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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

If you don't want them to think you a quitter


Tim

didn't hurry on his way along the walk to Billings, for he was earnestly trying to think of some scheme that would take Don's mind off his trouble that evening. Perhaps he could get Don to take a good, long walk. Walking always worked wonders in his own case when, as very infrequently happened, he had a fit of the blues. Yes, he would propose a walk, he told himself. And then he groaned at the thought of it, for he was very tired and he ached in a large number of places!

Only a few windows were lighted in Billings as he approached it, for most of the fellows were still in dining hall and the rule requiring the turning out of lights during absence from rooms was strictly enforced. Only the masters were exempted, and Tim noticed as he passed Mr. Daley's study that the droplight was turned low by one of those cunning dimming attachments which Tim had always envied the instructor the possession of. Tim would have had one of those long ago could he have put it to any practical use. He passed through the doorway and down the dimly lighted corridor, the rubber-soled shoes which he affected in all seasons making little sound. He was surprised to see that no light showed through the transom of Number 6, and he paused outside the door a moment. Perhaps Don was asleep. In that case, it would be just as well to not disturb him. But, on the other hand, he might be just sitting there in the dark being miserable. Tim turned the knob and pushed the door open.

style="text-align: justify;">The light from the corridor and the fact that Don had stopped startledly at the sound of the turning knob prevented an actual collision between them. Tim, pushing the door slowly shut behind him, viewed Don questioningly. "Hello," he said, "where are you going?"

"For a walk," replied Don.

"Why the coat and umbrella? And--oh, I see!" Tim's glance took in the bag and comprehension dawned. "So that's it, eh?"

There was an instant of silence during which Tim closed the door and leaned against it, hands in pockets and a thoughtful scowl on his face. Finally:

"Yes, that's it," said Don defiantly. "I'm off for home."

"What's the big idea?"

"You know well enough, Tim. I--I'm not going to stay here and be--be pointed out as a quitter. I'm----"

"Wait a sec! What are you doing now but quitting, you several sorts of a blind mule? Think you're helping things any by--by running away? Don't be a chump, Donald."

"That's all well enough for you. It isn't your funeral. I don't care what they say about me if I don't have to hear it. I'm sorry, Tim, but--but I've just got to do it. I--there's a note for you in your bed. I didn't expect you'd be back before I left."

"I'll bet you didn't, son!" said Tim grimly. "Now let me tell you something, Don. You're acting like a baby, that's what you're doing! It's all fine enough to say that you don't care what fellows say as long as you don't hear it, but you don't mean it, Don. You would care. And so would I. If you don't want them to think you a quitter, for the love of mud don't run away like--like one!"


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