THE ROVER BOYS IN CAMP
Or, The Rivals of Pine Island
Arthur M. Winfield
My Dear Boys: "The Rover Boys in Camp" is a complete story in itself,
but forms the eighth volume of "The Rover Boys Series for Young
As I have mentioned before, when I started this line of stories I had
in mind to make not more than three, or possibly four, volumes. But the
publication of "Rover Boys at School," "Rover Boys on the Ocean,"
"Rover Boys in the Jungle," and "Rover Boys Out West" did not appear to
satisfy my readers, and so I followed with "Rover Boys on the Great
Lakes," "Rover Boys in the Mountains," and lastly with "Rover Boys on
Land and Sea." But the publishers say there is still a cry for "more!
more!" and so I now present to you this new Rover Boys book, which
relates the adventures of Dick, Tom, and Sam, and a number of their
old-time friends, at home, at dear old Putnam Hall, and in camp on Pine
In writing this tale I have had in mind two thoughts—one to give my
young readers an out-and-out story of jolly summer adventure, along
with a little touch of mystery, and the other to show them that it very
often pays to return good for evil. Arnold Baxter had done much to
bring trouble to the Rover family, but what Dick Rover did in return
was Christian-like in the highest meaning of that term. Dick was not a
"goody-goody" youth, but he was a thoroughly manly one, and his example
is well worth following by any lad who wishes to make something of
Once more let me thank all of those who have expressed themselves as
satisfied with the previous stories in this series. I earnestly trust
the present volume will also prove acceptable to them, and will do them
Affectionately and sincerely yours,
ARTHUR M. WINFIELD.
I. The Rover Boys at Home
II. News of Interest
III. A Midnight Visitor
IV. A Useless Pursuit
V. On the Way to Putnam Hall
VI. Fun on the Boat
VII. Something About the Military Academy
VIII. A Scene in the Gymnasium
IX. Settling Down to Study
X. An Adventure in Cedarville
XI. A Quarrel and it Results
XII. The Election for Officers
XIII. The Fight at the Boathouse
XIV. Getting Ready for the Encampment
XV. On the March to the Camp
XVI. The First Day on Pine Island
XVII. The Enemy Plot Mischief
XVIII. Hazers at Work
XIX. A Storm in Camp
XX. The Rover Boys and the Ball
XXI. A Tug of War
XXII. A Swim and Some Snakes
XXIII. A Glimpse of an Old Enemy
XXIV. More Rivalry
XXV. Winning the Contests
XXVI. Sam Shows What He Can Do
XXVII. A Prisoner of the Enemy
XXVIII. Dick's Midnight Adventure
XXIX. True Heroism
XXX. Turning a New Leaf—Conclusion
THE ROVER BOYS AT HOME
"All out for Oak Run!" shouted the brakeman of the train, as he thrust
his head in through the doorway of the car. "Step lively, please!"
"Hurrah for home!" shouted a curly-headed youth of sixteen, as he
caught up a small dress-suit case. "Come on, Sam."
"I'm coming, Tom," answered a boy a year younger. "Where is Dick?"
"Here I am," replied Dick Rover, the big brother of the others. "Just
been in the baggage car, making sure the trunks would be put off," he
added. "Say, but this looks natural, doesn't it, after traveling
thousands of miles across the Pacific?"
"And across the Continent from San Francisco," put in Sam Rover.
"Do you know, I feel as if I'd been away for an age?"
"It's what we've gone through with that makes you feel that way,
Sam," came from Tom Rover. "Just think of being cast away on a lonely
island like Robinson Crusoe! Why, half the folks won't believe our
story when they hear it."
"They'll have to believe it." Sam hopped down to the depot platform,
followed by the others. "Wonder if the folks got that telegram I
forwarded from Buffalo?"
"They must have, for there is Jack with the big carriage," said Tom,
and walked over to the turnout he mentioned. "Hullo, Jack!" he called
out. "How is everybody?"
"Master Tom!" ejaculated Jack Ness, the Rovers' hired man. "Back at
last, are you, an' safe an' sound?"
"Sound as a dollar, Jack. How are the folks?"
"Your father is putty well, and so is your Uncle Randolph. Your Aunt
Martha got so excited a-thinkin' you was coming hum she got a
"Dear Aunt Martha!" murmured Tom. "I'll soon cure her of that." He
turned to his brothers. "What shall we do about the trunks? We can't
take 'em in the carriage."
"Aleck is comin' for them boxes," said the hired man. "There's his
A box wagon came dashing up to the depot platform, with a tall,
good-looking colored man on the seat. The eyes of the colored man lit
up with pleasure when he caught sight of the boys.
"Well! well! well!" he ejaculated, leaping down and rushing forward.
"Heah yo' are at las', bless you! I'se been dat worried 'bout yo' I
couldn't 'most sleep fo' t'ree nights. An' jess to t'ink yo' was cast
away on an island in de middle of dat Pacific Ocean! It's a wonder dem
cannonballs didn't eat yo' up."
"Thanks, but we didn't meet any 'cannonballs,' Aleck, I am thankful to
say," replied Dick Rover. "Our greatest trouble was with some
mutineers who got drunk and wanted to run things to suit themselves.
They might have got the best of us, but a warship visited the island
just in the nick of time and rescued us."
"So I heared out ob dat letter wot yo' writ yo' father. An' to t'ink
dat Miss Dora Stanhope and de Laning gals was wrecked wid yo'! It's
"It certainly was strange, Aleck. But, come, I am anxious to get home.
Here are the trunk checks," and Dick passed the brasses over.
In a moment more the three boys had entered the carriage, along with
Jack Ness. Tom insisted on driving, and away they went at a spanking
gait, over Swift River, through the little village of Dexter's
Corners, and then out on the road that led to Valley Brook farm.
As my old readers know, the Rover boys were three in number, as already
introduced. They were the sons of Anderson Rover, a well-to-do
gentleman, who was now living in retirement at Valley Brook, in company
with his brother Randolph, and the latter's wife, Martha.
While Anderson Rover had been on a hunt for gold in the heart of
Africa, the three boys had been sent by their Uncle Randolph to a
military academy known as Putnam Hall. Here they made many friends and
also a few enemies, the worst of the latter being Dan Baxter, a bully
who wanted his way in everything. Baxter was the offspring of a family
of low reputation, and his father, Arnold Baxter, was now in prison for
The first term at school had been followed by an exciting chase on the
ocean, after which the boys had gone with their uncle to the jungles of
Africa, in a search after Anderson Rover. After the parent was found it
was learned that Arnold Baxter was trying to swindle the Rovers out of
a valuable gold mine in the far West, but this plot, after some
exciting adventures, was nipped in the bud.
The trip West had tired the boys, and they hailed an outing on the
Great Lakes with delight. During this outing they learned something
about a treasure located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, and
the next winter visited the locality and unearthed a box containing
gold, silver, and precious stones, worth several thousands of dollars.
During this treasure-hunt Dan Baxter did his best to bring the Rover
boys to grief, but without success.
After the winter in the Adirondacks, the boys had expected to return at
once to Putnam Hall to continue their studies. But three pupils were
taken down with scarlet fever, and the academy was promptly closed by
the master, Captain Victor Putnam.
"That gives us another holiday," Tom had said. "Let us put in the time
by traveling," and, later on, it was decided that the boys should visit
California for their health. This they did, and in the seventh volume
of this series, entitled "The Rover Boys on Land and Sea," I related
the particulars of how they were carried off to sea during a violent
storm, in company with three of their old-time girl friends, Dora
Stanhope and her cousins, Nellie and Grace Laning. It may be mentioned
here that Dick thought Dora Stanhope the sweetest girl in the world,
and Tom and Sam were equally smitten with Nellie and Grace Laning.
Being cast away on the Pacific was productive of additional adventures
and surprises. On a ship that picked the girls and boys up they fell in
again with Dan Baxter, and he did all in his power to make trouble for
them. When all were cast away on a deserted island, Dan Baxter joined
some mutineers among the sailors, and there was a fight which
threatened to end seriously for our friends. But as luck would have it,
a United States warship hove into sight, and from that moment the boys
and girls, and the friends, who had stuck to them through thick and
thin, were safe.
Before the warship left the island a search was made for Dan Baxter and
for those who had mutinied with him. But the bully and his evil-minded
followers kept out of sight, and so they were left behind to shift for
"Do you think that we will ever see Dan Baxter again?" Sam had
"I hardly think so," had been Dick's reply. But in this surmise the
elder Rover boy was mistaken, as later events will prove.
The journey across the Pacific to San Francisco was accomplished
without incident. As soon as the Golden Gate was reached the boys,
and also the girls, sent telegrams to their folks, telling them that
all was well.
Mrs. Stanhope was staying at Santa Barbara for her health. All of the
girls had been stopping with her, and now it was decided that Dora,
Nellie, and Grace should go to her again.
"It's too bad we must part," Dick had said, as he squeezed Dora's
hand. "But you are coming East soon, aren't you?"
"In a month or two, yes. And what will you do?"
"Go back to Putnam Hall most likely—if the scarlet fever scare is
"Then we'll be likely to see you again before long," and Dora smiled
"It will be like old times to get back to the Hall again," Sam had put
in. "But first, I want to go home and see the folks."
"Right you are," had come from Tom. "I reckon they are dead anxious to
see us, too."
And so they had parted, with tight hand-squeezing and bright smiles
that meant a good deal. One train had taken the girls southward to
Santa Barbara, and another had taken the boys eastward to Denver and to
Chicago. At the latter city the lads had made a quick change, and
twenty-six hours later found them at Oak Run, and in the carriage for
NEWS OF INTEREST
"My boys! my boys!"
Such was the cry given by Anderson Rover, when he caught sight of the
occupants of the carriage, as the turnout swept up to the piazza of the
comfortable farm home.
"Home again! Home again
Safe from a foreign shore!"
sang out Tom, and leaping to the ground, he caught his father around the
shoulders. "Aren't you glad to see us, father?" he went on.
"Glad doesn't express it, Tom," replied the fond parent, as he embraced
first one and then another. "My heart is overflowing with joy, and I
thank God that you have returned unharmed, after having passed through
so many grave perils. How brown all of you look!"
"Tanned by the tropical sun," answered Sam. "Oh, here is Aunt Martha,
and Uncle Randolph!"
"Sam!" burst out the motherly aunt, as she kissed him. "Oh, how you
must have suffered on that lonely island!" And then she kissed the
"We've certainly had our fill of adventures," came from Dick, who was
shaking hands with his Uncle Randolph. "And more than once we thought
we should never see Valley Brook farm again."
"We were real Robinson Crusoes," went on Sam. "And the girls were
Robinson Crusoes, too."
"Are the girls well?" questioned Mrs. Rover.
"Very well, auntie. If they hadn't been we shouldn't have parted with
them in San Francisco. They went back to Santa Barbara to finish their
"I see. Well, it certainly was a wonderful trip. You'll have to tell us
all the particulars this evening. I suppose you are as hungry as bears
just now. Tom is, I'm sure."
"Oh, Aunt Martha, I see you haven't forgotten my failing," piped in
the youth mentioned, with a twinkle in his eye. "And do I get pie for
"Yes, Tom, and all you care to eat, too. We are going to make your
home-coming a holiday."
They were soon in the house, every nook and corner of which was so
familiar to them. They rushed up to their rooms, and, after a brushing
and a washing up, came down to the big dining room, where the table
fairly groaned with good things.
"Gosh! this is a regular Christmas spread!" observed Tom, as he looked
the table over. "Tell you what, Aunt Martha, I'm going to be cast away
every week after this."
"Oh, Tom, don't speak of it! After this you must stay right here.
Neither your father nor your uncle nor myself will want to leave you
out of sight."
"Pooh! We can't stay home. But we'll be careful of our trips in the
future, you can be sure of that."
"Have you heard anything about Putnam Hall since we went away?" asked
Dick, during the meal.
"The academy opened again last week, Dick," answered his father. "We
received a circular letter from Captain Putnam. The scarlet fever scare
did not amount to much, for which the captain is very thankful."
"I sent him a telegram, stating we were safe," said Sam. "I knew he
would like to hear from us. The captain is a brick."
"The best ever," said Tom, with his mouth full of chicken.
"And ditto, Mr. Strong," put in Dick, referring to the head assistant
at the Hall.
"Exactly, Dick. But no more Jasper Grinders in mine," went on Tom,
referring to a tyrannical teacher who had caused them much trouble, and
who had been discharged from the academy, as already mentioned in "The
Rover Boys in the Mountains."
"Or Josiah Crabtrees," said Dick, referring to another teacher, who had
been made to leave Putnam Hall, and who had wanted to marry the widow
Stanhope, in an endeavor to get control of the money that was coming to
Dora. Crabtree's misdeeds had landed him in prison, where he was likely
to stay for some time to come.
While the meal was still in progress the boys began the recital of
their many adventures, and this recital was kept up until a late hour.
It was astonishing how much they had to tell, and how interesting it
proved to the listeners.
"You might make a book of it," said Anderson Rover. "It equals our
adventures in the jungles of Africa."
"I am going to write it out some day," answered Dick. "And, maybe,
I'll get the story printed. The trouble is, I can't end the tale
"How is that, Dick?" asked his Uncle Randolph. "You were all saved.
Isn't that a proper ending for any book?"
"Yes, but what of the villain? Baxter didn't show himself, and that is
no ending at all. He should have fallen over a cliff, or been shot, or
something like that."
"And we should have married the three girls," put in fun-loving Tom.
"That would make the story even more complete."
"Well, things do not happen in real life as they do in story books,"
said the parent. "It is likely you will never hear of Dan Baxter
again. But we may hear from his father."
"His father!" exclaimed the three youths in concert.
"Why, Arnold Baxter is in prison," added Sam.
"He was, up to five days ago, when they took him to the hospital to
undergo some sort of an operation. At the hospital the operation was
postponed for a day, and during the night he slipped away from the
institution and disappeared."
"Well, I never!" burst out Dick. "Isn't he the slick one, though!
Just when you think you've got him hard and fast, you haven't at all."
"Haven't they any trace of him?" asked Sam.
"None, so far as I have heard. There was a report that he had gone to
New York and taken passage on a ship bound for Liverpool, but at
present the ship is on the Atlantic, so the authorities can do nothing."
"I hope they catch him."
"We all hope that, Sam."
For a few days the three boys did nothing but take it easy. It was
pleasant weather, and they roamed around the farm in company with their
father and their uncle, or with Alexander Pop, the colored man of work.
As my old readers know, Pop had been in former days a waiter at Putnam
Hall, and Dick, Tom, and Sam had befriended him on more than one
occasion, for which he was extremely grateful.
"Yo' boys is jes' naturally fust-class heroes," said Aleck one day.
"Even if dem cannonballs had cum after yo', I don't t'ink da could have
cotched yo', no, sirree!"
"It's a pity you weren't along, Aleck," answered Tom.
"I can't say as to dat, Master Tom. I got 'bout all de hair-raisin'
times I wanted when we was in de jungles ob Africy. I'se only sorry ob
"And what is that?"
"Dat you didn't jes' go an' frow dat Dan Baxter overboard from dat ship
de fust time yo' sot eyes on him. Suah as yo' am born he'll turn up
some day to make moah trouble."
"Well, if he turns up we'll be ready for him," returned Tom grimly.
"How can yo' be ready fo' a pusson wot acts like a snake in de grass?
He'll sting befo' yo' hab de chance to spot him."
"We'll have to keep our eyes open, Aleck," answered the youth; and then
the subject was changed.
During those days the boys went fishing and bathing in the river, and
also visited Humpback Falls, that spot where Sam had had such a
thrilling adventure, as related in "The Rover Boys at School."
"What a lot has happened since those days," said Sam, taking a deep
breath. "Tom, do you remember how you got into trouble with old
Crabtree the very first day we landed at Putnam Hall?"
"I do, Sam; and do you remember our first meeting, on the boat, with
Dan Baxter, and how we sent him about his business when he tried to
annoy Nellie, and Grace, and Dora?"
"Yes, indeed. Say, I am getting anxious to get back to the Hall. It
seems almost like a second home."
"So am I," put in Dick. "Besides, we have lost time enough from our
studies. We'll have to pitch in, or we'll drop behind our classes."
"Father says we can return to the Hall next Monday, if we wish."
"I vote we do so."
"So do I."
And thus it was decided that they should return to the academy four
But during those four days something was to happen which would have an
important bearing upon their future actions.
A MIDNIGHT VISITOR
The next day, shortly after noon, it began to rain, and the storm
increased in violence until the wind blew almost a gale.
The rain kept the boys indoors, at which Tom was inclined to grumble.
"No use of grumbling, Tom," said Dick cheerfully. "Let us improve the
time by looking over our school books. That will make it easier to slip
into the grind again when we get back to the Hall."
"That is excellent advice, Richard," said Randolph Rover. "Whatever you
do, do not neglect your studies."
"By the way, Uncle Randolph, how is scientific farming progressing?"
said Tom, referring to something that had been his uncle's hobby for
years—a hobby that had cost the gentleman considerable money.
"Well—ah—to tell the truth, Thomas, not as well as I had hoped for."
"Hope you didn't drop a thousand or two this year, uncle?"
"Oh, no—not over fifty dollars."
"Then you got off easy."
"I shall do better next year. The potatoes already show signs of
"Good! I suppose you'll be growing 'em on top of the ground soon. Then
you won't have the bother of digging 'em, you know," went on the
fun-loving boy innocently.
"Absurd, Thomas! But I shall have some very large varieties, I feel
"Big as a watermelon?"
"Big as a muskmelon, then?"
"Not exactly, but—"
"About the size of a cocoanut, eh?"
"No! no! They will be as large as—"
"I mean a little cocoanut," pleaded Tom, while Sam felt like laughing
"Well, yes, a little cocoanut. You see—"
"We saw some big potatoes in California, Uncle Randolph."
"Ah! Of what variety?"
"Cornus bustabus, or something like that. Sam, what was the name, do
"That must be something like it, Tom," grinned the youngest Rover.
"Took two men to lift some of those potatoes," went on Tom calmly.
"Two men? Thomas, surely you are joking."
"No, uncle, I am telling nothing but the strict truth."
"But two men! The potatoes must have been of monstrous size!"
"Oh, not so very big. But they did weigh a good deal, no question of
"Think of two men lifting one potato!"
"I didn't say one potato, Uncle Randolph. I said some of those
"The men had a barrel full of 'em."
"Thomas!" The uncle shook his finger threateningly. "At your old
tricks, I see. I might have known it." And then he stalked off to hide
"Tom, that was rather rough on Uncle Randolph," said Sam, after a
"So it was, Sam. But I've got to do something. This being boxed up,
when one might be fishing or swimming, or playing baseball, is simply
dreadful," answered the other.
Just before the evening meal was announced Jack Ness came up from the
barn, and sought out Randolph Rover.
"Found a man slinking around the cow-shed a while ago," he said. "He
looked like a tramp. I wanted to talk to him, but he scooted in
"Humph! We haven't had any tramps here in a long time," came from
Randolph Rover. "Where did he go to?"
"Down toward the berry patch."
"Did you follow him up?"
"I did, sir, but he got away from me."
"You must keep a close watch for those fellows," said Randolph Rover
bluntly. "I don't want any of them getting in our barn and burning it
down to the ground."
"You are right, Randolph," said Anderson Rover. "Make them keep away
from the place by all means, Jack."
"I'll keep my eye peeled for 'em," answered the hired man.
The wind was now blowing a gale, causing the trees near the farmhouse
to creak and groan, and banging more than one shutter. But the boys did
not mind this, and went to bed promptly at the usual hour.
"A storm like this on land is nothing to one on the sea," was the way
Tom expressed himself. "I don't like anything better than to listen to
the whistling of the wind when I am snug in bed."
For the time being Sam and Tom were occupying a room in the L of the
farmhouse, and Dick had a small bedchamber adjoining. The boys were
soon undressed, and, having said their prayers, hopped into bed, and
were soon sound asleep.
It was not until half an hour later that the older folks retired.
Anderson Rover was the last to leave the sitting room, where he had
been busy writing some letters at the desk that stood there.
As he was about to retire he fancied he heard a noise outside of one of
the windows. He drew up the curtain and looked through the glass, but
could see nothing.
"It must have been the wind," he murmured. "But, somehow, it didn't
sound like it."
As he stepped into the dark hallway an uneasy feeling took possession
of him—a feeling hard to define, and one for which he could not
"I think I had better go around and see that all the doors and windows
are properly locked," he told himself. "Brother Randolph may have
overlooked one of them."
He walked the length of the hallway, and stepped into the kitchen and
over to a side window.
As he had his hand on the window-latch he heard a quick step directly
He started to turn, but before he could do so he received a blow on the
head from a club that staggered him. Then he was jerked backward to the
"Silence!" muttered a voice close to his ear. "Don't you dare to make a
"What does this mean—" he managed to gasp.
"Silence, I tell you!" was the short answer. "If you say another word,
I will hit you again!"
Having no desire to receive a blow that might render him totally
unconscious, or, perhaps, take his life, Anderson Rover said no more.
He heard a match struck, and then a bit of a tallow candle was lit and
placed on the edge of the kitchen table.
By this dim light the father of the Rover boys saw standing over him a
tall man, beardless, and with his head closely cropped. One glance into
that hardened face sufficed to tell him who the unwelcome visitor was.
"I see you recognize me," was the harsh reply. "Not so loud, please,
unless you want that crack I promised you."
"What brings you here, and at such an hour as this?"
"I find it more convenient to travel during the night than in the
"The police are on your track."
"I know that as well you, Rover."
"What do you want here?"
"What does any man want when he has been stripped of all his
belongings? I want money."
"I have none for you."
"Bosh! Do you think I have forgotten how you and your boys swindled me
out of my rights to that mine in the far West?"
"We did not swindle you, Baxter. The claim was lawfully mine."
"I can't stop to argue the question, and I don't want you to talk so
loud, remember that. No, don't try to get up," went on the midnight
visitor, as Anderson Rover attempted to rise. "Stay just where you
He was feeling in his pocket, and now he brought forth a strip of
cloth, with a knot tied in the middle.
It was a gag, and he started to place it in Anderson Rover's mouth,
when the latter leaped up and began to struggle with all the force he
"Stop, I tell you!" cried Arnold Baxter softly.
"Stop!" And then, catching up his club once more, he dealt Anderson
Rover another blow, this time directly across the temple. The gentleman
wavered for an instant, gave a deep groan, and fell like a log to the
A USELESS PURSUIT
Half an hour later Tom awoke with a start. For the moment he could not
tell what had aroused him. Then he remembered hearing the slam of a
door or a window sash.
"Must have been the storm," he told himself, and was about to turn over
and go to sleep when he heard a gun-shot from the direction of the
"Something is wrong, that's certain!" he cried. "Sam, wake up!"
"What's the row, Tom?" questioned the youngest brother sleepily.
Before Tom could reply they heard Dick getting up, and also their Uncle
Randolph and Aunt Martha.
"What did that shot mean?" demanded Randolph Rover, coming toward the
boys' rooms. "Did any of you fire it?"
"No, it came from outside," returned Torn. "Hark!"
"Hullo, in the house!" came in the voice of Jack Ness. "Wake up,
everybody! Something is wrong!"
After this it did not take long for those upstairs to slip into some
clothing, and go below. Randolph Rover ran to the side door, to find it
wide open. Dick lit the hall lamp.
"Saw a man running across the garden," said Jack Ness, who had his
shot-gun with him. "I yelled to him to stop, and then fired the gun. I
think he came from the house."
"How did you happen to be up?" asked Sam.
"One of the horses is sick, and I was attending to him."
By this time some of the others were looking into the various rooms.
"The desk has been broken open!" cried Dick. "And the pantry in the
"Mercy, save us!" shrieked Mrs. Rover, from the kitchen. "Come here at
once. Poor Anderson has been killed!"
"Killed!" gasped Tom; and then all ran to the kitchen as quickly as
They found Anderson Rover lying where he had fallen, and still
unconscious. There was a lump on his forehead, and a thin stream of
blood trickled down one side of his face.
"Thank heaven, he is not dead!" murmured Dick, as he knelt beside his
father. "But he has been struck some cruel blows. Somebody fetch water
and a bandage."
The water was procured, and also a bandage, and under skillful
treatment, Anderson Rover was presently restored to consciousness.
"Where—where is he?" he questioned, when he could speak.
"Do you mean the person who struck you down?" asked Dick.
"I don't know. Got away, I guess."
"The villain! He attacked me most foully!"
"I saw him running across the garden," put in the hired man. "Did he
"To be sure he stole something," said Sam. "He ransacked the whole
lower floor, by the looks of things."
"Wonder who it was?" put in Tom.
"It was Arnold Baxter," answered his father.
"Arnold Baxter!" cried the others in chorus.
"Are you certain?" asked Dick.
"Yes. He struck me down, and then lit the bit of tallow candle you see
lying there. Then we struggled, and he hit me again, and that is all I
know. But I am sure it was Baxter, for I spoke to him. He accused us of
having robbed him of that mine out West."
"Was he alone?" asked Randolph Rover.
"I saw no one else."
"We ought to follow him up," declared Tom, now that he realized his
father was not so badly hurt as at first feared.
"That's the talk!" ejaculated Dick. "Wait till I get my pistol."
"Boys, do keep out of harm," pleaded Mrs. Rover. "Remember that this
Arnold Baxter is a desperate criminal."
"We are not afraid of him," answered Tom.
"We'll show him that he can't
come here and attack father," added Sam.
Leaving their father in the care of their Aunt Martha, the three Rover
boys armed themselves and sallied forth, accompanied by their uncle and
Alexander Pop, the latter carrying a horse-pistol of the old-fashioned
"Dat dar Baxter am a rascal of de fust water," was Aleck's comment. "He
deserbes to be shot full ob holes, an' I am de boy to do dat same, if
only I gets de chance."
Jack Ness was closely questioned, and he described the spot where he
had last seen the unwelcome midnight visitor.
"He had a bag of something over his shoulder," he declared.
"Most likely the stuff taken from the house," declared Dick.
The party crossed the garden patch and then took to the path which ran
down toward the river.
Here all was intensely dark, although it had stopped raining, and the
wind was trying its best to scatter the heavy clouds that obscured the
"Not a thing to see," observed Randolph Rover. "We may as well go
"Let us scatter and make a search," came from Dick, and his idea was
carried out. But though they tramped the locality for a good half hour
the pursuit of Arnold Baxter proved useless.
"He is probably making good use of his time," was Tom's comment. "He
knew we would be after him hot-footed, just as soon as we heard of his
"I'm going to drive over to the railroad station," said Dick. "He may
hang around and get aboard of the first morning train."
"Take me along with you," said Sam, and Dick agreed. They got Aleck to
drive them and took the fastest team the stable afforded.
But at the depot all was dark and deserted, and if Arnold Baxter was
anywhere near he took good care not to show himself, nor was anything
seen of him in Oak Run later on.
"He has left the neighborhood by some other way," said Randolph Rover,
and his surmise was correct.
When the boys reached home again they found their parent sitting up in
an easy-chair, with his forehead still bandaged. The blows he had
received were painful, but by no means serious, and when the doctor was
called in he said the patient would speedily recover.
"But you had a narrow escape," said the doctor. "Had you been struck a
little harder your skull might have been broken."
"Well, I don't think Arnold Baxter would have cared if he had broken my
skull," answered Anderson Rover. "He is a thoroughly bad man."
It was broad daylight before a complete examination of the house was
made, and then it was learned that Baxter had run away with some silver
knives, forks, and spoons, some gold napkin rings, a silver and gold
water pitcher, and half a dozen similar articles. From the desk he had
taken a pocketbook containing three hundred dollars in cash, and from
Anderson Rover's person his watch and chain, and a diamond stud. He
had also tried to rob the unconscious man of his diamond ring, but as
the ring would not come off had pried out the stone and taken that.
"He is at his old tricks again," said Dick. "Evidently his term in
prison has done him no good."
"Guess it has made him worse," added Sam. "Oh, how I would like to lay
my hands on him!" And Tom said the same.
The authorities were notified, including the sheriff of the county, and
later still Anderson Rover hired a New York detective to take up the
case. But it was of no avail. Arnold Baxter did not show himself, and
not a trace of him was to be found anywhere.
"I shouldn't be surprised if he disguised himself as soon as he got
away from here," remarked Tom. "He could easily put on a false
mustache, and a wig would fit capitally over that almost bald pate of
"But where would he get the mustache and wig, Tom?" asked Dick.
"He may have bought them before he came here. I have heard that some
robbers prepare themselves for all sorts of emergencies. Only last week
I was reading about a fellow who went to a ball, and between the dances
went out and robbed a gentleman on the street of his watch. When he was
arrested, he tried to prove that he hadn't been outside of the ballroom
all night, and it was by the merest accident that the authorities found
out his story wasn't true."
"Tom is right; some criminals are very shrewd," said his father. "And I
fancy Arnold Baxter is about as slick as any of them."
"Well, I hope we run across him some day," said Dick.
With so much to occupy their minds the days flew by swiftly, and almost
before they knew it Monday was at hand, and the three boys set out to
return once more to Putnam Hall.
ON THE WAY TO PUTNAM HALL
The idea of going back to dear old Putnam Hall, with all of its
pleasant memories, filled Tom with good humor, and he was fairly
bubbling over on the train which carried the boys to Ithaca, where they
were to take a steamer up Cayuga Lake to Cedarville, the nearest
village to the academy.
"Makes me feel as I did the first time we went to the Hall," he
declared. "Don't you remember that trip, and the fun we had with Peleg
Snuggers, the wagon man?" and then he burst out singing:
"Putnam Hall's the place for me!
Putnam Hall's the place for me!
The best old school I know!"
"You'll have the conductor putting you off, the next thing you know,"
"Putting me off? Never!" cried Tom. "He knows that academy boys own
privileges that other passengers do not possess. He can't cork me up. I
"Wonder if we'll meet any of the other fellows," mused Dick.
He had hardly spoken when the train stopped at a junction, and two
other lads got aboard and came down the aisle. One was tall and handsome,
and the other stout and with a round, chubby face beaming with good humor.
"Larry Colby!" cried Dick, leaping up and grasping the tall boy's hand.
"I'm awfully glad to meet you. Returning to the Hall, of course?"
"Yes," was the answer from the Rover boys' old chum. "Isn't it odd that
I should be thinking of you just as we meet?" and he shook hands.
"Hullo, if it ton't peen dem Rofer brudders alretty," cried the
round-faced lad, with a twinkle in his eyes. "I dink me you vos left
der Hall for goot, yah!"
"Hans Mueller!" came from Sam. "Then you are going back, too? I thought
you had scarlet fever?"
"Not much I ain't," said the German youth. "I vos eat too much of dem
puckveat cakes alretty, und dot makes mine face preak owid, put I ain't
got no scarlet fefers, nein! How you vos alretty annahow?" And he
shook hands as Larry had done.
"I can hardly believe your story about being cast away on an island in
the Pacific," said Larry.
"Your letter read like a fairy tale. If you tell the fellows they'll
think you are drawing the long bow."
"Yes, Larry vos told me somedings apoud dot," broke in Hans. "You vos
regular Robinson Roosters," he said.
"Great Scott! Robinson Roosters!" yelled Tom, bursting out into a fit
of laughter. "Boys, we are discovered at last."
"Well, if you are, you needn't crow over it," came from Larry.
"Roosters and crowing! Oh, Larry, I didn't think you'd begin to pun so
early," put in Sam.
"He just hatched it out," said Tom.
"I suppose you think that sounds chic," joined in Dick. And then there
was a laugh in which all but Hans Mueller joined. The German youth
looked blankly from one to another of his companions.
"Vos dot Robinson Rooster a choke?" he demanded. "Of it vos let me in
by it kvick."
"Oh, you couldn't climb in on a gangway and a step-ladder combined,"
"Put vos you Robinson Roosters or vos you not Robinson Roosters?"
"Oh, we were Robinson Roosters right enough," answered Tom, when he
could control his laughter.
"Den vot you vos giggling apout, hey?"
"Nothing, only it was so funny to be a Robinson Rooster and live on a
big island with nobody but lions, buffaloes, snakes, and 'cannonballs,'"
added the fun-loving youth.
"Cannonballs?" queried Larry
"That's what Aleck Pop calls 'em, Larry. He said it was a wonder the
'cannonballs' hadn't eaten us up," and then came another laugh, during
which Hans was as mute as ever.
"Vos dere lions, snakes, and buffaloes py dot island on?" went on the
"To be sure there were, Hans. And likewise elephants, panthers, cats,
dogs, hippopotamuses, mice, elk, rats, and winged jibberjackers."
"Mine gracious, Tom! Und you vosn't eaten up alretty kvick!"
"None of the animals troubled us, but the three-horned jibberjacker. He
came into our house one night, crawled upstairs, and began to swallow
"You ton't tole me!"
"Yes, I do tell you. He had Sam in his mouth, and had swallowed him as
far as his waist, when Sam began to kick on the floor with his feet."
"I see, I see—" Hans' eyes were as big as saucers.
"That woke Dick and me up, and we ran and got Sam by the legs, and
pulled for all we were worth."
"You ton't tole me, Tom! Und vot did dot vot-you-call-him do den?"
"He planked his ten feet on the floor, and—"
"His ten feet did you said, Tom?" interrupted Hans doubtfully.
"To be sure. Didn't you know that a real jibberjacker has ten feet?"
"Maype I did—I ton't oxactly remember about him."
"I am surprised at your ignorance of natural history, Hans. Yes, the
real jibberjacker has ten feet, although a branch of the family, known
as the jibbertwister, has only eight feet."
"Well, go on. He planked his ten feets by der floor town—"
"He held on and so did we, and it was a regular tug of war between us.
Sam was swallowed as far as the waist, and couldn't do anything to help
himself. You just ask Sam if that isn't so."
"When Tom tells the truth it's a fact every time, Hans," answered Sam,
who felt as if he would choke from suppressed laughter.
"So the blamed old jibberjacker held on and held on," continued Tom.
"Then we gave a tug and he gave a tug, and all of a sudden Sam came
out. The shock was so great it threw Dick and me clear across the room,
and through a doorway into the next room. But the poor jibberjacker
fared still worse."
"How vos dot?"
"He flew up against the outside wall, and his weight was so great he
went right through the side of the building, and landed on some rocks
below. All of his ten legs were broken, and of course he couldn't get
away, so we went down, got a long cross-cut saw, and sawed off his
head. Now, if you don't believe that story, you come to our house
sometime and I'll show you the cross-cut saw."
Hans stared in breathless amazement. His solemn face was too much for
the others, and a peal of laughter rang through the car. At this Hans
grew suspicious, and at length a sickly grin overspread his features.
"I know you, Tom Rofer," he said. "Dot vos von of dem fish stories,
ain't it alretty?"
"No, it's a jibberjacker story, Hans."
"It vos a jibjacker fish story den annahow. You can't fool me some
more. I vos too schmart for dot alretty. Ven I go py der academy I git
mine ear teeths cut, hey?"
"All right, Hans, if you have cut your ear-teeth we'll call it off,"
said Dick, and here the conversation took a more rational turn.
"So far as I know only a few of the fellows have left the Hall on
account of the scarlet fever scare," said Larry. "And they were boys
that nobody seemed to care much about."
"I was told that the fellows expected to elect an entirely new lot of
officers," said Sam. "We have been away so much I've rather lost track
of our military affairs."
"Captain Putnam said we would have to ballot for officers as soon as
all the boys were back," said Larry. "Some of the old officers have
graduated, you must remember."
"I've not forgotten that I was once second lieutenant of Company A,"
put in Dick. "Reckon I'll have to try my luck once more—if the boys
want me to run."
"Well, I want you to run for one, Dick," said Larry. "Hans, you'll vote
for Dick, won't you?"
"Yah, und I vonts him to vote for me, too," said the German youth.
"Why, Hans, do you want to be water-carrier this year?" asked Sam.
"Nein, I vonts to be high brivate py der rear rank alretty. Von of der
fellows tole me dot would chust suit me."
"All right, Hans, we'll all elect you high private of the rear rank,"
answered Larry with a laugh.
FUN ON THE BOAT
At the city of Ithaca the boys stopped long enough to get dinner, and
were here joined by Fred Garrison and George Granbury, two more of
their old school chums.
"Hurrah for the gathering of the clans!" cried George Granbury, with a
beaming face. "This is like a touch of old times. How are all of you,
"First rate, with the exception of Hans here," said Tom. "He's got the
"Yah, und Tom he's got der jipperjocker fefer," declared the German
boy, bound to do his best to get square.
"Good for Hans!" cried Sam. "Tom, after this, you have got to take
care, or Hansie will roast you."
"Oh, Hans is just all right," observed Tom, and when the German boy's
face was turned away he took the latter's coffee and put into it about
a teaspoonful of salt. "Tell you what, fellows, this coffee just
touches the spot," he added loudly.
"Right you are," said Fred Garrison. "Never tasted better in my life."
So far Hans had not touched the coffee, but hearing the words he took
up his cup and downed a deep draught. It may be added that he was a
German who loved coffee a good deal, and frequently drank several cups
at a meal.
For an instant the German youth said nothing. Then his face turned
"Dat coffee was no goot!" he gasped.
"Why, Hans," cried several.
"See how pale he is getting," came from George Granbury. "Hans, are you
going to die?
"Don't say the coffee is going to poison him," burst out Tom. "I was
reading about poison getting into the coffee at this hotel last week.
But, of course—"
"Did da got poison py der coffee in here?" demanded Hans.
"To be sure, put—"
"How vos dot poisoned coffee taste annahow?"
"I'm sure I don't know."
"I think it was a little salty," came from Fred Garrison.
"Mine cracious me! Of dot's so I vos poisoned, sure. Run for der toctor
"Here, eat some jam, Hans. That will counteract the effect of
the poison," said Tom, and handed over a small dish with jam in it,
over which he had just sprinkled the pepper with an exceedingly liberal
Anxious to do anything that would stop him from being poisoned, the
German boy clutched the dish and took a large spoonful of the jam. But
as he gulped it, he gave a gasp, and the tears started down his cheeks.
"Du meine zeit!" he bawled. "I vos purnt up alife by mine mouth
alretty! Dake it avay kvick!" And jumping up from the table he began to
dance around madly.
"It's a serious case," said Tom. "If he's burning up we had better call
out the fire department."
This remark made Hans grow suddenly suspicious. He caught up Tom's cup
of coffee and tasted it.
"I know you, Tom Rofer," he said. "Dot vos more dricks of yours, ain't
it?" He held the cup of coffee on high. "How you like dot, hey!" And
splash! down came the coffee on Tom's head, and trickled down his back.
"Hi, you! let up!" roared Tom, and knocked the half-empty cup to one
side. "Let up, I say, or I'll have the landlord put you out."
"I told you to take care, Tom," came from Sam, when the other boys had
restored quietness. "When Hans gets his dander up he is dangerous."
"Dot is drue," came from Hans. "I vonts no more of them chokes
alretty." And then, as the waiter came hurrying up, he forced Tom to
order him another cup of coffee, and took good care to keep it out of
the fun-loving youth's reach. Poor Tom sopped away the spilt coffee as
best he could, but it must be admitted that for the balance of that day
his backbone felt none too comfortable. Yet he bore no grudge towards
Hans, for he knew that he had deserved the punishment meted out to him.
Down at the dock the boys found the Golden Star, a trim little
side-wheeler, ready to take them up the lake. There were about half a
hundred passengers, bound for various landings, and among them six
Putnam Hall scholars, including our old-time acquaintances, Jack
Powell, generally called Songbird Powell, because of his habit of
composing poems and songs, and that aristocratic young gentleman who
rejoiced in the name of William Philander Tubbs.
"The family is surely getting together," remarked Dick, after another
handshaking had been indulged in. "Songbird, do you warble as much as
"You can wager a sweet potato he does," said George Granbury. "Nothing
short of a cyclone will ever stop Songbird's warbling, eh, Songbird?"
For reply the youth addressed turned a pair of dreamy eyes on the
speaker, and then said slowly:
"With hopeful hearts
And brightest faces,
To school we go
To fill our places.
We'll study hard,
And do our best—"
"If Songbird Powell
Will give us a rest!"
finished Tom. "Oh, Songbird, have mercy on us, and don't begin so early."
"You're a good one to preach, Tom," came from Larry. "Started to joke
the moment we met him, didn't he, Hans?"
"Did I?" questioned Tom innocently. "I had forgotten." He turned to
Tubbs. "And how is our friend Philliam Willander to-day?"
"William Philander, if you please, Rover," was the dignified reply. "I
must insist on your getting my name correctly this term."
"All right, Tubby, old boy, it shall be just as you say. I wouldn't
hurt your feelings for a big red apple."
"Then, please don't call me Tubby. You know my real name is William
"Don't you want Esquire tacked to it, too?"
"That is hardly necessary as yet. But you may write it after my name,
if you have occasion to send me any written communication," continued
Tubbs, with greater dignity than ever.
"Phew! but Tubby is worse than he was before," whispered Sam to Dick.
"They must have been tuning him up at home."
"Tubbs is going to try for a captaincy this term," said Powell, who had
not minded Tom's interruption of his versification in the least.
"Hurrah for Captain Tubbs!" cried Tom. "Captain, allow me to salute
you," and he made a sweeping bow to the deck. Tom spoke so earnestly
that Tubbs was pleased, and instantly forgot their little differences.
"I shall be pleased to become a captain," said the young gentleman. "I
feel I can fill the position with credit to myself and dignity to the
academy. There is military blood in my veins, for a second cousin on my
mother's side was a lieutenant in the Civil War. Besides that, I have
studied military movements at West Point, where I went to see the
"Do you know how to swab out a cannon?" asked Sam, with a wink at the
"I shouldn't—ah—care for such dirty work," replied William Philander
Tubbs with dignity.
"Or police a camp?"
"Surely you don't think I was ever a policeman?"
"Don't you remember what policing a camp is?" asked George Granbury.
"Upon my honor, I do not."
"It means to clean up the streets, burn up the rubbish, and all that."
"Thank you, but I do not—ah—care to become a street cleaner," returned
Tubbs, with great dignity.
"Sorry, but I'm afraid you are not cut out for a corporalship," came
"I didn't say a corporalship, Tom, I said—"
"Excuse me, I meant a sergeantship."
"No, I said—"
"Make it a second lieutenantship, then, Tubby. Anything to be friends,
"Oh, bother, if you want to be a major-general, go ahead. Nobody will
"Hurrah, Major-General Tubbs!" cried Sam. "That sounds well, doesn't
"We'll have to present him with a tin-plated sword," came from one of
"And a pair of yellow worsted epaulets," added another.
And then Songbird Powell began to sing softly:
"Rub a dub, dub!
Here comes General Tubb!
He'll make you bow to the ground!
You must stop ev'ry lark,
And toe the chalk mark,
As soon as he comes around."
"There you are, Tubby; think of Songbird composing a poem in your
honor," cried Tom. "You ought to present him with a leather medal."
"I—I don't like such—er—such doggerel," cried William Philander Tubbs
angrily. "I think—"
"Well, I never!" ejaculated Tom, in pretended astonishment. "And
Songbird worked so hard over it, too! Thus doth genius receive its
reward. Songbird, if I were you, I'd give up writing poems, and go turn
railroad president, track-walker, or something like that."
"You boys are simply horrid, don't you know!" cried Tubbs, and, pushing
his way through the crowd, he walked to the other end of the boat.
"Being away from school hasn't done Tubby any good," was Fred
Garrison's remark. "He thinks he's the High Tum-Tum, and no mistake."
"Don't fret, he'll be taken down before the term is over," came from
"That's true," added another pupil, who had been taken down himself two
terms before. "And when he hits his level he'll be just as good as any
The time on the steamer passed quickly enough, and after several stops
along the lake, the Golden Star turned in at the Cedarville landing,
and all of the Putnam Hall cadets went ashore.
SOMETHING ABOUT THE MILITARY ACADEMY
As my old readers know, Cedarville was only a small country village, so
the arrival and departure of the steamer was a matter of importance to
The boys, consequently, found the little dock crowded with sightseers
and more than one face looked familiar to them.
"There are the Rover boys," said one man, quite loudly. "Everybody
"We are growing notorious, it would seem," whispered Dick to Sam.
Back of the dock stood the big carryall attached to Putnam Hall, with
the old Hall driver, Peleg Snuggers, on the box.
"Hullo, Peleg, old friend!" shouted Tom, waving his hand at the man.
"How are we to-morrow, as the clown in the circus puts it?"
"I'm all right, Master Tom—an' will be so long as you let me alone,"
was the deliberate answer from the driver.
"He remembers you all right enough, Tom," came from George Granbury.
"Now, Peleg, don't throw cold water on my enthusiasm," said Tom
"I ain't throwin' water on nobody, Master Tom; I'm only giving fair
warning that I want to be let alone," answered the driver doggedly. "No
more monkey shines around me, remember that."
"All right, Peleg, I'll remember. And how is Mrs. Green, our worthy
"Nor measles, or chicken-pox?"
"Not a bit of 'em."
"Or mumps? Tell me, now, she really hasn't got the mumps, has she?"
"See here, Master Tom, didn't I jest tell you—"
"No, you didn't tell me, and that's why I'm so anxious to know. If
she's got the mumps, and the chilblains, and the ingrowing warts—"
"Oh, crickey! I knew it!" groaned Peleg Snuggers. "I says to myself as I
was a-drivin' over, 'if thet Tom Rover comes back, I might as well throw
up my job, for he won't give nobody a rest!' If you would only—"
"All right, Peleg, I see you are really and truly bound to go back on
me. You hate me!" Tom drew his handkerchief from his pocket. "It is
awful, after all I have tried to do for you in the past. I've got to—
to—cry! Boo—hoo!" And the boy began to wipe his eyes.
"Look a-here, Master Tom, it ain't nothin' to cry about," said Peleg
half suspiciously. "I only give you warnin'—"
"You are so—so hard-hearted, Peleg. Boohoo! I want to go back home!"
And Tom began to sob.
This was too much for the driver, and his face fell.
"Don't you mind me, Master Tom," he said softly. "I didn't mean
nothin', indeed, I didn't. You're all right. I like you better'n any of
"Oh, dear!" burst out Larry Colby. "Just to hear that!"
"Peleg, have you gone back on us?" demanded George Granbury.
"He ought to have a ducking for that," put in another.
"Let's dump him into the lake!"
"Come on, a cold bath will do him good!"
"No! no! Oh, crickey!" groaned the driver of the carryall. "This is a
mess! I—I didn't mean nuthin', gents, indeed, I didn't—"
"He's mean enough for anything, that's what he means," came from a
voice in the rear. "Pile in, before he runs away, and leaves us to walk
to the Hall!" And into the carryall the boys tumbled, one over another.
Dick got a seat beside the driver, and away they went at a spanking
gait, through Cedarville, and then along the winding road leading to
the academy. Two or three of the cadets had brought tin horns with
them, and they made the welkin ring as the turnout dashed on its way.
"A ginger-snap prize to the first fellow who spots the academy," cried
Sam, as they made the last turn in the highway.
"I see the Hall!" shouted half a dozen voices in chorus. And in a few
seconds they came out into full view of the broad brick and stone
building, with its well-kept parade ground, and its trees and
shrubbery. The parade ground came down to the edge of the wagon road,
and off to the other side the land sloped gradually down to the lake,
glistening like a sheet of gold in the rays of the setting sun.
The boys set up a loud shout and a wild blowing of horns, and in a
moment a score of cadets came running forward to greet them, followed
by Captain Victor Putnam, the master of the academy, and George Strong,
his head assistant.
"I am glad to see you, young gentlemen," said Captain Putnam, as he
shook one and another by the hand. "You look as if your vacation had
done you good."
"It's done me a pile of good," said Sam. "But I don't know as I want
another like it."
"You Rover boys have certainly had some remarkable experiences,"
continued the captain. "I congratulate you on escaping so many grave
perils. Sometime you must give me all the particulars. But now it is
time to prepare for supper. I dare say the trip on the lake has made
"Dot is so," came from Hans Mueller. "I vos so hungry like four lions
"I have made some slight changes in your sleeping accommodations," went
on Captain Putnam. "Mr. Strong will show you to your rooms." Then the
boys marched into the academy, led by the head assistant.
The majority of the cadets had their dormitories on the second floor of
the building. Each room held from four to eight students, and was both
bright and clean. The rules of Putnam Hall were similar to those in
force at West Point, and every pupil was expected to keep his clothing,
his books, and his other possessions in perfect order. Each had a cot,
a chair, and a clothes closet to himself, extra closets having been
introduced in the rooms for that purpose, and each was allowed the use
of his trunk in addition. Each cadet had to take his turn at keeping the
room in order, although the dormitories were given a regular sweeping
and cleaning once a week by the servants.
As before, the Rover boys were placed in one room, and into this came
also Larry Colby, Fred Garrison, and George Granbury. The apartment was
at an angle of the building, and next to it was another occupied by
Songbird Powell, Tubbs, Hans, and three other cadets. Between the two
rooms was a door, but this was closed, and was supposed to be kept
"This makes one feel like home," said Sam, as he began to wash up for
"Right you are," answered Larry Colby. "No matter where I go during a
vacation, I am always glad to get back to Putnam Hall."
A little later came the evening parade of the cadets, who marched
around the parade ground several times before entering the messroom, as
the dining hall was termed. The late arrivals did not join in the
parade, but they watched it with interest, and then hurried to their
accustomed places at the long tables, where a plain, but substantial
supper awaited them.
Only a little talking was allowed throughout the meal, but at its
conclusion the cadets were given an hour off, in which time they could
do very much as they pleased. In that hour some played games, others
took walks, and not a few drifted over to the gymnasium, which stood at
one corner of the grounds.
"I'm going over to the gym," said Dick to Larry Colby. "Want to go
"Certainly," was the prompt answer. "I am going in for gymnastics this
"Want to win some of the prizes when we have our contests?"
"If I can."
"I don't see why you shouldn't, Larry. You seem to be in first-class
"I am going to try hard, Dick."
They were soon in the building, and Larry slipped off to the dressing
room to don his gymnasium suit.
While Dick was waiting for his friend to reappear he looked on at the
efforts of the other cadets present. Some were on the rings and bars,
others were using the parallel bars and horses, and still others were
at the pulling and lifting machines. In one corner two of the boys
were boxing, while another was hammering a punching bag as hard as he
The boy at the punching bag was a tall, big-boned youth, named Lew
Flapp. He was a newcomer at Putnam Hall, but though he had been there
but three weeks he acted as if half of the place already belonged to
him. At the start, he had made a few friends, principally on account of
the money he had to spend, but these were gradually deserting him.
Dick was interested in the work on the punching bag, and he walked
closer to note what Lew Flapp was doing. Clap! clap! clap! went Flapp's
fists on the bag, which bounced back and forth with great rapidity.
"Well, how do you like that?" asked Lew Flapp, as he paused in his
exercise and stared at Dick.
"It's all right," answered Dick briefly.
"I'll bet there ain't another cadet here can do as well," went on Lew
"Oh, that's saying a good deal," said Dick. "Some of the boys can hit
the bag pretty well."
"Humph!" Lew Flapp stared at the eldest Rover harder than ever.
"Perhaps you think you can do it," he sneered.
"I didn't say that."
"But your words implied it."
"Dick Rover can do every bit as well," said a cadet who overheard the
"I want to see him do it."
"I didn't come here to punch the bag," said Dick as calmly as ever. "I
just thought I'd take a look around."
"Humph! Afraid to try, eh?"
"I dare you to show what you can do," sneered Lew Flapp.
"Very well, I'll show you," came from Dick, and he began to take off
his coat, collar, and tie.
A SCENE IN THE GYMNASIUM
Lew Flapp spoke in such a loud, overbearing voice that a crowd began to
collect in the corner where the punching apparatus was located.
"What's up?" asked more than one cadet.
"Lew Flapp and Dick Rover are going to try to beat each other at
punching the bag," was the report.
"Rover will have to do his best then. Flapp is a prime one at bag
punching. It's about the only thing he can do real well."
"This isn't a fair contest," put in another student. "Flapp took
lessons from a man who used to do bag-punching on the vaudeville
"If that's so I wouldn't try to beat him, if I was Dick Rover."
Dick heard some of this talk but said nothing. He was soon ready for
the trial, and stepping up to the punching bag he began to undo the top
"That bag is all right," blustered Lew Flapp.
"Yes—for you," answered Dick. "But you must remember, I am not quite
so tall. I must have it an inch lower."
"It seems to me you are mighty particular."
"I have a right to be. When you do your punching you can raise the bag
as high as you please."
"That's the talk," came from several standing near.
By this time Larry was on the floor again, and he came up to learn what
Dick was doing.
"Dick, they tell me he is the best bag-puncher here," whispered Larry.
"I can't help it."
"He will crow over you if you don't do as well as he can do."
Dick began his punching exercise slowly, for he had not tried it for
some time, and was afraid he was a little stiff. But, it may be added
here, there was a punching bag in the barn at the Rovers' farm, so the
youth knew exactly what he was doing.
"Oh, anybody can do that," remarked Lew Flapp presently. "That's as
simple as A. B. C."
"Well, can you do this?" returned Dick, and branched off into something
a trifle more difficult.
"To be sure I can."
"Then what about this?" and now Dick settled down to some real work.
Clap! clap! went the bag, this way and that.
"Yes, I can do that, too," answered the tall boy.
"I'd like to see you."
Lew Flapp was only too anxious to show his skill, and having adjusted
the bag to suit him, he went at the work once again, doing just what
Dick had done.
"Now do this!" he cried, and gave a performance of his most difficult
exercise. It was certainly well executed and at the conclusion many of
the cadets began to applaud.
"Dick Rover will have to hump himself to do that," remarked one.
"I don't believe he can touch it," said another.
With care Dick fixed the bag and went at the exercise. It was something
he had not practiced for a considerable time, yet he did not miss a
stroke, and he wound up with a speed fully equal to that exhibited by
"Good for you, Dick!" cried Larry heartily.
"They'll have to call it a tie," suggested another cadet.
"I'm not done yet," said Dick. "Can you do this?" he asked of Lew
Flapp, and then commenced an exercise he had learned some time before,
from a boxing instructor. It was full of intricate movements, all
executed so rapidly that the eye could scarcely follow them. The cadets
looked on in wonder, Lew Flapp staring angrily at the performance.
"I didn't know Dick Rover could do such punching!"
"Say, Flapp, you'll have to get up early in the morning to beat that."
"Oh, you shut your mouth!" retorted Lew Flapp angrily. "I can do ten
times better, if I want to."
"Let us see you."
"I—I—I'm in no condition to go ahead just now. Remember, I was
punching the bag for an hour before Rover got here."
"How can that be, when all of us just came from the mess hall?"
"He's trying to sneak out of the trial," said a voice in the rear of
"I'll sneak you!" roared Lew Flap, in a rage. "I want you all to know
that I ain't afraid of Dick Rover, or anybody else."
"Do you want the trial to continue?" questioned Dick, in an even tone.
"Didn't I just say I was tired out? But I'll show you what I can do
some time," blustered Lew Flapp.
"Oh; all right."
"You needn't think you're king-pin of the punching bag," went on the
tall boy, who had lost control of his temper because of the exhibition.
"Thank you, Flapp, what I think and what I don't think isn't any of
"Pooh! I've heard about you and your two brothers, Dick Rover. They
tell all sorts of stories about you, but I don't believe the half of
"Come, come, what's the use of quarreling," put in Larry pleasantly.
"I'm sure I don't want to quarrel," answered Dick. "He challenged me to
punch the bag against him, and I did so, that's all."
"You're dead stuck on yourself, Rover," went on Lew Flapp slangily.
"You think you're the only toad in the puddle. But you ain't, let me
tell you that. As soon as I heard about you, I made up my mind I
wouldn't knuckle under to you."
"This isn't right!" cried Larry. "Dick is my friend, and let me say he
never asks any cadet to knuckle under to him, unless the cadet did
something that wasn't on the level."
"That's true! That's true!" came from half a dozen of the students.
"Dick Rover is all right!"
"So you're all turning against me, eh?" burst out Lew Flapp fiercely,
his face growing dark with rage. "I was warned of this before I came
"Who warned you?" asked Tom, who had just put in an appearance.
"A gentleman who used to teach here."
"What was his name?" questioned several.
"Mr. Jasper Grinder. He said he had left because the Rover boys tried
to run everything."
"That old fraud!" cried Larry.
"He left because he was kicked out," came from another.
"And he is a criminal," put in Dick. "I can prove it, if he wants me to
"Oh, you can talk all you please," growled Lew Flapp. "I know what I
know, and don't you forget it. And what is more, Dick Rover, don't you
expect me to knuckle under to you. If you try that game, you'll get
what you least expect," and so speaking Lew Flapp forced his way out of
the crowd and left the gymnasium.
"Well, of all the idiots I ever met!" came from Tom. "He believes in
meeting trouble three-quarters of the way, doesn't he?"
"I think Jasper Grinder must have stuffed him full of stories about
us," said Dick. "That's the way that rascally teacher expects to get
square on Captain Putnam—by ruining the reputation of the school."
"Oh, it's mostly Lew Flapp's fault," put in a pupil who had been at the
Hall for some time. "The very first day Flapp arrived he had a row with
little Tommy Browne, and knocked Tommy down, and a few days after that
he had a fight with Jack Raymond, and was pounding Jack good when Mr.
Strong came up and made them run off in different directions. He's a
good deal of the same kind of a bully that Dan Baxter was."
"If that's the case, he had better keep his distance," said Dick
determinedly. "I don't want any quarrels, but I despise a bully
"So do I."
"I wonder if this Flipflap ever heard of Dan Baxter," put in Tom. "If
he has he ought to profit by the example."
"Hullo, Tom's got a new name for Flapp," said one of the boys.
"Isn't his name Flipflap?" questioned Tom innocently. "Or is it
"It will be Flopdown, if he ever gets into a fight with Dick," said
Larry, and then followed a general laugh.
"I really don't want any more fights," said Dick, when he could be
heard. "I came back to Putnam Hall to dig in and learn something. I've
had enough adventures to last a lifetime. If the others will only leave
me alone I'll leave them alone."
"But if they won't leave you alone, Dick?" asked George Granbury.
"Then they had better look out for themselves, that's all," was the
reply of the eldest Rover.
SETTLING DOWN TO STUDY
Dick meant what he said concerning coming back to Putnam Hall for the
sake of learning something. He felt that he had lost too much time from
school already to lose more, and he pitched in with a vigor that was
"I don't see how you can do it," said Tom one day. "I can't, to save my
life." Yet Tom was by no means a poor scholar, and if he did not stand
at the head of his class he was not far from it. Sam was also doing his
best, and all of this gratified Captain Putnam exceedingly.
"It shows they can work as well as play," was what the captain told
himself, and he wrote Anderson Rover a long letter, in which he praised
the boys for their efforts.
The boys fell into their places at the academy with a naturalness that
was surprising when one considered the adventures that had but lately
befallen them. Over and over again did they have to tell of their
doings while on the Pacific, and as Crusoes, and some of the cadets
never tired of listening to the stories. A few, including Lew Flapp,
did not believe them true, but the majority did, and that was enough
for the Rovers.
Dick was now advancing in years, and he knew that before long he would
either have to go into business or to college, which he had not yet
fully decided. To tell the truth, the thought of separating from his
brothers was exceedingly distasteful to him.
"If I went to college I'd like you fellows to be with me," he said one
day to Tom and Sam. "There would be no fun in going alone."
"That's true," answered Tom. "But if you wanted us to go together you'd
have to wait for Sam and me to catch up to you."
"Well, I might spend a year or so in traveling while I waited, or Sam
and you might hurry up a little," answered the eldest Rover.
During those days but little out of the ordinary happened. Dick took
especial care to avoid Lew Flapp, and the tall youth did not attempt to
bother him. It was soon learned that Flapp was more of a braggart than
anything else, and then even some of the smaller boys grew less afraid
As already told, it had been decided by Captain Putnam to have the
cadets elect a new set of officers for the term, and these officers
were to be chosen in a somewhat different manner than heretofore.
"In the past," said the captain, when addressing the students on the
subject, "you have been permitted to elect whoever you pleased to any
office, from major down. This has occasionally resulted in someone
being chosen who, while he might be a good scholar and a good fellow
generally, was not exactly fitted to a military position. On that
account I have made a change. Next Wednesday and Thursday I shall hold
a general examination in military matters only, and the twenty pupils
standing highest shall be the ones eligible for the positions of major,
captain, and first and second lieutenants. On these twenty names you
shall vote as heretofore. As we now have three companies here we shall
want a major, three captains, and six lieutenants, making a total of
ten officers. After that each company shall choose its own corporals
and sergeants. The company marching best on parade the following
Saturday shall have the honor of carrying the flag until after the
annual encampment, which this year will begin a month from to-day."
At the mention of the annual encampment the cadets set up a cheer. The
outing was looked forward to with great interest.
"Where are we going this year?" asked George Granbury.
"It's a secret, I believe," answered Larry Colby. "But I am pretty
certain that we are going further away than usual."
"I hope we go into the mountains."
"Or along some other lake, where the fishing is fine," put in Tom.
"Yes, that would suit me, too."
The announcement concerning the examination in military matters also
caused much talk, and many of the cadets began at once to study
military tactics harder than ever, while drills became a pleasure
instead of a hardship.
"I'm going to win some kind of a place," said Larry earnestly. "Even a
lieutenantship would be better than nothing."
"I am sure I am going to win," put in William Philander Tubbs. "I am
perfect in every kind of a drill."
"Good for Buttertub, the perfect man!" sang out Tom. "Billy, you ought
to have your picture done in oil, to hang alongside of Washington's, in
"Don't you dare to call me Buttertub, or Billy either, you rude thing!"
snorted Tubbs, and walked away in outraged dignity.
"Dot examinations vos dickle me alretty," said Hans. "Vot I don't know
apoud dem military tictacs you don't know, ain't it. I vill pe by der
top of der class so kvick as neffer vos, you pet yourself!" And he
nodded his head as if he meant every word of it.
Dick Rover said but little on the subject, but he meant to win if he
possibly could, and so did Tom. Sam felt he was as yet too young to
become anything but a sergeant, so he did not enter the competition
with much vigor.
Lew Flapp was not a particularly bright pupil, but there was one thing,
outside of bag punching, that he could do well, and that was to drill.
He took to military tactics naturally, and knew nearly every rule that
the book of instructions contained.
"It's going to be an easy matter to get into the chosen twenty," the
tall boy told himself. "But after that, will the cadets elect me to one
of those positions?" He wanted to be major of the battalion, but
doubted if he could muster up sufficient friends to elect him.
The examination in military matters came off on the afternoon of the
following Wednesday and on Thursday morning. Captain Putnam was very
thorough in the work, and made the pupils do certain things over and
over again, and write the answers to long lists of questions.
"It has given me great pleasure to conduct this examination," he said,
on the day following. "It shows that the average in military knowledge
is much higher than it was last term. The following are the pupils who
have passed, given in the order of merit." And then he read the list of
names. Lew Flapp came first, Dick Rover next, Larry Colby third, George
Granbury fourth, and the others, including Tom and Fred Garrison,
followed. Neither William Philander Tubbs nor Hans Mueller were
"I dink me dere vos a mistake py dot," said the German boy. "Or else I
vos know so much der captain didn't vont nobody to know apout it," and
this raised a laugh.
"It's an outrage!" declared Tubbs. "An outrage! I shall request my
parents to withdraw me from the institution." And he wrote a letter
home that very night. But his parents refused to grant his request.
Probably they knew of his shortcomings, and thought a few terms at
Putnam Hall would do him good.
Lew Flapp was much pleased over the fact that he headed the list of
those who had passed, and nobody could blame him for this. But he
immediately made himself more obnoxious than ever by going around among
the cadets and declaring that he was the only one to be elected to the
office of major.
"It's mine by right," he said. "It wouldn't be fair to elect anybody
"But Dick Rover and Larry Colby stand almost as high," said one of the
cadets. "Captain Putnam said your average was 96 per cent., while
Rover's average was 95 per cent., and Larry Colby's was 94 per cent. A
difference of one or two per cent. out of a possible hundred isn't
"I don't care," retorted Lew Flapp, "I ought to be elected major, and
that is all there is to it."
When Dick was approached he had but little to say.
"I didn't expect to stand so high," he declared. "I don't know that I
care to be made major. If I get to be a captain or a first lieutenant I
shall be well content. You know I was a second lieutenant once."
"My percentage is more than I expected," said Larry. "I really didn't
think I was so well up in military matters. Now, if the boys want me
for an officer I'll take whatever they give me."
"And that is what I say," added George Granbury.
"Ditto, myself," put in Tom. "Even a second lieutenantship will not be
declined by yours truly."
After this there was a good deal of canvassing and "log rolling" as it
is called. Lew Flapp spent much money in secret, treating boys when at
the village and elsewhere. By this means he gathered quite a band of
followers around him.
"He is going to win, by hook or by crook," observed Songbird Powell.
"He acts just like some of those politicians who don't care what they
do so long as they win."
"I am not going to spend a cent on the boys," declared Dick. "I don't
believe in buying votes."
There was a strict rule at Putnam Hall that no cadet should touch
liquor of any kind excepting when ordered by the doctor. This rule had
been broken in the past by Dan Baxter and a few others, but the
majority of the cadets respected the rule and kept it.
But Lew Flapp had always been allowed to drink when at home and now he
frequently drank on the sly when down to Cedarville. On these
excursions he was generally joined by a weak-minded boy named Hurdy,
who was usually willing to do whatever Flapp desired done.
One day, just before the election for officers was to come off, Lew
Flapp called Ben Hurdy to him.
"I am going down to Cedarville this evening," he said. "I want you to
go along and invite Jackson and Pender and Rockley."
"Going to have a good time?" asked Ben Hurdy.
"Yes and you can tell the others so, and tell them if they know some
others who want a good time, and can keep their mouths shut about it,
to bring them along. But mind, Hurdy, we want no blabbers."
"All right, Flapp, I'll get the right fellows," answered Ben Hurdy, and
ran away to fulfill his questionable errand.
AN ADVENTURE IN CEDARVILLE
On the same evening that Lew Flapp and his particular cronies went down
to Cedarville to have a good time in a very questionable way, Dick
Rover and Songbird Powell also visited the village, one to buy some
handkerchiefs, and the other to invest in a book he had ordered from
the local bookseller and newsdealer.
"I heard that Lew Flapp was going to Cedarville," said Powell, while on
the way. "Do you know, Dick, I don't like that fellow at all."
"Neither do I, Songbird."
"It will make me sick if he is elected major of the battalion."
"Nevertheless, the cadets have a right to elect whom they please."
"I know that as well as you do. But I can't stand Flapp's domineering
ways. And he is bound to grow worse if he is put in authority."
"As to that, I shall not stand being bullied," came from Dick, with
flashing eyes. "I'll let him go just so far, and if he goes any further
he'll have to beware."
Both boys were excellent walkers and it was not long before Cedarville
was reached. Dick soon had the handkerchiefs wanted, and then Powell
led the way to the bookstore, to obtain a volume of humorous verses he
had ordered the week previous.
"I don't see why you buy verses, since you can make them up so
readily," said Dick with a smile.
"Oh, I like to see what the other fellows are doing," answered his
"I saw some more of your cadets in town to-night," said the bookseller,
while wrapping up the book.
"Yes, I believe half a dozen or more came down," returned Powell.
"Having a special celebration to-night?"
"Not that I am aware of."
"Why do you ask?" put in Dick, who knew the bookseller well.
"Oh, I only thought some of the boys were flying their kite pretty
high, that's all," and the man closed one eye suggestively.
"Where did you meet the fellows?"
"Well—er—I'd rather not say, Rover. You see, I don't want to make
trouble for anybody."
"Are they in town yet?"
"I presume they are. But don't say I mentioned it, please," pleaded the
No more was said, and having paid for the book Powell walked out, with
Dick behind him.
"If those fellows are drinking it's a jolly shame," declared Dick, when
they were out of hearing. "What do you think about it, Songbird?"
"Exactly as you do, Dick."
"Shall we hunt them up?"
"What good will it do? Lew Flapp won't listen to what you say, and I'm
sure I don't want to play the spy and report him."
"But what if he is leading some innocent students astray? He has had
half a dozen young chaps dangling at his heels lately."
"I know that." There was a pause. "We might look into some of the
places as we pass them."
Very slowly they walked up and down the main street of Cedarville, a
thing easy to do, since the stores extended only a distance of two
blocks. Then they passed to a side street, upon which two new places
had recently been built.
One of the new places was a butcher shop, and this was dark and
deserted. Next to it was a new resort known as Mike Sherry's Palace,
and this was well lit up and evidently in full blast.
"If Flapp is drinking he is evidently in this place," remarked Dick.
"But I don't see anything of him," he added, after peering through the
"They tell me this Sherry has a room upstairs, also for drinking
purposes," returned Powell. "Maybe Flapp and his friends are up there.
They wouldn't want to be seen in public, you must remember."
"That is true. But how do they get upstairs—through the saloon?"
"There may be a back way. Let us look."
They walked around to the rear of the building and here found a door
leading into a back hall. But the door was locked.
"This is the way up, I feel sure," said Dick. "Somebody has locked the
door as a safeguard."
"Then, I'm afraid, we'll have to give it up."
"Not yet, Songbird." Dick had been looking over toward the rear of the
butcher shop. "See, the painters are at work here and have left one of
their ladders. Wonder if we can't move it over and put it up under one
of those windows?"
The matter was talked over for a minute, and then the two boys took
hold of the long ladder and did as Dick desired.
"This may be a wild goose chase," was Powell's comment. "And if it is,
and Mike Sherry discovers us, he'll want us to explain. Maybe he'll
take us for burglars."
"You can keep shady if you want to, Songbird. I'm going up," and so
speaking Dick began to mount the ladder.
The window under which the ladder had been placed was open from the top
only, and a half curtain over the lower portion hid what was beyond
from view. So, in order to look over the curtain, Dick had to climb to
the very top of the ladder and then brace his feet on the window sill.
He could now hear voices quite plainly, and presently heard Lew Flapp
"I'm on the right track," he called softly to Powell. "They are in the
room next to this one, but the door between is wide open."
"Shall I come up?"
"Suit yourself. I'm going inside."
As good as his word, Dick slipped over the top of the lowered window
sash, and an instant later stood in the room, which was but dimly lit.
Then he tiptoed his way behind a door and peeped into the room beyond.
Seven cadets were present, including Lew Flapp, Ben Hurdy, and their
particular cronies Jackson, Pender, and Rockley. The others were two
young cadets named Joe Davis and Harry Moss.
On the table in the center of the room stood a platter of chicken
sandwiches and also several bottles containing beer and wine, and a box
of cigars. Evidently all of the crowd had been eating and drinking, and
now several were filling the apartment with tobacco smoke.
"Come, smoke up, Moss," cried Lew Flapp, shoving the box of cigars
toward one of the younger cadets. "Don't be afraid. It won't kill you."
"Thank you, Flapp, but I—I guess I won't to-night," pleaded Harry Moss,
whose face was strangely flushed.
"I—I—don't feel well. The drinking has made me feel sick."
"Oh, nonsense! Here, take this cigar and smoke up. It will brace your
nerves. And you, Davis, have another glass of something to drink," went
on Lew Flapp, pouring out a glassful and handing it to the one
"Thank you, Flapp, but I don't want any more," answered Joe Davis. He
looked as ill at ease as did Harry Moss.
"Don't you want to be sociable?" demanded the tall boy.
"It isn't that, Flapp. I—I guess I've had enough already."
"Oh, don't be a sissy, Davis. Here, I'll drink with you, and then I'll
smoke a cigar with Moss. If you are going to be men you want to start
right in. Eh, Rockley?"
"That's right, Lew," answered Rockley, as he lit a fresh cigar.
"What you need is another glass, Davis," came from Pender. "It will act
as a bracer. Just try it and see."
"I—I don't want to get—get—" faltered Davis.
"Intoxicated—really I don't—"
"Who said anything about that?" demanded Lew Flapp in apparent anger.
"Don't be a fool. One more glass won't hurt you. Here, take it," and he
almost forced the liquor to Joe Davis's lips.
But before he could accomplish his wicked design Dick Rover leaped
quickly into the apartment and hurled the glass from the big boy's
"For shame, Flapp!" he cried. "For shame!"
"And that's what I say, too," came from Powell, who was close behind Dick.
Every cadet in the room was astonished, and all leaped to their feet.
"What's up?" cried Rockley.
"They have been spying on us!" came from Jackson.
"Talk about meanness! This is the limit!" added Pender.
"I want you to leave Joe Davis and Harry Moss alone," went on Dick, as
calmly as he could. "It's an outrage to get them to drink and smoke
against their will."
"Are you two alone?" asked Lew Flapp, glancing nervously over the
"What right had you to come here?"
"Well, we took the right."
"Then you enjoy playing the spy?"
"No, Flapp," said Dick boldly, "but I do enjoy doing Davis and Moss a
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean that I am going to stand by them, so you shall not get them to
drink any more or smoke."
"Humph! What right have you to interfere?"
"Maybe he's going to squeal to the captain," put in Jackson.
"If he does that I'll punch his head for him!" roared Lew Flapp, who
had been drinking just enough to make him ugly and unreasonable.
"I did not come here to squeal on anybody," answered Dick.
"I know you did—and I'm going to pound you well for it!" howled Lew
Flapp, and on the instant he leaped forward and aimed a savage blow
with his fist at Dick's head.
A QUARREL AND ITS RESULT
Had the blow landed as intended Dick Rover would have received a bloody
nose and might perhaps have lost one or two teeth.
But Dick was on the alert and he dodged to one side, so the blow landed
on Songbird Powell's shoulder.
"See here, what do you mean by that, Flapp?" demanded Powell, who was
"I meant to hit Rover," was the answer.
"Hands off, Flapp!" cried Dick. "I didn't come here to fight, but I can
"We'll see!" roared the unreasonable tall boy, and made another rush at
Dick. But in a twinkling he found himself flat on the floor, where he
had been thrown with a suddenness that took away his breath.
"Hi! that ain't fair," put in Rockley. "You let Lew alone."
"I will, when he leaves me alone," retorted Dick. He turned to Harry
Moss and Joe Davis. "Do you want to stay here any longer?"
"No," answered both of the small cadets promptly.
"I didn't wish to come at all, but Ben Hurdy urged it," continued Harry
"And Pender said it would do no harm," added Joe Davis. "He said we
were going to have nothing but sandwiches, root beer, and soda."
"Look here, Davis, you keep your mouth shut!" cried Pender. "You knew
exactly what to expect. You know Mike Sherry don't run a temperance
hotel," he continued, with a sneer.
At these words Joe Davis grew pale.
"Yes, I know it—now, and if I ever get out of it, I shan't come again."
"Oh, you're too good to live!" broke in Jackson. "You ought to be laid
away in a glass case for safe keeping."
"Davis is all right, and he has more brains than you, Jackson," came
from Dick. "If you want to make a fool of yourself by drinking and
smoking, I shan't stop you. But you shan't drag Joe and Harry into it
against their will."
"That's the way to talk, Dick," said Powell. "Let us clear out, and
take the youngsters with us."
By this time Lew Flap had recovered from the flooring received and now
he approached Dick once more.
"Do you want me to hammer you good, Rover?" he panted.
"As I said before, Flapp, I didn't come here to fight, but I can defend
myself. I propose to leave quietly, and take Harry and Joe with me."
"Supposing I won't let you leave?"
"I don't think you'll stop me."
"Come, Flapp, don't make a fool of yourself," put in Powell. "We didn't
come here to quarrel, but to urge all of the crowd to quit drinking.
You know it's against the Hall rules and regulations."
"And you intend to blab on us?"
"Not at all. I'm not that kind. And Dick Rover isn't either."
"I know how to fix 'em," came from Pender, with a cunning look in his
"How?" asked Flapp and Rockley, in concert.
"Our word is as good as anybody's. If they say they found us at Mike
Sherry's we can say that we found them there, too. For all we know they
were drinking below before they came up."
"That's it!" interrupted Lew Flapp, thinking he saw a way of
implicating Dick and Powell. "Mike Sherry never lets anybody in his
saloon without they drink something."
"It's as plain as day," came from Rockley.
"They had all the liquor they wanted before they came up, and now they
want to stop our sport."
"Your story might be believed were it not for one thing," said Dick,
trying to keep calm. "Come on, Harry, come, Joe." And he whispered
something into their ears.
"Oh, all right," said Harry Moss, and he retreated from the room,
speedily followed by Joe Davis.
"Hi! come back here, you young scamps!" roared Lew Flapp. And then he
made for the doorway leading to the next room.
"Not so fast, Flapp!" said Dick, and blocked the opening with his own
form, while Powell stood directly behind.
"Say, fellows, Moss and Davis are getting out of the window!" cried
Flapp, in astonishment.
"That's the way Rover and Powell must have gotten in," came from
"Exactly," answered Dick, "and that proves we didn't have to stop below
for liquor," he added triumphantly.
"Look here, I don't mean to let those fellows go yet," blustered Lew
Flapp. "Let me get at them."
"Not to-night, Flapp."
Scarcely had Dick spoken when the tall boy flung himself forward. The
pair grappled, and a moment later both went down, with Dick on top.
"Hit him, Dick, don't let him get the best of you!" cried Powell, and
an instant later found himself tackled by Pender and Jackson. For the
moment Ben Hurdy, who had remained silent during the most of the talk,
did nothing, but then he ran forward, and watching his chance, kicked
Dick in the side of the head with his foot.
The quarrel was now on in earnest, and in the midst of the melee a
burly waiter came rushing from below, demanding to know what was the
"A pair of spies!" shouted Pender. "Help us to give them a sound
"Sure, Oi will that!" was the answer, and the waiter joined in the
attack on Dick and Powell.
It was with a mighty effort that Powell managed to throw off his
assailants. Then he leaped for the window, reached the ladder, and
fairly slid to the ground.
"Let up on Dick Rover!" he called, when safe. "If you don't, I'll rouse
the constable and have somebody locked up."
"Confound him!" muttered Rockley. "We had better dust out. If he calls
a constable the jig will be up."
With a parting kick at Dick he rushed down the back stairs to the
resort, and unlocked the door. Taking care that Powell should not see
him, he darted into the gathering darkness.
Ben Hurdy followed Rockley, and a moment later Pender and Jackson did
the same. Then Flapp came staggering down the stairs, holding his nose,
from which the blood was flowing freely.
"Let's get back to the Hall as quickly as we can," he said to the
others. "And if we are examined, we can deny everything."
"All right," said Pender. "But what did you do to Rover?"
"Somebody kicked him and he's about half unconscious. I left him to the
tender mercies of Pat the waiter." And then Lew Flapp and his cronies
hurried away on the road leading to Putnam Hall.
Dick might have defended himself, but he was cruelly kicked several
times, and partly lost consciousness, as already told. In a dim,
uncertain manner he felt himself raised up and carried below, and then
put on the grass of the yard behind Mike Sherry's resort.
When he was able to move he sat up and then arose to his feet slowly.
At that moment Songbird Powell discovered him. Powell had been up the
ladder a second time, to find the window closed and locked.
"Dick!" he exclaimed. "Are you badly hurt?"
"I—I don't know," was the slow reply. "How are you?"
"I'm all right?"
"Where are Flapp and the rest?"
"They ran away."
"And Harry and Joe?"
"They are waiting for us, down at the turn in the road."
Dick put his hand to his head, to find a big lump directly back of the
ear. His ear was cut, and there was a scratch on his chin.
"They didn't fight fair," he explained, when he felt a little
stronger. "They kicked me when I was down."
Aided by Powell he made his way to a pump and there bathed his head and
procured a drink of water.
While both boys were recovering from the adventure all the lights in
Mike Sherry's resort were put out and every door and window was locked.
"He wants to steer clear of trouble," said Powell.
"I put the blame on Lew Flapp," answered Dick. "To my mind he is about
as mean as any boy around here."
"Of course we can't report him, Dick."
"No, I'm no tale-bearer, Songbird. But he ought to be punished."
"He'll make a fine major, if he's elected," went on Powell, as he and
Dick started for the road leading to the academy.
"He shall never be elected, if I can help it."
"I am with you on that."
They found Harry Moss and Joe Davis walking slowly toward Putnam Hall.
Joe seemed to feel all right now that he was out in the fresh evening
air, but Harry complained of a strange sickness at the stomach.
"It was horrid of Lew Flapp to make us drink," said the young cadet. "I
told him I didn't want anything stronger than soda. But he and Pender
made me take it."
"I think the walk will do you good, Harry," answered Dick kindly.
"Here, take my arm, and Songbird can take your other arm."
When the Hall was reached they found that Lew Flapp and his cronies had
already gone to bed. Dick took Harry and Joe to their dormitory and
then rejoined Powell.
"Going to keep mum?" asked the latter.
"For the present," answered the eldest Rover. "But after this let us
keep a sharp eye on Flapp, Pender & Company."
And so it was agreed.
THE ELECTION FOR OFFICERS
On the following morning all of the cadets but Harry Moss appeared in
"Joe Davis says Harry is quite sick," said Powell to Dick.
"That's too bad. Have they sent for a doctor?"
"I don't know."
When Lew Flapp heard that Harry was sick he grew pale, and during the
morning session could scarcely fix his mind on his studies.
"I hope the little fool don't blab on us," was his thought. "If he does
there is no telling what the captain will do. He's altogether too
strict for comfort in some things."
No doctor was sent for, so it was finally agreed that Harry Moss was
not as ill as had been supposed. But the young cadet did not enter the
schoolroom for all of that day.
The sickness had frightened Captain Putnam, who was not yet over the
scarlet fever scare, and he questioned Harry thoroughly about what he
had been doing, and about what he had been eating and drinking.
At first the young cadet did not dare to tell the truth, but finally he
blurted out that he had taken a glass of liquor against his will and it
had turned his stomach in a most painful manner.
"Where did you get the liquor?" demanded Captain Putnam sternly.
"I—I—oh, must I tell you, sir?"
"I—that is, Lew Flapp—Oh, sir, I don't want to be a tattle-tale."
"Did Lew Flapp give you the liquor? Answer me at once."
"Yes, sir, he and another cadet named Pender. But, sir, I don't want to
hurt them. I—I—" and here Harry burst into tears.
"Where was this?"
"Down in Cedarville, sir. But, I—I—I shan't say any more, Captain
Putnam," and after that Harry remained silent. As it was plain to see
that he was suffering, Captain Putnam did not push the matter. But he
called Lew Flapp and Pender into his private office and interviewed the
unworthy pair for fully half an hour.
"To do such a thing is outrageous," said the captain. "If I hear of it
again I shall dismiss you from the Hall at once."
On the following morning one of the assistant teachers made a brief
announcement that filled the entire school with curiosity.
"On next Monday you are to have an election of officers for the term,"
said he. "As you know, twenty cadets were selected as worthy of being
elected. The list has since been cut down to eighteen. Lew Flapp and
Augustus Pender will not run."
At this announcement Dick and Powell looked at each other
significantly. All of the other cadets looked around to find Flapp and
Pender, but the pair were absent, nor did they put in an appearance at
all until the next school session.
"The captain found it out in some way," said Dick to Powell.
"Shouldn't wonder if Harry Moss let the cat out of the bag," was the
"It's queer about Flapp and Pender," declared Tom to his older brother.
"Do you know why they were dropped?"
"Yes, Tom, but I don't want you to say anything about it."
"There's a report around that they were found cutting loose in the
village," put in Sam.
"Well, as I said before, I don't want to speak about it," went on Dick.
A few of the boys dared to question Flapp and Pender, but got no
"If I want to drop out I reckon I can do it," growled Flapp, and that
was as much as either he or his crony would say.
With Flapp out of the race there was considerable curiosity to know
who would be elected for the term. Each set of cadets had their
favorite candidates and the spirit of rivalry ran high. But most of the
candidates were good-natured about it, and especially Dick and Tom
Rover and George Granbury, Fred Garrison, and Larry Colby.
It had been decided that the cadets should first elect the major, then
the three captains, and then the six lieutenants, all to be selected
according to the highest number of votes received.
The voting began on Monday immediately after breakfast. Captain Putnam
had slips passed around and on these each cadet wrote down his choice
"I will read the result," said the captain, a few minutes after the
poll was declared closed. And he read as follows:
"Whole number of votes cast—96.
"Lawrence Colby has 67.
"The next highest student has 19.
"Lawrence Colby is declared elected major of the battalion for the
present term, including the annual encampment."
"Hurrah for Major Larry Colby!" cried Tom, and a rousing cheer
followed, while Captain Putnam strode over and shook hands with the
newly elected commanding officer.
"I must congratulate you, Major Colby," he said warmly. "I must say I
am well satisfied with the choice of our students."
"Thank you, sir," answered Larry, and blushed in spite of himself.
"We will now proceed to the election of the three captains," went on
Captain Putnam. "Remember, the three standing highest on the list will
be declared elected respectively."
Again slips were passed around and again the students marked down the
names of their favorites, three upon each slip.
Counting up the vote for captains took longer than that for major, but
soon the captain had his statement ready and the cadets listened in
silence as he proceeded to make his announcement:
"Whole number of votes cast, 288.
"Richard Rover has 82.
"Fred Garrison has 67.
"Mark Romer has 59.
"The next highest student has 28.
"Richard Rover is elected captain of Company A, Frederick Garrison
captain of Company B, and Mark Romer captain of Company C, for this
term and during the annual encampment."
"Hurrah for Dick Rover!"
"Hurrah for Fred Garrison and Mark Romer!"
And then the students cheered as wildly as ever, while Captain Putnam
once more offered his congratulations.
"Captain Rover, my hand," said Larry, coming up.
"Thank you, Major Colby," answered Dick, and then both gave a grip that
meant a good deal.
"We seem to be right in it," observed the newly elected major.
"That's true," answered Dick.
"We shall now proceed to the election of six lieutenants," went on
Captain Putnam, and once more the slips went the rounds, and the boys
did a lot of writing and speculating as each put down the six names
This vote was rather a long one, and Captain Putnam had two teachers
help him in tabulating the result.
"This contest must make Flapp feel sick," whispered Powell to Dick,
while the students were taking it easy on the parade ground.
"Well, he brought it on himself," was the brief reply.
"I'll wager he tries to square up with us, especially if he thinks we
told on him."
A bugle sounded, calling the cadets together, and once more Captain
Putnam read the result:
"Whole number of votes cast, 576.
"John Powell has 83.
"William Merrick has 76.
"Walter Durham has 71.
"Thomas Rover has 68.
"George Granbury has 51.
"Raymond Hollbrook has 43.
"The next highest cadet has 38.
"John Powell is declared first lieutenant of Company A, William Merrick
first lieutenant of Company B, Walter Durham first lieutenant of
Company C, Thomas Rover second lieutenant of Company A, George Granbury
second lieutenant of Company B, and Raymond Hollbrook second lieutenant
of Company C, for this term and during the annual encampment."
As this announcement was made there was a breathless silence. Then came
a rousing cheer and the various successful ones were congratulated by
the captain and their friends.
"Well, Songbird, it seems you are to be my first lieutenant," said Dick
as he shook hands with Powell. "That suits me first-rate."
"And I am to be second lieutenant," said Tom, coming up. "With Sam in
the company as private this begins to look like a family affair."
"Oh, I'm going to make you fellows toe the mark now," laughed Dick. "No
more skylarking, if you please, Lieutenant Rover."
"All right, Captain Rover," replied Tom, with a stiff salute that was
Taking it all the way through the election was declared to be a popular
success. Of course some of the defeated candidates were bitterly
disappointed, but they did their best to hide their true feelings.
William Philander Tubbs had declined to vote and Lew Flapp and Gus
Pender had kept entirely out of sight while the voting was going on.
The two cronies took themselves to the gymnasium and there declared
their hatred of Dick Rover.
"He is responsible for this," muttered Flapp, clenching his fists and
grating his teeth. "But for him I might at this minute be major of the
battalion, or one of the captains. Oh, but won't I square up some day!"
"What will you do?" questioned Pender. "Remember, I'm just as down on
him as you are."
"I don't know yet, Gus. But I'll do something."
"All right; when you are ready to act, let me know, and I'll help you
all I can," answered Gus Pender.
THE FIGHT AT THE BOATHOUSE
Inside of a week the newly-elected officers felt perfectly at home in
their various positions. Captain Putnam's idea of allowing only such
cadets to be candidates as could fill the positions properly had borne
good fruit, and the battalion was now in better condition than ever
Contrary to general expectations, Larry Colby, as major, proved a
strict disciplinarian when on parade. In the playground he was as
"chummy" as ever, but this was cast aside when he buckled on his sword
and took command.
"This is as it should be," was Captain Putnam's comment. "And it is the
same throughout life: play is play and business is business."
As a captain Dick was equally successful and Tom also made a good
second lieutenant. Company A was speedily voted superior to the others,
when drilling and when on the march, and consequently became the flag
bearer for the term.
"This is splendid!" said Dick, when the announcement was made. And then
he went at Company A, to make the cadets drill and march better than
But though the students gave considerable time to military matters,
they were not permitted to neglect their regular studies, and to their
honor be it said that the three Rover boys pitched in with a will.
"If I can't be an officer I'm going to be a high grade student anyway,"
said Sam, and kept his word. Books suited him better than did military
glories, and soon he was at the top of his class in almost every branch
Many of the cadets were anxious to know where the annual encampment
would be held, but for the time being Captain Putnam declined to
discuss the subject.
"We will talk about that as soon as lessons are done for the term,"
"I don't believe we'll go to Brierroot Grove again," said Powell to
Dick. "A farmer has built a house up there and is clearing off the land
as fast as he can."
"I wish we could go to some place at a distance," returned Dick. "All
of us know this territory pretty well. I like to visit new localities."
"So do I."
During those days the Rover boys received a letter from their father
which proved unusually interesting. Anderson Rover wrote, in part, as
"You will be surprised to learn, at this late day, that something had
been heard about Arnold Baxter. A man who knows him fairly well met him
a few nights ago in Owego. The news was telegraphed to me at once, and
the local police were informed, but since that time nothing more has
been seen or heard of the rascal. The man said he was well dressed and
had been stopping at a leading hotel. Evidently he is using what was
"In Owego!" cried Sam. "Why, that city isn't over fifty miles from
"This is his old stamping ground," put in Tom. "For all we know he may
now be hanging around Ithaca or Cedarville."
"I don't believe he'll come here," said Dick. "He is too well known."
"Oh, if only we could lay hands on him, Dick!"
"Wish we could, Tom. But Arnold Baxter knows enough to keep out of our
"Wonder if he knows what became of Dan?"
"Like as not our story was in all the newspapers, and they mentioned
"If that is so, it's more than likely he thinks we are responsible for
Dan being left behind on the island."
"I'm not going to bother my head about Arnold Baxter," put in Sam. "If
he shows himself I'll have him arrested, that's all."
One day after another slipped by and all of the boys continued to study
with a will. Once they received long letters from Dora Stanhope and
Nellie and Grace Laning, and sent long letters in return.
"Wish the girls were back here," said Dick. But this could not be, as
they had decided to remain in California for a while longer, and the
boys had to content themselves by sending the girls keepsakes by which
to be remembered.
On the Friday afternoon preceding the final week of the term Tom and
Sam walked down to the lake, intending to go out in a boat for a short
As they drew close to the boathouse they heard loud talking and then a
cry of pain.
"Please don't," came in the voice of a young cadet. "Please, please
"But I just will, you little imp!" came in Lew Flapp's harsh voice.
"I'll teach you to play the sneak!"
"But I—I didn't mean to do anything, really I didn't," answered the
other. "But I felt so sick, and I—"
"Oh, I know you, Moss. For two pins I'd break your head for you!" And
then came the sounds of several blows in quick succession.
"It's Flapp!" cried Sam. "He is beating somebody most shamefully."
"It's little Harry Moss," returned Tom, leaping to the front. "The big
bully! Why can't he take a fellow of his own size?"
He rushed around the corner of the boathouse and there beheld a scene
that aroused his warmest indignation. Harry Moss was crowded into a
corner and over him stood Lew Flapp, beating him with a heavy boat
Flapp had just raised the chain for another blow when Tom ran in and
caught his arm.
"Stop!" he cried. "You let Harry Moss alone!"
Startled at the interruption Lew Flapp turned. When he saw both Tom and
Sam his face fell.
"What do you want here?" he asked sulkily.
"I want you to leave Harry Moss alone," answered Tom.
"Oh, Rover, please make him stop," pleaded Harry. "He's trying to kill
"No, I ain't," retorted Flapp. "I'm only giving him a whipping that he
"It's an outrage to strike anybody with that chain," said Sam.
"You needn't put your oar in, Sam Rover!"
"But he just will, and so will I," said Tom. "Give me that chain," and
he tried to pull it from Lew Flapp's hand.
"Let go!" screamed Lew Flapp, and began a struggle to keep the chain in
his possession. He struck at Tom, hitting him in the shoulder. Then Tom
got mad, doubled up his fist, and Lew Flapp received a blow in the left
eye that made him see stars.
"Oh!" he howled and dropped the chain. "Tom Rover, I'll get even for
that, mind that!"
"What do you mean by attacking Harry Moss in such a disgraceful
"Because he's a sneak, and you know it."
"I know nothing of the kind."
"Didn't he go and blab on me to Captain Putnam?"
Lew Flapp paused and eyed Tom and Sam curiously.
"I reckon you know well enough," he remarked slowly.
"But I don't know anything. Do you, Sam?"
"Not a thing. So far as I know Harry is all right."
"Is he?" sneered Flapp. "Well, I don't think so."
"What was the trouble about, Harry?" asked Tom, turning to the small
"Don't you say a word!" shouted Lew Flapp, in alarm. "If Tom and Sam
Rover don't know already they needn't know at all, so there."
"Evidently you don't want Harry to talk," said Sam suggestively.
"He's a sneak, I tell you."
"And you are a big, long-legged bully," retorted Tom. "For two pins I'd
give you a good drubbing."
"Humph! Do you think you can lick me?" blustered Flapp, who felt
certain he could best Tom at fisticuffs.
"I don't think so—I know it," said Tom coolly.
"Don't you fight him, Tom," said Sam, in alarm. "He only wants to get
you into trouble. He'd like nothing better than to see you lose your
position as lieutenant."
"He's afraid," sneered Lew Flapp. "All of you Rover boys are mere bags
"I don't think you found Dick a bag of wind, Flapp."
"Yes, I did. Now you clear out and let Moss and me settle this affair
But this was not to be, for Harry Moss was already at the doorway of
the boathouse and now he retreated to a safe distance.
"If you hit Tom Rover, or Sam, I'll call Mr. Strong?" cried the little
"Don't you do it," said Tom. "I am not afraid of Flapp."
"But he's so big, Tom."
"I don't care for that."
Tom had scarcely spoken when Lew Flapp, watching his opportunity,
leaped forward and planted a blow on his chin that sent him staggering
back into Sam's arms.
"Now come on, if you dare!" he cried.
"All right!" came from Tom, as he recovered. And like a flash he flew
at Lew Flapp, before Sam could do a thing to stop him. Blow after blow
was taken and given by each of the cadets, and Tom was hit in the
chest, on the shoulder, and in the left cheek. In return Flapp got one
in the right eye that almost closed up that optic and then came a blow
on the nose that made the blood spurt in all directions.
"Good for you, Tom!" cried Sam, dancing around, forgetful of what he
had just said about his brother getting into trouble. "That's the time
you did it. Now give him another!"
Again the two boys went at it and once more Tom was struck in the
shoulder. Then Lew Flapp aimed for Tom's face, but the latter ducked
and, recovering, hit the big boy a heavy blow in the chin that made his
teeth rattle and sent him staggering over the side of an upturned boat
and flat on his back.
"Hurrah!" cried Sam. "That was almost a knockout, Tom. Now give him to
Sam broke off short, as a warning cry from Harry Moss reached his ears.
All eyes turned toward the doorway of the boathouse and a second later
George Strong, the head teacher, stepped into view.
GETTING READY FOR THE ENCAMPMENT
For fully ten seconds after the head teacher appeared nobody spoke. Lew
Flapp arose slowly to his feet, and bringing out his handkerchief
applied it to his bleeding nose.
"What does this mean?" demanded George Strong sternly.
"He—he pitched into me," faltered Flapp.
"That is hardly true," returned Tom hotly.
"Both of you are well aware that it is against the rules of this school
to fight," went on the teacher.
"I know that, Mr. Strong," answered Tom. "But Flapp struck me first."
"It isn't so!" cried the big boy. "I wasn't doing anything, when Rover
came along and started to quarrel."
"My brother Sam and Harry Moss can prove that Flapp struck me first."
"That is true," said Harry Moss, while Sam nodded.
"What was the quarrel about?"
"I caught him here, beating Harry with this boat chain. I told him to
stop and then he pitched into me."
"Is this true, Moss?"
"Ye—yes, sir, but—I—I—didn't want to say anything about it, sir."
"Do you mean to say that Flapp attacked you with that chain?"
Harry Moss was silent.
"He did. But, Mr. Strong, I don't want to make any complaint. He and
some of the others think I'm a—a sneak already," and now Harry could
hardly keep back his tears.
"I don't know why he attacked Harry," put in Tom. "But I couldn't stand
it, and I took the chain away from him and told him to stop. Then he
struck me, and we pitched into each other—and I guess he got the worst
of it," added Tom, a bit triumphantly.
"Hum! Flapp, you may go and bathe your nose, which I see is bleeding,
and then come to Captain Putnam's office. The others can come to the
office with me."
George Strong led the way, and Tom, Sam, and Harry Moss followed. The
teacher took along the boat chain and made Harry show where he had been
Captain Putnam looked very grave when the affair was explained to him.
He questioned Harry in private and learned that the attack was made by
Flapp because of what the young cadet had told about drinking and
"Rover, it was wrong to fight," said the captain to Tom. "But under the
circumstances I am inclined to be lenient with you. You can retire,
and this evening during off time I want you to write one hundred times,
the proverb beginning, 'Blessed are the peace-makers.'"
"Yes, sir," said Tom humbly. He was glad to escape thus easily, for he
knew that the captain was very strict concerning fighting.
A little later the others were sent off, leaving Lew Flapp alone with
"Flapp," said the owner of the school, with a hardness that made the
big boy's heart sink into his shoes. "I hardly know what to say to you.
Your former conduct was mean enough, and this appears to be on a level
with it. With such a heavy boat chain you might have injured Moss very
seriously. Do you want me to give you another chance or not?"
"Wh—what do you mean, sir?" asked Flapp, much frightened.
"Do you want to remain at Putnam Hall, or shall I send you home in
"I—I don't want to go home," said the big boy. His father was a rough
man and he knew that if his parent heard of this trouble he would make
him pay dearly for it.
"I expect my pupils to be young gentlemen," went on Captain Putnam.
"This is an academy for the better class of boys only. Bad boys do not
come here, but are sent to the reformatory. If I give you another
chance will you promise to do better in the future?"
"Very well then, I will give you one more chance. I believe you are
somewhat behind in your arithmetic. During the next four days you will
remain in during all off time and apply yourself to such examples as
your teacher gives you."
"Now you can go, and remember, I want to hear of no further fighting,
and no further molesting of Harry Moss."
"I'll remember, sir," answered Lew Flapp meekly, and then left the
office and ran up to his dormitory, to bathe his nose and put
witch-hazel on his hurts. Although outwardly humble he was in reality
burning with rage.
"I'll have to be careful in the future," he told himself, with clenched
fists. "But I'll get square—oh, I'll get square!"
"Hullo, hurt yourself?" asked Pender, as he came in.
"Yes, I fell over a boat down at the boathouse," answered the big boy.
"Is that so? I heard something of a fight, and came up to see about
"Oh, I had a row with Harry Moss and Tom Rover, but it didn't amount to
much, Gus. But, say, I just wish I could square up with Dick Rover, and
"You said something like that before."
"I'm going to watch my chances."
"Perhaps something will turn up during the encampment."
"Yes, I was thinking of that. A fellow has more of a chance in camp
than he does in school."
"It would be a fine thing to get Dick Rover into trouble and make him
lose his position as captain," went on Gus Pender.
"Yes, and make Tom Rover lose his position as lieutenant, too," added
The term at Putnam Hall was now drawing to a close and it was not long
before the semi-annual examinations began. All of the Rovers worked
hard over their papers, and with more or less success. Sam came out at
the top of his class, while Tom stood third in his grade, and Dick
third in a still higher class. The boys lost no time in sending the
news home, and received word back that not only their father, but also
Uncle Randolph and Aunt Martha, were much pleased with the result.
"Now we'll feel as if we deserve an outing," said Tom, and Sam and Dick
agreed with him.
It was on the following morning that Captain Putnam made an
announcement that filled all of the cadets with interest.
"You are all anxious, I know, to learn where the annual encampment is
to be held," said he, during general assembly. "I am pleased to be able
to announce that I have arranged to hold it at Pine Island, a fine bit
of ground, located close to the south shore of Bass Lake. The lake is
situated about thirty-five miles from here, and we will make a
two-days' march to the spot, stopping on the road over night, in true
soldier style, weather permitting."
"Hurrah!" burst out half a dozen cadets.
"Three cheers for Captain Putnam!" called out Tom, and they were given
with a will.
"I am told that the lake is an excellent one for fishing and for
bathing, and I have already engaged six boats which the cadets will be
allowed to use from time to time."
Again there was a cheer and with it a loud clapping of hands.
"While in camp you may play such games as you please, during off time,
and we will see if we cannot arrange for contests at swimming, rowing,
and running, and to the winners suitable prizes shall be given."
"Hurrah for Captain Putnam!" came the cry once more, and again a cheer
"When will we start, captain?"
"Wish we were going right now!"
"We shall start Monday morning," was the answer. "To-morrow we will get
out our tents and camping outfits and see that all are in first-class
order. It is perhaps needless to add that during this encampment the
officers will be in authority during all but off hours, when myself and
my assistants will take charge."
This ended the talk, and the students immediately broke up into little
groups to discuss the good news.
"We ought to have just a boss good time while in camp," cried Sam.
"Think of living in tents, and having nothing to do but fish, and swim,
and make yourself comfortable."
"Sam must be getting lazy," returned Dick. "But I grant you I think it
will be first-class myself."
About the only pupil who did not relish going into camp was William
"It will be beastly to live out in the open, on the ground," said
Tubbs. "Supposing it should rain? Why, we'll all get wet!"
"Never mind, that will make you grow, Tubby," said Sam.
"Sam Rover, how often must I tell you not to address me as—ah—Tubby.
My full name is—"
"Oh, I know that—William Longfellow Washington Hezekiah Philander
Salamander Tubbs. But you can't expect me to say that every time, can
you?" questioned Sam innocently.
"Mine cracious! vos dot his hull name?" burst in Hans Mueller. "It's
apout as long as a freight drain, ain't it, alretty!"
"No, my name is—"
"Perhaps I forgot one or two syllables," interrupted Sam. "Very sorry,
"I said my name—"
"I know you said it, half a dozen times, Billy. But you see life is so
very short, and time so precious—"
"I meant to say—"
"Sorry, Billy, but I can't wait to hear it all," cried Sam, and ran
"He is—er—extremely rude," murmured Tubbs.
"Put dot's a long name, ain't it?" said Hans, "I couldn't remember dot
no more as I can remember der names of all der kings py England
"Oh, I am disgusted!" sighed William Philander, and started to walk
"Vot is you disgusted apout, Mr. Dubbs?"
"Because they won't call me by my proper name."
"Do da call you by your imbrober name?" asked Hans innocently.
"I said, do da call you py your imbrober name?" repeated the German
"Oh, don't talk to me," howled Tubbs, and walked away more disconcerted
"Dot fellow vas so sharp like a pox of bebber, ain't it?" sighed Hans
The preparations for the annual encampment went forward rapidly. All of
the outfit was inspected with care and found to be in good order. Each
cadet was provided with a blanket, and a knapsack full of extra
underclothing and other necessary things. The captain had already
engaged three big wagons to carry the tents, poles, and cooking utensils,
including several camp stoves, and from another quarter cots were to be
sent to the camp direct, so that the cadets would not be compelled to
lie upon the ground.
"Now, I guess everything is ready," said Dick; late Saturday evening.
Sunday was a day of rest for the most part. In the morning the majority
of the students marched to church under the directions of the captain
and Mr. Strong, and part of the afternoon was spent in writing letters
to the folks at home. "Lights out," sounded half an hour earlier than
usual, so that the cadets might get a good sleep before starting out on
the two days' march.
ON THE MARCH TO CAMP
Rat-tat-tat! Rat-tat-tat! Rat-tat-tat!
The cadets got their first taste of the annual encampment early in the
morning, when, instead of hearing the familiar bell, they were awakened
by the rolling of the drum.
"Time to get up, everybody!" cried Sam, flinging the covers from him.
"It won't do to be late this morning."
"That is true, Private Rover," came solemnly from Dick. "I will fine
any soldier of my command who is behind time."
"Thank you, Captain Rover, I'll remember that," came from one of the
other cadets. "And how is Lieutenant Rover this morning"?
"Fine as silk," came from Tom, who was already splashing in the cold
water of his washbowl. "I'll bet a big red apple against a turnip that
I'm down first," and he began to don his uniform with remarkable
All of the students were soon below, and then the various companies
marched into the messroom for their last breakfast at the Hall for some
time to come.
"I see the wagons have already left," said Sam.
"Yes, the drivers are to get the camp in readiness for to-night,"
answered his big brother.
Knowing that they had a long march before them, the majority of the
cadets ate a hearty breakfast. Mrs. Green, the housekeeper, was sorry
to have them leave, and had prepared an unusually fine repast.
"Mrs. Green is just all right," declared Tom. "I move we give her a
vote of thanks." And this was later on done, much to the old lady's
It was a perfect day. The sun shone brightly, and there was just enough
breeze to keep the atmosphere fresh and exhilarating. Captain Putnam
was to accompany the students on horseback, and the teachers had
already gone off with the wagons.
"Battalion, attention!" shouted Major Larry Colby, when the cadets were
assembled on the parade ground. And the order was immediately obeyed.
"Shoulder arms!" was the next order given, and up went every gun in
unison. The movement was so pretty that the spectators who had gathered
to see the boys march off clapped their hands in approval.
"Forward—march!" came next, and the drums and fifes struck up, and
away went the cadets, company front, toward the road.
"By column of fours!" was the next command, and Captain Dick Rover
turned to his company.
"By column of fours!" he repeated, and Company A broke up into four
abreast and turned into the road leading off in the direction of Pine
Island. The other companies also broke up, and in a minute more the
cadets were really and truly on the march for the camp.
The drums and fifes sounded well on that bracing morning air, and quite
a crowd of boys and not a few girls followed the students over the
first of the hills back of Putnam Hall. But here the crowd dropped
gradually away, until the young soldiers had the country road
practically to themselves.
For a full mile the cadets were made to keep in step. Then came the
order, "Route step!" and they moved forward as pleased them, keeping
together, however, by companies. The route step is given that one may
take the step that is most natural to him, be it longer or shorter than
the regulation step.
Farms were rather scattered in that neighborhood, but occasionally
they passed country homes, when all the folks would rush forth to learn
what the drumming and fifing meant.
"They are the Putnam Hall cadets," said one farm woman. "How neat they
look and how nicely they march!"
"Puts me in mind o' war times, Mirandy," said her husband. "Don't you
remember how the boys marched away in them days"?
"Indeed I do, Ira," answered the woman. "But that was real, while this
is only for fun."
"Well, I reckon some o' those lads would make putty good soldiers, were
they put to it. They handle their guns like veterans."
The cadets marched until ten o'clock and then stopped for a brief rest
near a fine hillside spring, where all procured a drink. Then they
moved forward again until noon, when they reached a small village where
dinner already awaited them.
"We have covered twelve miles," said Captain Putnam. "Eight more, and
the day's march will be over."
The cadets were glad enough to eat their dinner and take it easy on the
porch of the old country hotel at which they had stopped.
"Imagine us marching off to war," observed Sam. "How would you like it,
"Oh, I don't think I would complain," was the answer. "Anything for a
bit of excitement."
The day's march was completed long before sundown, and the battalion
came to a halt in an open field through which flowed a shaded brook.
The tents were at hand and the students lost no time in putting up the
Food was supplied for the occasion by a farmer living near, for it was
not deemed advisable to unload the cook stoves and build the necessary
The farmer gave the students permission to visit his apple orchard, and
this the majority did, returning to the temporary camp with their
pockets fairly bulging with apples.
The weather remained clear and warm, so the first night in the open
proved very agreeable. A camp-fire was lit just for the look of things,
and around this the cadets gathered, telling stories and singing songs
until it was time to turn in.
Sleeping in a tent just suited the Rover boys and none of them awoke
until sunrise. Soon the whole camp was astir, and each cadet took a
good washing up at the brook. Breakfast was supplied by the farmer,
and by nine o'clock the column was once again in motion on its way to
"Dot sleeping out in der air vos a funny dings," said Hans Mueller to
Sam. "I vake up der middle of der night in und find a pig mouskeeter
mine toe on alretty!"
"Be thankful that it wasn't something worse, Hans," said Sam. "What
would you do if you woke up and saw a big black bear standing beside
"I dink I cofer mine head kvick, Sammy."
"But the bear might chew the cover up."
"Den I vos rund for mine life und holler like sixty!"
"Well, you want to keep your eyes open for bears," added Sam, thinking
he scented fun ahead.
"How vos I going to keep mine eyes oben of I go to sleep, tell me dot"?
"You'll have to figure that out yourself, Hansy, old boy;" and here
the talk had to come to an end.
By the middle of the afternoon they came in sight of Bass Lake, a
beautiful sheet of water about two miles and a half long by nearly half
a mile wide. Close to the south shore lay Pine Island, so called
because it was covered in spots with tall pine trees. Between the main
shore and Pine Island were two smaller islands, and there were low
wooden bridges from one to the other, connecting the big island with
The wagons had already gone over the bridges to the spot selected for
the camp, and now the battalion marched across, from island to island,
under low arching trees and over ground covered with fallen leaves and
"What a grand spot for a camp!"
It was Dick who uttered the words when the final halt was made. His
words were true, and his fellow students agreed with him that Captain
Putnam could not have made a better selection.
There was an open space nearly an acre in extent, covered with short
grass and sloping slightly toward the lake. At the water's edge was a
small wooden dock, where the boats were tied up, and next to this a
sandy strip excellent for bathing purposes. Back of the open space was
a fine grove of trees, to which the students could retire when the sun
became too hot for them. More trees lined the north shore, some hanging
out far over the water, making ideal spots for reading or fishing.
There were beautiful walks through the woods, and in the center of the
island was a rocky hill from the top of which one could obtain a view
of the country for several miles around.
Captain Putnam insisted upon it that the camp be laid out in true
military fashion, and two students who knew a little about civil
engineering put down the necessary stakes. There was a street for each
company, with a tent for the captain and his lieutenants at the head.
Each tent was of the wall pattern and large enough to accommodate four
soldiers. That the flooring of the tent might be kept dry around each a
trench was dug, by which the water could run off when it rained. On the
bottom pine boughs were strewn, giving a delicious smell to the
"This smell of pine is very good for a cold in the head," said Major
Larry to Dick. "My sister always uses a pillow filled with pine needles
for that purpose."
The students worked hard that evening getting their tents ready for
occupancy and as a consequence all were glad to retire when the proper
time came. Captain Putnam had expected that there would be some
skylarking, but he was mistaken. That was to come later—when the lads
felt more rested.
THE FIRST DAY ON PINE ISLAND
"Can anybody tell me where the—er—looking glass is"?
It was William Philander Tubbs who asked the question. He stood in the
middle of one of the tents, gazing helplessly about him.
"Beastly way to live, really now it is," he continued. "How is a fellow
to arrange his toilet without a glass"?
"Better run down to the lake and look into the water," suggested Sam,
who occupied a cot in the tent.
"Look into the water? Beastly!" murmured Tubbs. "Really now, this isn't
like home, is it"? he continued.
"It suits me well enough," went on Sam, leaping up and beginning to
dress. "You'll get used to it before long."
"Never, my dear boy, never!"
As Tubbs spoke he began to put on his coat, but failed to get either of
his hands further than the elbows of the sleeves.
"What's the matter with this coat"? he ejaculated. "Well, I declare!"
"What's up now"? asked another cadet.
"Somebody has gone and sewed up the sleeves."
There was a roar of laughter at this.
"Mustn't mind a little thing like that," said Sam, and he sat down on
the edge of his cot to put on his shoes. "Great Scott, what's this"?
He had forced his foot into one shoe and now withdrew it covered with
"Haw! haw!" roared Tubbs. "Rather fancy the laugh is on you now,
"That's a fact," muttered Sam, and began to clean out the shoe as
quickly as he could.
Several other small jokes had been played, showing that the cadets were
"tuning up," as Major Larry expressed it.
"I guess I'll have my hands full before the week is out," he said to
Dick, in private. "Keeping order will be no fool of a job."
"Well, you must remember that you liked to have your fling too, when
you were a private, major," answered the captain of Company A.
The cooking detail were already preparing breakfast and the aroma of
hot coffee floated throughout the camp. Immediately after roll-call
breakfast was served, of fruit, fish, eggs, bread, and coffee, and the
cadets pitched in with a will.
"Gives one an appetite to live out in the open," said Lieutenant Tom.
"As if you didn't carry your appetite with you wherever you go,"
"Silence, Private Rover, or I'll fine you half a day's pay," flung back
Tom with a similar grin.
"My, but we are some pumpkins," went on Sam, squaring his shoulders.
"Wonder how soon we'll get to be a general."
"Perhaps at the next general election," suggested George Granbury.
"Lieutenant Granbury is fined a peanut for punning," said Tom severely.
"Don't do it again and the fine will be remitted."
"That's a fine way to do," murmured George, and then Sam shied a tin
plate at him.
As soon as the meal was over there was a drill lasting half an hour,
and then the cadets were permitted to do as they pleased until noon.
Some went boating, some fishing, while others took a swim, or simply
"knocked around" as Sam expressed it.
"I shouldn't mind a swim," said Tom. "Who will go in with me"?
A dozen cadets were willing, including Dick, Larry, and Fred Garrison.
As it was off time, Larry, even though major, did not feel it necessary
to "stand on his dignity."
"I'm just going to be as I've always been," he told the others. "If I
can't be that, I don't want to be major."
Several tents had been erected close to the water's edge, where the
cadets might undress and don their bathing suits. Tom was the first
ready, and with a run he plunged into the lake head-first.
"It's glorious!" he shouted, as he came up and shook the water from his
head. "Worth a dollar a minute. Come on in!" And they came, one after
another, without loss of more time. The water was slightly cool, but
the students at Putnam Hall were required to take cold baths weekly, so
they did not mind the temperature. Laughing and shouting gleefully they
dove around in all directions, and then Tom suggested a race.
"Just the thing!" said another cadet. "Where shall we race to"?
"Over to yonder rock and back," answered Tom. "Line up, everybody. A
stale biscuit to the winner and a sour cream puff for the last man. All
There was a pause.
"Start!" yelled Tom, and made a wild splash that sent the water flying
in all directions.
"A race! A race!" shouted one of the students on the shore, and his cry
soon brought a score or more of the others to the spot.
"I think Tom Rover will win that race."
"I'll bet on Major Larry."
"Fred Garrison is ahead. He's the best swimmer in the school."
"He can't swim as well as Dick Rover."
"I'll bet Jackson wins," came from Lew Flapp, who was in the crowd on
the beach. Jackson, it will be remembered, was one of his particular
"Jackson can't swim against Dick Rover," came from Songbird Powell, who
had hardly spoken to Flapp since the row at Mike Sherry's resort.
"I'll bet you a dollar he beats Rover," replied the tall boy, in a low
"I don't bet, Flapp."
"You're afraid to bet," sneered the tall boy.
This statement angered Powell and he quickly dove into his pocket and
pulled out the sum mentioned.
"This is the time you lose, Flapp," he said quietly.
Another student was made stakeholder and each boy passed over his
By this time the race was well underway. Tom was still in the lead, but
Jackson was close behind him, with Larry Colby third and Dick fourth.
"Go it, Tom, you are sure to win!" shouted one of his friends.
"Don't know about that," Tom returned pantingly. "Guess I started too
hard!" And soon he began to drop behind.
"Jackson is ahead!" was the next cry.
"Major Colby is a close second!"
"That is true, but Dick Rover is crawling up!"
So the cries went on until the big rock that was the turning point was
Jackson touched the rock first, several seconds before either Larry or
Dick came up. It certainly looked as if Lew Flapp's crony had a good
chance of winning.
"Told you he would win," said Flapp to Powell.
"The race isn't over yet," answered Songbird briefly.
"Humph! Do you think Dick Rover can catch Jackson when he is five yards
"Not quite as much as that, Flapp, and he is gradually crawling up."
"He won't make it, I tell you."
"Perhaps he will."
"I'll bet you five to one that he won't," insisted the big boy.
"I won't bet any more."
"You're afraid," sneered Flapp.
Again Powell went down into his pocket and drew forth another dollar.
"There you are," he said to the stakeholder.
Lew Flapp had not expected this, but he quickly covered the one dollar
with a five, feeling sure he was going to win.
"You'll never see your two dollars again, Powell," he said.
"Perhaps you'll never see your six again," answered Songbird, and moved
away to watch the race from another point along the island shore.
Jackson was certainly swimming well, although the terrific strain was
beginning to tell upon him.
"Go it, Jackson," roared Lew Flapp. "Go it, old Moneybags!"
"Moneybags" was a signal among many of the cadets, signifying that the
speaker had bet money on the result. Betting at the academy was
strictly prohibited, but wagers were often made on the sly.
Hearing this cry, Jackson renewed his struggles and for a few seconds
held his lead.
But now Dick Rover was crawling up inch by inch. He had passed Tom, who
was left hopelessly in the rear, and now he was pressing Larry.
"The major and the captain are tie!"
"See, Captain Rover is crawling ahead!"
"Swim, Jackson, swim!" yelled Lew Flapp frantically. "You must win!"
And Pender took up the call, and so did Rockley.
Again Jackson did his best. The finish of the race was now but twenty
"Go in and win, Dick," came from Larry Colby. "I'm about used up," and
he let Dick go ahead.
Dick was almost as fresh as at the start and slowly but surely he kept
gaining upon Jackson until the two were not over two yards apart.
"Hurrah, Captain Rover is crawling up!"
"Don't give up, Jackson, you can win out yet!" screamed Lew Flapp.
"Go it, Dick!" yelled Sam. "Go it, I say! The race is yours!"
Cheered by the last cry Dick increased his stroke and in a second more
he was alongside of Jackson.
The latter made a side kick, intending to catch Dick in the stomach,
but the eldest Rover was wise enough to keep out of his opponent's
The kick made Jackson lose ground, and like a flash Dick passed him.
"Dick Rover is ahead!"
"See, Jackson is played out! He can hardly take another stroke!"
"Major Colby is crawling up! See, he is passing Jackson!"
"And here comes Tom Rover, too."
"Wake up, Tom!" cried Sam. "You can beat Jackson yet!"
At this cry Tom did wake up, and seeing Jackson floundering around put
on a final spurt and passed him.
"Dick Rover has won the race!"
"And Major Colby is second, and Tom Rover third."
"Poor Jackson wasn't in it, after all!"
THE ENEMY PLOT MISCHIEF
The most disgusted cadet on Pine Island was Lew Flapp, and when Jackson
walked out of the water and entered one of the bath-tents he followed
his crony with a face full of bitterness.
"Why didn't you try to keep up and win out"? he asked bitterly, while
Jackson was dressing.
"I did try. But Rover came up like a steam engine."
"You seemed to play out all in a minute."
"And that is just what I did do. The pace was too hot for me, and I
just about collapsed. Those fellows are good swimmers, no two ways
"Bah! I could have beaten them with ease."
"I'd like to see you do it."
"Do you know I lost six dollars on that race," went on Flapp, after a
"Who won the money"?
"How did you come to put up such an odd figure, Lew"?
"I bet a dollar even first, and then, when I felt certain you would
win, I gave him odds of five to one. I was a chump."
"Well, I did my best—honestly I did," returned Jackson, who hated to
have his crony lose.
"I ought to make you pay me back."
"I'd do it if I had the money," said Jackson. He rarely had money in
his pocket, spending everything as fast as received.
"Well, that is one more we owe that crowd," observed Flapp with
When Jackson was dressed he and Flapp took themselves to another part
of the camp, and there met Pender, Rockley, and Ben Hurdy.
"Let us take a walk," said Jackson. "I am sick of staying around where
the others can stare at me."
"Come with me," put in Pender. "I have found something I want to show
"A gold mine, perhaps," said Flapp. "I need one just now. Betting on
Jackson nearly cleaned me out."
"It's no gold mine, but it may prove useful to us," answered the other
The crowd started off, and Pender led the way through the woods and
partly around the rocky hill in the center of the island.
"I ran into it quite by accident," he said. "You'd never suspect it was
there unless you knew of it."
"Knew of what?" asked Rockley. "What sort of a mystery are you running
us into now?"
"Just wait and see."
Pender stepped from the path they had been pursuing and pushed aside
some overhanging bushes. Beyond was a small clearing, backed up by a
high, rocky wall. In the wall was an opening, blocked up by a heavy
door secured by a rusty iron chain that was passed through a ring in
"Well, this is certainly odd," exclaimed Flapp. "What kind of a place
"It's a den of some sort," said Hurdy. "Maybe some counterfeiters
"Bosh, you talk as if you were in a dime novel," came from Jackson.
"More than likely some old hermit lived here. When some men get queer
in the head they come to just such a spot as this to end their days.
They hate the sight of other human beings."
"I reckon it is a hermit's den," said Pender. "But if so the hermit
left it years ago, for everything inside is covered with dust and
cobwebs and mildew."
Pender walked up to the stout wooden door, unfastened the iron chain,
and threw the barrier back.
One after the other the boys entered the opening beyond. At first they
could see but little, but gradually their eyes became accustomed to the
gloom and they made out a rocky chamber about twelve feet wide and
running back in irregular shape for a hundred feet or more. At some
points the ceiling was so low they had to stoop, while elsewhere it was
far above their reach. The flooring was fairly level, with rock in some
places and hard dirt in others.
The opening was rudely furnished with a heavy table and a bench, and
close to one wall was a box bed, still filled with pine boughs. On a
big wooden hook hung a man's coat, so decayed that it began to fall
apart when they touched it. The table contained several tin cups and
plates, all rust eaten.
"This is certainly a curious find," said Flapp. "How did you happen to
hit it, Gus?"
"I was exploring the cliff above when I happened to slip and fall into
the bushes just in front of the door. I was shook up but not hurt, and
when I got up I saw the door and wondered what it meant. Then I looked
inside and after that went back to camp to tell you fellows about it."
"It will make a dandy place for secret meetings," suggested Rockley.
"We can come here and do what we please."
"Just what I thought," said Pender. "We can smuggle no end of good
things here from the nearest village and come whenever we have our off
"Perhaps we can do more than that," said Flapp, struck with a sudden
"What"? asked the others.
"I'll tell you some other time. It's a great find," continued the tall
In the meantime those left at the camp had surrounded Dick and were
congratulating him on his victory.
"I knew you would win," said Powell, when the excitement was over. "I
bet with Lew Flapp on the result. Garling was stakeholder."
"What did you win, Songbird"?
"Gracious! You went in pretty deep.'
"Flapp called me a coward when I told him I didn't want to bet, so I
had to take him up," went on Songbird. "Had it been anybody else I
might have given the money back. But I won't give it back to that
"It's against the rules to bet, Songbird."
"But you are not going to tell on me, are you?"
"You know me better than to ask the question. Just the same, I am sorry
you bet," said Dick.
"I'm going to treat the boys as soon as I get the chance," went on
Powell. "Six dollars will buy a whole lot of ice cream and cake, not to
mention soda and candy and peanuts." And then he began to hum to
"Peanuts and candy and raspberry ice,
Chocolate cake, and all that's nice,
Ev'ry student can come if he will,
And ev'ry student can eat his fill!"
"I believe you'd sing at a funeral," said Dick, laughing.
"I wouldn't sing at my own funeral," answered Powell, and stalked off,
humming as gayly as ever.
The remainder of the day passed quietly enough, although by the
whispering in various tents it was easy to see that something unusual
was in the air.
"Hazing to-night, as sure as guns," said Major Larry to one of the
"Shall we arrest the hazers"? asked the officer, with a twinkle in his
"You must obey orders," answered the youthful major, non-committally,
since he had given no orders on the subject.
He could well remember his first year in camp, when he had been dragged
from his cot at midnight, almost stripped, and thrown into a brook of
icy spring water, and then made to run over a rough road in his bare
feet for half a mile, "just to warm up," as the hazers told him. It
was rough sport, not to be approved, but "boys will be boys," and it
is practically impossible to stop hazing even in the highest of our
institutions of learning.
It was poor Hans Mueller who was the first to suffer that night. In the
midst of the darkness, for there was no moon, Hans found himself
suddenly aroused from his slumbers by being dragged out of his cot by
"Shtop!" he began, when a hand was thrust over his mouth. Then he was
raised up by six cadets, shoved out of the back of the tent and carried
away to the grove in the rear of the camp. The party had to pass two
sentries, but the sentries were evidently posted, for they appeared to
see nothing wrong.
Hans was not allowed to speak until he was out of hearing distance of
the camp. Then he was dumped on the ground with a dull thud.
"Mine cracious! vot does dis mean annahow"? he demanded, as he
struggled to his feet. "Does you vants to kill me alretty, drowing me
aroundt like a log of vood, hey"?
There was no answer, and now he looked at the cadets, to discover that
each wore a black mask, with a hood from which two black horns
"Who you vos alretty"? he spluttered, staring in open-mouthed amazement
at the party. "You vos all look like der Oldt Boy, ain't it! I guess I
go me back to der camp kvick!" and he started to run.
Hans did not get far, for a foot send him sprawling, and by the time he
was again on his feet four masked cadets had him by the hands and arms,
so that he could not get away. He started to yell when of a sudden
somebody threw a handful of dry flour into his wide open mouth.
"Wuog!" he gasped. "Wuog! Do—you—wants—to choke me alretty!" And
then he started to sneeze, as some of the flour entered his nose.
There was a moment of silence and then one of the masked figures
"Hans Mueller, are you prepared to meet your doom"? was the question
put, in a deep bass voice.
"Doom? Vot's dot?" asked the German boy, slightly frightened.
"Are you prepared to die?"
"Die? Not by a jugful I ain't. You let me go!"
"Are you prepared to become a full-fledged member of the Order of Black
"Not much, I ton't belong to noddings," gasped Hans.
"Then you must prepare to meet your fate. Away with him, fellows, to
Before Hans could resist he was caught up once again. One of the cadets
had brought with him a large blanket and into this the German youth was
thrown. Then the others caught the blanket around the edges.
"Stop!" roared Hans, and tried to climb out of the blanket. But before
he could manage it, the thing was given a toss and up he went, high
into the air.
"Oh! Mine cracious!" he gasped and came down with a crash, to go up
again an instant later. Then up and down went the boy, turning over and
over, until he was all but dazed.
"Stop! Murder! Fire! Robbers!" he roared. "Let me owid, kvick! I vos
turning outsides in alretty! Oh, stop, von't you, blease!"
"Will you join the Order of Black Skulls"? he was asked again.
"Yah, yah! Anydings, so long as you lets me town kvick!"
"And you will not breathe a word about what has taken place here"?
"I say me noddings, upon my honor, ain't it!"
"Then let him go, fellows," and a moment later Hans was lowered.
"Now you are one of us," said another student, and handed him a mask,
skull-cap and pair of horns, the latter made of stuffed black cloth.
"Do you promise to help us"?
"Anydings vot you vonts."
"Then come with us, and don't dare to open your mouth."
HAZERS AT WORK
William Philander Tubbs was dreaming of a fashionable dance he had once
enjoyed when he suddenly found himself bound and gagged and being
carried he knew not where.
"This is awful!" he thought. "What in the world does it mean?"
Then he remembered that some of the cadets had spoken about hazing, and
the cold perspiration came out on his forehead.
The gag in his mouth was made of nothing more than a knot in a clean
towel, but it worried him a good deal and he was afraid he would be
choked to death by it. But nothing of the sort happened, and soon the
gag was removed.
"What does this mean?" he asked, as many cadets had done before him.
He received no answer, and tried to break away from his tormentors. But
their hold on him could not be shaken, and before he was set down he
found himself well out of sight and hearing of Camp Putnam, as the spot
had been named.
"This is a beastly shame," he murmured. "Why do you dare to break into
my night's rest in this fashion?"
He had heard of the mysterious society of Black Skulls before, but so
far had never been hazed by the members. He looked curiously at the
masked cadets, wondering if he could recognize any of them.
"Are you prepared to meet your doom?" he was asked.
"I am prepared to go back to my tent," he answered.
"Away with him!" was the cry.
"Where are you going to take me?" he asked anxiously.
There was no reply, but in a twinkling his hands were caught and bound
tightly behind him, and a bag was thrust over his head and fastened
around his throat. The bag was so thick that he could not see a thing
"Let him take the cold water cure," said a voice, and he was forced to
"It's rather deep there," whispered a voice, just loud enough for him
"Not over his waist," whispered another voice.
"What! It's twice over his head," was the answer. "I tested the water
"Never mind, he's got to take the test anyway."
Now Tubbs was by no means a good swimmer, and the idea of being thrown
into the water with his hands tied behind him and his head in a sack
was frightful in the extreme.
"Le—let me go!" he whined. "Let me go, I say!"
"Forward with him!" was the heartless reply, and he was pushed on until
he suddenly found himself in water up to his ankles.
"Stop! stop!" he cried, in a muffled voice. "Stop! I don't want to
"Will you obey your superiors?"
"Will you join the Order of Black Skulls?"
"Anything, I told you, only don't let me drown!" cried the frightened
"And will you promise to keep mum about what has happened here
"Very well, you shall not be allowed to drown. But you must take the
"Oh, dear me! I can't—"
"Forward, and be lively about it. We will fish you out with a crab
"But I—I can't swim with my hands tied behind me!" chattered poor
"Yes, you can. Forward now! Ha, fellows, he will not go. Jab him with
At this a student stepped behind Tubbs and pricked his back with a pin.
The fashionable youth let out a yell of terror, and then, certain that
he was about to take an awful plunge into some deep part of the lake,
made a desperate leap forward.
A wild shriek of laughter rang out as Tubbs made the leap. He had
jumped across a narrow brook not six inches deep and landed sprawling
on the grass beyond.
"You are now initiated," said one of the masked cadets, when the
laughter had somewhat died away. And at once Tubbs' hands were untied
and the bag was taken from his head.
"Well, I never!" he murmured, as he gazed in amazement at the brook.
"Thought it was the lake front sure!"
"As you are now one of us, Tubbs, you must wear these," said a cadet,
and furnished the fashionable youth with a mask, cap, and pair of
"We have now disposed of number two," said another cadet. "What of
"Number three must—"
At that moment a gun-shot rang out on the still night air.
"Hullo, something is wrong!" cried one of the hazers, in quick alarm.
"There goes the drum, fellows!" came in the unmistakable voice of Sam
Rover. "We've got to hustle back to camp or we'll be exposed!"
"Right you are," came from Songbird Powell. "Come, fellows, and mind
you don't let anybody see the masks and other things."
And away they scooted, under the trees and then along a row of bushes
running fairly close to the first line of tents. In the meantime the
drum continued to roll and the whole camp was astir. Captain Putnam
himself was out and was soon followed by Major Larry and Captain Fred
Garrison. Dick Rover knew what was up and took his time about showing
himself, since he did not wish any of the hazers to be captured.
"Call the roll!" said Major Larry, after making a round of the company
streets. But he himself was in no particular hurry.
Almost out of breath with running, the hazers came into camp,
accompanied by Hans and Tubbs. Masks, caps, and horns were pushed out
of sight under cots, and then all sallied forth to join their various
commands. Calling the roll was already in progress.
"All present or accounted for," came the declaration, five minutes
"All present, eh?" mused Captain Putnam. "That's queer. Who fired that
"I will interview Jackson," said the master of the school, and he
ordered Jackson to his private tent.
"What made you raise the alarm, Jackson?" he questioned sharply.
"I thought some of the cadets were out of camp, sir," was the answer.
"Did you see them go?"
"Not exactly, sir, but I thought I saw three or four of them sneaking
along near the woods."
"Humph! You should be sure of what you are doing, Jackson. It is not
commendable to arouse the whole camp at midnight for nothing."
"Well, I thought I was sure," insisted the crestfallen cadet. He knew
for a certainty that some of the cadets had been out but saw no way to
"In the future be more careful while on guard duty," said Captain
Putnam coldly; and there the subject was dropped.
"Who fired that shot?" asked Sam, on the morning following the hazing.
"Jackson," replied a cadet named Gilson, who had been one of the
"The sneak!" murmured the youngest Rover.
"That's what I say, Rover."
"Guess he did it to get square for losing that swimming race," put in
another of the hazers.
"More than likely. We ought to square up with him for it."
"That's the talk."
"Vat's der madder mit tossing him a blanket up?" asked Hans earnestly.
"Think that's a good way to get square, eh, Hans?" laughed Sam.
"Dot's der vorst bunishments vot I know of," said the German boy with
deep conviction. "Makes you feel like you vos going to preak abard
All of the boys knew that it would not do to try any more hazing for
the next few nights. Even if the guards gave no alarm, Captain Putnam
or one of the teachers might be on the watch to catch them.
On the following day it rained and the majority of the cadets were glad
enough to remain under shelter. A few went bathing or fishing and the
latter brought in quite a respectable mess of fish. Even in fishing the
boys were rivals and a new tin cup was voted to the cadet bringing in
the string that weighed the most.
The rain began about ten o'clock and by noon the water was coming down
"This is beautiful," remarked Tom, as he looked at the puddle in the
"We ought to have dug another ditch to let that water run off,"
"Well, nobody wants to go out now and dig."
"That is true."
Instead of abating the rain became more violent as the afternoon
"This looks as if we were going to have some wind." remarked Major
Larry with a doubtful shake of his head.
"I hope it doesn't blow too heavily," said Captain Putnam.
"Don't you think I had better caution the fellows to pin down their
tents extra hard?"
"It would do no harm, Major Colby."
"Then I'll do it," said Larry, and issued the order without delay. Some
of the cadets grumbled at being driven out into the wet, but the
majority knew they were doing the work for their own good and went at
it without a murmur.
At about sundown the wind fell and after supper it was as calm as it
had been before the storm started.
"Told you there wasn't any use of getting wet pounding down stakes,"
growled Lew Flapp. He had done his work in a slip-shod fashion,
staying out but a minute or two for that purpose.
It still rained, so building camp-fires was out of the question. This
being so, the cadets turned in early, glad to seek the shelter of their
cots and their warm blankets.
An hour went by, when of a sudden the rain increased once more. Then
came a rush of wind that shook all of the tents violently.
"We are not out of it yet, it would seem," said Dick, as he sat up on
his cot to listen to the flapping of the canvas in the company street.
He had hardly spoken when another gust of wind tore down on the camp.
There was a ripping of cloth and a crashing of poles, and then a cry
for help sounded from several places at once.
A STORM IN CAMP
"Say, fellows, are we all going up in a balloon!" cried Sam Rover, as
he rolled off his cot in a great hurry.
One whole side of the tent was loose and the structure was in danger of
tumbling down on the inmates' heads.
"Help!" came from the next tent. "I'm being smothered!"
"That's Lew Flapp!" said a cadet. "What's up now, Flapp?" he called
No answer came back, and now canvases could be heard ripping in all
"Fasten down the pegs!" came the order. "Fasten them down, quick!"
The cadets were already at work, and Sam and his tent-mates set at
their task with a will, realizing that every moment was precious. While
one student held the peg upright the other would pound it down into the
wet ground with a hammer or the back of a spade.
"The confounded pegs won't hold," cried out one cadet. "There she
goes!" and the next instant the tent went flying skyward, to land on
another tent some distance away.
It was still raining "cats, dogs, and hammer handles" as Tom Rover
expressed it. All was dark, the only light being that given forth by
the lantern which had not been blown out. Occasionally came a flash of
lightning, followed by the distant rolling of thunder.
"This is one of the real comforts of camp life," said Songbird Powell
sarcastically. "So much nicer than being under the roof of the Hall,
"Never mind, Songbird, you need a washing off at least once a year,"
replied a fellow sufferer.
A minute later came another yell from Lew Flapp. He and his tent-mates
had tried in vain to hold down their canvas. Now it went up with a
rush. One of the peg ropes caught around Flapp's leg and he was dragged
over the wet ground, with his head splashing into every pool of water
that he passed.
"Help me! I'll be killed!" roared the tall youth.
The tent was blowing along the company street and half a dozen cadets
ran to the rescue, Tom with them. Some leaped on the canvas, while
others held Flapp. Then the rope was cut with a knife.
"Wha—what a fearful wind!" groaned the tall boy, when he could speak.
"This is the worst storm I ever saw!"
"Oh, but I'm sorry I ever came to camp," groaned William Philander
Tubbs. "I'm so wet the water is actually running out of my shoetops!"
"Ton't said a vord," came from Hans. "I dink me I half a rifer floating
mine packpone town alretty! Of dis keeps on much longer der whole camp
vos in der schwim, ain't it!"
"I reckon we're in the swim already," broke in Sam. "Some of us had
better bring the rowboats up."
The high wind lasted for fully half an hour and during that time six of
the tents were literally blown to ribbons, while many others suffered
to a lesser extent. A quarter of the shelters laid flat in the mud, and
nothing could be done with these until the wind went down.
"It's the worst blow I have seen since we have held our encampments,"
was Captain Putnam's comment, and he and the teachers went around with
lanterns to aid the students as much as they could.
By three o'clock in the morning the storm was over and the stars began
to peep forth from behind the clouds. As tired as they were the cadets
had to set to work to put up the tents and arrange their cots as best
they could. Camp-fires were lit in half a dozen places and the students
huddled around these to dry themselves and get warm.
"I guess this is a touch of real army life," said Dick. "And I must say
I don't like it overly much."
"We'll have to make the best of it, Dick," answered Tom, who had come
over to see how his brother was getting along.
"How is Sam?"
"Oh, he's all right, although as wet as any of us."
"This storm reminds me of the one we experienced when in the jungles of
Africa," went on the eldest Rover. "Do you remember how it blew, Tom?"
"Indeed I do," was the answer, as Tom's mind went back to that
thrilling experience, as related in "The Rover Boys in the Jungle."
On the following day the cadets were glad enough to remain in camp,
cleaning out their tents and drying the things that had become wet. But
the storm was a thing of the past and the sun shone as brightly as
ever. Big fires were kept burning, and hot coffee could be had whenever
wanted, so scarcely anybody suffered from the drenching received.
The storm had somewhat disarranged the plans made by Flapp, Rockley,
and their particular cronies. But two days later Flapp, Rockley, and
Pender got permission to go to the village of Oakville, two miles
distant, one to buy some corn salve he said he wanted and the others to
do a little trading.
The boys had collected nine dollars from various members of their crowd
and this was to be spent for liquor, cigars, and for several packs of
cards. All of these things were to be smuggled to the hermit's den
Pender had discovered.
"We can get enough to last us during the encampment," said Flapp. "And
then we can have a good time whenever we wish, and Captain Putnam will
never suspect what is going on."
It did not take the cadets long to reach Oakville, a pretty place
located among the hills. There were a dozen stores, a blacksmith shop,
two churches, and perhaps fifty houses. Beyond were farms in a state of
high cultivation, showing that the inhabitants of that section were
"This town is about as slow as Cedarville," observed Pender, as they
walked up the single street. "How folks can idle their lives away in
such a place is what gets me."
"They don't know anything of the joys of city life," returned Flapp.
"Some of these people have never seen the inside of a real theater."
As might be expected, the unworthy cadets lost no time in entering one
of the taverns located in Oakville, and here Flapp treated. Then, after
cigars or cigarettes had been lit, they proceeded to buy the things
desired for the den.
"Laying in quite a stock, ain't ye?" said the tavern keeper.
"Oh, we are getting this for the whole crowd," replied Pender
carelessly. "But, say," he added suddenly.
"What is it?"
"We don't want you to say anything about our buying this stuff."
"All right, I'll be mum," answered the tavern keeper.
From the tavern they proceeded to the general store, where they
purchased the packs of cards and a few other things.
While they were making their purchases two girls came in with a market
basket between them. One was tall and thin and the other short and
rather stout. Yet the girls looked very much alike and were noticeably
"Fine girls," whispered Flapp to Rockley, nudging his companion in the
"Yes," was the answer, and Rockley began to smile openly on the new
arrivals. As the girls did not appear to notice this, he drew closer
and tipped his cap.
"Fine day after the storm," he said smoothly. "Yes, very," said the
taller of the girls, and turned away.
"I suppose you belong in Oakville," put in Lew Flapp, to the smaller
"Yes," answered the girl, and turned away to join her companion.
"We are up to the camp on Pine Island," went on Rockley, following the
girls up. "Have you ever been there?"
"Once," said the taller girl, and began to purchase some articles from
the clerk behind the counter.
"You ought to come and take a look at our camp," continued Flapp. "It's
a real interesting sight."
"All the girls are welcome," said Pender, feeling he must say
"We'd be willing to show you the way at any time," added Rockley, and
placed his hand on the arm of one of the girls.
"Please let me be," said the girl, and walked away. A moment later she
left the store, and her companion went with her.
"My, but they were shy!" laughed Pender. "Rockley, you didn't make any
impression at all. Nor you either, Flapp."
"Humph! Wonder who they are?" murmured Lew Flapp.
"Let's ask the storekeeper and find out."
"Those girls are twins," said the proprietor of the establishment.
"Twins!" cried Rockley. "They didn't look it—not by their difference in
"But they did in looks," said Pender.
"What are their names?"
"The tall one is Alice Staton and the other is Helen Staton. Their
father is the local constable, although he runs a big farm for a
"Do they come here often?"
"Pretty often. But they are very shy girls and don't hardly speak to
anybody. They are both studying to be school-teachers."
In the meantime Helen Staton and her sister Alice were hurrying down
the main street of Oakville with flushed cheeks.
"I don't think those cadets were very nice," said Helen.
"Certainly they were not very good-looking," replied Alice. "And I
thought they smelt a little of liquor."
"The idea of their saying they would show us the way to the camp! I
guess papa can drive us there if we want to go."
"I'd like to see it. But I shouldn't want to go with those boys," went
"Perhaps papa can take us," said Helen. "But come, we promised mamma
we'd hurry back as soon as we could."
To get home the two girls had to walk for a considerable distance along
the road leading to Bass Lake.
On the way they passed the farm of one Isaac Klem, a man who took great
pride in his poultry and his cattle. Klem had forty cows, and two bulls
which were worth a good deal of money.
One of the bulls, a black, vicious looking fellow, was tied up in a
small lot at the corner of the farm.
The girls were just walking past this lot when Helen happened to glance
over her shoulder and set up a cry of alarm.
"Oh, Alice, Mr. Klem's black bull is loose!"
"Where, Helen?" queried her twin sister.
"There he is, at the fence. See, he is trying to get over!"
The fence she mentioned was of stones piled loosely, one on top of the
other. The bull was striking at the stones with his front hoofs. Soon
some came down, and then the animal leaped out into the roadway. Then
he gave a snort and looked at the girls curiously.
Now as ill luck would have it, each of the twins wore a red
shirt-waist. This color enraged the bull, and with a wild snort, he
lowered his horns and rushed at the pair, as if to gore them through
THE ROVER BOYS AND THE BULL
About an hour after Lew Flapp and his cronies left camp, Dick Rover and
his brothers received permission to do likewise.
"Let us go to the village," suggested Tom. "I want to buy some cough
drops. My throat is raw from the wet weather."
"And I want to get some reading matter," added Sam. "A good story of
some sort would just suit me."
"I wouldn't mind a magazine or two myself," came from Dick. "But I
don't know if Oakville can supply them."
They were soon on the way, each in the best of spirits. Tom began to
whistle and his brothers joined in.
"Feelin' putty good," queried a farmer, who chanced to be leaning over
his garden gate as they passed.
"Why not?" retorted Tom. "It's better to whistle than to cry."
"Right you are, young man. When one of my hands is whistling I always
know he is pitchin' in."
The way lay over a hill and around a bend where a number of apple trees
lined the road. The apples were within easy reach, and soon each was
chewing on the juicy fruit to his heart's content.
"Wonder where Flapp and his crowd went," came presently from Tom.
"If they went to Oakville they most likely visited the tavern,"
"It's a shame!" declared Tom. "Drinking and smoking and playing cards
will never do them any good."
Another bend in the road was passed and they came within sight of Isaac
"Hullo!" ejaculated Sam, pointing ahead. "What's the matter?"
"Those girls are running for all they are worth!" said Dick.
"A bull is after them!" came from Tom. "My stars! but he seems to mean
Tom was right, Helen and Alice Staton were running along the highway at
all the speed they could command. Behind them, less than fifty feet
distant, was the enraged black bull, bent on doing all the mischief
"Those girls will be hurt!" said Dick, running forward.
"Can't we do something?" asked Sam.
"We can try," said Tom. "Get a rock, or something," and he picked up a
sharp stone which lay handy. Sam did likewise.
By this time the twins were almost upon the boys.
"Chase the bull away!" panted Helen, who was ready to drop from
"Yes! yes!" gasped Alice. "Please don't let him touch us!"
"Jump the fence!" said Dick. "Quick, I'll help you over!"
He caught each girl by the hand and turned toward the low stone fence.
At the same time Tom and Sam let fly the two sharp stones. One took the
bull in the nose and the other struck the creature in the eye.
With a snort the animal came to a halt and viewed the boys curiously.
He had evidently not expected the attack, and the wound in the eye hurt
not a little. Tom and Sam lost no time in providing themselves with
By this time Dick was at the wall and in another moment he had
assisted the girls over. Both had lost their hats and also dropped the
market basket filled with things from the store.
"Oh, be careful," said Alice. "That bull will try to kill you."
"We'll look out for ourselves," answered Dick, and picked up a bit of
fence rail lying near. "Did he chase you far?"
"From that lot yonder," answered Helen.
The bull had turned toward the fence, and watching his chance, Dick
struck out with the bit of rail. His aim was good and the animal
received a sharp blow directly across the nostrils. Then Sam and Tom
let fly more stones, and the bull was hit in the mouth, the leg, and
the side. He stood his ground for a moment and then began to retreat.
"Hurrah! we've got him on the run!" cried Tom. "Give it to him!" and he
let go another stone, which hit the bull in the tail and made him throw
up his rear hoofs in a most alarming fashion.
"You had better come over into the lot!" said one of the girls. "He may
"Here comes Mr. Klem with a pitchfork," said the other.
A farmer was rushing down the road, with a pitchfork in one hand and a
rope in the other. He ran up to the bull and slipped the rope over the
animal's neck. Then he tied the creature to a tree.
"Pretty savage animal you've got," observed Tom as he came up.
"Is them gals hurt?" demanded the farmer.
"I don't think so. But they are pretty well out of breath and scared."
"Don't know how the pesky critter got loose," said Isaac Klem. "First
thing I see he was after them gals lickety-split. I was out hayin', and
I didn't wait, but picked up a pitchfork and a rope and run."
"The girls lost their hats," said Sam, who had also come up.
"Yes, they're in the road up yonder, along with a basket o' stuff they
"Let us get the things," said Sam, and he and Tom started after the
hats and the basket. The things which had been in the basket were
scattered in all directions, and the boys picked them up.
Dick remained with the girls, doing what he could to quiet them. They
were so exhausted they could not stand and each sat on a rock panting
"It was simply dreadful!" declared Helen. "I thought every moment the
bull would catch me and toss me up into the air."
"He didn't like the sight of your red shirt-waists," was Dick's
"That must be it," put in Alice. "After this, I don't think I'll go
near him when I have a red waist on."
"Perhaps the farmer will be more careful and keep him roped up."
When Tom and Sam came up with the hats and the basket Isaac Klem
"All right, Helen?" he asked. "And you too, Alice?"
"Yes, Mr. Klem," said the tall girl. "But it was a narrow escape. The
bull would have gored us if it hadn't been for these young gentlemen."
The girls thanked Tom and Sam for what they had brought.
"Who be you young fellows?" asked Isaac Klem curiously.
"I am Dick Rover, and these are my brothers Tom and Sam. We belong to
the cadets of Putnam Hall."
"The young sodgers up to Bass Lake?"
"I see. Well, it was gritty o' you to face my bull, and I give ye
credit for it. My name's Isaac Klem, and thet's my farm over yonder.
These gals is Helen and Alice Staton, and they live down the road a
The boys tipped their caps and the girls smiled.
"We are very thankful to you," said Alice and Helen, almost in a
"You are welcome to the little I did," returned Dick.
"It was fun to pelt the old bull with rocks," put in Tom. "I'll do as
much for you any time," and this caused a laugh.
Isaac Klem went off to drive his bull home and the girls also prepared
"When you are coming back this way you can stop at our house if you
wish," said Alice Staton. "It's the yellow one with honeysuckle growing
over the porch."
"I remember it," said Sam. "Thank you," and the others also gave thanks
for the invitation. A moment later the two parties separated.
"What a difference between those cadets and the ones we met at the
store," said Helen to her twin sister when they were out of hearing.
"Yes, indeed," said Alice. "The Rovers are gentlemen, while those at
the store were—were rude."
"Two nice girls," declared Tom. "How much alike their faces are!"
"Tom is smitten," cried Sam. "Going to forget all about Nellie Laning,
Tom?" he went on quizzically.
"Oh, you needn't talk!" cried Tom, growing red in the face. "You were
just as attentive as a dancing master yourself."
"Don't quarrel about it," put in Dick good naturedly. "You can be
pleasant to them without forgetting all about Grace and Nellie Laning,
"Or Dora Stanhope either," put in Sam slyly. "Shall we stop at the
house on the way back?"
"Why not? They may offer us a piece of pie," said Tom.
"I don't know. We can walk by slowly. They may be on the lookout for
us, you know."
Once again the boys set their faces toward Oakville, and soon reached
the outskirts of the town.
They were passing some of the stores when Lew Flapp caught sight of
"Hullo!" cried the tall boy. "I declare! there are the three Rover
brothers. What brought them to Oakville?"
"We had better not let them see us with this stuff," said Pender
hurriedly. "We'll get into hot water if they do."
They lost no time in putting their purchases out of sight. Then they
walked out on the street and stood leaning against the posts of a
"There is Flapp and his crowd now," said Tom, catching sight of the
"We want nothing to do with them," said Dick. "They are not our kind at
"Hullo, Rovers!" cried Pender as they came up.
"Hullo, yourself," returned Tom coldly.
"What brought you to town?" asked Rockley.
"Thanks. I thought it might have been your ears. They're big enough."
At this sally both Flapp and Pender began to laugh.
"That's a good one," said Flapp.
"I suppose you used your tongue for a walking stick when you came
over," said Tom. "It's long enough."
"Bah!" cried Rockley, and turned away in disgust.
"Those Rover boys have got the swelled head," muttered Flapp. "But
we'll turn 'em down before the encampment is over, eh, fellows?"
"That's what," replied Rockley.
While the Rover boys were making their purchases Lew Flapp and his
cronies turned back into the tavern. There was a billiard room in the
rear and here they began to play billiards.
"We'll let the Rovers start for home first," said Rockley. "It will be
A TUG OF WAR
When the Rover boys reached the vicinity of the Staton cottage they
found Alice and Helen in the dooryard, watching for them.
"Mamma says you must come in," said Alice. "She wishes to see you."
"And papa wants to see you, too," added Helen.
"Thank you, we won't mind resting a bit," answered Dick. "The sun is
They were soon seated on the broad porch, and here Mrs. Staton and her
husband were introduced. They proved to be nice people, and both
thanked the boys warmly for what they had done on the road.
"I've told Isaac Klem about that bull," said Mr. Staton. "Some day
he'll do a whole lot of damage."
"We are going to keep a good lookout for him in the future," put in
Alice. "I don't wish to be scared out of my wits again."
Before the boys left Mrs. Staton insisted on treating each to a piece
of apple pie and a glass of milk.
"What did I tell you about pie?" whispered Tom. "Say, but it's all
right, isn't it?"
"Yes, indeed!" whispered Sam.
The girls had a set of croquet on the lawn and asked the boys to play,
but they had to decline for want of time.
All had moved to the rear of the cottage, under a wide-spreading tree,
when Dick chanced to look toward the roadway and uttered an
"Here come the other fellows now!"
"Yes, and look at the packages they are carrying," added Sam.
"And the bottles," came from Tom significantly.
Dick was about to step forward when Tom caught him by the arm.
"Let us keep shady, Dick."
"All right, Tom, if you say so."
Sam noticed that the faces of the two girls fell when Flapp and his
cronies went past.
"Those are some of your chums, I suppose?" said Helen.
"They are some of the cadets, but no chums of ours," replied Dick.
"They belong to a little crowd of their own." explained Tom. "We don't
hitch very well, so that is why we let them go by unnoticed."
"We met them at the store in Oakville," said Alice.
"Did they speak to you?"
"Yes, but—but we did not want them to."
"Humph!" said Dick, and then the subject was changed.
Having invited the girls to come and look at the camp some pleasant day
the Rover boys left the cottage and hurried along the road after Lew
Flapp and his cronies.
"I'll wager those fellows made themselves obnoxious to the girls," said
Tom. "You could tell that by the way the girls looked."
"What do you think they are going to do with the stuff they are
carrying?" came from Sam.
"I believe they intend to smuggle it into camp," replied Dick. "And if
that is so, I don't know but what it is my duty to report them."
"If you do that, Flapp will consider you the worst kind of a spy,
"Perhaps, but as a captain of the command it is my duty to see that
such things are kept out of camp."
"Well, do what you think is best."
"Better make sure that the stuff they are carrying isn't all right,"
said Sam. "They may have nothing but soda in those bottles."
They hurried along faster than ever but, strange to say, failed to
catch up to Lew Flapp and his cronies, who were making for the hermit's
den with all possible speed.
"Maybe they got scared, thinking we might be spying on them," suggested
Tom, and hit upon the exact truth of the matter.
After that nearly a week passed in camp without anything unusual
happening. Lew Flapp and his cronies kept their distance, and so strict
was the guard set by Captain Putnam and his assistants that hazing
became, for the time being, out of the question.
To pass the time more pleasantly some of the cadets organized several
tug-of-war teams. This sort of thing pleased Tom very much and he
readily consented to act as anchor man on one of the teams. Another
team had Pender for an anchor man, with Rockley and seven others on the
"Let us have a regular contest," said one of the cadets, and all was
arranged for a match on the following morning after drill.
The students were enthusiastic over the match, some thinking one side
would win and others favoring the opponents.
"Tom's crowd will win that match," said Sam.
"What makes you so sure?" questioned Ben Hurdy.
"Oh, Tom knows how to pull and how to manage the others."
"And so does Rockley know how to pull," continued Hurdy. "And what is
more, he knows a trick or two that will pull your fellows over the line
in no time."
"I don't believe it, Hurdy."
"Want to bet?"
"No, I don't bet. Just the same, I think Rockley's crowd will lose."
Although Sam would not bet, some of the other students did, so that by
the time the match was to come off quite a sum was up.
George Strong had been chosen as starter and umpire. On the green a
line of white was laid down, and the team pulling the other over this
line would be the winner.
For the contest Captain Putnam provided a new rope of proper size. To
each end was attached a belt for the anchor men, and there was ample
room on each side of the line for the eight cadets on the rope.
"All ready?" questioned George Strong, when the time had come for the
"All ready on this end," replied Tom, seeing to it that each of his
team was in his proper position and had a proper hold on the rope.
"All ready here," said Rockley, a few seconds later.
"Drop!" cried the teacher, and down went the two teams like a flash,
each pulling for all it knew how. But neither gained an inch at the
fall, so the start-off was perfect.
"Now pull for all you're worth, Rovers!" cried one cadet.
"Haul 'em over, Rockleys!" cried another.
"Steady, boys!" whispered Tom. "Don't get nervous. There is lots of
He was almost flat on his back, with both feet braced firmly in the
soil. Rockley was also down, and it looked as if it might be well-nigh
impossible to budge either.
"This is a dandy tug of war," said Fred Garrison. "Neither has got an
inch of advantage."
"The Rovers will beat!"
"The Rockleys will win!"
"I think it will be a tie," said another.
The strain was terrific and soon each member of the two teams was
bathed in perspiration.
"Here is where you earn your rations!" cried one cadet, and this caused
a general laugh.
"Watch your chances, Tom," whispered Dick, and his brother nodded to
show that he understood.
Both sides were glaring at each other. The strain was beginning to
tell, but so far nobody had thought of letting up in the least.
But now Tom saw two of Rockley's men "getting their wind" as it is
called. They still held on to the rope, but were hardly pulling at all.
"Up!" cried Tom suddenly, and his men went up like a flash. "Down!"
came the cry, an instant later, and down they went, before Rockley's
men could recover.
"Hurrah! the Rovers have gained four inches!" came the shout. And then
those who favored that team set up a cheer.
It was true, the rope had shifted over four inches. Rockley was angry,
but could do nothing.
"Mind yourselves, Wilson and Brady!" he whispered. "Don't let up a
"I didn't let up," growled Wilson. "It was Chambers."
"Not much!" growled Chambers. "I wasn't—"
"Up!" cried Tom again. "Down! Up! Pull, pull! pull! Down!"
Up and down went the team twice, the second time hauling the rope
forward over a foot. Then they went down once more and anchored as
firmly as ever.
"Good!" shouted Sam enthusiastically. "You're doing it, boys! Keep it
"Are they?" sneered Lew Flapp. "Just you wait and see."
He had a little roll of paper in his hand, and watching his opportunity
he blew the contents into the air, directly over the team led by Tom
Rover. The paper contained pepper and it set several of Tom's men to
This trick had been arranged between Flapp and Rockley, the latter
feeling certain that Tom and his followers could not sneeze and pull at
the same time.
"Up!" yelled Rockley. "Pull! pull! pull!"
"Stay down!" roared Tom. "Down! Don't give in an inch!"
But the cry could not be obeyed. Half the team was up and sneezing and
before order could be restored the rope had gone over to the Rockleys'
side a distance of two and a half feet.
"Hurrah, the Rockleys are winning!" yelled Ben Hurdy. "Haul 'em over,
"Down!" ordered Tom.
"What on earth made the men sneeze?" demanded Dick, gazing around
"Smells like pepper," replied Major Larry Colby, who was close at hand.
"Would anybody be mean enough to use that?"
"Up!" cried Rockley once more. "Pull! pull! pull!"
His team gave a savage haul as ordered, and up came Tom's men in spite
of themselves. Then began a tug of war in dead earnest, with the rope
nearly three feet in the Rockleys' favor.
A SWIM AND SOME SNAKES
The majority of the cadets were now inclined to think that Rockley's
team would win the contest. They had seen Tom's followers sneezing,
but thought this might come from the dampness of the ground.
"Don't give in, Tom!" cried Sam, dancing around. "You've got to beat
"Bah! you act like a monkey," said Lew Flapp. "Rockley's fellows are
bound to win."
In the meantime the rope was moving rapidly backward and forward. Once
Rockley and his men had Tom's team dangerously close to the line. But
Tom ordered a drop and there the team clung, refusing to budge an inch
"Time is almost up," said George Strong. "Three minutes more!"
"Up!" cried Rockley.
"Up and pull for all you are worth!" cried Tom. "Pull, I tell you! Make
every ounce of muscle count!"
And pull Tom's team did as never before, and Tom with them, watching
for the first sign of returning weakness. But the team was now on its
mettle and made the Rockleys come over the line in spite of the frantic
orders from Rockley himself to drop.
"It's ours!" screamed Tom, and with a final haul brought the opponents
over the line with a rush. Rockley, flat on his back on the grass,
trying in vain to dig his heels into the soil, and the others
floundering just as vainly.
A cheer went up for Tom's team, while Rockley and his followers left
the field in disgust.
"It was well won, Tom!" said Dick enthusiastically. "I never saw a
better tug of war in my life."
"I'd like to know who threw that pepper," answered Tom, with an angry
glance toward Lew Flapp and his cronies.
"Did somebody throw pepper?" asked Mr. Strong.
"I think they did, although I'm not sure. Anyway, something came along
and made the most of us sneeze."
"It's too bad, Rover. I'll try to make sure of this," said the teacher.
But though he made an investigation nothing came of it.
Some of the cadets were so delighted with the success of Tom's team
that they took Tom on their shoulders and marched around the entire
encampment with him.
"I tell you, Rockley feels sore," said Sam, a little later.
"Around the belt?" asked Tom with a grin.
"I mean in his mind. He and Lew Flapp are having a regular quarrel over
the contest. I guess Flapp lost some money."
"Perhaps, if he has, it will cure him of betting," put in Dick.
Sam and Tom had received permission to go to the upper end of the lake
in one of the rowboats on the following afternoon. Songbird Powell and
Fred Garrison went along, and all took their fishing outfits and plenty
"Bring home a nice mess of fish," said Dick, on parting with his
brothers. "Sorry I can't go with you."
"Oh, you'll have company enough," declared Sam. "I heard that some of
the country folks are going to visit the encampment to-day and perhaps
those Staton girls will be among them."
The four boys were soon on the way, two rowing at a time. The weather
was ideal, and the water as smooth as that of a mill pond.
"What a beautiful spot this is," declared Fred, as they glided long.
"I'm sure Captain Putnam could not have selected a better."
"I have already gotten some splendid pictures," returned Powell, who
possessed a good snap-shot camera, now lying on the stern seat of the
boat. "I'm going to take some more pictures to-day."
On the way to the upper end of the lake Sam did a little fishing and
brought in one bass of fair size.
"This makes a fellow feel like a true poet," murmured Powell, gazing
dreamily at the water, and then he went on:
"I love to glide,
By the green-clad side
Of the glassy lake,
And there to take
My ease with book
Or line and hook,
And spend the day
Far, far away
From care and toil,
On Nature's soil."
"Just to listen to Songbird!" cried Tom. "He grinds it out like a
regular sausage-making machine," and then he went on gayly:
"I love to swim,
In Nature's soil,
By the green-clad side,
Of a mountain wide,
And there to bake,
My little toes,
On a garden rose,
And take a hose,
And wet the lake
With a hot snowflake,
In the middle of June—
If that isn't too soon—
And sail to the moon
In a big balloon—"
"Oh, Tom, let up!" roared Fred. "Talk about a sausage-making machine—"
"And when in the moon,
I'd drive a stake,
And tie my lake
Fast to a star,
Or a trolley car,
Then jump in a sack
And ride right back—"
"To where you belong,
And stop that song!"
finished Sam. "Oh, but that's the worst yet. Shall we duck him, Fred?"
"No, don't pollute the water," answered Garrison.
"He ought to be ducked," came from Powell, in disgust. "Whenever I have
a poetic streak—"
"It's catching, as the fly-paper said to the fly," finished Tom. "Let's
call it square and take a new tack. Who's in for a swim when we reach
the end of the lake?"
"I am!" was the united cry from the others. They were passing several
small islands and now came to another turn in Bass Lake. Just beyond
this was a small sandy beach, backed up by a mass of rocks and
"That looks like a good place for a swim," said Powell, forgetting all
about his so-called poetry.
"Suits me," returned Tom. "Let's pull ashore and tie the boat fast, and
I'll put up—"
"A peanut reward for the first fellow in," finished Fred. "Caught you
that time, Tom, just as you caught Songbird with his doggerel."
As happy as any boys could be, the four cadets tied up their boat. In
doing this one started to splash in the water, followed by another, and
as a consequence before the cutting-up came to a finish the seats of
the craft were pretty well wetted.
"Never mind," said Tom. "They'll soon dry in the sun. We can put our
clothes on the rocks."
The boys were soon in the water and having a most glorious time. The
lake was fairly deep off the end of the boat and here they took turns
at diving. Fred and Songbird also went in for a race, the former coming
in only a few feet ahead.
"I guess we had better dress now and try our hand at fishing," said Sam
after nearly an hour had passed.
"One more dive!" cried Tom and took one full of grace, to the very
bottom of the lake.
As Tom came up to the surface he heard a cry from Sam, quickly followed
by a yell from Fred.
"What's up?" he called out, swimming toward the shore.
"Land on the boat, Tom!" cried Sam, and leaped into the craft, followed
by Fred and Powell.
"All right; but what is wrong?" asked Tom, and climbed tip over the
"We can't get our clothes."
"Look for yourself."
Tom looked and gave a low whistle of astonishment. And not without good
reason, for there on the rocks where they had left their garments
rested a big black snake!
"This is interesting truly," murmured the boy, gazing at his companions
"I'm going to get a rock and throw it at the snake," said Sam.
A stone was close to the boat, and watching his chance, he picked it up
and threw it at the reptile.
The snake darted to one side. It was merely grazed by the rock and now
it hissed viciously.
The hiss appeared to be a signal, and in a moment more another snake
and then another appeared, until fully a dozen reptiles each a yard or
more in length covered the rocks where all of the cadets' wearing
A GLIMPSE OF AN OLD ENEMY
"We are in a pickle now and no mistake!" groaned Fred Garrison. He
hated snakes as much as he did poison.
"It's certainly bad," declared Songbird Powell. "I wonder what we had
"Has anybody got a pistol?"
Nobody had, nor was there any weapon handy outside of a jackknife and a
"If we only had a shot-gun," sighed Sam.
"But we haven't one and we must do the best we can without it,"
answered Tom. "Songbird, supposing you try to charm 'em with some of
that soothing poetry of yours. Or take a picture of 'em."
"This is no joke," growled Powell. "I want my clothes."
"Well, go ahead and take 'em—I shan't stop you."
"I'm going to get another rock," said Sam.
"Let us all get stones," suggested Tom. "Then we can throw together."
This was thought to be a good idea, and soon the stones were secured
and each cadet took careful aim.
Three of the snakes were hit, one quite seriously. These retreated, but
the other snakes remained as defiant as ever.
"There must be a nest under the rocks," said Tom. "Were that not so I
am sure the snakes would leave at once."
"I've got another idea!" cried Fred. "Why didn't we think of it
"I haven't thought of it yet, Fred," grinned Tom. "What is it?"
"Let us take our fishing rods and tie one fast to another. Then we can
turn the boat around and go fishing on the rocks for our clothes."
"That's the talk," rejoined Powell. "A good idea, Fred."
Three of the rods were pieced together, making a fishing pole over
thirty feet long. The boat was then swung around, and while two kept
the craft in place the others went fishing for the clothing.
The task was not so easy as it looked, and the snakes whipped around
and hissed in a most alarming fashion. More than once they had a coat
or other garment on the pole only to drop it again. But they persevered
and soon had everything on board but Fred's shirt and one of Tom's
"Here comes the shirt," cried Tom, at last, and landed the garment in
the bow of the rowboat.
"And a snake with it!" screamed Sam. "Look out, everybody!"
Sam was right, the snake was there and in a trice was whipping around
under the seat.
"Stamp on him, Fred!" cried Tom, and Garrison, who had his shoes on,
did so. Then Tom caught the reptile by the tail and flung it into the
After this there was but little trouble in getting the remaining shoe,
and with this aboard they sent the rowboat out into the lake and lost
no time in finishing their dressing.
"This was a truly horrible experience," was Sam's comment, after the
excitement had died down. "Gracious, I feel as if the snakes were
crawling around me this minute!"
"Don't say that," said Fred with a shudder. "You make me feel as if
there was another snake in my shirt."
"The best thing to do is to forget the snakes," put in Songbird Powell.
"Let us row around to the other side of the lake."
All were willing, and soon the vicinity was left far behind. Then they
came to where a fair sized brook flowed into Bass Lake, and here they
came to anchor and began to fish, while Powell took several
"I have always found it good fishing near a brook like that," said Tom.
"The fish come around looking for food from the brook."
Tom's remark was evidently true, for in less than an hour each of the
boys had a good sized string of fish to his credit.
In the excitement of the sport the cadets forgot all about the
adventure with the snakes, nor did they pay much attention to the
flight of time until Fred Garrison glanced at his watch.
"Gee Christopher!" he ejaculated.
"What time is it?" asked Powell.
"And we promised to be back at five-thirty!" put in Sam. "We'll have to
"Oh, we can get back in an hour easily enough," put in Tom.
"But we've got to clean out the boat and clean up ourselves," came from
Fred. "Come, fellows, wind up and put away your hooks and poles."
He started and the others followed. Then Fred and Powell took the oars,
and the return to camp was begun. Not caring to go back the same way
they had come, they sped along the opposite shore of the lake, where
were located several coves and cliffs of rock.
"This is as pretty as the other shore," remarked Songbird. And he
"Oh, dreamy days in summer time,
When purling brooks and shady nooks—"
"If you start up again I'll jump overboard," interrupted Tom.
"Do so, you need a cooling off," grunted Powell; but that was the end
of the poetry for the time being.
They were just passing one of the coves when they caught sight of a man
sitting on an overhanging tree, fishing.
"Hullo, what luck?" cried Fred, good-naturedly.
"Fair," was the somewhat surly answer. Then, as the man caught sight of
the others in the boat, he turned his head away.
"That fellow looks familiar to me," ejaculated Sam, in sudden and
"And he looks familiar to me, too," exclaimed Tom.
"Do you think it is Arnold Baxter?"
"If it isn't, it's his double," went on Tom. "Row the boat over quick,
"Who is this Arnold Baxter? The father of Dan Baxter?" questioned Fred.
"The same, Fred."
"The fellow who escaped from prison, or the hospital?" asked Powell.
"That's the chap."
Without delay the rowboat was turned in toward the overhanging tree.
Scarcely had this been done when the fisherman pulled in his line with
all speed, took up his string of fish and ran into the bushes between
two cliffs of rocks.
"He is getting out, and in a hurry too!" said Fred.
"Hi, there, stop! We want to talk to you!" sang out Tom, at the top of
"Ain't got time," roared back the strange fisherman, and on the instant
he was gone.
"It must have been Arnold Baxter, beyond a doubt," said Sam.
"If it was, what is he doing here?" questioned his brother.
"He's keeping out of the reach of the law," answered Powell. "I suppose
he thought he was perfectly safe in such an out-of-the-way place as
"And he was fishing just to kill time," put in Fred.
"I'd like to go after him and make sure," went on Tom. "What do you
"I am with you."
"But we may be late—" began Fred.
"Oh, Captain Putnam will excuse us when I tell him what delayed us."
The rowboat soon reached the shore, and Sam and Tom leaped to the
brushwood, where the trail of the vanished fisherman was plainly to be
It was decided that Fred and Powell should remain in charge of the
rowboat, so that nobody might come and make off with the craft. Leaving
their fishing outfits behind them the two Rover boys struck out through
the bushes, and soon gained a narrow forest path running through the
woods that skirted this section of Bass Lake.
"I wish we could catch Baxter," said Tom, on the way. "It would be a
feather in our cap, Sam."
"We must be careful. More than likely he is armed, and he won't
hesitate to shoot if he is cornered."
"Oh, I know that. The most we can do is to follow him until we reach
some place where we can summon assistance."
The path led deeper and deeper into the woods and then along a
fairsized brook. They kept their eyes wide open, but could see nothing
excepting a number of birds and an occasional squirrel or chipmunk.
Once they heard the distant bark of a fox and this was the only sound
that broke the stillness.
"It's rather a lonely place," said Sam, after a silence lasting several
minutes. "I must say I shouldn't like to meet Arnold Baxter here
"For all we know he may be watching us from behind some tree."
Several times they got down to examine the path. Footprints could be
seen quite plainly, but neither of the boys was expert enough at
trailing to tell whether these prints had been made recently or not.
"It would take an Indian scout to make sure of these footmarks," said
Tom. "They are beyond me."
"Let us go a bit further," returned his brother. "Then if we don't see
anything, we may as well go back to the lake."
They listened intently and at a distance heard a crashing in the
"That sounded as if somebody had jumped across the brook, Tom!"
"Just what I should say, Sam. Come on!"
Again they went forward, a distance of thirty or forty yards. At this
point the path seemed to dwindle down to little or nothing.
"We have come to the end of the trail," was Tom's comment, as he gazed
"Do you see anything?" queried his brother.
"Nothing much. One or two of the bushes over yonder seem to be brushed
aside and broken."
"What do you think we had best do now?"
Both remained silent for several minutes, but nothing out of the
ordinary reached their ears.
"We may as well give it up, Sam. It is growing dark and there is no
telling where this search would lead us. We might even get lost in the
They retraced their steps as quickly as they could to where they had
left the rowboat.
"What luck?" queried Fred.
"None; he got away from us."
"It's too bad," said Powell; and then the return to the camp was made
without further delay.
"Do you mean to tell me that you saw Arnold Baxter?" exclaimed Dick,
after listening to Sam and Tom's story.
"We did," replied the youngest Rover. "There was no mistake?"
"If it wasn't Arnold Baxter do you think he would take such pains to
get out of our reach?" asked Tom.
"That is true, Tom. But it seems so unnatural. What can he be doing in
this out-of-the-way place?"
"As Powell says, he must be keeping out of the reach of the law.
Perhaps he expects to keep shady until this affair blows over."
"As if it would blow over!" cried Sam. "Dick, we ought to do
Captain Putnam had already learned why the four cadets had been late in
returning to camp. The Rovers now went to consult him further.
"I agree, something should be done," said the captain. "Perhaps you had
better go to the nearest telegraph office, Richard, and telegraph to
your folks. You might also get some of the local authorities to take up
the hunt for this criminal."
"Who are the local authorities?"
"I really don't know, but we can find out at Oakville."
In the end Dick and Tom received permission to leave camp for an
indefinite time. Late as it was, they hurried to Oakville and caught
the telegraph operator at the little railroad station just as he was
shutting up for the night.
Having sent the message to their father they made inquiries of the
operator and learned that the town boasted of a Judge Perkins and that
the local constable was Munro Staton.
"Do you mean the farmer who lives down on the road to Bass Lake?" asked
Dick. "The man who has twin daughters?"
"That's the man."
"Why, he was in camp to-day, with his daughters," cried Dick. "Wish I
had known of this before. I might have hired him to make a hunt for the
fellow we are after. Where does that judge live?"
"Sorry, but he went to New York yesterday and won't be back for several
The boys said no more, but without delay turned away from Oakville and
made their way to the Staton farmhouse.
"Hullo! I didn't expect to see you again to-day!" exclaimed Munro
Staton, as he opened the door for them. "Come in."
They entered, to find the girls sewing and Mrs. Staton darning
stockings. Mr. Staton had been reading his favorite weekly newspaper.
"We have come on a very important errand, Mr. Staton," began Dick. "We
have been down to Oakville and learned there that you are the local
"Ah! Do you want somebody arrested?"
"If it can be done."
"Somebody at the camp?" put in Helen.
"No, I wish he was at the camp," said Tom. "But I'm afraid he is miles
All of the Statons were interested and listened to the tale Tom and
Dick had to tell with close attention.
"Seems to me I've heard of this Baxter and his son," said Munro Staton,
scratching his head. "How does he look?"
As well as he was able Tom described the man, while Dick took a sheet
of paper and a pencil and made a rough but life-like sketch of the
"Why, you are quite an artist!" said Alice Staton as she gazed at the
picture. "I'm sure I'd recognize that man if I met him."
"So would I," added her father. "Can I keep this picture?"
"To be sure," replied Dick. "Now, Mr. Staton, to come to business. What
are your services as constable worth a day?"
"Oh, about two or two dollars and a half."
"Well if you will start a hunt for this man Baxter at once I'll
guarantee you three dollars per day for a week or two, and if you
succeed in landing him in jail I'll guarantee you a reward of one
hundred dollars. I know my father will pay that amount willingly."
"And if he won't, I will," said Tom.
"You must be rich."
"We are fairly rich, Mr. Staton. This man is a great criminal and has
been an enemy to our family for years. We don't want to see him at
"Well, I'll take the job and do the best I can for you," said Munro
Staton and arose to his feet. "My hired man can run the farm while I am
He said he knew the spot where the boys had first seen Arnold Baxter,
and he would visit it at sunrise the next day and take up the trail as
best he could.
"That trail through the woods used to lead to the village of Hopdale,"
he said. "Perhaps I'll learn something about him over there."
"I sincerely hope that you do," returned Dick.
The boys, and especially Tom, were worn out with traveling and readily
consented to borrow a horse from Munro Staton, on which to ride back to
camp. The steed was returned early in the morning.
"It's rather a wild-goose chase," said Dick, in talking matters over
with his brothers. "But I don't know of anything else to do. Mr. Staton
may catch Baxter quicker than a metropolitan detective could do the
Three days passed, and during that time the boys received two telegrams
from home, stating they should do as they thought best in the Baxter
affair, and that a detective was on the way. Then the detective
appeared at the camp and followed Munro Staton on the hunt for the
missing criminal. But the search by both men proved useless, and
nothing more was seen of Arnold Baxter for the time being.
The cadets had arranged for a series of athletic contests, to come off
at the beginning of the following week. There was to be broad and high
jumping, and running, as well as throwing the hammer. All of the
students were interested, and for some time these contests formed the
total subject of conversation.
The cadets to enter for the various events, eight in number, were those
already introduced in these pages and a dozen or fifteen in addition,
all lively, wide-awake youths, each of whom looked as if he would do
his best to win.
In a manner not to be easily explained, the camp divided itself into
two factions, one led by Dick and Major Larry, and the other led by Lew
Flapp and Pender. To the former belonged the Rovers and their numerous
chums, and to the latter Rockley, Ben Hurdy, and boys of a similar
turn. Each crowd had one or more followers entered for every event and,
as before, numerous wagers were made as to which person and which crowd
Dick had entered for the high jump, Tom for the hammer throwing, and
Sam for a half mile race for cadets of his own class. The boys
practiced a good deal, although not always where the others could see
what they were doing.
The day for the contests was a perfect one and as news of the events
had traveled to Oakville and other places, quite a respectable crowd of
outsiders came to the camp to witness the affair.
"I hope you Rover boys win," said Alice Staton, who had come with her
twin sister and her mother in a buggy.
"Thank you," returned Dick politely. "We shall certainly do our best.
But you must remember that we have some first-class athletes at this
"Oh, I don't doubt it. All academies have them," put in Helen Staton.
The first event to come off was the hammer throwing, to take place in
the middle of the parade ground. There were four entries for this, Tom,
as already mentioned, Jackson, Powell, and a big boy named Larson.
Larson, who belonged to the Flapp crowd, was looked on as the probable
winner, for he handled the hammer exceedingly well. But Jackson could
also throw, as the others well knew. Nothing was known about the skill
of Tom or Powell in this direction.
The contest began with a throw by Powell. It was not very good and
Jackson outdistanced him by three feet.
"That's the style, Jackson!" cried Lew Flapp. "Show 'em what you can
"This is the day our crowd comes out on top," put in Pender.
"Crowing rather early, seems to me," came from Fred Garrison dryly.
It was now Tom's turn and he threw the hammer with all the force at his
command. It fell just beyond the point reached by Jackson.
"Good for you, Tom!" cried Sam. "That's the way to do it."
"Humph! Just wait till Larson takes his turn," came from a Flapp
Larson stepped to the mark with the air of one who knows just what he
is doing. Up went the hammer with a long swing—to land in the very spot
where Tom had thrown it.
"A tie! A tie!" was the cry.
"Well done, Larson!" came from Lew Flapp, but he was by no means
satisfied over the showing made.
Being tied, it was necessary for Tom and Larson to throw once more, and
again Tom took his position at the mark.
"Be careful, Tom," whispered Dick. "Take your time."
Again the hammer swung up into the air and went sailing forward.
"Hurrah, eight inches beyond his first mark!" came the cry.
"Larson will have to hump himself to beat that!"
It was now Larson's turn and he stepped to the mark with a quick,
earnest air. He realized that he must do his best if he expected to
Jackson had picked up the hammer and he it was who had handed the
article to Tom.
As Larson swung the hammer on high Tom cried out quickly:
"What's the matter with you?" cried Jackson uglily.
"I want Captain Putnam to examine that hammer."
"There ain't nothing wrong with it."
"Possibly not. But please remember that I used the one marked A."
"So did I," came from Powell.
Captain Putnam brushed forward.
"I will look at that hammer, please," he said to Larson quietly. He
knew that the cadets had several hammers for practicing throwing in the
"I—I guess it's all right," faltered Larson. "This hammer is marked B."
"B!" cried Tom. "That B hammer is about half a pound lighter than the
one marked A."
"It ain't so!" yelled Jackson.
"Let me see the hammer marked A," said the captain, and it was brought
from the spot where Jackson had thrown it. "It is certainly heavier
than this one," he went on. "Jackson, what do you mean by making such a
"I—er—I didn't know there was any difference."
"But why did you make the change at all?"
"I—er—I knew Larson liked this hammer better. The handle just suits
"That is so," replied Larson blandly.
"We will try the contest over again," said Captain Putnam. "And every
contestant will use the hammer marked A."
"I don't like the hammer marked A," grumbled Larson.
"I would just as lief use the hammer marked B," said Tom quickly.
"So would I," added Powell, who felt he could not win anyway.
"Very well then, we will use the hammer marked B," said Captain Putnam.
"And after this, Jackson, be sure of what you are doing," he added
sharply, and at the words the boy who had tried to work such a mean
trick was glad enough to slink back out of sight as much as possible.
WINNING THE CONTESTS
Powell was again the first to throw the hammer and this time it went
two feet beyond his first mark.
"Good for you, Songbird!" said Tom. "I wish you had made it a yard."
Jackson came up with a scowling face. He did his best, but this time
fell behind Powell by four inches.
"You ought to have stuck to the other hammer, Jackson," laughed the
youth who composed songs.
"Don't you throw that up to me!" whispered Jackson fiercely. "If you do
I'll hammer you for it."
"Is that meant for a pun, Jackson?"
"No, it ain't. I won't stand being slurred. I'll pound you good."
"With the hammer?"
"No, with my fists."
"Really? Well, you'll have to spell able first." Tom came next, as
before, and now the hammer flew out four feet and nine inches beyond
his first mark.
"That shows what the other hammer can do," said Major Larry.
Larson was as much out of sorts as Jackson, but nevertheless he
resolved to do his best to win the contest. Up went the hammer with a
mighty swing and circled through the air. But the throw was behind that
of Tom by fourteen inches.
"Hurrah! Tom Rover wins!" was the cry, and many rushed forward to
congratulate him, while Larson and Jackson retired as quickly as they
could and in great disgust.
The next contest was a dash of two hundred yards and was won by a boy
"He's a bird!" sang out Tom loudly, and at this the crowd laughed
Then came a race of a quarter of a mile for the little cadets and this
was won by Harry Moss, with Joe Davis a close second. Lew Flapp had
backed up Ben Hurdy, but cigarettes had done their work on Hurdy and
his wind gave out long before the race came to a finish.
"Good for you, Harry," said Dick, slapping the little cadet on the
back. "That was a fine run you made. And your run was almost as good,
Joe," he added, to Davis.
"I don't care if I did lose," panted Davis. "Both of us beat Ben Hurdy
hollow, and that's all I wanted to do."
"Oh, there's no moss growing on Moss," cried Tom, and this brought out
The next contest to come off was the high jump, for which Dick had
entered, along with Pender, Rockley, and four others, including Hans
Mueller. What had possessed the German boy to enter was beyond finding
out, for he could scarcely jump at all. Yet many, for the fun of it,
told him they thought he would surely win.
"Oh, you'll outjump everybody," said Sam. "None of 'em will come
anywhere near you."
"Dot's it! Dot's it!" cried Hans excitedly. "I vos chump so high like
nefer vos, ain't it?"
A lad named Lemon was the first to go over the bar, at a height of four
feet and two inches. Another cadet followed, going him two inches
"Now, Hans, see what you can do," said Major Larry.
"Vos it mine turn to chump?"
"Yes. Are you ready?"
"Sure I vos."
"How high up shall they place the stick?"
"Apout like dot," and Hans pointed to the top of his head.
"All right, fellows, up she goes!" sang out Tom, and the stick went up.
Hans spat on his hands as if going to lift something. Then he squared
his shoulders and drew far back from the jumping place.
"Gif me lots of room, eferypotty!" he sang out.
"All the room you want, Dutchy!" cried one of the cadets.
Away Hans started for the stick, running as swiftly as his short legs
would carry him. When about ten feet away he made a wild leap, stuck up
both legs in the air, and came down flat on his back with a loud whack.
"Hurrah, Hans wins!" cried Tom. "Best fall I've seen in a year!"
"Wh—who—vat—" gasped Hans, trying to recover his wind. "Who knocked
me der pack ofer annahow?"
"Nobody hit you, Hans."
"Who put geese grease der groundt on ver I run, hey?"
"Well, did I knock der stick town?"
"No, you didn't come anywhere near the stick."
"Do I got some more trials?"
"I think, Mueller, that you had better retire," said Captain Putnam
with a smile. "High jumping does not seem to agree with you."
"Maype dot's so, captain. Veil, I ton't care annahow. I vill drow der
hammer ven ve haf some more of dem kondests," and then Hans dropped to
Rockley was the next to jump, and his record was an inch better than
that already made.
"That's all right," said Lew Flapp.
Two other pupils now took their turns in jumping and Rockley's record
was speedily eclipsed. Then Dick came along and sent the record still
"That's the talk, Dick," said Tom enthusiastically. "I don't think
Pender can do as well."
"Can't I," sneered Pender. "I'll show you."
On he came, measuring his distance with care, and went over the stick
at the same height Dick had taken.
"Another tie!" was the cry.
The last boy to jump did not do as well as Rockley, so the contest was
voted a tie between Dick and Gus Pender.
"Now, Dick, you must win," said Sam.
"You think a good lot of his ability," sneered Lew Flapp, who stood
close by, and started to walk off.
He had scarcely taken a step when Dick gave him a quick shove that sent
the tall boy flat on his face.
"I'll teach you to step on my foot, Lew Flapp!" he cried hotly.
"What's the trouble?" demanded several, while Mr. Strong came forward
"Lew Flapp stepped on my right foot, and he did it just as hard as he
could," said Dick.
"I—I didn't," growled Flapp.
"I say you did—and what is more, I think you did it on purpose."
"He did it to lame you, so you couldn't jump against Pender," came from
"Flapp, did you step on Rover's foot on purpose?" demanded George
"No, sir—didn't step on it at all."
"It is very strange. Rover says you did."
"He is mistaken."
"I am not mistaken. That is why I shoved him away, Mr. Strong."
"Is your foot hurt?"
"I don't think it is. But it didn't do it any good to have it stepped
"Probably not. Do you still wish to jump?"
"Yes, sir. If I don't, some of the crowd will say I am afraid," said
"In the future, Flapp, be more careful," said George Strong
"By Jinks! but the Flapp crowd are dandies!" whispered Tom. "First
Jackson tried to change the hammers and now Flapp himself tries to
disable you. We must be on our guard after this."
"That's true," replied his elder brother, and Sam nodded.
Because of Dick's hurt foot it was decided that Gus Pender should jump
first. Pender did his best, clearing the stick by two inches better
"Put it up an inch higher," cried Dick, and made the jump, despite a
pain in the instep that was by no means pleasant. Then Pender tried
again, but failed, and Dick was declared the winner.
"This is the day for the Rovers!" cried one cadet, and a cheer for Tom
and Dick followed, while the Staton girls waved their handkerchiefs
After this came several other contests, in each of which the crowd
pitted against the Flapp faction won. This made Lew Flapp, Rockley,
Pender, Jackson and a number of others feel very sore.
"We must win something," cried Pender fiercely. "If we don't we'll be
the laughing stock of the whole academy."
At last came the half mile race for which Sam had entered. Now, though
Lew Flapp was much larger than most of the others, he was in the same
class as Sam, and he had also entered this race, which boasted of ten
contestants, including William Philander Tubbs.
"You have got to win this, Lew," said Rockley. "It ought to be easy
for you, with such long legs."
"I mean to win and leave that Rover boy so far behind he'll feel sick,"
Sam had but little to say. But he knew that both Tom and Dick expected
him to win, and he resolved to "do or die" as the saying goes.
"Even if I lose they shan't say I didn't try," the youngest Rover told
Out on the field William Philander Tubbs was strutting around
"I can't help but win, don't you know," he drawled. "Running is exactly
in my line."
"Oh, what a whopper!" was Fred Garrison's comment. "Tubbs is about as
lazy as they make 'em."
Soon all of the contestants were ready, and George Strong explained the
conditions of the race.
"You are to run along the shore to the big rock where Lieutenant
Merrick is stationed," he said. "You are to round the rock by running
to the right, and you must keep to the right of the path on returning,
so that you won't run into anybody. The first to reach this mark on the
return wins the race. Do you understand?"
The runners said that they did.
"Very well then. Get ready. Go!"
Away piled the boys in a line that did not break for several yards.
Then Sam Rover shot ahead, followed by Flapp and two cadets named
Pigley and Franell.
"There they go!" was the shout.
"Leg it, Sam!" yelled Tom. "Leg it, old man!"
"Go it, Flapp! Don't let them win this race!"
"It's yours if you want it, Franell!"
"Remember how you won the race at Ithaca, Pigley!"
So the cries went on, while the outsiders cheered for nobody in
"Oh, I hope that Rover boy wins," said Alice Staton to her sister.
"So do I," answered Helen.
"By Jove, but I think I'll rest a bit!" panted William Philander Tubbs,
after running a couple of hundred yards, and he sat down on the grass,
while the crowd laughed at him.
Sam was keeping the lead in good shape, although hard pressed by Flapp,
Pigley, and Franell. His wind was good and he was running with a grace
which brought forth much favorable comment.
"Whether he wins or not, he is the most graceful runner in the school,"
whispered George Strong to Captain Putnam. "I never saw his equal."
"You are right, Strong," answered the captain. "I'll tell you what," he
added. "They are a great trio, those Rover boys. One cannot help but
love them, in spite of their tricks and occasional wrong-doings."
"I agree, Captain Putnam. And I must say I do not find their
wrong-doings so very great either," concluded George Strong.
The rock that was the turning point in the race was now almost gained.
Sam still led, but Flapp was right at one shoulder, with Pigley at the
other. Franell, at a look from Flapp, had dropped behind.
On the rock stood the lieutenant George Strong had mentioned. He was
friendly to Lew Flapp and as Sam swept around the rock, he leaned
forward, making the youngest Rover run about a yard further than was
necessary. Then he allowed Flapp to cut the rock closely.
But Sam was on his mettle and now bounded ahead faster than ever,
leaving Flapp and Pigley several yards in the rear.
"Confound him," thought Lew Flapp. "He'll win sure, unless Franell does
as he agreed—good!"
Flapp almost shouted the word, as he saw Sam run into Franell with a
crash and go down. The other boy had crossed the running path and
gotten directly into Sam's way.
"I see you are out of it!" cried Flapp gleefully, as he shot by the
"It was a trick!" muttered Sam to himself, and tried to rise to his
feet. But the wind was knocked completely out of him and before he
could recover the race was over, and Lew Flapp had come in ahead.
SAM SHOWS WHAT HE CAN DO
"It was another trick. He knocked me down on purpose."
Thus spoke Sam, as soon as he could get a hearing.
"Well, if that isn't beastly!" cried Franell, in apparent surprise. "I
knocked him over! Why the little clown plumped right into me!
"Were you running on your side of the path?" questioned George Strong.
"I was, sir. Flapp and Pigley can prove it."
"That's right, Mr. Strong," said Lew Flapp.
"It was entirely Rover's fault," added Pigley. "He didn't keep to the
right as he should."
The other runners were questioned, but could give no testimony, as they
had not been close enough at the time of the collision.
"It is too bad it happened," said Captain Putnam.
"I would have won if it hadn't been for the fall," said Sam bitterly.
"I was in the lead."
"Yes, but you were about winded," said Flapp. "I saw you getting
groggy. That's what made you fall into Franell, I guess."
This remark made the youngest Rover more angry than ever.
"Mr. Strong," he said, turning to the head teacher suddenly, "will you
do me a favor?"
"What do you wish, Rover?"
"Will you time me if I run that race over again?"
"You mean to run it over alone?"
"Yes, sir—unless Flapp will run against me."
"I've won the race and that's all there is to it," grumbled the tall
"Certainly I'll time you, if you wish it," said Mr. Strong, who saw how
disappointed Sam was. "But it won't be a race, you know."
"I don't care—I want to show them what I can do."
Sam drew up to the mark and declared himself ready.
"Shall I run with you?" asked Tom. "Just to urge you on, you know?"
"All right, Tom, come on."
"Go!" cried George Strong, watch in hand and his eye on the second
Away went the brothers side by side, while a cheer went up from those
who had wished to see Sam win.
Tom kept close to his brother until the rounding rock was gained and
here Sam compelled him to drop behind.
"Go on!" yelled Tom good-naturedly. "Go! I'm after you!" and he put on
an extra spurt. Sam also spurted and kept the lead by about two yards.
"Humph! that ain't running!" muttered Lew Flapp to Rockley, but
nevertheless, he was greatly disturbed.
Down the line swept the two runners with the speed of the wind, Sam
keeping his two yards' lead in spite of Tom's efforts to overtake him.
"Won!" was the shout. "And Tom Rover is close behind." And then the
crowd gathered around George Strong to learn the time.
"Eight seconds better than Lew Flapp!" was the cry. "And Tom Rover came
in four seconds better!"
"That shows what Sam Rover would have done had Franell kept out of his
"The race should have gone to Sam Rover!"
So the cries kept up until Captain Putnam compelled the cadets to quiet
Lew Flapp and his cronies were much disgusted and left the field almost
"He's afraid to stay," declared Dick. "He doesn't want Sam to challenge
him," and this was the truth.
The foot races were followed by some prize shooting, a race on the
lake, and then by a tub race, and a race in sacks, which called forth
much laughter, not only from the cadets, but also from the visitors.
"It was just splendid!" declared Alice Staton to Dick, when it was all
over. "I never had such a lovely time in my life."
"Nor I," added her twin sister. "But your brother should have had that
running race. It was a shame to knock him down."
"Never mind," said Tom, who had come up. "All the boys know he can run
faster than the winner anyway."
A luncheon was served to the visitors by Captain Putnam's order and
after that the cadets and their newly-made friends were allowed to go
walking, boating, or driving, as they saw fit. Swings had been erected
in the grove close to the encampment and these were constantly
"It must be lots of fun to be a cadet," said Alice Staton, when ready
to depart. "If I was a boy I should want to go to a military academy."
"Oh, it's not all play," said Tom. "We have to work pretty hard over
our studies and sometimes a fellow doesn't feel like drilling, but has
to do it all the same."
It can truly be said that the Flapp crowd were much disappointed over
the results of the day's contests. Only two events had been won—a boat
race of small importance and the race in which Lew Flapp had come off
victor, and the latter victory was dimmed by the knowledge that Sam
Rover had cut down Flapp's time over the course by eight seconds.
"We may as well sell out and go home," said Pender, in deep disgust.
"But we can't go home," returned Rockley. "We've got to stay right here
and take all the taunts that come along."
"Nobody shall taunt me," cried Jackson. "If they try it I'll punch
"And to think we lost our money, too," said Ben Hurdy, after a pause.
"That's what makes me sick."
"Reckon you didn't lose much," said Lew Flapp, with a sickly grin.
"I lost all I had, and that's enough."
"Who won it?"
"Hans Mueller. That crazy Dutch boy was yelling for Tom Rover and I
took him up."
The Flapp crowd did not feel like mingling with the visitors, and at
the first opportunity Lew Flapp and his intimate cronies slipped away
from the camp and hurried to the hermit's den they had discovered.
"We'll have a little jollification of our own," said Rockley, and his
plan was speedily carried into effect, in a fashion which would not
have been approved by Captain Putnam or any of the teachers under him.
"We must get after Dick Rover," said Flapp, while smoking a
black-looking cigar. "As a captain he stands pretty high. If we can
pull him down we'll be striking a blow at the whole Rover family and
also at their intimate friends."
"Right you are. But the question is, How are we to get hold of him, and
what are we to do?" put in Jackson.
"I've got a plan, but I don't know exactly how it will work."
"Let us have it, Lew," came from Gus Pender.
"Some dark night we'll go to Rover's tent and haul him from his cot.
We'll wear masks and he'll think he's in for a bit of hazing and won't
squeal very loud. Then we can blindfold him and bring him here."
"So far, so good," put in Rockley. "And after that?"
"You know how he hates liquor?"
"Does he, or is it all put on?" questioned Ben Hurdy.
"I can't say as to that, but anyway he pretends to hate it, so it
amounts to the same thing. Well, after we have him here we can get him
to drink something by hook or by crook, and when he falls asleep we can
put an empty bottle in his hand and then somebody can bring Captain
Putnam to the spot. That will wipe out Dick Rover's record as a model
pupil all in a minute."
"Good!" almost shouted Rockley. "We can dose him easily. You just leave
that for me."
"Wish we could get his brothers into it, too," came from Pender.
"Oh, we can serve them out some other way," answered Lew Flapp. "At the
start, we don't want to bite off more than we can chew," he added
The matter was discussed for fully an hour, and when the meeting broke
up each member understood fully what was to be accomplished.
Two days after the athletic contests the cadets had a prize drill. The
cadets had been preparing for this for some time and each company did
its best to win.
"I am greatly pleased with the showing made by all three companies,"
said Captain Putnam after the drilling and marching were at an end.
"Companies B and C have done very well indeed. But for general
excellence the average of Company A is a little above the others, so
the prize must go to Captain Rover's command."
"Hurrah for Dick Rover!" was the cry, and this was followed by a cheer
for First Lieutenant Powell and for Second Lieutenant Tom Rover.
"Humph! Forever cheering those Rovers!" muttered Flapp, who was in
Company C. "My, but it makes me sick!"
"Never mind," whispered Rockley. "Just wait till we get the chance to
work our little game."
At once Lew Flapp's face took on a cunning look.
"I've got an idea," he whispered in return. "Why not try it on
to-night? Then Captain Putnam would say Rover had been celebrating
because his company won the prize."
"You are right there, Lew, I didn't think of that. Wait till I sound
the other fellows."
It did not take Rockley long to talk to his cronies, and presently he
came back with a knowing look on his face.
"It's settled," he said. "By to-morrow morning Dick Rover will be in
disgrace and will lose his position as captain of Company A."
A PRISONER OF THE ENEMY
Never dreaming of the plot hatched out against him, Dick retired as
usual that night. Now that the worry over the competitive drill was a
thing of the past he realized that he was worn out, and scarcely had
his head touched the pillow than he was in the land of Nod.
His awakening was a rude one. He felt himself raised up, a large towel
was passed over his face and tied behind his head, and then he was
dragged from his cot.
"Don't dare to make a sound!" whispered a low voice in his ear. "If you
do, you'll be struck senseless."
"Hullo, I'm about to be hazed," thought Dick, and it must be admitted
that he was far from pleased. "They think they are going to do
something grand to the captain of the company that won the prize. Well,
not if I can help it," and he began to struggle to free himself.
But his tormentors were too many for him and almost before he knew it
his hands and his feet were made secure and a sack was drawn over his
head. Then he was raised up and carried away he knew not to where.
"One thing is certain, they are taking me a long distance from camp,"
was his thought, when he found himself dumped into a rowboat. "Can they
be going to the head of the lake?"
The idea of using the boat had been suggested by Jackson, who said it
would bewilder Dick, so he would not know where he was being taken. And
Jackson was right, the eldest Rover thought he was a long way from camp
when he was placed on shore again.
His feet were now unloosed and he was made to march forward until the
vicinity of the hermit's den was reached. Then he was carried into the
den and tied fast to a log erected near one of the side walls.
"Take the sack from his head," came in the voice of Lew Flapp, and this
was done and then the towel was also removed.
For the moment Dick could see nothing, for the glare of a large lantern
was directly in his face. Then he made out half a dozen or more cadets
standing around him, each with a red mask over his face, and a red
skull cap with horns.
"Hullo, this must be a new secret society," he thought. "I've been
initiated into the Order of Black Skulls, but never into the Order of
Red Skulls. Wonder what they will want me to do?" There was a moment
of silence and one of the masked cadets stepped to the front.
"Prisoner, are you prepared to meet your doom?" was the question put in
a harsh voice.
"Oh, chestnuts!" cried Dick. "I went through that long ago, when I
first came to Putnam Hall."
"Bow to your superiors," said another voice.
"Where are the superiors?" asked Dick innocently. "I don't see 'em."
"The prisoner is impertinent! Make him bow!"
At once several sprang behind Dick and forced him to move his head up
"Let up, my head isn't on a hinge!" he cried. "Cut it short, for I'm
"Make him drink the poison and at once!" put in another of the masked
The speaker tried to disguise his tones, but the voice sounded much
like that of Lew Flapp and instantly Dick was on the alert.
"How much do you want me to drink?" he asked cheerfully.
"Only one glass, if you drink it without stopping to sneeze," put in
another voice, and now Dick was certain that he recognized Rockley.
"These are no friends," he thought. "They are enemies and they intend
to play me foul."
"How can I drink with my hands tied behind me?" he asked.
"We will hold the glass for you," said another, and Dick felt almost
sure it was Gus Pender who uttered the words.
"It's the whole Flapp crowd," he mused. "I'm in a pickle and no
mistake. I suppose they'll half kill me before they let me go."
"Will you drink?" asked another. He was small in size and Dick put him
down as being Ben Hurdy.
"I want you to untie my hands."
"Very well, let the prisoner hold the glass," said Flapp.
"Thank you, Flapp."
"Who said I was Flapp?" growled the tall boy, in dismay.
"I say so."
"My name is Brown."
"All right then, Brown let it be," said Dick, not wanting to anger the
bully too much.
The prisoner's hands were untied and a glass containing a dark-colored
mixture was handed to him. Dick had heard of the "glass of poison"
before, said glass containing nothing but mud and water well stirred
up. But now he was suspicious. This glass looked as if it might contain
"They'd as soon drug me as not," he thought. "For all I know this may
be a dose strong enough to make an elephant sick. I don't think I'll
drink it, no matter what they do."
"Prisoner, drink!" was the cry.
"Thanks, but I am not thirsty," answered Dick, as coolly as he could.
"Besides, I had my dose of mud and water a long time ago."
"He must drink!" roared Rockley.
"Get the switches!" ordered Lew Flapp, and from a corner a number of
long, heavy switches were brought forth and passed around.
Things began to look serious and it must be confessed that Dick's heart
beat fast, for he had no desire to undergo a switching at the hands of
such a cold-hearted crowd, who would be sure to lay on the strokes
"Don't you strike me," said Dick, thinking rapidly. "I'll drink fast
enough. But I want to know one thing first."
"What are you going to do with me next?"
"Make you take the antidote for the poison," said Flapp.
"And what is that?"
"They are going to drug me as sure as fate," reasoned Dick. "How can I
While he was deliberating there was a noise outside, as a night bird
swept by the entrance to the hermit's den.
All of the masked cadets were startled and looked in that direction.
By inspiration Dick seized the moment to throw the contents of the
glass over his shoulder into a dark corner. When the crowd turned back
he had the glass turned up to his mouth and was going through the
movement of swallowing.
"Ugh! what ugly stuff," he said, handing the glass to one of the crowd.
"Ha! he has swallowed the poison!" cried Lew Flapp, and nudged Rockley
in the ribs. "That was easy, wasn't it?" he whispered.
"Give him the second glass," muttered Rockley. "That will make him as
foolish as a fiddler."
Pender already had the glass handy. He passed it to Dick, who suddenly
glared at him in an uncertain manner. Dick had smelt the liquor in the
first glass and now realized something of the plot to bring him to
"Say, but that stuff makes me feel lightheaded," he said. "Wasn't so
bad, after all."
"Drink this, quick," cried Flapp, more eagerly than ever.
"All right," said Dick, and spilt a little out of the glass onto the
floor. "Wonder what makes my hand shake so?" he murmured.
"Take this and it will brace you up," put in Pender.
"Ha, look there!" yelled Dick, gazing fixedly at the rear of the den.
"See the three-headed owl!"
All looked in the direction and again he threw the contents of the
glass behind him. Then he pretended to drink, while glaring at the
cadets around him.
"Funny, I can't count you any more!" he muttered. "Six, seven, ten,
'leven, nine! Say, I'm all mixed up. Who put me on the merry-go-'round
anyway?" He began to stagger. "Guess I'm on a toboggan slide, ain't I?"
and he acted as if he could no longer stand up-right.
"Cut him loose, fellows!" cried Flapp, and this was done, and Dick
staggered to the table, clutched it, slid to the floor and acted as if
he had fallen into a deep sleep.
"Say, that was dead easy!" cried Pender gleefully. "Took the stuff
like a lamb."
"What's to do next, Flapp?" asked Jackson.
"Say, Jackson, don't speak my name, please," cried the tall boy in
"Oh, what's the odds," put in Pender. "Rover is dead to the world.
Rockley knew just how to fix those doses."
"That's right, Gus," came from Rockley.
"We had better not lose time here," went on Flapp presently. "Let us
tell Captain Putnam without delay. He'll have Rover brought back to
camp just as he is, and that will disgrace him forever."
"Wait till I put the empty bottle near him," said Rockley, and this was
Then the crowd of masked cadets left the den, leaving the door wide
open behind them.
DICK'S MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE
A minute after the last of Lew Flapp's crowd left the hermit's den Dick
leaped to his feet, went to the doorway, and listened intently. It was
quite dark, so he could see little or nothing.
At a distance he heard the masked cadets stealing swiftly along through
the woods. They had put out the lantern, knowing the road fairly well
through repeated excursions to the den. Soon the crowd was completely
out of hearing.
It must be confessed that Dick felt lonely, and almost the first thing
he did was to take a match from his pocket and strike it. Discovering a
bit of candle on the table he lighted this also.
But little was to be seen outside of that which had already met his
gaze. The hermit's den had been cleaned up around the table, on which
rested half a dozen bottles, an empty cigar box, and several packs of
"This must be the stuff those fellows bought in Oakville," thought the
eldest Rover. "They have been using this cave for a regular club room.
What a beastly crowd they are! And they really imagine they are having
good times, too!"
As will be remembered, Dick had been given a trip on a rowboat before
being brought into the den and he imagined that he was somewhere near
the head of Bass Lake, how far from the camp he could not tell.
"Perhaps I'm near where Tom and the others met those snakes," he mused.
"Ugh! I don't want to fall in with things like that. And how I am to
get back to camp without a boat is more than I can settle."
Blowing out the bit of candle, he placed it in his pocket and left the
den. On all sides were the thick bushes already described, and poor
Dick knew not which way to turn. He listened once more, but hardly a
sound broke the midnight silence.
"Might as well strike out as to stay here," he said. "I don't think
they'll come back in very much of a hurry, and perhaps they won't come
Pushing his way through the bushes he at last reached a tiny stream
that poured over the rocks. He followed the stream and after half an
hour's hard walking reached the edge of the lake. He had journeyed
directly away from the camp and was now in a spot that was lonely in
Fortunately or unfortunately, the water at this point was very shallow
and soon Dick was wading over to what he took to be the island upon
which the encampment had been located. But as a matter of fact he was
headed for the main shore of the lake, and soon he was tramping further
away from the camp than ever. For once in his life, so far as his bump
of locality was concerned, Dick was hopelessly mixed.
Dick traveled nearly a mile before he reached the conclusion that he
was not on Pine Island or anywhere near it.
"I'm on the mainland, that's certain," he told himself. "I guess the
best thing I can do is to wait for daylight before going further. I may
only—Hullo, a light!"
Dick had emerged from a grove of trees and now saw a light streaming
from the window of a cottage but a short distance away. The sight of
this caused him to breathe a sigh of relief.
"Some farmer's place, I suppose," he murmured. "Well, anything will do.
I can get a place to sleep, and the farmer can testify to it that I
haven't been drinking, as Lew Flapp and his cronies will want to
A curtain was drawn over the window of the cottage, so that Dick could
not see into the room. The cottage was small, with but a single doors
and on this the youth rapped loudly.
The rapping was followed by a commotion inside of the cottage and Dick
heard two persons leap to their feet.
"Who's there?" demanded a rough voice.
"A stranger," Dick answered. "I have lost my way in the darkness," and
without waiting he tried the door, and finding it unlocked, opened it.
The cry came from one of the occupants of the room, a tall,
awkward-looking young man, much tanned by exposure, and with a pair of
dark and wicked-looking eyes.
"Great Scott!" gasped Dick, falling back a step. "Am I dreaming or is
this really Dan Baxter?"
"Oh. I'm Dan Baxter right enough," answered the former bully of Putnam
"But—but I thought you were still on that island in the Pacific."
"You wanted to see me end my days there, didn't you?" sneered Dan
Dick did not reply, for he was gazing at the other occupant of the
room, a man with a short crop of hair and a short beard.
"And your father, too!" he murmured.
"Come in here," cried Arnold Baxter savagely and caught him by the arm.
"Are you alone?"
"Yes," answered Dick, before he had stopped to think twice.
"Good enough. Come in," and Arnold Baxter continued to hold him.
"He may be fooling us, dad," put in Dan Baxter. "The officers of the
law may be with him."
"Take a look around and see, Dan. I'll keep him here."
"Let me go!" cried Dick, trying to break away.
"Not much, Rover. You'll stay right where you are for the present,"
answered the older Baxter grimly.
Dan had slipped out and he made a thorough search before returning to
the cottage. In the meantime Dick was forced to sit down on a bench in
a corner, while Arnold Baxter stood over him with a stout club.
"This is getting interesting, to say the least," thought Dick. "I wish
I hadn't come anywhere near the cottage."
"Nobody around," announced Dan Baxter, as he came in and closed and
locked the door.
"Good," answered his father. He turned again to Dick. "Now, how comes
it that you are wandering around here, Rover?" he went on.
"I was trying to find my way back to camp and lost my way in the
"But your camp is on an island."
"I know it. I was carried off by some students who were hazing me. They
put a bag over my head and took me in a boat, and I got mixed up.
"I hope they hazed you good," came from Dan Baxter with a malicious
"Thank you, Dan, you always were a real friend," returned Dick, as
coolly as he could.
"Oh, don't you come any of that game over me!" roared Dan Baxter. "I
haven't forgotten the past, Dick Rover, and you'll find it out so
before I get through with you. I was just hoping you or your precious
brothers might drop into my arms."
"What are you and your father doing here?"
"That is my business," broke in Arnold Baxter.
"I don't see why you fellows can't turn over a new leaf," went on Dick
"Oh, don't preach, Dick Rover," answered Dan Baxter. "You make me sick
when you do that."
"I suppose you find this a good hiding place."
"It has been—up to now," said Arnold Baxter. "But since you have
discovered us—" he did not finish.
"We'll make him pay for it," said Dan Baxter. "I've been waiting to
square accounts for a long time."
"How did you escape from that island, Dan?" asked Dick curiously.
"A ship came along about a week after you left it."
"I see. And did you come right through to here?"
"That is my business, Dick Rover. But I came to help my father, I don't
mind telling you that."
"Then you knew he had escaped from prison?"
"From the hospital, yes."
"And did you know he had robbed our house?"
"He took what belonged to him, Dick Rover. Your folks robbed him of
that mine in the West."
"Well, I won't argue the point, Dan Baxter." Dick got up and moved
toward the door. "I think I'll go."
"Will you!" cried both of the Baxters, in a breath, and seizing him
they forced him back into the corner.
"Let us make him a prisoner," went on Dan Baxter, and this was speedily
done by aid of a rope which the elder Baxter brought forth. Then Dick
was thrown into a closet of an inner apartment and the door was locked
"Well, one thing is certain, I am much worse off now than I was when in
the hands of Lew Flapp's crowd," thought Dick dismally, after trying in
vain to break the bonds that bound him.
The closet in which he was a prisoner was so small that he could
scarcely turn himself. The door was a thick one, so to break it down
was out of the question.
"Stop your row in there!" called out Dan Baxter presently. "If you
don't, I'll give you something you won't want."
"How long are you going to keep me here?"
"If you wait long enough you'll find out," was the unsatisfactory
"It won't do you any good to keep me a prisoner, Dan."
"Won't it? Perhaps you think I'm going to let you go so that you can
get the officers to arrest my father," sneered the younger Baxter.
"They are bound to get him anyway, sooner or later."
"They'll never get him if they don't catch him this week."
"Why? Is he going to leave the country?"
"That's his business, not yours," said Dan Baxter, and walked away.
"It's too bad he turned up as he did," remarked Arnold Baxter, when he
found himself alone with his son. "I thought I'd be safe here until I
could slip over to Boston."
"When does that steamer sail for Cape Town, Africa, dad?"
"Tuesday or Wednesday of next week."
"Then all we can do is to keep Dick Rover a prisoner until that time."
"We can't do it, Dan. As soon as he is reported missing this whole
vicinity will be searched."
"Do you think they'll find this cottage?"
"Perhaps, although so far I have not been disturbed."
"Tom and Sam Rover came pretty close to locating you, didn't they?"
"They came within half a mile of the spot. But I gave them the slip."
"I wish I could square up with all of the Rovers," went on Dan Baxter
savagely. "They have caused me no end of trouble."
"Better leave them alone, Dan. Every time you try to do something you
get your fingers burnt."
To this the son could not answer, for he knew that his father spoke the
A long talk followed, and then Dan Baxter left, promising to return
before noon of the next day. He was to proceed to a town about twelve
miles away and there purchase for his father a new suit of clothing and
a preparation for dyeing his hair and beard. With this disguise Arnold
Baxter hoped to get away from the vicinity and reach Boston without
So far the night had been clear, but now a storm was brewing. From a
great distance came a rumble of thunder and occasionally a glimpse of
lightning lit up the landscape.
"You'll have a bad journey of it," said Arnold Baxter to his son as the
latter was leaving.
"Reckon I'll have to make the best of it," answered Dan. "But I've got
used to such things, since I've been knocking around the ocean and
Left to himself, Arnold Baxter paced the floor of the cottage uneasily.
Age was beginning to tell upon him and he was by no means the man he
was when introduced to the Rovers years before.
"I wish I was out of it," he murmured to himself. "I'd give a good deal
to be on the ocean this minute, bound for some place where I can make a
The storm kept growing in violence until the cottage fairly shook from
the fury of the wind. There was much thunder and lightning, with some
crashing in the woods close at hand, that caused both Baxter and Dick
to start in alarm.
Dick was doing his best to free himself and at last managed to get one
He had already found that to attempt forcing the door was useless. Now
he tried the walls of the closet and then the flooring and the ceiling.
He was much gratified to find that the boards of the ceiling were not
fastened down. With a great effort he managed to raise himself and
after a minute of hard work found himself in the tiny loft of the
cottage. Here the patter of the rain was strong and the water was
leaking in everywhere.
"I'll have to drop to the ground and run for it," he told himself, and
crawled to where there was a tiny window just large enough to admit the
passage of his body.
It was no easy matter to get down to the ground with one hand still
fastened behind him, and Dick made rather slow work of it. The rain
beat in at the window, and soon he was soaked to the skin.
Where to go next he did not know. To journey far in such a storm was
entirely out of the question.
Dick had hardly gotten to the edge of the woods when a blinding flash
of lightning and a ripping crash of thunder fairly lifted him from his
"Oh!" he gasped, and staggered to a tree for support. "My, but that was
It was not until a moment later that he realized what had occurred. The
lightning had struck the cottage, ripping off a corner of the roof and
descending into the room below. The structure was now a mass of flames.
"The cottage is on fire!" murmured the youth. "Wonder if the Baxters
have been struck?"
The wind quickly drove the fire in all directions until the cottage was
in flames almost from end to end.
Staggering from the effects of the shock, Dick drew closer to the
building and then tried the door, to find it locked.
"Help!" came faintly, in Arnold Baxter's voice. "Help!"
"Open the door," returned Dick, forgetting that it was an enemy who was
calling for assistance.
"I—I cannot. I—I am helpless!"
Again Dick tried the door, but without success. Then he leaped for the
window. Some of the glass was broken, and with his naked fist he drove
in the whole sash, and tore down the flapping curtain.
The sight which met his gaze filled him with horror. The room was on
fire in several places and in a corner, near the chimney piece, rested
Arnold Baxter, pinned down by a section of brick and stonework that had
fallen. He had been hit in the head, and from the wound the blood was
"Rover, is that you?" he cried faintly. "Don't desert me!"
Without replying, Dick began to crawl in through the broken window. The
air was filled with smoke and he could scarcely see what he was doing.
The sparks, too, were flying in all directions and only the wetness of
his garments kept them from catching fire.
He was soon at Arnold Baxter's side, and with his one free hand hurled
the bricks and stones in all directions. As he worked the fire kept
coming closer, until his face was fairly blistered by the
At last the man was free. But he could not raise himself up, and when
Dick did it Arnold Baxter fell a limp form in his arm. He had fainted.
Mustering up all the strength that remained to him, Dick dragged the
unconscious man to the door. There was a bar to be flung aside and then
Dick threw the barrier wide open. It was none too soon, for now the
fire was swirling in all directions. Staggering beneath his burden the
youth hurried into the open and then fell flat, with Arnold Baxter
"What a close call!" murmured Dick, when he was able to rise. He felt
weak in the knees, and his hands and face smarted from the blistering
received. He looked at Arnold Baxter. The man had not yet recovered and
looked to be more dead than alive.
Dick remembered having crossed a brook but a short distance away, and
to this he went and bathed his burns and brought some water back for
Arnold Baxter. His other hand had now become free, so he could work to
much better advantage.
"He has been seriously hurt, that is certain," thought the youth.
"Perhaps he breathed in some of the flames. If he did that he may never
get over it."
Left to itself the cottage burnt to the ground and then the falling
rain put out the hissing embers. In the meantime Dick did what he could
to restore Arnold Baxter to consciousness, and at last had the
satisfaction of seeing the man open his eyes.
"Oh!" murmured the man. "The fire—"
"You are out of it," answered Dick soothingly.
"Did you—did you haul me out?"
"It was good of you to do it, Rover," said Arnold Baxter, and then he
fainted once more.
TURNING A NEW LEAF—CONCLUSION
The night was a long one for Dick Rover and he was glad when the storm
cleared away and the first streaks of dawn began to show themselves in
the eastern sky.
Arnold Baxter had recovered consciousness, but was evidently in great
pain, for he moaned almost constantly. Dick was willing to aid the
sufferer, yet could do little or nothing.
"Tell me the way to our camp and I will get help," said Dick at last.
And Arnold Baxter gave him the directions as best he could.
"I must have a doctor," whispered the man hoarsely. "If not, I'll
surely die. And I don't want to die yet, Rover!"
As well as he was able, Dick set off for the lake shore and then began
to move in the direction of Bass Island.
He had not gone very far when he heard somebody calling his name.
"Rover! Dick Rover!" was the cry. "Dick Rover!"
"It must be a searching party," he thought, and he was right. The party
contained Tom and Sam, and Mr. Strong, and they said that two other
parties were out, one headed by Captain Putnam and the other by an
"Where in the world have you been?" asked Tom. "We have been scared
almost to death over your absence."
"It's a long story," answered Dick. "What I want just now is a doctor
and a lot of salve. Just look at me, will you?"
"Blisters!" ejaculated Sam. "Where did you get those?"
"In a fire that nearly burnt Arnold Baxter to death. I want the doctor
And then Dick had to tell the particulars of how he had run across the
cottage in the woods and of what had followed.
"And Dan Baxter is here!" ejaculated Tom. "It doesn't seem possible."
"He ought to be locked up," put in Sam.
It was decided by Mr. Strong that Arnold Baxter should be removed to
the camp on a stretcher, and four boys, including Sam and Tom,
volunteered for the service. In the meantime Dick went to camp, to
attend to his hurts, and a cadet was sent to Oakville for a doctor.
"Hullo, here comes Rover!" whispered Lew Flapp to Pender, as Dick
appeared. "Wonder what sort of a story he will have to tell?"
"One thing is certain, we made a mess of our plans," muttered Pender.
"Perhaps Rover won't give us away," put in Rockley hopefully.
On returning to camp word had been sent to Captain Putnam that Dick
Rover was at the den in a condition not fit to be seen.
Mr. Strong and another teacher had gone to the place mentioned in the
anonymous communication only to find the den empty.
A general alarm was sent out, and the search for the missing captain of
Company A was begun as recorded. Captain Putnam also began to
investigate on his private account, with results that were as
surprising as they were dismaying. He learned the several cadets had
left camp early in the night and among them Ben Hurdy, Lew Flapp,
Pender, and Jackson. Without delay he summoned Ben Hurdy to his private
tent and made the young cadet undergo a strict cross-examination.
At first Hurdy would not talk, but soon he became frightened and broke
down utterly. He told of the plot against Dick, and of how Flapp and
the others had carried it out.
"I didn't want to go into it," he whined. "But Flapp said he would
thrash me if I didn't do my share. They wanted to get square with
Captain Rover because he had won at the athletic contests and at the
"I see," said Captain Putnam grimly, and then he ordered Ben Hurdy to
keep absolutely silent until called on to speak. "If you say a word now
I'll dismiss you at once," he concluded.
When Dick arrived Captain Putnam saw to it that his blisters were
dressed with care, and then he asked the eldest Rover to tell his whole
"I do not know as I can do that, Captain Putnam," said the young
captain, blushing. "I don't care to become a tale-bearer."
"Did you leave camp of your own free will, Rover?"
"I did not, sir."
"You were carried away to be hazed, then?"
"Yes, sir; but I would prefer not to speak of that part of my
"Those who carried you off drugged you."
"How do you know that?" asked Dick, in surprise.
"Never mind that now, Rover. Did they drug you or not?"
"They tried to drug me, but I threw the liquor over my shoulder when
they weren't looking."
"Oh, I see," and Captain Putnam smiled. "They tried to trick you and
you ended by tricking them, is that it?"
"That's about the size of it, sir. They thought I was in a stupor when
they left me, but as soon as they were gone I began to shift for
myself. But I don't understand how you know about this, Captain
"One of the party to this outrage has confessed, so I know all about
it, Rover. The leader, I believe, was Lew Flapp, and his main
supporters were Pender, Rockley, and Jackson."
To this Dick did not say a word.
"I know you would speak if I were accusing anybody wrongly, Rover. In
one way I can appreciate your silence. But this affair was carried too
far. It was not an ordinary hazing. The plot was one to blast your
honest name and bring you into disgrace. Such things cannot be
permitted at any school of which I am the head. I will hear the rest of
your strange tale."
In as few words as possible Dick told how he had wandered around until
he had reached the cottage, and what had happened afterward.
"It was assuredly a remarkable adventure," said Captain Putnam. "I
thought I had about seen the last of Daniel Baxter."
"Perhaps Dan Baxter will keep shady when he finds out what has
"Perhaps. And you think Arnold Baxter is in a bad way?"
"Yes, sir. He came pretty close to being burnt up."
"We will do our best for him, and notify the authorities without
An hour later the disabled man was brought into camp and the doctor
came to attend him.
Under the physician's directions Arnold Baxter was made fairly
comfortable in one of the tents of the camp.
"He is in a bad way," said the doctor. "He will probably recover, but
it will take weeks and perhaps months."
Arnold Baxter asked for Dick and the eldest Rover went in to see him.
"I—I want to thank you for what you did, Rover," said the criminal in a
low voice. "It—it was noble, very noble. I shan't forget it."
"Mr. Baxter, why don't you try to turn over a new leaf?" questioned
Dick. "Haven't you found out that it doesn't pay to be bad?"
"Yes, I have found it out, and the lesson has been dearly bought," said
Arnold Baxter with a sigh. "In the future I shall try to—to do better.
Here, I want you to give these to your father, and tell him I—I am
sorry that I visited your house some time ago," went on the disabled
He gave Dick an envelope containing some pawn tickets which called for
the things stolen from the Rover homestead, and also a pocketbook with
some money in it.
"That is all I have left of the cash," he said. "I'm sorry I haven't
every cent of it. Tell him he can do as he pleases about me. I deserve
"I think he'd like to see you turn over a new leaf, too. He hates to
see people on the downward path, Mr. Baxter."
"You are a good boy, Dick Rover. I am sorry that my son Dan isn't like
you. Has he been caught yet?"
"I believe not."
"If he is caught, let me know," concluded Arnold Baxter, and there the
"I imagine he really intends to turn over a new leaf," said Dick to Tom
and Sam, a little later.
"Hope he does," replied Tom.
"So do I," added Sam.
Let me add a few words more and then bring this story of life in camp
to a conclusion.
On the day following Dick's return to camp Captain Putnam summoned Lew
Flapp, Pender, Rockley, and Jackson before him.
"I presume you know why I have sent for you," said the captain briefly.
"Since the disappearance of Captain Rover I have been making an
investigation. Rover himself would not talk, but others have spoken,
and Rover has not denied the truth. All of you have been guilty of such
serious misconduct that to overlook it would be almost criminal on my
"What have I done?" asked Lew Flapp brazenly.
"You have earned your dismissal from Putnam Hall, Flapp, and you leave
this camp as soon as arrangements can be made."
"Going to fire me out, eh?"
"You are dismissed. I will not allow such a boy as you to mingle longer
with the rest of my pupils."
"What are you going to do with the others? I wasn't to blame alone."
"Pender, Rockley, and Jackson shall go, too. The others, including
Hurdy, shall have another chance, for I believe they were dragged into
the affair unwillingly by you and your particular cronies."
"If we have got to go, don't let's listen to any more gas," growled
Rockley, and stalked away with a very white face, followed by Flapp.
Pender and Jackson pleaded for another chance, but Captain Putnam would
not listen, and in the end the evil-minded cadets had to leave the
school, never to return.
"Putnam Hall is well rid of that crowd," said Songbird Powell, and the
majority of the students agreed with him.
Munro Staton, the local constable, was much chagrined to think that he
had not had a hand in finding Arnold Baxter, and he at once set out to
locate Dan. But Dan Baxter knew enough to leave the vicinity, and that
was the last heard of him for some time.
Through the pawn tickets given to Dick, Mr. Anderson Rover recovered
the spoons, napkin rings and other things taken from the homestead by
Arnold Baxter. Mr. Rover visited Baxter before the latter was returned
to the hospital from which he had escaped.
"I believe the man really intends to reform," said Anderson Rover
afterwards. "But he is in a bad condition physically and may die before
his term of imprisonment is at an end."
"I hope he lives," said Sam. "I'd like to see him lead an upright,
"I don't think we'll be bothered much with Dan Baxter after this," said
Tom, but he was mistaken, Dan Baxter bothered them a great deal, and so
did Lew Flapp, and how will be told in the next volume of this series,
to be entitled, "The Rover Boys on the River; Or, The Search for the
Missing Houseboat," in which we shall meet our old friends in a series
of adventures as interesting as those already related.
As was the custom at Putnam Hall the encampment came to an end on the
Fourth of July. This was a gala day for the cadets and they were
allowed to invite both friends and relatives to the affair.
The Rover boys had the Statons over and also had their father and their
Uncle Randolph and Aunt Martha participate.
"Never saw such a time in my life!" declared Aunt Martha. "Music and
marching, and such fireworks! And such a spread out under the trees! No
wonder our boys like to go to Putnam Hall."
"It's a good place for them," came from the father of the boys. "It is
making good men of them."
After the fireworks big bonfires were lit, and the cadets were allowed
to do pretty much as they pleased. As they gathered around the largest
of the fires all joined hands in a big circle, and it was Tom who
started the Putnam Hall cheer:
"Zip, boom, bang! Ding, dong! Ding, dong! Boom, bang, bang! Hurrah for
"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" came from all sides; and here let us say