There was a romantic flare to his upturned overcoat collar; the darned bottoms of his trousers did not suggest poverty but a careless and amused ease; and his thoroughly commonplace ties hinted of clubs and regiments. You saw only its youthful freshness first, then behind the brightness a taut determination, and his brown eyes were amiably scornful.
Jim Lefferts was Elmer's only friend; the only authentic friend he had ever had.
He tasted one, and murmured foolishly, "'Scuse me." It was the chase, the water. The whisky would certainly be in that other lil sawed-off glass. It tickled his throat and made him feel powerful, and at peace with every one save that fellow--he could not recall who, but it was some one whom he would shortly chastise, and after that float into an Elysium of benevolence. The sour invigorating stench of beer made him feel healthy. He regarded basket-ball and gymnasium antics as light-minded for a football gladiator.
" The bartender was shuffling toward them, amiably ready for homicide. Instantly, by some tricky sort of magic, there were two glasses in front of him. With a smirk of self-admiration he sucked in the raw Bourbon. But since the last night of the football season, with the glorious bonfire in which the young gentlemen had burned up nine tar barrels, the sign of the Jew tailor, and the president's tabby-cat, Elmer had been tortured by boredom.
They did a comic thing once--they got twisted and the right leg leaped in front of the left when, so far as he could make out, it should have been behind.
It was lamentable to see this broad young man, who would have been so happy in the prize-ring, the fish-market, or the stock exchange, poking through the cobwebbed corridors of Terwillinger.
This e Book is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. He could make "Good morning" seem profound as Kant, welcoming as a brass band, and uplifting as a cathedral organ. He arched his paws with longing to grasp the non-existent scoundrel. Despite his invaluable voice, Elmer had not gone out for debating because of the irritating library-grinding, nor had he taken to prayer and moral eloquence in the Y. Once or twice in the class in Public Speaking, when he had repeated the splendors of other great thinkers, Dan'l Webster and Henry Ward Beecher and Chauncey M.
The ardent Eddie Fislinger, now president of the Y. Jim was selfish enough, but it was with the selfishness of a man who thinks and who is coldly unafraid of any destination to which his thoughts may lead him.
" muttered one Eddie Fislinger, who, though he was a meager and rusty-haired youth with protruding teeth and an uneasy titter, had attained power in the class by always being present at everything, and by the piety and impressive intimacy of his prayers in the Y. He appointed Jim Lefferts chairman of the ticket committee, and between them, by only the very slightest doctoring of the books, they turned forty dollars to the best of all possible uses. " observed a Judas who three minutes before had been wrestling with God under Eddie's coaching. Thus it happened that he had no friend save Jim Lefferts.
At the beginning of Senior year, Elmer announced that he desired to be president again. and ready to bring his rare talents to the Baptist ministry, asserted after an enjoyable private prayer-meeting in his room that he was going to face Elmer and forbid him to run. Only Jim had enough will to bully him into obedient admiration.
He was slim, six inches shorter than Elmer, but hard as ivory and as sleek.
Though he came from a prairie village, Jim had fastidiousness, a natural elegance.