“There’s Gus Todd trying to hook tiddlers,” said Rogers.
“Shy a stone,” suggested Wilson, “and wake ’em up.”
“Rot! There’s no cover.”
“It’s only Todd,” said Wilson. “What’s the odds?”
“Yes, but not quite the old ass. Better get home.”
Keeping well out of sight, the two cronies had watched
Todd’s manoeuvres as he tried to run the cigar-smokers to earth. When
Gus entered the punt-house, a bright idea struck Wilson.
“Say, Rogers, remember Toddy locking us in the laboratory last term? Two hundred Virgil.”
“Ah!” said Rogers, catching the meaning of Wilson’s remark instanter; “if we only could cork him up there for the afternoon! That would pay him out for Merishall’s call-over lines.”
“We’ll chance it,” said Wilson. “If we can’t do it, well, we didn’t know Gussy was in—eh?”
“Rather! That is the exact fable we’ll serve out to Todd, if necessary.”
Breaking cover, the young Biffenites had secured the door of the punt-house without any difficulty, and then had run for dear life.
“Golly!” said Rogers, pulling up when well out of sight of the boat-house; “we did that rather neat, eh? Hanged if Toddy wasn’t smoking like a chimney. Did you twig his weed?”
“Regular stench,” said Wilson. “Toddy will have to swim out through the front way, or howl for help. The punt is sure to be locked.”
“He’ll have to take a header off the punt into the moat, and that isn’t crystal, exactly.”
“Six yards of mud is about the figure,” said Wilson, almost hysterically.
“I say, old man, if we’d only been able to bottle up Jim Cotton along with his chum! What price Biffen’s for the Houser, then?”
“If” said Wilson, wistfully. “Wouldn’t the dervishes walk into Taylor’s bowling, if Bully wasn’t there to sling them in?”
“Never mind,” said Rogers, hardly daring to contemplate the ravishing prospect of Taylor’s house without Cotton, “the dervishes are sure to come out strong this afternoon. Let ’em once get their eye in, and either of ’em is good enough for a hundred.”
The two young Biffenites found the faithful Grim holding the fort in the front bench of the pavilion against the ardent assaults of some Taylorian juniors, who could not see what Grim wanted with three seats. The fellows of the two houses were rapidly lining up for the match, and Dick Worcester had sent to Biffen’s making affectionate inquiries for the dervishes. By-and-by, word was brought to Worcester that the two were not to be found in the neighbourhood; and a further hurried search by anxious Biffenites, headed by Rogers and Wilson, had a like result.
“Isn’t it awful, Grimmy?” said Rogers. “Where can the idiots be?”
Worcester and Acton had a consultation. “If they don’t turn up in time we’ll have to make a start without ’em.”