“You don’t give any special reason,” he said. “You have friends at Mr. Upton’s table; you ought to be contented to stay there. What’s the matter? Are you having friction with some one?”
“I should be better satisfied if I were at Scarborough’s table,” said Westby.
“We can’t gratify every individual preference or whim,” replied Mr. Randolph.
He asked Irving if he knew of any reason why Westby should be transferred and told him that the boy had asked for the change.
“Oh, it’s just between him and me,” said Irving wearily. “We don’t get on.”
“Then you’d like to have him go, too?”
“No, I wouldn’t. When he’s his natural self, I like him. And I haven’t yet given up the hope that some time we’ll get together.”
He met Westby’s coldness with coolness. But on the morning of the St. John’s game, after breakfast, he drew Westby aside. He held a letter in his hand.
“Westby,” he said, “I don’t know that you will care to hear it, but I have a message for you from my brother.”
Westby cast down his eyes and reddened. “I don’t suppose I shall care to hear it,” he said with a humility that amazed Irving. “But go ahead—give it to me, Mr. Upton.”
“I don’t quite understand—he just asked me to say to you that he hopes you’ll get your chance in the game to-day. He felt you were rather cut up by your hard luck in the Freshman game.”
“Didn’t he—isn’t he—” Westby hesitated for an uncomfortable moment, then blurted out, “Isn’t he sore at me, Mr. Upton?”
“For saying about him what I did—about his trying to lay Collingwood out when he tackled.”
“He doesn’t know you said it.”
“Oh! Didn’t you tell him?”
“No. The criticism was unjust—there was no use in repeating it.”
“It was unjust.” Westby had lowered his voice. “I am very much ashamed, Mr. Upton.”
“That’s all right,” said Irving. He took Westby’s hand. “I hope too you’ll get your chance in the game.”
“Thank you.” Westby spoke humbly. “I hope if I do, I won’t make a mess of it again.”
That game was far different in color and feeling from the one with the Freshmen on the Saturday before. Long before it began the boys of St. John’s with their blue banners and flags and the boys of St. Timothy’s with their red were ranged on opposite sides of the field, hurling defiant, challenging cheers across at one another; for St. Timothy’s a band, in which Scarborough beat the drum and was director, paraded back and forth; the little boys were already hopping up and down and trembling and squealing with excitement; already their little voices were almost gone.
Irving knew that to himself alone was this occasion one of less moving interest than that of the preceding Saturday; as he stood and looked on at the waving red and the waving blue and later at the struggle that was being waged in the middle of the field, he wondered how on this afternoon that other game between the red and the blue was going, and how Lawrence was acquitting himself.