Another five minutes, during which the scrub tried desperately to force the ball over the Varsity’s goal line, but without success, and the match was over, and Briscom was happy; for the Varsity had scored but once, and that on a fumble by the scrub quarter-back. Joel trotted off with the teams for a shower and a rub-down, and West conducted his parents back to the gate, where they awaited him. On the way Mr. March confided to West that “football wasn’t what he’d call a parlor game, but on the whole it appeared to be rather interesting.”
In the evening the quartet went into town to the theater and Joel’s mother cried happily over the homely pathos of The Old Homestead, and Outfield laughed uproariously upon the slightest provocation, and every one was extremely happy. And afterward they “electriced” back to college, as West put it, and the two boys stayed awake very, very late, laughing and giggling over the humors of the play and Joel’s broken finger.
Mr. and Mrs. March left the next day at noon, and Joel accompanied them to the depot, West having a golf engagement which he could not break. And when good-by had been said, and the long train had disappeared from sight, Joel returned to college on foot, over the long bridge spanning the river, busy with craft, past the factories noisy with the buzz of wheels and the clang of iron, and on along the far-stretching avenue until the tower of the dining hall loomed above the tops of the autumn branches, entering the yard just as the two o’clock bell was ringing.
A VARSITY SUB.
Give a boy the name of being a hero and it will stick. Joel was still pointed out by admiring Hillton graduates to their friends at Harwell as “March, the fellow who kicked the winning goal-from-field in the St. Eustace game two years ago.” And while Joel had performed of late no doughty deed to sustain his reputation for valor, the freshman class accepted him in all faith as a sort of class hero, off duty for the moment, perchance, but ever ready to shed glory upon the class by some soul-stirring act.
Consequently when it was told through college that Joel March had been taken on to the Varsity Eleven as substitute left half-back no one was surprised, unless it was Joel himself. The freshman class wagged its head knowingly and said: “I told you they couldn’t get on without March,” and held its head higher for that one of its members was a Varsity player. It is not a frequent thing to find a freshman on the Varsity team, even as substitute, and Joel’s fame grew apace and many congratulations were extended to him, in classroom and out. Blair was one of the first to climb the stairs of Mayer and express pleasure at the event. He found Joel seated in the window, propped up with half a dozen crimson pillows, attempting to sketch the view across the yard to send home to his sister. West was splicing a golf shaft and whistling blithely over the task.