Mike: A Public School Story



Burgess walked off the ground feeling that fate was not using him well.

Here was he, a well-meaning youth who wanted to be on good terms with all the world, being jockeyed into slaughtering a kid whose batting he admired and whom personally he liked.  And the worst of it was that he sympathised with Mike.  He knew what it felt like to be run out just when one had got set, and he knew exactly how maddening the Gazeka’s manner would be on such an occasion.  On the other hand, officially he was bound to support the head of Wain’s.  Prefects must stand together or chaos will come.

He thought he would talk it over with somebody.  Bob occurred to him.  It was only fair that Bob should be told, as the nearest of kin.

And here was another grievance against fate.  Bob was a person he did not particularly wish to see just then.  For that morning he had posted up the list of the team to play for the school against Geddington, one of the four schools which Wrykyn met at cricket; and Bob’s name did not appear on that list.  Several things had contributed to that melancholy omission.  In the first place, Geddington, to judge from the weekly reports in the Sportsman and Field, were strong this year at batting.  In the second place, the results of the last few matches, and particularly the M.C.C. match, had given Burgess the idea that Wrykyn was weak at bowling.  It became necessary, therefore, to drop a batsman out of the team in favour of a bowler.  And either Mike or Bob must be the man.

Burgess was as rigidly conscientious as the captain of a school eleven should be.  Bob was one of his best friends, and he would have given much to be able to put him in the team; but he thought the thing over, and put the temptation sturdily behind him.  At batting there was not much to choose between the two, but in fielding there was a great deal.  Mike was good.  Bob was bad.  So out Bob had gone, and Neville-Smith, a fair fast bowler at all times and on his day dangerous, took his place.

These clashings of public duty with private inclination are the drawbacks to the despotic position of captain of cricket at a public school.  It is awkward having to meet your best friend after you have dropped him from the team, and it is difficult to talk to him as if nothing had happened.

Burgess felt very self-conscious as he entered Bob’s study, and was rather glad that he had a topic of conversation ready to hand.

“Busy, Bob?” he asked.

“Hullo,” said Bob, with a cheerfulness rather over-done in his anxiety to show Burgess, the man, that he did not hold him responsible in any way for the distressing acts of Burgess, the captain.  “Take a pew.  Don’t these studies get beastly hot this weather.  There’s some ginger-beer in the cupboard.  Have some?”

“No, thanks.  I say, Bob, look here, I want to see you.”

“Well, you can, can’t you?  This is me, sitting over here.  The tall, dark, handsome chap.”

“It’s awfully awkward, you know,” continued Burgess gloomily; “that ass of a young brother of yours—­Sorry, but he is an ass, though he’s your brother——­”

“Thanks for the ‘though,’ Billy.  You know how to put a thing nicely.  What’s Mike been up to?”

“It’s that old fool the Gazeka.  He came to me frothing with rage, and wanted me to call a prefects’ meeting and touch young Mike up.”

Bob displayed interest and excitement for the first time.

“Prefects’ meeting!  What the dickens is up?  What’s he been doing?  Smith must be drunk.  What’s all the row about?”

Burgess repeated the main facts of the case as he had them from Firby-Smith.

“Personally, I sympathise with the kid,” he added, “Still, the Gazeka is a prefect——­”

Bob gnawed a pen-holder morosely.

“Silly young idiot,” he said.

“Sickening thing being run out,” suggested Burgess.


“I know.  It’s rather hard to see what to do.  I suppose if the Gazeka insists, one’s bound to support him.”

“I suppose so.”

“Awful rot.  Prefects’ lickings aren’t meant for that sort of thing.  They’re supposed to be for kids who steal buns at the shop or muck about generally.  Not for a chap who curses a fellow who runs him out.  I tell you what, there’s just a chance Firby-Smith won’t press the thing.  He hadn’t had time to get over it when he saw me.  By now he’ll have simmered down a bit.  Look here, you’re a pal of his, aren’t you?  Well, go and ask him to drop the business.  Say you’ll curse your brother and make him apologise, and that I’ll kick him out of the team for the Geddington match.”

It was a difficult moment for Bob.  One cannot help one’s thoughts, and for an instant the idea of going to Geddington with the team, as he would certainly do if Mike did not play, made him waver.  But he recovered himself.

“Don’t do that,” he said.  “I don’t see there’s a need for anything of that sort.  You must play the best side you’ve got.  I can easily talk the old Gazeka over.  He gets all right in a second if he’s treated the right way.  I’ll go and do it now.”

Burgess looked miserable.

“I say, Bob,” he said.


“Oh, nothing—­I mean, you’re not a bad sort.”  With which glowing eulogy he dashed out of the room, thanking his stars that he had won through a confoundedly awkward business.

Bob went across to Wain’s to interview and soothe Firby-Smith.

He found that outraged hero sitting moodily in his study like Achilles in his tent.

Seeing Bob, he became all animation.

“Look here,” he said, “I wanted to see you.  You know, that frightful young brother of yours——­”

“I know, I know,” said Bob.  “Burgess was telling me.  He wants kicking.”

“He wants a frightful licking from the prefects,” emended the aggrieved party.

“Well, I don’t know, you know.  Not much good lugging the prefects into it, is there?  I mean, apart from everything else, not much of a catch for me, would it be, having to sit there and look on.  I’m a prefect, too, you know.”

Firby-Smith looked a little blank at this.  He had a great admiration for Bob.

“I didn’t think of you,” he said.

“I thought you hadn’t,” said Bob.  “You see it now, though, don’t you?”

Firby-Smith returned to the original grievance.

“Well, you know, it was frightful cheek.”

“Of course it was.  Still, I think if I saw him and cursed him, and sent him up to you to apologise—­How would that do?”

“All right.  After all, I did run him out.”

“Yes, there’s that, of course.  Mike’s all right, really.  It isn’t as if he did that sort of thing as a habit.”

“No.  All right then.”

“Thanks,” said Bob, and went to find Mike.

The lecture on deportment which he read that future All-England batsman in a secluded passage near the junior day-room left the latter rather limp and exceedingly meek.  For the moment all the jauntiness and exuberance had been drained out of him.  He was a punctured balloon.  Reflection, and the distinctly discouraging replies of those experts in school law to whom he had put the question, “What d’you think he’ll do?” had induced a very chastened frame of mind.

He perceived that he had walked very nearly into a hornets’ nest, and the realisation of his escape made him agree readily to all the conditions imposed.  The apology to the Gazeka was made without reserve, and the offensively forgiving, say-no-more-about-it-but-take-care-in-future air of the head of the house roused no spark of resentment in him, so subdued was his fighting spirit.  All he wanted was to get the thing done with.  He was not inclined to be critical.

And, most of all, he felt grateful to Bob.  Firby-Smith, in the course of his address, had not omitted to lay stress on the importance of Bob’s intervention.  But for Bob, he gave him to understand, he, Mike, would have been prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law.  Mike came away with a confused picture in his mind of a horde of furious prefects bent on his slaughter, after the manner of a stage “excited crowd,” and Bob waving them back.  He realised that Bob had done him a good turn.  He wished he could find some way of repaying him.

Curiously enough, it was an enemy of Bob’s who suggested the way—­Burton, of Donaldson’s.  Burton was a slippery young gentleman, fourteen years of age, who had frequently come into contact with Bob in the house, and owed him many grudges.  With Mike he had always tried to form an alliance, though without success.

He happened to meet Mike going to school next morning, and unburdened his soul to him.  It chanced that Bob and he had had another small encounter immediately after breakfast, and Burton felt revengeful.

“I say,” said Burton, “I’m jolly glad you’re playing for the first against Geddington.”

“Thanks,” said Mike.

“I’m specially glad for one reason.”

“What’s that?” inquired Mike, without interest.

“Because your beast of a brother has been chucked out.  He’d have been playing but for you.”

At any other time Mike would have heard Bob called a beast without active protest.  He would have felt that it was no business of his to fight his brother’s battles for him.  But on this occasion he deviated from his rule.

He kicked Burton.  Not once or twice, but several times, so that Burton, retiring hurriedly, came to the conclusion that it must be something in the Jackson blood, some taint, as it were.  They were all beasts.

Mike walked on, weighing this remark, and gradually made up his mind.  It must be remembered that he was in a confused mental condition, and that the only thing he realised clearly was that Bob had pulled him out of an uncommonly nasty hole.  It seemed to him that it was necessary to repay Bob.  He thought the thing over more fully during school, and his decision remained unaltered.

On the evening before the Geddington match, just before lock-up, Mike tapped at Burgess’s study door.  He tapped with his right hand, for his left was in a sling.

“Come in!” yelled the captain.  “Hullo!”

“I’m awfully sorry, Burgess,” said Mike.  “I’ve crocked my wrist a bit.”

“How did you do that?  You were all right at the nets?”

“Slipped as I was changing,” said Mike stolidly.

“Is it bad?”

“Nothing much.  I’m afraid I shan’t be able to play to-morrow.”

“I say, that’s bad luck.  Beastly bad luck.  We wanted your batting, too.  Be all right, though, in a day or two, I suppose?”

“Oh, yes, rather.”

“Hope so, anyway.”

“Thanks.  Good-night.”


And Burgess, with the comfortable feeling that he had managed to combine duty and pleasure after all, wrote a note to Bob at Donaldson’s, telling him to be ready to start with the team for Geddington by the 8.54 next morning.



Mike’s Uncle John was a wanderer on the face of the earth.  He had been an army surgeon in the days of his youth, and, after an adventurous career, mainly in Afghanistan, had inherited enough money to keep him in comfort for the rest of his life.  He had thereupon left the service, and now spent most of his time flitting from one spot of Europe to another.  He had been dashing up to Scotland on the day when Mike first became a Wrykynian, but a few weeks in an uncomfortable hotel in Skye and a few days in a comfortable one in Edinburgh had left him with the impression that he had now seen all that there was to be seen in North Britain and might reasonably shift his camp again.

Coming south, he had looked in on Mike’s people for a brief space, and, at the request of Mike’s mother, took the early express to Wrykyn in order to pay a visit of inspection.

His telegram arrived during morning school.  Mike went down to the station to meet him after lunch.

Uncle John took command of the situation at once.

“School playing anybody to-day, Mike?  I want to see a match.”

“They’re playing Geddington.  Only it’s away.  There’s a second match on.”

“Why aren’t you—­Hullo, I didn’t see.  What have you been doing to yourself?”

“Crocked my wrist a bit.  It’s nothing much.”

“How did you do that?”

“Slipped while I was changing after cricket.”


“Not much, thanks.”

“Doctor seen it?”

“No.  But it’s really nothing.  Be all right by Monday.”

“H’m.  Somebody ought to look at it.  I’ll have a look later on.”

Mike did not appear to relish this prospect.

“It isn’t anything, Uncle John, really.  It doesn’t matter a bit.”

“Never mind.  It won’t do any harm having somebody examine it who knows a bit about these things.  Now, what shall we do.  Go on the river?”

“I shouldn’t be able to steer.”

“I could manage about that.  Still, I think I should like to see the place first.  Your mother’s sure to ask me if you showed me round.  It’s like going over the stables when you’re stopping at a country-house.  Got to be done, and better do it as soon as possible.”

It is never very interesting playing the part of showman at school.  Both Mike and his uncle were inclined to scamp the business.  Mike pointed out the various landmarks without much enthusiasm—­it is only after one has left a few years that the school buildings take to themselves romance—­and Uncle John said, “Ah yes, I see.  Very nice,” two or three times in an absent voice; and they passed on to the cricket field, where the second eleven were playing a neighbouring engineering school.  It was a glorious day.  The sun had never seemed to Mike so bright or the grass so green.  It was one of those days when the ball looks like a large vermilion-coloured football as it leaves the bowler’s hand.  If ever there was a day when it seemed to Mike that a century would have been a certainty, it was this Saturday.  A sudden, bitter realisation of all he had given up swept over him, but he choked the feeling down.  The thing was done, and it was no good brooding over the might-have-beens now.  Still—­And the Geddington ground was supposed to be one of the easiest scoring grounds of all the public schools!

“Well hit, by George!” remarked Uncle John, as Trevor, who had gone in first wicket for the second eleven, swept a half-volley to leg round to the bank where they were sitting.

“That’s Trevor,” said Mike.  “Chap in Donaldson’s.  The fellow at the other end is Wilkins.  He’s in the School House.  They look as if they were getting set.  By Jove,” he said enviously, “pretty good fun batting on a day like this.”

Uncle John detected the envious note.

“I suppose you would have been playing here but for your wrist?”

“No, I was playing for the first.”

“For the first?  For the school!  My word, Mike, I didn’t know that.  No wonder you’re feeling badly treated.  Of course, I remember your father saying you had played once for the school, and done well; but I thought that was only as a substitute.  I didn’t know you were a regular member of the team.  What bad luck.  Will you get another chance?”

“Depends on Bob.”

“Has Bob got your place?”

Mike nodded.

“If he does well to-day, they’ll probably keep him in.”

“Isn’t there room for both of you?”

“Such a lot of old colours.  There are only three vacancies, and Henfrey got one of those a week ago.  I expect they’ll give one of the other two to a bowler, Neville-Smith, I should think, if he does well against Geddington.  Then there’ll be only the last place left.”

“Rather awkward, that.”

“Still, it’s Bob’s last year.  I’ve got plenty of time.  But I wish I could get in this year.”

After they had watched the match for an hour, Uncle John’s restless nature asserted itself.

“Suppose we go for a pull on the river now?” he suggested.

They got up.

“Let’s just call at the shop,” said Mike.  “There ought to be a telegram from Geddington by this time.  I wonder how Bob’s got on.”

Apparently Bob had not had a chance yet of distinguishing himself.  The telegram read, “Geddington 151 for four.  Lunch.”

“Not bad that,” said Mike.  “But I believe they’re weak in bowling.”

They walked down the road towards the school landing-stage.

“The worst of a school,” said Uncle John, as he pulled up-stream with strong, unskilful stroke, “is that one isn’t allowed to smoke on the grounds.  I badly want a pipe.  The next piece of shade that you see, sing out, and we’ll put in there.”

“Pull your left,” said Mike.  “That willow’s what you want.”

Uncle John looked over his shoulder, caught a crab, recovered himself, and steered the boat in under the shade of the branches.

“Put the rope over that stump.  Can you manage with one hand?  Here, let me—­Done it?  Good.  A-ah!”

He blew a great cloud of smoke into the air, and sighed contentedly.

“I hope you don’t smoke, Mike?”


“Rotten trick for a boy.  When you get to my age you need it.  Boys ought to be thinking about keeping themselves fit and being good at games.  Which reminds me.  Let’s have a look at the wrist.”

A hunted expression came into Mike’s eyes.

“It’s really nothing,” he began, but his uncle had already removed the sling, and was examining the arm with the neat rapidity of one who has been brought up to such things.

To Mike it seemed as if everything in the world was standing still and waiting.  He could hear nothing but his own breathing.

His uncle pressed the wrist gingerly once or twice, then gave it a little twist.

“That hurt?” he asked.

“Ye—­no,” stammered Mike.

Uncle John looked up sharply.  Mike was crimson.

“What’s the game?” inquired Uncle John.

Mike said nothing.

There was a twinkle in his uncle’s eyes.

“May as well tell me.  I won’t give you away.  Why this wounded warrior business when you’ve no more the matter with you than I have?”

Mike hesitated.

“I only wanted to get out of having to write this morning.  There was an exam. on.”

The idea had occurred to him just before he spoke.  It had struck him as neat and plausible.

To Uncle John it did not appear in the same light.

“Do you always write with your left hand?  And if you had gone with the first eleven to Geddington, wouldn’t that have got you out of your exam?  Try again.”

When in doubt, one may as well tell the truth.  Mike told it.

“I know.  It wasn’t that, really.  Only——­”


“Oh, well, dash it all then.  Old Bob got me out of an awful row the day before yesterday, and he seemed a bit sick at not playing for the first, so I thought I might as well let him.  That’s how it was.  Look here, swear you won’t tell him.”

Uncle John was silent.  Inwardly he was deciding that the five shillings which he had intended to bestow on Mike on his departure should become a sovereign. (This, it may be mentioned as an interesting biographical fact, was the only occasion in his life on which Mike earned money at the rate of fifteen shillings a half-minute.)

“Swear you won’t tell him.  He’d be most frightfully sick if he knew.”

“I won’t tell him.”

Conversation dwindled to vanishing-point.  Uncle John smoked on in weighty silence, while Mike, staring up at the blue sky through the branches of the willow, let his mind wander to Geddington, where his fate was even now being sealed.  How had the school got on?  What had Bob done?  If he made about twenty, would they give him his cap?  Supposing....

A faint snore from Uncle John broke in on his meditations.  Then there was a clatter as a briar pipe dropped on to the floor of the boat, and his uncle sat up, gaping.

“Jove, I was nearly asleep.  What’s the time?  Just on six?  Didn’t know it was so late.”

“I ought to be getting back soon, I think.  Lock-up’s at half-past.”

“Up with the anchor, then.  You can tackle that rope with two hands now, eh?  We are not observed.  Don’t fall overboard.  I’m going to shove her off.”

“There’ll be another telegram, I should think,” said Mike, as they reached the school gates.

“Shall we go and look?”

They walked to the shop.

A second piece of grey paper had been pinned up under the first.  Mike pushed his way through the crowd.  It was a longer message this time.

It ran as follows: 

   “Geddington 247 (Burgess six wickets, Neville-Smith four). 
   Wrykyn 270 for nine (Berridge 86, Marsh 58, Jackson 48).”

Mike worked his way back through the throng, and rejoined his uncle.

“Well?” said Uncle John.

“We won.”

He paused for a moment.

“Bob made forty-eight,” he added carelessly.

Uncle John felt in his pocket, and silently slid a sovereign into Mike’s hand.

It was the only possible reply.



Wyatt got back late that night, arriving at the dormitory as Mike was going to bed.

“By Jove, I’m done,” he said.  “It was simply baking at Geddington.  And I came back in a carriage with Neville-Smith and Ellerby, and they ragged the whole time.  I wanted to go to sleep, only they wouldn’t let me.  Old Smith was awfully bucked because he’d taken four wickets.  I should think he’d go off his nut if he took eight ever.  He was singing comic songs when he wasn’t trying to put Ellerby under the seat.  How’s your wrist?”

“Oh, better, thanks.”

Wyatt began to undress.

“Any colours?” asked Mike after a pause.  First eleven colours were generally given in the pavilion after a match or on the journey home.

“No.  Only one or two thirds.  Jenkins and Clephane, and another chap, can’t remember who.  No first, though.”

“What was Bob’s innings like?”

“Not bad.  A bit lucky.  He ought to have been out before he’d scored, and he was out when he’d made about sixteen, only the umpire didn’t seem to know that it’s l-b-w when you get your leg right in front of the wicket and the ball hits it.  Never saw a clearer case in my life.  I was in at the other end.  Bit rotten for the Geddington chaps.  Just lost them the match.  Their umpire, too.  Bit of luck for Bob.  He didn’t give the ghost of a chance after that.”

“I should have thought they’d have given him his colours.”

“Most captains would have done, only Burgess is so keen on fielding that he rather keeps off it.”

“Why, did he field badly?”

“Rottenly.  And the man always will choose Billy’s bowling to drop catches off.  And Billy would cut his rich uncle from Australia if he kept on dropping them off him.  Bob’s fielding’s perfectly sinful.  He was pretty bad at the beginning of the season, but now he’s got so nervous that he’s a dozen times worse.  He turns a delicate green when he sees a catch coming.  He let their best man off twice in one over, off Billy, to-day; and the chap went on and made a hundred odd.  Ripping innings bar those two chances.  I hear he’s got an average of eighty in school matches this season.  Beastly man to bowl to.  Knocked me off in half a dozen overs.  And, when he does give a couple of easy chances, Bob puts them both on the floor.  Billy wouldn’t have given him his cap after the match if he’d made a hundred.  Bob’s the sort of man who wouldn’t catch a ball if you handed it to him on a plate, with watercress round it.”

Burgess, reviewing the match that night, as he lay awake in his cubicle, had come to much the same conclusion.  He was very fond of Bob, but two missed catches in one over was straining the bonds of human affection too far.  There would have been serious trouble between David and Jonathan if either had persisted in dropping catches off the other’s bowling.  He writhed in bed as he remembered the second of the two chances which the wretched Bob had refused.  The scene was indelibly printed on his mind.  Chap had got a late cut which he fancied rather.  With great guile he had fed this late cut.  Sent down a couple which he put to the boundary.  Then fired a third much faster and a bit shorter.  Chap had a go at it, just as he had expected:  and he felt that life was a good thing after all when the ball just touched the corner of the bat and flew into Bob’s hands.  And Bob dropped it!

The memory was too bitter.  If he dwelt on it, he felt, he would get insomnia.  So he turned to pleasanter reflections:  the yorker which had shattered the second-wicket man, and the slow head-ball which had led to a big hitter being caught on the boundary.  Soothed by these memories, he fell asleep.

Next morning he found himself in a softened frame of mind.  He thought of Bob’s iniquities with sorrow rather than wrath.  He felt towards him much as a father feels towards a prodigal son whom there is still a chance of reforming.  He overtook Bob on his way to chapel.

Directness was always one of Burgess’s leading qualities.

“Look here, Bob.  About your fielding.  It’s simply awful.”

Bob was all remorse.

“It’s those beastly slip catches.  I can’t time them.”

“That one yesterday was right into your hands.  Both of them were.”

“I know.  I’m frightfully sorry.”

“Well, but I mean, why can’t you hold them?  It’s no good being a good bat—­you’re that all right—­if you’re going to give away runs in the field.”

“Do you know, I believe I should do better in the deep.  I could get time to watch them there.  I wish you’d give me a shot in the deep—­for the second.”

“Second be blowed!  I want your batting in the first.  Do you think you’d really do better in the deep?”

“I’m almost certain I should.  I’ll practise like mad.  Trevor’ll hit me up catches.  I hate the slips.  I get in the dickens of a funk directly the bowler starts his run now.  I know that if a catch does come, I shall miss it.  I’m certain the deep would be much better.”

“All right then.  Try it.”

The conversation turned to less pressing topics.

In the next two matches, accordingly, Bob figured on the boundary, where he had not much to do except throw the ball back to the bowler, and stop an occasional drive along the carpet.  The beauty of fielding in the deep is that no unpleasant surprises can be sprung upon one.  There is just that moment or two for collecting one’s thoughts which makes the whole difference.  Bob, as he stood regarding the game from afar, found his self-confidence returning slowly, drop by drop.

As for Mike, he played for the second, and hoped for the day.

His opportunity came at last.  It will be remembered that on the morning after the Great Picnic the headmaster made an announcement in Hall to the effect that, owing to an outbreak of chicken-pox in the town, all streets except the High Street would be out of bounds.  This did not affect the bulk of the school, for most of the shops to which any one ever thought of going were in the High Street.  But there were certain inquiring minds who liked to ferret about in odd corners.

Among these was one Leather-Twigg, of Seymour’s, better known in criminal circles as Shoeblossom.

Shoeblossom was a curious mixture of the Energetic Ragger and the Quiet Student.  On a Monday evening you would hear a hideous uproar proceeding from Seymour’s junior day-room; and, going down with a swagger-stick to investigate, you would find a tangled heap of squealing humanity on the floor, and at the bottom of the heap, squealing louder than any two others, would be Shoeblossom, his collar burst and blackened and his face apoplectically crimson.  On the Tuesday afternoon, strolling in some shady corner of the grounds you would come upon him lying on his chest, deep in some work of fiction and resentful of interruption.  On the Wednesday morning he would be in receipt of four hundred lines from his housemaster for breaking three windows and a gas-globe.  Essentially a man of moods, Shoeblossom.

It happened about the date of the Geddington match that he took out from the school library a copy of “The Iron Pirate,” and for the next day or two he wandered about like a lost spirit trying to find a sequestered spot in which to read it.  His inability to hit on such a spot was rendered more irritating by the fact that, to judge from the first few chapters (which he had managed to get through during prep. one night under the eye of a short-sighted master), the book was obviously the last word in hot stuff.  He tried the junior day-room, but people threw cushions at him.  He tried out of doors, and a ball hit from a neighbouring net nearly scalped him.  Anything in the nature of concentration became impossible in these circumstances.

Then he recollected that in a quiet backwater off the High Street there was a little confectioner’s shop, where tea might be had at a reasonable sum, and also, what was more important, peace.

He made his way there, and in the dingy back shop, all amongst the dust and bluebottles, settled down to a thoughtful perusal of chapter six.

Upstairs, at the same moment, the doctor was recommending that Master John George, the son of the house, be kept warm and out of draughts and not permitted to scratch himself, however necessary such an action might seem to him.  In brief, he was attending J. G. for chicken-pox.

Shoeblossom came away, entering the High Street furtively, lest Authority should see him out of bounds, and returned to the school, where he went about his lawful occasions as if there were no such thing as chicken-pox in the world.

But all the while the microbe was getting in some unostentatious but clever work.  A week later Shoeblossom began to feel queer.  He had occasional headaches, and found himself oppressed by a queer distaste for food.  The professional advice of Dr. Oakes, the school doctor, was called for, and Shoeblossom took up his abode in the Infirmary, where he read Punch, sucked oranges, and thought of Life.

Two days later Barry felt queer.  He, too, disappeared from Society.

Chicken-pox is no respecter of persons.  The next victim was Marsh, of the first eleven.  Marsh, who was top of the school averages.  Where were his drives now, his late cuts that were wont to set the pavilion in a roar.  Wrapped in a blanket, and looking like the spotted marvel of a travelling circus, he was driven across to the Infirmary in a four-wheeler, and it became incumbent upon Burgess to select a substitute for him.

And so it came about that Mike soared once again into the ranks of the elect, and found his name down in the team to play against the Incogniti.

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