“And Cloud?” asked Remsen. “Have you seen him?”
“Yes, once or twice. I’ve heard that he was very well liked when he left St. Eustace last year. I dare say he has turned over a new leaf since his father died.”
“Indeed? I hadn’t heard of that.”
“West heard it. He died last spring, and left Cloud pretty near penniless, they say. I have an idea that he has taken a brace and is studying more than he used to.”
“The chap has plenty of good qualities, I suppose. We all have our bad ones, you know. Perhaps it only needed some misfortune to wake up the lad’s better nature. They say virtue thrives best on homely fare, and, like lots of other proverbs, I guess it’s sometimes true.”
Then Remsen told of his visit to Hillton a few weeks previous. The Eleven this year was in pretty good shape, he thought; Greene, an upper middle man, was captain; they expected to have an easy time with St. Eustace, who was popularly supposed to be in a bad way for veteran players. That same Greene was winning the golf tournament when he was there, Remsen continued, and the golf club was in better shape than ever before, thanks to the hard work of West, Whipple, Blair, and a few others in building it up.
The two friends reached the house, and Remsen led the way into his room, and set about unpacking his things. Joel took up a position on the bed and gave excellent advice as to the disposal of everything from a pair of stockings to a typewriter.
“It’s a strange fact,” said Remsen as he thrust a suit of pajamas under the pillow, “that Outfield West is missed at Hillton more than any fellow who has graduated from there for several years past. Perhaps I don’t mean exactly strange, either, for of course he’s a fellow that every one naturally likes. What I do mean is that one would naturally suppose fellows like Blair or Whipple would leave the most regrets behind them, for Blair was generally conceded to be the most popular fellow in school the last two years of his stay, and Whipple was surely running him a close second. And certainly their memories are still green. But everywhere I went it was: ’Have you heard from Outfield West?’ ‘How’s West getting on at college?’ And strange to say, such inquiries were not confined to the fellows alone. Professor Wheeler asked after West particularly, and so did Briggs, and several others of the faculty; and Mrs. Cowles as well.
“But you are still the hero there, March. The classic history of Hillton still recounts the prowess of one Joel the First, who kicked a goal from field and defeated thereby the hosts of St. Eustace. And Professor Durkee shakes his head and says he will never have another so attentive and appreciative member of his class. And now tell me, how are you getting on with Dutton?”
So Joel recited his football adventures in full, not omitting the ludicrous touch-down, which received laughing applause from his listener, and recounting his promotion to the position of Varsity substitute.