In the dressing-room he sat on a bench next to Lawrence Upton and began putting on his clothes in silence. The other boys were talking all round him, commenting cheerfully on the plays and on the future prospects of the teams.
Lawrence refrained from discussing the game at all; he asked Westby what St. Timothy’s boys he knew at Harvard, and where he expected to room when he went there; he tried to be friendly. But Westby repelled his efforts, answering in a sullen voice. At last Lawrence finished dressing; he picked up his bag and turned to Westby.
“Look here,” he said, and there was a twinkle in his eyes. “I’m going to be at Harvard the next three years; we’re likely to meet. Must a little hard luck make hard feeling?”
“Oh, there’s no hard feeling,” Westby assured him.
“Glad to hear it. Good-by.” Lawrence held out his hand.
“You’re not going to stay for supper?”
“No. I’m going back with the team on the six o’clock train—hour exam on Monday. My brother’s waiting for me outside; I want to see him for a while before we start. I hope to come up here some time again—hope I’ll see you.”
“Thanks. I hope so. Good-by.”
The words were all right, but Westby spoke them mechanically. It had flashed upon him that Lawrence would now learn from his brother the charge that he had so unjustly and hotly made. And of a sudden he wished he could prevent that. He would have been glad to go to Irving and retract it all and apologize; anything to keep Lawrence from hearing of it.
Why had he been so slow in dressing—why hadn’t he hurried on his clothes and gone out ahead of Lawrence and made it all right with Irving!
With a wild thought that it might not yet be too late, he flung on his coat and rushed from the building—only to see Irving and Lawrence walking together across the football field.
MASTER AND BOY
For several days Westby’s unnatural quiet was attributed to his sensitiveness over the error which had given the Harvard Freshmen their victory. It was most noticeable at Irving’s table; there his bubbling spirits seemed permanently to have subsided; he wrapped himself in silence and gloom. His manner towards Irving was that of haughty displeasure. Carroll was at a loss to understand it and questioned him about it one day.
“Oh, I’m just tired of him—tired of hearing his everlasting brag about his brother,” Westby said sharply.
“He bragged so little about him once you wouldn’t believe he had a brother,” replied Carroll. “I don’t see that he brags much more about him now.”
“Well, I see it, and it annoys me,” retorted Westby rudely. “I think I’ll see if I can have my seat changed. I’d rather sit at Scabby’s table.”
Mr. Randolph, however, the head of the Upper School, refused to grant Westby’s petition.