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Underwood, Walter S. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. IV, No. 3 (December 1906)

Bullard, Elsie
Billy downs a rival,   pp. 79-82


Page 79


BILLY DOWNS A RIVAL
            BILLY DOWNS A RIVAL.
                      ELSIE BULLARD.
   Billy and I have been room-mates since our freshman year,
and have arrived at that pleasant stage of friendship where
each one knows the other like a book. So when Billy refused
a second helping of plum pudding for dinner I knew some-
thing serious was up. Plum pudding is Billy's failing. He
loves it like a brother, and the unhappiest days of his life are
the forty days of Lent, during which he heroically refuses to
gratify his appetite.
  Moreover, for the past week Billy had been morose, sullen,
and touchy as an old maid, all of which is so different from
his usual good nature that it caused me considerable anxiety.
Therefore, as soon as dinner was over and Billy had flung
himself moodily into a chair, I took it upon myself to find out
what was bothering him.
  I was quite sure it wasn't another 'con' for they
come as a matter of course, and never worry Billy. In
fact, I believe he would be lonely without them. He had
just received a letter from home saying all the folks were
well; his allowance was not overdrawn; the coach had taken
particular pains to praise his punting, and, lastly, his pet pup
Nebby was in perfect health. Therefore none of these could
be the cause of his sorrow, and, as far as I knew, but one
other thing was capable of depressing his exuberant spirits to
any great extent.
  When he had finished his second cigar I sauntered slowly
over to his chair, placed a fatherly hand on his shoulder and
inquired, sympathetically, "Who is she?"
  "Shut up!" Billy politely requested.
  I maintained an aggrieved silence.
  At the end of fully two minutes Billy cast a sheepish, con-


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