Opposite the boat house, a modest bit of architecture, lies Long Isle, just where the river seemingly pauses for a deep breath after its bold sweep around the promontory crowned by the Academy Buildings. Here and there along the path are little wooden benches to tempt the passer to rest and view from their hospitable seats the grand panorama of gently flowing river, of broad marsh and meadow beyond, of tiny villages dotting the distances, and of the purple wall of haze marking the line of the distant mountains.
Opposite Long Isle, a wonderful fairyland inaccessible to the scholars save on rare occasions, the river path meets the angle of the Station Road, where the coach makes its first turn. Then the path grows indistinct, merges into a broad ten-acre plot whereon are the track, gridiron, baseball ground, and the beginning of the golf links. This is the campus. And here is Stony Bunker, and beyond it is the bluff and the granite ledge; and lo! here we are back again at the point from which we started on our journey of discovery; back to Outfield West and to the boy in the ridiculous straw hat.
It was several moments before West recovered his breath enough to speak, during which time he sat and gazed at his rescuer in amazement not unmixed with curiosity. And the rescuer looked down at West in simple amusement.
“Thanks,” gasped West at length. “I suppose I’d have broke my silly neck if you hadn’t given me a hand just when you did.”
The other nodded. “You’re welcome, of course; but I don’t believe you’d have been very much hurt. What’s that thing?” nodding toward the brassie, still tightly clutched in West’s hand.
“A bras—a golf club. I was knocking a ball around a bit, and it went over the cliff here.”
“I should think golf was a rather funny sort of a game.”
“It isn’t funny at all, if you know anything about it,” replied West a trifle sharply. The rescuer was on dangerous ground, had he but known it.
“Isn’t it? Well, I guess it is all in getting used to it. I don’t believe I’d care much for tumbling over cliffs that way; I should think it would use a fellow up after a while.”
“Look here,” exclaimed West, “you saved me an ugly fall, and I’m very much obliged, and all that; but—but you don’t know the first thing about golf, and so you had better not talk about it.” He made an effort to gain his feet, but sat down again with a groan.
“You sit still a while,” said the boy in the straw hat, “and I’ll drop down and get that ball for you.” Suiting the action to the word, he lowered himself over the ledge, and slid down the bank to the beach. He dropped the golf ball in his pocket, after examining it with deep curiosity, and started back. But the return was less easy than the descent had been. The bank was gravelly, and his feet could gain no hold. Several times he struggled up a yard or so, only to slip back again to the bottom.