JACK AND FRED.
You should have seen those youths, for it gives me pleasure to say that two manlier, more plucky and upright boys it would be hard to find anywhere in this broad land of ours. I have set out to tell you about their remarkable adventures in the grandest section of the West, and, before doing so, it is necessary for you to know something concerning the lads themselves.
Jack Dudley was in his seventeenth year. His father was a prosperous merchant, who intended his only son for the legal profession. Jack was bright and studious, and a leader in his class at the Orphion Academy; and this leadership was not confined to his studies, for he was a fine athlete and an ardent lover of outdoor sports. If you witnessed the game between the eleven of the Orphion Academy and the Oakdale Football Club, which decided the championship by a single point in favor of the former, you were thrilled by the sight of the half-back, who, at a critical point in the contest, burst through the group which thronged about him, and, with a clear field in front, made a superb run of fifty yards, never pausing until he stooped behind the goal-posts and made a touchdown. Then, amid the cheers of the delighted thousands, he walked back on the field, and while one of the players lay down on the ground, with the spheroid delicately poised before his face, the same youth who made the touchdown smote the ball mightily with his sturdy right foot and sent it sailing between the goal-posts as accurately as an arrow launched from a bow.
That exploit, as I have said, won the championship for the Orphions, and the boy who did it was Jack Dudley. In the latter half of the game, almost precisely the same opening presented itself again for the great half-back, but he had no more than fairly started when he met an obstruction in his path. The gritty opponent tackled him like a tiger, and down they went, rolling over in the dirt, with a fierce violence that made more than one timid spectator fear that both were seriously injured. As if that were not enough, the converging players pounced upon them. There was a mass of struggling, writhing youths, with Jack underneath, and all piling on top of him. The last arrival, seeing little chance for effective work, took a running leap, and, landing on the apex of the pyramid, whirling about while in the air so as to alight on his back, kicked up his feet and strove to made himself as heavy as he could.
The only object this young man seemed to have was to batter down the score of players and flatten out Jack Dudley, far below at the bottom; but when, with the help of the referee, the mass was disentangled, and Jack, with his mop-like hair, his soiled uniform, and his grimy face, struggled to his feet and pantingly waited for the signal from his captain, he was just as good as ever. It takes a great deal to hurt a rugged youth, who has no bad habits and is in sturdy training.
The active lad who had downed Jack when going at full speed, and nipped in the bud his brilliant attempt, was Fred Greenwood, only a few months younger....