The 'Arrival' of Jimpson

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The “Arrival” Of Jimpson  (1898) 
by Ralph Henry Barbour

Extracted from St. Nicholas magazine, November 1898, pp. 3–12. Accompanying illustrations by Henry S. Watson may be omitted.


THE “ARRIVAL” OF JIMPSON

By RICHARD STILLMAN POWELL

I.—THE DEPARTURE.

THE rain fell in a steady, remorseless drizzle upon the rain-coats and umbrellas of the throng that blocked the sidewalks and overflowed on to the car-tracks; but the fires of patriotism were unquenchable, and a thousand voices arose to the leaden sky in a fierce clamor of intense enthusiasm. It had rained all night. The streets ran water, and the spouts emptied their tides between the feet of the cheerers. The lumbering cars, their crimson sides glistening, clanged their way carefully through the crowds, and lent a dash of color to the scene. The back of Gray’s loomed cheerless and bleak through the drizzle, and beyond, the college yard lay deserted. In store windows the placards were hidden behind the blurred and misty panes, and farther up the avenue, the tattered red flag above Foster’s hung limp and dripping.

Under the leafless elm, the barge, filled to overflowing with departing heroes, stood ready for its start to Boston. On the steps, bareheaded and umbrella-less, stood Benham, ’95 waving arms, was tempting the throng into ever greater vocal excesses.

“Now, then, fellows! Three times three for Meredith.”

“’Rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’rah, ’rah,’rah! ’rah, ’rah, ‘rah! Meredith!” A thousand throats raised the cry; umbrellas clashed wildly in mid-air; the crowd surged to and fro; horses curveted nervously; and the rain poured down impartially upon the reverend senior and the clamorous freshman.

“Fellows, you’re not half cheering!” cried the relentless Benham. “Now, three times three, three long Harvards, and three times three for the eleven.”

“Rah, ’rah, rah! ’rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’rah, ’rah, ’rah! Har-vard, Har-vard, Har-vard! ’Rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’rah, ’rah, ’rah! ‘rah, ’rah, ’rah! ’Leven!”

Inside the coach there was a babel of voices. Members of the eleven leaned out and conversed jerkily with friends on the sidewalk. Valises and suit-cases were piled high in the aisle and held in the owners’ laps. The manager was checking off his list.

“Cowper?”

“Here.”

“Turner?”

All right.”

“Truesdale?”

“Hey? Oh, yes; I’m here.” The manager folded the list. Then a penciled line on the margin caught his eye.

“Who’s Jameson? Jameson here?”

“Should be Jimpson,” corrected the man next to him; and a low voice called from the far end of the barge:

“Here, sir.” It sounded so much like the response of a school-boy to the teacher that the hearers laughed with the mirth begot of tight-stretched nerves. A youth wearing a faded brown ulster, who was between Gates, the big center, and the corner of the coach, grew painfully red in the face, and went into retirement behind the big man’s shoulder.

“Who is this fellow Jimpson?” queried a man in a yellow mackintosh.

“Jimpson? He’s a freshie. Trying for right half-back all fall. I suppose Brattle took him along, now that Ward’s given up, to substitute Sills. They say he’s an A 1 runner, and plucky. He’s played some on the second eleven. Taunton told me, the other day, that he played great ball at Exeter, last year.”

The strident strains of the “Washington Post” burst out on the air, urging the cheerers to even greater efforts. They were cheering indiscriminatingly now. The trainer, the rubbers, the coaches, even the bulldog “mascot,” had received their shares of the ovation. But Benham, ’95, with his coat soaked through, was still unsatisfied, and sought for further tests. Two professors, half hidden under umbrellas, had emerged from the yard, and were standing at a little distance, watching the scene.

“Three times three for Professor Dablee!” The cheers that followed were mixed with laughter, and the two professors moved off, but not until the identity of the second had been revealed, and the air had filled with the refrain of “’Rah, ’rah, ’rah! Pollock!”

“They look as though they ought to win; don’t you think so?” asked one of them.

The other professor frowned.

“Yes, they look like that; every eleven does. You’d think, to see them before a game, that nothing short of a pile-driver or dynamite could drive them an inch. And a few days later they return, heartbroken and defeated.”

Across the square floated a husky bellow:

“Now, then, fellows! Once more! All together! Three times three for Harvard!”

The band played wildly, frenziedly, out of time and tune; the crowd strained its tired throats for one last farewell slogan; the men in the barge waved their hands; the horses jumped forward; a belated riser in Holyoke threw open a front window, and drowsily yelled, “Shut up”; and the Harvard eleven sped on its way up the avenue, and soon became a blur in the gray vista.

“Say, Bob, you forgot to cheer Jimpson.”

The wearied youth faced his accuser, struck an attitude indicative of intense despair, and then joyfully seized the opportunity.

“Fellows! Fellows! Hold on! Three times three for Jim—Jim—who’d you say?”

“Three times three for Jimpson! Now, then, all together!”

“Say—who is Jimpson?” shouted a dozen voices at once.

“Don’t know. Don’t care. Three times three for Jimpson!”

And so that youth, had he but known it, received a cheer, after all. But he didn’t know it—at least, not until long afterward, when cheers meant so much less to him.


II.—A LETTER.

New Haven, Conn., November 19.

Dear Mother: I can imagine your surprise upon receiving a letter from this place, when your dutiful son is supposed to be “grinding” in No. 30 College House, Cambridge. And the truth is that the dutiful son is surprised himself. Here am I, with some thirty-five other chaps, making ready for the big football game with Yale to-morrow. Here is how it happened:

Yesterday morning, Brattle—he’s our captain—came to my room, routed me out of bed, and told me to report to the coaches for morning practise. You know, I’ve been trying for substitute right half-back. Ward, the regular, sprained his knee in the Dartmouth game, and a few days ago it went lame again. So now Sills has Ward’s place, and I’m to substitute Sills. And if he gets laid out—and maybe I ought to hope he won’t—I go in and play. What do you think of that? Of course Sills may last the entire game; but they say he has a weak back, only he won’t own up to it, and may have to give up after the first half. Gates is the big center, and weighs 196. He is very kind, and we chummed all the way from Boston. I didn’t know any of the fellows, except a few by sight—just enough to nod to, you know. Gates told me this on the train.

We left Cambridge in a driving rain, and a big crowd stood out in it all, and cheered the eleven, and the captain, and the college, and everything they could think of. Every fellow on the first and second elevens, and every “sub” was cheered—all except Mr. Jimpson. They didn’t know of his existence! But I didn’t feel bad—not very, anyhow. I hope the rest of the fellows didn’t notice the omission, however. But I made up my mind that if I get half a show, I’ll make ’em cheer Jimpson, too. Just let me get on the field. I feel to-night as though I could go through the whole Yale team. Perhaps if I get out there, facing a big Yale man, I’ll not feel so strong.

You know, you’ve always thought I was big. Well, to-day I overheard a fellow asking one of the men, “Who is that little chap with the red cheeks?” I’m a midget beside most of the other fellows. If I play to-morrow, I’ll be the lightest man on the team, with the exception of Turner, our quarter-back, who weighs 158. I beat him by three pounds.

Such a hubbub as there is in this town to-night! Everybody seems crazy with excitement. Of course I haven’t the slightest idea who is going to win, but to look at our fellows, you’d think they would have things their own way. I haven’t seen any of the Yale players. We practised on their field for an hour or so this afternoon, but they didn’t show up. There was a big crowd of Yale students looking on. Of course every fellow of us did his very worst; but the spectators didn’t say anything—just looked wise.

Most of the fellows are terribly nervous to-night. They go around as though they were looking for something, and would cry if they didn’t find it soon. And the trainer is the worst of all. Brattle, the captain, is fine, though. He isn’t any more nervous than an alligator, and has been sitting still all the evening, talking with a lot of the old graduates about the game. Once he came in the writing-room, where I’m sitting, and asked whom I was writing to. When I told him, he smiled, and said to tell you that if anything happened he’d look after my remains himself! Maybe he thought I was nervous. But if I am,I’m not the only one. Gates is writing to his mother, too, at the other table.

Give my love to Will and Bess. Tell Will to send my old skates to me. I shall want them. There is fine skating on Fresh Pond, which, by the way, is a lake.

We’re ordered off to bed. I guess some of us won’t sleep very well. I’m rather excited myself, but I guess I’m tired enough to sleep. I’ll write again when I get back to college. With bushels of love to all,

Yours affectionately, Tom.


III.—THE “ARRIVAL.”

Jimpson sat on the ground, and watched with breathless interest two charging, tattered, writhing lines of men. Jimpson felt a good deal like an outcast, and looked like a North American Indian. Only legs and face were visible; the rest of Jimpson was enveloped in a big gray blanket with barbaric red borders. Some two dozen counterparts of Jimpson sat or lay near by, stretching along the side-line in front of the Harvard section of the grand stand. Behind them a thousand enthusiastic mortals were shouting pæans to the goddess of victory, and, unless that lady was deaf, she must have heard the pæans, however little she approved of them. The most popular one was sung to a well-known air.

As we’re strolling through Fifth Avenue
With an independent air,
The ladies turn and stare,
The chappies shout, ‘Ah, there!’
And the population cries aloud,
‘Now, aren’t they just the swellest crowd,
The men that broke Old Eli at New Haven!’”

And a mighty response swept across the field from where a bank of blue rose from the green of the field to the lighter blue of the sky. It was a martial air, with a prophecy of victory:

Shout aloud the battle-cry
Of Yale, Yale, Yale!
Wave her standard far and high
For Yale, Yale, Yale!
See the foe retreat before us,
Sons of Eli, shout the chorus,
Vale, Yale, Yale, Yale, Yale!”

Harvard and Yale were doing battle once more, and thirty thousand people were looking on. The score-board announced: Harvard, 4; Yale, 0. Yale’s ball. 15 minutes to play.

The story of twenty minutes of the first half is soon told. It had been Yale’s kick-off. Haag had sent the ball down the field to Harvard’s 20-yard line, and Van Brandt had gathered it in his long arms, and, with Meredith ahead, had landed it back in the middle of the field. But the fourth down gave it to their opponents after a loss of two yards, and the pigskin went down again to Harvard’s territory, coming to a stop at the white line that marked thirty-five yards. Here Harvard’s new half-back kick had been tried, and the ball went high in air, and the field went after it; and when the Yale full-back got his hands on it, he was content with a bare five yards, and it was Yale’s ball on her 40-yard line. Then happened a piece of ill luck for the wearers of the blue. On the second down, Kurtz fumbled the pass, the ball rolled toward Yale’s goal, and Brattle broke through the opposing left-tackle and fell on it.

And while a thunderous roar of joy floated across the field from the followers of the Crimson, the teams lined up on Yale’s thirty yards. Twice Meredith tried to go through between center and left guard, and a bare yard was the reward. Then Van Brandt had run back as for a kick; the ball was snapped, passed to Sills, Harvard’s right half-back, and, with it safely under his arm, he had skirted the Yale left, and fallen and wriggled and squirmed across the goal-line for the first touch-down.

Then ensued five minutes of bedlam, and after the victorious seats had settled into excited complacency, Van Brandt had tried for goal. But success was too much to hope for, and the two teams trotted back to the middle of the field, with the score 4 to 0. Then had the sons of Eli shown of what they were made, and in the next ten minutes the ball had progressed with fatal steadiness from the center of the field to the region of the Crimson’s twenty yards. And now it was Yale’s ball on the second down, and the silence was so intense that the signal was heard as plainly by the watchers at the far end of the field as by the twenty-two stern-faced warriors who faced each other almost under the shadow of the goal-posts.

“Twelve, six, twelve, fifty—two!”

And the backs, led by the guards, hurled their weight against Harvard’s right tackle; and when the ball was found, Baker held it within a few inches of the 10-yard line.

The cheers of Yale had now grown continuous; section after section passed the slogan along. The stand across the field looked to Jimpson like a field of waving blue gentians. On the Harvard seats the uproar was less intense, and seemed a trifle forced; and the men near by were breathing heavily, and restively creeping down the line.

Again the lines were formed. Jimpson could see the tall form of the gallant Gates settle down into a hunchback, toad-like position to receive the coming onslaught. Billings, the right tackle, was evidently expecting another experience like the last. He looked nervous, and Gates turned his head and spoke to him under cover of the first numbers of the signal.

The guards were back of the line again, and their elbows almost brushed as they stood between the half-backs. Silence reigned. The referee skipped nimbly out of the way.

“Seven, seventeen, eighty-one, thirty”

Again the weakening tackle was thrust aside, and although the Crimson line held better, the ball was three yards nearer home when the whistle blew, and Billings, somewhat dazed, had to call for a short delay.

“First down again,” muttered a brawny sub at Jimpson’s elbow. “Why doesn’t he take Billings out?”

Again the signal came. Again a jumbled mass of arms and legs for a moment hid the result. Then the men on the stand overlooking the goal-line arose en masse, and a mighty cheer traveled up the field, growing in volume until Jimpson could not hear his own groans nor the loud groans of a big sub. Back of the line, and almost equidistant of the posts, lay the Yale full-back; and the ball was held tightly to earth between outstretched hands. The prostrate players were slowly gaining their feet; but Billings and Sills lay where they had fallen. Then Brattle stepped toward the side-line, holding up his hand. With a leap Jimpson was on his feet. But the big chap beside him had already pulled off his sweater, and now, tossing it into Jimpson’s face, he sped gleefully toward the captain.

Jimpson sat down again in deep disappointment; and a moment later, Billings, supported on either side, limped from the gridiron, amidst the cheers of the Harvard supporters. Sills was on his feet again, and the trainer was talking to him. Jimpson could see the plucky fellow shaking his head. Then, after a moment of indecision, the trainer left him, the whistle sounded, the Crimson team lined up back of the line, and Kurtz was poising the ball for a try at goal. The result was scarcely in doubt, and the ball sailed cleanly between the posts, a good two feet above the cross-bar; and the score-board said, “Harvard, 4; Yale, 6”; and there were three minutes more of the half.

Back went the ball to the 55-yard line, and loud arose the cheers of the triumphant friends of Yale. Gates kicked off, and Warner sent the ball back again, with a gain of ten yards. Sills caught it and ran, but was downed well inside Harvard territory, and the half ended with the ball in Yale’s hands. Jimpson seized his blanket, and trotted after the eleven to the quarters. He found Gates stripping for a rub-down.

“Well, my lad,” panted the latter “could you discern from where you were just what kind of a cyclone struck us?” But Jimpson was too much interested for such levity.

“Do you think I’ll get in this half, Gates?”

“Can’t say. Take a look at Sills, and judge for yourself.”

That gentleman was having his lame back rubbed by a trainer, but he appeared to Jimpson good for at least another quarter of an hour.

It seemed but a moment after they had reached the rooms that the word of “Time’s up, fellows,” was passed, and renewed cheering from without indorsed the fact. But a moment or two still remained, and that moment belonged to Brattle. He stood on a bench and addressed the hearers very quietly:

“We’re going to kick, this half, fellows. I want every man to get down the field on the instant, without stopping to hold. I don’t think they can keep us from scoring at least once more; but every man has got to work. When the time comes to put the ball over the line, I expect it to go over with a rush. Let every man play the best game he knows, but play together. Remember that lack of team work has often defeated Harvard. And now, fellows, three times three for Harvard!”

And what a yell that was! Jimpson went purple in the face, and the head coach cheered his spectacles off. And then out they all went on a trot, big Gates doing a coltish hand-spring in mid-field, to the great delight of the Crimson’s wearers. The college band played; thirty thousand people said something all together; and then the great quadrangle was silent, the whistle piped merrily, and the ball soared into air again.

Jimpson took up his position on the side-line once more, and watched with envious heart the lucky players. For the great, overwhelming desire of Jimpson’s soul was to be out there on the torn turf, doing great deeds, and being trampled under foot. He watched the redoubtable Sills as a cat watches a mouse. Every falter of that player brought fresh hope to Jimpson. He would have liked to rise and make an impassioned speech in the interests of humanity, protesting against allowing a man in Sill’s condition to remain in the game. Jimpson’s heart revolted at the cruelty of it.

Some such idea as this he had expressed to Gates, that morning; and the big center had giggled in deep amusement; in fact he had refused to recognize the disinterested character of Jimpson’s protest.

“Don’t you think,” Jimpson had pleaded, “that I might ask Brattle to give me a show in the second half?”

“No, I don’t,” Gates had answered bluntly, “You’re an unknown quantity, my boy; as the Frenchies say, you haven’t ‘arrived.’ For a player who hasn’t ‘arrived’ to try to give the captain points would be shocking bad taste. That’s how it is. Sills is a good player. As long as he can hold his head up, he’ll be allowed to play. When he’s laid out, Brattle will give you a show. He can’t help himself; you’re the only chap that he can trust in the position. And look here; when that time comes, just you remember the signals, and keep your eyes on the ball. That’s all you’ll have to do. Don’t take your eyes off the leather, even if the sky falls!”

Jimpson remembered the conversation, and thought ruefully that it was easy enough for a fellow who has everything that heart can desire to spout good advice to chaps on the side-lines. Perhaps if Gates were in his (Jimpson’s) place he’d not be any too patient himself. The scoreboard said fifteen minutes to play. Sills still held up his stubborn head, and Jimpson’s chances grew dimmer and dimmer as moments sped.

Harvard’s kicking tactics had netted her long gains time and again, and twice had she reached Yale’s 10-yard line, only to be grimly held and hurled back. Yale, on the other hand, had only once reached scoring-distance of their opponent’s goal, and had been successfully held for downs. Veterans of the game declared enthusiastically, between bets, that it was “the snappiest game of the decade!” and supporters of Harvard said among themselves that it was beautifully conducive to heart-disease. Perhaps never had the two colleges turned out teams so evenly balanced in both offense and defense. The bets had become “one to two that Harvard doesn’t score again.”

Harvard’s quarter had given place to a substitute, and her left guard had retired injured. Yale had fared no better, possibly worse, since her crack full-back had been forced to yield to a somewhat inferior sub. And now the hands on the score-board turned again, and only ten minutes remained.

The ball was down near Harvard’s 40-yard line, and when it was snapped back, Sills took it for a “round-the-end run.” But Yale’s big left half-back was waiting for him, and the two went to earth together near the side-line and almost at Jimpson’s feet. And then it was that that youth’s heart did queer feats inside him, and seemed trying to get-out. For Sills lay awhile where he had fallen, and when he could walk the doctor had sent him from the field. Brattle beckoned to Jimpson. With trembling fingers Jimpson struggled with his sweater; but had not a neighbor come to his assistance, he would never have wriggled out of it before the game was called.

Brattle met him, and, laying an arm over his shoulder, walked him a few paces apart. Jimpson’s heart, which had become more normal in action, threatened another invasion of his throat, and he wondered if everybody was looking on. Then he stopped speculating, and listened to what the captain was saying.

“We’ve only eight minutes to play. The ball has got to go over, Jimpson. I’ve seen you run, and I believe you can make it if you try. The ball is yours on the second down. Try the right end; don’t be afraid of swinging out into the field. Whatever you do, don’t let go of the ball. If Turner puts you through the line, keep your head down, but jump high. Now, go in, lad, and let’s see what you can do.” He gave Jimpson an encouraging slap on the back that almost precipitated that youth into the quarter, and Jimpson saw the broad backs before him settling down, and heard the labored breathing of the men.

“Ninety-one, twenty-eight, seventy-three, sixty-four—six”

Jimpson suddenly found himself pushing the left half-back against a surging wall of tattered blue. Then some one seized him about the waist, and he picked himself up from the ground eight feet away from the scene of battle.

“That’s what comes of being so small and light,” he growled to himself, as he trotted back. But the thirst of battle was in Jimpson’s soul, and he marked the Yale end who had treated him so contemptuously.

The try between right-tackle and end had netted a bare yard, and Jimpson tried to look self-possessed while his back was running with little chills and his throat was dry as dust. The next chance was his, and he waited the signal anxiously, to learn whether the pass was direct or double. The other half-back imperceptibly dropped back a foot. The quarter looked around. The lines swayed and heaved.

“Twenty-seven, sixty-three, forty-five, seventy-two—five”

Jimpson leaped forward; the left half-back darted across him, the quarter passed neatly, and, with the Harvard left-end beside him, he was sweeping down to the right and into the field. The Yale end went down before the mighty Cowper; and Jimpson, sighting a clear space, sped through. He could feel the field trailing after him, and could hear the sounds of the falling men. Before him in the distance, a little to the left, came the Yale full-back. Almost upon him was the Yale left-half, looking big and ugly. But, with a final spurt, Van Zandt ran even, and gave the shoulder to the enemy; and as they went down together, Jimpson leaped free, and, running on, knew that at last he was left to shift for himself. Of the foes behind he had no fear; of the full-back running cautiously down on him he feared everything. But he clutched the ball tighter, and raced on straight as an arrow toward the only player between him and the goal that loomed so far down the field.

He heard now the mighty sound of voices cheering him on, saw without looking the crowded stands to the right; and then something whispered of danger from behind, and, scarcely daring to do so, lest he trip and fall, glanced hurriedly over his shoulder into the staring eyes of a runner. And now he could hear the other’s short, labored gasps. Before him but a scant ten yards was the full-back. Jimpson’s mind was made up on the instant. Easing his pace the least bit, he swung abruptly to the left. He well knew the risk he ran, but he judged himself capable of making up the lost ground. As he had thought, the pursuer was little expecting such a deliberate divergence from the course, and, as a result, he overran, and then turned clumsily, striking for a point between Jimpson and the left goal-post. The full-back had noted the change, of course, on the instant, and was now running for about the same intersecting point as the other. The three runners formed a triangle. For the moment the pursuer was out of reckoning, and Jimpson could give all his skill to eluding the full-back, who faced him, ready for a tackle.

And here Jimpson’s lighter weight stood him in good stead. Clutching the ball tightly, he made a feint to the left, and then flung himself quickly to the right. As he did so he spun around. The full-back’s hand reached his canvas jacket, slipped, and found a slight hold upon his trousers; and Jimpson, scarcely recovered from his turn, fell on one knee, the full-back also falling in his effort to hold. At that moment the pursuer reached the spot, and sprang toward Jimpson.

The shouts had ceased, and thirty thousand persons were holding their breath. The next moment a shout of triumph went up, and Jimpson was speeding on toward the Yale goal. For as the last man had thrown himself forward, Jimpson had struggled to his feet, the full-back following, and the two Yale men had crashed together with a shock that left the full-back prostrate upon the turf. The other had regained himself quickly, and taken up the pursuit; but Jimpson was already almost ten yards to the good, and, although his breath was coming in short, painful gasps, and the white lines seemed rods apart, the goal became nearer and nearer. But the blue-stockinged runner was not done, and the cries of the crimson well-wishers were stilled as the little space between the two runners grew perceptibly less.

Jimpson, with his eyes fixed in agony upon the last white line under the goal-posts, struggled on. One ankle had been wrenched in his rapid turn, and it pained frightfully as it took the ground. He could hear the steps of the pursuing foe almost at his heels, and, try as he might, he could not cover the ground any faster. His brain reeled, and he thought each moment that he must fall.

But the thought of what that touch-down meant, and the recollection of the captain’s words, nerved him afresh. The goal-line was plain before him now; ten yards only remained. The air was filled with cheers; but to Jimpson everything save that little white line and the sound of the pounding steps behind him was obliterated.

Success seemed assured, when a touch on his shoulder made the landscape reel before his eyes. It was not a clutch—just fingers grasping at his smooth jacket, unable as yet to find a hold.

The last white line but one passed haltingly, slowly, under his feet. The fingers traveled upward, and suddenly a firm grasp settled upon his shoulder. He tried to swing free, faltered, stumbled, recovered himself with a last supreme effort, and, holding the ball at arm’s length, threw himself forward, face down. And as the enemy crashed upon him, Jimpson tried hard to gasp “Down!” but found he couldn’t, and then—didn’t care at all.

When he came to he found a crowd of players about him. Faces almost strange to him were smiling, and the captain was holding his head. His right foot pained frantically, and the doctor and rubbers were busy over him.

“Was it—was it over?” he asked weakly.

“Easy, old chap—with an inch to spare,” replied the lips above. “Listen!”

Jimpson tried to raise his head, but it felt so funny that he gave up the effort. But, despite the woolen sweater bunched up for a pillow, he heard a deep roar that sounded like the breakers on the beach at home. Then he smiled, and fainted once more.

But the score-board had changed its figures again: Harvard, 8; Yale, 6. Touch-down. Harvard’s ball. 3 minutes to play.

And the deep, exultant roar went on, resolving itself into “H-a-r-vard! H-a-r-vard!”

The band was playing “Washington Post.” Harvard Square was bright under a lurid glow of red fire. Cheering humanity was packed tight from the street to the balustrade of Matthews, and from there up and across the yard. Cannon crackers punctuated the blare of noise with sharp detonations. The college was out in full force to welcome home the football heroes, and staid and prim old Cambridge lent her quota to the throng. From the back of Gray’s the cheering grew louder, and the crowd surged toward the avenue. The band broke ranks and skeltered after. A four-horse barge drew up slowly at the curb, and, one after another, the men dropped out, tightly clutching their bags, and strove to slip away through the throng. But each was eventually captured, his luggage confiscated, and himself raised to the shoulders of riotous admirers. When all were out and up, the band started the strains of “Fair Harvard,” and thousands of voices- joined in, The procession moved. Jimpson, proud and happy and somewhat embarrassed, was well up in the line. When the corner was turned and the yard reached the roar increased in volume. Cheers for the eleven, for Harvard, for Brattle, were filling the air. And then suddenly Jimpson’s heart leaped at sound of his own name from thousands of throats.

“Now, fellows, three long Harvards, and three times three for Jimpson!” In the roar that followed Jimpson addressed his bearers.

“Won't you please let me go now? I—I’m not feeling very well, and—and I’m only a sub, you know.”

The plea of illness moved his captors, and Jimpson was dropped to earth, and his valise restored. There was no notice taken of him as he slipped stealthfully through the outskirts of the throng, and as he reached the corner of Holden Chapel he paused and listened.

To the dark heavens arose a prolonged, impatient demand from thousands of Harvard throats. The listener heard, and then fled toward the dark building across the street, and, reaching his room, locked the door behind him. But still he could hear the cries, loudly and impatiently repeated: “We—want—Jimp-son! We—want—Jimp-son! Jimp-son!”

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.


The author died in 1944, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.