Chalmers would dearly have liked to have struck Acton, but Worcester looked so utterly disgusted at the whole business, that I fancy it was Dick’s eye that suggested to Chalmers his getting into his coat and sweater. He did so, and stalked angrily off the field.
Now, Chalmers really liked the game, and did not fancy being crossed out of the eleven, which Acton would almost certainly proceed to do; so that night after tea, he went to Worcester’s study, and boarded Dick.
“Apologize to Acton,” said Dick.
“But he called me an ass!”
“You were one,” said Dick, dryly. “Acton’s putting in a lot of work over the slackest house that ever disgraced the old school, and this is how he’s treated. Ass is a mild term.”
Chalmers went to Raven.
“Apologize,” said Raven.
“He called me a mule,” urged Chalmers, despairingly.
“So you were. I quite expected to see the kicking begin, really. Acton’s sweating no end to screw us up to concert-pitch, and flat mutiny is his reward. Apologize, and help us win the Fifth to-morrow.”
So Chalmers moved reluctantly across to Acton’s and made his apology.
“Don’t mention it,” said Acton, cheerfully. “Sorry I upset you, Chalmers, but you elected me captain, and I do want a little success in the houses, and how can we get it if the fellows don’t combine? Say no more about it; I was rather afraid you weren’t going to come, which is the unadorned truth.”
This last delicate touch, which showed Chalmers that, without the apology, his captain had meant to cut him adrift, sans hesitation, and yet contained a pretty little compliment to his footer, embarrassed Chalmers more than a little; but Acton offered his forward tea and muffins, and five minutes afterwards Chalmers was finding out what a nice fellow Acton really could be. The next day Chalmers smoothed his ruffled feelings by piling on three goals against the Fifth, who sneaked off the Acres five goals to the bad. This was the first time for ages that Biffen’s had tasted blood, and the news of the victory staggered others besides the victims. There was quite a flutter among the house captains, and Acton, by the way, had no more mutinies.
“Without haste, without rest,” Biffen’s captain started his second project for the elevation of his house. He had noticed what none of the other fellows would condescend to see, that two of the despised niggers of Biffen’s were rather neat on the bars. He spent a quarter of an hour one evening quietly watching the two in the gym, and he went away thoughtful. Singh Ram and Mehtah thereupon each received a polite note, and “could they call about seven in Acton’s study?” They came, and Acton talked to them briefly but to the point. When they sought their quarters again they were beaming, and “Singed” Ram carried a fat book of German physical exercises under his arm.