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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

But he and Clint tramped in soon after


"It

isn't my fault," he said to himself. "I didn't bust Joe Gafferty's rib and I'm not responsible for Robey's taking me on the first team. Walton will just have to make the best of it."

Don couldn't flatter himself that he had played that afternoon with especial brilliancy, although he had managed to hold his end up fairly well. The fact was that he had been so intent on getting speeded into his performance that he had rather skimped the niceties of line-play. And he wasn't at all certain that he had shown any more speed than usual, either. He awaited Mr. Robey's appearance in the locker-room with some apprehension, certain that if he had erred badly he would soon learn of it. When the coach did arrive at the tail of the procession of panting players and said his say without once singling out Don for special attention, the latter was relieved. He couldn't, he told himself, have done so very badly, after all!

Tom walked back to Billings with Don to learn the result of Tim's and Clint's embassy to the Cedar Ridge Poultry Farm, for the two had obtained leave of absence from Mr. Robey and had set forth on their journey the minute a three o'clock recitation was finished. Tim wasn't in Number 6 when they reached it, but he and Clint tramped in soon after, dusty and weary but evidently triumphant. Tim narrated their experiences.

"Missed the three-fifty car, just as I told Clint we would

if he didn't hustle----"

"I had to find a cap to wear, didn't I?" interpolated Clint.

"Well, we found the place all right, fellows, and, say, it's some poultry farm, believe me, dearies! Isn't it corking, Clint?"

Clint grunted assent, stretching tired legs across the floor.

"There's about a thousand acres of it, I guess, and a mile of red chicken houses and runs, or whatever you call 'em. How many hens and things did he tell us he had, Clint?"

"Eighteen hundred, I think. Maybe it was eighteen thousand. I don't remember. All I know is there were chickens as far as you could see, and then some."

"Never mind the descriptive matter," urged Tom. "What did he say? Had Josh been at him? Did he promise----"

"I'm coming to that, dearie. When we found him he was doing something to that car of his in a cute little garage. And, say, it's an eight-cylinder Lothrop, and a regular jim-dandy! Well, he took us into his house first----"

Tom groaned in despair.

"----And fed us on crackers and cake and ginger ale. Say, he's got a peach of a bungalow there; small but entire; and a cute little Jap who cooks and looks after things for him. Well, then he took us out and showed us around the place. Chickens! Gee, I didn't know there were so many in the world! And we saw the incubators and the--what you call them--brooders, and----"

"For the love of mud!" exclaimed Tom. "Can't you get down to dots? _Is it all right or isn't it?_"

Tim smiled exasperatingly. "Then he showed us----"

Tom arose to his feet and took a step toward him.

"It's all right," said Tim hurriedly. "Everything, Thomas! We told him what was up and how we didn't want Josh to find out it was us who attended Mr. Corrigan's fire party and asked him if he would please not remember what we looked like if Josh asked him. And he said----"

"He laughed," interrupted Clint, and chuckled himself.


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