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A Boy Knight by Martin J.

Father Boone was Frank's ideal

Meanwhile, Father Boone had come to a decision. There had been some rowdyism in the Club. Furniture was broken, serious damage was done. It certainly was the work of more than one or two. By their very attitude, the boys showed their guilt. Yet no one, not even the secretary, had explained. Taking down a large sheet of paper, the director wrote on it in big letters,

"The McCormack treat is off, JEROME BOONE."

Pressing a button, he summoned Frank. As Frank heard the bell, a lump formed in his throat. He felt sure that every fellow in the room could see how his knees shook. But he was glad, in a way, that matters were coming to a head. He expected that Father Boone would give him a good scolding and that that would settle it. He was all prepared for the interview, but was not admitting, even to himself, how near the tears were to flowing.

As Frank approached the desk, Father Boone was writing. Frank hoped he would not look up, and as he stood there for a second, it seemed an hour. Then, without pausing or turning toward Frank, Father Boone said in a low, measured voice: "Take that notice, Mulvy, and put it up on the board below." That was all. Frank stood perfectly still for a moment, clutching the jamb of the door while Father Boone went on writing. If the director had turned but a little, he would have seen agony and anguish in Frank's face, and he would have understood. But he kept on writing and Frank remained standing, unable to move a step.

Then a hard feeling crept into the boy's heart. He felt that he was being dealt with unjustly, that he was condemned unheard. Every bit of his pride came to the top and the boy who, a few seconds before, was ready to blame himself for Father Boone's disappointment, now would not have yielded an inch. Father Boone was Frank's ideal. He thought more of him than of anyone outside his own family. But suddenly he saw the priest as a hard-hearted and unjust man. For the moment he was glad to find that he was in an out-and-out struggle. "No explanations now," he reflected, "time for all that is past." The director had not given him a chance to do the right thing and now he, too, would show his mettle.

There was an air of defiance about Frank as he walked down the stairs and posted the notice on the board.

The crowd gathered quickly. As they read the brief lines on the notice-board, the wave of disappointment that passed over them could almost be felt in the air.

Of course the boys had told their parents of the McCormack treat and now it was off. That meant explanations. They usually kept the Club's affairs entirely to themselves, but the McCormack affair was altogether different--good news to those at home. How could they explain why it was off? Everybody knew that Father Boone never made promises without fulfilling them. Now every mother and sister and--yes--every father would want to know why this treat was cancelled. These and other things ran through the boys' minds. But, above all, the sentiment most keenly felt was regret that Father Boone had had to take such action. They knew he was even more delighted to do them a kindness than they were to receive one. Dick Brian expressed the feeling of the crowd when he said: "Gee, it's tough on us, but it's worse on Father Boone."

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