Killykinick

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KILLYKINICK

By MARY T. WAGGAMAN

Author of

“Billy Boy,” “The Secret of Pocomoke,”

“White Eagle,” “Tommy

Travers,” etc.

THE AVE MARIA

NOTRE DAME, INDIANA


Copyright, 1917

By D. E. HUDSON, C. S. C.


KILLYKINICK.

I.—The “Left Overs.”

It was the week after Commencement. The corridors, class-rooms, and study hall of Saint Andrew’s stretched in dim, silent vistas; over the tennis court and the playground there brooded a dead calm; the field, scene of so many strenuous struggles, lay bare and still in the summer sunlight; the quadrangle, that so lately had rung to parting cheer and “yell,” might have been a cloister for midnight ghosts to walk. The only sign or sound of life came from the open archways of the Gym, where the “left overs” (as the boys who for various reasons had been obliged to summer at Saint Andrew’s) were working off the steam condensed, as Jim Norris declared, to the “busting” point by the last seven days.

A city-bound college has its limitations, and vacation at Saint Andrew’s promised to be a very dull affair indeed. The “left overs” had tried everything to kill time. At present their efforts seemed bent on killing themselves; for Jim Norris and Dud Fielding, sturdy fellows of fourteen, were doing stunts on the flying trapeze worthy of professional acrobats; while Dan Dolan, swinging from a high bar, was urging little Fred Neville to a precarious poise on his shoulder.

Freddy was what may be called a perennial “left over.” He had been the “kid” of Saint Andrew’s since he was five years old, when his widowed father had left him in a priestly uncle’s care, and had disappeared no one knew how or where. And as Uncle Tom’s chosen path lay along hard, lofty ways that small boys could not follow, Fred had been placed by special privilege in Saint Andrew’s to grow up into a happy boyhood, the pet and plaything of the house. He was eleven now, with the fair face and golden hair of his dead girl-mother, and brown eyes that had a boyish sparkle all their own.

They looked up dubiously at Dan now,—“daring Dan,” who for the last year had been Freddy’s especial chum; and to be long-legged, sandy-haired, freckle-nosed Dan’s chum was an honor indeed for a small boy of eleven. Dan wore frayed collars and jackets much too small for him; his shoes were stubby-toed and often patched; he made pocket money in various ways, by “fagging” and odd jobbing for the big boys of the college. But he led the classes and games of the Prep with equal success; and even now the Latin class medal was swinging from the breast of his shabby jacket.

Dan had been a newsboy in very early youth; but, after a stormy and often broken passage through the parochial school, he had won a scholarship at Saint Andrew’s over all competitors.

“An’ ye’ll be the fool to take it,” Aunt Winnie had said when he brought the news home to the little attic rooms where she did tailor’s finishing, and took care of Dan as well as a crippled old grandaunt could. “With all them fine gentlemen’s sons looking down on ye for a beggar!”

“Let them look,” Dan had said philosophically. “Looks don’t hurt, Aunt Win. It’s my chance and I’m going to take it.”

And he was taking it bravely when poor Aunt Win’s rheumatic knees broke down utterly, and she had to go to the “Little Sisters,” leaving Dan to summer with the other “left overs” at Saint Andrew’s.

“Swing up,” he repeated, stretching a sturdy hand to Fred. “Don’t be a sissy. One foot on each of my shoulders, and catch on to the bar above my head. That will steady you.”

Freddy hesitated. It was rather a lofty height for one of his size.

“You can’t hold me,” he said. “I’m too heavy.”

“Too heavy!” repeated Dan, laughing down on the slender, dapper little figure at his feet. “Gee whilikins, I wouldn’t even feel you!”

This was too much for any eleven-year-old to stand. Freddy was not very well. Brother Timothy had been dosing him for a week or more, and these long hot summer days made his legs feel queer and his head dizzy. It was rather hard sometimes to keep up with Dan, who was making the most of his holiday, as he did of everything that came in his way. Freddy was following him loyally, in spite of the creeps and chills that betrayed malaria. But now his brown eyes flashed fire.

“You’re a big brag, Dan Dolan!” he said, stung by such a taunt at his size and weight. “Just you try me!”

And catching Dan’s hand he made a spring to his waist and a reckless scramble to his shoulders.

“Hooray!” said Dan, cheerily. “Steady now, and hold on to the bar!”

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