The Plastic Age
For the first term Hugh slid comfortably down a well oiled groove of routine. He
went to the movies regularly, wrote as regularly to Cynthia and thought about her
even more, read enormous quantities of poetry, "bulled" with his friends,
attended all the athletic contests, played cards occasionally, and received his
daily liquor from Vinton. He no longer protested when Vinton offered him a drink;
he accepted it as a matter of course, and he had almost completely forgotten that
"smoking wasn't good for a runner." He had just about decided that he wasn't a
One evening in early spring he met George Winsor as he was crossing the
"Hello, George. Where are you going?"
"Over to Ted Alien's room. Big poker party to-night. Don't you want to sit in?"
"You told me last week that you had sworn off poker. How come you're playing
again so soon?" Hugh strolled lazily along with Winsor.
"Not poker, Hugh—craps. I've sworn off craps for good, and maybe I'll swear off
poker after to-night. I'm nearly a hundred berries to the good right now, and I can
afford to play if I want to."
"I'm a little ahead myself," said Hugh. "I don't play very often, though, except in
the house when the fellows insist. I can't shoot craps at all, and I get tired of
cards after a couple of hours."
"I'm a damn fool to play," Winsor asserted positively, "a plain damn fool, I
oughtn't to waste my time at it, but I'm a regular fiend for the game. I get a great
kick out of it. How's to sit in with us? There's only going to be half a dozen
fellows. Two-bit limit."
"Yeah, it'll start with a two-bit limit, but after an hour deuces'll be wild all over the
place and the sky will be the limit. I've sat in those games before."
Winsor laughed. "Guess you're right, but what's the odds? Better shoot a few
"Well, all-right, but I can't stay later than eleven. I've got a quiz in eccy to-morrow,
and I've got to bone up on it some time to-night."
"I've got that quiz, too. I'll leave with you at eleven."
Winsor and Hugh entered the dormitory and climbed the stairs. Allen's door was
open, and several undergraduates were lolling around the room, smoking and
chatting. They welcomed the new-comers with shouts of "Hi, Hugh," and "Hi,
Allen had a large round table in the center of his study, and the boys soon had it
cleared for action. Allen tossed the cards upon the table, produced several ash-
trays, and then carefully locked the door.
"Keep an ear open for Mac," he admonished his friends; "He's warned me twice
now," "Mac" was the night-watchman, and he had a way of dropping in