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CHAPTER XXVI  RECOGNITION

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    Was there a celebration?

    Ask Wally Sedgwick, who ought to be able to furnish a detailed account of it, for he followed the procession from its formation, and having stayed out an hour longer than the time set in the parental permission was in consequence compelled to go to bed at seven every day during the following week. He didn't complain; it was inconvenient, of course; but, after all, the celebration was worth it.

    Rob saw three of the newspaper accounts of the game. The first paper, which had previously predicted an easy victory for Hillbury, declared that Seaton played in great luck, "bunching hits for tallies and being helped out of several deep holes by stupid Hillbury base-running." The second asserted that the victory was due to "Patterson's steadiness and the fine all-round work of the[Pg 296] Seaton infield, in which McPherson was the bright and particular star." The third, after commenting on the fact that Hillbury men were frequently on bases but seemed unable to get round to the home plate, added: "Patterson showed himself, if not a great pitcher, at least one who can use his head as well as his arm. Men on bases never fazed him; the more there were, the better he pitched. Coach Lyford deserves great credit for the excellent team work. Owen threw well to bases."

    Owen threw well to bases! And only one paper had discovered that! Rob laughed scornfully as he tossed the papers down. So this trifling mention was all the glory his achievement was to yield him. For a moment he felt hurtbut only for a moment. Soon his good sense and natural modesty reasserted themselves. He had not sought glory; he had not striven to display himself. His ambition had been first to help win the game for Seaton and then to vindicate himself as against Borland. Both these objects had been attained; what more could he fairly ask? Poole and Patterson and Lyford evidently[Pg 297] appreciated his work; his friends and acquaintances, from Lindsay and Laughlin down through a whole range to the Pecks and the Moons and even Payner, had all, in one form or another, expressed to him their admiration. That ought to satisfy him.

    "Who's going to be captain next year, Rob?" asked Simmons, a few days afterward.

    "I don't know yetprobably McPherson. He's been two years on the nine, and after that bully game he put up on Saturday, he deserves it."

    "The fellows were saying it would be McPherson," said Simmons, looking up into Rob's face with an expression of keen regret. "I was hoping you'd get it. You know so much about the game, and have helped them all so."

    Rob flushed. The suggestion touched him in a sensitive spot. "Nonsense!" he retorted sharply. "What put that idea into your head? I'm no better than any one else. For heaven's sake don't suggest that to any one outside; they'd think it came from me."

    On his way over to the baseball meeting that[Pg 298] afternoon Rob was waylaid by Laughlin and Ware who insisted that they had something important to say to him.

    "Well, what is it?" demanded Rob.

    "You're coming back next year, aren't you?" asked Ware.

    "Of course, if they'll let me," Owen replied in a tone of surprise. "Why?"

    "We were just talking about the prospects of the teams for next year," said Ware, smiling shrewdly. "When our class goes, there'll be a pretty big hole to fill."

    "Oh, a few poor sticks will be left," Owen observed sarcastically. "In baseball McPherson and Ames and Patterson and I form quite a bunch. Then there's Hendry and Milliken and Buist as a foundation for the eleven. They're about as good as you find 'em. Rohrer and Wolfe are pretty respectable left-overs for the track. If any one can get new material out, Rohrer can. We might be worse off."

    "That's a fact," nodded Laughlin. "You've got two good captains in Hendry and Rohrer anyway."

    [Pg 299]

    "And McPherson will be just as good," added Rob, promptly. "That makes three."

    "Yes, that makes three," repeated Laughlin, with a look of amusement stealing over his broad face. "Only I'm not so sure about McPherson."

    "Well, the baseball men are, and we ought to know," retorted Rob. "What's this important thing you wanted to tell me?" he added, turning on Ware.

    Ware grinned across at Laughlin. "What was it, Dave? I can't think, can you?"

    "I'm sure I don't know," replied the football man.

    "Here! let me through!" commanded Rob, who now perceived that the pair were holding him up for their own amusement. "I'm ten minutes late for the meeting already." And he charged past the two triflers toward the room at the end of the corridor.

    "You're late!" declared Poole, as Rob opened the door of Number 7. "The election's over."

    "I'm sorry. Dave and Ware tackled me outside and wouldn't let me by."

    "Your vote wouldn't have been any use, any[Pg 300]way," remarked Durand. "It was a unanimous vote."

    "All right, then," said Rob, looking round at the row of smiling faces. He didn't see why they should all grin so and stare at him. "I'm with the rest."

    "Glad to hear it," said Poole, with a wink at his neighbor. "Here's the result."

    Rob took the slip of paper and read with a thrill of astonishment and joy that for a few seconds deprived him of the power of speech:

    "Unanimous choice for Captain of the NineRobert Owen."

    And here we leave our embarrassed catcher vainly struggling for fitting words in which to express his gratitude. His experiences as a Seaton senior, with the vicissitudes of the captains three, are recorded in the chronicles of "The Great Year."

    The End
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