“Toby” Tucker was our racket professional, and when he spotted a pair for the public-school rackets, Fenton, the master who finally chose the pair, never said “Nay.” “Toby” was incorruptible. With both his little eyes fixed inexorably on merit, the greatest joys of his life were consummated when the St. Amory’s pair brought the championship home.
“Congratulate you, old man. If Acton pulls off the Aldershot and you and Vercoe the rackets—”
“If I only felt as confident on our lifting that as I do of Acton bringing off his, I’d go straightway and smother ‘Toby.’ He almost works one to death.”
HOW THEY “’ELPED THE PORE FELLER”
As a rule, the laboratory was empty on half-holidays, and Gus used to work through his tables in solitude, when he tried a little “bottle-washing” as a change from the refereeing, but one afternoon he found no less a person than W.E. Grim, the prize fag of Biffen’s, doing something very seriously with a green powder.
“Hullo, young ’un! What are you footling round here for?”
“Lancaster has given me this salt to analyze, Todd. I think there’s copper in it.”
“What have you been up to, that Lancaster has run you in? Half-holiday, too!”
“He hasn’t run me in,” said Grim, sulkily. “As a special favour he’s let me come in here to work a little myself. I did a ripping chemistry paper last week, and—”
“Oh, I see. Are you going to give Biffen’s another leg up, too?”
“Just as soon as you give Taylor’s one,” said Grim, who, in common with all the juniors, did not fear the easy-going Todd.
“No cheek!” said Gus. “If I mixed up coal-dust and brick-dust, how’d you separate ’em?”
“Ask my grandmother for a telescope, and look out the mix through the butt end.”
“Quite so,” said Todd, chuckling. “I suppose you’ve given me a specimen of Biffen’s latest brand of wit. Well, don’t make too big a row in hunting for your copper, and then I’ll not chuck you out.”
Grim murmured something disparaging Todd’s authority for chucking out, but Gus languidly sidled off to his own particular bench, where, out of sight of Grim, he prepared to do an afternoon’s quiet work.
Meanwhile Grim’s particular cronies, Wilson, Rogers, Sharpe, Poulett, and young Bourne, arrayed in all the glory of mud-stained footer-togs, after vainly waiting outside Biffen’s, were seeking high and low for the copper-hunting chemist, who, for many reasons, had kept his afternoon’s plan very dark. He knew only too well that his beloved chums would not hear of an afternoon’s work, and would head him off either to footer or a run round the Bender. Therefore, immediately after dinner, he had made an unostentatious exit, and reached the laboratory in safety.
“Where is Grimmy?” said Sharpe.
“Dunno,” said Wilson.