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

“Hello, Sophy,” cried that youth, “have you come to initiate us into the Sacred Order of Hullabalooloo?  Dump those books off the chair and be seated.  March is such a beastly untidy chap,” he sighed; “he will leave his books around that way despite all I can say!”

“These books, Out,” replied Blair, “bear the name of one West on their title pages, and, in fact, on a good many other pages, too.  What say you?” A look of intense surprise overspread the face of Outfield.

“How passing strange,” he muttered.  “And is there a chemistry note-book among them?”

“I think so.  Here is one that contains mention of C2H6O, H2SO4, and other mystic emblems which appear very tiresome; it also contains several pages filled with diagrams of the yard and plans of Pompeii before the devastation.”

“Yes,” answered West, “that’s my chem. note-book.  It’s been missing ever since Tuesday.  But those are not diagrams of the yard, my sophomoric friend; they’re plans of the golf course.”

“Well, just as you say.  Catch!  Say, March, I’ve just heard that you’ve made the Varsity.  I’m most splendidly glad, my young friend.  You make three Hillton fellows on the team.  There’s Selkirk, and you, and yours tenderly; and we’ll show them what’s what when Yates faces us.  And I’ll tell you a little fact that may interest you.  Prince won’t last until the Yates game, my lad.  He’s going silly in his ankle.  But don’t say I told you, for of course it’s a dead secret.  And if he gives out you’ll get the posish.  And then if you can make another one of those touch-downs in the Yates game—­”

“Shut up, please, Blair!” groaned Joel.

“Nonsense, you’re all right.  I heard Button saying last week that nothing short of a ten-story house could have stopped you that day.”

“He must think me an awful fool,” responded Joel.  “The idea of not remembering that I was off-side!”

“Pshaw; why, the first time I played against Eustace at Hillton I tackled the referee in mistake for the man with the ball!  And threw him, too!  And sat on his head!” West grinned.

“And they did say, Blair, that you were feeling aggrieved against that referee because he had called you down for holding.  And I have heard that you weren’t such a fool as you looked.”

“Nothing in it, my boy,” answered Wesley Blair airily.  “Mere calumny.  Am I one to entertain feelings of anger and resentment against my fellow men?  Verily, very much not.  But he put me off, did that referee chap.  He was incapable of accepting the joke.  What is more depressing than a fellow who can’t see a joke, March?”

“Two fellows who can’t see—­et cetera,” answered Joel promptly.

“Wrong, very wrong.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m quite certain it isn’t that.  Well, I must be going. I have studies. I don’t waste the golden moments in idleness.  I grind, my young and thoughtless friends, I grind.  Well, I only came up to congratulate you, Mr. March, of Maine.  I have done so.  I now depart.  Farewell!  Never allow the mere fact of being off-side interfere with—­”

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