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

In September, happy, healthy, and well browned, the two boys returned to Hillton with all the dignity becoming the reverend Senior.  West had abandoned his original intention of entering Yates College, and had taken with Joel the preliminary examination for Harwell; and they were full of great plans for the future, and spent whole hours telling each other what marvelous things awaited them at the university.

Joel’s Senior year at Hillton was crowded with hard work and filled with incident.  But, as it was more or less a repetition of the preceding year, it must needs be told of briefly.  If space permitted I should like to tell of Joel’s first debate in the Senior Debating Society, in which he proved conclusively and to the satisfaction of all present that the Political Privileges of a Citizen of Athens under the Constitution of Cleisthenes were far superior to those of a Citizen of Rome at the Time of the Second Punic War.  And I should like to tell of the arduous training on the football field and in the gymnasium, by means of which Joel increased his sphere of usefulness on the Eleven, and learned to run with the ball as well as kick it, so proving the truth of an assertion made by Stephen Remsen, who had said, “With such long legs as those, March, you should be as fine a runner as you are a kicker.”

And I should like to go into tiresome detail over the game with St. Eustace, in which Joel made no star plays, but worked well and steadily at the position of left half-back, and thereby aided in the decisive victory for Hillton that Remsen had spoken of; for the score at the end of the first half was, Hillton 5, St. Eustace 0; and at the end of the game, Hillton 11, St. Eustace 0.

Joel and Remsen became fast and familiar friends during that term, and when, a few days after the St. Eustace game, Remsen took his departure from the Academy, no more to coach the teams to glorious victory or honorable defeat, Joel of all the school was perhaps the sorriest to have him go.  But Remsen spoke hopefully of future meetings at Harwell, and Joel and West waved him farewell from the station platform and walked back to the yard in the manner of chief mourners at a funeral.

Outfield West again emerged triumphant from the golf tournament, and the little pewter mug remained securely upon his mantel, a receptacle for damaged balls.  For some time the two missed the familiar faces of Digbee and Blair and Whipple and some few others.  Somers and Cooke still remained, the latter with radiant hopes of graduation the coming June, the former to take advanced courses in several studies.  Clausen was a frequent visitor to Number Four Hampton, and both West and Joel had conceived a liking for him which, as the year went by, grew into sincere friendship.  Those who had been intimate with Wallace Clausen when he was under the influence of Bartlett Cloud saw a great difference in the lad at this period.  He had grown manlier, more earnest in tone and attainments, and had apparently shaken off his old habit of weak carelessness as some insects shed their skins.  He, too, was to enter Harwell the coming fall, a fact which strengthened the bond between the three youths.

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