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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

I was only repeating what Robey said

"Off his feed," remarked Carmine as Tim passed down the dining hall on his way out. "First time I ever saw old Tim have nerves."

"It's Don Gilbert, probably," said Clint Thayer. "They're great pals. Tim's worried about him, I guess."

"What do you make of it, Steve?" asked Crewe, helping himself to a third slice of meat.

"What is there to make of it?" asked Steve carelessly. "The chap's all out of shape, I suppose. I don't know what his trouble is, but I guess he's a goner for this year."

"It's awfully funny, isn't it?" asked Rollins. "Gilbert always struck me as an awfully plucky player."

"Has anyone said he isn't?" inquired Clint quietly.

"N-no, no, of course not!" Rollins flushed. "I didn't mean anything like that, Clint. Only I don't see----"

"He hasn't been looking very fit lately," offered Harry Walton. "I noticed it two or three days ago. Too bad!"

"Yes, you're feeling perfectly wretched about it, I guess," said big Thursby drily, causing a smile around the table. Walton shrugged and rewarded the speaker with one of his smiles that were always unfortunately like leers.

"Oh, I can feel sorry for him," said Walton, "even if I do get his place. Gilbert gave me an awfully good fight for it."

"Oh, was there a fight?" asked Thursby innocently. "I didn't notice any."

Thursby got a real laugh this time and Harry Walton joined in to save his face, but with no very good grace.

"If anyone has an idea that Don Gilbert is scared and quit for that reason," observed St. Clair, "he'd better keep it to himself. Or, anyhow, he'd better not air it when Tim is about. He nearly bit my head off in the gym because I said that Don was a chump to give up like this a week before the Claflin game. Tim flared up like--like a gasoline torch and wanted to fight! I didn't mean a thing by my innocent remark, but I had the dickens of a time trying to prove it to Tim! And he almost jumped into you, too, didn't he, Holt?"

"Yes, he did, the touchy beggar! You all heard what Robey said, and----"

"I didn't hear," interrupted Steve, "and----"

"Why, he said----"

"And, as I was about to remark, Holt, I don't want to. And it will be just as decent for those who did hear to forget. Robey says lots of things he doesn't mean or believe. Perhaps that was one of them. I'm for Don. If he says he's sick, he is sick. You've all seen him play for two years and you ought to know that there isn't a bit of yellow anywhere in his make-up."

"That's so," agreed several, and others nodded, Holt amongst them.

"I didn't say he was a quitter, Steve. I was only repeating what Robey said, and Tim happened to hear me. Gee, I like Don as well as any of you. Gee, didn't I play a whole year with him on the second?"

"Gee, you did indeed!" replied Crewe, and, laughing, the fellows pushed back their chairs and left the table.

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