“As I like crullers about the best of any sort of cakes,” he chuckled, “I think I’ll have to cultivate the acquaintance of Mrs. Winslow. Some time I may have the pleasure of tasting her famous cooking that you rate so highly. But to turn to another subject, Thad, have you heard any more reports about those Keyport High fellows we expect to go up against next Saturday?”
“Yes, I have, Hugh. Podge Huggins was over there two days back. He saw them practicing on some thin ice over a pond, and he told, me they were an exceptionally husky proposition. He also saw us work yesterday afternoon in the scratch game, and when I asked him how we compared with Keyport, why Podge wouldn’t give me a straight answer; but only grinned and turned the subject.”
“Evidently then Podge doesn’t have the confidence in his school team that he ought to feel,” said Hugh, apparently not at all disturbed. “Well, we have a whole week still for practice, and ought to keep on improving. I’m hoping that Keyport may overdo it, which is always possible.”
“You mean too much work will cause them to go stale; is that it, Hugh?”
“Physical directors and coaches are always on their guard against that, Thad. The boat team is always strongest at a certain point. If the race comes off when they attain that top-notch pinnacle, they’re apt to do their very best; but should it be delayed, by weather or something else, the coach becomes alarmed, because he knows there’s a great chance of their losing speed from too much nervous tension and overwork.”
From which talk it was evident that Hugh must have imbibed considerable valuable knowledge from Mr. Leonard, who, as a college man, ought to understand a thing or two concerning sporting matters.
So the two chums continued to talk all the way back to town. Hugh had picked up a whole lot of information by making the journey out to the cross-roads. Somehow he seemed to feel drawn toward the old blacksmith, who seemed to be such a sterling character.
Hugh had met him in church circles and at sociables, but, not knowing the tragedy that lay back in the deacon’s younger life, he had so far failed to cultivate his acquaintance. But he was now determined to see more of Deacon Winslow, for he believed the weather prophet would be able to tell him a host of interesting things about Nature’s storehouse, from which he had gleaned astonishing facts during many years’ study.
OWEN DUGDALE’S ANNOUNCEMENT
Another week of school had commenced, with winter now in full swing.
The weather seemed to have settled down to show what it could do, after such a long delay. It was making up for lost time, some of the boys declared. But then it could hardly be too cold for fellows warmly dressed, and who had their three hearty meals a day. The poor might complain, because they suffered, especially when such spells were prolonged.