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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, May 08, 1910, Image 6

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HOW THE GREAT "QUEERITY" PROBLEM WAS SOLVED
ARTON MORGAN LANGWORTH
PRAIRIRVILLE ACADEMY and
Groveville preparatory school had
competed in 1 a grnnddual athletic
meet every year as fur back as any
one could remember.
The results were nlways close, as
the schools were most evenly matched,
and rarely was a' contest won by moro
than a margin of one or two points; so
you can imagine the keen rivalry be
tween", the two scats of learning.
Another thing that gave an added In
terest to' the annual meet was a pecu
liar ."stunt", that' marked each struggle.
This was the vent called the queorlty.
introduced years ago to. add: a bit
of fun to the struggle, it made such
a hit that.lt became a recognized fea
tured It; didn't .count as much as the
other events in the, scoring, but on sev
eraloccasions the winning of the
queerity 'decided the meet. So each
school regarded it pretty seriously,
even if the public took It as a joke. ;
! Usually itconstituted a roaring com
edy to s the spectators. The queerlties
of the pnst; included handspring races,
stilt races, "chariot" races on oval
"wheels," etc., and the .^queerity ,of 1910
was called the. great barrel^ dash.
Don't- you think itmeantjust rolling
a barrel.' No .such easy.; thing as* run
ning a barrel, was allowed. The
racer had to run on the barrel: and stay
on' top "of . it.. Each racer must have
considerable* acrobatic ability, for! it is
qulteja circus ;feat'Ho balance .yourself
on, an overturned barrel and. propel.it
forward at a fair, clip., In order to re
volve the barrel --so -it will roll: forward
you' must' keep stepping; forward some
what as if you. were trying^to run back
,wafd on "a /treadmill." 7 *"";; ;\u25a0;..
\u25a0So ' when ahe; joint' athletic committee
an riounf ed .; what the next'; Qu'eeri ty was
to v. be: the' whole academy \ ! .7 naturally
turned: to 1 ' Bob .Edwards to • uphold its
; honor. 'ln? this .event,. ; for; Bob -was the
| greatest A acrobat .and - contortionist; in
the school: He' could donumerous-bal- 1
ancifig acts and 'could even walk a tight
rbpe;as^far as\2o' feet.; But, with^all his
"attainments:;^. he; '.found .barrel " : rolling
needed?a' great 'deal "of tralnirigto"'; at
tain^ the 'necessary, control' and, balance,
and'. so \u25a0" formed r the habit ; of practicing
*on • * any ng r; look ing ?< barrel he
happehedj,tD < find.~}"Ai^d''hißrj^^wH'eru}i.!i
'enthusiasm^dvercarhe>hlsr judgment and
he ;- met \ with the "disaster j that fdirectly
resulted in ; the .great :.que'erity /problem.
J A It; happened this way: 'About a "month
before the • athletic f meet; Bob,; happened
to; pass* through ;.the" academy* hall and
spledi the* big. barrel: that; usually! stood
under,; the 'stairs, v\ into,- which, the .waste
paper -baskets ; were -emptied.
nately it^wasiempty. ' Bob knew.that
at 'this hour Mr. Hackett,; the principal;
was x >upstalrs with iai class in, "algebra.
Bob: rolled 'the '.. barrel 'out 'from under
the ; stairs, JhoppediiponAit and' began
his'lessoh'ln'this new-branch;of athletic
learning. All would have' been well had
"Hack'.'-j-fas the boys: irreverently called
hlrn-^-been^where; Bob "thought he .was,
and /Had Jther barrel) responded \u25a0 properly
to , the ' control* of ' Bob's jflancing; feet." -j
,~ Bob's ; idea 1 , was .to; propel; it downline
hall.r The": barrel; didn't see -It 'that ;way,
so : lt^suddenly." turned | at right angles,
rolled .[out | from ; under '\u25a0 poor jj Bob;; and
shot the door' ; of ; the „ nearest
classroom just as Mr. Hackett opened it.
• That -barrel not only, upset Mr. Hack
ett fright ! before .the ; whol i laughing
class,-:but ; it upset; his' dignity^ so , that
when* Bob .passed "through ', the cyclone
t hat i followed the young acrobat' found
himself i, condemned \u25a0'::. to ; remain ' after
school each> afternoon for the next 30
days.V/ : / ••' \ '• '.\u25a0'- :".. ' "".;";','
• All pleadings for pardon were re
jectedby Mr. Hackett. - He was a stern
disciplinarian, who,. believed In .ruling
with a.'rod of' iron. ".,<•'
.When a -deputation composed of the
leading /athletes , of' the \u25a0 academy ven
tured: to * appeal ' to his ."school spl rit'.'
he; dismissed' them curtly, telllngthem
that, while he was sorry it. interfered
.with their plans discipline \u25a0 must be
maintained even .if . the school lost a
dozen ,•".-. •"-..\u25a0'
.'Frank . Williams knew the principal's
peculiarities probably as well 'as any
one' in the school. '?SS»g^feS
, "No, It " Isn't so much that' he don't
care whether we win or not," remarked
Frank-afterward,- "but Hack can't for
give; Bob' for making such a chump of
him before the class. That's whqt's tha
rear trouble, lie's been Interested
enough in the other track meets, even
if he did make everybody , 'sore* and
uncomfortable, but' he used to give us
good points at that. Now the thing to
do is to fix up a- scheme to win out
anyhow,"
"But how are you going to get Bob
In. shape if lie has to stay in every
afternoon? You ; know Mr. Hackett
locks up that .'Classroom tight as a
prison. He'll do just what he's done
to every one of us some time or other
— lpck him in and then come back
around 6 to let. him out. ilow are
you going to do it?, if it was any of
us' we* could ' train; at 'some other time
in the day, but Bob's father nearly
works him to death In his store, be
sides making him do chores up at the
furin. . Ho never has any time off ex
cept that little bit after school," said
Ned Wilson gloomily.
"And here's Hack gone and tnken it
all away by jailing him for a month!
What chance has he got to get trained
properly, with the qu«erlty coming off
THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, MAY 8, 1910.— THE JUNIOR CALK
Vlmt Barrel Sot Only UpMet Old Hackett, bat It Upwct III* Dignity. |
only a couple of. days, after his jnonth's
up?" added Groggy, Gordon.
"Well." boys, I don't say I can solve
the .problem, l">ut I'm" going to try. I've
got an idea already. It may get us Into
trouble If Hack finds It out, but the
athletic, honor of the school, is in peril,
and .when it comes, to choosing between
defending that or knuckling down to
discipline, me for honor every: time!"
cried 'Frank; eloquently, if .not very
grammatically, and' then he told them
his; plan. . . '/•'•.'"\u25a0\u25a0.\u25a0'\u25a0'.\u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0•"\u25a0'l-A-
The. -next, day. half ~ an? hour before
school opened Frank Williams dodged
from behind , the hedge' that bounded
the" school grounds "and rapidly- rolled
a'large sugar 'barrel/ across the yard,
disappearing into' the' rear' basement
door,, which 1 was /always left, unlocked,
as are. most doors in .the, country.
; That : same day. half an hour after
school closed; if' Mr. ; Hackett ; had sud
v"denly decided to return (after locking
Bob '"< in .his classroom he would have
found it ; \u25a0.\u25a0empty.". : Bob ' had 'escaped
'through the transom. The transom' was
{part of , Frank's : scheme. , | For 'jailing
\ purposes.Mr. Hackett had put a lock on
lit from the : outsider b.ut Frank. planned
to "slip up stairs and unlock the ; transom
1 every j afternoon "after the'
departure. This 1 he did. -Bob climbed
over and .. the two 1 "streaked fit',! to '\u25a0 the
big, cool, cement paved basement, where
a suppressed- shout "greeted them from
the training committee. . .
"-\u25a0;.'\u25a0 "Welli'l l guess this comes pretty near
solving the* problem," chuckled Frank,
as they proceeded: to ; put Bob!' through
his^first afternoon's .work." The cellar
afforded a' broad span of smooth space
perfectly .adapted to the gyrations of
the rolling barrel, >and the initial tryout
proved a grand success.
nThe athletic prisoner 4 trained faith
fully, day' after day.'' Of course, the
boys couldn't-be there all the time, as
most .of them"! were; in daily training
themselves at Prairie Oval track, where
the' meet was to.be held... But a lookout
was always posted in the road to signal
the i principal's ."'.: approach'; 'then Bob
would hustle upstairs and pop through
the transom In time to receive his jailer;
.barely In.time more i than. once. J
One day Bob got an unexpected hurry
call to "break training."* Mr, Hackett
had come by a different way, across the
fields, surprising /the lookout in the
road. Bob literally hurled himself Into
the transom opening in a wild effort to
get through, but his haste was fatal,
for he stuck, fast, while Frank, who
happened to be with him, tried des
perately to shove and pry him through.
Frank' didn't desert him until they
heard Mr. Hackett's key fumble in the
main: entrance, and then he rushed for,
the basement, forced to leave Bob's
waving legs^o greet the principal. By
The "Candle Tree"
One of the wonders of the vegetable
kingdom is undoubtedly the "candle
tree" of Panama, known to botanists
as parmeritiera cerifera. This tree,
says Prof. H. F. MacMlllan In the Au
gust Strand Magazine, produces from
Its stem and older branches a great
profusion pf yellowish,, cylindrical,
smooth fruits, 12 to 18 inches long,
which appear exactly like wax can
dles, as thoxbotanical'«name Implies. So
close Is this resemblance that travelers,
seeing the tree for the first time, are
likely to be temporarily puzzled as to
whether the candles of shops are made
In factories or grown on trees! The
candlellke, fruits /are suspended from
the branches and bare stem by short,
slender stalks; dangling In the air they
readily give the impression of the
chandler's shop. As night falls, and
the numerous fire flies move among the
fruit, this impression is intensified.
The inexperienced traveler is not In
frequently Informed that the fire files
perform the duty of lighting up these
"caudles" at night when light is re
quired by -the denizens of the jungle.
Pointed Paragraph
Many a man has kicked himself out
of a good Job.
this time Bob was 7 yelling at the top
of his voice,, for the sharp edge of the
transom dug into him terribly.
As soon as he recovered from his
surprise Mr. Hackett promptly grasped
Bob by his legs and. giving one mighty
yank, pulled the tortured youth out of
the transom. \u25a0_
"Trying to escape, were you?'.' thun
dered Mr. Hackett sternly, taking Bob
by the collar. "Well," we'll haveto lock
you up in safer quarters. Next time I'll
flpd a place where you can't; get out.
I'll put/ you, in the .basement. Come
down wlth.me now. while : I take a look
at It." -And the principal, with one big
hand on. Bob's shoulder,, forced the ter
ror, stricken prisoner down the stairs to
inspect his new dungeon. Surely all
was discovered; now.
The other boys had escaped through
the \u0084 unlocked basement door,; except
Williams, who daringly ' re
mained behind, crouching; on the base
.ment stairs to ; witness poor Bob's "fin
ish.". So .thus : it . happened that Mr.
Hackett's decision to "'explore .the base
ment nearly resulted; In Frank's dis
covery. He had just* time to run down
the. stairs, roll the- telltale, barrel^ into
an empty coal bin'and dive behind It. .
"I can't understand /how Hackett
missed seeing me or the barrel/He
irnust be getting awfully near sighted,
'cause he looked right" into the bin.
There was a window there, and I know
my legs stuck out from behinjl the
barrel." said Frank afterward as he
told of his escape to. the others. But
Mr. . Hackett * passed by, and. after
poking around the basement had al
lowed Bob to go home.
How the boys laughed at the way
Bob's transom disaster, worked out! In
,stead of locking him in the stuffy class
room the next day the principal had
put him in the cool basement exactly
where he wanted to be and had locked
the door leading to the stairs! Mr.
Hackett, of course, saw that the door
opening f rom ,the basement ; to the yard
was locked,' too, and while this barred
out Bob's trainers ;it also dispensed
with 1 the need of a lookout. Bob com
plained -of being lonesome, but . ac
knowledged.even that was batter than
being almost squeezed to death every
time he tackled the transom. And so
the. month passed, until the 30 days
were finally up and Bob was released
from his prison three days before the
track meet.
If there had been any doubts as to
the I efficiency of the school training
course they were quickly dispelled
when the late prisoner was "tried out"
by his- trainers at Prairie Oval track.
He proved himself in fine condition,
and as for barrels he was master of
them all.
The day, of the meet found the stands
He Knew
'. In western Kansas a teacher In a
primary grade was instructing her
class in the composition of- sentences.
After a talk of several minutes she
wrote two sentences on the black
board, one syntactically wrong and the
•other a mlsstaternent of fact. The sen
tences were: "The hen has three legs,"
and "Who done it?"
"Willie," said the teacher to one of
the youngsters, "go to the board and
show where the fault lies in those two
sentences.",,
Willie slowly approached the board,
evidently studying hard on the tangle.
Then, to his teacher's consternation, he
took the crayon and wrote: "The hen
never done it. God done it." — Cosmo
politan Magazine.
Down to Hardpan
In moving and settling down, the
family had subsisted on short rations,
and one morning Mrs. Drew found her
self facing an unknown deficit.
"Nora," she said to the maid of all
work, "what is there in the store
room?"
"Every blessed thing Is given out but
the tea an' coffee," Nora informed her;
"and sure they will, If they last long
enough."— Youth's Companion.
at Prairie Oval packed with the pupils
from both schools with their friends
and families. Each event counted n
total of six points, except the quecrlty,
which counted only ono point. The
other events counted throe for a first,
two for a second and one for a third.
But the queerlty winner only scored
one, and second none. The scoring was
close as usual, and the crowd worked
Itself into a frenzy of excitement as
the contest proceeded.
The quoerity took place about the
middle of the program. Mr. Haekett
had attended the meet invested with
his accustomed dignity. All through
the contests he never even changed the
expression on Ills severe, face, and n
stranger watching him would never
have dreamed lie was principal of ono
of the contending schools. In fact, the
Grovevillers-Jeerlngly said it gave thorn
chills to. look at him sitting up there
In the grandstand box; but thnt was
Mr. Ilackett's way.
Finally, the queerlty was reaphed.
The two contestants mounted the over
turned barrels and each barrel was set
on the starting line. The official an
nouncer then explained the .new
'.'stunt" to the audience. The dfstance
wag 100 yards, and the boy who made
the distance still a-top of his barrel
won. Every fall was penalized six feet.
Crack! barked the starter's pistol
"They're off!" cried the crowd, and
literally one_was. For no sooner had
they started than Bob's rival contestant
swerved violently and ran his barrel
directly into Bob. That racer Mew into
the air and he landed heavily on the
ground., ,
"Get up, Bob! Get up!" screamed the
academy, and right then and there the
strange thing happened. Frank was
busily engaged trying to stand Bob
(who 1 was dazed by. the fall) on his
barrel,' when a deep voice shouted a
command, and the next minute Mr,
Hackett— of,- "all was at his
side steadying Bob!
, Perhaps it was the shock of discover
ing who 'this . new assistant was that
worked over, the partly stunned Bob.
Anyway, he straightened out wonder
fully and;ln a few: seconds was rolling
along after, his "field", in grand style.
But the other had a big start.
Everbody's eyes' were on Mr.
Hackett, and, realizing the- undignified
position this sudden; betrayal -'of inter
est had put -him in, he- walked stiffly
- back into the" grandstand, where he
watched the remainder of the race. j It
was a \' splendid finish. • If the open
ing '\u25a0' fall' had not put Bob so far
behind there; would/ liavo been no
race at all. But instead it resulted in
making him a "scratch man." The
Groveviller reeled along on his barrel,
falling more than once and earning the
setback penalty. . But,, as Frank said,
"Bob's style was faultless." If there
ever was a barrel trained to roll under
a boy's feet that barrel was. He grad
ually overhauled the other boy until
he brought his barrel up within a few
feet of him.- •
They were now five feet from the fin
ish line. Superbly balancing himself
on his wabbling' perch,, with one su-.
preme effort, in which his dancing. feet
flew so fast you could hardly see
them. Bob rolled his barrel over the
line— winner by six inches. Academy
had won the queerity.
,•\u25a0• By winning it they also won the
track meet, as it afterward turned out,
for the final score was so close that the
one precious point it gave -enabled
Academy to just beat Grovovllle.
"Btit what puzzles me is the way Mr.
Hackett acted when Bob fell In the
queerity t Here he tries to help htm to
win, after doing everything to make
him lose for a month." observed Jim
Spencer, after it was all over.
"I'm not so sure about that!" ex
claimed Frank. "I think that what he
did at the queerlty just gives him dead
away." \u25a0
"What do you mean?" demanded Jim.
"Simply this. I'm going to put you
some questions. I never mentioned it,
but that morning when I sneaked the
barrel into the basement I'm positive
Hack saw me through a window, v He
got there early that day. Then, why
didn't he ask me what I was doing with
that barrel?
"Now for the next question. Why did
he transfer Bob from the room to the
basement after he caught him red
handed, or rather legged, in the tran
som?
"Also,* why didn't he discover me in
the coal bin? He's 'nailed' me for things
I've done in class that are a hundred
times moro secretive.
"And lastly, why did ho act the way
he did at the queerlty?" ':. "
"I'll answer 'em all for you in just
one plain statement," remarked Frank,
while his listeners look at him with
a new light dawning on their surprised
faces.
"I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but any
body who uses a little common sense
will figure it out this way:
"First of. all, Bob made Hack so
mad that he lost his temper completely.
He went too far and then regretted
it. He wanted Academy to win. but It
would be bad discipline to 'buck water,'
and he did the next best thing — he gave
Academy 'a show' by letting us alone.
So don't be too hard on him!"
'.'And boys," concluded Frank, "1
thought I had solved the greal queerity
problem, but I'm positive most of the
credit ought to go — right to Hack!"
Don't you think so, too?

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