart in his throat.  But West gripped his wooden putter firmly and studied the situation.  It was quite possible for a skillful player to hole out on the next stroke from Whipple’s lie.  West, on the contrary, was too far distant to possess more than one chance in ten of winning the hole in one play.  Whether to take that one chance or to use his next play in bettering his lie was the question.  Whipple, West knew, was weak on putting, but it is ever risky to rely on your opponent’s weakness.  While West pondered, Whipple studied the lay of the green with eyes that strove to show no triumph, and the little throng kept silence save for an occasional nervous whisper.

Then West leaned down and cleared a pebble from before his ball.  It was the veriest atom of a pebble that ever showed on a putting green, but West was willing to take no chances beyond those that already confronted him.  His mind was made up.  Gripping his iron putter firmly rather low on the shaft and bending far over, West slowly, cautiously swung the club above the gutty, glancing once and only once as he did so at the distant goal.  Then there was a pause.  Whipple no longer studied his own play; his eyes were on that other sphere that nestled there so innocently against the grass.  Joel leaned breathlessly forward.  Professor Beck muttered under his breath, and then cried “S—­sh!” to himself in an angry whisper.  And then West’s club swung back gently, easily, paused an instant—­and—­

Forward sped the ball—­on and on—­slower—­slower—­but straight as an arrow—­and then—­Presto! it was gone from sight!

A moment of silence followed ere the applause broke out, and in that moment Professor Beck announced: 

“The odd to Whipple.  Thirty-two to thirty-three.”

Then the group became silent again.  Whipple addressed his ball.  It was yet possible to tie the score.  His face was pale, and for the first time during the tournament he felt nervous.  A better player could scarce have missed the hole from Whipple’s lie, but for once that youth’s nerve forsook him and he hit too short; the ball stopped a foot from the hole.  The game was decided.  Professor Beck again announced the score: 

“The two more to Whipple.  Thirty-two to thirty-four.”

Again Whipple addressed his ball, and this time, but too late to win the victory, the tiny sphere dropped neatly into the hole, and the throng broke silence.  And as West and Whipple, victor and vanquished, shook hands over the Home Hole, Professor Beck announced: 

“Thirty-two to thirty-five.  West wins the Cup!”

CHAPTER IX.

AN EVENING CALL.

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