"We have covered ourselves with glory," he writes to his friend Ned Maitland, "for we have whipped to a finish the arrogant and mighty Front. I am more than ever convinced that I shall have to take a few days off and get away to Montreal, or some other retired spot, to recover from the excitement of the last week.
"Under my diligent coaching, in which, knowing nothing whatever of shinny, I have striven to introduce something of the lacrosse method, our team got into really decent fighting trim. Under the leadership of their captain, who has succeeded in infusing his own fierce and furious temper into his men, they played like little demons, from the drop of the ball till the game was scored. 'Furious' is the word, for they and their captain play with headlong fury, and that, I might say, is about their only defect, for if they ever should run into a bigger team, who had any semblance of head about them, and were not merely feet, they would surely come to grief.
"I cannot stay to recount our victory. Let it suffice that we were driven down in two big sleigh-loads by Thomas Finch, the back wall of our defense, and Don Cameron, who plays in the right of the forward line, both great, strapping fellows, who are to be eventually, I believe, members of my preparatory class.
"The Front came forth, cheerful, big, confident, trusting in the might of their legs. We are told that the Lord taketh no pleasure in the legs of man, and this is true in the game of shinny. Not legs alone, but heart and head win, with anything like equal chances.
"Game called, 2:30; Captain Hughie has the drop; seizes the ball, passes it to Fusie, who rushes, passes back to Hughie, who has arrived in the vicinity of the enemy's goal, and shoots, swift and straight, a goal. Time, 30 seconds.
"Again and again my little demons pierce the heavy, solid line of the Front defense, and score, the enemy, big and bewildered, being chiefly occupied in watching them do it. By six o'clock that evening I had them safe at the manse in a condition of dazed jubilation, quite unable to realize the magnificence of their achievement. They had driven twelve miles down, played a two hours' game of shinny, score eight to two, and were back safe and sound, bearing with them victory and some broken shins, equally proud of both.
"There is a big supper at the manse, prepared, I believe, with the view of consolation, but transformed into a feast of triumph, the minister being enthusiastically jubilant over the achievement of his boys, his wife, if possible, even more so. The heroes feed themselves to fullness, amazing and complete, the minister holds a thanksgiving service, in which I have no doubt my little demons most earnestly join, after which they depart to shed the radiance of their glory throughout the section.
"And now I have to recount another experience of mine, quite unique and altogether inexplicable. It appears that in this remarkable abode--I would call it 'The Saint's Rest' were it not for the presence of others than saints, and for the additional fact that there is little rest for the saint who makes her dwelling here--in this abode there prevails the quaint custom of watching the death of the old year and the birth of the new. It is made the occasion of religious and heart-searching rite. As the solemn hour of midnight draws on, a silence falls upon the family, all of whom, with the exception of the newest infant, are present. It is the family festival of the year.