Page images



The next day they were in Toronto.

“We are getting pretty near home, aren't we, Mother?” said Belle, as they rose from the breakfast table.

“Yes, daughter,” said Mother. “Make the most of your time, for vacation will soon be over.”

“How should you like to go and see the games, Ben?” asked Uncle Jack at this point.

“I should very much like to go,” was Ben's reply. “And may we go, too?” asked the two girls.

“Certainly,” replied Uncle Jack. “We shall be glad to have you.” So early in the afternoon they started, and by following the crowd, they soon found themselves in the park where all the athletic events of Toronto are played off.

THE GAMES* The program opened with the one hundred yards' flat race. For this race there were four en

* From “Corporal Cameron,” by Ralph Connor. Copyright, 1912, by George H. Doran Company, and used by permission of the publishers.

tries, Cahill from London, Fullerton from Woodstock, La Belle from nowhere in particular, and Wilbur Freeman from Maplehill. But Wilbur was nowhere to be seen. The secretary came breathless to the platform.

“Where's Wilbur?” he asked of his father.

“Wilbur? Surely he is in the crowd, or in the tent perhaps.”

At the tent the secretary found Wilbur nursing a twisted ankle, heartsick with disappointment. . Early in the day he had injured his foot in an attempt to fasten a swing upon a tree. Every minute since that time he had spent in rubbing and manipulating the injured member, but all to no purpose. While the pain was not great, a race was out of the question.

The secretary was greatly disturbed and as nearly wrathful as he ever allowed himself to become. He was set on his brother making a good showing in this race; moreover, without Wilbur there would be no competitor to uphold the honor of Maplehill in this contest, and this would deprive it of much of its interest.

“Whatever were you climbing trees for?” he began impatiently, but a glance at his young brother's pale and woe-stricken face changed his

[ocr errors]

wrath to pity. “Never mind, old chap,” he said, “ better luck next time.”

Back he ran to the platform, for he must report the dismal news to his mother, whose chief interest in the program for the day lay in this race in which her youngest son was to win his spurs. The cheery secretary was nearly desperate. It was an omin ous beginning for the day's sports. What should

he do? He confided his woe to Mack and Cam, eron, who were standing close by the platform.

"It will play the very mischief with the program,” said Cameron. “It will spoil the whole day, for Wilbur was the sole Maplehill representative in the three races; besides, I believe the youngster would have shown up well.”

“He would that!” cried Mack heartily. “He is a runner, I tell you. But is there no one else from the Hill that could enter?”

“No, no one with a chance of winning, and no fellow likes to go in simply to be beaten,” said the secretary.

“What difference?” said Cameron. “It's all in a day's sport.”

“That's so,” said Mack. “If I could run myself I would enter. I wonder if Danny would — “Danny!” said the secretary shortly. “You know better than that. Danny's too shy to appear before this crowd even if he were sure of winning.”

“Say, it is too bad!” continued Mack, as the magnitude of the calamity grew upon him. “Surely we can find someone to make an appearance. What about yourself, Cameron? Did you ever race?"

“Some,” said Cameron. “I raced last year at the Athole Games.”

The secretary threw himself upon him.

Cameron, you are my man! Do you want to save your country, and perhaps my life, certainly my reputation? Get out of those frills,” touching his kilt, “and I'll get a suit from one of the jumpers for you. Go! Bless your soul, anything you want that's mine you can have! Only hustle for dear life's sake! Go! Go!! Go!!! Take him away, Mack, and we'll get something else on!”

The secretary actually pushed Cameron clear away from the platform and after him big Mack.

“There seems to be no help for it,” said Cameron, as they went to the tent together.

“It's very good of you,” replied Mack, “but you can see how hard the secretary takes it, though it is not a bit fair to you."

“Oh, nobody knows me here,” said Cameron, “and I don't mind being a victim.”

But as Mack saw him get into his jersey and shorts, he began to wonder a bit.

“Man, it would be great if you should beat yon Frenchman!” he exclaimed.


“Yes! La Belle. He is that proud of himself; he thinks he is a winner before he starts.”

“It's a good way to think, Mack. Now let us get down into the woods and have a bit of a practice in the ‘get away.' How do they start here? With a pistol?”

“No,” replied Mack, “we are not so stylish. The starter gives the word this way, 'All set? Go!'

“All right, Mack, you give me the word sharp. I am out of practice and I must get the idea into my head.”

“You are great on the idea, I see,” replied Mack.

“Right you are, and it is just the same with the hammer, Mack.”

“Aye, I have found that out."

For twenty minutes or so Cameron practiced his start and at every attempt Mack's confidence grew, so that when he brought his man back to

« PreviousContinue »