game nuoi ngua
But the Greenites were equally determined, and in spite of the efforts of their opponents, kept the ball at their end of the field. Then Skinner got it and made a rush. One of the heaviest of the Greenites charged down upon them at full speed, but was encountered by Easton before he reached him, and the two rolled over together. The River-Smithites backed up their leader well, and he was more than half-way down the ground before the Greenites had arrested his progress. Then there was a close scrimmage, and for a time the mass swayed[Pg 46] backwards and forwards. But here weight counted for more than wind, and the Greenites were pushing their opponents back when the ball rolled out from the mass. Edgar Clinton picked it up, and was off with it in a moment, dodging through those who attempted to check his course. He was down near the Greenites' goal before two of them threw themselves upon him together; but his friends were close behind, and after a desperate scrimmage the ball was driven behind the Greenite goal. Some loose play followed, and a Greenite who had the ball threw it forward to one of his own team, who caught it and started running. The River-Smithites shouted "Dead ball!" "Dead ball!" and claimed the point; but the holder of the ball, without heeding the shouts, ran right through followed by the rest of his team, and touched down behind the River-Smith goal. The ball was then brought out and a goal kicked. All this time the River-Smithites had not moved from behind the Greenite goal, but had remained there awaiting the result of their appeal to the umpire, who now at once decided in their favour. Not satisfied with this the Greenites appealed to the referee, who confirmed the decision of the umpire. Too angry to be reasonable, the captain refused to continue the game, and called upon his team to leave the field. They were going, when the derisive shouts of the lookers-on caused them again to alter their intentions, and the game was renewed. There were ten minutes yet remaining, and for that time the game was played with a fury that caused it to be long memorable in the annals of Cheltenham football. But weight and strength could not prevail over the superior last and coolness of the defenders of the River-Smith goal. Every attempt was beaten off, every rush met, and as no point had been added to the score when time was called, the umpire decided that the game had been won by the River-Smithites by one touch down to nothing. The captain of the Greenites appealed from the umpire's and referee's decision to the football committee of[Pg 47] the college, who gave it against him, and he then appealed to the Rugby union, who decided that the umpire's decision was perfectly right, and the victory thus remained beyond further contention with the River-Smithites. CHAPTER III. GONE. "Bravo, Clinton! Well done, indeed!" so shouted one of the big boys, and a score of others joined in in chorus. "Which is Clinton?" a woman who was standing looking on at the game asked one of the younger boys. The boy looked up at the questioner. She was a woman of about forty years old, quietly dressed in black with a gloss of newness on it. "I will point him out to you directly. They are all mixed up again now." "There are two of them, are there not?" the woman asked. "Yes, that's the other; thereâ€”that one who has just picked up the ball and is running with it; there, that's the other, the one who is just charging the fellow who is trying to stop his brother." "Well done!" he shouted, as Edgar's opponent rolled over. The woman asked no more questions until the match was over, but stood looking on intently as the players came off the ground. Rupert and Edgar were together, laughing and talking in high spirits; for each had kicked a goal, and the town boys had been beaten by four goals to one. The boy to whom she had been speaking had long before strolled away to another part of the field, but she turned to another as the Clintons approached. "Those are the Clintons, are they not?" she asked.[Pg 48] "Yes, and a good sort they are," the boy said heartily. She stood looking at them intently until they had passed her, then walked away with her eyes bent on the ground, and made her way to a small lodging she had taken in the town. For several days she placed herself so that she could see the boys on their way to and fro between River-Smith's and the college, and watched them at football. "I wonder who that woman is," Rupert said one day to his brother. "I constantly see her about, and she always seems to be staring at me." "I thought she stared at me too," Edgar said. "I am sure I do not know her. I don't think I have ever seen her face before." "She asked me whether you were Clinton the other day when you were playing football. It was just after you had made a run with the ball, and some one shouted, 'Well done, Clinton!' And she asked me which was Clinton, and whether there were not two of them. And of course I pointed you both out," a youngster said who was walking with them. "That is rum, too," Rupert said. "I wonder who the woman is, Edgar, and what interest she can have in us." "If she has any interest, Rupert, I suppose she will stop staring some day and speak. Perhaps it is some old servant, though I don't remember her. Well, it is no odds any way." Jane Humphreys was much puzzled as to what step she should take first. During all these years she had waited she had always expected that she should have known which was her own child as soon as she set eyes on the boys, and was surprised and disappointed to find that even after a week's stay at Cheltenham, and examining their faces as closely as she could, she had not the slightest idea which was which. She had imagined that she should not only know, but feel an affection for the boy who was her own, and she had fully intended to place him in the position of Captain Clinton's heir, trusting[Pg 49] to receive the promise of a large sum from him when he should come into possession. Now it seemed to her that she cared no more for one than for the other, and that her best plan therefore was to place in the position of heir whichever of them was most likely to suit her purpose. But here, again, she was in a difficulty. If they resembled each other in no other point, they both looked thoroughly manly, straightforward, and honest lads, neither of whom would be likely to entertain any dishonourable proposition. Her intention had been to say to her son, "You are not really the twin brother, as you suppose, of the other. Captain and Mrs. Clinton do not know which of you two is their child." She wondered whether they already knew as much as that. Probably they did. So many people had known of that affair at Agra, that Captain Clinton had probably told them himself. She would tell the boy, "I am the only person in the world who can clear up the mystery. I have the key to it in my hand, and can place either you or the other in the position of sole heir to the estate. I shall expect to be paid a handsome sum from the one I put into possession. Remember, on one hand I can give you a splendid property, on the other I can show you to have been from the first a usurper of things you had no right toâ€”an interloper and a fraud." It had seemed to her a simple matter before she came down to Cheltenham. Surely no boy in his senses would hesitate a moment in accepting her offer. It had always been a fixed thing in her mind that this would be so, but now she felt that it was not so certain as she before imagined. She hesitated whether she should not defer it until the boys came of age, and the one she chose could sign a legal document; but she was anxious to leave England, and go right away to America or Australia. Besides, if she had the promise she could enforce its fulfilment. Which boy should she select? She changed her mind several times, and at last determined that she would leave it to chance, and would choose the one whom she next met.[Pg 50] It chanced that Edgar was the first she encountered after having taken this resolution, and it happened that he was walking by himself, having remained in the class-room a few minutes after the rest of the boys had left, to speak to the master respecting a difficult passage in a lesson. The woman placed herself in his way. "Well, what is it?" he said. "You have been hanging about for the last week. What is it you want?"