I was, as you may guess, intensely pleased that no one had an idea of the foul except Bourne and myself, for I could imagine vividly where the rumour of this sort of “form” would spread to. We’d hear of it for years after.
I mentally promised that Acton should have a little of my opinion on the matter on the first opportunity.
I arranged to see Bourne that evening, when we should have heard the doctor’s report on Aspinall. In the evening Bourne strolled into my room, looking a little less gloomy than I expected. “Briggs says that there is nothing broken, and that as soon as Aspinall gets over the shock he will be all right. The cut may leave a scar, but that will be about all. All the same, Carr, I think that’s too heavy a price to pay for the bad temper of one of our fellows who can’t stand a tumble into the mud at ‘footer.’ You saw the villainy, didn’t you?”
“I can’t say I actually saw him trip, but there’s no doubt whatever that it was an abominable foul.”
“None at all. I saw him, worse luck, tolerably plainly.”
“Do you know anything about him?”
“I think Biffen’s rather fancy he’s going to lift them out of the mire.”
“Can’t say I envy them their champion.”
“What strikes me as odd is that such a magnificent player should do such a vile trick.”
“Rum, certainly. The affair will give quite a professional touch to our ‘Socker’ fixtures, and the Carthusians will ask us to bar our bullies when they come down again. Oh, this is sweet!”
“I say, Bourne, this business must not move one inch further. You’ve spoken to no one?”
“Is it likely?”
“We’ll not have any of our dirty linen washed coram populo, old chap. Frightful bad form. No one knows but you, Aspinall, and self.”
“Surely Aspinall will——”
“You don’t know Aspinall, old man. He’d shrivel up sooner than say a word more. Bet you he’ll speak of it as an accident. Remember, he was captain of the school here once.”
“Which makes it a blacker shame than ever,” said Bourne, wrathfully.
“I’ve inquired casually of the Fifth, and it seems our friend once distinguished himself in the gym. Lost his temper—as per recipe—and Hodgson had to knock him down before he could see that we put on the gloves here for a little healthy exercise, and the pleasure of lifting some of the public schools championships. He, however, apologized to Hodgson, but I don’t think he’ll do the honourable here.”
“Then, the chief attraction of the beauty is its temper?”
“Or want of it.”
“Who is he, anyhow?”
“Yorkshire people, I believe. Own half a town and no end of coin. Been to school in France and Germany, and consequently came here rather late. I know his head-piece Is all right, and I imagine his amiability is only a little foreign blood working its way out. He will be with us in the Sixth at Christmas.”