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BAXTER'S SECOND INNINGS.




BAXTER'S

^

SECOND INNINGS.



SPECIALLY REPORTED FOR THE
SCHOOL ELEVEN.



Bonbon:

HODDER AND STOUGHTON,
27 PATERNOSTER ROW.



PREFACE.

I THINK the best thing I can do, if I
must make a Preface, is to print this
letter from Baxter's small brother to
another boy :

Dear Charlie,

Would you believe it ? some fel-
low's written a Book about Fred ! I
think he's in an awful wax. N.B.
The Book's a swindle. Except the
storji of a Castle (and one about a
soldier or something) it's all yarn.
I've not read it. What a licking we
gave the Junior Pelican ! I made 13,
but they bowl frightful sneaks. Please
tell Whilemouse to send me the crib
to Caesar instanter.

Yours ever,

MIKE.

P.S. Don't cut me for sending that
book about Fred. I had to. And for
any sake don't open it till Sunday.

P. P.S. Monday. I've read it. It
gets awfully serious some places. By
the way, tell Whilemouse never to mind
that crib just now.

M.



202S991



CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAP. I. BAXTER'S FIUST INNINGS, AND

HOW HE WAS PUT OUT, . 9

II. SWIFTS: AND THE STORY OF

THE CAPTAIN'S SHILLING, . 15

III. SLOWS : AND THE CASTLE THAT

WAS TAKEN WITH A SINGLE
GUN, 26

IV. SCEEWS: AND WHAT HAPPENED

TO BOB FOTIIERINGHAM, . 34

V. "WHY THB DEMON BOWLER WAS

ALLOWED TO BOWL : AND HOW
THE SCORING - SHEET WAS
KEPT 41

VL BAXTER'S SECOND INNINGS:

AND WHAT THE NEWSPAPERS
. SAID, 66



"To acquire all round proficiency, I am

strongly convinced that constant practice

and sound coaching have all to do with it."

W. G. GRACE, " Cricket," p. 221.

" I do not sympathize with the batsman
who plays only to keep up his wicket and
does not try to hit; but I do sympathize
with those who, not possessing great hitting
power, keep adding quietly, though slowly,
to the score as best they can."

The Same, p. 222.



CHAPTER I.
BAXTER'S FIRST INNINGS.

" MAN IN ! '' cried the umpire, and
the fielders fell into their places.
The Bowler stepped back a pace and
poised the ball in his fingers. You
never saw Power more clearly writ-
ten on any face it was almost weird ;
and his arm worked like a steel
spring. The new Batsman, on the
other hand, was only a boy. His
cricket jacket was painfully new, and
so were his cap and his wondrously

varnished bat. And the expression
9



10 BAXTER'S



on the great Bowler's face when the
" man in " walked to his wicket was
strange to see.

This was Baxter's first great match
I suppose this accounts for it that
he did not recognize the Bowler ;
but to those of the spectators who
did, the casual way in which he
handled hip. bat was really ominous.
"Does that greenhorn know he's
playing a match ? " growled one of
them. "If he doesn't wake up I'll
back the first straight ball to finish
him. The ass hasn't even his pads
on."

At that moment the first ball
whizzed down the pitch, and if it
had been a hair's-breadth more to
the right it would have been all over



SECOND INNINGS. 11

with the new Batsman. The second
ball seemed to the spectators a hun-
dred times swifter than the first,
but what exactly happened no one
ever quite understood. Whether the
ball rose on an inequality of the
ground, or gknced off the top of
the bat, is not certain, but in
any case the boy missed when he
struck at it, and it caught him
sideways on the head. The next
moment he lay motionless across the
pitch.

When he became conscious he
found himself lying in the Pavilion
on a pile of coats. " It was a
narrow shave," he heard the doctor
say. " Whatever made the young
idiot run in to a ball like that 1 "



12 BAXTER'S



" He did not know the bowling,
doctor," said the Captain, who was
holding up his head ; " it's his first
match. I hope the wound's not
serious 1 "

" Just missed the temple," replied
the doctor. "If it had struck there
he was a dead man sure. As it
is, it may smart a bit, but that may
be all."

"Doctor," whispered the patient,
suddenly opening his eyes, " shall
I be better next Saturday ! "

" Why ? you young imbecile ? "

"Because I would like a second
innings."

" Innings ! " exclaimed the doctor,
who pretended to be a little gruff
sometimes. " You may get a ball



SECOND INNINGS. 13

perhaps two ; 1 should not call that
an innings."

" It's about all I deserve," said
the victim, drearily.

"We'll see," whispered the Cap-
tain. " Perhaps "

But here the carriage came to
carry the disabled cricketer home.
*****

Some think Baxter dreamed what
is now to be told, for the Sunday
which followed that Saturday after-
noon was very hot, and the boy lay
in a dozy sort of state in the south
bedroom. But some think the Cap-
tain, who came in to be with him
while the others were at church, had
something to do with it. The Cap-
tain was not only the most brilliant



14 BAXTER'S



cricketer in the county, but the hest
man in it, and though he was seldom
known to talk like this, Baxter always
quoted the Captain as if the inter-
view which follows was a real report
of what he said.



SECOND INNINGS. 15



CHAPTER II.

SWIFTS : AND THE STORY OF THE
CAPTAIN'S SHILLING.

"YES, my boy," began the Captain,
sitting down besidn his sofa, " you
made a fool of yourself; but you
did not know. Some one should
have put you up to it. If you will
not think . me bumptious, I will tell
you something about that fellow's
bowling."

"Thank you," said the boy, "I
believe I could do better if I only
knew his form. He's a regular
demon."



16 BAXTER'S



"I shall begin by telling you his
name," said the Captain. "It is
Temptation."

"Tim who?" said the boy.

"Temptation," repeated the Cap-
tain.

"Oh!" said the boy, "I hope
you're not going to be religious. I
thought we were talking about
games."

"So we are," replied the Captain,
cheerily. ""We are talking of the
game of Life. You know you asked
me last night if you were going to
live. If you are to live I had better
tell you something about the game.
Life is simply a cricket match
with Temptation as Bowler. He's
the fellow who takes nearly every



SECOND INNINGS. 17

boy's wicket some time or other.
But perhaps you can't stand this,
Baxter. I'll stop it."

" No," said Baxter, " I'm as right
as a trivet. Please go on. I know
you won't preach."

"Well," continued the Captain,
" stop me if I bore you. You see
every boy has three wickets to de-
fend. The first is Truth, the second
Honour, the third Purity. I "

"That looks mightily like preach-
ing," interrupted Baxter. " Sermon
with three heads : First Truth.
Second "

" No, my boy, I'm not in that
line I am going to tell you about
the bowling. I have three heads,
but not these."



18 BAXTER'S



"What are they?"

"Swifts, Slows, and Screws."

" That's better. Excuse me,"
apologised the boy

" Now here is what I call a swift
Last winter I was ordering some

lemons for a football match, at S

the grocer's. By mistake I dropped
some loose silver on the floor, and
the pieces went scurrying all over
the place. One piece a shilling
rolled over to where the message-
boy was filling a basket, and quick
as lightning he covered it with his
foot and began to back against the
sugar-barrels till he had it safely
stowed away. Presently, after I
had gathered up the seven or eight
other pieces and was completing my



SECOND INNINGS. 19

purchase, he stooped down and pre-
tended to tie his shoe. Then he
whisked the coin into his pocket,
whistled ' Rale Britannia,' and went
on with his work.

"I said nothing, though I saw
the whole game. There stood the
culprit with his middle-stump
Honour as clean bowled as I ever
saw it done. It was a downright
ugly theft, and but for one thing I
should have exposed him there and
then. That one thing was that the
ball which took him was a swift.
The best of boys are sometimes
taken with swifts. It was a swift
that bowled out Peter when the
girl sprang that question on him
the night the cock crowed. As a



20 BAXTER'S



matter of fact I found out that this
boy was a fairly decent fellow, and
a Sunday-school scholar. I waited
two days to let the thing right
itself for that often happens with
' swift ' catastrophes. Then I way-
laid the boy where I could talk to
him without being seen. It was as
I expected. The poor soul had
spent the two most miserable days
of his life. If he had had ten
seconds to think what he was
doing instead of the tenth of a
second he would never have done
it. As for the shilling, this peni-
tent thief had bought twelve
stamps with it and was watching
his chance to post them to my
house."



SECOND INNINGS. 21

" How to play swifts ? " the Cap-
tain went on, "that's not so easily
said. You see the situation is some-
thing like this : A boy will tell a
sudden lie where he would have
spoken the truth if he had had a
minute to consider. Well, this means
that he is really two boys, a good
boy and a bad boy. Now, the bad
boy is usually on the spot first. It
takes a few seconds for the other, as
it were, to come up ; and before he
arrives the mischief is done. The
thing to do, therefore, is to hurry
up the good boy."

"But why should the bad boy
turn up first?"

"You will understand it if we call
them the new boy and the old boy.



22 BAXTER'S



I suspect the bad boy has the start
at birth. The new boy is born
later. The thing is to grow the new
boy and starve the old one till he
is too thin and broken down to do
much harm. "We all know boys who
could not do a mean thing. It is
no effort to them not to do it; they
have so nourished the better nature
that it would be impossible to do it.
What helps a cricketer in playing
swifts is largely the sort of physical
man he is. All his muscles are so
up to the mark, and his faculties so
alive and braced that he can rise to
anything at a moment's notice. He
plays a ball by instinct rather than
by pre-meditation."

"You mean that swifts must be



SECOND INNINGS. 23

prepared for beforehand rather than
when they come."

" Pretty much. The time to get
ready a ship for the storm is not
when the hurricane is on, but when
the planks are being picked, and the
bolts driven home in the dockyard.
Build a boy of sound timber and
he'll weather most things."

"But what if the swifts come
straight at your head like that one
yesterday," suggested Baxter.

"Ah," said the Captain, "it's almost
too ignominious to say it, but when
that happens you had better get out
of the way. It may look cowardly,
but it is not really. There are
temptations so awful that the strong
thing to do is simply to step aside



24 BAXTER'S



and let them pass. A lion won't
face a blaze, though any ignorant
baby will. No, Baxter; some balls
you can score off, and some you can
only stand still and block; some you
can slip for two, and some you can
drive over the ropes for four. But
some well, the best thing you can
do is simply to duck your head."

" Pity we couldn't be all over
pads," laughed Baxter. "Head pads
wouldn't be bad."

"And forget to put them on,"
smiled the Captain. " Yes, there
are lots of safeguards and we cannot
put on too many, but unfortunately
they don't cover everything. I
like pads because they have a
sort of defensive feel. You seem



SECOND INNINGS. 25

rather to look down on them,
Baxter."

" Yes," said Baxter, ruefully,
"because Pm an ass."



26 BAXTER'S



CHAPTER III.

SLOWS: AND THE CASTLE THAT WAS
TAKEN WITH A SINGLE GUN

HERE Baxter's beef-tea came in.
This was the old cook's institution
everybody who stayed at home from
church had always to take beef-tea.
While he was sipping it the mono-
logue went on.

"When the Bowler sees you are
up to swifts," resumed the Captain,
" he turns on slows. What makes
them deadly is that they look so
insufferably stupid. They come drib-
bling along the pitch and you slog



SECOND INNINGS. 27

at them gaily with the probable
alternative of being ' caught ' if you
hit, or 'bowled' if you miss. Good
slows are about as diabolical as any-
thing in that region can be and
that's saying a good deal. The
average boy is fairly proof against a
very big temptation ; it is the little
ones that play the mischief."

" How's that ? " asked Baxter, lay-
ing down his cup.

"We are mostly too proud
to go wrong in a big way.
Notorious sins are bad form ; but
when quiet temptations come which
no one knows about, even the
strongest may break down. Then of
course "there's the other side. One
thing that keeps us up in great



28 BAXTER'S



matches is the applause of the spec-
tators. But on the week-days, when
we are practising alone against the
slow monotony of a private sin,
there is no crowd to cheer us when
we win or hiss at us when we lose.
These are really the great days,
Baxter. They are the decisive battles
of a boy's life."

"But must a fellow meet every
ball," said Baxter "every miserable
little slow ? If he's a good all round
man, is that not enough ? "

" What do you mean ? " said the
Captain. " Do you mean that if we
are ninety-nine parts good it does
not matter if the hundredth part is
a little shady ? "

"I know I'm wrong," said Baxter,



SECOND INNINGS. 29

"but surely we are not meant to be
all saint ? Take your three wickets
for instance. I'm quite aware that if
one is down the rest are down; but
suppose a fellow keeps all these fairly
standing Truth, Honour, Purity
what more need he care for ? "

"Baxter, you have forgotten some-
thing. There are more than wickets."

"What?"

"Bails" said the Captain.

Baxter was silent.

" I've lost several matches that
way, Baxter. Stumps all standing;
only one miserable inch of a bail off.
No, we must play a whole game
no sneaking."

" But I'll teli you something more.
I believe Temptation sometimes does



30 BAXTER'S

nothing but bowl at the bails. Some
players are so much on their guard
that it would be useless trying any-
thing else. I suppose you know that
every boy has some one weak point
to which nearly all the bowling is
directed."

" How do you mean 1 "

" Well, each boy has his own
Temptation different in different
cases, but always some one thing
which keeps coming back and back
back and back day after day till
he is tired and sick. What though
he score off all the other balls if
this one takes him ? It's not new
sins that destroy a man ; it's the
drip, drip, drip of an old one.

" Have you ever heard of the



SECOND INNINGS. 31

Castle that was taken with a single
gun ? It stood on the Ehine, and
its walls were yards thick, and the
old knight who lived in it laughed
when he saw the enemy come with
only a single cannon. But they
planted the cannon on a little hill,
and all day long they loaded and
fired, and loaded and fired, without
ever moving the muzzle an inch.
Every shot struck exactly the same
spot on the wall, but the first day
passed and they had scarcely scratched
the stone. So the old knight drank
up his wine cup, and went to his
bed in peace. Day after day the
cannonade went on, and the more
they fired the louder the knight

laughed, and the more wine he drank,
c



32 BAXTER'S

and the sounder he slept. At the
end of a week one stone was in
splinters ; in a month the one behind
it was battered to powder ; in ten
months a breach was made wide
enough for the enemy to enter and
capture the Castle. That is how a
boy's heart is most often taken. If
I had any advice to offer anybody
I should say, Beware of the slow
sins the old recurring Temptation
which is powerful not so much in
what it is or in what it does once,
but in the awful patience of its con-
tinuance. It is by the ceaseless
battery of a commonplace Temptation
that the moral nature is undermined
and the citadel of great souls won."
Here the Captain paused. Baxter



SECOND INNINGS. 33

lay very still, as if he had fallen
asleep. His visitor rose gently and
made on tiptoe for the door. He
was opening it when the boy ex-
claimed :

" And what about the screws ? "

" I thought you were asleep," said
the Captain. "I was afraid I bored
you."

"I was never more awake in my
life," said the boy. "I was think-
ing. All that's new to me. If you
don't mind I should like to hear the
rest."

" I protest," urged the Captain

" but 1 will at least tell you

a story."



34 BAXTER^



CHAPTER IV.

SCREWS; AND WHAT HAPPENED TO
BOB FOTHERINGHAM.

" WHEN I was a youngster there
was a sort of Prize Boy in our
village called Bob Fotheringham.
He came to my mother's Sunday
Class, and was the best boy in it.
Everyone liked Bob ; he was good
at everything, and especially clever
with his fingers, and his father
wanted him to follow his own
business of carpenter. But Bob had
a rich uncle who kept a public-
house. On busy Saturdays the boy



SECOND INNINGS. 35

used to go there and bear a hand
in an amateur sort of way. Some-
times a drunk man would take a
fancy to him and give him money,
so that Bob learned to get money
easily and became rather fond of
it. Just as he finished school his
uncle offered to make a publican of
him. He had no sons of his own,
and he half promised Bob that one
day the business would be his.

" Now Bob did not like the public-
house. But how could he lose such
a chance ? He need not touch
drink himself, he argued; and if
he did not sell it someone else
would. So he decided. His parents
solemnly warned him to let it alone ;
but Bob urged that it would only



36 BAXTER'S



be for a few years, and then he
would set up in some other business
and do good with the fortune he
would make. Bob's heart was full
of good, and I verily believe he
meant to end his days by becoming
a great philanthropist.

" But there was a screw on that
ball. A screw goes wide at first,
and then suddenly rounds upon you
and twists in among your wickets
before you know where you are.
For three or four years Bob lived
as straight as a parson. When his
uncle died he found he had to
sample what he bought. What harm ?
Better to sell good stuff than bad.
The business went swimmingly, and
Bob had to sample a good deal



SECOND INNINGS. 37

oftener than he liked. Finally, he
Miked' a good deal oftener than
he had to sample. After that he
was always ' sampling.' You know
the rest. One day a bail fell off
Bob thought no one noticed it and
went on with the game for a year
or two. Then a wicket fell Truth;
then Honour. Do you remember
that blackguard who used to sell
Cards at the Sports? That was
Bob."

" There's something all wrong
there," cried Baxter almost fiercely.
"I don't blame Bob. How was he
to know that was a screw?"

"My boy," said the Captain, "I'm
glad to see you frightened."

"Frightened! Why, this might



38 BAXTER'S

happen to any of us. How is a
fellow to know he is not being
taken in all the time?"

" You mean if you were Bob you
would just have done the same ? "

" Certainly ; I would do it to-
morrow."

" No you would not, Baxter."

"Why?"

" Because you are frightened. Bob
was not frightened. A man who
underrates the strength of an enemy
is pretty sure of a licking. When
you are constantly ou the watch for
screws the game is half won."

"But I don't see how he could
have escaped this trap. It looked
all right."

"Screws always do," replied the



SECOND INNINGS. 39

Captain. "That's where they differ
from swifts. But where Bob went
off the rails is plain. First, he dis-
obeyed his parents ; second, he
wanted to make money regardless
of consequences either to himself or
others; third, he trifled with one of
the biggest temptations in the world."

" I hope that's all," said Baxter.

" No, there is one thing more. I
won't mention it unless you wish,
Baxter."

"What was it 1 ?"

"Well, he did not he did not
pray."

"Perhaps he thought that was
only for women."

"ThE people who need it most
are boys," said the Captain, seriously.



40 BAXTER'S



"If Bob had done that he would
not have ' entered ' Temptation. Bob
saw the gate open and walked straight



SECOND INNINGS. 41



CHAPTER V.

WHY THE DEMON BOWLER WAS

ALLOWED TO BOWL : AND HOW THE

SCORING-SHEET WAS KEPT

"IT'S a good deal blacker than I
thought," said Baxter. " That Bowler
knows his business. But I should like
to ask a question if you're finished."
" I'm only beginning," said the
Captain, "but I think it's your
turn. That bowling would take
another month to tell about. I've
only mentioned three kinds, and
there's heaps more sneaks, for in-
stance, and mixtures "



42 BAXTER'S

" Mixtures 1 "

"Yes. When the Bowler alter-
nates. He'll send in one ball slow,
the next swift, and the third per-
haps a wide, to throw you off your
guard dodgy, Baxter, isn't it ? "

" It's downright low," cried Baxter.
" That's just what my question was
about. You won't be angry ? "

"No," said the Captain, "go
ahead."

" Well," said Baxter, " Why do
they let him play?"

" They let him play," replied the
Captain, "to make a good game.
Every boy who is worth his salt
likes to play in a great match, and
there cannot be a great match with-
out him."



SECOND INNINGS. 43

" I thought it a disgrace to have
anything to do with him."

" No. It is an honour."

" An honour ! "

" Yes, the greatest honour of a
boy's life. You have heard of the
wise man who 'counted it joy.'"

" Joy ! I count it uncommon hard
lines. It's bad enough to call it an
honour, but to call it joy I find it
most disgustingly miserable."

" Stop,'' said the Captain, " we are
at cross purposes. You are talking
about Sin. I was not."

"About what then?"

" About Temptation"

"But they're the same thing.'

"They're as ditferent as night and
day ! Temptation is no sin."



44 BAXTER'S



" I don't see how that can be,"
said Baxter. " I never dreamt it
was anything else. Are you quite
sure 1 "

" Positive. You can see for your-
self. Did Christ ever sin ? "

"No."

" Was He ever tempted 1 "

" Well, sometimes."

"No, not sometimes, always. A
boy can be tempted every hour of
the day, yet he need not sin. Keep
that distinction in mind, Baxter ; it
will save you a lot of trouble. Don't
think it's all up because you are
tempted. Temptation is only an
invitation ; it does not become sin
till you accept it. The hang-dog
sense of being a hopelessly bad lot,



SECOND INNINGS. 45

the idea that it's no use trying to
be any better because we are so
often tempted, is a mistake. That's
what often turns the finest fellows
into sneaks fellows who, if they
only knew that Temptation was no
sin, would hold up their heads and
play the man. The guilt of doing
wrong, when one does do it, is quite
enough to stagger under without
feeling that the Temptation is
criminal."

"Even then," said Baxter, "I
don't see where the honour comes
in."

" When I was at school," replied
the Captain, " I was Secretary of
the Cricket Club. You may guess
my astonishment when one morning



46 BAXTER'S

the post brought a challenge from
the All England Eleven! That was
about the biggest day of my life.
I suppose, though we did not know
it then, they challenged every club
in the Kingdom ; and though we
modestly declined it, there was not
a boy in the Eleven who did not
feel an inch taller for the rest of
the season. This challenge, Baxter,
is considerably more honourable.
Temptation is the greatest Bowler
in the world."

"All the same, I wish I had not
to play him," said Baxter.

" Then you would never come to
anything. You would be a poor
weak noodle to the end of the chap-
ter. A boy's only chance of coming



SECOND INNINGS.



to anything is when he is tempted.
That's what makes a boy play up.
How could you score if there were
no bowling ] "

This was certainly a conundrum,
and the boy thought hard for a
minute.

" You write short-hand, Baxter 1 "
resumed the Captain. " I heard you
got the prize there ? "

" Yes," said Baxter. " But I don't
think I need take down what you've
said. Anything that is dead straight
like that goes in to a fellow."

" That's not what I meant/
laughed the Captain. " But how
did you win that prize 1 "

" Practice," said Baxter. "There's

nothing in it. It's all practice."
D



48 BAXTER'S

"And what made you such a
good oar?"

"Who told you I pulled?"

" The mantel-piece," said the Cap-
tain, smiling. "Do you think I
don't know the Junior Cup when
I see it?"

"Well," blushed Baxter, I sup-
pose it's the same thing Practice.
Everything seems practice."

" I agree," said the Captain,
"everything down to tying your
necktie. But did you ever think
what makes a good man ? No ?
Well, it's the same thing that makes


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