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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

Said Clint with unflattering conviction


see, sir," Amy had pleaded earnestly, "I was the one who started it. The others would never have gone into it if I hadn't just simply made them. Why----"

Mr. Fernald smiled faintly. "You're trying to convince me, Byrd, that boys like Draper and Hall and Stearns and Westcott are so weak-willed that they allowed you to drag them into this thing against their better judgment and inclinations?"

"Yes, sir! At least--perhaps not exactly that, Mr. Fernald, but I--I nagged them and dared them, you see, sir, and they didn't like to be dared and they just did it to shut me up."

"It's decent of you, Byrd, to try to assume all the blame, but your story doesn't carry conviction. Even if it did, I should be sorely tempted to let the verdict stand, for I should consider boys who were so easily dragged into mischief badly in need of discipline. I do wish you'd tell me one thing, Byrd. How could a fellow, a manly, decent fellow like you, think up such a caddish trick? Wounding another man's feelings, Byrd, isn't really funny, if you stop to consider it."

"I didn't mean to hurt Mr. Moller's feelings, sir," replied Amy earnestly. "We--I thought it would just be a--a sort of a good joke to dress like him, sir, and--and get a laugh from the class. I'm sorry. I guess it was a pretty rotten thing to do, sir. Only I didn't think about it that way."

justify;">"I believe that. Since you've been here, Byrd, you've been into more or less mischief, but I've never known you to be guilty before of anything in such utterly bad taste. Unfortunately, however, I can't excuse you because you didn't think. You should have thought."

"Yes, sir," agreed Amy eagerly, "and I don't expect to be excused, sir. I only thought that maybe you'd let up on the others if you knew how it all happened. I thought maybe it would do just as well if you expelled me, sir, and let the other fellows off easy. Tom Hall----"

"I see. It's Hall who's worrying you, is it? You're afraid Hall's absence from the team may result disastrously! Possibly it will. If it does I shall be sorry, but Hall will have to take his medicine just like the rest of you. Perhaps this will teach you all to think a little before you act. No, Byrd, I shall have to refuse your offer. Expelling you would not be disciplining the rest, nor would it be an equitable division of punishment. The verdict must stand, my boy."

Amy went sorrowfully forth and announced the result to Clint. "I think he might have done what I wanted," he complained a trifle resentfully.

"You're an utter ass," said Clint with unflattering conviction. "What good would it do you to get fired in your last year?"

"None, but if he'd have let the others off----"

"Do you suppose that the others would have agreed to any such bargain? They're not kids, even if you try to make them out so. They went into the thing with their eyes open and are just as much to blame as you are. They wouldn't let you be the goat, you idiot!"

"They needn't have known anything about it, Clint. Oh, well, I suppose there's no use fussing. I don't care about the others. It's Tom I'm sorry for. And the team, too. Pryme can't fill Tom's shoes, and we'll get everlastingly walloped, and it'll be my fault, and----"

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