A Quarter-Back's Pluck: A Story of College Football

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A Quarter-Back's Pluck: A Story of College Football


Lester Chadwick

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Contents (35)

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Phil Clinton looked critically at the rickety old sofa. Then he glanced at his chum, Tom Parsons. Next he lifted, very cautiously, one end of the antiquated piece of furniture. The sofa bent in the middle, much as does a ship with a broken keel.

“It—it looks like a mighty risky job to move it, Tom,” said Phil. “It’s broken right through the center.”

“I guess it is,” admitted Tom sorrowfully. Then he lifted the head of the sofa, and warned by an ominous creaking, he lowered it gently to the floor of the college room which he and his chum, Sid Henderson, were about to leave, with the assistance of Phil Clinton to help them move. “Poor old sofa,” went on Tom. “You’ve had a hard life. I’m afraid your days are numbered.”

“But you’re not going to leave it here, for some measly freshman to lie on, are you, Tom?” asked Phil anxiously.

“Not much!” was the quick response.

“Nor the old chair?”


“Nor the alarm clock?”

“Never! Even if it doesn’t keep time, and goes off in the middle of the night. No, Phil, we’ll take ’em along to our new room. But, for the life of me, I don’t see how we’re going to move that sofa. It will collapse if we lift both ends at once.”

“I suppose so, but we’ve got to take it, even if we move it in sections, Tom.”

“Of course, only I don’t see——”

“I have it!” cried Phil suddenly. “I know how to do it!”


“Splice it.”

“Splice it? What do you think it is—a rope ladder? You must be in love, or getting over the measles.”

“No, I mean just what I say. We’ll splice it. You wait. I’ll go down cellar, and get some pieces of board from the janitor. Also a hammer and some nails. We’ll save the old sofa yet, Tom.”

“All right, go ahead. More power to ye, as Bricktop Molloy would say. I wonder if he’s coming back this term?”

“Yep. Post graduate course, I hear. He wouldn’t miss the football team for anything. Well, you hold down things here until I come back. If the new freshmen who are to occupy this room come along, tell ’em we’ll be moved by noon.”

“I doubt it; but go ahead. I’ll try to be comfortable until your return, dearest,” and with a mocking smile Tom Parsons sank down into an easy chair that threatened to collapse under his substantial bulk. From the faded cushions a cloud of dust arose, and set Tom to sneezing so hard that the old chair creaked and rattled, as if it would fall apart.

“Easy! Easy there, old chap!” exclaimed the tall, good-looking lad, as he peered on either side of the seat. “Don’t go back on me now. You’ll soon have a change of climate, and maybe that will be good for your old bones.”

He settled back, stuck his feet out before him, and gazed about the room. It was a very much dismantled apartment. In the center was piled a collection of baseball bats, tennis racquets, boxing gloves, foils, catching gloves, a football, some running trousers, a couple of sweaters, and a nondescript collection of books. There were also a couple of trunks, while, flanking the pile, was the old sofa and the arm chair. On top of all the alarm clock was ticking comfortably away, as happy as though moving from one college dormitory to another was a most matter-of-fact proceeding. The hands pointed to one o’clock, when it was, as Tom ascertained by looking at his watch, barely nine; but a little thing like that did not seem to give the clock any concern.

“I do hope Phil can rig up some scheme so we can move the sofa,” murmured the occupant of the easy chair. “That’s like part of ourselves now. It will make the new room seem more like home. I wonder where Sid can be? This is more of his moving than it is Phil’s, but Sid always manages to get out of hard work. Phil is anxious to room with us, I guess.”

Tom Parsons stretched his legs out a little farther, and let his gaze once more roam about the room. Suddenly he uttered an exclamation, as his eye caught sight of something on the wall.

“Came near forgetting that,” he said as he arose, amid another cloud of dust from the chair, and removed from a spot on the wall, behind the door, the picture of a pretty girl. “I never put that there,” he went on, as he wiped the dust from the photograph, and turned it over to look at the name written on the back—Madge Tyler. “Sid must have done that for a joke. He thought I’d forget it, and leave it for some freshy to make fun of. Not much! I got ahead of you that time, Sid, my boy. Queer how he doesn’t like girls,” added Tom, with the air of an expert. “Well, probably it’s just as well he doesn’t take too much to Madge, for——”

But Tom’s musings, which were getting rather sentimental, were interrupted by the entrance of Phil Clinton. Phil had under one arm some boards, while in one hand he carried a hammer, and in the other some nails.

“Just the cheese,” he announced. “Now we’ll have this thing fixed up in jig time. Hasn’t Sid Henderson showed up?”

“No. I guess he’s over to the new room. He took his books and left some time ago. Maybe he’s studying.”

“Not much!” exclaimed Phil. “I wish he’d come and help move. Some of this stuff is his.”

“Most of it is. I’m glad you’re going to help, or I’d never have the courage to shift. Well, let’s get the sofa fixed. I doubt if we can make it hold together, though.”

“Yes, we can. I’ll show you.”

Phil went to work in earnest. He was an athletic-looking chap, of generous size, and one of the best runners at Randall College. He was one of Tom Parson’s particular chums, the other being Sidney Henderson. Tom and Sid, of whom more will be told presently, had roomed together during their freshman year at Randall, and Phil’s apartment was not far away. Toward the close of the term the three boys were much together, Phil spending more time in the room of Tom and Sid than he did in his own. In this way he became very much attached to the old chair and sofa, which formed two of the choicest possessions of the lads.

With the opening of the new term, when the freshmen had become more or less dignified sophomores, Phil had proposed that he and his two chums shift to a large room in the west dormitory, where the majority of the sophomores and juniors lived. His plan was enthusiastically adopted by Sid and Tom, and, as soon as they had arrived at college, ready for the beginning of the term, moving day had been instituted. But Sid, after helping Tom get their possessions in a pile in the middle of the room they were about to leave, had disappeared, and Phil, enthusiastic about getting his two best friends into an apartment with him, had come over to aid Tom.

“Now, you see,” went on Phil, “I’ll nail this board along the front edge of the sofa—so.”

“But don’t you think, old chap—and I know you’ll excuse my mentioning it,” said Tom—“don’t you think that it rather spoils, well, we’ll say the artistic beauty of it?”

“Artistic fiddlesticks!” exclaimed Phil. “Of course it does! But it’s the only way to hold it together.”

“One could, I suppose, put a sort of drapery—flounce, I believe, is the proper word—over it,” went on Tom. “That would hide the unsightly board.”

“I don’t care whether it’s hid or not!” exclaimed Phil. “But if you don’t get down here and help hold this end, while I nail the other, I know what’s going to happen.”

“What?” asked Tom, as he carefully put in his pocket the photograph of the pretty girl.

“Well, you’ll have a mob of howling freshmen in here, and there won’t be any sofa left.”

“Perish the thought!” cried Tom, and then he set to work in earnest helping Phil.

“Now a board on the back,” said the amateur carpenter, and for a few minutes he hammered vigorously.

“It’s a regular anvil chorus,” remarked Tom.

“Here, no knocking!” exclaimed his chum. “Now let’s see if it’s stiff enough.”

Anxiously he raised one end of the sofa. There was no sagging in the middle this time.

“It’s like putting a new keel on a ship!” cried the inventor of the scheme gaily. “A few more nails, and it will do. Do you think the chair will stand shifting?”

“Oh, yes. That’s like the ‘one-horse shay’—it’ll hold together until it flies apart by spontaneous combustion. You needn’t worry about that.”

Phil proceeded to drive a few more nails in the boards he had attached to the front and back of the sofa. Then he got up to admire his work.

“I call that pretty good, Tom; don’t you?” he asked.

The two chums drew back to the farther side of the room to get the effect.

“Yes, I guess with a ruffle or two, a little insertion, and a bit of old lace, it will hide the fractured places, Phil. It’s a pity——”

“Here, what are you scoundrels doing to my old sofa?” exclaimed a voice. “Vandals! How dare you spoil that antique?” and another lad entered the room. “Say, why didn’t you put new legs on it, insert new springs, and cover it over while you were about it?” he asked sarcastically.

“Because, you old fossil, we had to put those boards on,” said Tom. “Where have you been, Sid? Phil and I were getting ready to move without you.”

“Oh, I’ve been cleaning out the new room we’re going into. The juniors who were there last term must have tried to raise vegetables in it, judging by the amount of dirt I found. But it’s all right now.”

“Good! Now if you’ll catch hold here, we’ll move the old sofa first. The rest will be easy.”

Sid Henderson grasped the head of the couch, while Tom took the foot. Phil acted as general manager, and steadied it on the side.

“Easy now, easy boys,” he cautioned, as they moved toward the door leading to the hall.