September 05, 2006


"Come here," said Conrad Fletcher; "come here, Charlie, and choose up
for a game. We must make haste, or recess will be over."
"All right, Conrad."
The first choice devolved upon Conrad. He chose Ephraim Pinkham, noted
as a catcher.
"I take Elmer Rhodes," said Charlie.
"John Parker," said Conrad.
"Henry Strauss."
"Godfrey Preston," was Conrad's next choice.
"Can you play, Andy?" asked Charlie.
"Yes," said Andy.
"Then, I take you."
"I've a good mind to resign," said Godfrey, in a low voice, to Ben
Travers. "I don't fancy playing with that Irish boy."
However, he was too fond of playing to give up his place,
notwithstanding his antipathy to Andy.
Charlie Fleming's side went in first, and Charlie himself went to the
bat. The pitcher was Godfrey. He was really a fair pitcher, and
considered himself very superior. Charlie finally succeeded in hitting
the ball, but rather feebly, and narrowly escaped losing his first
base. He saved it, however.
Next at the bat was Elmer Rhodes. He hit one or two fouls, but not a
fair ball. Finally he was put out on three strikes; meanwhile,
however, Charlie Fleming got round to third base. Henry Strauss
succeeded in striking the ball, but it was caught by center field,
rapidly sent to first base, before Henry could reach it, then thrown
to the catcher in time to prevent Charlie Fleming from getting in. He
ran half-way to home base, but seeing his danger, ran back to third
base. Next Andy took the bat.
"Knock me in, Andy," called out Charlie Fleming.
"All right" said Andy, quietly.
"Not if I can prevent it," said Godfrey to himself, and he determined
by sending poor balls, to get our hero out on three strikes. The first
ball, therefore, he sent about six feet to the right of the batter.
Andy stood in position, but, of course, was far too wise to attempt
hitting any such ball. The next ball went several feet above his head.
Of this, too, he took no notice. The third would have hit him if he
had not dodged.
"Why don't you knock at the balls?" asked Godfrey.
"I will, when you give better ones," said Andy, coolly.
"I don't believe you know how to bat," said Godfrey, with a sneer.
"I don't believe you know how to pitch," returned Andy.
"How's that?" sending another ball whizzing by his left ear.
"I want them waist-high," said Andy. "My waist is about two feet lower
than my ears."
Godfrey now resolved to put in a ball waist-high, but so swiftly that
Andy could not hit it; but he had never seen Andy play. Our hero had a
wonderfully quick eye and steady hand, and struck the ball with such
force to left field, that not only Charlie Fleming got in, without
difficulty, but Andy himself made a home run.
"That's a splendid hit," exclaimed Charlie, with enthusiasm. "I didn't
think you could play so well."
"I've played before to-day," said Andy, composedly. "I told you I
would get you in, and I meant what I said."
Godfrey looked chagrined at the result. He meant to demonstrate that
Andy was no player, but had only contributed to his brilliant success;
for, had he not sent in so swift a ball, the knock would not have been
so forcible.
As there were but six on a side, two outs were considered all out.
"Who will catch?" asked Charlie Fleming; "I want to pitch."
"I will," said Andy.
"All right! If you can catch as you can bat, we'll cut down their
Andy soon showed that he was no novice at catching. He rarely let a
ball pass him. When Godfrey's turn came to bat, one was already out,
and Andy determined to put Godfrey out if it was a possible thing. One
strike had been called, when Godfrey struck a foul which was almost
impossible to catch. But now Andy ran, made a bound into the air, and
caught it--a very brilliant piece of play, by which Godfrey and his
side were put out. The boys on both sides applauded, for it was a
piece of brilliant fielding which not one of them was capable of. That
is, all applauded but Godfrey. He threw down his bat spitefully, and
said to Fleming:
"You didn't give me good balls."
"I gave you much better than you gave Andy," said Charlie.
"That's so!" chimed in two other boys.
"I won't play any more," said Godfrey.
Just then the bell rang, so that the game was brought to a close. Andy
received the compliments of the boys on his brilliant playing. He
received them modestly, and admitted that he probably couldn't make
such a catch again. It was very disagreeable to Godfrey to hear Andy
praised. He was rather proud of his ball-playing, and he saw that Andy
was altogether his superior, at any rate in the opinion of the boys.
However, he ingeniously contrived to mingle a compliment with a sneer.
"You're more used to baseball than to books," he said.
"True for you," said Andy.
"You're a head taller than any of the boys in your class."
"I know that," said Andy. "I haven't been to school as much as you."
"I should be ashamed if I didn't know more."
"So you ought," said Andy, "for you've been to school all your life. I
hope to know more soon."
"Anyway, you can play ball," said Charlie Fleming.
"I'd rather be a good scholar."
"I'll help you, if you want any help."
"Thank you, Charlie."
They had now entered the schoolroom, and Andy took up his book and
studied hard. He was determined to rise to a higher class as soon as
possible, for it was not agreeable to him to reflect that he was the
oldest and largest boy in his present class.
"Very well," said the teacher, when his recitation was over. "If you
continue to recite in this way, you will soon be promoted."
"I'll do my best, sir," said Andy, who listened to these words with
"I wish you were coming in the afternoon, too, Andy," said his friend,
Charlie Fleming, as they walked home together.
"So do I, Charlie, but I must work for my mother."
"That's right, Andy; I'd do the same in your place. I haven't such
foolish ideas about work as Godfrey Preston."
"He ain't very fond of me," said Andy, laughing.
"No; nor of anybody else. He only likes Godfrey Preston."
"We got into a fight the first day I ever saw him."
"What was it about?"
"He called my mother names, and hit me. So I knocked him flat."
"You served him right. He's disgustingly conceited. Nobody likes him."
"Ben Travers goes around with him all the time."
"Ben likes him because he is rich. If he should lose his property,
you'd see how soon he would leave him. That isn't a friend worth
"I've got one consolation," said Andy, laughing; "nobody likes me for
my money."
"But someone likes you for yourself, Andy," said Charlie.
"Myself, to be sure."
"And I like you as much, Charlie," said Andy, warmly. "You're ten
times as good a fellow as Godfrey."
"I hope so," said Charlie. "That isn't saying very much, Andy."
So the friendship was cemented, nor did it end there. Charlie spoke of
Andy's good qualities at home, and some time afterward Andy was
surprised by an invitation to spend the evening at Dr. Fleming's. He
felt a little bashful, but finally went--nor was he at all sorry for
so doing. The whole family was a delightful one, and Andy was welcomed
as a warm friend of Charlie's, and, in the pleasant atmosphere of the
doctor's fireside, he quite forgot that there was one who looked down
upon him as an inferior being.
Dr. Fleming had himself been a poor boy. By a lucky chance--or
Providence, rather--he had been put in the way of obtaining an
education, and he was not disposed now, in his prosperity, to forget
his days of early struggle.
Andy found that, in spite of the three hours taken up at school, he
was able to do all that was required of him by the Misses Grant. They
were glad to hear of his success at school, and continued to pay him
five dollars a week for his services. This money he regularly carried
to his mother, after paying for the new clothes, of which he stood so
much in need.
WingSix--Leading Web Hosting Provider!!!

Download ZoneAlarm Pro Here

Counter Statistics