Back to page 6      Return to page 1          Andy Grant Chapter  7 The boat race

Andy rowed in the evening, after he had helped his father on the farm but Conrad practiced in the afternoon.
Conrad had no idea that Andy was going to compete in the race and he did not see that Andy was a very good rower indeed.

Victor did see how well Andy rowed and was pleased to think that his friend had a very good chance of beating Conrad and winning the race.

"You must have had a good deal of practice at school,"said Victor.

"Yes; we were taught by a man who used to go to Harvard University and he was in the University boat crew."

" Conrad can row very quickly but I don't think he is using the oars in quite the right way. I don't think he has ever been taught properly but he still gets over the water pretty fast."

"And that counts. How does his speed compare with mine?"

"As you rowed to-night, I think the race would be a close one. But this
is only the first evening. Keep on practicing daily, and I think you will certainly win."

"You have a fine boat, Victor, said Andy. "How does Conrad's compare with yours?"

Picture of Andy in boat

 "I should hardly know how to choose between them. His boat is a fine one, but mine is quite as good."

"And I suppose there is no other on the pond as fine."

"No; Serwin's boats are old style, and have been in use for years.

 If you rowed in one of those against Conrad you would be sure to be beaten."

"Then if I win it will be because you let me borrow your boat." Thank you Victor for giving me the chance."

Victor smiled.  "I should be glad to think I helped you to win the prize but your own good rowing will be more important. Keep up your practising."

"I will do so."

"I want you to win; and, besides, I want Conrad to lose. I hope he won't hear that you are entering the race."

Two days before the picnic Victor happened to meet Conrad at his father's store.

"Are you going to enter the boat race at the picnic?" asked Conrad.

"I am not certain."

"You have the only boat that can compare with mine. Have you been practising any?"

"I have been rowing a little."

"I shall have to look out," said Conrad, but he sounded if he was not worried and that he expected to win.

"Thank you for the compliment."

"Suppose we have a little trial by ourselves? It may do us both good."

"I don't mind. When shall it be?"

"Say to-morrow afternoon."

"Very well. I will be at the pond at four o'clock."

"All right."

The two boys met according to agreement, and the race took place.

Conrad won easily by eight lengths, although Victor tried his hardest

"That settles it," said Conrad, triumphantly. "You can't row against me."

"I am afraid you are right," said Victor sadly. .

"You will need more practice, though you row fairly well. I think you pull the best oar next to Me," said  Conrad 

"Yes, I see that I must practice more."

"There will be no need for me to practice," said Conrad to himself.

"I've got a dead sure thing."

Now Conrad received plenty of pocket money from his father but he always wanted more.  He was sure he was going to win the prize and he started thinking about what he would do with the money.

Now the day before the picnic it turned wet and cold and everyone wondered if they could have it outside or if they would have to go into one of the Church Halls.  The boys who were hoping to take part in the boat race wondered if it could go ahead if the wind turned any stronger.

On the day of the picnic the wind dropped, the sun came out and it became much warmer. Everyone knew that they were going to have a good day.

All of the young people from both Sunday Schools came along and started to enjoy themselves.

The race had been fixed for half-past three.  At that hour the superintendent of the Sunday school came forward and said: "I am going to introduce Mr Gale who is to give the 10 dollar prize money. 

Mr Gale stepped forward and said,"I will tell you why I am giving the prize money.  I am from Lower Arden and as you know that is 2 miles down the river.  Now a dam has been built across the river at Lower Arden. This means that the lake at Lower Arden will get bigger and form a reservoir to supply water to the factories.  This also means that the level of water in the River Arden will rise and for the first time it will be possible to row a boat from Arden to Lower Arden. The Lower Arden boat club are hoping that some of you may want to join and I decided that this prize would help to get people interested."  

" The Superintendent of the Sunday School spoke again. "Thank you Mr Gale. Now.  Boats will start from the pier, and the course will be to the opposite bank of the pond and back.  Will all the competitors please get ready."

The first to come forward was Conrad Carter. He was dressed in a handsome boating costume, and he looked as if he was sure to win. He looked around for Victor, but did not start walking to his boat although it was in the pond along with the others.

"Aren't you going to row, Victor?" asked Conrad, in surprise.

"No; I have lent my boat to Andy Grant."

At the same time Andy came forward, and stepped into Victor's boat.

Conrad's eyebrows went up in  surprise. He had been disappointed to find

that Victor would not row, but he was quite as well pleased at the prospect of beating Andy.

He was rather surprised, however, as he had never heard that Andy could row.

"He must be a fool to think of rowing against me," he said to himself.

Next came Jimmy Morris, who took his place in one of Serwin's boats.

Two other boys also appeared in hired boats, one of them being Dennis Carlyle, a friend of John Larkin.

When the boats were in line, a superintendent gave the signal.

Conrad got the first start. The others kept together, a length or two behind Conrad. They planned to speed up near the end of the race and pass Conrad before he reached the shore.

 Andy did not appear to be rowing very hard but his strokes were very smooth and Mr Gale could see that he was a very good rower.

"Who is that boy?" he asked, pointing to Andy. "I don't think I have seen him before."

"It is Andy Grant, the son of Farmer Grant," said the Superintendent.

"Why haven't I seen him before?"

"He has been away at school--at Penhurst Academy."

"He knows how to row," said Mr Gale. "See how he handles his oars."

"I didn't know he was a rower."

"He is, and a good one. I shouldn't be surprised if he wins the race."

"What, against Conrad Carter?" asked the superintendent, as if he could not believe what he was hearing.

"Yes. It is easy to see that he has been trained. Now Conrad is pulling very hard but he is not rowing efficiently.

As Conrad rowed he did not look at the other competitors but when he had nearly reached the

 other bank, he turned about and saw Andy close behind him.

Andy did not seem to be getting at all tired, but pulled a strong, steady stroke. Conrad began to be worried that Andy might win.

After the boats turned to come back Conrad and Andy were leading. Next came Jimmy Morris, and last of all Dennis Carlyle.

Then Denis managed to catch a crab. An oar struck a big stone on the bottom of the pond and the boat tipped over.  Denis tumbled into the water.

"Don't mind me!" he called out jokingly. "I am only taking a bath."

So the other contestants kept on, in the same order.

But this was not to continue. Suddenly Andy began to row more strongly and moved ahead of Conrad. 

Conrad was really vexed. He certainly did not want Andy to beat him. He tried to row faster but he was excited and made little short rowing strokes.  Andy rowed steadily with long strong strokes and pulled further and further ahead of Conrad.

When the goal was reached he was five lengths ahead of Conrad, and twelve lengths ahead of Jimmy Morris.

It was a genuine surprise to the spectators, and a great shout went up. "Three cheers for Andy Grant!"

Andy smiled, and he raised his hat in acknowledgement of the compliment.

Mr. Gale pressed forward and greeted Andy.

"You have done yourself credit," he said. "You know how to row. Where did you learn?"

"At Penhurst Academy; I was trained by a Harvard oarsman."

"He was a good teacher and you have been a good learner. I have great pleasure in presenting you with the prize."

Conrad was disappointed and angry. He looked as if he was going to cry.  He did not stay to enjoy the rest of the picnic but turned and went home.

"Conrad is terribly disappointed!" said Victor. "You have made yourself famous, Andy."

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