“We ought to, but don’t.”
“We ought to do something in the schools too.”
“We ought to, but don’t, though Raven is in for the Perry Exhibition. Guess he won’t pull it off, though.”
“We’ll see about that, too,” said Acton. “As for the niggers—”
“Oh, never mind them!” burst in Worcester. “Without humbug, Acton, do you really want our house to move a bit?”
“Well, then, consent to captain our footer eleven and we give ourselves a chance, for I can’t make the fellows raise a gallop at any price, and I somehow think you can. Have a try. If you are sick of it at Christmas, I’ll come in again; honour bright. It isn’t too good-natured of me to ask you to pull Biffen’s out of the mud, but you’re the only fellow to do it if it can be done. Will you?”
“You wouldn’t mind resigning?”
“By Jove, no!” said Worcester, precipitately.
“Don’t mention it. Not at all, old man, not at all.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking that, if you didn’t mind, I’d like to try my hand on our crowd; though, since you don’t move ’em, there can’t be much chance for me to do anything smart.”
“That doesn’t follow, for you aren’t me, old man.”
“Then I’ll have a shot at it.”
Worcester grasped Acton’s hand, as the French say, “with emotion.”
“But the house will have to elect me, you know; perhaps they’d fancy Raven as captain. He can play decently, and they know him.”
“Well, Biffen’s are a dense lot, but I’m hanged if even their stupidity would do a thing like that. They’ve seen you play, haven’t they?”
“Thanks. Fact is, Dick, I feel a bit bored by the patronage of Taylor’s and Merishall’s, and Sharpe’s and Corker’s, and all the rest of the houses.”
“Oh! Biffen’s laid himself out for that, you must see.”
“I don’t fancy Bourne’s sneers and Hodgson’s high stilts.”
“Haven’t noticed either,” said Dick.
“H’m!” said Acton, rather nettled by Dick’s dry tone. “I have. As for the niggers—”
“The other houses despise us on their account. We’re the Dervish Camp to the rest.”
“As for the niggers, they shall do something for Biffen’s too,” said Acton, rather thoughtfully.
“You mean in the sing-songs? Well, they’ll spare the burnt cork certainly.”
“Well, that’s an idea too,” said Acton, laughing, “but not the one I had. That will keep.”
Worcester might have some curiosity to know what Acton’s idea was, but he wasn’t going to inquire anything about the niggers.
“It’s awfully brickish of you, Worcester,” said Acton, as Grim was heard trotting up the corridor “to stand down.”
“Not at all; the sacrifice is on your altar.”
“Then allons. Here’s Grim knocking, and I’ve to see Corker at 9.40. You’ll excuse me.”
Grim came in and commenced to clear away, and the two sallied out.