Part 1 out of 7
This etext was produced by charles Franks and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
I. A SOCIAL IMPOSSIBILITY
II. 'VARSITY VERSUS MCGILL
III. THE VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS
IV. ONLY ONE CLAIM
V. "YEA, AND HIS OWN LIFE ALSO"
VI. ON THE TRAIL
VII. THE OUTPOST
VIII. THE OLD PROSPECTOR
IX. TIM CARROLL
X. THE TURF MEET
XI. "I WAS A STRANGER, AND YE TOOK ME IN"
XII. HIS KEEPER
XIII. THE PRESIDENT OF GUY'S, LONDON
XIV. OLD PROSPECTOR'S AWAKING
XV. EJECTED AND REJECTED
XVI. "STAY AT YOUR POST, LAD"
XVII. BETTY'S LAST WORDS
XVIII. THE DON'S RECOVERY
XIX. THE REGION BEYOND
XX. THE NEW POLICY
XXI. THE WAITING GAME
A SOCIAL IMPOSSIBILITY
It was one of November's rare days. The kindly air, vital with the
breath of the north wind and mellow with the genial sun, was full of
purple haze; the grass, still vividly green, gave no hint of the
coming winter; the trees, bony and bare but for a few rags of summer
dress, russet-brown and gold, stood softened of all their harshness
in the purple haze and slanting, yellow light of the autumn
afternoon. Nature wore a face of content. She had fulfilled her
course for another year, and, satisfied with her achievement, was
obviously thinking of settling herself into her winter's sleep.
It was a good day to be alive. The tingle in the air somehow got
into the blood.
So it felt to a young girl who danced out from under the trees on
the west boundary of the University campus.
"Oh!" she cried to her statelier, taller sister, who with a young
man followed more sedately into the open. "Oh, what a day! What a
She was a bonny maid just out of her teens, and, with her brown
gown, brown hair and eyes, red cheeks, and wholesome, happy face,
she fitted well into the picture she herself looked upon.
"Dear old 'Varsity," said her sister in a voice quiet, but thrilling
with intense feeling. "There is nothing so lovely in all this city
"Toronto!" exclaimed the young man at her side. "Well, I should say!
Don't you know that a distinguished American art critic declares
this building the most symmetrical, the most harmonious, the most
perfectly proportioned bit of architecture on the American
continent. And that is something, from a citizen of the 'biggest
nation on dry land.'"
They walked slowly and silently along the border of the matchless
velvety lawn, noting the many features of beauty in the old grey
face of the University building--the harmonious variety of lines and
curves in curious gargoyles, dragons, and gryphons that adorned the
cornices and the lintels, pausing long to admire the wonderful
carved entrance with its massive tower above.
"Great, isn't it?" said Lloyd. "The whole thing, I mean--park, lawn,
and the dear old, grey stones."
At this moment some men in football garb came running out of the
"Oh, here's the team!" cried Betty, the younger sister,
ecstatically. "Are they going to play?"
"No, I think not," said Lloyd. "Campbell would not risk any
scrimmaging or tackling this evening, with McGill men even now in
town thirsting for their blood. He's got them out for a run to
limber up their wind and things for to-morrow."
The sisters were football enthusiasts. For the past four years the
beautiful Rosedale home of the Fairbanks had been the rendezvous for
students, and, as many of these had been football men, the young
ladies had become as devoted to the game and almost as expert in its
fine points as any of its champions.
"Don't they look well and fit," exclaimed Betty as the string of
runners went past.
"Yes, and fit they are every man," replied Lloyd. "There's Campbell!
He's a truly great captain, knows his men, and gets out of them all
that is possible."
"Yes, and there's Brown; and McNab, isn't it? Aren't they the
quarters?" asked Betty excitedly.
Lloyd nodded. "And yonder goes `Shock,' the great Shock."
"Oh, where?" cried Betty. "Yes, yes. Now, do you know I think he is
just as mean as he can be. Here I have been bowing and smiling my
best and sweetest for four years, and though he knows a lot of the
men we know he is just as much a stranger as ever," and Betty pouted
in a manner that would have brought deep satisfaction to Shock had
he seen her.
"Here are the three halves, aren't they?" inquired Helen, the elder
"Yes," replied Lloyd. "There's Martin and Bate. Fine fellow, Bate--
"Oh!" broke in Betty, "there's the 'The Don.' do wish they would
look. They needn't pretend they don't see us, the horrid things."
"Of course they see you," answered Lloyd, "but they are engaged in
serious business. You surely don't expect to divert their attention
from the pursuit of their noble art. Why, who, or what do you
conceive yourself to be?"
But Betty only smiled serenely, and shook her curls back saucily.
"Oh, I know," replied Lloyd, "I know what you are saying. `Some day,
some day they will grovel.' Alas, only too soon! And, indeed, here
comes The Don on his second round. I'll ask him what he means."
"If you dare!" cried Betty.
"Mr. Lloyd!" said Helen haughtily, and Mr. Lloyd thought better of
But "The Don" did not even glance toward the group.
"Look at that, now," said Lloyd disgustedly.
"Did anyone ever see such besotted devotion to a barbarous
"He did not see us at all," insisted Betty. "But why is Mr. Balfour
called 'The Don'?"
"Obviously, I should say, from his Don-like appearance, bearing,
carriage, etc. But I am not an authority. Ask little Brown, your
special slave. He knows all about both Shock and The Don."
"What absurd names you have," exclaimed Betty. "Now, what is the
reason for Shock's name? Is it the shock of his charge in the
"Not bad, that. I rather fear, however, it has to do with his most
striking feature, if feature it be, for, when you pull him feet
first out of a scrimmage, a method not infrequently adopted, his
head is a sight to behold. But, as I said before, ask Brown."
"I will to-night. He's coming over after tea. You are coming, too,
are you not?"
Lloyd bowed. "I shall be delighted"
True to her word Betty greeted Brown, on his appearance in the cosy,
homelike parlour of the Fairbanks' that evening, with the question,
"How did 'The Don' come by his nickname?"
"Oh, did you never know that? Most fellows put it down to his style,
but it's not that. He got it from his blood. You know, his father
was one of those West India, sea-captains that one used to find
strewn thick through Halifax society, who made fortunes in rum and
lost them pretty much the same way. Well, the old captain married a
Spanish girl. I have seen her portrait, and she was a beauty, a
`high-bred Spanish lady,' sure enough. Lived somewhere in the
islands. Came home with the Captain, and died in Halifax, leaving
her seven year old boy in charge of an aunt. Father died soon
afterwards. Grief, I believe, and drink. Even then his people called
the 'the little Don.' He had a little money left him to start with,
but that has long since vanished. At any rate, for the last five or
six years he has had to fend for himself."
"Quite a romance," said Lloyd.
"Isn't it?" exclaimed Betty. "And he never told a word."
"Well, The Don's not a publisher."
"But then he told you."
"Yes, he told me and Shock one night. He likes us, you see."
"'De gustibus non disputandum,'" murmured Lloyd, and in answer to
Betty's inquiring look added, "as the old woman said when she kissed
"Now then, what about Shock's name?" continued Betty.
"Hair," said Brown laconically. "You have seen him come out of a
scrimmage like a crab?"
"Yes. Isn't he just lovely then?" exclaimed Betty.
"Lovely? Oh, woman, woman! A ghastly, bloody, fearsome spectacle.
Lovely! But it was ever thus. 'Butchered to make a Roman holiday,'"
"Well, he is rather bloody. Bleeds easily, you; know, but it doesn't
hurt at all," said Brown. "He never really enjoys himself till the
"Disgusting old Berserker!" exclaimed Lloyd.
"But I think he is just a dear," went on Betty enthusiastically.
"The way he puts his head right down into a crowd of men, and lets
them jump on him and maul him!"
"Yes," replied her sister, who had taken little part in the
conversation, "and comes out smiling. That is what I like."
"And bloody," added Lloyd. "That's what Miss Betty likes."
"I want to know about him," cried Betty impatiently. "Why don't we
get to know him? Tell me about him," she insisted. "Where does he
live? Who are his people?"
"Well, you see, Shock's shy. Does not go in for the sort of thing
that Lloyd, for instance, revels and glitters in--teas, functions,
social routs, and all that, you know. He has only his mother, a dear
old Highland lady, poor, proud, and independent. She lives in a
quaint little house out on the Commons away behind the college, and
lives for, in, with, by, and around Shock, and he vice versa. He
shares everything with her, his work down in the mission--"
"Mission!" interrupted Betty.
"Yes. Runs a mission down in St. John's ward. Gives her all his
experiences with the denizens of that precinct, keeps her in touch
with his college work, and even with his football. You ought to see
him lay a out the big matches before her on the tea table with
plates, cups, salt cellars, knives, spoons, and you ought to see her
excitement and hear her criticisms. Oh, she's a great sport!"
"Go on," said Helen, her fine eyes beginning to glow. "Go on. Tell
us more about her."
But Brown shut up abruptly, as if he had been taking a liberty with
the privacy of his friend's home.
"Oh," he said lightly, "there's nothing more to tell. They live a
very quiet, very simple, but, I think, a very beautiful life."
"And she's fond of football?" inquired Betty.
"Devoted to it."
"And has she never seen a game? Has she never seen Shock play?"
"Would she be afraid?"
"Would you insult the widow of a Sutherland Highlander whose picture
in warlike regalia regards her daily from her cottage wall?"
"Well, I am going to see her," exclaimed Betty.
Brown looked annoyed.
"Why, I am going to call."
Brown laughed a little scornfully. "Yes, and be sure to leave three
cards--is it?--and tell her your day."
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Betty indignantly. "You are not very
"Oh, I am sorry, really. But I imagined the old lady looking at you
and wondering what was your particular business, and then I thought
of your difficulty in making it quite clear to her."
"Why! does she not call on anyone?"
"No. She takes her knitting and visits."
"Well, I'm going anyway, somehow. I'll ask Shock to take me."
"Oh, Betty, you could not do that," said Helen. "No man would like
exhibiting his home, much less his mother."
But Betty shook her head decidedly, saying, "I'll find some way.
Tell me, what does she like?"
"But I mean what amusement and pleasure has she?"
"Amusement! Shades of the mighty past! Why, Miss Betty," Brown's
tone is sad and severe, "in my young days young people never thought
of amusement. We had no time for such follies."
"Oh, nonsense!" exclaimed Betty impatiently. "Has she no other
interest in life than Shock?"
"None. Her church,--she would regard your prelacy with horror,--and
Shock, and Shock's doings and goings--and football, of course, as I
have said. Shock plays, you see."
"Then I have an idea," cried Helen. "We'll--"
"Do go on," appealed Brown.
"Better give it to him," said Lloyd. "An idea, you know, is to some
people a rare and valuable asset."
"Not now. Perhaps later I may impart it," said Helen.
"It would be a great kindness," said Brown humbly, "if you could let
me have it soon."
"Nature abhors a vacuum, you know," put in Lloyd.
At this point the bell rang and The Don came in. He was a young man
of striking appearance, handsome, dark, well set up, with the eyes
of his Spanish mother, but with the head and jaw of his Scotch sea-
captain father. With all his ease of manner there was a shy, proud
reserve about him, and a kind of grand air that set him apart from
any company in which he might appear.
After saluting the young ladies with a somewhat formal bow, he
announced, "I want you, Brown."
"Oh, sit down," cried Betty. "Sit down, Mr. Balfour. We are not
going to allow you to carry off our visitor in this abrupt manner."
"Yes, take yourself off," cried Brown. "You see I can't be spared."
"Please sit down," urged Helen. "We want to ask you about the
"I really cannot," replied The Don. "I am on duty, you see."
"Yes. Looking after men who would stay out to all hours, and regale
themselves upon cake and all sorts of indigestible stuff. And more
than that, Shock is outside waiting."
"Oh," cried Betty, "do bring him in. For years Helen and I have
known him, and yet we don't know him. Bring him in."
"Can you not persuade him to come in?" urged Helen.
"I am sure I cannot. But if you were to try--" The Don paused,
looking doubtfully at her. Helen hesitated.
"Oh, he's awful, I know. He will hardly speak to me," interrupted
Betty. "But if you'll come with me I'll humble myself before him."
In a moment or two, sure enough, they returned, with Shock
He was a big man, gaunt and bony, with a mighty pair of shoulders
topped by a square, massive head on which bristled a veritable shock
of coarse, yellow hair. But he had a strong, honest face, and good,
deep blue eyes. He seemed too big for the room, and after shaking
hands awkwardly with Helen, who had gone forward to meet him, he
subsided into, deep arm-chair, struggling with his hands and feet.
The contrast between Shock on the one hand, and the elegant Lloyd
and the handsome Don on the other, could hardly be more striking.
All in the room were conscious of this contrast and sought in every,
way to minimise it. Betty plunged into football talk, to which Shock
listened for the most part smilingly silent.
She was determined to draw her unhappy visitor from his shell. But
her most brilliant efforts were in vain. Poor Shock remained
hopelessly engaged with his hands and feet, and replied at
unexpected places, in explosive monosyllables at once ludicrous and
disconcerting. Not even The Don, who came to her assistance, could
relieve the awkwardness of the situation. Shock was too large to be
ignored, and too unwieldy to be adjusted.
After a few minutes of hopeless endeavour The Don gave up the
attempt and rose to go, saying: "You will need to excuse us. We are
due at a meeting to-night. Come along, Brown."
The alacrity which Shock displayed in getting upon his feet gave
abundant testimony to the agony he had been suffering during the
last half hour.
"Yes, we must be off," said Brown, far more eager to go than was his
"Will you not come again?" said Betty to Shock, as she shook hands
with him. "My mother would be glad to see you."
But Shock could only look at her blankly, evidently wondering what
her mother might wish to see him for, and when Betty tried to
extract a promise from him he muttered something about being "far
behind in his work and very busy."
But Betty was not to be baulked.
"I should like to call on your mother," she said. But again Shock
looked blank, while Brown began to make faces at her from behind his
"When will your mother be in?" she persisted.
"Oh, she's in every day, except when she goes out for a walk, or--"
Brown kept up his signalling, and The Don began to look puzzled and
"Well," said Betty desperately, "I would like to go and see her some
Shock hesitated, blushed, and then answered: "We have no friends in
the city, and we do not visit much, and--"
"Oh, I'll tell you, Miss Betty," burst in Brown. "Get a sharp attack
of typhoid and Mrs. Macgregor will then come and see you. She's a
"That she is," said Shock enthusiastically. "She would be glad to
"Come along, Brown," broke in The Don. "We are late now. Come along,
Shock," and the three men went off together, leaving Lloyd behind.
"Isn't he awful?" said Beth. "And didn't I humiliate myself?"
"You certainly deserved humiliation," said her sister indignantly.
"You might have seen he was dreadfully shy, and you ought to have
left him alone. And now for my great idea. I will take you both into
my confidence. I am going to drive Mrs. Macgregor to the match to-
"Splendid!" exclaimed Betty. "And I'll go with you. But how can you
"I have thought about that," said Helen. "We'll ask Mr. Brown to
drive around with us a little before, and I'm sure she will go."
"Will you allow me to join the party?" humbly asked Lloyd, "or is
there someone else?"
"Oh," said Betty, "we are sure to need somebody, and you will do as
well as any other."
In obedience to an invitation conveyed by Lloyd, Brown appeared at
the Fairbanks house in the early morning. Eagerly the young ladies
propounded their plan. At once Brown entered heartily into it, and
calling with them in the afternoon persuaded the old lady that she
ought to attend the great match, emphasising especially the fact
that Shock would be delighted to see her there, and would be
stimulated to do his very best by her presence.
"It will likely be his last game, too," urged Brown.
This finally decided the matter, and so it turned out that perhaps
the most enthusiastic, and certainly the most picturesque, of all
the groups that surrounded the campus next day was that which filled
the Fairbanks carriage, consisting of two young ladies, an elegantly
attired young man, and a quaint, plainly dressed, but undeniably
dignified, old lady.
VARSITY VERSUS McGILL
It is a glorious autumn day. The smoky air with just a nip of the
coming frost in it hangs still over the trees, through whose bare
tops and interlacing boughs the genial sunlight falls in a golden
glory upon the grass below. The nip in the air, the golden light,
the thrilling uncertainty of the coming match, the magnitude of the
issue at stake, combine to raise the ardour of football enthusiasts
to the highest pitch.
The record of each team is unique. Each has gone through the
championship series without a single reverse. Perhaps never in their
history have both universities been more worthily represented than
by the teams that are to contest to-day the championship of the
The McGill men are the first to appear on the campus, and are
welcomed with loud and generous cheers, which are, however,
redoubled upon the appearance of the 'Varsity champions.
Many eyes are turned upon the Fairbanks carriage. The young ladies
are well known in University circles; but the quaint old lady,
looking so handsome in spite of her plain black bonnet, awakens the
curiosity of the crowd, which only increases when it becomes known
that she is Shock's mother.
"Do you see Hamish, my dear?" inquires the old lady. "They are so
much alike I cannot distinguish him."
"Go and bring him," cries Betty, and Lloyd returns in a moment with
Shock and little Brown.
"Mother! mother! This is awful. You won't like it a bit. You'll
think I'm getting killed many a time."
But the old lady only smiles placidly. "Indeed, and I'm not afraid
for you. Run away, Hamish, and be careful of the laddies."
"Don't tell him that, Mrs. Macgregor," pleads Brown. "He's far too
gentle as it is."
Some few minutes are spent in arranging for the kick-off.
"Oh, I do wish they would start," exclaims Betty, standing up in the
carriage. "If they would only start!" she repeats. "I want to have a
chance to shriek."
"There they go!" exclaims Lloyd.
It is McGill's kick. Huntingdon, the big captain and centre forward,
takes it magnificently, following up hard with his whole team.
Pepper, the 'Varsity full back, however, is at the spot and returns
into touch. In the throw-in McGill secures the ball, and by a swift
rush makes fifteen or twenty feet, when, amid the cheers of the
spectators, both teams settle down into their first scrimmage.
These are the days of close scrimmage play, when nine men on each
side put their heads down with the ball between them, and shove for
dear life. Picking out, heeling out, or kicking out is strictly
forbidden and promptly penalised.
The first scrimmage results in a dead ball. Once more a scrimmage is
formed, but again the result is a dead ball. Over and over again
this play is repeated with very little gain on either side. It
gradually becomes apparent, however, that McGill in a scrimmage is
slightly heavier. Foot by foot they work their way toward the
The cries of "Hold them, 'Varsity! Hold them, 'Varsity!" and,
"You've got 'em, McGill! You've got 'em!" indicate the judgment of
"Ay," says the old lady, "they are a bit heavy for them, I doubt."
"Who!" inquires Betty, much amused.
"The Montreal lads. But we will be waiting a meenute."
It is a very slow game for the crowds that line every side of the
field. Neither team will let the ball out. Again and again the
quarters nip up the ball and pass, but the tackling is so hard and
swift that the halves cannot get away, and by passing ground is
almost always lost.
"Keep it in!" is the word. Inch by inch towards the 'Varsity goal
the McGill forwards fight their way.
Suddenly the McGill scrimmage weakens and breaks up. Their quarter
seizes the ball, passes it low and swift to Bunch, who is off like
the wind across the field, dodges through the quarters, knocks off
Martin and Bate, and with The Don coming hard upon his flank, sets
off for the 'Varsity line with only Pepper between him and a touch-
But Pepper is waiting for him, cool and steady. As Bunch nears him
he crouches like a cat, creeping slowly to meet his coming foe. Ten
feet from the line straight at the full back goes Bunch. At two
paces distance he changes his mind and swerves to the left with the
hope of dodging past.
But he has ventured too far. Pepper takes two short steps, and like
a tiger springs at his foe, winds his arms round his hips and drags
him down, while The Don from the side leaps fiercely on him and
holds the ball safe, five feet from the line.
'Varsity goes wild with relief.
"Pepper! Pepper! Red hot Pepper!" they chant rapturously in
enthusiastic groups here and there, as Pepper's red head emerges
from the crowd piled upon him and the prostrate Bunch. Again and
again rises the chant, as the full back returns at a slow trot to
his place behind the line.
"Indeed, it is Pepper is the grand laddie," says the old lady
approvingly. "Many's the game he has saved, Hamish will be telling
"Now, McGill!" calls out a Montreal man, leading his fellows. "Stone
wall! Stone wall! Shove 'em in! Shove 'em in!"
But the 'Varsity captain is alive to his danger, and getting his men
low down he determines to hold the enemy fast till the fury of their
attack be somewhat spent, or till fortune shall bring him aid.
"Get up! Get up there, 'Varsity!" yells the McGill contingent.
"Look at 'em saying their prayers!" shouts a boy.
"They need to," answers another.
"Get up, 'Varsity! Get up! Don't be afraid!" they yell derisively.
"Make 'em stand up, referee," a Montreal man insists.
Again and again the McGill captain appeals to the referee, who
remonstrates, urges, and finally orders the 'Varsity to get up or be
Campbell perceives that something must be done. He moves Shock from
the centre to the left wing of the scrimmage and calls in Martin and
Bate from half.
By this time every 'Varsity man is on his feet, for he knows that
Shock is about to lead the "screw" and before the scrimmage is well
formed the McGill stone wall is broken, and Campbell is boring
through it with the bat, gaining a good ten feet and by a quick re-
form ten more.
"Man, man, take heed. Yon's a dangerous game, I'm thinking," murmurs
Shock's mother anxiously, to the amazed amusement of Lloyd, who
replies, "Why, Mrs. Macgregor, you seem to know the game as well as
the rest of us."
"Ay, Hamish has often showed me the working of the screw, and it is
not to be depended upon in a place like yon."
The 'Varsity team breathe freely again and go in with new vim, while
McGill settles down on the ball to recover steadiness.
But the 'Varsity captain has seen the screw work and resolves to try
it again. Once more he move Shock to the wing, signals to the
quarters, and again the Montreal stone wall is demoralised. But
instead of Campbell boring over the prostrate form of his big centre
with the ball the McGill captain, securing it, passes to Carroll,
his quarter, who dashing off as a feint to the right, passes far
across the field to Bunch on the left.
Bunch as usual is in his place, catches beautifully and is off down
the field like a whirlwind, dodging one, knocking off another,
running round a third, till between him and the goal line he has
only the half back, Martin, and the full.
The McGill people go wild again. "Bunch! Bunch!" they yell
frantically, crowding down the line after him. "He's in! He's in!"
But not yet. Red Pepper is swiftly bearing down upon him, and as he
comes within reach springs at him. But the wily Bunch has learned to
measure that long reach, and dodging back sharply, he slips round
Pepper and makes for the line ten yards away.
A long groan goes up from the 'Varsity support, while from a hundred
McGill throats rises the cry again--"He's in! He's in! A touch! A
But close upon him, and gaining at every foot, is The Don, the
fleetest man in the 'Varsity team. For half a second it looks as if
Bunch must make the line, but within three yards of the goal, and
just as he is about to throw himself toward it, Balfour shoots out
his arm, grasps his enemy by the back of the neck, and turning
round, hurls him back with terrific force to the ground and clambers
on top of him. It is a fierce tackle, giving great satisfaction to
all the 'Varsity supporters, but to none more than to Mrs.
Macgregor, who, as she sees the unfortunate Bunch hurled to earth,
exclaims with quiet satisfaction, "That will be doing for ye, I'm
"Isn't she a great old warrior?" says Lloyd aside, to the young
"The Don! The Don!" cry the 'Varsity contingent. "We-like-Don! We-
like-Don!" they chant, surging across the corner of the field in the
"Keep back! Keep back! Give him air." The referee, and the captains
with their teams, push the crowd back, for Bunch is lying motionless
upon the ground. "It's simply a case of wind," says little Carroll,
the McGill quarter, lightly.
"The want of it, you mean," says big Mooney, hauling Carroll back by
In a few minutes, however, the plucky McGill half back is up again,
and once more the scrimmage is formed.
Gradually it grows more evident that McGill is heavier in the
scrimmage, but this advantage is offset by the remarkable boring
quality of the 'Varsity captain, who, upon the break up of a
scrimmage, generally succeeds in making a few feet, frequently over
Shock's huge body. As for Shock, be apparently enjoys being walked
upon by his captain, and emerges from each successive scrimmage with
his yellow hair fiercely erect, his face covered with blood, and
always wreathed in smiles. No amount of hacking and scragging in a
scrimmage can damp his ardour or ruffle the serenity of his temper.
"Isn't he ghastly?" exclaims Lloyd to the young ladies at his side.
"Perfectly lovely!" cries Betty in return.
"Ah, the old story of the bloodthirsty sex," replies Lloyd. "Hello,
there goes half time," he adds, "and no score yet. This is truly a
great game." Eagerly the men are taken charge of by their respective
attendants, stripped, rubbed, slapped, and sponged.
Up come Shock and Brown. The blood on Shock's face gives him a
"Oh!" cries Helen anxiously, "you are hurt."
"Not a bit," he replies cheerily, glancing in surprise at her.
"How do you like it, Mrs Macgregor?" inquires Brown.
"Man, laddie, they are a grand team, and it will be no easy matter
to wheep them."
"Don't you think now that Shock is a little too gentle with them?"
asks Brown wickedly.
"Well, it will not do to allow them to have their own way
altogether," she replies cautiously. "But run away, Hamish, and get
yourself put right. There is much before you yet."
"Say, old man," says Brown as they trot off, "it's no credit to you
to be a great centre. You'd disgrace your blood if you were anything
Into the 'Varsity dressing room strolls old Black, the greatest
captain of the greatest team 'Varsity has ever seen.
"Well, old chap," he calls out cheerfully to Campbell, "how goes
"All right," says Campbell. "They are a great team, but I think we
are holding them."
"They are the greatest team McGill ever sent here," replies Black.
"Oh, thanks, awfully," says Campbell, "but they are hardly up to the
team of four years ago."
"Quite, I assure you, and you are holding them down."
"Do you think so?" There was no anxiety in the captain's tone, but
there was a serious earnestness that somehow caught the ear of all
the men in the room.
Black noticed it.
"Yes, you are holding them so far, without a doubt. Their weight
tells in the scrimmage, and of course we do not know their back play
yet, and that fellow Bunch Cameron is a wonder."
"That's what!" sings out little Brown. "But what's the matter with
Immediately the roar comes back, "He's--all--right!"
"Yes," replies Black quietly, "Balfour is swifter, and harder in
"Have you anything to suggest?" asks Campbell, with a reverence
which a man in the struggle feels for one who has achieved. The men
are all quiet, listening. But Black knows his place.
"Not in the least. You have a great team, and you are handling them
"Hear that now, will you?" cries little Brown "We're It!"
"Do you think we had better open up a little?" But Black is a
gentleman and knows better than to offer advice.
"I really cannot offer an opinion. You know your men better than I.
Besides, it is better to find out your enemy's tactics than to be
too stuck on your own. Remember, those fellows are doing some
thinking at this blessed minute. Of course," he went on
hesitatingly, "if they keep playing the same close game--well--you
might try--that is--you have got a great defence, you know, and The
Don can run away from any of them."
"All right," said the captain. "We'll feel 'em first, boys. Keep at
the old game. Close and steady till we get inside their heads. Watch
their quarters. They're lightning in a pass."
It turns out that old Black is right. The McGills have been doing
some thinking. From the kick-off they abandon the close scrimmage
for a time, playing an open, dribbling, punting game, and they are
playing it superbly. While they are sure in their catching and
fierce in their tackle, their specialty is punting and following up.
In this they are exceedingly dangerous. For the first ten minutes
the 'Varsity men are forced within their own twenty-five yard line
and are put upon their defence. The quarters and forwards begin to
"back," a sure sign of coming doom.
"What in thunder are you doing back here!" roars Martin to little
Brown. "Do you see anything wrong with this line?"
Nothing so maddens a half back as to see the forward line fall back
into defence. Little Brown, accepting his rebuke with extraordinary
meekness, abandons the defence and with the other quarters and
forwards, who had been falling back, goes up where Campbell and
Shock are doing their best to break the punting game and are waiting
their chance for a run.
Every moment is dangerous; for the McGills have the spirit of
victory strong upon them, and from their supporters on the side
lines the triumphant and exasperating refrain is rising:
"Got'em going, going, going,
Got'em going home."
And indeed for a few minutes it looks like it. Again and again the
McGill forward line, fed carefully and judiciously by their defence,
rush to the attack, and it is all Campbell can do to hold his men in
place. Seizing the opportunity of a throw-in for 'Varsity, he passes
the word to his halves and quarters, "Don't give away the ball. Hold
and run. Don't pass," and soon he has the team steady again and
ready for aggressive work. Before long, by resolutely refusing to
kick or pass and by close, hard tackling, 'Varsity forces McGill to
abandon open play, and once more the game settles down into the old,
terrible, grinding scrimmage.
"Oh, why don't they let The Don have it?" exclaims Betty. "I am sure
he could get through."
The crowd seem to hold the same opinion, for they begin to call out,
"Let it out, Alec. Let The Don have it."
But Campbell still plays cautiously a close game. His men are
staying well, and he is conscious of a reserve in his back line that
he can call upon at the fitting moment. For that moment, however, he
waits anxiously, for while his scrim is playing with bulldog grit it
is losing snap. True, Shock comes out of every tussle bloody,
serene, and smiling as usual, but the other men are showing the
punishment of the last hour's terrible scrimmage. The extra weight
of the McGill line is beginning surely to tell. It is an anxious
moment for the 'Varsity captain, for any serious weakening of the
scrimmage line is disastrous to the morals of a team.
"You are holding them all right, old chap," says old Black, taking
advantage of a pause in the play while little Brown's leg is being
rubbed into suppleness.
"I'd like to open out, but I'm afraid to do it," replies Campbell.
"Well, I think your back line is safe enough. Their scrimmage is
gaining on you. I almost think you might venture to try a pass
It is upon the passing of his back line that Campbell has in
previous matches depended for winning, and with ordinary opponents
he would have adopted long ago this style of play, but these McGill
men are so hard upon the ball, so deadly in tackling, and so sure in
their catch that he hesitates to give them the opportunities that
open play affords. But he has every confidence in The Don, his great
half back; he has never played him in any match where he has not
proved himself superior to everything in the field, and he resolves
to give him a chance.
At this moment something happens, no one knows how. A high punt from
behind sends the ball far up into the 'Varsity territory, and far
before all others Bunch, who seems to have a kind of uncanny
instinct for what is going to happen, catches the ball on the bound
and makes for the 'Varsity line with a comparatively open field
before him. Fifteen yards from the line he is tackled by Martin, but
ere he falls passes to Huntingdon, his captain, who, catching neatly
and dodging between Campbell and another 'Varsity man, hurls his
huge weight upon Pepper, who is waiting for him, crouched low after
his usual style.
The full back catches him fairly and throws him over his shoulder.
As both come heavily to the ground there is a sickening crack heard
over the field. The McGill captain, with Pepper hanging desperately
to his hips, drags himself over the line and secures a touchdown for
At once there rises a wild tumult of triumph from the McGill
contingent, but after a minute or two the noise is followed by an
anxious hush, and when the crowd about the prostrate players is
dispersed Pepper is seen lying on his face tearing up the grass. Two
or three doctors rush in from the crowd, and before long Pepper is
carried off the field. His leg is broken.
A number of people begin to leave the field.
"Oh, isn't it horrible," groans Betty, turning very pale. "Shall we
go home, Mrs. Macgregor? "
Helen looks at the old lady anxiously.
"Here is Hamish," she replies quickly. "We will wait."
Shock runs up, much disturbed.
"Awful, is it not?" he says to Helen, who is the first to meet him.
"I am sorry, mother, you are here."
"Will they be stopping, think you, Hamish?" asks his mother. There
is a shade of anxiety in her voice.
"No, mother, we must play it out."
"Then I will just be waiting for the end," says the old lady calmly.
"Poor laddie--but he was bravely defending his post. And you must
just be going, Hamish man."
As Shock moved off the young ladies and Lloyd looked at her in
amazement. It was in some such spirit that she had sent her husband
to his last fight twenty years ago.
A cloud of grief and foreboding settles down upon the 'Varsity team,
for Pepper is not only a great favourite with them, but as a full
back they have learned to depend upon him. Huntingdon is full of
regrets, and at once offers Campbell and the referee to forego the
touchdown, and to scrimmage at the point of tackle.
"He would have held me, I know, bar the accident," he says.
The referee is willing, but Campbell will not hear of it.
"Put off a man," he says shortly, "and go on with the game."
Bate is moved from half to full, a man is taken from the scrimmage
to supply his place, McGill makes a similar shift, and the game
Huntingdon fails to convert the touchdown into a goal. Bate kicks
back into touch, and with desperate determination 'Varsity goes in
to even the score.
Campbell resolves now to abandon the close game. He has everything
to win, and to lose by four points is as much a loss as by a dozen.
"Play to your halves every time," he orders the quarters, and no
sooner is play begun than the wisdom of the plan is seen. With a
brilliant series of passes the 'Varsity quarters and halves work the
ball through the McGill twenty-five line, and by following hard a
high punt, force the enemy to a safety touch. No sooner has the
McGill captain kicked off than the ball is returned and again McGill
is forced to rouge.
The score now stands four to two in favour of McGill, but the
'Varsity men have come to their strongest and are playing with an
aggressiveness that cannot be denied. Again and again they press
their opponents behind their twenty-five line.
"Oh," exclaims Betty, "if there is only time they can win yet. Do
find out," she says to Lloyd, "what time there is left." And Lloyd
comes back to announce that there are only six minutes to play.
"Hamish will be telling me that a game is often won in the last
minute," remarks the old lady encouragingly.
As Campbell perceives his desperate case, he begins to swear low,
fierce oaths at his quarters. In all their experience of their
captain the 'Varsity men have never heard him swear, and they awake
to the fact that they are face to face with a situation entirely
unparalleled in their history as a team. They are being defeated,
and about to lose their one chance of the proud distinction of
holding the championship of Canada.
From man to man Campbell goes as he finds opportunity his face
white, his eyes ablaze, adjuring, urging, entreating, commanding, in
a way quite unusual with him.
A new spirit seizes the men. Savagely they press the enemy. They are
never off the ball, but follow it as hounds a hare, and they fling
themselves so fiercely at their foe that in every tackle a McGill
man goes down to earth.
But try as they may it seems impossible to get the ball to The Don.
The McGill men have realised their danger and have men specially
detailed to block the great 'Varsity half. Again and again The Don
receives the ball; but before he can get away these men are upon
At length, however, the opportunity comes. By a low, swift pass from
Brown, Martin receives the ball and immediately transfers it to The
Don. Straight into the midst of a crowd of McGill men he plunges,
knocking off the hands reaching for him, slipping through impossible
apertures, till he emerges at the McGill line with little Carroll
hanging on to his shoulders, and staggering across falls fairly into
the arms of big Mooney.
Down they go all three together, with hands on the ball.
"What is it? Oh, what is it?" shrieks Betty, springing upon the box.
"I am thinking it is what they will be calling a maul in goal, and
it is a peety we cannot be seeing it," replies the dauntless old
"Oh, it's The Don," exclaims Betty anxiously. "What are they doing
to him? Run, oh, run and see!" and Lloyd runs off.
"It's a maul sure enough. Two of them have The Don down," he
announces, "but he'll hold all right," he adds quickly, glancing
keenly at Betty.
"Let me go," cried Betty. "I must go."
"Betty," says Helen, in a low voice, "be quiet."
"Oh, I don't care," cries Betty passionately. "I want to go."
"He'll hold all right," says Lloyd confidently, and Betty grows
"Ay, that he will, yon chap," agrees Mrs. Macgregor, standing up and
trying to see what is going on.
"If The Don can hold for three minutes it will count two for his
side; if Mooney and Carroll can get the ball away it will only count
one," explained Lloyd.
About the three players struggling on the ground the crowd pours
itself, yelling, urging, imploring, shrieking directions. Campbell
stoops down over The Don and shouts into his ear. "Hold on, Don. It
means the game," and The Don, lying on his back, winds his arms
round the ball and sets himself to resist the efforts of Mooney and
Carroll to get it away.
In vain the police and field censors try to keep back the crowd.
They are swept helpless into the centre. Madder and wilder grows the
tumult, while the referee stands, watch in hand, over the struggling
"Stop that choking, Carroll," says Shock to the little quarter, who
is gripping The Don hard about the throat.
"Get off, Mooney," cries Campbell. "Get off his chest with your
knees. Get off, I say, or I'll knock your head off."
But Mooney persists in boring into The Don's stomach with his knees,
tugging viciously at the ball. With a curse Campbell springs at him.
But as he springs a dozen hands reach for him. There is a wild rush
of twenty men for each other's throats. Too close to strike they can
only choke and scrag and hack each other fiercely. The policemen
push in, threatening with their batons, and there is a prospect of a
general fight when the referee's whistle goes. Time is up. The MAUL
is over. 'Varsity has its two points. The score now stand even, four
to four, with two minutes to play.
They lift The Don from the ground. His breath is coming in gasps and
he is trembling with the tremendous exertions of the last three
"Time there!" calls out Shock, who has Balfour in his arms.
The smile is all gone from Shock's face. As he watches The Don
struggling in deep gasps to recover his breath, for the first time
in his football life he loses himself. He hands his friend to a
couple of men standing near, strides over to Mooney, and catching
him by the throat begins to shove him back through the crowd.
"You brute, you!" he roars. "What kind of a game do you call that!
Jumping on a man when he is down, with your knees! For very little,"
he continues, struggling to get his arm free from the men who are
hanging on it, "I would knock your face off."
Men from both sides throw themselves upon Shock and his foe and tear
"That's all right, Shock," cries The Don, laughing between his
gasps, and Shock, suddenly coming to himself, slinks shamefacedly
into the crowd.
"It is not often Hamish forgets himself in yon fashion," says his
mother, shaking her head. "He must be sorely tried indeed," she adds
"I am quite sure of it," replies Helen. "He always comes out
smiling." And the old lady looks at her approvingly a moment, and
says, "Indeed, and you are right, lassie."
In a few minutes The Don is as fit as ever, and slapping Shock on
the back says pleasantly, "Come, along, old fire-eater. We've got to
win this game yet," and Shock goes off with him, still looking much
McGill kicks from the twenty-five line, but before the scrimmage
that follows is over time is called, with an even score.
The crowd streams on the field tumultuously enthusiastic over a game
such as has never been seen on that campus. Both sides are eager to
go on, and it is arranged that the time be extended half an hour.
Old Black gets Campbell aside and urges, "Take ten minutes off and
get your men into quarters." Campbell takes his advice and the
rubbers get vigorously to work at legs and loins, rubbing, sponging,
slapping, until the men declare themselves fresh as ever.
"Not hurt, Don?" inquires Campbell anxiously.
"Not a bit," says The Don. "It didn't bother me at all. I was
winded, you see, before I fell."
"Well," says Campbell, "we're going to give you a chance now.
There's only one thing to do, men. Rush 'em. They play best in
attack, and our defence is safe enough. What do you say, Black?"
"I entirely agree. But begin steady. I should use your whole half
back line, however, for a while. They will lay for Balfour there."
"That's right," says the captain. "Begin steady and pass to Martin
and McLaren for the first while, and then everyone give The Don a
"And Shock," calls out little Brown, "don't be a fool, and stop
fighting," at which everybody roars except Shock himself, who,
ashamed of his recent display of temper, hurries off to the field.
Once more the campus is cleared. Battered and bloody as to features,
torn and dishevelled as to attire, but all eager and resolved, the
teams again line up, knowing well that they have before them a half
hour such as they have never yet faced in all their football career.
It is 'Varsity's kick. Campbell takes it carefully, and places it in
touch well within the McGill twenty-five. After the throw in, the
teams settle down to scrimmage as steady as at the first, with this
difference, however, that 'Varsity shows perceptibly weaker. Back
step by step their scrimmage is forced toward the centre, the
retreat counterbalanced somewhat by the splendid individual boring
of Campbell and Shock. But both teams are alert and swift at the
quarters, fierce in tackle and playing with amazing steadiness.
Suddenly Carroll nips up the ball and passes hard and swift to the
half back immediately behind him, who in turn passes far out to
Bunch on the left wing. With a beautiful catch Bunch, never slacking
speed, runs round the crowd, dodges the quarters, knocks off Martin,
and with a crowd of men of both teams close upon his heels, makes
for the line.
Before him stands Bate alone. From his tall, lank make one might
easily think him none too secure on his legs. Bunch determines to
charge, and like a little bull rushes full at him.
But Bate's whole football life has been one long series of
deceptions, and so he is quite prepared for this kind of attack. As
Bunch comes at him he steps lightly aside, catches the half back
about the neck, swings him round and lands him prone with such
terrific impact that the ball flies out of his grasp.
Immediately little Brown has it, passes to Martin, who on being
tackled passes to The Don. The field before him is full of the
enemy, but The Don never hesitates. Doubling, twisting, knocking of,
he eludes man after man, while the crowds on the line grow more and
more frantic, and at length, clearing the main body, he sets off
across the field to more open country on the 'Varsity left. Behind
him come Campbell, Shock, Martin and others, following hard; before
him stand three of the McGill defence. Dorion, McDonnell, and
Mooney. He has already made a great run, and it looks as if he
cannot possibly make through.
First Dorion springs at him, but The Don's open hand at the end of a
rigid arm catches him full in the neck, and Dorion goes down like a
Big McDonnell bears swiftly down upon him and leaps high at him, but
The Don lowers his shoulder, catches McDonnell below the wind and
slides him over his back; but before he can get up speed again
little Carroll is clutching at his hips, and Mooney, the McGill full
back, comes rushing at him. Swinging round, The Don shakes Carroll
partly off, and with that fierce downward cut of his arm which is
his special trick, sends the little quarter flying, and just as
Mooney tackles, passes the ball over his shoulder to Shock, who is
immediately pounced upon by half a dozen McGill men, but who, ere he
is held, passes to Campbell, who in turn works forward a few yards,
and again on being tackled, passes to The Don. It is a magnificent
bit of play.
The spectators have long since passed all bounds of control, and are
pouring on the field, yelling like mad people. Even the
imperturbable old lady loses her calm for a moment, and griping
Helen's arm exclaims, "Look at that, now! Man, man, yon is a grand
There is no chance for The Don to run, for a swarm of the McGill men
stand between him and the line only a few yards off. Then he does
the only possible thing. Putting his head down he plunges into the
crowd in front of him.
"Come on, Shock," yells Campbell. Instantly a dozen 'Varsity men
respond to the cry and fall in behind Campbell and Shock, who,
locking arms about The Don, are shoving him through for dear life.
There are two minutes of fierce struggle. Twenty men in a mass,
kicking, scragging, fighting, but slowly moving toward the McGill
line, while behind them and around them the excited spectators
wildly, madly yelling, leaping, imploring, adjuring by all kinds of
weird oaths to "shove" or to "hold." In vain the McGill men throw
themselves in the way of the advancing mass. Steadily, irresistibly
the movement goes on. They are being beaten and they know it.
"Down! down!" yells big Huntingdon, dropping on his knees on the
line in front of the tramping, kicking 'Varsity phalanx.
A moment's pause, and there is a mass of mingling arms, legs, heads
and bodies, piled on the goal line.
"Held! held!" yell the McGill men and their supporters.
But before the referee can respond Shock seizes The Don below the
waist, lifts him clear of the mob, and trampling on friend and foe
alike, projects him over the struggling mass beyond the enemy's
line, where he is immediately buried beneath a swarm of McGill men,
who savagely jump upon him and jam his head and body into the turf.
"He's in! he's in!" shrieks Betty, wildly waving her hand.
"Will it be a win, think ye?" anxiously inquires Shock's mother. "It
will hardly be that, I doubt. But, eh--h, yon's the lad."
"Down! down!" cries the 'Varsity captain. "Get off the man! Get off
the man! Let him up, there!"
But the McGill men are slow to move.
"Get up!" roars Shock, picking them off and hurling them aside.
"Get up, men! Get up! That ball is down," yells the referee through
the din, into the ears of those who are holding The Don in a death
With difficulty they are persuaded to allow him to rise. When he
stands up, breathless, bleeding at the mouth, but otherwise sound,
the crowd of 'Varsity admirers go into a riot of rapture, throwing
up caps, hugging each other in ecstatic war dances, while the team
walk quietly about recovering their wind, and resisting the efforts
of their friends to elevate them.
"Quit it!" growls Campbell. "Get off the field! Get back, you
Meantime Huntingdon is protesting to the referee.
"I claim that ball was fairly held, back there. Balfour was brought
to a dead stand."
"How do you know, Huntingdon?" returns Campbell. "Your head was down
in the scrim."
"I could see his legs. I know his boots."
It is true that The Don has a peculiar toe on his boots.
"Oh," jeers Campbell scornfully, "that's all rot, you know,
"Look here, Campbell, listen to what I say. I want you to remember I
am speaking the truth."
Huntingdon's quiet tone has its effect.
"I would never think of challenging your word," replies Campbell,
"but I think it is quite impossible that you could absolutely know
that The Don came to a dead stand."
"I repeat, I can pick out Balfour's boots from a whole crowd, and I
know he was brought to a stand. I am prepared to swear that. Can any
man swear to the contrary?"
"Why, certainly," cries Campbell, "half a dozen men can. There's
Shock, who was right behind him."
But Shock thus appealed to, hesitates. He has an unfortunate
"I can't say for sure," he says, looking piteously, at his captain.
"Weren't you moving all the time, Shock?"
"Well, I was shoving all the time."
"But hold on," says Huntingdon. "Will you say that Balfour was never
brought to a stand? Will you swear that?"
"Well, I cannot say for sure," replies Shock in great distress. "It
was not very long, anyway."
Yells of triumphant laughter break from the McGill crowd.
The referee is in great difficulty. He has a reputation for courage
and fairness. He hesitates a moment or two, and then, while the
crowd wait breathless for his decision, says, "You can all see that
it is almost impossible to be certain, but on the whole I shall give
it a 'hold.'"
It was a bitter moment to the 'Varsity men, but Campbell is a true
"Shut up, men," he says in answer to the loud protests of his team.
"Get behind the ball."
Every second is precious now, and the line is only three feet away.
Again the field is cleared. The teams, springing to their places in
the scrimmage, began to shove furiously before the ball is in play.
"Get up, men!" says the referee. "You must get up. Let me get this
ball in. Get up, McGill! Get off your knees!" for the McGill men are
on their goal line in an attitude of devotion.
Again and again the scrimmage is formed, only be broken by the
eagerness of the combatants. At length the referee succeeds in
placing the ball. Instantly Shock is upon it, and begins to crawl
toward the line with half a dozen men on his back, gripping him by
nose, ears, face, throat, wherever a hand can find a vulnerable
"Hold there!" calls the referee. "'Varsity ball."
"Get off the man! Get off!" cry the 'Varsity men, pulling the McGill
fellows by legs and heads, till at length Shock rises from the
bottom of the heap, grimy, bloody, but smiling, grimly holding to
the ball. He has made six inches. The line is two feet and a half
It is again 'Varsity's ball, however, and that means a great deal,
for with Campbell lies the choice of the moment for attack.
Placing Shock on the wing, and summoning his halves and quarters,
Campbell prepares for a supreme effort. It is obviously the place
for the screw.
The McGill men are down, crouching on hands and feet, some on their
Campbell refuses to play and appeals to the referee in a tone of
righteous indignation, "What sort of game is this? Look at those
"Get up McGill! Get up, or I'll penalise you," says the referee.
Everyone knows he will keep his word. There is a movement on the
part of McGill to rise. Campbell seizes the opportunity, lowers his
head, and with a yell drops the ball in front of Shock. In the whirl
of the screw the ball slips out to Brown, who tips it to The Don,
but before he can take a single step half a dozen men are upon him
and he is shoved back a couple of feet.
"Man, man," ejaculates the old lady, "will you not be careful!"
"I say!" exclaims old Black to a McGill enthusiast whom he had
fought in the famous championship battle four years ago. "This is
"Great ball," replies his friend. "We'll hold them yet. I've often
seen a ball forced back from two feet off the line."
It is still the 'Varsity ball. The crowds are howling like maniacs,
while the policeman and field censors are vainly trying to keep the
field decently clear.
The Don resigns the ball to the captain and falls in behind. Every
man is wet, panting, disfigured, but eager for the fight. Again the
scrim forms, only to fall upon the ball.
"Dead ball," announces the referee, and both teams begin to
manoeuvre for advantage of position. A few inches is a serious
Again the ball is placed and the men throw themselves upon it, Shock
as usual at the bottom of the heap with the ball under him.
Old Black runs up through the crowd and whispers in Campbell's ear,
"Put Balfour and Martin in the scrim. They are fresher." He has
noticed that the scrim line on both sides is growing stale, and can
do no more than grimly hold on. At once Campbell sees the wisdom of
this suggestion. The Don, though not so heavy as Shock, is quite as
strong, and is quicker than the big centre, who is beginning to show
the effect of the tremendous series of scrimmages he has just passed
through. Martin, though neither so strong nor so heavy, is like an
Quietly Campbell thrusts the halves into the first line on the
right, whispering to Shock, "Let Balfour have it, and back him up."
As The Don gets the ball Campbell throws himself behind him with the
yell, "'Varsity! now!" At the same instant The Don drops the ball,
and with the weight of the whole team behind him begins to bore
through the enemy.
For a few moments both teams hang in the balance, neither giving an
inch, when old Black, yelling and waving wildly, attracts the
attention of Bate.
"Go in!" he cries. "Go in!" and Bate, coming up with a rush, throws
himself behind the scrim.
His weight turns the scale. Slowly at first, but gaining momentum
with every inch, the mass yields, sways, and begins to move. The
McGill men, shoving, hacking, scragging, fighting fiercely, finally
dropping on their knees, strive to check that relentless advance. It
is in vain. Their hour has come.
With hoarse cries, regardless of kicks and blows, trampling on
prostrate foes, and followed by a mob of spectators tumultuously
cheering, the 'Varsity wedge cleaves its way, till on the other side
The Don appears with the ball hugged to his breast and Huntingdon
hanging to his throat. A final rush and the ball is down. "The ball
is down!" cries the referee, and almost immediately time is called.
The great match is over. By four points 'Varsity holds the
championship of the Dominion.
"The greatest match ever played on this ground," cries old Black,
pushing through the crowd to Campbell, with both hands outstretched.
After him comes the Montreal captain.
"I congratulate you most heartily," he says, in a voice that breaks
in spite of all he can do.
"Thanks, old man," says Campbell quietly. "It was a case of sheer
"Not a bit of it," replies Huntingdon, recovering himself. "You have
a great team. I never saw a better."
"Well," replies Campbell heartily, "I have just seen as good, and
there's none we would rather win from than McGill."
"And none," replies Huntingdon, "McGill would rather lick than
Meantime Shock, breaking from a crowd of admirers who are bound to
carry him in on their shoulders, makes for the Fairbanks carriage,
and greets his mother quietly.
"Well, mother, it's over at last."
"Ay, it is. Poor fellows, they will be feeling bad. But come along,
laddie. You will be needing your supper, I doubt."
Shock laughs loud. He knows his mother, and needs no words to tell
him her heart is bursting with pride and triumph.
"Come in. Let us have the glory of driving you home," cries Betty.
"In this garb?" laughs Shock.
"That's the garb of your glory," says Helen, her fine eyes lustrous
"Come, Hamish man, you will get your things and we will be waiting
"Very well," he replies, turning away. "I will be only a minute."
He is not allowed to escape, but with a roar the crowd seize him,
lift him shoulder high, and chanting, "Shock! Shock! we--like--
Shock!" bear him away, in triumph.
"Eh, what are the daft laddies saying now?" inquires the old lady,
struggling hard to keep out of her voice the pride that shone in her
"Listen," cries Helen, her eyes shining with the same light. "Listen
to them," and beating time with her hand she joins in the chant,
"Shock! Shock! we--like--Shock."
THE VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS
The Superintendent had come from the West on his spring round-up.
New settlements in anticipation of and following the new Railway,
old settlements in British Columbia valleys, formed twenty years ago
and forgotten, ranches of the foot-hill country, the mining camps to
the north and south of the new line--these were beginning to fire
the imagination of older Canada. Fresh from the new and wonderful
land lying west of the Great Lakes, with its spell upon him, its
miseries, its infamies, its loneliness aching in his heart, but with
the starlight of its promise burning in his eyes, he came to tell
the men of the Colleges of their duty, their privilege, their
opportunity waiting in the West. For the most part his was a voice
crying in the wilderness. Not yet had Canadians come to their faith
in their Western Empire. Among the great leaders were still found
those who poured contempt upon the project of the trans-continental
railway, and even those who favoured the scheme based their support
upon political rather than upon economic grounds. It was all so far
away and all so unreal that men who prided themselves upon being
governed by shrewd business sense held aloof from western
enterprises, waiting in calm assurance for their certain collapse.
Still, here and there men like Bompas, McLean, McDougall, and
Robertson were holding high the light that fell upon prairie and
foothill, mountain peak and canyon, where speculators, adventurers,
broken men, men with shamed names seeking hiding, and human wolves
seeking their prey were pouring in.
Discouraged with the results of his work in the Eastern Colleges,
the Superintendent arrived at Knox, and to-night he stood facing the
crowd of students and their friends that filled the long Dining Hall
to overflowing. With heart hot from disappointment and voice
strident with intensity of emotion, he told of the things he had
seen and heard in that great new land. Descriptions of scenery,
statistics, tales humorous and pathetic, patriotic appeal, and
prophetic vision came pouring forth in an overwhelming flood from
the great man, whose tall, sinewy form swayed and rocked in his
passion, and whose Scotch voice burred through his sonorous periods.
"For your Church, for your fellowmen, for Canada," rang out his last
appeal, and the men passed out into the corridor toward the Entrance
Hall, silent or conversing in low, earnest tones. There was none of
the usual chaffing or larking. They had been thinking great thoughts
and seeing great visions.
"I want to thank you for asking me in to-night, Lloyd," said The
Don. His voice was quiet and his fine eyes were lustrous with light.
"That man ought to be in Parliament. I shall see that country soon,
I hope. What a master he is! What a grasp! What handling of facts!
There's a great Canadian, I say, and he ought to be in Parliament."
The men gathered round, for the great 'Varsity half back was well
known and well liked in that company; but they all knew him as one
of the gay 'Varsity set, and some of the older men knew, too, that
in his early college career were passages that neither he nor his
friends cared to remember. Hence all of them, but especially Shock,
whom he loved, and Lloyd, whom he greatly admired, listened with
surprise to The Don's enthusiastic words, for they both had stood
beside him in those dark days, and had played toward him the
brother's part. The men waited in silence for Lloyd's reply. They
knew him to be by far the strongest man in the college, the readiest
in debate, as well as the most popular in the pulpit; but, with the
sure instinct of college men, they had come to recognise his
ambitious spirit, and, indeed, to be more influenced by it than they
would have cared to acknowledge.
"Yes," said Lloyd, "it was certainly a statesman-like address. It
contained all the elements of a great speech. But he--of course--
well--he sees only one thing--The West."
"That's right," said little Brown, who had come in at Shock's
earnest invitation, and because he was anxious to hear about the new
country from one who was coming to be recognised as an authority,
"he sees one thing sure enough. I say, what a drummer he'd make!
Talk like that is worth
100 a minute to any firm. I'll put my Governor on to him. When that
chap opened his sample case he wouldn't talk weather and politics,
and then sidle up to business. Not much! He'd give them Brown's Axle
Oil, Brown's Baking Powder, or anything else of Brown's he was
showing, till his customer would see nothing but Brown's Axle Oil
and Brown's Baking Powder all over his shop, and he'd be reaching
for the whole output. One thing! You bet!"
A general laugh of approval followed Brown's speech.
"That's true enough," said Lloyd in a tone of calm superiority, "but
there is other work to do and other places to do it in."
"The Park Church, for instance, eh, Lloyd?" suggested the voice
"Why not?" answered Lloyd. "The centres must be manned--that's a
safe principle in strategy."
"Certainly," cried another voice ironically. "Our neglected masses!"
"Yes, and neglected classes, too." Lloyd's tone was earnest and
"I agree with you, Lloyd," said The Don emphatically, "if any
fellows need to be, ah--well--shaken up, you know, it's us poor
devils who attend the city churches. For my part, I would like to
see you in the Park Church, and I promise you I would go regularly."
On all sides there was frank approval of The Don's position, while
Lloyd, flushed and laughing, lightly replied: "Oh, there won't be
any trouble, I fancy, in getting a man for the Park Church."
"Not in the least, I assure you," said Brown. "Brown Bros.,
Commission Merchants, etc., etc., will undertake to supply men in
half-dozen lots willing for a consideration to offer themselves upon
the altar of Park Church."
"There's more than willingness necessary, unfortunately, and
besides, lots of men would be willing to go West," answered Lloyd.
"Yes, and lots of men deucedly unwilling, too, from what your old
man there says, not to speak of the young lady, who apparently must
also be willing. Oh! I say, wasn't that a great yarn; and if ever
that chap gets a look at himself from that particular point. of
view, that 'll be the time to buy him."
"Brown, my boy," said The Don solemnly, "your limitations are
obvious. The commercial in you has run to seed."
"That may be, but I can spot a man that knows how to show his goods,
and when that old gentleman set forth the West in those high lights
of his, I tell you what, I almost wished I was a Theologue."
"What a pity you are not," replied The Don thoughtfully, "for
apparently they want strong men." At which the crowd again laughed
"What's the matter with Shock?" suggested someone; "he's a good
strong man." There was a general laugh.
"You're the man, Shock. You would clear out those saloons."
"Can you ride a broncho, Shock?"
At the good-natured chaff Shock blushed a deeper red than usual. No
one expected much of poor Shock. Indeed, most of his classmates
wondered if he would ever "get a place," and none more than Shock
But Brown, resenting the laugh and its all too evident implication,
replied indignantly: "You bet Shock's the man for the West, or any
place else where solid men are wanted, and where Shock goes there
will be something doing! And," striking an attitude, "the country
will be the better for it! Oh, I am a Canadian!" he continued,
smiting his breast dramatically. "Come along, Shock, we've got an
appointment," and Brown, linking his arm affectionately through that
of his big friend, stuck his cap on the back of his head and marched
off whistling "The Maple Leaf."
"Say!" he cried, as he passed out into the street, "won't a lot of
those fellows volunteer, or will they hunt round for a nice little
bunk in Ontario?"
"Many would like to go if they could," said Shock thoughtfully, "but
you know there are many things that must be considered."
"Young ladies, eh?" asked Brown with a laugh.
"Oh! didn't he tell that yarn well? It was great. But I'd hate to be
"But you are not fair," replied Shock. "A man can't answer every
appeal. He must think what he is fit for, and, in short, where he is
called to work. There's Lloyd, now--"
"Oh, Lloyd!" broke in Brown impatiently. "He's a quitter."
"Not he. He's anything but that."
"No," owned Brown, "he's not a quitter, but he puts in overtime
thinking of what's good for Lloyd. Of course, I do that sort of
thing myself, but from a fellow like Lloyd one expects something
Soon they were at Shock's door.
"Come in," said Shock cordially, "mother will be glad to see you."
And Brown went in.
ONLY ONE CLAIM
It always gave Brown a sense of content to enter the Macgregor
cottage. Even among the thrifty North country folk the widow
Macgregor's home, while not as pretentious as those of the well-to-
do farmers, had been famous as a model of tidy house-keeping. Her
present home was a little cottage of three rooms with the kitchen at
the back. The front room where Mrs. Macgregor received her few
visitors, and where Shock did most of his reading, except when
driven to his bedroom by the said visitors, was lighted by two
candles in high, polished, old-fashioned brass candlesticks, and by
the fire from the hearth, which radiated a peace and comfort which
even the shiny hair-cloth chairs and sofa and the remaining somewhat
severe furniture of the room could not chill. It was the hearth and
mantel that had decided Mrs. Macgregor and Shock in their purchase
of the little cottage, which in many eyes was none too desirable. On
the walls hung old-fashioned prints of Robbie Burns and his Highland
Mary, the Queen and the Prince Consort, one or two quaint family
groups, and over the mantel a large portrait of a tall soldier in
full Highland dress. Upon a bracket in a corner stood a glass case
enclosing a wreath of flowers wrought in worsted, and under it in a
frame hung a sampler with the Lord's Prayer similarly wrought. On
one side of the room stood a clock upon a shelf, flanked by the
Family Bible and such books as "The Saint's Rest," "Holy Living,"
"The Fourfold State," "Scots Worthies," all ancient and well worn.
On the other side stood a bookcase which was Shock's, and beside it
a table where he did his work. Altogether it was a very plain room,
but the fireplace and the shining candlesticks and the rag carpet on
the floor redeemed it from any feeling of discomfort, while the
flowers that filled the windows left an air of purity and sweetness.
"Come away, my lad, come away," said Mrs. Macgregor, who sat
knitting by the fire. "The night is chill enough. Come away up to
"Thanks, Mrs. Macgregor," said Brown, "it does me good to look at
you by the fire there with your knitting. When I'm an old man I only
hope I'll have a cozy hearthstone like this to draw up to, and on
the other side a cozy old lady like you with pink cheeks like these
which I must now kiss."
"Tut, tut, it's a daft laddie you are whatever," said the old lady,
blushing a little, but not ill-pleased. "Sit ye down yonder." Brown,
ever since his illness, when Mrs. Macgregor and Shock had nursed him
back from death's door two years ago, was one of the family, and,
indeed, he used endearments with the old lady that the
undemonstrative Shock would never have dared to use. "Ye're late,
Hamish. Surely yon man had much to say," said his mother, looking
lovingly upon her great, sturdy son.
"That he had, mother, and great it was, I can tell you."
Then Shock proceeded, after his habit, to give his mother a full
share of what he had been enjoying. Mrs. Macgregor listened
intently, pausing now and then in her knitting to ejaculate, "Well-
a-well!" "Look at that, now!" "Hear to him!" When Shock had
finished, Brown broke in: "It was truly magnificent, I assure you,
Mrs. Macgregor, and the enthusiasm of the man! And his yarns! Oh, he
is truly, great!"
"And what would he be doing at the college?" enquired the old lady.
"There would not be much money there, I doubt."
"Men, mother, men," cried Shock with some excitement. "Volunteers
for the Great West, and a hard time he is having, too, what with the
foreign field, and needy vacancies in this country, and city
pulpits, and the like."
Mrs. Macgregor sat silent, her needles flying fast and her lips
"I wish you could have heard him, Mrs. Macgregor," said Brown,
enthusiastically. "He has a tongue like a rasp, and at times it
takes off the skin. That was fine, Shock, about the fellows who
could not give him answer till they had asked the Lord about it. 'I
find a good many men,' the old chap said, 'who, after anxiously
enquiring as to the work expected of them, remuneration, prospects
of advance, etc., always want to lay the matter before the Lord
before giving their answer. And I am beginning to think that the
Lord has some grudge against the West, for almost invariably He
appears to advise these men to leave it severely alone.' Oh, it was
great!" Little Brown hugged his knee in delight at the memory of
that rasping tongue.
"But surely there are plenty of men," said Mrs. Macgregor a little
impatiently, "for there's no want of them whateffer when a
congregation falls vacant."
"That's so," replied Brown; "but you see he wants only first-class
men--men ready for anything in the way of hardship, and not to be
daunted by man or devil."
"Ou ay!" said the old lady, nodding her head grimly; "he will not be
finding so many of yon kind."
"But it must be a great country," went on Brown. "You ought to bear
him tell of the rivers with sands of gold, running through beds of
coal sixty feet thick."
The old lady shook her cap at him, peering over her glasses. "Ye're
a gay callant, and you will be taking your fun off me"
"But it's true. Ask Shock there."
"What?" said Shock, waking up from a deep study. Brown explained.
" Yes," said Shock. "The sands of the Saskatchewan are full of gold,
and you know, mother, about the rivers in Cariboo."
"Ay, I remember fine the Cariboo, and Cariboo Cameron and his gold.
But not much good did it do him, poor fellow."
"But," said Shock, gazing into the fire, "it was terrible to hear
his tales of these men in the mines with their saloons and awful
gambling places, and the men and women in their lonely shacks in the
foot-hills. My! I could see them all."
Mrs. Macgregor looked sharply into her son's face, then laying her
knitting down in her lap she turned to him and said severely, "And
what took them out yonder? And did they not know what-na country it
was before they went out?"
"Yes," said Shock, still looking into the fire, "but there they are,
Mother, there they are, and no living soul to speak a good word to
"Well then," said the old lady, even more impatiently, "let them put
up with it, as better before them have done to their credit, ay, and
to their good as well."
"Meantime the saloons and worse are getting them," replied Shock,
"and fine fellows they are, too, he says."
"And is yon man wanting the lads from the college to go out yonder
to those terrible-like mines and things so far from their homes? Why
does he not send the men who are wanting places?" Mrs. Macgregor's
tone was unusually sharp. Both Shock and Brown looked at her in
"Yes, you may look," she went on, "but I say let them that's not
needed here go out yonder, and there will be plenty of them, I
"'And they'd none of them be missed,'" sang Brown.
"I doubt they wouldn't do," said Shock, shaking his head sadly.
"Well, mother," cried Brown, "you'll have a chance of hearing him
yourself to-morrow morning, for he is going to preach in your
church, I see."
The old lady shrugged her shoulders. "Indeed, and I wish our
meenister wouldn't be so ready with his pulpit for every Bill and
Bob that comes the way. He will not be needing a rest again, will
Shock gazed at his mother in sheer amazement. He had never seen her
like this before. This bitter impatience was so unlike her usual
calm, dignified self-control.
"But mother," he ventured, "the cause will be needing money and the
people will need to hear about it, surely."
"Oh, as to that," she answered in a relieved tone, "it is not much
that we can give, but what we can we will, and, indeed, there are
many of them in that Kirk that would be the better of giving a
little of their money. But, lad," she added as if dismissing a
painful subject, "you must be at your books."
"Which means I must go. I know you, Mother Macgregor," said Brown,
using his pet name for the woman who had for two years been more of
a mother to him than his own.
"Ay, and within a few weeks you will be wishing, as well, that
someone had set you to your books, for the examinators will be upon
"And, doubtless, shear me as bare as Delilah did Samson of old. But
I am not promising you I am going to work. My physician warns me
against work on Saturday nights, so I am going to hunt up The Don."
"Indeed then, you will know well where to look for him," said the
old lady shrewdly.
"Ah, mother, you're too sharp for any of us. Not much escapes your
"Indeed, one does not require eyes to see some things, and yon
laddie is daft enough."
"Daft's the word," said Brown, "and has been for the last three
years. Is not it astonishing and profoundly humiliating," he added
solemnly, "to see a chit of a girl, just because she has brown curls
and brown eyes with a most bewildering skill in using them, so
twiddle a man? It passes my comprehension."
The old lady shook her head at him. "Wait you, my lad. Your day will
"I hear The Don has got the offer of a great appointment in
connection with the new railway in that country and I fear that
means trouble for him. There are those who would be delighted to see
him out of the way for a couple of years or so."
But the old lady would not gossip, so Brown was forced to drop the
subject with the remark, "But I'll do what I can to assist the
Fates, and I'll begin by bringing both those young ladies to hear
your big gun to-morrow if I can, Shock. They ought to know more
about their own country."
Shock glanced up quickly as if to speak, but seemed to think better
of it and poked the fire instead.
"I doubt they would be more profited in their own church," said Mrs.
Macgregor. "'Traivellin' sheep are sair tae keep,' as they say in
the South country. No, it's little enough the poor things will be
getting in yon church of theirs with their read prayers and their
bit sairmon--a sairmonette, they will be calling it. Ay, a
sairmonette!" The old lady indulged herself in a quiet chuckle of
"Why, mother," said Shock in a reproving tone, "don't you know that
their minister is just a splendid preacher. There is no better in
"And that's not saying much," said the old lady. "But I'm glad to
"My! mother, but you are censorious to-night. You can't expect to
find men like Candlish, Chalmers, and Macdonald of Ferintosh in
"Ay," said the old lady with an emphatic shake of her head, "and
that's a true word. Men like yon are not to be found, and like
McCheyae and Burns and Guthrie and the rest of them. Oh! it iss
manys the Sabbath morning when I wass a lass that I walked with my
shoes and stockings in my hand down the glen to hear these men
preach. And yon was the preaching. Yon was the preaching. None of
your puny, peeping, fifteen-meenute sairmonettes, but preaching,
terrible heart-smiting preaching." The old lady had ceased her
knitting and was sitting erect in her chair gazing straight before
her. The young men sat silent, fearing to break the spell that was
upon her, and waiting eagerly for what they knew was coming.
"Man! man!" she continued, "those were the days! and those were the
men! I have heard such preaching as would cause your heart to quake
within you, and make you to listen with the fear of death upon you
lest it should stop."
"It must have been terrible preaching, indeed," said Brown softly.
"Terrible! ay, terrible's the word. Lad, lad," said the old lady,
turning upon Brown her piercing blue-grey eyes, "in the old Mullin
Church I have seen the very rafters throbbing, and strong men and
women swaying like the tree-tops in the glen while Burns was raging
forth upon them like the Tummel in spate, while visions of the
eternal things--the throne of God and the Judgment Day--filled our
eyes." She paused a few moments and then sinking back into her chair
she went on, "Ay, terrible preaching, yon, like the storm-blast
sweeping the hillsides and rending the firs in the Pass. Yes! yes!
But gentle at times and winning, like the rain falling soft at
night, wooing at the bluebells and the daisies in the glen, or like
a mother croonin over the babe at her breast, till men wept for love
and longing after Himself. Ay, lad, lad, yon was the preaching."
There was a long silence while they waited for her to continue.
"What was that sermon, mother, at Mullin that time upon the words
'Will ye also go away?' you remember?" at length asked Shock
His mother sighed. "Ay, and that was a sairmon to draw the heart out
o' you. That was the melting day, while the big men gripped their
sticks hard and the women wiped at their eyes that would never be
done running, and that man's voice soughing over them like the wind
in the pines in the evening, Yes! yes! But," suddenly recalling
herself, "come, lads, you must be off to your books."
The young men sat a few moments silently gazing into the fire, and
then Brown rose and said, "Good-night, mother. You're the greatest
preacher I know, and I would not mind a whole hour from you." His
voice was earnest and his eyes soft and tender as he stooped and
kissed her cheek.
"Good-night, laddie," answered Mrs. Macgregor, patting his hand
gently. "I doubt, after all, the fault nowadays is not with the
preaching so much as with the hearing."
"Well, I'm off. You will see me to-morrow with my flock of straying
sheep. But I warn you that after you hear that man from the West you
will all be volunteering as missionaries."
The old lady took up her knitting again and after the door had
closed upon Brown sat back in her chair with a weary sigh.
"You're tired to-night, mother," said Shock gently.
"Tired? And what for would I be tired? No, no, but the day is long."
"Yes, some days, mother. But the longest pass."
She glanced quickly at her son, but save for a quivering of the lips
usually so firm, there was no sign of the pain which both knew lay
at the heart of each. Her mood of impatience had passed. She was
once more herself, calm and strong, looking with steadfast eyes into
the future, knowing well that whatever the days might bring, He who
for fifty years had been her refuge and her strength would not fail
The appeal for the West was the theme of conversation at the
Fairbanks home, where the usual company had assembled. The Don was