At intervals the races were run off—the two-twenty, the quarter-mile, the half-mile, the high hurdles, the low hurdles. Irving started them all without any mishap. The last one, the low hurdles for two hundred and twenty yards, was exciting; the runners were all well matched and the handicaps were small. And so, after firing the revolver, Irving started and ran across the field as hard as he could, to be at the finish; he arrived in time, and stood, still holding the revolver in his hand, while Morrill and Flack and Mason raced side by side to the tape. They finished in that order, not more than a yard apart; and Irving rammed his revolver into his pocket and clapped his hands and cheered with the Corinthians.
The Pythians were now two points ahead, and there remained only one event, the hundred yards. First place counted five points and second place two; in these games third place did not count. So if a Corinthian should win the hundred yards, the Corinthians would be victorious in the meet by one point.
There were eight entries in the hundred yards—a large number to run without interfering with one another. But the track was wide, and two of the boys had handicaps of ten yards, one had five yards, and one had three. So they were spread out pretty well at the start, and consequently the danger of interference was minimized.
The runners threw off their dressing gowns and took their places. Drake, Flack, Westby, and Mason lined up at scratch,—Westby having drawn the inside place and being flanked by the two Pythians. There was a moment’s pawing of the cinders, and settling down firmly on the spikes.
“Ready, everybody!” cried Irving. He drew the revolver from his pocket and held it aloft. He was as excited as any of the runners; there was the nervous thrill in his voice. “On your marks!” They put their hands to the ground; he ran his eyes along them to see that all were placed. “Set!” There was the instant stiffening of muscles. Then from the revolver came a click. Irving had emptied the six chambers in starting the other races, and had forgotten to reload.
“Just a moment, fellows; ease off!” he called, and they all straightened up and faced towards him questioningly. “Just till I slip in a cartridge,” Irving explained with embarrassment.
Westby turned on him a delighted grin, and said,—
“Can I be of any assistance, Mr. Upton?”
“No, thank you,” said Irving, and having slipped in one cartridge, he began filling the other chambers of the revolver.
“It takes only one shot to start,” observed Westby.
“Yes,” said Irving. “If I fire a second, it will be to call you back because of a false start.—Now then,—all ready once more. On your marks!” They crouched. “Set!” He fired.
Somehow in the start Westby’s foot slipped, and in trying to get clear he lunged against Flack. Irving saw it and instantly fired a second shot, and shouted, “Come back, come back!” The runners heeded the signal and the shout, but as they tiptoed up the track, they looked irritated.