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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

Tim chuckled as he seated himself beyond the table


"I've

told the story because I think it bears me out when I say that football is fine training. I don't say that that boy wouldn't have been just as brave and eager to help if he hadn't been a football player, but I do maintain that he wouldn't have known what to do as readily or how to do it and wouldn't have got at it as quickly. And when the flames are eating their way back from car to car quickness means a whole lot! That's the end of my story, boys. But while I've been telling it I've been looking for some sign to tell me that you recognised the hero of it. I don't find the sign and I'm puzzled. Perhaps you're so accustomed to heroes here at Brimfield that one more or less doesn't stir you. For the satisfaction of my own curiosity I'm going to ask you if you know who I've been talking about."

A deep silence was the only answer. The doctor's audience looked extremely interested and curious, but no one spoke.

"I see. You don't know. Well, perhaps I'd better not tell then." But a chorus of protest arose. The doctor hesitated, and his gaze seemed to rest intently on a spot at one side of the hall and about half-way back. Finally, when silence had fallen again: "I guess I will tell," he said. "It can't do him or you any harm. It may help a little to know that there's one amongst you fine enough to do what I've described. I've never seen that boy from the moment the wrecking train reached the scene of the wreck until

tonight, and so I've never spoken to him again. But as I sat on the platform here awhile ago I looked and saw him. I don't forget faces very easily, and as you can understand, I wasn't likely to forget his. As I say, I haven't spoken to him yet, but I'm going to now."

There was a silence in which a dropped pin would have made a noise like a crowbar. Half the audience had turned their heads in the direction of Doctor Proctor's smiling gaze, but all eyes were fixed on his lips. The breathless silence lengthened. Then the doctor spoke.

"How is your hand, Gilbert?" he asked.

CHAPTER XXII

COACH ROBEY IS PUZZLED

SOME twenty minutes later Don dropped into a chair in Number 6 and heaved a deep sigh of relief. "Gee," he muttered, "I wouldn't go through that again for--for a million dollars!"

Tim chuckled as he seated himself beyond the table. "Why not?" he asked innocently. "I thought everyone treated you very nicely."

A smile flitted across Don's face. "I suppose they did, only--I guess that was the trouble! I felt like an awful fool, Tim! Look here, what did he have to go and tell everything he knew for? I was afraid he was going to and I wanted like anything to sneak out of there, but the place was so quiet I didn't have the nerve! At first I didn't suspect that he had seen me. I didn't recognise him until he stood up to speak this evening. Yesterday I thought he looked sort of familiar, but I couldn't place him. He--he talks too much!"

"He said some awfully nice things about you, old man."

"He said a lot of nonsense, too! Exaggerated the whole thing, he did. Why, to listen to him you'd think I saved about a thousand people from certain death! Well, I didn't. I helped about six or seven folks out of those cars. They were sort of rattled and didn't seem to know enough to beat it."


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