“If I only could,” he was saying. “If I only could.”
In Which Willis Is Honored
“You’re always trying to get in a new fellow, Chuck. We never would have a new member if you didn’t do your scouting around. You know more about the fellows in this town than any half-dozen of the rest of us. How do you get next to them?”
These remarks came from Robert Dennis, the splendid captain of the High School Basket Ball Team. He had met a few of his companions at the Young Men’s Christian Association that evening.
The Association was a very handsome, four-story brick that stood some distance back from the street. Of all the places in the community for young fellows to “hang out” the Association was the most popular. At any hour after school, until closing time in the evening, small groups of fellows of every age might be found in the various departments, talking athletics, planning an all-day hike into the mountains, discussing an amateur theatrical, a debating club, a Bible study supper, or some other of the many activities carried on by these fellows with the Association as a basis of operations and a partner. It appealed to the best fellows in the school, and even in the entire community, for it had very early in its history made itself known as a clean, broad-minded, sympathetic, and constructive agency in the lives of boys and young men. It appealed to the fellows because they could have a hand in its operations and a voice in its government; because it stood for clean sport, clean bodies, clean minds, healthy spirits, and a type of social life that had all the appearances of being powerfully masculine, and yet clean and gentlemanly. It stood for a three-sided manhood—spirit, mind, and body.
Chuck seated himself. “No, Dennis, not always getting a new member, but I’ll tell you one thing, I always do have an eye open for a first-class fellow for our bunch. You know as well as I do that if we are going to keep things right, here in our old Y.M., and give the ‘Chief’ the help he needs, we’ll have to keep adding every strong, clean, congenial fellow we can lay our hands on. You don’t need to worry about our getting too many. O.F.F. has been doing stunts for two years now, and in that time we have just taken in five new men. We have room for at least three more. I know sometimes I make a mistake, but I’ll bet my hat on this fellow. He’s no ordinary kid, I’ll tell you that. I saw him in the swimming tank with his uncle, Mr. Williams, yesterday, and a cleaner-cut, better-built fellow you never saw. Swim like a fish, and dive—why, there’s nothing to it. If he takes a membership in this Department he’ll be in the Leaders’ Corps in less than a jiffy, and, what’s more, he’ll be a leader in everything else, too, when he gets acquainted.”
“Well, I’ll tell you,” said “Shorty” Wier, who had thus far kept silent, “Let’s all look him over and get better acquainted with him Wednesday night on the hike. The ‘Chief’ told me he had invited him to go along with the bunch.”