“Did he do well then, Mr. West?” asked Joel’s mother. “Of course he did, mother,” answered Mr. March disdainfully. “Didn’t you see him lugging all those fellows along with him? How much does that count, West?”
“Well, that doesn’t score anything, but it helps. The scrub has to pass that line down there before it can score. What they’re trying to do now is to get down there, and Joel’s helping. You watch him now. I think they’re going to give him the ball again for another try around end.” West was right in his surmise. Kicks were barred to-day save as a last resort, and the game was favoring the scrub as a consequence. The ball was passed to the right half-back; Joel darted forward like an arrow, took the ball from right, made a quick swerve as he neared the end of the line, and ran outside of the Varsity right end, Captain Dutton, who had been playing pretty well in, in the expectation of another try through tackle-end hole. As Joel got safely by it is more than likely that he found added satisfaction in the feat as he recalled that remark of Dutton’s the week before: “What were you doing, you idiot?”
Joel got safely by Dutton, and fooled the sprightly Prince, but very nearly ran into the arms of Kingdon, who missed his tackle by a bare six inches. Then the race began. Joel’s path lay straight down by the side line. The field followed him at a distance, and the most he could hope for was a touch-down near the corner of the field, which would require a punt-out.
“Ain’t that Joel?” cried Mr. March, forgetting his grammar and his dignity at one and the same moment, and jumping excitedly to his feet. “Ain’t that Joel there running? Hey? They can’t catch him. I’ll lay Joel to outrun the whole blame pack of ’em. Every day, sir. Hey? What?”
“I think he’s all right, sir, for a touch-down,” answered West gayly. “Hello, there’s Blair leaving the bunch. Tally-Ho!”
“I don’t care if it’s a steam-engine,” shouted Mr. March, “he can’t—I don’t know but as he’s gaining a little, that fellow. Eh?”
“Looks like it,” answered West, while Mrs. March, with her hand on her husband’s arm, begged him to sit down and “stop acting so silly.”
“Geewhillikins!” cried Mr. March, “Joel’s caught! No, he’s not—yet—Eh?—Too bad, too bad. Run, Joel, he’s got ye!” Suddenly Mr. March, who had almost subsided on his seat, jumped again to his feet.
“Here! Stop that, you fellow! Hi!” He turned angrily to Outfield, his eyes blazing. “What’d he knock him down for? Eh? What’s he sitting on my boy for? Is that fair? Eh?”
West and Mrs. March calmed him down and explained that tackling was quite within the law, and that he only sat on him to prevent him from going on again; for Blair had cut short Joel’s triumph fifteen yards from the goal line, and the spectators of the soul-stirring dash down the field were slowly settling again in their seats. Mr. March was presently relieved to see Joel arise, shake himself like a dog coming out of water, and trot back to his position.