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Tom Fairfield's Pluck and Luck

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"Well, well, by all that's good! If it isn't Tom Fairfield back again!How are you, old man?"

"Oh, fine and dandy! My! but it's good to see the old place again, Morse," and the tall, good-looking lad whom the other had greeted so effusively held out his hand—a firm, brown hand that told of a summer spent in the open.

"Any of our boys back, Morse?" went on Tom Fairfield, as he looked around the campus of Elmwood Hall. "I thought I'd meet Bert Wilson or Jack Fitch on my way up, but I missed 'em. How are you, anyhow?"

"Fit as a fiddle. Say, you're looking as if you had enjoyed your vacation."

"I sure did! You're not looking bad yourself. Able to sit up and take nourishment, I guess."

"You've struck it, Tom. But what did you do with yourself all summer?"

"Jack, Bert and another chum of mine went camping, and, believe me, we had some times!"

"So I heard. I had a letter from Jack the other day. He mentioned something about a secret of the mill, the crazy hermit and all that sort. Say, but you did go some."

"That's right. It was great while it lasted. How about you?" and Tom looked at his friend, Morse Denton, anxious to hear about his good times.

"Oh, I went with my folks to the shore. Had a pretty good summer—motorboating, canoeing with the girls, and all that. But I got a bit tired of it. I came back early to get some of the football material into shape for this fall," and Morse Denton, who had been captain of the Freshman eleven, and who was later elected as regular captain, looked at Tom, as if sizing him up as available pigskin material.

"Well, I guess none of our crowd has shown up yet," went on Tom. "I fancied I'd be a day or so early, as I wanted to have a good pick of rooms. Got yours, yet?"

"Sure thing. I attended to that first. But there are some fine ones left. Come on over to Hollywood Hall, and we'll see what'll suit you. Try and get one next to mine if you can. Are Bert and Jack going to room with you?"

"They are if we can get a place that will hold us."

"That isn't as easy as it sounds with the way you fellows do things.But there's one nice big study near mine."

"Then I'll just annex it. Say! But it's good to be back. The old place hasn't changed any," and Tom looked around admiringly at the groups of buildings that made up Elmwood Hall. His gaze strolled over the green campus, which would soon be alive with students, and then to the baseball diamond and the football gridiron, on which latter field the battle of the pigskin over the chalk marks would soon be waged.

"Well, they've done some painting and fixing up during vacation," said Morse, as he linked his arm in that of Tom and the two walked on together toward Hollywood Hall, the official dormitory of the Sophomore class. "The gridiron has been leveled off a bit and some new seats put up. Land knows we needed 'em! We'll have some great games this year. You'll play, of course, Tom?"

"Maybe—if I'm asked."

"Oh, you'll be asked all right," laughed Morse. "Did you expect Bert and Jack would be here?"

"I didn't know but what they might....