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209
THE BOAT RACE

one’s picture and feeling that one could n’t hold still another moment. The referee was very deliberate.

“Are you ready, St. John’s?”

“Yes, sir.”

The pistol glittered in the sunlight, there was a puff and a crack, and the oars swept through the water.

They had taken four strokes when Gardner, the St. Timothy’s coxswain, shouted,—

“We’re leading ’em! We’ve got the start!”

With the head wind and the rough water Durant was setting a stroke for his crew of thirty-five to the minute—which was really as severe as thirty-eight would have been under normal conditions.

“Let me know if they’re hanging to us,” he said to the coxswain.

“Yes, right where they were,” cried Gardner. “They’re half a length behind—but they’re not falling behind.—Stroke, fellows, stroke, stroke!”

So he shouted to help them with the rhythm, leaning forward with each shout.