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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

Tim thought long and earnestly


"You wooden Indian, you!" exclaimed Tim, sitting up and dropping his feet to the floor with a crash. "There you stand like a--a graven image, looking as though you'd just received an invitation to a funeral! Cheer, you idiot! Make a noise! Aren't you tickled to death?"

"You bet I am!" replied Don.

"Well, do something, then! You ought to have a little of my Latin temperament, Don. You'd be a heap easier to live with. If it was I who had just been waited on humbly by the first team captain and invited to join the eleven I'd--I'd make a--a noise!"

"What do you think you've been doing?" laughed Don. "You'll have Horace in here in a minute. Steve says you're to coach me on the signals."

"Tomorrow!" Tim waved his hand. "Time enough for that, Don. Just now it behooves us to celebrate."

"How?" asked Don.

Tim thought long and earnestly. Finally, "Let's borrow Larry Jones's accordion and serenade Josh!" he said.

"Let's not. And let's not go to a fire, either! Think of something better, Timmy."

"Then we'll go out and bay at the moon. I've got to do something! By the time Joe's got his busted rib mended you'll have that left guard position nailed to the planks, Don."

"How about Walton?" asked Don dubiously.

"A fig for Walton! Two figs for him! A whole box of figs! All you've got to do is speed up a bit and----"

"Suppose I can't?"

"Suppose nothing! You've _got_ to! If you don't you'll have me to fight, Donald. If you don't cinch that position in just one week I--I'll take you over my knee and spank you with a belt! Come on over to Clint's room. Let us disseminate the glorious tidings. Let us----"

"I'd rather learn the signals," said Don. "There's only tonight and tomorrow, you know."

Tim appealed despairingly to the ceiling with wide-spread hands. "There's no poetry in his soul," he mourned, "no blood in his veins!" He faced Don scornfully. "Donald P. Gilbert is your name, my son, and the P stands for Practical. All right, then, draw up a chair and let's have it over. To think, though, that I should have to sit indoors a night like this and teach signals to a wooden-head! I wooden do it for anyone else. Ha! How's that! Get a pad and a pencil and try to look intelligent."

"All right? Mark 'em down, then. Starting at the left, number your holes 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 6, 4, 2. Got that? Number your left end 1, the next man 3, the next 5. Omit centre. Right guard 6, right tackle 4, right end 2. Now, your backfield. Quarter 0, left half 7, right half 8, full-back 9."

"Gee, that's hard to remember," murmured Don.

"And hard to guess," answered Tim. "Now, your first number, unless it's under thirty, is a fake. If it's under thirty it means that the next number is the number of a play. Over thirty, it means nothing. Your second digit of your second number is your runner. The second digit of the third number is the hole. The fourth number, as you doubtless surmise, is also a fake. Now, then, sir! 65--47--23--98! What is it?"


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