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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesGoing Some: A Romance Of Strenuous Affection - Chapter 7
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Going Some: A Romance Of Strenuous Affection - Chapter 7 Post by :rvlawrence Category :Long Stories Author :Rex Beach Date :May 2012 Read :2042

Click below to download : Going Some: A Romance Of Strenuous Affection - Chapter 7 (Format : PDF)

Going Some: A Romance Of Strenuous Affection - Chapter 7

CHAPTER VII

Berkeley Fresno was devoting himself to Miss Blake.

"What do you think of our decorations?" she inquired.

"They are more or less athletic," he declared. "Was it Mr. Speed's idea?"

"Yes. He wanted training-quarters."

"It's a joke, isn't it?"

"I don't think so. Mr. Fresno, why do you dislike Mr. Speed?"

Fresno bent a warm glance upon the questioner. "Don't you know?"

Helen shook her head with bland innocence. "Then you _do dislike him?"

"No, indeed! _I like him--he makes me laugh." Helen bridled loyally. "Did you see those medals he wore yesterday?" the young man queried.

"Of course, and I thought them beautiful."

"How were they inscribed? He wouldn't let me examine them."

"Naturally. If I had trophies like that I would guard them too."

Fresno nodded, musingly. "I gave mine away."

"Oh, are you an athlete?"

"No, but I timed a foot-race once. They gave me a beautiful nearly-bronze emblem so that I could get into the infield."

"And did you win?"

"No! no! I didn't run! Don't you understand? I was an official." Fresno was vexed at the girl's lack of perception. "I'm not an athlete, Miss Blake. I'm just an ordinary sort of a chap." He led her to a seat, while Jean enlisted the aid of Larry Glass and completed the finishing touches to the decorations. "Athletics don't do a fellow any good after he leaves college. I'm going into business this fall. Have you ever been to California?" Miss Blake admitted that she had never been so far, and Fresno launched himself upon a glowing description of his native State; but before he could shape the conversation to a point where his hearer might perchance express a desire to see its wonders, Still Bill Stover thrust his head cautiously through the door to the bunk-house, and allowed an admiring eye to rove over the transformation.

"Looks like a bazaar!" he exclaimed. "What's the idea?"

"Trainin'-quarters," said Glass.

"Mr. Speed goin' to _live here?" inquired the foreman, bringing the remainder of his lanky body into view.

"No, indeed," Jean corrected, "he will merely use this room to train in."

"How do you train in a room?" Stover asked her.

"Why, you--just train, I suppose." Miss Chapin turned to Glass. "How does a person train in a room?"

"Why, he--just trains, that's all. A guy can't train without trainin'-quarters, can he?"

"We thought it would make a nice gymnasium," offered Miss Blake.

"Looks like business." Stover's admiration was keen. "I rode over to Gallagher's place last night and laid our bets."

"How much have you wagered?" asked Fresno.

"More'n we can afford to lose."

"But you aren't going to lose," Miss Blake said, enthusiastically.

"I got Gallagher to play some records for me."

"_Silas on Fifth Avenue?_"

"Sure! And _The Holy City_, too! Willie stayed out by the barb-wire fence; he didn't dast to go in. When I come out I found him ready to cry. That desperado has sure got the heart of a woman. I reckon he'd commit a murder for that phonograph--he's so full of sentiment."

Fresno spoke sympathetically.

"It's a fortunate thing for you fellows that Speed came when he did. I'm anxious for him to beat this cook, and I hate to see him so careless with his training."

"Careless!" cried Helen.

"What's he done?" inquired Stover.

"Nothing, so far. That's the trouble. He's sure he can win, but" --Fresno shook his head, doubtfully--"there's such a thing as overconfidence. No matter how good a man may be, he should take care of himself."

"What's wrong with his trainin'?" demanded Glass.

"I think he ought to have more rest. It's too noisy around the house; he can't get enough sleep."

"Nor anybody else," agreed Glass, meaningly; "there's too much singin'."

"That's funny," said Stover. "Music soothes me, no matter how bad it is. Last night when we come back from the Centipede Mr. Fresno was singin' _Dearie_, but I dozed right off in the middle of it. An' it's the same way with cattle. They like it. It's part of a man's duty when he's night-ridin' a herd to pizen the atmosphere with melody."

"What I mean to say is this," Fresno hastened to explain. "We keep late hours at the house, whereas an athlete ought to retire early and arise with the sun. I thought it would be a good scheme to have Mr. Speed sleep out here until the race is over, where he won't be disturbed. Nine o'clock is bedtime for a man in training."

"Oh, I don't think that is at all necessary," said Miss Blake quickly.

"We can't afford to spoil his chances," argued the young man. "There is too much at stake. Am I right, Mr. Glass?"

Now, like most fat men, Lawrence Glass was fond of his rest, and since his arrival at the Flying Heart his sleeping-hours had been shortened considerably, so for once he agreed with the Californian. "No question about it," said he. "And I'll sleep here with him if you'll put a couple of cots in the place."

"But suppose Mr. Speed won't do it?" questioned Miss Blake.

"You ask him, and he won't refuse," said Jean.

"We don't want to see him defeated," urged Helen's other suitor; at which the girl rose, saying doubtfully:

"Of course I'll do my best, if you think it's really important."

"Thank you," said Stover gratefully, while Fresno congratulated himself upon an easy victory. "I'll ask him at once, but you must come along, Jean, and you too, Mr. Glass."

The two girls took Speed's trainer with them, and went forth in search of the young man.

"It's up to you fellows to see that he gets to bed early," said Fresno, when he and Stover were alone.

"Leave it to us. And as for gettin' up, we turn out at daylight. I don't reckon he could sleep none after that if he tried." Stover pointed to the striped elastic coils of the exerciser against the wall. "I didn't want to speak about it while they was here," said he, "but one of them young ladies lost her garters."

"That's not a pair of garters, that's a chest-weight."

"Jest wait for what?"

"Chest-weight--chest-developer."

"Oh!" Stover examined the device curiously, "I thought a chest- developer came in a bottle."

Fresno explained the operation of the apparatus, at which the cow-man remarked, admiringly: "That young feller is all right, ain't he?"

"Think so?"

"Sure! Don't you?"

Fresno explained his doubts by a crafty lift of his brows and a shrug. "I thought so--at first."

Stover wheeled upon him abruptly. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing."

After a pause the foreman remarked, vaguely, "He's the intercollegit champeen of Yale."

"Oh no, hardly that, or I would have heard of him."

"Ain't he no champeen?"

"Champion of the running broad smile and the half-mile talk perhaps."

"Ain't he a foot-runner?"

"Perhaps. I've never seen him run, but I have my doubts."

"Good Lord!" moaned Stover, weakly.

"He may be the best printer in the country, mind you, but I'll lay a little bet that he can't run a hundred yards without sustenance."

"Without what?"

"Sustenance--something to eat."

"Well, we've got plenty for him to eat," said the mystified foreman.

"You don't understand. However, time will tell."

"But we ain't got no time. We've made this race 'pay or play,' a week from Saturday, and the bets are down. We was afraid the Centipede would welsh when they seen who we had, so we framed it that-away. What's to be done?"

Again Fresno displayed an artistic restraint that was admirable. "It's none of my business," said he, with a careless shrug.

"I--I guess I'll tell Willie and the boys," vouchsafed Bill apprehensively.

"No! no! Don't breathe a word I've said to you. He may be a crackerjack, and I wouldn't do him an injustice for the world. All the same, I wish he hadn't broken my stop-watch."

"D'you think he broke it a-purpose?"

"What do you think?"

Stover mopped the sweat from his brow.

"Can't we time him with a ordinary watch?"

"Sure. We can take yours. It won't be exact, but--"

"I ain't got no watch. I bet mine last night at the Centipede. Willie's got one, though."

"Mind you, he may be all right," Fresno repeated, reassuringly; then hearing the object of their discussion approaching with his trainer, the two strolled out through the bunk-room, Stover a prey to a new-born suspicion, Fresno musing to himself that diplomacy was not a lost art.

"You're a fine friend, you are!" Speed exploded, when he and Glass were inside the gymnasium. "What made you say 'yes'?"

"I had to."

"Rot, Larry! You played into Fresno's hands deliberately! Now I've got to spend my evenings in bed while he sits in the hammock and sings _Dearie_." He shook his head gloomily. "Who knows what may happen?"

"It will do you good to get some sleep, Wally."

"But I don't want to sleep!" cried the exasperated suitor. "I want to make love. Do you think I came all the way from New York to sleep? I can do that at Yale."

"Take it from me, Bo, you've got plenty of time to win that dame. Eight hours is a workin' day anywhere."

"My dear fellow, the union hours for courting don't begin until 9 P.M. I've got myself into a fine mess, haven't I? Just when Night spreads her sable mantle and Dan Cupid strings up his bow, I must forsake my lady-love and crawl into the hay. Oh, you're a good trainer!"

"You'd better can some of this love-talk and think more about foot-racin'."

"It can't be done! Nine o'clock! The middle of the afternoon. It's rather funny, though, isn't it?" Speed was not the sort to cherish even a real grievance for any considerable time. "If it had happened to anybody else I'd laugh myself sick."

Glass chuckled. "The whole thing is a hit. Look at this joint, for instance." He took in their surroundings with a comprehensive gesture. "It looks about as much like a gymnasium as I look like a contortionist. Why don't you get a Morris chair and a mandolin?"

"There are two reasons," said Speed, facetiously. "First, it takes an athlete to get out of a Morris chair; and, second, a mandolin has proved to be many a young man's ruin."

Glass examined the bow of ribbon upon the lonesome piece of exercising apparatus.

"It looks like the trainin'-stable for the Colonial Dames. What a yelp this place would be to Covington or any other athlete."

"It is not an athletic gymnasium." Speed smiled as he lighted a cigarette. "It is a romantic gymnasium. As Socrates once observed--"

"Socrates! I'm hep to him," Glass interrupted, quickly. "I trained a Greek professor once and got wised up on all that stuff. Socrates was the--the Hemlock Kid."

"Exactly! As Socrates, the Hemlock Kid, deftly put it, '_In hoc signature vintage_.'"

"I don't get you."

"That is archaic Scandinavian, and, translated, means, 'Love cannot thrive without her bower.'"

"No answer to that telegram yet, eh?"

"Hardly time."

"Better wire Covington again, hadn't you? Mebbe he didn't get it?"

"I promised Mrs. Keap that I would, but--" Speed lost himself abruptly in speculation, for he did not know exactly how to manage this unexpected complication. Of one thing only was he certain: it would require some thought.

"Say, Wally, suppose Covington don't come?"

"Then I shall sprain my ankle," said the other. "Hello! What in the world--" Still Bill Stover and Willie came into the room carrying an armful of lumber. Behind them followed Carara with a huge wooden tub, and Cloudy rolling a kerosene barrel.

"Where do you want it, gents?" inquired the foreman.

"Where do we want what?"

"The shower-bath."

"Shower--I didn't order a shower-bath!"

"No; but we aim to make it as pleasant for you as we can."

"If there is anything I abhor, it's a shower-bath!" exclaimed the athlete.

"You just got to have one. Mr. Fresno said all this gymnasium lacked was a shower-bath, a pair of scales, and a bulletin-board. He said you'd sure need a bath after workin' that chest- developer. We ain't got no scales, nor no board, but we'll toggle up some sort of a bath for you. The blacksmith's makin' a squirter to go on the bar'l."

"Very well, put it wherever you wish. I sha'n't use it."

"I wouldn't overlook nothin', if I was you," said Willie, in even milder tones than Stover had used.

"You overwhelm me with these little attentions," retorted Mr. Speed.

"Where you goin' to run to-day?" inquired the first speaker.

"I don't know. Why?"

"We thought you might do a hundred yards agin time."

"Nix!" interposed Glass, hurriedly. "I can't let him overdo at the start. Besides, we ain't got no stop-watch."

"I got a reg'lar watch," said Willie, "and I can catch you pretty close. We'd admire to see you travel some, Mr. Speed."

But Glass vowed that he was in charge of his protege's health, and would not permit it. Once outside, however, he exclaimed: "That's more of Fresno's work, Wally! I tell you, he's Jerry. He'll rib them pirates to clock you, and if they do--well, you'd better keep runnin', that's all."

"You can do me a favor," said Speed. "Buy that watch."

"There's other watches on the farm."

"Buy them all, and bring me the bill."

Before setting out on his daily grind, Speed announced to his trainer that he had decided to take him along for company, and when that corpulent gentleman rebelled on the ground that the day was too sultry, his employer would have none of it, so together they trotted away later in the morning, Speed in his silken suit, Glass running flat-footed and with great effort. But once safely hidden from view, they dropped into a walk, and selecting a favorable resting-place, paused. Speed lighted a cigarette, Glass produced a deck of cards from his pocket, and they played seven- up. Having covered five miles in this exhausting fashion, they returned to the ranch in time for luncheon. Both ate heartily, for the exercise had agreed with them.

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