DICK PRESCOTT'S THIRD YEAR AT WEST POINT
Standing Firm for Flag and Honor
By H. Irving Hancock
I. On Furlough in the Old Home Town
II. Brass Meets Gold
III. Dick & Co. Again
IV. What About Mr. Cameron?
V. Along a "Dangerous" Road
VI. The Surprise the Lawyer Had in Store
VII. Prescott Lays a Powder Trail
VIII. A Father's Just Wrath Strikes
IX. Back to the Good, Gray Life
X. The Scheme of the Turnback
XI. Brayton Makes a Big Appeal
XII. In the Battle Against Lehigh
XIII. When the Cheers Broke Loose
XIV. For Auld Lang Syne
XV. Heroes and a Sneak
XVI. Roll-Call Gives the Alarm
XVII. Mr. Cadet Slowpoke
XVIII. The Enemies Have an Understanding
XIX. The Traitor of the Riding Hall
XX. In Cadet Hospital
XXI. The Man Moving in a Dark Room
XXII. The Row in the Riding Detachment
XXIII. The Degree of "Coventry"
ON FURLOUGH IN THE OLD HOME TOWN
"My son, Richard. He is home on his furlough from the Military
Academy at West Point."
Words would fail in describing motherly pride with which Mrs.
Prescott introduced her son to Mrs. Davidson, wife of the new
"I am very glad to meet you, Mr. Prescott," said Mrs. Davidson,
looking up, for up she had to glance in order to see the face of
this tall, distinguished-looking cadet.
Dick Prescott's return bow was made with the utmost grace, yet
without affectation. His natty straw hat he held in his right
hand, close to his breast.
Mrs. Davidson was a sensible and motherly woman, who wished to
give this young man the pleasantest greeting, but she was plainly
at a loss to know what to say. Like many excellent and ordinarily
well-informed American people, she had not the haziest notions
of West Point.
"You are learning to be a soldier, of course?" she asked.
"Yes, Mrs. Davidson," replied Dick gravely. Neither in his face
nor in his tone was there any hint of the weariness with which
he had so often, of late, heard this aimless question repeated.
"And when you are through with your course there," pursued Mrs.
Davidson, "do you enlist in the Army? Or may you, if you prefer,
become a sailor in our—er—Navy?"
"Oh, I fear, Mrs. Davidson, that you don't understand," smiled
Mrs. Prescott proudly. My son is now going through a very rigorous
four years' course at the Military Academy. It is a course that
is superior, in most respects to a college training, but that
it is devoted to turning out commissioned officers for the Army.
When Richard graduates, in two years more, he will be commissioned
by the President as a second lieutenant in the Army."
"Oh, I understood you to say that you were training to become
a soldier, Mr. Prescott," cried Mrs. Davidson in some confusion.
"I did not understand that you would become an officer."
"An officer who is not also a good soldier is a most unfortunate
and useless fellow under the colors," laughed Dick lightly.
"But it is so much more honorable to be an officer than to be
a mere soldier!" cried the pastor's wife.
"We do not think so in the army, Mrs. Davidson," Dick answered
more responsibility, to be sure, but we feel that the honor falls
alike on men of all grades of position who are privileged to wear
their country's uniform."
"But don't the officers look down on the common soldiers?" asked
Mrs. Davidson curiously.
"If an officer does, then surely he has chosen the wrong career
in life, madam," the cadet replied seriously. "We are not taught
at West Point that an officer should 'look down' upon an enlisted
man. There is a gulf of discipline, but none of manhood, between
the enlisted man and his officer. And it frequently happens that
the officer who is a graduate from West Point is called upon to
welcome, as a brother officer, a man who has just been promoted from
Mrs. Davidson looked puzzled, as, indeed, she was. But she suddenly
remembered something that made her feel more at ease.
"Why, I saw an officer and some soldiers on a train, the other
day," she cried. "The officer had at least eight or ten soldiers
with him, under his command. I remember what a fine-looking young
man he was. He had what looked like two V's on his sleeve, and
I remember that they were yellow. What kind of an officer is
the man who wears the two yellow V's?"
"A non-commissioned officer, Mrs. Davidson; a corporal of cavalry."
"Was he higher that you'll be when you graduate from West Point?"
"No; a corporal is an enlisted man, a step above the private soldier.
The sergeant is also an enlisted man, and above the corporal.
Above the sergeant comes the second lieutenant, who is the lowest-ranking
"Oh, I am sure I never could understand it all," sighed Mrs. Davidson.
"Why don't they have just plain soldiers and captains, and put
the captains in a different color of uniform? Then ordinary people
could comprehend something about the Army. But in describing that
young soldier's uniform, I forgot something, Mr. Prescott. That
young soldier, or officer, or whatever he was, beside the two
yellow V's, had a white stripe near the hem of his cuff."
"Just one white stripe?" queried Dick.
"Just one, I am sure."
"Then that one white stripe would show that the corporal, before
entering the cavalry, had served one complete enlistment in the
"Oh, this is simply incomprehensible!" cried the new pastor's wife
in comical dismay. "I am certain that I could never learn to know
all these things."
"It is a little confusing at first," smiled Dick's mother with
another show of pride. "But I think I am beginning to understand
quite a lot of it."
Mrs. Davidson went out of the bookstore conducted by Dick's parents
in the little city of Gridley. Dick sighed a bit wearily.
"Why don't Americans take a little more pains to understand things
American?" he asked his mother, with a comical smile. "People
who would be ashamed not to know something about St. Peter's,
at Rome, or the London Tower, are not quite sure what the purpose
of the United States Military Academy is."
Yet, though some people annoyed him with their foolish questions,
he was heartily glad to be back, for the summer, in the dear old
home town. So was his chum, Greg Holmes, also a West Point cadet,
and, like Prescott, a member of the new second class at the United
States Military Academy. Both young men had now been in Gridley
for forty-eight hours. They had met a host old-time friends,
including nearly all of the High School students of former days.
Readers of "Dick Prescott's First Year at West Point" and of "Dick
Prescott's Second Year at West Point," are familiar with the careers
of the two chums, Prescott and Holmes, at the United States Military
Academy. The same readers are also familiar with the life at
West Point of Bert Dodge, a former Gridley boy, but who had been
appointed a cadet from another part of the state. Our old readers
are aware of the fact that Dodge had been forced out of the Military
Academy for dishonorable conduct; that it was the cadets, not
the authorities, who had compelled his departure, and that Dodge
resigned and left before the close of his second year.
Readers of these volumes of the High School Boys' Series know
all about Bert Dodge in the course of his career at Gridley High
School. Dodge, back in the old days in Gridley, had been a persistent
enemy of Dick & Co., as Prescott and his five chums had always
been called in the High School. Of those five chums Greg, as
is well known, was Dick's comrade at West Point. Dave Darrin
and Dan Dalzell were now midshipmen at the United States Naval
Academy at Annapolis. Their adventures while learning to be United
States Navel officers, are fully set forth in The Annapolis Series.
Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton had chosen to go West, where they
became civil engineers engaged in railway construction through
the wild parts of the country, as fully set forth in the Young
Just after Mrs. Davidson left the bookstore there were no customers
left, so Dick had a few moments in which to chat with his mother.
"What has become of the fellow Dodge?" asked the young West Pointer.
"Oh, haven't I told you?" asked his mother. A shade of annoyance
crossed her face, for she well knew that it was Dodge who, while
at West Point, had nearly succeeded in having her son dismissed
from the Service on a charge of which Dodge, not Dick, was guilty.
"No, mother; and I haven't thought to ask."
"Bert Dodge is here in Gridley at present. The Dodge family are
occupying their old home here for a part of the summer."
"Do people here understand that Dodge had to resign from West Point
in order to escape a court-martial that would have bounced him out
of the Military Academy?" Dick inquired.
"No; very few know it. I have mentioned Dodge's disgrace to only
one person beside your father."
"You told Laura Bentley?"
"Yes, Dick. She had a right to know. Laura has always been your
loyal friend. When she reached West Point, last winter, expecting
to go to a cadet hop with you, she remained at West Point until
you had been tried by court-martial and acquitted on that unjust
charge. Laura had a right to know the whole story."
"She surely had," nodded Dick.
"As to Gridley people in general," went on Mrs. Prescott, "I have
not felt it necessary to say anything, and folks generally believe
that Bert Dodge resigned from the corps of cadets simply because
he did not find Army life to his liking."
"He wouldn't have found it to his liking had he chosen not to
resign," smiled Prescott darkly.
"Are you going to say anything about Dodge while you are home?"
inquired his mother, glancing up quickly.
"Not a word, if I can avoid it," replied Dick. "I hate tale-bearers."
At this moment the postman came in, blowing his whistle and rapidly
sorting out a pile of letters, which he dropped on the counter.
"There are probably a lot here for me, mother," smiled Dick. "Shall
I separate then from the business mail?"
"If you will, my boy."
Some dozen of the envelopes proved to be addressed to young Prescott.
Of these two were letters frown West Point classmates. Three
were from old friends in Gridley, sending him congratulations
and expressing the hope of meeting him during his furlough. The
remainder of the letters were mainly invitations of a social nature.
"Odd!" grinned the young soldier. When I was merely a High School
boy I could go a whole month without receiving anything resembling
a social invitation. Now I am receiving them at the rate of a
score a day."
"Well, a West Point cadet is some one socially, is he not?" smiled
"I suppose so," nodded Dick. "The truth is, a cadet has so much
social attention paid to him that it is a wonder more of the fellows
are not spoiled."
"Are you going to accept any social invitations while you are home?"
asked his mother.
"That depends," Dick answered. "If invitations come from people
who were glad to see me when I was a High School boy here, then
I shall try to accept. But I don't care much about meeting who
didn't care about meeting me two years ago. Here is a note from
Miss Clara Deane, mother. She trusts that Greg and I can make
it convenient to call at her home next Saturday afternoon, and
meet some of her friends. When I attended Gridley Miss Deane
used to look down on me because I was a poor man's son. I believe
her set referred to me as a 'mucker.' At least, the fellows of
her set did. So I shall send Miss Deane a brief note of regret."
Dick continued to examine his mail while carrying on a running
fire of talk with his proud and happy mother.
"Oh, here is a very nice note from Susie Sharp," he murmured,
opening another epistle. "She is having quite a few friends at
the house this afternoon, and she begs that Greg and I will be
present. Miss Sharp was a very nice girl in the old days, although
she and I never happened to be very particular friends. Now, I
want to have all the time I can for my real friends of the old days."
"Miss Sharp would be very proud to entertain two men from West
Point," suggested his mother.
"That's just the reason," Dick answered. "Miss Sharp invites
us not because she was ever much a friend of ours, but simply
because she is anxious to entertain two cadets. She probably
reasons that it may give distinction to her afternoon tea, or
whatever the affair is."
"Then you are not going?" asked Mrs. Prescott.
"I hardly think so. Not unless Greg wishes it."
The next envelope that Dick picked up was addressed in Laura Bentley's
handwriting. Dick read for a moment, then announced:
"I have changed my mind. I shall go to call on Miss Sharp. Laura
urges me to, saying that Miss Sharp has been very kind to her in
the last year. If Laura wishes it, I'll go to call on any one."
At this moment Greg Holmes, tall, muscular, erect and looking
as though he had just come from the tailor's iron, stepped cheerily
into the store.
"Morning, old ramrod," hailed the other cadet. "I know you don't
mind that kind of talk, Mrs. Prescott. It's our term of affection
for Dick at West Point. Going through your invitations, are you?
Aren't they the bore, though. Especially as we had very few
invitations when we were High School boys in this same old town."
"You received one from Susie: Sharp, of course?"
"Yes," Greg assented. "And I'm going—-not!"
"You are going—-yes!" Dick retorted.
"Oh!" nodded Greg. "Am I entitled to any explanation?"
"Laura wishes it."
"That's a whole platoon of reasons boiled down into one file-closer,"
grinned Greg. "Yes; I am going to visit Miss Sharp this afternoon."
"Have you heard that Bert Dodge is in town at present?"
"No!" muttered Greg. Then added tersely: "The b.j.(fresh) rascal!
I wonder what folks here think of a sneak who was forced to resign
by a cadet committee on honor?"
"Folks here don't know that Dodge was forced out of the Academy."
"Thank you for telling me," nodded Greg. "Then I shall know how
to keep my mouth shut. Laura will be a Miss Sharp's this afternoon,
"Naturally. And Belle Meade, also."
"Then," proposed Greg, "suppose we 'phone the girls and ask if
we may call this afternoon and escort them to Miss Sharp's. We
must do something to show that we appreciate their loyalty in
remaining at West Point last winter until your name was cleared
"Yes; we'll 'phone them," nodded Dick.
On both days, so far, that he had been home, Dick had called at
Dr. Bentley's to see Laura. In fact, that was the only calling
he had done, though he had met scores of friends on the street.
Both young ladies were pleased to accept the proffered escort.
"By the way," proposed Greg, "what are you going to do this morning?"
"Going out for a walk, for one thing," replied Dick. "I've talked
to mother until she must have ear-ache on both sides, and feel
tired of having me home."
"What do you saw if we trot around and extract handshakes from
some of the follows we used to pack schoolbooks with?" hinted
Holmes. "For instance, Ennerton is down at the bank, in a new
job. Foss is advertising manager in Curlham & Peck's department
store. I know he'll be glad to see us if we don't take up too
much of his employer's time. Then Ted Sanders——-"
And so Greg continued to enumerate a lot of the old Gridley High
School boys of whose present doings he had gotten track. Dick
and Greg left the bookstore and started on the rounds to hunt up
the best remembered of their old schoolmates.
And a pleasant morning they had of it. Thought the sun poured
down its heat over the little city, these two cadets, who had
drilled for two summers on the blistering plain and the dusty
roads at West Point, did not notice the warmth of the day.
In the afternoon, in good season, Dick called for Laura, waiting
there until Belle Meade arrived under the escort of Greg.
"These West Pointers make the most correct and attentive escorts
imaginable," laughed Belle. "But there's just one disadvantage
connected with them."
"I hadn't noticed it," smiled Laura.
"Why, when Greg walks beside me, and holds my parasol, I feel
as though I were in the street with my parasol tied to the Methodist
steeple. Where's your rice powder, Laura? I'm sure the sun has
made a sight of my nose and neck."
Laughing merrily, the young people set off for Miss Sharp's.
The home was a comfortable one, with attractive grounds, for the
elder Sharp was a well-to-do merchant. Some three score of young
people were present, and of these nearly two thirds had belonged
to the High School student body in the old High School days of
Dick and Greg. Naturally, the young ladies outnumbered the young
men by more than four to one.
"Oh, I am delighted that you two have come," cried Susie, moving
forward to greet her cadet visitors. This was wholly true, for
Miss Sharp had planned the affair solely in order to have the
distinction of entertaining the young West Pointers. Had Dick
and Greg remained away, Susie, without doubt, would have been
both disappointed and humiliated.
Through the connecting drawing rooms Dick and Greg moved with
a grace and lack of consciousness greatly in contrast with their
semi-awkwardness in their earlier High School days. Many pleasant
acquaintances were renewed here.
Suddenly, Susie, catching a glimpse of the front walk, hastened
out into the hallway. Then she came in, smiling eagerly, a well-dressed,
pompous-looking young man at her side.
"Mr. Prescott! Mr. Holmes!" called Susie. "Here is an old comrade
whom you both may be surprised to meet!"
Dick and Greg turned, and indeed, they were astonished. For the
latest arrival was Bert Dodge!
"Howdy, fellows!" called Dodge carelessly, though inwardly he was
quaking with alarm. How would these two decent cadets treat the
fellow who had been kicked out of West Point for dishonorable acts?
Prescott bowed, but did not speak. Greg's line of conduct was
identical with his chum's.
Bert turned white, at first, with mortification. Then a red flush
set in at his neck, extending to his face and temples. But Dodge
possessed "brass," if not honor, so he decided to face it out.
Turning to a young woman standing nearby, Bert spoke to her, and
they laughed and chatted. From her, Bert passed through the room
nodding here, chatting there.
Dick and Greg, after the first look of amazement, followed by their
cold bows, had turned to the old friends with whom they had been
In the course of a few minutes Bert Dodge had got along close to
the two cadets.
"How are you, Prescott?" called Bert. "How is good old West Point?
And you, Holmes—-how are you?"
Dodge held out his hand with all the effrontery of which he was
Turning, Dick gave the sneak only a cold, steady look.
BRASS MEETS GOLD
Neither Dick nor Greg took the trouble to answer the greeting.
Dodge's outstretched hand both cadets affected not to see.
As it happened, few of the others present noted this brief little
A natural break in the crowd left Dick alone for the moment, with
Holmes standing not far away and looking coldly in the direction
of the ex-cadet, yet not appearing to see him at all.
"Well, what's the matter?" hissed Dodge in an undertone that the
other guests did not hear. "Are you going to make a fool of
"You'd better execute a right-about face and make double-time
away from here," replied Dick in a freezing undertone. "Otherwise
I don't believe the guests will fail to observe how West Pointers
regard a convicted sneak."
"Are you going to open your mouth and do a lot of talking?" whispered
Dodge menacingly. "Or are you going to keep your tongue behind
"I can't undertake to lower myself by making any promises to a
sneak," retorted Dick, still in an undertone. "But I warn you
that any further conversation I have with you will be carried
on in ordinary conversational tones. And if you undertake to
remain, we shall be obliged to inform our hostess that we regret
our inability to stay any longer."
Conscious that others were probably looking their way, Bert Dodge
tried to make his face as expressionless as possible.
"See here, Prescott——-" the fellow began coaxingly.
But Dick turned and walked away. Greg, very stiff and straight,
moved at his friend's side.
Afraid of what others might notice, Dodge passed on. He presently
reached a door leading into the hallway. Here he remained briefly.
Then, when he believed himself to be unobserved, he slipped out, took
his hat and got away.
A few minutes later, as Dick and Greg passed the door of a little
reception room, Susie Sharp called them in quietly. They found
her there alone.
"Oh, Mr. Prescott! Mr. Holmes! Have I made any mistake, I thought
it would be a pleasant surprise to you both if I had Mr. Dodge here
to meet you, as you all three were classmates at West Point. But I
should have remembered that in the old High School days you two and
Mr. Dodge were not the best of friends."
There was an agitated catch in Susie's voice. Their young hostess
was worried by the thought that she had invited jarring elements
"Why, to be candid, I don't believe Dodge ever admired either Greg
or myself very much, replied Cadet Prescott evenly.
"But did I make a fearful mistake?" pleaded Susie.
"One cannot make a mistake who aims at the pleasure of others,"
Dick answered smilingly.
Somewhat reassured, Susie asked her cadet guests to return with
her to the drawing rooms. There they joined a little group, and
were chatting when a girl's voice reached them from a few feet
away. The girl who was speaking did not realize that her tones
carried as far as the ears of Dick and Greg as she explained to
two other young women:
"Mr. Dodge said he resigned from the Military Academy because
he could not stand the crowd there."
"I guess that's true," muttered Dick inwardly. "The crowd couldn't
stand Dodge, either."
But Sam Foss made the conversation general by calling:
"How about that, Dick! I always thought West Point was a very
select place. Bessie Frost says Dodge left West Point because
he thought the fellows there rather below his grade socially."
"Perhaps they are," nodded Dick gravely, but in even tones. "I
have heard it stated that about sixty per cent. of the cadets
are the sons of wage-earners. Indeed, one of the cadets whom
I most respect has not attempted to conceal the fact that, until
he graduates and begins to draw officer's pay, his mother will
have to continue to support herself at the washtub. That young
man is now in the first class, and I can tell you that we are
all mighty anxious to see that man graduate and find himself where
he can look after a noble mother who has the misfortune to be
unusually poor in purse."
"Then as an American, I'm proud of West Point, if it has fellows
with no more false shame than that," cried Foss heartily.
"Why, I always thought West Point a very swell place, extremely
so," murmured Bessie Frost. "In fact—pardon me, won't you—-I
have always heard that the young men at West Point are very much
puffed up and very exclusive."
Dick laughed good-humoredly.
"Of course, Miss Frost, the cadet is expected to learn how to
become a gentleman as well as an officer. Yet why should any
of us feel unduly conceited? We are privileged to secure one
of the best educations to be obtained in the world, but we obtain
it at public expense. Not only our education, but all our living
expenses are paid for out of the nation's treasury, and that money
is contributed by all tax-payers alike. If we of the cadet corps
should get any notion that we belong to a superior race of beings,
to whom would we owe it all? Are the cadets not indebted for
their opportunities to all the citizens of the United States?"
"Did Bert Dodge have any especial trouble at West Point?" asked
"Mr. Dodge did not make us his confidants," evaded Dick coolly.
"What do you say, Mr. Holmes?" persisted the same girl.
"About the same that Dick does," replied Greg. "You see, there are
several hundred cadets at West Point, and Dick and I were not in
the same section with Dodge."
"Was he one of the capable students there?"
"Why, he was in a much higher section than either Dick or myself,"
admitted Greg truthfully; but he did not think it necessary to
explain the trickery and cribbing by which Dodge had secured the
appearance of higher scholarship.
At this point the tact and good sense of Miss Susie Sharp caused
her to use her opportunities as hostess to break up the group and
to start some new lines of conversation.
But Susie was uneasy, and presently she found a chance to whisper
to Laura Bentley:
"Tell me, dear—-what lies back of the fact that Mr. Dodge does
not seem to be on good terms with Mr. Prescott and Mr. Holmes?"
"Did Bert Dodge know that Dick and Greg were to be here!" asked
"No; I wanted it to be a surprise on both sides."
"It must have been, my dear," smiled Laura "The fact is that Dick
and Greg are not on friendly terms with Mr. Dodge."
"Oh!" murmured Susie, moving away. "I am glad that it was no
A large tent had been erected on one of the lawns. To this tent,
later in the afternoon, Miss Sharp invited her guests. Here a
collation had been served, with pretty accessories, by a caterer,
and several waiters stood about to serve.
When the guests returned to the house they discovered that the rugs
had been removed, and that an orchestra was now at hand to furnish
music for dancing. Given music and a smooth floor, young people do
not mind exertion on a hot June afternoon. Dancing was at once in
full swing. Nor did the young people leave until after six o'clock.
Greg escorted Belle Meade home, Dick walking with Laura. The two
cadet chums met on Main Street a little later. They stood near a
corner, chatting, when Bert Dodge came unexpectedly around the
He saw the two cadets, changed color, then halted.
Neither Dick nor Greg checked their conversation, nor let it be
known that they were aware of the ex-cadet's presence.
But Dodge, after looking at the chums sourly for a moment, stepped
squarely in front of them.
"See here, you fellows——-" he began, his voice sounding thickly.
"Have you the impudence to address us," asked Prescott coolly.
"Don't talk to me about impudence!" snarled Dodge. "What did
you two say about me, after I left this afternoon?"
"Oh, I assure you we didn't discuss you any more than was necessary,"
replied Dick frigidly.
"What did you say?" insisted Dodge.
"We couldn't say much about you," Greg broke in icily. "You know,
you're hardly a fit subject for conversation."
"See here, you two fellows," warned Bert angrily, "you want to
be mighty careful what you say about me! Do you understand?
A single unfriendly word, that does any injury to my reputation,
and I'll take it out of you."
Prescott would not go to the length of sneering. He allowed an
amused twinkle to show in his eyes.
"On your way, Dodge that's the best course for you," advised Greg
coldly. "We're not interested in your threats of fight, and you
ought to know better, too, after some of the thumpings you've had."
"Fight?" jeered Dodge harshly. "You fellows seem to think you're
still in cadet barracks, and that all you have to do is to call
me out, and that my only recourse is to put up an argument before
a class scrap committee. But you fellows aren't at West Point
just now, and cadet committees don't run things here. You're
back in civilization, where we have laws and regular courts.
Now, if I find that you fellows are saying a single word against
me I'll have you both arrested for criminal libel. I'll have
you put through the courts, too, and sent to jail. Then, when
you get out of jail, you can find out what your high and mighty
West Point friends think of that!"
Dodge finished with a harsh, sneering laugh, then turned on his
"The cheap skate!" muttered Greg, looking after the retreating
fellow. "Humph! I'd like to see him make any trouble for us!"
"He may try it," muttered Prescott, gazing thoughtfully after
their ancient enemy.
"How?" demanded Greg. "We don't think him worth talking about
among decent people, so we'll give him not the slightest chance
to make any trouble."
"We won't give Dodge any real cause, of course," nodded Dick gravely.
"But a scoundrel like Dodge doesn't need real cause. That young
man has altogether more spending money than is good for his morals.
Why, with his money, Greg, Dodge would know how to find people,
apparently respectable, who would be willing to accept a price for
"Humph!" uttered Greg.
"If Dodge could get such testimony, and his perjurers would stick
to their yarns," continued Dick, "then the young scoundrel might
be actually able to carry out his threats."
"He wouldn't dare!"
"If it were anything high-minded and dangerous, Dodge wouldn't
dare," admitted Dick. "But minds like his will dare a good deal
to put through anything scoundrelly against people who try to
DICK & CO. AGAIN
"Hey, there, you galoot! You thin, long-drawn-out seven feet of
After having been home a week, Dick Prescott flushed as he wheeled
about to meet this jeering greeting.
In another instant every trace of his wrath had vanished.
"Tom Reade!" hailed Dick in great delight, turning and rushing
at his old High School chum. "And good little Harry Hazelton!"
It was, indeed, the young engineer pair, Reade and Hazelton, old-time
members of Dick & Co., the great High School crowd of Gridley.
Reade and Hazelton, after finishing at the High School, had gone
out to Colorado to serve under the engineer in charge of a great
piece of railway construction work. The adventures of Tom and
Harry, in the wild spots of the West, are fully set forth in the
volumes of the Young Engineers Series.
"The last fellow I expected to meet in Gridley!" cried Dick,
overflowing with delight as he stuck out both hands at once and
"Well, we are, aren't we?" demanded Reade.
"The last fellows you've met in Gridley. But where's Greg?"
"If he's out of bed," grinned Prescott, "he's in cit. clothes."
"Carrying a rifle and marching the lock-step—-the route-step,
I mean—-has dulled your brain," growled Tom Reade. "Is Greg
"What scoundrel is taking my name in vein?" demanded Holmes, coming
upon the trio.
Then there were hearty greetings, all over again. But in the
end Reade looked Greg over from head to foot.
"Do they make you sleep on a stretcher at West Point?" Tom wanted
to know. "Or what do they do, to pull a pair of galoots out to
the length that you two have attained."
"It's the physical training and the military drills," explained
Prescott, laughing. "But my! You fellows look like the Indian's
head on a copper cent!"
Tom and Harry were, indeed, highly bronzed by the hot southwestern
sun. Harry, in fact, was well on the way to being black, so burned
had he become by his last few months of work.
"I hope, if you fellows are ever allowed to go forth into the Army,
you'll get your first station down in Arizona," teased Tom.
"I don't," retorted Greg, "if it will make us look like you two."
"Oh, it won't," broke in Harry mockingly. "You see, we have to
work down in Arizona. But you fellows wouldn't. We've seen some
thing of the soldiery down in that part of the world, and they're
the laziest crowd you ever saw. Why, the Army officers in Arizona
sleep all day and grumble about the heat all night. They have tame
Apaches to do their work for them. Oh, no, you wouldn't suffer
down in Arizona!"
"But how do you fellows come to be home at this time?" asked Dick.
"Homesick!" sighed Tom. "The fellows in our engineer corps are
entitled to some leave. So Harry and I waited until we had enough
leave piled up, and then we started back for Gridley."
"Well, it's hot on this corner," muttered Greg, "and there's an
ice cream place down the block, where the electric fans are going.
Let's make a raid on the place. Do you fellows remember when
we were happy if we could buy a ten-cent plate and then get by
ourselves with six spoons to dip into the ice cream? Come on!
Let's get good and square for those days."
"Yes; it is hot here on this corner," assented Dick.
"Hot?" demanded Reade impatiently.
"Humph! Harry and I were just regretting that we hadn't worn our
top coats today. We came to Gridley to cool off, and this old
town seems like a heaven of coolness after the baked-brown alkali
deserts of Arizona."
"Double orders for each one of us," explained Harry, after the
quartette of one time High School chums had seated themselves under
a buzzing fan.
Now, the chums of old days had time to look each other over more
Tom and Harry were taller than in the old High School days, but
they had not quite reached the height of Dick and Greg. Both
of the young civil engineers, besides being heavily bronzed, were
thin and sinewy looking. Thin as they were, both looked the pictures
of health. Though Tom and Harry did not "advertise" their tailors
as well as did the two West Point cadets, nevertheless the pair
of young civil engineers looked prosperous. They had the general
air of being the kind of young men who are destined to succeed
splendidly in life.
Before the ice cream—-the first double order, that is—-reached
the table, all of the young men were plunged into stories of their
adventures during the last two years. Readers of these two series
are familiar with the adventures that the young men discussed.
"You've been getting a heap more excitement out of life, you two,"
Prescott admitted frankly. "Still, from my point of view, I
wouldn't swap with you."
"Just as bughouse on West Point and the Army as ever, are you?"
"Just as much, and always will be," Dick nodded, beaming.
"I can't share your enthusiasm," laughed Hazelton. "We've seen
the Army in the West, and they're a lazy, little-account lot."
Instead of getting angry, however, Dick and Greg laughed outright.
"I wish we had you at West Point for forty-eight hours, right
in barracks and Academic Building," declared Greg, his eyes dancing.
"Whew! But you'd be able to view real world from a new angle!"
"Oh, maybe at West Point," nodded Hazelton teasingly. "But afterwards,
in the Army, it's just one dream of indolence."
"Well, what do the Army officers actually do, out your ways"
"Why, they—-well, they——-"
"You don't know a blessed thing about it, do you?" dared Greg.
"I thought not. You see, we do know something about what Army
officers do with their time. That's what we're learning at West
"Don't let's fight," pleaded Tom pathetically. "Fellows, we may
never meet again. Before another year rolls around Hazelton and
I may have been scalped and burned by the Apaches, and you fellows
may have died at West Point, from nervous prostration brought
on by overeating and lack of exercise. So let's be good friends
during the little time that we may have together."
"When you get time," put in Dick dryly, "you might as well tell
us when you reached Gridley."
"After ten o'clock last night," supplied Harry. "Of course, we
had to go home first. But this morning we set out to find you.
We knew, of course, that any place would be likelier than your homes,
so we tried Main Street first."
"Many folks were glad to see you?" asked Tom.
"Too many," sighed Dick. "That remark doesn't apply to any old
friends, but there are a good many who always turned up their
noses at us in the old days. Now, just because we're cadets,
and because half-baked Army officers are supposed to be somebody
in the social world, Greg and I are getting so much social mail
that we fear we shall have to hire a secretary for the summer."
"Nobody will bother us, I guess," grimaced Tom. "Most people
here probably think that, because we're engineers, we run locomotives.
That's what the word 'engineer' suggests to ignoramuses. Now,
the man who runs a locomotive should properly be called an
engine-tender, or engineman, while it's the fellow who surveys and
bosses the building of a railroad that is the engineer. You get a
smattering of engineering work at West Point, don't you?"
"We've been at math. and drawing, so far," Dick explained. "That
all leads up to the engineering instruction that we shall have to
take up in September."
"Oh, I dare say you'll get a very fair smattering of engineering,"
assented Tom. "It's nothing like the real practice that we get,
though, out in the field with the survey and construction parties.
I guess you fellows, after your grind in the High School, found
West Point math. pretty easy, didn't you?"
Dick laughed merrily before he answered.
"Tom, the math. that a fellow gets in High School would take up
about three months at West Point. How are you on math., now?"
"Oh, not so fearfully rotten," replied Reade complacently. "Harry
and I have had to dig up a lot of new math. since we've taken
on with an engineering corps in the field. Harry, trot up some
of the kind of mathematics that we have to use."
"Wait a moment," put in Dick. "Greg, sketch out an easy one from
the math. problems we have to dig into at West Point. Give 'em
something light from conic sections first."
Cadet Holmes sketched out, on the back of an envelope, the
demonstration of a short problem.
Tom and Harry looked on laughingly, at first. Then their eyes began
"Do you really have to dig up that sort of stuff at West Point,"
"Yes," nodded Dick. "And now I'll show you another easy one,
belonging to descriptive geometry."
The two young engineers looked on and listened for a few moments.
"Stop!" commanded Hazelton, at last. "My head is beginning to
"If that's the sort of gibberish you have to learn, I'm more than
ever glad that I didn't go to West Point," proclaimed Reade.
The old-time chums had eaten their fill of ice cream some time
before, but they still sat about the table, chatting gayly.
"There's one thing you never really told us about in your letters,"
muttered Tom. "You wrote us that Bert Dodge had resigned from
the Military Academy, but you didn't tell us why. Now, that fellow,
Dodge, never gave up anything good that he didn't have to give
up. Was he kicked out of the Academy?"
"That story isn't known in Gridley," replied Prescott, lowering
his voice. "Dodge tells people that he left because he didn't
like the crowd or the life there. We haven't changed the story
any since our return. We'll tell you fellows, for we never used
to have any secrets from you in the old days. But you mustn't
pass the yarn around."
"No," grimaced Greg. "You mustn't tell the story around. Dodge
has threatened to have us imprisoned for life, for criminal libel,
if we allow his secret to reach profane ears."
"Just why did Dodge leave West Point?" asked Reade.
"He was invited to," replied Prescott, "by a class committee on
"I thought it was something like that," grunted Reade.
Then, in low tones that could not be overheard by other patrons
of the ice cream place, Dick Prescott told the story of Dodge's
cribbing at West Point, and of the way that Bert nearly succeeded
in palming his guilt off on to Prescott.
"I'd believe every word of that yarn, even if a plumb stranger
told it to me," declared Hazelton. "It has all the earmarks
of truth. It's a complete story of just what Bert Dodge would
do in one form or another, in any walk of life."
"But you fellows won't repeat insisted Dick.
"And thereby have us consigned to prison cells for the balance of
our unworthy lives?" mocked Greg.
"You know us better than to think that we'd blab," retorted Tom
"You had a right to know, though," Prescott went on.
"Dick & Co. always were a close corporation," laughed Hazelton.
"And I hope the time will never come when we can't tell our secrets
to each other."
"I am sorry you fellows have so short a leave," murmured Dick.
"Why, What would you want us to do!" queried Tom.
"Greg and I would be tickled to death if you were going to be
here all summer," Dick answered. "In the first place, just for
the sake of having your company. In the next place, we'd think
it great if you could go back to West Point with us when our furlough
is over. If you could be there, over a Saturday and a Sunday,
we'd have time to show you a lot about the life there. You'd
feel acquainted from the start, for lots of the fellows of our
class have heard about you. You'd get a great reception."
"Gridley must seem dull, after your life in the West," mused Cadet
"Oh, I don't believe there's any place where you get excitement
all the time," declared Tom. "And there's no place so dull that
it doesn't have a little excitement once in a while."
Bang! bang! bang! sounded several sharp explosions of firearms
out in the street.
"There's some, right now!" muttered Greg, jumping up. "Come along!"
Bang! bang! bang!
As they ran forward toward the door of the ice cream place the
young men saw people fleeing in frantic haste along Main Street.
Five or six of these fugitives darted into the ice cream place.
As they did so, Chief of Police Simmons backed into the same
doorway. He had his revolver in his right hand, while he called
back over his shoulder to the owner of the store:
"Granby, telephone the station for my reserves. The Indians and
cowboys of the Wild West Show are on a rampage, and shooting up
Gridley. Tell Sergeant Cluny, from me, to bring the reserves
on the run!"
Bang! bang! bang!
Up the street came a picturesque, dangerous looking group. Three
men in cowboy hats, flannel shirts and "chaps," with revolver
holsters dangling from their belts, and each with a pair of automatic
revolvers in his hands, came along. Just behind this trio were
two indians, painted and wearing gaudy blankets. The Indian were
armed like the cowboys. It was evident that all the members of
the wild band were partially intoxicated.
Bang! bang! bang!
"Get back into the store, you young men!" ordered Chief Simmons
crisply. "These heathen are pie-eyed and they'll shoot you up
quicker than a flash!"
"Who, That lot of freaks?" demanded Tom contemptuously. "Dick!
Greg! Indians are the specialty of the Army. You go after the
redskins, while Harry and I tame these bad men!"
Like a flash, ere Chief Simmons could interfere, the four young
men were off. Straight up to the "raiders" dashed the former
High School boys.
One of the Indians wheeled, firing a fusillade just over Prescott's
"Oh, stop that noise!" ordered Dick dryly.
Before the Indian could guess it, Prescott had leaped in, had
grabbed the redskin by a famous old Gridley football tackle and
had sent the rampaging Indian to the ground Greg, equally reckless,
floored the other Indian and sat on his chest.
Tom Reade made a bolt for the fiercest-looking cowboy.
"Stop spoiling the pure air on a hot day, and give me those guns!"
commanded Reade, going straight at the fellow.
The big cowboy wheeled, aiming both weapons at Reade.
"Get back!" ordered the shooter. "If ye don't I'll pump ye full
of hole-makers! I'm bad! I'm a wolf, and this is my day to howl.
I'm a wolf—-d'ye catch that, partners?"
"Then back to the menagerie for yours!" muttered Reade dryly.
"And first of all fork those guns over. You're making the air
smell of sulphur."
"Get back! I'm bad, I tell ye!"
"You, bad; you cheap Piute from Rhode Island!" sniffed Tom
Reaching forward, quick as a flash, Reade twisted a revolver from
the fellow's left hand.
"Now, pass me the other," continued Tom. "If you don't I'll wring
that wooden head of yours from your neck! I'm coming, now!"
Having tossed the captured revolver in the street behind him,
Reade made a sudden leap at the "bad wolf."
"Hold on!" cried the fellow sheepishly. "Don't get excited.
Here it is; take it!"
Seeing how readily their companion had surrendered, the other
two headed Hazelton's demand for their weapons.
From the doorway Chief Simmons had looked on at this brief, bloodless
battle like one dazed.
From up and down Main street at respectful distances, crowds of
Gridleyites gazed in stupefied wonder.
"Come on out, Chief, and talk to these naughty boys!" called Tom
good-humoredly. "They didn't mean to be troublesome, but Fourth
of July had got into their blood."
The police reserves came running up now. First of all, the revolvers
of the five wild ones were gathered up. Then the officers turned
to the prisoners that had been captured by the West Point cadets
and the Young Engineers.
"These fellows are only medicine-show cowboys," Tom explained,
with a grin, to the chief of police. "I know the real kind—-and
these sorry specimens are not it. Probably these fellows have
never been west of Ohio."
"You're an Indian, I'm pretty sure," said Cadet Prescott to the
painted redskin whom he now held by one arm. "But you're a tame
Indian. What part of Maine do you come from?"
"Yes, I'm an Indian," grinned Dick's captive "I own a farm on the
east end of Long Island."
"Humph! You've been through the pubic schools, too?" demanded
Greg's Indian was quite as docile. The police now had the weapons
of all the party, except one automatic weapon that Greg was examining.
"Yah!" grinned Holmes. "This gun is loaded with blank cartridges.
I guess all the others were, too."
The guess was a wholly correct one.
By this time the Main Street crowd, wholly over its fright, was
crowding about the police and their captives.
"Say, this seems like old times!" called Sam Foss, laughingly.
"Dick & Co. right in the thick the excitement."
"There hasn't been any," grinned Prescott.
At this instant a new actor arrived on the scene. Wild Charlie,
the Indian medicine "doctor," immaculate in black frock suit and
patent leather shoes, with a handsome sombrero spread over the
glistening black hair that hung down over his shoulders, rushed up.
"Let these people go, Chief," begged the picturesque quack doctor.
"I'll pay for any damage they've done."
Chief Simmons looked the long-haired "doctor" over with a broad grin.
"You're Wild Charlie, are you?" demanded the chief.
"What part of Vermont do you come from! Or is Germany your hailing
place, Wild Charlie?"
"Don't josh me too hard, Chief," pleaded the medicine fakir "Will
you let my people go, if I settle?"
"These terrors," retorted Chief Simmons, "are about due for thirty
days for disturbing the peace."
"But that would bust my summer season, Chief," pleaded "Wild Charlie."
"Oh, don't run these innocents in, Chief," urged Tom Reade. "They
aren't really bad, and they admitted it as soon as we told 'em so.
These people are not dangerous—-only a bit nervous."
"See here, Wild Charlie," grinned the chief of police, "I don't
want to do anything to make you wilder. I'll let these human
picture books go on condition that you take your show at once
and clear on out of town."
"I may just as well go," sighed the long-haired one. "This job
has ruined my business here. And say, Chief, won't you break the
guns and knock the cartridges out, and then let me have the guns,
too? They cost a lot of money!"
But on this point Chief Simmons was firm.
"No, sirree! You can take your infant terrors and load them on
the first train away from here. But the revolvers are confiscated,
Wild Charlie, and they'll stay here. You can try to recover the
revolvers by a civil suit, if you want to risk it in court. Otherwise,
make your get-away as fast as you can. I'll admit that your outfit
had the josh on me, and had me tickling the wire for the reserves.
But just now the town holds two West Point cadets, and two young
engineers from the real West, which makes Gridley no place to turn
a vaudeville powder-play loose in."
"Wild Charlie" and his band fled as fast as they could, for the
crowd was jeering loudly and talking of taking all six to the
nearest horse-trough for a ducking.
"Is that the best the old town can do for excitement in these
days?" laughed Reade, as soon as our young friends had separated
themselves from the laughing crowd and had started on a stroll.
"Why, that little episode was doing well enough for any town,"
smiled Dick. "A laugh is better than a fight, any day."
"Queer text for a soldier to preach from," grinned Hazelton.
"Not a bit," Dick retorted. "The soldier, above all men, hates
a fight, for the soldier knows he's the only one that's likely
to get hurt."
"Yes; and moreover," broke in Greg, "armies aren't organized,
in the first place, for fighting, but for preserving peace."
"Just as railroads are built to keep people from traveling," jeered
"If we don't look out the greatest excitement that we'll find today
will be starting a fight among ourselves," warned Harry dryly.
"Rot!" scoffed Tom. "The old chums of Dick & Co. couldn't fight
each other, any more that they can avoid joshing each other."
Though none of the chums guessed it, excitement enough for two
of them, possible, was brewing in another part of Gridley at that
Bert Dodge was talking almost in whispers with a young fellow
named Fessenden, who had discharged from the bank in which Bert's
father was vice president.
"You do my trick—-put it through for me, Fessenden—-and I'll
do my best with my father to get you back in the bank," Bert promised.
"Even if I fail in that, I'll pay you well, in addition to the
money I've just given you."
"Oh, it won't be a hard job to put through," nodded young Fessenden,
understandingly. "I can find two fellows who have nerve enough,
and who will go into court and swear to anything I want them to."
"That's the talk!" glowed young Dodge. "You will testify that
Dick Prescott was talking with you, and that he told innumerable
lies to blacken my name that he libeled me!"
WHAT ABOUT MR. CAMERON?
One place that Dick Prescott made it a point to visit early in his
furlough was the office of the morning "Blade," for which paper, in
his old High School days, the cadet had worked as a local reporter
A "space writer" is one who is paid so much per column for all
matter of his that is published in the paper.
Had it not been for the "Blade" Dick Prescott would not have been
as well supplied with pocket money as he had been during his High
Everyone about the "Blade" office, in the old days, had expected
that Prescott, at the end of his High School course, would join
the "Blade" staff as a "regular." But Dick had had his own plans
about West Point, although he had kept his intentions a secret
from nearly every one but his chums.
Early one bright June afternoon Dick strolled into the "Blade"
"Why, hullo, my boy!" cried Editor Pollock, jumping up out of
his chair and coming forward, hand outstretched. Bradley, the
news editor, and Len Spencer, the "star" reporter, now growing
comically fat, rushed forward to meet the cadet.
"Sit down, Dick, and let's hear all about West Point," urged Mr.
Pollock, placing a chair beside his own, while the other members
of the staff crowded about. "What sort of a place is West Point,
and how do you like it there?"
Dick smilingly gave them a lively account of life at the United
States Military Academy.
"I hope you're keeping track of all this, Len," nodded the editor
to Reporter Spencer. "Tell us plenty more, too Dick. We want
to give you and Holmes at least a bully two-column write-up."
Dick's cheery look suddenly changed to one of mild alarm.
"Do you want to do me a big favor, Mr. Pollock?"
"Anything up to a page, my boy, and you know it," replied the
editor heartily. "We still regard you as one of the 'Blade' family."
"The favor I'm going to ask, Mr. Pollock, is that you don't give
Greg and myself a write-up."
The editor looked so hurt that Prescott made haste to add, earnestly:
"Please don't misunderstand me, Mr. Pollock. But you simply cannot
imagine the trouble that a fine write-up in a home paper may make
for a cadet. If I were a plebe, now, the upper classman would
get hold of the write-up, somehow, and they'd make me read it aloud,
at least a hundred times, while upper classmen stood about
and congratulated me on being such a fine fellow as the paper
described. As Greg and I are now second classman, we couldn't
be hazed in quite that way. But the other fellows would find
some other way of using that home-paper write-up as a club for
pounding us every now and then. Mr. Pollock, believe me, cadet
is mighty lucky whose home paper doesn't say anything about him."
"What is the matter?" asked the editor gravely. "Are the other
"No; it isn't that," Prescott answered. "That sort of thing is
done, at West Point, to keep from getting the 'big head.' Probably
your memory goes back easily to the Spanish War days. You will
remember that Mr. Hobson, of the Navy, sank the Merrimac in the
harbor at Santiago, so that the Spanish ships, when they got out,
had to come out in single file. Mr. Hobson has a younger brother
then at the Military Academy. Well, the story still runs at West
Point that Military Cadet Hobson was forced to read aloud all
the best things about his brother in the Navy that the other cadets
could find in the newspapers. Besides that, Cadet Hobson, so
we are told today, had to 'sail' chips on a tub of water, at the
same time bombarding the chips with pebbles and cheering for his
brother. At West Point it doesn't pay a cadet to be famous, even
in the light of reflected glory. Now, that is why I beg you, not
to give Greg and myself the write-up that you propose."
"All right, then," sighed the editor.
"On the other hand, Mr. Pollock, I'll tell you all manner of lively
and printable facts about West Point, if you won't mention Greg
or myself or even mention the fact that Gridley has any cadets at
the Military Academy."
"That will have to answer," nodded Mr. Pollock. "But we wanted to
do something big for you, Dick."
"And you'll be doing something very big for us, if you don't mention
us at all," smiled Prescott.
So the "Blade" had a good deal of interesting reading about West
Point the next morning. Many Gridleyites were not satisfied because
neither Prescott nor Holmes was mentioned in connection with the
The second time that Mr. Pollock met his former reporter was on
"I've been kicking myself, Dick, because I forgot something the
other day," declared the editor. "I have one of the nicest, gentlest
little trotting mares in this part of the state, and a very
comfortable light buggy with top and side curtains. I hardly
ever use the rig in hot weather. Now, won't you often have use
for a horse and buggy while you're at home? If so, just ring up
Getchel's Livery at any time, day or night, and tell 'em to hitch
up against your coming. Will you?"
Dick tried hard to find words in which to thank Mr. Pollock for
the generous offer.
First of all, Prescott took Holmes out driving, one forenoon, to
"try out" the mare. The little animal proved speedy but tractable—-a
wholly safe driving horse.
"I'm not a betting man," quoth Greg, "but I'll lay a wager that
I can guess who gets the next drive behind this horse.
"Post your wager," laughed Dick gayly.
"Wrong! My mother gets the next drive."
And so she did, that same afternoon. But the following afternoon
Prescott, after a good deal of attention to his personal appearance,
walked to Getchel's and drove away from there behind the mare.
The next stop was at the house of Dr. Bentley.
Yet, when Cadet Prescott caught his first glimpse of the broad,
cool veranda of the doctor's house, the young man felt a sudden
throb of the heart.
Another young man—-he looked to be somewhat under thirty—-was
seated in a big rocker, close to Laura. Both young people were
laughing gayly before Miss Bentley caught sight of Dick.
"You're occupied, I see," called Prescott lightly, though the
tone cost him an effort.
"Come right up, Dick," called Laura, so the cadet leaped from
the buggy, hitching the horse. The he turned into the broad walk
and gained the veranda, where he was presented to Mr. Cameron.
Mr. Cameron greeted the cadet pleasantly, yet didn't seem overjoyed
at his presence. Nor did Mr. Cameron seem in the least inclined to
take himself away.
Usually most self-possessed, Dick Prescott fidgeted a trifle,
and felt uncomfortable now. He wondered if good taste did not call
for him to take himself away after a brief conversation. It was
Laura who finally came to the rescue.
"Dick," she laughed, "there's something on your mind. I'm afraid
I shall have to help you out. Did you come to ask me to go driving?"
"Yes," Dick nodded. "But of course I realize that some other time
will be better."
"Oh, don't let me spoil fun," begged Mr. Cameron, half rising,
as though hoping to be asked to seat himself again.
"Mr. Cameron," Miss Bentley replied sweetly, rising also as her
caller completed the act of getting upon his feet, "I know you
will excuse me now, rude as it seems in me to ask it. But Mr.
Prescott's time in Gridley is very limited, and we are all anxious
to see as much of him as possible."
"Say no more, Miss Bentley," begged Mr. Cameron, forcing a genial
smile. "Mr. Prescott, I congratulate you on having such a good
champion. Good afternoon, Laura. Good afternoon, Mr. Prescott;
I am very glad indeed to have had the pleasure of meeting you."
"I am most happy to have met you, sir; if it were not for my own
great good fortune, and my natural selfishness, I would feel most
regretful over being the means of distracting Miss Bentley's
Laura, as soon as she had extended her hand to Mr. Cameron, had
run inside to get her hat. By the time that Mr. Cameron had reached
the front gate Laura came out again, adjusting a wonderfully becoming
bit of headgear.
"I am almost ashamed of myself for having spoiled another's call,"
Prescott told her.
"Oh, don't mind about Mr. Cameron," laughed Laura lightly. "He
has plenty opportunity, if he enjoys it, to call at other seasons
of the year."
"Oh! Does he?" muttered Dick. He began to feel a most unwarrantable
dislike for Mr. Cameron.
ALONG A "DANGEROUS" ROAD
"Oh, yes," smiled Laura. "Mr. Cameron is a frequent visitor."
This information had the effect of making Prescott almost feel
that he would enjoy kicking that other young man.
"You are old friends, then?" he asked lightly, as he tucked the
thin carriage robe about Laura, then picked up the lines.
"No; quite recent acquaintances. We met about four months ago,
I think it was."
Though she spoke with apparent indifference, Prescott covertly
caught sight of a slight flush rising to the girl's face.
"After all," muttered Dick inwardly, "why not? Laura isn't a
schoolgirl any longer, and it certainly most be difficult for
any young man who has the chance to call to keep away from her!"
So Cadet Prescott tried to persuade himself that it was all very
natural for Mr. Cameron to call and for Laura to be glad to see
Mr. Cameron. Dick even tried to feel glad that Laura was receiving
attentions—-but the effort ended in secret failure.
Then Dick, as he drove along, tried to tell himself that he didn't
care, and that he hadn't any right to care—-but in this also he
fell short of success with himself.
So he fell silent, without intending to. Laura, on her part,
tried to make up for his silence by chatting pleasantly, but after
a while she, too, found herself out of words.
Then, for a mile, they drove along almost in complete silence.
Yet Cadet Prescott found plenty of chance to eye her covertly.
What he saw was a beautiful girl, so sweet and wholesome looking
that he had hard work, indeed, to keep ardent words from rushing
to his lips.
"She grows sweeter and finer all the time," he muttered to himself.
"Why shouldn't men be eager to call, often and long?"
At last the mare stumbled slightly, and Prescott jerked the animal
so quickly and almost savagely on the lines that Miss Bentley
looked at him with something of a start.
"Dick," spoke Laura at last, turning and looking him frankly,
sweetly in the eyes, "have I done anything to offend you?"
"I wondered," she continued. "You have been so very silent."
"I am afraid I was thinking," muttered Dick. "And that's a very
rude thing to do when it makes one seem to ignore the lady who
is with him," he added, forcing a smile. "I beg your pardon,
Laura, ten times over."
"Oh, I don't mind your being abstracted," she answered simply,
"so long as I am not the cause of it."
Dick checked himself quickly.
He had been right on the point of admitting that she had been
the cause of his abstraction, and such a statement as that would
have called for an abundance of further explanation.
So he forced himself into a peal of laughter that sounded nearly
"If I were to tell you what a ridiculous thing I was thinking about,
Laura!" he chuckled.
Then his West Point training against all forms of deceit led him
to wondering, at once, whether Mr. Cameron could truthfully be
defined as "a ridiculous thing."
"Tell me," smiled the girl patiently.
"Not I," defied Prescott gayly. "Then you would find me more
ridiculous than the thing about which I was thinking."
"Oh!" she replied, and the cadet fancied that his companion spoke
in a tone of more or less hurt.
But, at least, Dick could look straight into her face now, as they
talked, and every instant he realized more and more keenly how
lovely Miss Bentley was growing to be.
They were driving down sweet-scented country lanes now. The whole
scene fitted romance. The cadet remembered Flirtation Walk, at
West Point, and it struck him that there was danger, at the present
moment, of Flirtation Drive.
"I wonder what the dear girl is thinking about at this present
moment?" pondered Dick.
"I wonder what it was that made him so abstracted, and then so
suddenly merry?" was the thought in Miss Bentley's mind.
"That was a very pretty road we came through before we turned into
this one," commented Dick at a hazard.
"I didn't notice it," replied Laura. "Where are we now? Oh,
yes! I know the locality now."
"You have driven out here before—-with Mr. Cameron?"
The words were out ere Cadet Prescott could recall them. He felt
indescribably angry with himself. In the first place, the question
he had asked was really none of his business. In the second place,
his inquiry, under the circumstances, was a rude one.
"Mr. Cameron was in the party," Laura replied readily. "There
was quite a number of us; it was a 'bus ride one May afternoon.
We came out to gather wild flowers."
"If I had the right," flamed up within the cadet, "I'd soon make
Mr. Cameron my business, or else I'd be some of his. But it wouldn't
be fair. I'm not through West Point yet, and I may never be.
Until my future is fairly assured I'm not going to ask the sweetest
girl on earth to commit her future to my hands. Even if I felt
that I could, a cadet is forbidden to marry and a two years' engagement
is a fearfully long one to ask of a girl. And a girl like Laura
has a chance to meet hundreds of more satisfactory fellows than I
in two years."
It required all the young soldier's will power to keep silent
on the one subject uppermost in his mind. And even Dick realized
that some very trivial circumstance was likely to unseat his firm
What he was trying to act up to was his sense of fairness. Hard
as it was under the circumstances, he was more anxious to be fair
to this girl than to any other living being.
"I mustn't spoil her afternoon, just because my own mind is so
dizzy!" he thought reproachfully.
So, a moment later, he became merrier than ever—-on the surface.
It was Laura's turn to take a covert look at his face. She wondered,
for she felt that Prescott's assumed gayety had an almost feverish
"How much further are you going to drive?" she asked presently.
"The only pleasure I recognize in the matter, Laura, is yours.
So I am wholly at your command."
He tried to answer lightly and gallantly, yet felt, an instant
later, that his words had had a strained sound.
The same thought had struck the girl.
Yet, instead of asking him to turn the horse's head about, Laura
"Gridley must be pleasant, as your home town, yet I fancy you are
already looking forward to getting back to your ideals at West Point?"
"Is she tired of having me around?" wondered Cadet Prescott, wincing
within, as though he had been stabbed.
"I'm keener for West Point, every day, Laura," he answered quietly.
"Yet, even in the case of such a grand old place as the Military
Academy, it is worth while to get away once in a while. If it
were not for this long furlough, midway in the four years' course,
many of us might go mad with the incessant grind."
"Oh, you poor Dick!" cried Laura Bentley, in quick, genuine sympathy.
"Yes; I think I can quite understand what you say."
And then a new light came into her eyes, as she added, very softly:
"We in Gridley, who hope for you with your own intensity of longings,
must take every pains to make this furlough of yours restful enough
and full enough of happiness to send you back to West Point with
redoubled strength for the grind."
"The same Laura as of yesterday!" cried Dick with sincere enthusiasm.
"Always wondering how to make life a little sweeter for others!"
"Thank you," she half bowed quietly. "Yes; I want to see your
strength proven among strong men."
Again she looked frankly into Prescott's eyes, and he, at the
same moment, into hers. His pulses were bounding. What was to
become, now, of his resolution to hold back the surging words for
at least two more years?
Yet resolutely he stifled the feelings that surged within him.
He was a boy, though the training at West Point was swiftly making
him over into a man.
"I may lose her," groaned Cadet Prescott. "I may have lost her
already—-if I ever had any chance. But a soldier has at least
his honor to think of, and no honorable man can ask a woman to
give herself to him, and to wait for years, when he isn't reasonably
certain he is going to be able to meet the responsibility that
Never had Prescott been more earnest, more serious, nor more attentive
than during the remainder of that drive. Yet he studiously refrained
from giving the girl any hint of the thoughts that were surging
Was he foolish?
Dick felt, anyway, that he was not, for he was waging a mighty fight
to stand by his best sense of honor.
THE SURPRISE THE LAWYER HAD IN STORE
The days went by swiftly, merrily.
Dick continued to see all that was possible of Laura Bentley,
without seeming to try to monopolize her time.
As for careless, good-humored, nearly heart-free Greg, that young
man divided his time almost impartially among several very pretty
girls. Cadet Holmes had no thought of arousing baseless hopes in
any young woman's mind. He simply had not yet reached the age when
he was likely to be tied closely by any girl's bright-hued ribbons.
Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton were much with the young West Pointers.
Had Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell been able to be home from Annapolis
at this time, the cup of joy would have been full for all the old
chums of Dick & Co. But that was not to be.
Even Reade and Hazelton were home only on limited leave, for they
were still very young engineers, who could not sacrifice much
time away from their work lest they lose the ground already gained.
So just after the Fourth of July, Tom and Harry left, on a morning
train, the two young West Pointers going to the station to see
them off with many a handshake, many a yearning wish for the two
dear old chums of former days.
"The blamed old town will seem a bit empty, won't it?" demanded
Greg, as the cadet pair strolled back from the railway station.
"What'll it be in after years," sighed Dick, "with you up at some
fort on the Great Lakes, say, with me in Boston, Tom and Harry
somewhere out West, with Dave on the European station and Dan,
perhaps, on the China station? Oh, well, chums who want to stick
together through life should go in for jobs in the same factory!"
"I suppose we'll get more used to being apart, as the years roll
on," muttered Greg. "But I know it would be mighty jolly, this
summer, if all the fellows of Dick & Co. could be here in Gridley."
"There's Bert Dodge," whispered Prescott.
"It was hardly worth the trouble to tell me anything about him,"
retorted Holmes, not taking the trouble to look at their ancient
"But what a scowl the fellow is wearing," smiled Dick, half in
"Scowling is his highest pleasure in life," returned Greg.
"He looked at me," continued Dick, as though he had discovered
some new reason for hating me."
"If he knew how little thought you gave to him he wouldn't really
take the trouble to hate you. Dodge has far more reason to dislike
himself. Where are you heading now?"
"Home and to the store," replied Dick. "I just saw the postman
leaving. Come along."
As Dick and his chum entered, both his father and mother were
behind the counter.
"Dr. Davidson and his wife are in the back room," announced Mrs.
Prescott. "They would like to see you, Dick."
"Oh, your new pastor and his wife? Will you excuse me, and wait
for me a few minutes, Greg?" asked Dick.
Holmes, nodding, picked up a magazine and seated himself. It
was twenty minutes ere Dick came out from that back room. Then
the chums started out for another stroll.
"Where are you going now?" asked Greg, suddenly, realizing that
his chum was walking at an almost spurting gait.
"In looking over my mail," replied Dick grimly, "I found a letter
from Lawyer Griffin."
"What does he want, You don't owe any money, here or anywhere else."
"Griffin wrote me that he wanted to see me about a case that has
been placed in his hands," replied Prescott quietly.
Greg started, then changed color.
"Dick," he demanded, "do you know what the lawyer's business is
"The lawyer's letter doesn't state any more than I have told you."
"Dick, that hound Dodge must be up to some trick!"
"I imagine that's the answer," replied Cadet Prescott quietly.
"And you're going to see the lawyer?"
"Humph!" muttered Greg. "I know what I'd do. I'd make the lawyer
come to see me."
"But I prefer going to his office."
"As soon as I can get there."
"And you want me with you?"
"Most decidedly, Greg. I don't care to go into the lawyer's office
without a competent witness."
"Then I'm yours, old fellow."
"I know that, Greg."
Despite himself Holmes began to feel decidedly uneasy.
"What on earth can Dodge be up to?" muttered Greg. "He threatened
a libel prosecution one day last month. Can it be that he has
found people who can be bribed to perjure themselves, and that he
is going to make his hint good?"
"It half looks that way," assented Dick.
"Then may a plague seize the cur!" cried Greg, vehemently. "Why,
if the fellow can buy other people into making out a case of libel
"I might be convicted, and that conviction would cut short my Army
career," replied Prescott as quietly as ever.
Greg stopped short in his walk, staring aghast at his chum.
"Why, can Dodge be scoundrel enough for that?" he gasped.
"The best way to judge a man, like a horse, is by the record of
his past performances," responded Prescott as quietly as ever.
"So that unutterable cur, since he couldn't remain in the Army,
is determined that you shan't, either! Dick, old ramrod, I'm
shaking all over with indignation and contempt, and you're as
cool as an old colonel going under fire again for the thousandth
"If there's any real danger I guess I'd better remain cool," spoke
Prescott slowly, though there was a flash of fire in his eyes.
"There's Bert Dodge again!" quivered Holmes, glancing along the
street. "Hurry up! Let's meet him. Just on general principles
one of us ought to thrash him, and I most joyously volunteer."
"Don't you do anything of the sort," begged Dick quickly. "We
don't want to make any matter worse. Here's the building where
Griffin has his offices. Come; we'll go up and see him."
The two West Pointers were soon in the lawyer's office. Mr. Griffin
was disengaged, and saw the young men at once. This attorney was
rather a new-comer in Gridley. Dick and Greg met him for the first
time. Prescott rather liked the man's appearance.
"Do you want the whole affair discussed before your friend, Mr.
Prescott?" demanded Griffin.
"By all means, sir," Dick responded.
"Very good, then," replied the lawyer, who was still engaged in
studying the faces of both cadets.
Then, while the two West Pointers sat before him, their faces
impassive, Mr. Griffin continued.
"When I was retained on this case I was asked to put the whole
matter before the Grand Jury at its next sitting. It is so very
unusual, however, to have criminal cases against West Point men
that I insisted with my clients that I would not take a decisive
step, Mr. Prescott, until I had first seen you."
"Thank you, sir," nodded Cadet Prescott.
"In brief then," went on the lawyer, "Mr. Dodge and his son Bert
have placed a good deal of sworn evidence in my hands, and they
have instructed me, Prescott, to procure your indictment on a
charge of uttering criminally libelous statements against Bert
PRESCOTT LAYS A POWDER TRAIL
Greg Holmes turned very white for an instant.
Then a flush rose to his face. He leaped to his feet, his hands
"This is an infamous, outrageous, lying——-"
"Thank you, Greg," Prescott broke in coolly. "But will you let
me question Mr. Griffin?"
"Yes," subsided Greg, sinking back into his chair. "I don't know
that I could say any more. It would be merely a change in the words."
Cadet Prescott turned back to the lawyer.
"Mr. Griffin, will you tell me why you sent for me?"
"Because," replied the man of law, "I have some knowledge of the
average West Point material. Frankly, I couldn't wholly credit
this charge against you. I wanted to see you and have a talk
with you, and I so informed the elder Dodge. Unless you can satisfy
me that this is a ridiculous case, or a wholly malicious prosecution,
then I shall feel obliged, as a lawyer, to take up the charges
with the district attorney, after which we shall proceed in the
usual way. But, first of all, I want to have a talk with you."
"That is very fair, sir," replied Dick.
"And I want to be fair," replied the lawyer with emphasis. "I
want to make sure that I am not taking part in a case needlessly
malicious, and one which, pushed to a needless conclusion, might
rob the Army of a valuable future officer."
"I appreciate your courtesy and fairness, and I, thank you, sir,"
"Now, Mr. Prescott, do you mind telling me, in a general way,
at least, just what you have said to others about young Dodge
since you have been home on your furlough?"
"I would rather, sir, tell you something else instead," replied
Cadet Prescott, with the ghost of a smile. "You have some affidavits,
Mr. Griffin—-or, at least, you have some witnesses, and they
have very likely furnished you with affidavits. The names of
your witnesses, or of your most important witnesses, are Fessenden,
Bettrick and Deevers. Fessenden was a bank clerk, discharged
from the bank by the elder Dodge. Bettrick is a truck-driver,
and Deevers is—-well, I understand he has no more important
occupation than lounging about drinking places."
"I am sorry that you know the names of my witnesses," replied
Lawyer Griffin gravely. "I am beginning to be impressed with
the idea that you know their names so readily because you recall
having said something in their presence or hearing against young
"That is hardly likely," replied Dick, smiling coolly, "because
I do not believe that I know either of the three young men by
"Then why," demanded the attorney, eyeing the young West Pointer
keenly, "do you know so much about their occupations or lack of
occupation? And why do you know that they are all young men?"
"I will tell you," replied Dick. "In the first place, you know
Dr. Carter, do you not?"
"He is a reputable physician, isn't he?"
"I believe Dr. Carter to be a very honorable man."
"Do you know Dr. Davidson?"
"I understand that he is one of the new pastors in town," admitted
"You imagine he would make a creditable witness, don't you?"
"Jurors generally accept the testimony of a clergyman at its face
value," replied Attorney Griffin.
"Down in one of the tenements of Gridley," pursued Prescott, rising
and leaning one elbow upon the corner of the top of the lawyer's
roll-top desk, "is a young man named Peters. He is a mill hand
who has been away from his work for weeks on account of illness.
Dr. Carter has been attending him, probably without charging
much if any fee. Last night Peters had a small boy rush out and
telephone in haste for Dr. Carter. As it happened, the physician
was at his office, and answered quickly. After Dr. Carter had
been in Peters's room, perhaps a minute, the physician hurried
out into the street, stopping the first man whom he met. That
man happened to be Dr. Davidson. The two men returned to Peters's
room. Now, all three of them listened."
Lawyer Griffin was eyeing Prescott curiously.
"Yesterday afternoon," continued Dick, changing the subject with
seeming abruptness, "Fessenden, Bettrick and Deevers were all here,
and signed affidavits before a clerk of yours, who is a notary public."
"Proceed," requested Mr. Griffin, without either denying or admitting
the truth of Dick's statement.
"Since he lost his bank position," Dick went on, "Fessenden has
been compelled to live in a wretched room next to that occupied
by the sick man Peters. Two nights ago, as you will remember,
there was a heavy rain. Now, the roof leaked at that tenement
house, and the dripping water washed away some of the plaster
covering the none-too-thick partition between the room of Fessenden
and the room of Peters. So our sick man heard much of the conversation
between Fessenden and the fellow's confederates. Now Peters,
the physician and the clergyman are all willing to swear to the
statement that Bert Dodge hired Fessenden, Bettrick and Deevers
to testify against me. Young Dodge, according to the overheard
conversation, met and drilled all three in their parts. That
was before the three came here yesterday afternoon, with the Dodges,
and supplied you with the affidavits that you now hold. For this
service, Dodge is believed to have paid each young loafer the
sum of twenty dollars, with a promise of eighty more apiece after
they had told their tales in court. That, Mr. Griffin, is the
other side of the story. Bert Dodge has deliberately hired three
men to swear falsely against me."
As he finished Dick dropped carelessly back into the chair. He
appeared wholly cool. Not so Greg Holmes, whose face, during this
recital, had been a study. Now Greg was upon his feet in a flash.
"How long have you known this, old ramrod?" he demanded.
"Dr. Davidson told me this, in the back room at the store, just
before we came here," Prescott replied.
"And you never told me—-didn't even give me a hint?" cried Holmes
"Why, I thought I'd tell Mr. Griffin first," answered Dick.
"I have seldom heard anything that interested me more," admitted
the lawyer. "Yet, why didn't you bring Dr. Davidson and Dr. Carter
here with you?"
"One good reason," replied Dick bluntly, "was that I didn't know
anything about you, Mr. Griffin. I am glad to say that I have
found you most fair minded. But, not knowing you, I wanted to
see you and judge for myself whether there was any chance that
you were in league with my enemies. Had I made up my mind that
you were anywhere nearly as bad as young Dodge, I would have let
this matter get as far as the courts, when I would have overwhelmed
you all with charges of perjury, and would have proved my charges
at least against Bert Dodge and his three tools."
"Mr. Prescott, of course I don't mean to throw any doubt over the
truth of what you have just told me. At the same time, as counsel
for the Dodges, I shall have to satisfy myself on these particulars.
"Do you know Dr. Carter's voice well?" asked Prescott.
"Then kindly allow me to use your telephone."
Pulling the desk instrument toward him, and hailing central, Dick
called for "33 Main."
"Hello, is Dr. Carter in," called Dick after a moment. "This
is Prescott. Do you recognize my voice? Very good, sir; will
you now talk with Lawyer Griffin, who is beside me, and tell him
what you heard last night in the room of one Peters? Here is
Dr. Cater waiting for you Mr. Griffin."
Lawyer and physician talked together for some minutes, the attorney's
excitement increasing. Greg, in the meantime, was executing a
silent jig over near the door of the room.
"Now, you can call up Dr. Davidson," suggested Cadet Prescott.
"I don't need to," replied the lawyer. "Dr. Carter has substantiated
all that you told me, and has informed me that Dr. Davidson is
ready to be called upon for the same information. Instead, I
shall call upon some one else."
An instant later the attorney called up another number.
"Hello," he said presently. "Connect me with Mr. Dodge. Hello,
is that you, Mr. Dodge? Can you reach your son readily? Oh,
he is there at the bank with you, is he? This is Mr. Griffin.
I shall expect you both at my office within five minutes. Yes;
about the Prescott matter. No; I can't tell you over the 'phone.
Both of you come here. Goodbye!"
As though to wind up the conversation abruptly, Lawyer Griffin
rang off and hung the receiver on its hook.
"Now, we'll wait and here the other side," remarked the lawyer
"If the other side dares make its voice heard!" laughed Cadet
There being now no need of silence, Greg Holmes relieved himself
of some noisy enthusiasm.
A FATHER'S JUST WRATH STRIKES
A very few minutes later a knock sounded at the door.
Then Bert Dodge entered very abruptly, his tongue starting with
the turning off the knob.
"Well, have you seen the mucker Prescott?" called Bert airily.
"Was he scared to——-"
Here Bert caught sight of the two West Pointers and stopped short,
while his father entered behind him.
"No," broke in Holmes, dryly, "Prescott wasn't even scared silly."
"Oh, you shut up, you two!" growled Bert. "Mr. Griffin, what
are these pieces of airy nothing doing here?"
"That advice about preserving silence will very well apply to
you, also, Mr. Bert Dodge," rejoined the lawyer. "Take a seat
in the background, please. I want to talk with your father."
"What's the matters" demanded Bert, not taking a seat, but advancing
and leaning against the top of the lawyer's desk. "Has this fellow
won you over with a lot of his smooth talk?"
"Mr. Griffin I warned you that Prescott is a most accomplished liar."
Instead of flaring up at this insult, Dick merely turned to exchange
amused smiles with Holmes.
At this moment the attorney was paying no heed to Bert, but was
placing a chair courteously for the elder Dodge.
"Now, Mr. Dodge," began the lawyer, speaking rapidly and paying
heed only to the father, "I am very glad that I insisted on seeing
Mr. Prescott before going further in the case that you placed
with me. I expected only a denial. I have, instead, been astounded.
Now, listen, sir, while I tell you the all but incredible story."
Thereupon Lawyer Griffin launched into a swift narration of the
story told by Dick Prescott and Dr. Carter.
As soon as Bert Dodge began to get wind of what it was all about,
his face became ghastly.
"Stop right here, Griffin!" commanded Bert. "This is all a tissue
of lies that have been sprung upon you."
"Silence, young man!" commanded the lawyer sternly. "This talk
is between your father and myself. As for you, young man, remember
to what you have sworn, and bear in mind that the upshot of it
all for you may yet be a term of years in the penitentiary."
As the lawyer went on talking there could not be a moment's suspicion
that the elder Dodge had been concerned in the plot of perjury.
Mr. Dodge had been guilty only of believing his son and of sharing
the latter's feigned indignation.
"Now, Dr. Carter has confirmed all of this over the 'phone, and
he assured me that Dr. Davidson stood ready to add his testimony,"
wound up Lawyer Griffin. "Mr. Dodge, what is to be done?"
"Why," stammered Bert's father, "we—-we shall have to drop the
"What?" raged Bert, his face going purple with anger. "Drop the
case on any such stacked-up mess of lies? Father, are you losing
all the nerve you ever had?"
"Young man," broke in Lawyer Griffin severely, "you do not appear
to have the slightest idea of values. I do not for a moment imagine
that your father will go any further in this matter. If he does,
it will be necessary for him to get another attorney."
"Why!" challenged Bert, glaring at the lawyer.
"Because the outcome of this case, if it reached court, would
be your indictment for conspiracy and the subornation of perjury.
The latter is one of the most heinous crimes known to the law."
"But I tell you this is all a tissue of lies trumped up against
me!" stormed young Dodge.
While this conversation was going on Dick and Greg remained silent
in their seats. They had no need to talk. They were enjoying it
all too much just as it was going.
"Do you expect, Dodge, that a court and a jury would take your
unsupported word against the testimony of two such men as Dr.
Carter and the Rev. Mr. Davidson? Do you imagine, for a moment,
that Fessenden and your other tools wouldn't become utterly frightened
and confess to everything against you? Do you imagine that anything
you could do or say would save you, Dodge, from going to the
penitentiary for ten or fifteen years?"
The attorney's cool, incisive manner brought Bert Dodge to his
A deathly fear assailed him. His knees began to shake.
"The case is too well fixed against me," he replied hoarsely.
"Ye—-es, I guess you had better drop it all."
The elder Dodge now sprang to his feet.
"Drop it, you young scoundrel?" he yelled at his son. "Why did
you ever drag me into any such infamous piece of business? I went
into this believing that you told me the truth."
"I—-I did, sir," stammered Bert.
"Bah, you are a perjurer, you young villain!" raged his father.
"Griffin, this matter cannot go a step further. You will destroy
those miserable affidavits before my eyes!"
"I am sorry, Mr. Dodge," replied the lawyer, "but I am not at
liberty to do that."
"You can't destroy the affidavits?" howled Bert, his voice breaking.
"Why not! Aren't you our lawyer?"
"I am even more an officer of the court than I am anyone's attorney,"
replied Mr. Griffin gravely. "A lawyer has no right to conceal
a crime when he knows one has been committed not even to save his
"Wh—-what do you propose to do, Griffins?" demanded the elder
"Why, I hope to save your worthless son from prosecution, Mr.
Dodge," returned the lawyer. "But a crime has been committed,
in that your son procured others to swear to false affidavits
True, the affidavits have not yet been presented in court, and
on that I base my hope that the matter will not have to go further.
But I feel in honor bound to submit the facts to the district
attorney, and to be governed by his instructions."
"You are going to try to send me to jail?" gasped Dodge, clutching
at the ledge of a bookcase to save himself from falling.
"I am going to try to persuade the district attorney to let the
matter drop," replied Griffin. "It will be the district attorney's
decision that will govern the matter."
"Then what are you doing fooling around here, governor?" screamed
Bert hoarsely. "Don't you see that it's your job to hurry to the
district attorney as fast as you can go? Use your money, your
In his extreme terror young Dodge seemed to forget that he was
providing amusement for his enemies.
But Mr. Dodge cut in quickly. Advancing a step or two, he brought
his uplifted stick down sharply, once, across his son's shoulders.
With a snarl Bert wheeled, crouching as though to spring upon
Prescott and Holmes jumped up, prepared to step in. But the banker
was not cowed by the evil look in his son's face.
"Begone, you young villain!" quivered the old man. "Get out of
my sight. Never let me see you again. Don't dare to go to what
was once your home, or I'll have you thrown out. I disown you!
You are no blood of mine!"
"I guess you forget," sneered Bert cunningly that you are responsible
for me, and that you will have to pay my bills."
"Not a penny of them," retorted the banker sternly. "It is you
who forget that you reached the age of twenty-one just three days
ago. You are your own master, sir—-and your own provider! Now,
go—-and never again let any of your family hear from the scoundrel
who has disgraced us all."
Vainly Bert opened his mouth, trying to speak. The words would
not come. His father again advancing threateningly, Bert edged
towards the door.
"This looks like your fun, as it is your work, Dick Prescott!"
snarled the wretch. "Wait! If it takes me ten years I'll make
you suffer for this!"
Crash! Mr. Dodge had again raised his cane to strike the young
man. But Bert had pulled open the door, closing it after him
as he fled, and only the plate-glass panel stopped the fall of
"I'll pay for the damage done to your door Griffin," promised
"Don't worry about that, sir," nodded the attorney.
"I feel that we've been here long enough, gentlemen," broke in
Cadet Prescott, as he and Greg rose. "Mr. Dodge, I can't begin
to tell you how sorry I am that this scene was necessary."
"I feel sure of your sympathy. Prescott, and of yours, too, Holmes.
Thank you both," replied the banker. "You are both fine, manly
young fellows. I wish I had been favored with a son like either
of you. Now, I have no son!"
Dick and Greg got away as unobtrusively as they could.
Bert Dodge did try to go home to see his Mother, but, by his father's
orders, he was put out of the house by two men servants.
Immediately after that Bert vanished from Gridley. At first he
tried the effect of writing whining, penitent, begging letters home.
Receiving no replies, Bert finally drifted off into the space of
the wide world.
Later on in the course of these chronicles he may reappear.
Lawyer Griffin consulted with the district attorney, and it was
decided not to make perjury cases out of the affair. Fessenden,
Bettrick and Deevers, however, were all three warned and the district
attorney filed away the lying affidavits, in case a use for them
should ever come up.
By degrees the story of Bert Dodge's latest infamy leaked out.
The news, however, did not come through any word spread by either
of our young West Pointers.
BACK TO THE GOOD, GRAY LIFE
A Glorious summer it was for the two second classman on furlough!
Yet, like all other things, good and otherwise, it had to come
to an end.
One morning near the end of August, Dick and Greg, attended by
a numerous concourse of friends, went to the railway station.
The proud parents were there, of course, and so were the parents
of Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell, the latter happy in the knowledge
that their boys would soon be home for the brief September leave
from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.
"Why, you haven't seen Dave since you youngsters all left home,
have you, Dick?" asked Mr. Darrin.
"No, sir. Greg and I hoped to, this last summer, when the Army
baseball nine went down to Annapolis and defeated the Navy nine,"
Dick replied. "But both Greg and I found ourselves so hard pressed
in our academic work that we didn't dare go, but remained behind
and boned hard at our studies."
"You don't forget the fact that the Army nine did defeat the Navy
nine, do you?" laughed Dan's father.
"No, sir; of course not," smiled Dick. "The Army and Navy teams
exist mainly for the purpose of beating each other. I am glad
to say that the Army manages to win more than its share of games."
"That's because the West Point boys average a little older than
the Annapolis boys," broke in Mrs. Dalzell pleasantly, though
warmly. Even she, as the mother of a midshipman, felt her share
in the rivalry between the nation's two great service schools.
"You will bring Laura and Belle up to some of the hops this winter,
I hope, Mrs. Bentley," Dick begged.
"Oh, she's pledged to take us to West Point, and to Annapolis,"
broke in Belle Meade, smiling. "You don't think we are going
to lose the hops at either Academy while we have friends there,
"I should hope not," Dick replied earnestly. Five minutes before
train time Leonard Cameron appeared. He greeted the two cadets
with great cordiality.
"I couldn't help coming to see you off, Prescott," Cameron found
chance to say in an undertone. "Laura is so deeply interested
in your success that I, too, am longing to hear every possible
good word as to your future career. Laura couldn't be more interested
in you if she were truly your sister."
That was the sting that made Dick's going away bitter. Cameron's
manner was so easy and assured that Dick saw the crumbling of one
of his more than half built castles in Spain.
The train carried the two cadets away. The parents of both young
men had seen to it that the cadets went away in a parlor car.
Dick and Greg, after leaving Gridley behind, swung their chairs
around so that, while they looked out of the window, their heads
were close together.
"Cameron had a nerve to show up, didn't hey" demanded Greg indignantly.
"I don't know," Dick replied very quietly. "He tried to be very
kind and cordial."
"Shucks!" uttered Greg, disgustedly. "Doesn't he know that Laura
Bentley is your girl, and that he's only a b.j. hanger-on there?"
"I'm afraid Laura herself doesn't know that she's my girl," sighed
Cadet Holmes swung about so that he could gaze straight into his
"Dick, didn't you tell her?" demanded Greg aghast.
"You have to do something more than tell a girl," smiled Prescott
patiently, though wearily. "You have to ask her."
"Well, thunder and bomb-shells, didn't you?"
"I didn't, Greg."
"Oh, pardon me, old ramrod. I don't mean to pry into your affairs——-"
"I know you don't."
"——-but I thought you were deeply interested in Laura Bentley."
"I think I am, Greg. In fact, I'm sure I am."
"Greg, I'm not yet sure of my place in life. I'm not going to ask
any girl to tie her future up in my plans until I feel that I have
a fair start in life."
"Army officer's pay is enough for any sensible girl."
"I'm not an Army officer yet."
"Oh, rot! You're going to be! You're half way through West Point
now. You're past the harder half, and you stand well enough in
your class. You're sure to graduate and get into the Army."
"Greg, within ten days of getting back to West Point I may be
injured in some cavalry, or other drill, and become useless for
life. A cadet hurt even in the line of duty gets no pension,
no retired pay. If he is a wreck, he is merely shipped home for
his folks to take care of him. When I graduate, and get my commission
in the Army, it will be different. Then I'll have a salary
guaranteed me for life; if I am injured, and become useless in
the Army, I still have retired pay enough to take care of a family.
If I am killed my wife could draw nearly pension enough to support
her. All these things belong to the Army officer and his wife.
But the cadet has nothing coming to him if he fails, for any reason,
to get through."
"Well, cadets don't marry," observed Greg. "They're forbidden
to. But a cadet can have things understood with his girl. Then,
if he fails to make the Army, or to get something else suitable
in life, he can release the girl if she wants to be released."
"But if a girl considers herself as good as engaged to a cadet
she lets other good chances go by, and the cadet may never be
able to make good," objected Dick.
"It's good of you to be so thoughtful for that fellow Cameron,"
"I'm not thoughtful for him, but for Laura," retorted Prescott
"Confound it," growled Greg to himself, "Dick is such a stickler
for the girl's rights that he is likely to break her heart. Hanged
if I don't try to set Laura straight myself, when I see her!
No; I won't either, though. Dick would never forgive me if I
butted into his own dearest affairs."
"I know, Greg," Prescott pursued presently, "that some of the
fellows do become engaged to, girls while still at the Military
Academy. But becoming engaged to marry a girl is a mighty serious
"Then I'm in for it," muttered Holmes soberly. "I'm engaged to
the third girl."
"What?" gasped his chum incredulously. "You engaged to three
"Oh, only one at a time," Greg assured his comrade. "The first
two girls, each in turn, asked to be released, after we'd been
engaged for a while. So, now, I'm engaged to my third girl."
Holmes spoke seriously, and with evident truth. Dick leaned back,
staring curiously at his chum, though he did not ask the latest
"At least, I was engaged, at latest accounts," Greg went on, after
a few moments. "By the time I reach West Point, just as likely
as not, I'll get a letter asking me to consider the matter as past
"Greg, Greg!" muttered Prescott, shaking his head gravely. "I'm
afraid you're not very constant.
"I?" retorted Cadet Holmes indignantly. "Dick, you're harboring
the wrong idea. It's the girls who are not constant. Though
they were all nice little bits of femininity," Greg added
reminiscently in a tone of regret.
Late in the afternoon the chums arrived in New York. After putting
up at a hotel they had time for dinner and a stroll.
"Somehow, I don't feel very sporty tonight," sighed Cadet Holmes,
as they waited, at table, for the evening meal to be served.
"Yet, in a week, I suppose I'll be kicking myself. For tomorrow
we're due to get back into our gray habits and re-enter the military
convent life up the river."
After a late supper and a short night's rest, the two young men
found themselves, the morning following, on a steamboat bound up
the Hudson River.
"After all these weeks of good times," muttered Greg, "it doesn't
seem quite real."
"It will, in a couple of hours," predicted Prescott, smiling.
"And, now that home is so far behind, I'm really delighted to
think that I'll soon be back in gray old barracks, donning the
same old gray uniform."
"Oh, it will be all right. There are a lot of fellows that I'm
eager to see" Greg admitted.
"Out with it!"
"Is Miss Number Three likely to be at the Point when we get there?"
"I don't know," Holmes admitted. "I haven't heard from her in
four days. I hope she'll be there."
All in due time the two cadets worked their way forward on the
boat. Now they encountered nearly a dozen other members of their
class, all returning. Yet none of the dozen were among their
warmest friends in class life.
"Look, fellows!" cried Dick at last. "There's just a glimpse of
some of the high spots of West Point through the trees!"
It was all well enough for the cadets to claim that the life at
West Point was a fearfully hard and dull grind, and that they
were little better than cadet slaves. As they picked out, one
after another, familiar glimpses of West Point, these young men
became mostly silent, though their eyes gleamed eagerly. They
loved the good old gray academy! They rejoiced to find themselves
so near, and going back!
Then at last the boat touched at the pier. Some moments before
the gangplank was run aboard from the wharf everyone of the more
than dozen cadets had already leaped ashore.
"Whoop!" yelled Greg, tossing his hat in the air.
"Mr. Holmes!" growled Cadet Dennison with mock severity. "Report
yourself for unmilitary enthusiasm!"
"Yes, sir," responded Greg meekly, saluting: his fellow classman.
"Fall in!" yelled Dennison.
"Where?" inquired Dick innocently. "In the Hudson? I decline,
sir, to obey an illegal order."
Amid a good deal of laughter the returning cadets trudged across
the road, over the railroad tracks and on up the steep slope that
led to the administration building.
Across the inner court of the administration building walked the
second classman briskly, and on up the stairs. There was no more
laughter. Even the talking was in most subdued tones, for these
young men were going back to duty—-military duty at that!
In one of the outer offices on the second floor the cadets left
their suit cases.
Dick, being one of those in the lead, stepped into the adjutant's
room, brought his heels together, and in the position of the soldier,
"Sir, I report my return to duty at the Military Academy."
"Very good, Mr. Prescott. Report to the special officer in charge
at the cadet guard house, and receive your assignment to your
room. The special officer in charge will give you any further
immediate orders that may be necessary."
Again saluting, Prescott wheeled with military precision and left
the adjutant's office. As he was going out Dick was passed by
Greg coming in.
For a moment Prescott waited outside until Greg had joined him.
"It would be a howling mess if we didn't have a room together
this year, old ramrod, wouldn't it?" muttered Cadet Holmes as soon
as they were clear of the administration building.
"Oh, that isn't one of our likely troubles," Dick answered. "We
asked for a room together, and second classmen generally have what
we want in that line."
On reporting to the special officer in charge, the two chums found
that they had been given quarters together. Moreover, their room
was one of the best assigned to second classman, and looked out
over the plain and parade ground.
"We ought to be jolly happy in here this year, old ramrod," predicted
Greg. "Especially as we haven't any fellow like Dodge in the class."
"Nor in the whole Military Academy," rejoined Prescott.
"I hope not," murmured Cadet Holmes thoughtfully.
Boys at boarding school would have needed at least the rest of
the day to get themselves to rights. Trained to soldierly habits,
our two cadets had quickly dropped the furlough life. Citizen
clothes, in dress-suit cases, were deposited at the cadet store,
and the two cadets, back in "spooniest" white duck trousers and
gray fatigue blouses, were soon speeding along the roads that
led across the plain to where the other three classes were having
their last day of summer encampment.
"Greetings, old ramrod!" called a low but pleasant voice, as First
Classman Brayton hurried up, grasping Dick's hand. Then Greg
came in for a hearty shake. Brayton, who had been a cadet corporal
when the two boys from Gridley were plebes, now wore the imposing
chevrons of a cadet captain.
"My, but I'm glad to see you two idlers return to a fair measure
of work," laughed another voice, and Spurlock, whom Dick, as a
plebe, had thrashed, pushed his right hand into the ceremonies.
Spurlock, too, was a cadet captain. Other first classmen crowded
in for these returning furlough men were popular throughout the
"May a wee, small voice make itself heard?"
Dick and Greg half wheeled to meet another comer. Little Briggs,
a trifle less plump and correspondingly longer, stood before them,
grinning almost sheepishly.
"Hullo, Briggsy!" cried Prescott, extending his hand, which the
third classman took with unusual warmth.
"Being no longer a plebe, I enjoy the great pleasure able to address
an upper classman before I'm addressed," went on Briggs.
"That's so, Briggsy," affirmed Greg.
Before going off on their furlough both had been compelled to
regard Briggs as an unfortunate plebe, with whom it was desirable
to have as little to do as possible. Then it had been "Mr. Briggs";
now it was "Briggsy"; that much had the round little fellow gained
by stepping up from the fourth class to the third.
"Have you found any b.j. beasts among the new plebes, Briggsy!"
Dick wanted to know.
"Plenty of 'em," responded Briggs with enthusiasm.
"Any that were b.j.-er than Mr. Briggs?" inquired Greg.
A shade annoyance crossed the new yearling's face.
"I never was b.j., was I?" he murmured.
"Think!" returned Dick dryly. "However, you're Briggs, now, with
all my heart—-no longer 'mister.'"
"We've had a busy, busy summer," murmured Briggs, "licking the
new beasts into shape."
Greg laughed heartily at memory of some of the hazing stunts through
which he had once helped to rush Briggs.
Furlong, Griffin and Dobbs, of the second class, hurried over to
greet Prescott and Holmes.
"Where's Anstey?" Dick inquired.
"Not back yet, I'm sure," replied Briggs.
"Oh, well, he'll be back before the day's over," Dick went on
confidently. "That youth from Virginia is much too good a soldier
to fail to report on time."
Soon after the instruction parties of the first, third and fourth
classes came marching back into camp. It seemed, indeed, like
old times, to see the fellows all rushing off to their tents to
clean up and change uniforms before the dinner call sounded.
Then the call for dinner formation came. Dick and Greg fell in,
in their old company, and marched away at the old, swinging soldier
Most of the afternoon the returned furlough men spent in their new
rooms. During that afternoon Anstey pounced in upon them. The
Virginian said little, as usual, but the length and fervor of the
handclasp that he gave Dick and Greg was enough.
With evening came the color-line entertainment. Dick and Anstey
walked on the outskirts of the throng of visitors.
Cadet Holmes, having discovered that the especial girl to whom
he was at present betrothed was not at West Point, played the
casual gallant for a fair cousin of Second Classman McDermott.
The night went out in a blaze of color, illumination and fireworks
just before taps. In the morning the cadet battalion marched
back into barracks, and on the morning after that the daily grind
began in the grim old academic building.
Cadets Prescott and Holmes were thus fairly started on their
third year at West Point. There was a tremendous grind ahead
of them, the very grind was becoming vastly easier, two years
of the hard life at West Point taught them how to study.
THE SCHEME OF THE TURNBACK
"I must be getting back to my room," murmured Anstey. "I haven't
had a demerit so far this year, and I don't want to begin."
"If you must go, all right," replied Dick, though he added, with
"Whether in or out of proper hours, Anstey, your visits are always
"Thank you, old man," replied the Virginian gratefully.
The time had worn along into October. During the first month
of academic work, neither Dick nor Greg had stood as high in their
class as they had wished. This is often the case with new second
classmen, who have just returned from all the allurements and
excitements of their furloughs.
"Are you studying very hard, Anstey?" asked Greg, turning around,
as the Virginian entered the door.
"Not very," drawled the Virginian. "I never did like haste and
rush. I'm satisfied if I get through. I did hope to stand high
enough to get into the cavalry, but now I think I'm going to be
pleased if I get the doughboy's white trousers stripe."
The "doughboy" is an infantryman.
"I think I'm going to find it all easy enough, now, after I once
get my gait. Thank goodness, we're past the daily math. grind."
"We'll all find plenty of math. in its application to other studies,"
sighed Prescott. "But what gets me is for an Army officer to
have to be roundly coached in philosophy, as regards sound and light."
"And chemistry," groaned Greg, "with heat, mineralogy, geology
and electricity. And how the instructors can draw out on the
points that a fellow hasn't been able to get through his head!"
"Don't!" begged the Virginian. "It makes my temples throb. I've
written mother, asking her to send me some headache powders.
Unless our third-year science instructors let up on us, I see
myself eating headache powders like candy."
As Anstey turned the knob, and started to go out, another cadet,
about to enter, pushed door open and stepped inside.
"Howdy fellows," was the greeting of the newcomer.
"How do you do, Haynes?" asked Dick, though not over impressed
by the newcomer.
Haynes was a former second classman, who, on account of illness
in the latter half of his third year, had been allowed to "turn
back" and join the new second class.
It often happens that a "turnback" is not extremely popular with
the new class that he joins. Not less often does it happen that
the turnback wonders at the comparative lack of esteem shown him.
The reason, however, is very likely to be found in the fact that
the turnback considers himself a mile or so above the new class
members with whom circumstances have compelled him to cast his
It was so in this instance. Haynes felt that he was, properly,
a first classman. True, the members of the first class, which
he had fallen behind, did not take that view of the case.
"You fellows busy?" asked Haynes, as he took a seat across the
foot of Prescott's cot bed.
"Oh, no more busy than cadets usually are," smiled Dick pleasantly.
"We are finding the new grind a hard one—-that's all."
"Now, there's nothing very hard about the first half of the year
in this class," replied Haynes knowingly. "I've been through
it you know."
"You're lucky," rejoined Greg. "We haven't been through it—-yet."
Hayes, however, chose to regard what was meant as a slight hint.
"Don't bone too hard at this first-term stuff, fellows," he went
on. "Save your energies for the second half of the academic year."
"I wonder whether we shall have any energies left by that time,"
replied Greg, opening one of his text-books in philosophy with
a force that made the cover bang against the desk.
"Oh, go ahead and bone 'sound,' then, if you want," permitted
Mr. Haynes. "I'll talk to Prescott. Old ramrod, I haven't seen
you at any of the hops this year."
"Haven't had a femme to drag," replied Dick, as he picked up a
sheet of notes and began to scan it.
"Why don't you turn pirate, then, as I do," yawned Haynes, "and
get the fellows to write you down on the cards they're making
up for their femmes?"
"I hadn't thought of that," replied Dick. "I don't believe, when
I have no femme to drag to the hops, that it would make me any
more popular with the fellows, either. A fellow who pirates at
all should drag a spoony femme pretty often himself."
"Why," asked Hayes, opening his eyes rather wide, "are you boning
bootlick with any but officers?"
"Boning bootlick" means to curry favor. Occasionally a cadet
who wants cadet honors resorts to "boning bootlick" with the tactical
officers stationed at the academy.
"I'm not boning bootlick with cadets or with officers either,"
retorted Dick rather crisply.
"I've never had the delight of wearing chevrons, you know."
Haynes flushed a trifle. The year before he had worn a sergeant's
chevrons. This year, for some reason, he did not have the chevrons.
"Wearing chevrons isn't the only sign of bootlick," replied Haynes.
"Is it one of them?" smiled Prescott good-humoredly.
Again Haynes flushed. He had meant to take down this new member
of the second class, but found Prescott's tongue too ready.
"I don't know," replied Haynes shortly. "I've never been one
of the authorities on bootlick."
"Nor I, either," laughed Prescott quietly. "So we won't be able
to come to the point of any information on the subject, I'm afraid."
Greg, with his back turned to the visitor as he bent over the
study desk, had been frowning for some time. Holmes wanted to
study; he knew how badly he needed the time. But Haynes showed
no sign of leaving the room.
Suddenly, Holmes closed his book, perhaps with a trifle more noise
than was necessary.
"What you going to do, Greg?" inquired his chum, as Cadet Holmes
rose stiffly, holding himself very erect in his natty gray uniform.
"I believe I'll get out for a while," replied Greg. "I—-I really
want to think a little while."
"Oh, I'll go, if you say so," volunteered Cadet Haynes, though
without offering to rise.
"Not necessary," replied Greg briefly, and stepped over to the
door, which he next closed—-from the outside.
"Your roommate cocky?" asked Haynes, with a short laugh.
"Holmes!" inquired Dick. "One of the best fellows in the world."
"Guess he didn't want visitors, then," grinned: Haynes. "He's
a chump to bone hard all the time. Really, Prescott, you don't
get any further with an excess of boning."
"I always try to get as high in my class as I can," sighed Dick.
"True, that has never been extremely high yet. But a fellow
wants to be well up, so he can spare a few numbers, in case anything
happens, you know."
"I'd just as soon be anywhere above the three fellows at the bottom
of the Glass," replied Haynes, stifling another yawn.
"Well, I hope you at least attain to your ambitions in the matter,"
replied Dick, regretfully eyeing two of his text-books that he
wanted to dig into in turn. There was not a heap of study time
left now, before the call came for supper formation.
"My ambitions run along different lines," announced Haynes.
"Along different lines than class standing?" inquired Dick.
"Yes; if you mean the kind of class standing that comes from the
academic board," went on Haynes.
"Why, I didn't know there was any other kind, except standing in
drill, and believe nearly all of the men here stand well in drill."
"Oh, there are some other kinds," pursued Haynes. "Personal standing,
"Thank heaven personal standing is rather easily reached here,"
replied Dick. "All a fellow has to do is to be courteous and
honorable and his personal standing just about takes care of itself."
"Oh, there are some other little matters in personal standing.
Take the class presidency, Prescott, for instance."
"Yes?" queried Dick. "What about it?"
"Well, you've been president of your class for two years."
"Yes; thanks to the other fellows of the class."
"Now, Prescott, do you intend to go right along keeping the presidency
of the class?"
"Why, yes; if the fellows don't show me that they want a change."
"Maybe they do," murmured Haynes.
Dick wheeled and regarded the turnback rather sharply.
"You must mean something by that, Haynes. What do you mean?"
"Are you willing to resign, if the class wants someone else?"
"Of course," replied Prescott, with a snap.
"I'm glad to hear you say that," murmured Haynes.
"See here, Haynes, have you been sent here by any faction in the
"No," admitted the turnback promptly.
"Have you heard any considerable expression of opinion on the
subject of a new class president being desired."
"No," admitted Haynes, coloring somewhat under the close scrutiny
of his comrade in the class and the corps.
"You're speaking for yourself only?"
"That's it," assented the turnback.
"Why don't you want me for class president?"
Cadet Haynes looked a trifle disconcerted, but it was always Dick's
way to go openly and directly to the point in any matter.
"Why, perhaps I don't know just how to put it," replied Haynes.
"But see here, Prescott, wouldn't it be better for any class—-say
the second class, for instance—-to have a man as president who
has been longer at the Military Academy than the other members
of the class?"
"Do you mean," pursued Dick relentlessly, "that you want to be
elected president of the present second class, Haynes?"
"Why, I think it would be a nice little courtesy from the class,"
admitted the turnback. "You see, Prescott, you've held the honor
now for two years."
Dick smiled, looking straight into the eyes of his visitor, but
he made no other answer.
"Now, what do you think about it, Prescott?" insisted the turnback.
"I don't like to tell you, Haynes."
"But I wish you would."
"You'd be offended."
"No; I would—-See here not trying to be offensive with me, are you?"
"Oh, that's all right then. Go ahead and tell me what you think."
"I was a good deal astonished," went on Prescott, "when back in
plebe days, the other fellows chose me for their president. I
wasn't expecting it, and I didn't know what to make of it. But
the fellows of the class gave me that great honor. I stand ready
to step down from the honor at any time when the class feels that
it would like another president."
"I'd like the honor, Prescott. But, of course, I didn't know
that you held to it so earnestly. If you don't want to give it
up, of course I'll go slow in asking you to do so. But I thought
that both you and the class would appreciate having as president
a man who has been longer at the Military Academy than any of
"If I were to resign the presidency," replied Prescott bluntly,
"I don't believe you'd stand a ghost of a show of getting it."
Cadet Haynes sprang to his feet, cheeks crimson, his eyes flashing.
"Why not?" he insisted.
"Steady, now," urged Dick. "Don't take offence where none is
meant, Haynes. The class would want its president to be one who
has been with the class all along, and who knows all its traditions.
Now, in experience, you're a first classman, and you've all the
First-class traditions. Now, if the class were dissatisfied with
me, and wanted a new president, I'm pretty certain the fellows
would choose someone who had been in our class from the start.
Now with you a turnback——-"
Haynes's flush deepened, and he took a step forward, his fists
"Prescott, do you use that word offensively?"
"No," replied Dick quietly. "Do you intend your question or manner
to be offensive?"
"Not unless you're trying to start it," sniffed the other cadet.
"I'll tell you what I'll do, Haynes," proposed Dick pleasantly.
"I can see your point of view—-from your side. I don't believe
it would be the view of the class. But, if you wish, I'll call
a class meeting and lay the whole proposition before them."
"You mean that you'll try out class feeling by resigning and suggesting
me for your successor?" asked Haynes eagerly.
"No; I'll state the substance of our conversation this afternoon,
and then you can say any thing you may have to say on the subject.
Then I will put it to the class whether they want me to resign so
that you can be elected in my place."
Haynes turned several shades more red.
"That would make a fool of me!" flashed the turnback.
"It would be a statement of your own proposition, wouldn't it?"
asked Dick, with another smile.
"Stop your laughing at me, you——-"
"Careful!" warned Dick, but he threw a lot of emphasis into the
"Prescott," choked the turnback, "you're trying to make my idea
and myself ridiculous!"
"Haven't I stated your proposition fairly?" challenged Prescott.
"You think that, because you are a turnback, you have more right
than I to the class presidency. If that isn't your attitude,
then I shall be glad to apologize."
"Oh, pshaw, there's no use in trying to make you see the matter
with my eyes," muttered Haynes in disgust.
"I'm afraid not, Haynes. If the fellows don't want me as president
I would insist on resigning. But I am sure the class would rather
have almost anyone than a turnback. I hope, however, there is
no hard feeling?"
Prescott held out his right hand frankly.
"I hope there will be, as you say, no hard feeling," mumbled Haynes,
accepting the proffered hand weakly.
Then the turnback left the room. Down the corridor, however,
he strode heavily, angrily, muttering to himself:
"The conceited puppy!"
BRAYTON MAKES A BIG APPEAL
For a moment or two Dick stood looking out of his window, across
the far-stretching plain that included the parade ground and the
In the near distance the football squad was finishing up its practice
in the last moments of daylight. Brayton was captain of the Army
eleven, and was a good deal discouraged.
"Queer idea Haynes had!" muttered Dick to himself.
Then he turned back to his desk and to the neglected chapter on
"Sound" in natural philosophy.
Dick, however, was not fated to study much.
First of all, back came Greg, opening the door and looking in
"Haynes has gone, I see," murmured Cadet Holmes.
"To stay away?"
"I rather think so," nodded Cadet Prescott, without looking up from
the pages of his textbook.
"Then there'll be some show for a poor, hard-working goat," muttered
Greg, closing the door behind him and falling into his chair.
"The goat," at West Point, is one who is in the lowest section
or two of his class. Greg was not yet a "goat," this year, though
he lived in dread of becoming one.
Hearing a yell from the plain beyond, however, Holmes went over
to the window and looked out.
"Dick, old ramrod," exclaimed Cadet Holmes wistfully, "I wish
we stood well enough to be out on the football grill."
"So do I," muttered Dick. "But what's the with the goat section
overtaking us at double time?"
Greg sighed, then went back to his books.
For fifteen or twenty minutes both young men read on, trying to
fasten something of natural philosophy in their minds.
Now there came a quick knock, immediately after which the door
was flung open and Brayton marched in.
"See here, you coldfeet," began the captain of the Army eleven
sternly, "what do you two mean by staying in here and boning dry
"Just to avoid being drowned in goat's milk," smiled Dick, turning
a page and looking up.
Brayton, regardless of these heroic efforts to study, threw one
leg across the corner of the study table.
"You two fellows came out, in the first work of the squad, and
did stunts that filled us all with hope," pursued Brayton severely.
"Then, suddenly, you failed to show up any more. And all this,
despite the fact that we have the poorest eleven the Army has
shown in six years."
"Only men well up in their academic work are allowed to play on
the eleven, replied Dick.
"You fellows are well enough up to make the team."
"But we're nervous about our studies," rejoined Prescott.
"Nervous about your studies!" cried Brayton sharply. "Yet not
a whit anxious for the honor of the Army that you hope to serve
in all your lives. Now, you fellows know, as well as any of us,
that we don't much mind being walked over by a crack college eleven.
But we want to beat the Navy, year in and year out. Why, fellows,
this year the Navy has one of the best elevens in its history.
All the signs are that the middies are going to walk roughshod
over us. And yet you two fellows, whom we need, are sulking in
quarters, poring over books—-nervous about your studies!"
Scorn rang in Brayton's heavy tones.
"If I really thought you needed me——-" began Dick.
"Of course, if you did actually need two duffers like——-" broke
in Cadet Holmes.
"Need you!" retorted Brayton. "I'm almost ashamed to be sitting
here with two such cold-blooded duffers. But do you know why
I'm here? Because Lieutenant Carney, our coach, told me to come
here and actually beg you to turn out—-if I had to beg. Now,
am I going to be submitted to that humiliation by two fellows
I've always liked and considered my friends?"
"Is the football situation as bad as that?", asked Dick seriously.
"Bad?" repeated Brayton gloomily. "Man, it's rotten! Today
is Thursday. Saturday we have to meet Lehigh. That's a team
we can usually beat. Lieutenant Carney is so blue that I believe
he'd like to compromise by giving Lehigh the game at a score of
twelve to nothing! And the Navy! Think of the fun of having
Annapolis strutting around with the Army scalp tied to an anchor!"
"If you really mean what you've been saying," said Dick slowly,
"then we're going tomorrow afternoon. I'm taking the liberty
of speaking for Greg."
"That's straight and correct," affirmed Holmes hastily.
"But I'm not sure, Brayton, that you'll find us such bang-up material
as you appear to think."
"Oh, bother that!" cried the Football captain jubilantly. "I
know what Lieutenant Carney can do with you. So, for the glory
the Army, then, you'll come out, after this, and stand by us for
the rest of the season?"
"For the glory of the Army, if we have anything to do with it,"
cried Dick heartily, "we'll 'fess' cold in every confounded study
on the third-year list. For the glory of the Army we'll consent
to being 'found' and kicked out of the service!"
"Hear, hear!" came rousingly from Cadet Holmes.
"Fellows—-thank you!" gasped Brayton, grasping both their hands
and shaking them hard. "Lieutenant Carney will be delighted.
So will all the fellows. Mr. Carney has had a hard, up-hill time
of it as couch this year. But now—-!"
There could be no question that Brayton's joy was real. He was
a keen judge of football material, and he had been deeply chagrined
when Dick and Greg had withdrawn from the early training work of
"It has been fearful work trying get the interest up this year,"
continued Brayton with a reminiscent sigh. "So many good man
have been dodging the squad! Even Haynes, who is the best we
have at left end, ducked this afternoon. Caesar's ghost may know
what Haynes was doing with his time—-I don't. But I don't believe
he was boning."
Prescott smiled quietly to himself as he recalled how Cadet Haynes
had been employing his leisure in this very room.
"Well, I'm happy, and Lieutenant Carney will be," muttered Brayton,
turning to go. "A whole lot of us will feel easier."
"Any idea where you'll try to play us?" asked Dick, as the captain
of the Army eleven rested his hand on the knob.
"Not much; we'll find out during tomorrow afternoon's practice.
Be sharp on time, won't you?"
"If we're able to walk," promised Dick.
Just after Brayton had gone the orderly came through with mail.
"You got something, eh?" asked Greg.
"Yes; a letter from grand old Dave Darrin," cried Dick, as he
broke the seal of the envelope.
"Let me know the news," begged Holmes.
"Whoop! Dave is on the Navy football team. So is Dan Dalzell!
Both have gone in at the eleventh hour."
"Great Scott!" breathed Greg, rising to his feet. "I wonder if
we're going to be placed on the line where we'll have to bump 'em
in the Army-Navy game?"
"We may be, if we get on the line," uttered Prescott, as he finished
the epistle. "Here, Greg, read it for yourself. That will be
quicker than waiting for me to tell you the news from our old
The next afternoon both Prescott and Holmes turned out on the
gridiron practice work. Both proved to be in fine form. Lieutenant
Carney, the Army coach, devoted most of his attention to them.
After some preliminary work the Army eleven was lined up against
a "scrub" team of cadets.
"Mr. Prescott, go to left end on the team," directed Coach Carney.
"Mr. Haynes, take the right end on scrub. Mr. Holmes, you will
be left tackle on the Army team for this bit of work. The captains
of both teams will now line their men up. Scrub will have the
ball and make the kick-off. Make all the play brisk and snappy.
Work for speed and strategy, not impact."
With that, Lieutenant Carney ran over to the edge of the gridiron,
leaving another officer, of the coaching force, to officiate as
The ball was placed in play. At the kick-off the ball came to
Greg, who passed it to Dick. The interference formed, backed
"Put it around their right end!" growled Brayton, the word passing
swiftly to Prescott.
Haynes was darting in, blood in his eye, backed the whole right
flank of scrub.
Greg and the rest of the available interference got swiftly and
squarely in the way of Haynes and the others. There was a scrimmage.
Out of it, somehow—-none looking on could tell just how it was
done—-Prescott emerged from the mix-up, darting swiftly to the
left and around. He had made twenty-five yards with the ball
Before he was nailed and downed.
Lieutenant Carney looked, as he felt, delighted. The spectators,
all of them crazy for the Army's success, broke into yells of
joy. Dick had done the spectacular part of the trick, but he
could not have succeeded without the swift, intelligent help that
Holmes had given. Playing together, they had sprung one of the
clever ruses that both had perfected back in the old Gridley days.
Haynes was furious. He was panting. There was an angry flash
in his eyes as both teams lined up for the snap-back.
"That fellow has come out into the field just to spite me," snarled
Haynes to himself.
At the signal, the ball was snapped back, and passed swiftly to
Dick. Haynes fairly leaped into the scrimmage, as though it were
deadly hand-to-hand conflict. But Dick and Greg, with the backing
of their comrades on the Army eleven, bore Haynes down to earth
in the mad stampede that passed over him. Fifteen yards more
were gained, and scrub's half-backs were feeling sore in body.
"That man Prescott is a wonder," muttered Lieutenant Carney to
a brother officer of the Army. "Or else Holmes is. It's hard
to say which of the pair is doing the trick. I think both of
"How on earth, Carney, did you come to overlook that pair until
"I didn't overlook them," retorted the Army coach. "I had them
spotted when the training first began. But both dropped out on
the claim that they feared for their standing in academy work."
"A pair like that," muttered Captain Courteney, "ought to be excused
for any kind of recitations during the football season. Jove! Look
at that—-Prescott has made a touchdown"
"Prescott carried the ball," amended Lieutenant Barney, "but Holmes
certainly had as much to do with the touchdown as Prescott did."
"They're wonders!" cried Captain Courteney joyously. "And to
think that you didn't have that pair out last year."
"Both refused even to think of going into training last year,"
retorted the Army coach. "Both were keen on the bone. But, bone
or no bone, we've got to have them on the eleven the rest of this
By the time that the afternoon's practice was over fully fifty
Army officers were on the sides, watching the work, for word had
traveled by 'phone and the gathering had been a quick one.
"Prescott! Holmes!" called Brayton sharply, after the practice
was over. "You'll play on the Army team tomorrow. Lieutenant
Carney says so. Prescott, yours is left end; Holmesy, you'll
expend your energies as left tackle. Haynes, you'll be in reserve,
as a sub."
The message to Cadet Haynes was delivered without the suspicion
of a snub in it. Almost any other man in the battalion would
have accepted this wise decision without a murmur, delighted that
the Army had found a better man.
Not so with Cadet Haynes. He turned cold all over. Not a word of
reply did he offer, but turned on his heal, digging his fingernails
into the palms of his hands.
"Now, what do you think of that?" demanded Haynes to himself.
"Turned down for that fellow Prescott—-that shifty dodger and
cheap bootlick! And I shook hands with you yesterday, Prescott!
I never will again! Confound you, you turned out in togs at this
late hour, just to put me out of the running!"
IN THE BATTLE AGAINST LEHIGH
Before noon the next day Lehigh turned up—-team, subs., howlers
and all, and as many as could crowded into the conveyances that
had been sent down to the railway station to meet the team and
The cadet corps, busy to a man with Saturday morning recitations,
did not see the arrival of the visiting team. But the Lehighs
and the afternoon's game were the only topics for talk at dinner
in the cadet mess hall.
"They've sent over a race of giants," growled Brayton down the
length of the table at which he sat, while a poor little plebe
cadet, acting as "gunner," was serving the roast beef. "Sergeant
Brinkman, of the quartermaster's detachment, told me that the
weight of the team sprung the axles on two of the stoutest quartermaster
wagons. Every man that Lehigh sent over weighs a good part of
a ton. What do you think of that, Prescott?"
"Glad enough to hear it," smiled Dick, nodding. "I believe it's
the light, lithe, spry fellows who stand the best show of getting
through the enemy's line."
"If all our smaller men were like you, I'd believe it, too, muttered
"But we haven't any more light men like you and Holmes, Prescott,"
broke in Spurlock from the adjoining table.
"I'm going to duck the team and quit playing," protested Dick,
"if Holmesy and I are to be twitted about being wonders."
"But, honestly, Prescott" began Brayton, "you two are——-"
"Average good Army men, I hope," interposed Dick. "Nothing more,
I hope. At least. I speak for myself. If Holmesy wants to star——-"
"I'll call you out, ramrod, if you carry the joke too far!" warned
Seeing that both of the chums were in earned and didn't want to
hear their merits sung, the others near them desisted. But, at
many a table further removed, the whole trend of prediction was
that, with Prescott and Holmes now definitely on the eleven, the
Army stood its first chance of defeating Navy that year.
The Navy! It is the whole hope of West Point to send Annapolis
down to defeat. The middies of the Navy on the other hand, can
smile at many and many a defeat, provided the Army trails behind
the Navy at the annual football game.
As the cadets marched out of mess hall and back along the sidewalk
to barracks, those who allowed their gaze to stray ever so little
across the roadway in the direction of the administration building
noted that the holiday crowd had already begun to gather.
There were girls down from Vassar for the afternoon, and from half
a dozen choice schools along the river. There were many out-of-town
visitors from every direction.
We're going to three or four thousand people here to see the game,"
murmured Greg to Dick, in the undertone that cadets know so well
how to use in ranks without being detected in conversing.
"Think so?" inquired Prescott.
"I'm sure of it."
In the groups that were strolling up and down the roads leading
across the plain were young ladies whom many of the cadets wanted
badly to see and exchange greetings with. First of all, however,
Saturday afternoon inspection had to be gone through with. From
this, not even the members of the Army football squad were privileged
to be absent.
When inspection was over many of the cadets hastened forth for brief
converse with popular fair ones.
None of the football men, however, had time for this. As soon
as might be, they reported at the gymnasium, there to receive much
counsel from coach and captain.
"Keep yourself in good shape, Haynes," called Dick, laughingly,
when, after getting into togs, he met the turnback similarly attired.
"Going to funk?" asked Haynes rather disagreeably.
"Not intentionally, anyway," Dick smiled back at the "sore" one.
"But I hear that we young Davids are going to be pitted against
Goliaths this afternoon. It may be just my luck to go down in one
of the scrimmages and get a furlough in hospital."
"I hope so!" muttered Haynes, but he said it under his breath.
Out over on the side lines officers and their families, and hordes
of visitors, were filing toward the seats. Across at the east
side of the gridiron, Lehigh's few hundred sympathizers were already
bunched, and were making up with noise for their smallness of
Among the Army "boosters" the uniforms of the officers brightened
From time to time squads or detachments of cadets arrived and
passed along to the seats reserved for them in the center.
Below the cadets, the band was stationed, and was already playing
Out ahead of the band stood a megaphone on a tripod. This was
to be used, later on, by the cheer-master, one of the cadets,
who must call for the yells or the songs that were to be given.
A rousing cheer ascended from the Lehigh seats when the visiting
college team trotted out on the field. Hearty, courteous applause
from the Army seats also greeted the visitors. The band played as
soon as the first Lehighs were seen coming on to the field.
"Team fall in!" shouted Brayton, at last "Substitutes to the rear.
Out of the gym. stepped these young champions of the Army. Across
the roadway they strode, then broke into a trot as they reached
the edge of the field.
And now a mighty cheer arose. Yesterday, the Army's friends had
feared a defeat, but now word had gone the rounds that Prescott
and Holmes had made the team strong in its weakest spot, and that
a cyclonic game might be looked for.
For the next few minutes the Army eleven indulged in practice
plays and kicks. During this period, the cheer-master cadets
and the corps of cadets were busied with the various Army yells
and songs that promised victory for the young soldiers.
Nor were the Lehigh "boosters" anything like idle. Every time
an Army cheer ceased, the Lehigh sympathizers cheered their own
Then game was called, with kick-off for the Army.
The ball was passed to Lehigh's right end, who, full of steam,
dashed on with it.
Dick and Greg were foremost in the obstruction that met the Lehigh
runner. But the Lehigh man was well supported. Through Dick,
Greg and Ellerson dashed the runner, backed splendidly by his
It took quarterback and one of the halfbacks of the Army to put
the runner down some eight yards further on.
"Humph! I don't see that Prescott and Holmes are doing so much
for us," muttered Haynes to the sub. at his right, as both watched
from the side lines.
"Look at what they have to stop," returned the other cadet. "Don't
be sore, Haynes; you couldn't do any better.
"Humph!" grumbled the turnback.
It soon developed, however, that Lehigh felt especially strong
on its right end. Hence, much of the work seemed to devolve upon
Dick and Greg. For twenty yarns down into Army territory that
ball was forced. Then, after a gain of only two more yards, Lehigh
was forced to surrender the ball. Army boosters stood up and
"You've got a tough crowd to get by, Prescott," muttered Brayton.
"But look out for signals."
As Brayton bent over to snap-back, Quarterback Boyle's cool voice
In another instant Boyle had made a running pass with the ball
to Greg, who passed it on to Dick Prescott.
Now all the Army boosters were up in their seats, eager to see
how the much-lauded Prescott would serve with the pigskin.
Ball clasped, head down, Dick settled for a run, his whole gaze
on the on-coming Lehigh right line.
They met in a clash. Dick had planned how to slip out of the
impact, but the stronger Lehigh right end had both arms around
Prescott, and down went the Army left end.
"Humph!" grunted Haynes, though his tone did not sound displeased
"I hope that isn't a sample of Prescott's skill," muttered one
Army captain to another.
"No matter how good a man he is, Prescott should have been in
the squad from the outset of the training," replied the other.
Boyle was calling the signal. Breathlessly the larger part of
the spectators watched to see Dick redeem himself.
But again he failed to make much of an advance with the ball.
After the second "down," with barely anything gained, Brayton
ordered Boyle to throw the ball over to the right of the Army
So, in the next dash, Prescott and Holmes had but little to do.
The Army lost the ball.
Immediately it looked as though Ennis, captain of Lehigh, had
heard all about the new Army left end and left tackle, for Lehigh's
own sturdy right end came forward with the ball. Dick and Greg
both dashed furiously at him, but Greg was hurled aside by Lehigh's
interference. Dick, however, held Lehigh's right end dragged
the Army man for a yard; then others joined in the melee, and
the ball was down.
Lehigh advanced some twenty yards before being compelled to give
up the ball. It became more and more plain that the visitors
intended forcing the fighting around the Army's left end. At
last, however, the Army balked the game, and returned to the attack,
trying to regain some of the lost Army territory.
"They're going to pound us, Greg," whispered Dick in one of the
pauses of the game. "We were all right in the High School days,
but we're playing with tremendously bigger men now."
Even Brayton began to question his judgment having taken these
two men so recently on the team.
"If I had been able to train them from the first, they'd have
been all right," muttered the captain of the Army Eleven.
To ease up on Prescott and Holmes, Brayton directed, as often
as possible, charges through the center, or right-end rushes.
But almost half of the time Lehigh seemed bent on bearing down
the Army's left end. The hard work was beginning to tell on both
Dick and Greg.
Yet it was a long tine, after all, before Lehigh managed to score
a touchdown. When the time came, however, the visitors also made
their kick for goal, and the score was Lehigh, 6; Army, 0.
"Humph!" remarked Cadet Haynes, for the dozenth time. All his
fellow subs. had moved away from him. They were disappointed,
but they realized that Prescott and Holmes had entered the game
under brilliant promise, yet without training.
Dutifully the cadet cheer-master kept at his work, but now the
responses came with less volume from the corps of cadets, who were
truly sitting on anxious seats.
In the interval of rest, Lieutenant Carney talked anxiously with
"Have we made a mistake in Prescott and Holmes?" asked the coach.
"What do you think, sir!" asked Brayton.
"If we had had that pair in training from the outset," replied
the Army officer, "I'm satisfied that they would have made a better
showing. Lehigh isn't a particularly strong team, but they have
one of the best right-end assaults that I've seen in some time.
It's really too bad that Prescott and Holmes, in their first game,
are put against such a strong, clever assault."
"Well, we can't put Haynes in now, unless Prescott should be injured,"
"Haynes?" repeated the Army coach. "I'm glad he's not on your
line today. Training and all, Haynes isn't the man to match Prescott,
even without training."
Haynes heard, and his face was convulsed with rage as he turned
"Queer how folks take so much stock in that fellow Prescott!"
muttered the turnback. "Why can't a man like Lieutenant Carney
see that Prescott is nothing but a dub, while Holmes is only a
All through the Army seats it was beginning to be felt that the
late placing of Prescott and Holmes in the Army had probably been
There were even many who rated Haynes higher than he deserved to be
rated, and who believed that the turnback might have done much to
save the day.
As it was, the Army had about given up hope. Lehigh was stronger
than usual; that was all, except that the Army team appeared to
be weaker than in the year before.
The band still played at appropriate moments; the corps of cadets
answered every signal for a yell, but Army spirits were drooping fast.
"Greg," muttered Dick, with a rueful face, "you can wager that
we're being roasted by everyone out of earshot!"
WHEN THE CHEERS BROKE LOOSE
Fifteen minutes left to play.
By this time even the most hopeful spectators had settled down
to the conviction that the Army was to lose the game. The most
sanguine hoped that the score would not exceed 6 to nothing.
"We're done for on this trip!" muttered Lewis, the Army's right
"No, we're not," retorted Dick, his eyes flashing. "We can't
lose; that's all there is to it!"
"Who told you that," demanded Lewis.
"That used to be our motto, our fighting principle on the old
Gridley High School team in the days when it never lost a game,"
"Hm!" returned Lewis. "I wish we had some more of your old Gridley
players on the team today, then."
Then they scurried to their places, leaving Dick in wonder as to
whether Lewis' last remark had been intended for sarcasm.
"Greg." whispered Dick, his pulses throbbing, "you see those fellows
on the Lehigh right flank?"
They're the fellows we've got to down. We've got to down them,
if we get killed!"
"That's the word!" gritted the Army left tackle. "Dick, I'd about
as soon be killed as let the Army be walked over!"
This had all been whispered rapidly.
The Army had just got the ball again, and was only ten yards over
into Lehigh territory.
Now Boyle's signal was sounding:
Dick straightened. Greg squirmed. Both knew that their chance
had come again.
Making an oblique dash, Boyle himself passed the pigskin to Dick
Prescott. Then all of the Army line that could do so stiffened in
and surged behind Prescott and Holmes.
Lehigh's bigger right end was making like a cyclone for Dick. The
Lehigh man was backed finely.
Just as they were on the point of dashing together, Greg, as by
previous arrangement, gave Dick a prodigious shove, at the same
instant himself leaping forward.
So quickly was the thing done that Lehigh's right end, ere he
realized it, had grappled with Greg—-and Dick was around the
With a muttered growl of rage Lehigh's man let Holmes go. For
a second or two, the college men were badly rattled. Greg, with
the agility of a squirrel, ducked low and got through, racing
with all his might after Prescott.
Twenty-four yards were covered ere Prescott went down. When he
did so, Greg was standing back, saving himself that he might help
Dick the next time.
Once more the ball was snapped back. This time some brilliant
faking was done. The whole of the first movement looked as though
the ball were to be pushed somewhere through the Army's right
flank, and Lehigh wheeled accordingly. But it was a left-end pass,
after all. Dick and Greg got through by a very slight variation
on their last ruse eighteen yards more gained!
In an instant, now, those in the Army seats were wild with enthusiasm.
The band crashed out joyously, a dozen measures, while the cadets
sang one of their songs of jubilant brag. Then all was suddenly
still for the next bit of play.
While the men of both teams were hurrying to the line-up, a signal
was noticed by hundreds that caused excited comment.
Brayton made some slight signal to Prescott Both Dick and Greg
shook their heads sullenly.
"Confound Brayton!" shivered Lieutenant Barney. "What does he mean
by that? He has signaled Prescott and Holmes asking them if they
can put one more by Lehigh, and they have refused. Ennis and all
the Lehighs have tumbled. Brayton——-"
"Seven—-two—-nine—-eight!" voiced Quarterback Boyle.
Instantly Coach Carney's face cleared. It was an emergency signal,
not yet used in the game. As if unconsciously, all the men of
the Army eleven had turned toward right guard.
The ball was snapped back. Boyle took three steps of a plunge
toward right guard, then suddenly dodged, passing the ball to
Greg, who swiftly passed it to Prescott—-and the race was on.
Lehigh's right end made a gallant dash to stop Dick. There was
a mix-up in an instant. All happened so swiftly that the spectators
were not certain how the thing had been done.
But Dick Prescott, with Cadet Greg Holmes almost at his side,
was charging across the lower field, past one of the halfbacks,
and with only fullback really in their way.
There was a tackle. But Dick was seen to come out of it, while
Greg rolled on the grass with the fullback.
The air trembled with the vibration of that surging yell as Cadet
Prescott raced across Lehigh's goal line.
"Humph!" ejaculated Haynes. But he, too, was on his feet, watching
the lively performance.
Then the pigskin was carried back for the kick for goal, and the
goal was made.
Lehigh was tied! After the early discouragements of the game that
seemed luck enough.
Lieutenant Carney was the personal embodiment of joy as he recalled
the signal of Brayton and the sullen headshakes of Prescott and
"That was a ratty and clever piece of acting, to throw the visitors
off their guard!" chuckled the Army coach.
No time was lost in lining up again. Only seven minutes of playing
time were left. It seemed too short in which to do anything in
the faces of the Army players there glowed the light of determination.
Within three minutes the ball was well down in Lehigh territory.
The college men fought grimly now. They were becoming rattled;
the Army players seemed more confident and more full of spirit
than at time in the day.
Now there came another play. Again the Army's left wing was used.
There was a short, desperate scrimmage. The Army had gained four
yards, yet lost—-what?
For, out of that scrimmage came Dick and Greg, each limping enough
to be noticed.
One of the Army "rainmakers" (doctors) even started out from the
side lines, but Brayton waive the medical officer back.
"Is it a trick, this time, or real?" wondered Conch Carney, who
did not care to be caught napping again.
The last numeral called for a fake kick. So well was the strategy
carried out that Lehigh was even trapped into spreading out a trifle.
It was a left-end play again, however, and Dick and Greg, backed
by all the rest, fought to put it through.
Lehigh's halfback caught Prescott this time—-caught him fair
and full, and Prescott went down.
Yet this had been intended. So well was it done that Greg, close
in, was away with the ball by the time that Prescott touched the
There was a yell of dismay from the visitors. They started to
bear down Holmes, but all of the Army team had been prepared for
this move from the instant the last signal; had been called.
So it was the full force of the charging Army line that pushed
Cadet Holmes through and over the goal line.
Over all the cheering that followed this manoeuvre came the call
for time at the end of the game's playing time. Yet, under the
rules, the kick for goal was tried.
The kick failed—-but who cared? The finishing score was:
Army, 11; Lehigh, 6.
Gone were all the doubts concerning Prescott and Holmes. Now
they were the most sensational players in the Army team. Justly
Brayton received his full share of credit both for taking on Prescott
and Holmes at the eleventh hour, and also for carrying out so
cleverly his own captain's part of the strategy that had won.
Lehigh's team went off the field dejected. The visitors had
counted on victory as theirs. There was a noticeable silence
among the Lehigh "boosters" as they clambered down from their
from their seats and strolled moodily away.
Only one man had any adverse commend. That man was turnback Haynes,
and all he said was:
FOR AULD LANG SYNE
After that Dick and Greg turned out every day for practice with
Both Lieutenant Carney and Team Captain Brayton speedily learned
that they had made no mistake in getting Prescott and Holmes on
to the line.
A number of smaller colleges were defeated, and with rattling
Dick and Greg seemed to improve with every game.
True, Yale walked off with the honors, though the score, ten to
six, had been stubbornly contested throughout.
Harvard was played to a tie that year; Princeton was beaten by
six to two, the two standing for a safety that Princeton forced
the Army to make.
Lieutenant Carney was one of the happiest men on the station.
From having a team rather below the average, he had produced
an Army eleven that was destined to go down as famous in American
As Thanksgiving drew near all interest centered in what was, after
all, to be the real game of the year—-that between the Army and
the Navy, which is always played the Saturday after that holiday.
Haynes, during the season's good work, had not been able wholly
to keep his tongue back of his teeth. He had made several disparaging
remarks. For of these remarks Lewis, of the Army eleven, chose
to take he turnback to account.
Hot words followed, ending in a fight. Haynes, roundly beaten,
withdrew altogether from the eleven.
"That fellow Prescott has wonderful luck, or he'd have had his
neck broken long ago, considering all the hard packs that he has
bumped into in the games," growled the turnback disgustedly to
In fact, Haynes was forced to do a large share of his talking
with himself. He hadn't been "cut" by the other cadets, but he
had succeeded in making himself generally unpopular through his
too evident dislike of Prescott.
"Funny, but that's the man who wanted me to resign the class presidency
so that he could run for it," laughed Dick to his chum.
Dick had told Greg of that laughable interview, but it had gone
no further. Greg could be trusted not to talk too much.
"Going over to Philadelphia to see the Navy anchored to a zero
score, Haynes?" asked Carter, of the second class.
"Yes; I reckon I'm going over," replied Haynes. "But I'm not
so sure that we'll see the Navy sunk," replied the turnback.
"I know you don't care much for Prescott," smiled Carter. "Yet
how can you be blind to the wonderful work that he and Holmes
are doing? Is it because Prescott is playing the position for
which you were cast?"
"No, it isn't," retorted Haynes, his face red with passion "If
our team wants Prescott, let it have him. I don't care. But
I've a notion Prescott won't be strutting about with such lordly
"Prescotts? Lordly airs?" broke in Cadet Carter, grinning broadly.
"Whew, but that would make a hit with the fellows! Why, Prescott
is anything but a lordly chap. He's one of the most modest fellows
in the corps. He had to be fairly dragged on to the eleven. He
believed it would be better off without him."
"So it would, sure!" rasped the turnback.
"Now, see here, Haynes, don't get so sore as to warp your own
judgment," expostulated Carter.
"Well, you just wait and see how much we do to the Navy! Have
you heard about the Navy's new, lightning right end?"
"Darrin, you mean?"
"Yes," nodded Haynes. "A friend of mine, who saw Darrin play
the other day, writes me that Darrin is an armor-clad terror on
the grid iron. If he is, he'll pulverize Prescott, unless Brayton
shifts Prescott to some other position."
"Pooh! I'm not afraid," laughed Carter, turning to walk away.
"Darrin, no doubt, is good, but he can't do anything to Prescott."
Neither of the speakers was aware that Dave Darrin, midshipman,
United States Navy, was one of the oldest and dearest friends that
Dick Prescott had.
Few at West Point knew that Darrin and Prescott had ever met.
"Am I going over to Philadelphia to see the game?" muttered Haynes
to himself, as he strode away from the game. "I want to see Prescott
go up against the real star Darrin, and get his neck broken!"
Anstey was one of the few at West Point who knew anything about
the friendship between Prescott, Holmes, Darrin and Dalzell.
Dan Dalzell had also made the Annapolis eleven, playing right
tackle. That was bound to bring him into hard grip with Greg.
"Anstey, I hope there's time for you to make the acquaintance
of Dave and Dan," Dick said earnestly while the Virginian was
visiting Greg and himself. "Dave and Dan are two of the real
fellows, if there are any left in the world.
"They must be, old ramrod," replied the Virginian quietly, "if
they hold such place in your affections, and in old Holmesy's."
Great was the rejoicing, on the eventful morning, when the two
"Army specials" pulled out from the station down by the river's
The first section of the train pulled out ahead, carrying the
officers of the post, their families and closest friends.
On the second longer section traveled the corps of cadets—-with
the exception of a few of the young men who, under discipline,
were not allowed to take this trip. With the cadets went the
tactical officers and the coaching force.
At Jersey City the first real stop was made. Then the journey
was resumed to Philadelphia.
Franklin Field was crowded with somewhere between thirty and
thirty-five thousand people when the corps of cadets, headed by
the band, marched on to the field and thence to the seats reserved
for the band and the corps.
The whole progress of the corps across the field was accompanied
by lusty cheering, by applause and by the mad waving of the gray,
black and gold Army pennants. Most of the spectators who carried
the Navy's blue and gold pennants so far forgot their partisanship
as to cheer and wave for the Army's young men.
Hardly was the corps of cadets seated when another loud strain
of joyous music was heard. The brigade of midshipmen, from Annapolis,
behind the Naval Academy Band, was now entering the field. All
the cheering and all the other frantic signs of approval were
repeated, the corps of cadets from West Point lending heavy additional
volume to the rousing send-off.
In the meantime rival football squads had been hustled off to
As the Army squad made quick time to the dressing rooms, Dick
and Greg had their eyes on the alert for even the briefest glimpse
of any of the Navy eleven. It was two years and a half since Dick
and Greg had had even a glimpse of Dave or Dan. How the two West
Pointers yearned for even an instant's look at the chums of old days!
But no such exchange of glimpses was possible at this time. The
Army players and substitutes got into their togs, then waited.
"All ready?" called Brayton at last. "Then fall in and out on
to the field in double time!"
Another wild outburst of cheering was let loose when the Army
eleven trotted in into view. The Military Academy Band began
playing. An instant later the Naval Academy Band fell in, playing
the same air by ear.
The ball was turned loose, and after it went the players. The
practice work was brisk and warm.
Hardly had the combined bands stopped playing when another great
yell broke loose. Young men in the blue and gold striped stockings
of the Navy were trotting on to the field. The Navy band turned
itself loose, followed in an instant by the Army band.
The din was something bewildering. Those in the further seats
could not hear the music of the bands at all.
Dick and Greg watched covertly as they saw the Navy team come
on at the other end of the field. Which was Dave, and which was
Dan? Hang it, how disguising these football suits were!
Both teams went on with their practice. There came a moment when
the Army and Navy teams came closer to each other.
Then the eager spectators saw something that was not on the programme.
The chums of the old Gridley days had made each other out in the
same moment. There was a rush. In mid-field Dick Prescott and
Dave Darrin gripped hands as if they could never let go again.
Across their outstretched arms Greg and Dan found each other in a
So delighted were the old chums that they fairly hugged each other.
Over it all, while the spectators gazed in silent wonder, came
the strains from the Army band, for the leader, more with a sense
of the fitting than from any knowledge of facts, waved his men
into the strains of "Auld Lang Syne."
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot——-"
The band was playing softly. As the spectators took up the fine
old words the band music died down. There came a rolling rattle
from the drum section of the Navy band, and then high over all
the voices rose the triumphant measures of "Columbia, the Gem
of the Ocean."
That crowd forgot to cheer. It was a moment for song, as thousands,
catching the full spirit of the air, gave voice to—-
"The Army and Navy forever!"
Not a word, so far, had been spoken by any one of the chums.
They had not intended to bring about a scene like this, making
themselves the central figures in the great picture. But it was
too late to retreat.
"It seems as though an age had gone by, Dave," spoke Cadet Prescott.
"It surely does, Dick," returned Midshipman Darrin.
"And we've got to beat you today, too," said Midshipman Dalzell
"What? Beat the Army?" gasped Cadet Holmes.
"The Navy is the only crowd that can really do it," admitted Dalzell.
"Foes in sport today, Dave!" declared Prescott ardently. "But in
nothing else, ever!"
"Never mind either the Army or the Navy, just for the minute,"
begged Dave Darrin. "But it's great, isn't it, just to be in
the service at all?"
Then, becoming suddenly aware that they had demoralized the practice
work of both elevens, cadets and midshipmen parted.
"But do your best to beat me today, Dave!" begged Dick.
"I surely will!" came back the retort. "And don't you falter
for the Army, Dick!"
"Old friends, Prescott?" demanded Brayton as the two cadets ran
back to their own forces.
"We four learned football together, on the same team," confessed Dick.
"Is that man Darrin as big a wonder as we've heard?" queried Brayton.
"Bigger, I'm afraid," returned Prescott.
"He opposes you today. Can he get away with you?"
"He may be able to batter me down. But I'll give him all the
trouble I can, Brayton. Darrin is for the Navy, but I'm equally
for the Army!"
"It will be all right, as long as friendship doesn't break up your
work," warned Brayton.
"That very friendship will make all four of us fight harder than
ever we did in our lives before," spoke Prescott seriously.
At almost the very same moment Dave Darrin was saying about the
same thing to the captain of the Navy team.
"Humph! Do those fellows think they're posing before a moving-picture
The one who uttered that remark was turnback Haynes. He had come
on to the field with a scowling face, and the scowl was likely
to deepen steadily.
Anstey, from his seat, had been "all eyes" for the pair whom he
now knew to be the heard-about Darrin and Dalzell.
All Anstey's further speculation was cut short.
The Army and Navy elevens were lining up to start play.
HEROES AND A SNEAK
Turnback Haynes watched the game closely, darkly.
He wanted to note and to remember every play near the Army's left
end today. Should the Navy win the day's battle, then Cadets
Haynes felt sure he could make a large number of men in the second
class at the Military Academy believe that Prescott had allowed
his ancient friendship to stand in the way of an Army victory.
"Great Caesar, I might even succeed in getting to be president
of the class yet!" muttered the turnback. "There they go again!"
A second or two later the wild cheering began again.
For the Army was charging with the ball, well down in Navy territory,
and Prescott, with the pigskin safely tucked, was using his most
wily tactics to get by Dave Darrin.
And Dick succeeded, too, though only for eight yards, when Dave
had the satisfaction of helping to pull his old-time chum down
to the ground in the interests of the Navy.
For a little while the ball had been over on Army ground. Now,
however, it was going steadily toward the Navy's goal line, and
the interest of the spectators was intense.
The time of the game was more than half gone. Once the Navy had
been forced to carry the pig skin behind its own line, gaining
thus a fresh lease of life in the game. But, of course, the safety
scored two against the Navy. For a while afterward it had looked
as though that, would be the score for the game—-two to nothing.
"If Brayton uses Prescott just right, and doesn't call on them
too often, they'll get the ball over the Navy's goal line yet,"
confided Lieutenant Carney to a brother officer who stood at his
"The Navy line-up is a great one this year," replied his comrade.
"For myself I'd be satisfied to see the score end as it stands—-two
"Without a touchdown on either side!" questioned Lieutenant Carney,
with a trace of scorn in his voice. "That wouldn't be real sport,
"I know; but it would be at least a safe finish for the Army,"
responded the other.
Just then Quarterback Boyle's voice was heard giving the signal:
Lieutenant Carney gave his friend's arm a slight nudge.
By way of Greg the ball came to Dick, who, already in fleet motion,
was none the less ready for the pass.
With the ball under his arm, Prescott started. Almost in an instant
Dave and Dan piled upon him, ere Greg could get in for effective
Two more downs and the Navy had the ball.
Now Darrin, with Dalzell's close elbow-touch throughout, started a
series of brilliant plays. To be sure, Dave didn't make all the
runs, but he made the larger part of them.
Turnback Haynes's eyes began to snap.
Dave Darrin was playing with fire in his eyes.
Prescott was fighting back, doggedly, sullenly it almost seemed,
but Darrin was putting on his best streak of the day. Ere the Navy
was obliged to give up the ball once more it had crossed the line,
and was twelve yards down in Army territory.
Nor did the Army succeed in getting the ball back over the center
line. Once more the Navy took the ball and began to work wonders
with it. Within fifteen yards of the Army goal line the middies
carried the ball, by easy stages.
Dan Dalzell, for an instant, caught Greg's glance and sent him
a look of comical warning.
Holmes stiffened, though he returned the look in all personal
"Don't let Dave do it—-whatever he'll be up to next," begged
Greg, in an appealing whisper. "Dick, I'll stay beside you—-to
It was another right-end pass for the Navy, backed by a solid
Worse, in the impact that followed Dave succeeded, somehow, in
outwitting even Prescott's stern vigilance.
Dick Prescott gave vent to a gasp. He felt his heart thumping
as he wheeled, dashing after Dave.
But Darrin was in his element now, neither to be stopped, nor
overtaken. Dodging with marvellous agility and craft three Army
men who sought to bar his way, Dave went pantingly over the Army
goal line—-scoring a touchdown!
What a fearful tumult ascended from the seats of the Navy's sympathizers
over on the stands!
The Navy had proved itself, by scoring the only touchdown.
Lieutenant Carney groaned inwardly. Two to five now—-and the
Army coach saw no more hope of scoring for this day.
Flushed, happy, the midshipmen ran back to form their line for
the try for goal.
That kick missed fire. No matter! Five to two for the Navy,
At the signal the Army and Navy lined up to fight out what was
left of time to play the game.
Naval Academy band and the whole navel crowd were having the
jubilation all their own way.
The midshipmen, having proved slight superiority over the Army,
could doubtless prevent more scoring in this game.
In fact, the Navy captain had just passed this wood to the members
of his team:
"Score, of course, if we can. But, above all, keep the Army from
It was the Navy's turn to make the kick-off. This gave the Army
at least the chance of starting the running with the ball.
Prescott and Holmes had shown as yet no signs of cave in.
Every player on the Navy team looked to see this swift, tricky
army pair make the first effort of the new series.
He carried it ten yards, too, ere he was obliged to go to the
ground with the pigskin under him. The next play was made at
the center of the Army line.
What was the matter? wondered many of the Army watchers. Was
Brayton becoming dissatisfied with his left wing?
"Humph!" rejoined Haynes sourly.
But the third time that the ball was put in play it went swiftly
to Prescott. Instead of trying to make his way around the end,
Dick suddenly sped some what to the right. Darrin had gone in
the opposite direction, yet, thoroughly familiar with his old
chum's tricky ways of play, Dave had his eyes wide open. So he
wheeled, rushing at Prescott. But he bumped, instead, with Greg,
a fraction of a second before Dalzell could reach the spot and
take a hand.
Then the whole Army line charged down on the endangered spot.
Dick was through, and the Navy men were having all they do.
In a twinkling Prescott had sped, on, now was he caught and downed
until he had the ball within twelve yards of the Navy's goal line.
Right off the Army cheer-master was on the job. The corps yell
was raised with Prescott's name and Holmes's.
Brayton looked flushed and happy. He hoped yet to show these
over-confident middies something.
Again the line-up was made for the snapback. The midshipmen players
were now justifiably nervous, though they gave no sign of the fact.
Again the signal was given. Holmes received the ball and started.
The whole Army line veered to the left. The Navy moved to mass
in support of Darrin and Dalzell.
Yet, just as the Navy men thought they could stop Greg, it turned
out that Prescott carried the pigskin.
Nor did Cadet Prescott lose any time at all in trying to buck the line.
Ere the attention of the Navy had been drawn away from Holmes,
Prescott was off on a slanting line around the Navy's right end.
Even Dave Darrin was properly fooled this time. Dick had only to
shake off a halfback and the fullback and he was over the goal line,
holding down the ball.
Never before had Franklin Field heard a greater din than now arose.
The Army Band was now playing furiously, yet the musicians barely
heard themselves. The black, gold and gray pennants of the Army
were waving frantically over half the field. The noise of cheering
must have been heard a mile away.
From the cadets themselves came some Army yell for which the
cheer-master had signaled, but no one heard what it was.
The noise continued until the line-up had been effected for the
kick for goal.
Brayton, flushed with delight, chose to make the kick himself.
The pigskin soared, describing a beautiful curve. Between the
goal posts it went, dropping back of the line.
Gloom had fallen over the middies, who realized that but three
minutes time was left.
Swiftly as could be, the line-up was made for the kick-off. It
was the Army's turn to start the ball, the Navy's to come back
with it, if possible, into Army territory.
The Navy soon succeeded in getting the pigskin a trifle over the
middle line. But the time was too short in which to do anything
decisive. The Army was strictly on the defensive, taking no chances.
Time was called.
The Army had won, eight to five!
When it was all over the middies cheered the victors as lustily as
anyone, though sore hearts beat under the blue uniforms of Annapolis.
West Points cadets, on the other hand, were wild with joy.
Again and again they sent up the rousing corps yell for Prescott
and Holmes, with Brayton's name added.
Turnback Haynes, finding no one to listen to him now, in anything
he might have to say against Prescott, turned to stare at the
heaving lines of gray.
To himself, Haynes muttered curiously:
That one word did not, however, do justice to Haynes's frame of mind.
He was wild with jealousy and hatred, but dared not show it.
That fellow Prescott will have his head fearfully swelled and
be more unbearable than ever! growled Haynes to himself. Confound
him, he has no business at all in the Army! Why should he be?
Then, after a pause, a cunning look crept slowly into the eyes
of the turnback, as he throbbed under his breath:
If I can have anything to do with it, he wont be much longer in
For just a moment, ere the teams left the field, the old Gridley
chums had a chance to rush over to each other.
"I was afraid of you, Dick," Dave confessed. "Not more than I was
of you, Dave, laughed Prescott."
"Did you find the Army such easy stuff to use as a doormat, Dan?"
queried Greg dryly.
"Oh, it—it—it was the fault of the new rules," retorted Midshipman
Dalzell, making a wry face. "You know, Greg, you never could play
much football. But the new rules favor the muff style of playing."
Only a few more words could the quartette exchange. There was
time, however, for a few minutes of talk before the West Pointers
were obliged to leave for their train.
Greg, sighed Dick, if we only had Dave and Dan playing on the same
team with us, such a game would be great!
"Oh, well," murmured Greg, "whether Annapolis or West Point lugged
off the actual score, the service won, anyway. For the Army and
Navy are inseparable units of the service."
It was a very orderly and dignified lot of cadets who filed aboard
the cadet section of the train to leave for home. Once the train
was well on its way out of Philadelphia, however, the pent-up
enthusiasm of the happy sons of the Army broke loose, nor did
the tactical officers with them make any effort to restrain the
Some of the cadets went from car to car, in search of more excitement.
Dick Prescott soon became so tired of hero-worship that he slipped
along through the rear car a few feet at a time until, at last,
unobserved, he managed to make his way out on to the rear platform.
Unobserved, that is, by all save one. Turnback Haynes, who had
been watching Dick with a sort of wild fascination, noted Dick's
The train, which had been traveling at high speed, now slowed down
to some twenty-five miles an hour in order to pass over a river.
While the attention of all the rest was turned toward the front
end of the car, Haynes, with lowered eyes and half-slinking manner,
made his way toward the rear of the car.
Peering through the glass in the door, the turnback could make
out Cadet Prescott standing outside. Dick's back was toward the
A diabolical light flashed in Haynes's eyes for a moment. He
shook from head to foot, but, by a strong effort of will, he stayed
One stealthy look over his shoulder Haynes took, then suddenly opened
the door, stepping outside.
Cadet Prescott half turned. There was no time to do more, when
he felt himself seized in a strong clutch.
There was hardly any struggle. It all seemed to be over in a
second or so. Cadet Prescott plunged headlong through the darkness
of the night into the dark river below!
ROLL-CALL GIVES THE ALARM
For an instant Haynes leaned far out.
Now his eyes were filed with a terror that overcame the wild fascination
of his wicked deed.
His anger had died down in a flash. Turnback Haynes would have
given worlds to be able to recall the felonious deed he had just
committed. But it was too late. He had seen Prescott's flying
figure sink beneath the waters, which came up to within a few
feet of the railroad trestle.
Haynes turned back with a sobbing groan. Then he cast a terrified
look into the car.
Some of the fellows must have seen both of us come out here, he
quavered. They'll see only one of us come back. I'll have to
stand the whole fire of questions. Ugh! C-c-can I stand it without
breaking down and giving myself away?
The train was over and off of the bridge by now. Warned by a
light burning between the rails, the engineer brought the train
to a standstill.
His heart bounding with a cowards hope, turnback Haynes leaped
down to the roadbed. Breathlessly he rushed along the side of
the train. He succeeded in gaining the platform of the third
Though his knees shook under him, the turnback swung up on to
the steps. In another moment, after noting that the cadets were
not looking particularly towards the door, Haynes turned the knob,
stepping inside and dropping, with feigned carelessness, into
an empty seat.
"Hullo, Haynesy," was Lewis's easy greeting. Been up ahead?
"Yes," lied the turnback.
Anstey heard, though he did not pay much heed to the statement
at the time.
There were many, of course, who asked for Dick. Greg had not
seen his chum for some time. In his own heart Holmes felt sure
that Dick, tired of being congratulated, had sought retirement—-in
the baggage car, probably. So Greg had little to say, and did
not go in search of his chum.
It was not, in fact, until the corps reached West Point, and roll-call
by companies was held, that the absence of Cadet Richard Prescott,
second class, was discovered.
Then there was a good deal of curiosity among a few comrades, wild
excitement and useless speculation.
An hour later, however, Greg's fevered imaginings were cut short
by word that was brought over to him from the cadet guard house.
Prescott had reported by wire. He had fallen from the rear
car of the train into a river. The telegram merely stated that
he had made his way to the nearest village, where a clergyman
had provided him with the funds needed for his return to West
Point. He would report at the earliest hour possible.
From room to room in cadet barracks flew the news.
"Now, how could a fellow be so careless as to fall off a moving
train?" demanded Lewis.
"Old ramrod may have been shaken up a heap in the game," hinted
Anstey. "Prescott isn't the sort of chap to tell us every time
he feels a trifle dizzy or experiences a nervous twitch. He may
have felt badly, may have gone out on the platform for a whiff
of fresh air, and then may have felt so much worse that he fell."
"Depend upon one thing," put in Brayton decisively. "Whatever
Prescott does there's some kind of good reason for."
"It's enough, for to-night, declared Greg, to know that the royal
old fellow is safe, anyway. To-morrow, well have the story, if
there is any story worth having."
Turnback Haynes received the news with mingled emotions. His
first sensation was one of relief at knowing that he was not actually
a murderer—-one who had wickedly slain a fellow human being.
It was not long, though, before Haynes became seized with absolute
fright over the thought that Prescott must have recognized him.
"In that case, all I can do is to stick out for absolute
and repeated denial," shivered the turnback. "There's one great
thing about West Point, anyway—-a cadets word simply has to be
taken, unless there is the most convincing proof to the contrary.
I guess Lewis will remember that I came in from the car ahead
or seemed to. But I wonder if anyone, officer or cadet, saw me
running along at the side of the train?"
It was small wonder that Cadet Haynes failed to get any sleep
that night. All through the long hours to reveille the cadet
tossed and tumbled on his cot. Fortunately for him, his roommate
was too sound a sleeper to hear the tossing.
Heavy-eyed, shuddering, Haynes rose in the morning. Through the
usual routine he went, and at last marched off to section recitation,
outwardly as jaunty as any other man in the corps, yet with dark
dread lurking in his soul.
It was about noon when Prescott reported at the adjutant's office,
next going to the office of the commandant of cadets.
By both officers Dick was congratulated on his fortunate escape
from death. Each officer asked him a few direct questions. Prescott
stated that he had remained over night with the village clergyman,
giving his wet, icy clothing a chance to dry.
It was when asked how he came to fall from the rear platform of
the car that the cadet hesitated.
"I thought I was thrown from the platform, sir," Dick replied
in each case.
"Who was on the platform with you?"
"No one, sir, an instant before."
"Did you see any one come out of the car?"
"Did you recognize any assailant?"
"Have you any good reason to suspect any particular person?"
"No good reason, sir."
"Could any one have come out of the car, unless it had been a
tactical officer, a cadet or a railway employee?"
That was as far as the questioning went, for both the adjutant
and the commandant of cadets believed that Dick had been pitched
from the rear platform by some sudden movement of the car. No
other belief seemed sane enough to be considered.
It was the commandant of cadets who suggested:
"If you feel the slightest need of it, Mr. Prescott, you may go
at once to cadet hospital, and be examined by one of the surgeons.
We don't want you coming down with illness later, on account
of a neglected chill."
"I am very certain I don't need a medical officers attention,
sir," replied Cadet Prescott, with just the trace of a smile.
"The Rev. Dr. Brown and his wife were about the most attentive
people I ever met. I was pretty cold, sir, when I reached their
house. But inside of five minutes they had me rolled up in warm
blankets and were dosing me with ginger tea. Afterwards they
gave me a hot supper. I slept like a top, sir, last night."
"You feel fit then, Mr. Prescott, to return to full duty? asked
"Wholly fit, sir."
"Very good. Then I will so mark you. Go to your quarters, Mr.
Prescott, and wait until the next call, which will be the call
for dinner formation."
Saluting the commandant, Prescott left the cadet guard house,
hastening to his own room.
A few minutes later Cadet Holmes burst in upon his chum.
To him Dick told the whole story of his striking the water, of
his swimming to shore, and of hurried trip through the cold night
to the nearest house.
"And you're sure you were pushed?" questioned greg thoughtfully.
"Either I was pushed, or it was all a horrid dream," replied Dick
"Then why didn't you so tell the K.C.?"
"I answered the K.C. truthfully, Greg. I told him all that I really
know. I didn't feel called upon, and wasn't asked, to tell him
anything that I guessed."
"What is your guess?" insisted Holmes, with the privilege of a
"Greg, as far as I can be sure of anything without knowing it,
I am absolutely certain that a cadet came out of the car, behind
me, and that he pushed me off the platform."
"A cadet?" demanded Greg, turning pale. To Holmes it seemed atrocious
to couple the word cadet with any act of dishonor.
"Greg, as I plunged through the air, I succeeded in turning a trifle.
I am convinced, in my own mind, that I saw the gray cape overcoat
of a cadet I am also certain that I got a glimpse of his face.
The only limit to my certainty is that I wouldn't want to name
the man under oath."
"Who was he?" demanded Holmes.
Advancing, placing his lips against one of Greg's ears, Prescott
whispered the name:
"Haynes! But you mustn't breathe this to a living soul! Remember,
I wouldn't dare swear to the truth of what I've hinted to you."
Greg Holmes, wholly and utterly loyal to the cadet corps of which
he was himself an honored member, went even paler. He leaned
back against the wall, clenching his fists tightly.
"Haynes?" he whispered. "I don't like the fellow, and I never
did. He's no friend of yours, either, Dick. But he wears the
staunch old cadet uniform and has had more than three years of
the West Point traditions. It seems impossible, Dick. Had anyone
else but you told me this, even against Haynes, I would have turned
on my heel and walked away."
"I hope it isn't true—-I hope it is all a hideous nightmare,
born of my dismay when I found myself going through space!" breathed
"What are you going to do about this?" asked Greg huskily.
"You are not going to mention Haynes to anyone else?"
"No, sirree! I shall keep my eyes open a bit when Haynes is around;
that is all."
"I hope it isn't true—-oh, I hope it isn't true," breathed Greg
fervently. "But I know you're no liar, Dick, and you're no dreamer
of dreams! Confound it, I almost wish you hadn't told me this.
But I asked you to."
Greg's face was a queer ashen gray in color.
At that moment the call for dinner formation sounded.
"You're all ready, Dick, so hustle along. I've clean forgotten
to get myself ready. You hustle, and I'll try not to be late
in the formation."
As Cadet Prescott hastened along through the lower corridor, he
came face to face with the turnback.
Haynes stopped short, his jaw drooping. For just a second he
stiffened his arms as though to throw himself in an attitude of
Halting, without speaking or raising a hand, Dick Prescott looked
squarely into the other man's eyes.
Haynes turned ghastly pale, his jaw moving nervously as though
he would speak and could not.
A smile of scorn flashed into Prescotts face. Haynes fairly writhed
beneath that contemptuous look. Then, still without a word or
a sound, Prescott passed on.
"He did it!" muttered Dick to himself.
Yet, with the certainty of the turnbacks guilt, Prescott did not
wish Haynes any personal harm. The only greatly perturbed thought
that ran through Dick's mind was:
"That fellow is not fit for the Army. Must he be allowed to go
on and graduate?"
Thrice during the dinner period Dick allowed his glance to rove
over to the turnback. Not once did he catch Haynes's eye, but
that young man was making only a pretence at eating.
"If he really pushed me from the train," muttered Prescott to himself,
"I hope Haynes worries about it until he fesses cold in some study
and so has to leave the Military Academy. For he'll never be
fit to be an officer. He couldn't command other men with justice."
MR. CADET SLOWPOKE
Despite the fact that he had been through the first half of the
year before, Haynes actually did go somewhat stale in some of the
Some of the cadets who lived near enough were permitted to go home
at the Christmas holidays, and the turnback was among this number.
Yet Haynes came back. In the January examinations he stood badly,
getting place rather near the foot of the second class. Yet he
pulled through and retained his place in the corps.
Dick and Greg, who did not go home over the holidays, both did
fairly well in January. Each secured a number not far above the
bottom of the second third of the class.
On Washington's Birthday, the cadets had a holiday after dinner.
The day, however, was ten-fold joyous for Dick, because Mrs. Bentley,
Laura and Belle Meade were expected on the afternoon of that day,
the girls to attend the cadet hop at Cullum Hall in the evening.
Dick and Greg, in their spooniest uniforms, were at the railway
station to meet the visitors.
"Quick!" cried Mrs. Bentley, after the greetings were over. "There's
the stage, and its about to start. We'll all get seats in it."
"If that is the programme, Mrs. Bentley," laughed Dick, "Greg
and I will have to overtake you, later on, on foot. Cadets are
not allowed to ride in the stage.
"Can't you telephone for a carriage, then?" inquired Mrs. Bentley.
"Certainly, and with pleasure, but cadets may not ride in a carriage,
"Oh, you poor cadets!" cried Mrs. Bentley. "To think of your
having to climb that steep road ahead. And its ever so long, too!"
"You get in the stage, mother, and Belle and I will walk up the
road with Dick and Greg," proposed Laura Bentley.
So the two cadets busied themselves with assisting Mrs. Bentley
into the stage, after which they returned to their fair friends.
"Now, I have trouble in store for you two young men," declared
Belle Meade, frowning. "Why did you young men conspire to beat
the Navy at football?"
"For the honor and glory of the Army," replied Dick, smiling.
"To put humiliation over your old chums, Dave and Dan," flashed
Belle. "Laura and I were down at Annapolis, at a hop last month,
as you may have heard. Poor Dave hasn't yet recovered from the
blow of seeing the Navy lose that game to the Army!"
"But I'll wager he didn't blame us," retorted Prescott, his eyes
"He said that, if it hadn't been for you and Greg, the Navy would
have won the game," retorted Belle.
"I hope that's true," declared Dick boldly.
"Oh, you do, Mister Prescott? And why?" asked Belle.
"Because I belong to the Army, and I want always to see the Army
"If West Point defeats Annapolis next Thanksgiving, and if its
because of you and Greg, then I'll never speak to either of you
again," asserted Belle.
"Come along, Dick," laughed Laura. "Belle's positively dangerous
when she talks about the Navy!"
"The Navy is the only real branch of the service," declared Belle,
with a toss of her head. "Everybody says so. The Army is merely
"Laughing good-humoredly, Greg piloted Belle up the long, winding
walk that leads to the West Point plain. Dick and Laura soon fell
in behind, at some distance, walking very slowly.
"Did you have a tiresome trip here?" inquired Dick.
"No; a very pleasant one," Laura replied.
"I should think a long journey would be tedious to women traveling
without male escort," Dick went on.
"We had escort as far as New York," Laura replied promptly.
"Oh, you did?" inquired Prescott, feeling a swift sinking at heart.
"Yes; Mr. Cameron had to make a flying trip to New York. He had
to come at about this time, so he put it off for three or four
days in order to travel through with us. Wasn't that nice of
"Extremely nice of him," admitted the cadet rather huskily. "I—-I
suppose he will return with you from New York."
"We expect him to," Laura admitted. "But what a great game that
must have been, Dick! How I wish Belle and I had gone over to
Philadelphia to see it."
"It was an exciting game, and a hard-fought one."
Laura chatted on gayly, and at the same time displayed much enthusiasm
over the life at West Point. Yet Dick, though he strove to conceal
the fact, was low spirited over the attentions of Mr. Cameron.
The two cadets had permission to visit at the hotel, so went into
the parlor until the girls joined them there. Later, as there
was no snow on the ground, a stroll about the post was proposed
Dick made out Laura's card for the dance that night, while Greg
attended to Belle's. Many were the cadets who glared at Dick
and Greg for not having inscribed their names on the dance cards
of these two very "spoony femmes." (pretty girls.)
After one of her dances with Dick, Belle asked him to lead her out
into the corridor, where the air was cooler.
"Shall I go after your wrap?" asked Dick solicitously.
"Goodness, no," replied Belle. "I'm not as sensitive as that."
Then, abruptly changing the subject, Miss Meade asked: "What do
you think of Mr. Cameron?"
"I saw very little of him," Dick replied.
"But what do you think of him?" Belle insisted.
"I think that, if he is Laura's friend, he must be a fine fellow,"
Dick replied with enthusiasm.
A slight shudder of disappointment passed over Belle.
"Are you beginning to feel chilly, Belle?" asked Dick anxiously.
"If I am, its nervously, not because I am really cold," replied
Miss Meade dryly.
"Why did you ask me what I think of Mr. Cameron?"
"Because I am interested in knowing," Belle answered. "Mr. Cameron
is with Laura a great deal these times."
"Is he?" asked Dick, with another sinking at the heart.
"Oh, yes," Belle replied. "Some folks in Gridley are nodding
their heads wisely, and pretending they can guess what is going
to happen before long. But I'm very certain that there is nothing
quite definite as yet. Indeed, I'm not quite sure that Laura
really knows her own mind as yet."
Soon after that, Miss Meade requested to be conducted back into
the ballroom, to find Greg, who was to be her next partner.
"Now, good gracious, I hope I've really given Cadet Slowpoke
a broad enough hint," thought Belle. "If he doesn't go ahead
and speak to Laura now, it'll be because he doesn't care. And
Leonard Cameron isn't a bad fellow, even if he does prefer the
yardstick to a sword!"
As for Dick, his evening was spoiled. His sense of honor prevented
his "speaking" to Laura until he felt that his future in the Army
Yet spoiled as his evening was, Prescott did his best to make it
a bright occasion for Laura Bentley.
The next morning, while the members of the cadet corps were grinding
at recitations, or boning over study desks in barracks, Mrs. Bentley
and the girls rode down the slope in the stage and boarded a train
for New York.
Dick had not "spoken."
THE ENEMIES HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING
After that February hop, Cadet Prescott appeared to give himself
over to one dominating ambition.
That ambition was to secure higher standing in his class.
He became a "bone," and tried so hard to delight his instructors
that he was suspected of boning bootlick with the Academic Board.
For Prescott had dropped Laura out of his mind.
That is to say, he had tried to do it, and Prescott was a young
man with a strong will.
Belle's words, instead of spurring him on to do something that his
own peculiar sense of honor forbade, had killed his vague dream.
After all, Dick reasoned, it was Laura's own good and greatest
happiness that must be considered.
Leonard Cameron, a rising and prosperous young merchant in Gridley,
would doubtless be able to give Laura a much better place in the
In the matter of income, Cameron doubtless enjoyed three or four
times as much as the annual pay of a second lieutenant ($1,700)
amounts to. Besides, Cameron was not much in the way of risking
his life, while an Army officer may be killed at any time, even
in an ordinary riot. A lieutenants widow received only her pension
of a comparatively few dollars a month.
"It would have been almost criminal for me to have thought of
tying Laura's future up to mine," Dick told himself savagely,
as he took a lonely stroll one March afternoon. "I'll have nothing
but my pay, if I do graduate. A fellow like Cameron can allow
his wife more for pin money than my whole years pay will come
to. Really, I've no right to marry any but a rich girl, who has
her own income. And, even if I fell in love with a rich girl,
I wouldn't have the nerve to propose to her. I'd feel like a
cheap fortune hunter."
Having made up his mind to put Laura Bentley out of his inner
thoughts, Prescott did not write her as often as formerly.
He wrote often enough, and pleasantly enough to preserve the
courtesies of life. Yet keen-witted Belle Meade was not long in
discovering, from what Laura thought were chance remarks, that
Dick was "dropping away" as a correspondent.
So, too, Laura's letters were fewer and briefer.
"Dick didn't really care for her, I guess," Belle decided, almost
vengefully. "Then the bigger idiot he is, for there aren't many
girls like Laura born in any one century! But Dick sees a good
many girls at West Point, and perhaps he has grown indifferent
to his old friends. There are a good many very 'swell' girls
who visit West Point, too. Horrors! I wonder if Dick and Greg
think that we are too countrified?"
After the first few weeks, with his resolute nature triumphing
over anything that he set his mind to, Prescott found himself
thinking less about Cameron. It was practically a settled matter,
anyway, between Laura and Cameron, so Dick thought, and Cadet
Prescott had his greatly improved standing in his class to console
him for any losses in other directions. Yet Dick would not have
dared to confess, even to himself, how little class standing did
So hard had been study in the last few weeks that Prescott had
all but forgotten the existence of turnback Haynes. They were
not in the same section in any of the studies, nor did the two
mingle at all in barracks life. Neither went to the hops now,
"Is Prescott afraid of me—-or what?" wondered Haynes. "Perhaps
he hopes I have forgotten him, but I haven't. One thing is clear
he doesn't intend to do anything about that train incident, or
he'd have done it long ago. If he thinks I have forgotten my
dislike of him, he may be glad enough to have it just that way.
Bah, as if I could ever get over my dislike for a bootlick like
Prescott! I'd like to get him out of the Army for good! I wonder
if I can't, between now and June? I'd like my future in the Army
a whole lot better with Prescott out of it."
So Haynes began taking to moody, lonely walks when he had any
time for such outlet to his evil, feelings.
It is one of the strangest freaks of queer human nature that one
who has once done another an injury ever after hates the injured
one with an added intensity of hatred.
Turnback Haynes was quite able to convince himself that Dick Prescott,
who avoided him, was really his worst enemy in the world.
So, one Saturday afternoon, in early April, it chanced that Dick
and Cadet Haynes took to the same stretch of less-traveled road
over beyond engineers' quarters.
Suddenly, going in opposite directions, they met face to face
at a sharp bend in the road.
"Oh, you?" remarked Haynes, in a harsh, sneering voice.
Prescott barely nodded coldly, and would have passed on, but Haynes
stepped fairly in his path.
"Prescott," cried the turnback, "I don't like you!"
"Then we are about even in our estimate of each other," responded
"Were you following me up, just now?"
"Why, as I have a memory, I might more properly suppose that you
had been prowling on my trail," retorted Dick, eyeing his enemy
"Humph! What do you mean by that?" demanded Haynes bristling.
"Do you deny, Haynes, that on the night when we were returning
from the Army-navy game you pushed me from the rear platform of
Cadet Prescott spoke without visible excitement, but gazed deeply
into the shifty, angry eyes of the other.
Haynes swallowed hard. Then he replied gruffly:
"No; I don't deny it."
"Why did you do that, Haynes?"
"I haven't admitted that I did do it."
"You know that you did, though."
"Why did you do it?"
"I'll tell you, then," hissed the turnback. "It was because neither
West Point nor the Army is going to be big enough for both of us!"
"When do you intend to resign?" demanded prescott coolly
"Re——-" gasped Haynes "Resign? I?"
Then you imagine that I am going to quit, or that you're going
to force me to do so? retorted Prescott. "Haynes, even up to
this hour I have hesitated to believe the half evidence of my
own eyes. I have tried to convince myself that no man who wears
the honored gray of West Point could do such a dastardly piece
of work. And you have as good as admitted it to me."
"Well," sneered the turnback, what do you think you're going to
do about it?"
"If I knew," glared Dick, "I wouldn't tell you until the time
"It will never come," laughed Haynes harshly. "That is, your
time of triumph over me will never come. What else may happen
it is yet a little too early to say."
Cadet Prescott felt all the cold rage that was possible to him
surging up inside.
"Haynes," he went on, "it may seem odd of me to ask a favor from
"Very odd, indeed!" sneered the turnback.
"It is a very slight favor," continued Prescott, "and it is this:
Don't at any time venture to address me, except upon official
With that Prescott stepped resolutely around the cadet in his
path, and went forward at a stiff stride.
Haynes remained for some moments where he was, gazing after Dick
with a curious, leering look.
"Prescott is a coward—-that's what he is!" muttered the turnback.
"If he weren't, I said enough to him just now to cause him to
leap at my throat. Humph! Anyone can beat a coward, and without
credit. Prescott, your days at the Military Academy are numbered!
You, an Army officer? Humph!"
Though it would be hard to understand why, Haynes felt much better
after that brief interview. Perhaps it was because, all along,
he had feared Cadet Prescott. Now the turnback no longer feared
his enemy in the corps.
How would the feud end? How could it end?
THE TRAITOR OF THE RIDING HALL
If Dick gave no further outward attention to Haynes, he was nevertheless
bothered about the fellow.
"Haynes isn't fit to go through and become an officer; to be set
up over other men," Prescott told himself often.
This slighting opinion was not on account of the personal dislike
that Prescott felt for the turnback. There were other cadets
at West Point whom Dick did not exactly like, yet he respected
the others, for they themselves respected the traditions of honor
and justice that are a part of West Point.
With Haynes the trouble was that he was certain, sooner or later,
to prove a discredit to the best traditions of the Army. Such
a fellow was likely to prove a bully over enlisted men. Now,
the enlisted men of the Regular Army do not resent having a strict
officer set above them, but the officer must be a man whom they
can respect. Such an officer, who commands the respect and admiration
of the enlisted men under him, can lead them into the most dangerous
places. They will follow as a matter of course; but an unworthy
officer, one whom the enlisted men know to be unfit to command
them, will demoralize a company, a troop, a battery or a regiment
if he be given power enough.
Every cadet and every officer of the Army is concerned with the
honor of that Army. If he knows that an unworthy man is obtaining
command, it worries the cadet or officer of honor.
Had he been able to offer legal, convincing proof of Haynes's
dastardly conduct in pushing him off the train on the return from
the Army-Navy game, Prescott would have submitted that proof to
the authorities, or else to the members of the second class in
"But Haynes would only lie out of it, of course," Dick concluded.
"As a cadet, his word would have to be accepted as being as good
as mine. So nothing would come of the charges."
A class meeting, unlike a court-martial, might not stand out for
legal evidence, if the moral presumption of guilt were strong
enough; but Cadet Prescott would not dream of invoking class action
unless he had the most convincing proof to offer.
Class action, when it is invoked at West Point, is often more
effective than even the work of a court-martial. If the class
calls upon a member to resign and return to civil life, he might
as well do so without delay. If he does not, he will be "sent
to Coventry" by every other cadet in the corps. If he has the
nerve to disregard this and graduate, he will go forth into the
Army only to meet a like fate at the hands of every officer in
the service. He will always be "cut" as long as he attempts to
wear the uniform.
"Its a shame to let this fellow Haynes stay in the service," Dick
muttered. "And yet my hands are tied. With my lack of evidence
I can't drag him before either a legal or an informal court.
The only thing I can do is to let matters go on, trusting to the
fact that, sooner or later, Haynes will overstep the bounds less
cautiously, and that he'll find himself driven out of the uniform."
On going to his quarters for a study period one afternoon further
along in April, Haynes found himself unable to concentrate his
mind on the lesson before him. He was alone, his roommate being
absent with a section at recitation.
As he sat thus idle at the study table, Haynes toyed with a little
black pin. How the pin had come into his possession he did not
even recall. It was a pin of ordinary size, one of the kind much
used by milliners.
Having nothing else to do, Haynes idly thrust the head of the
pin repeatedly in under the sole at the toe of his right boot.
Somewhat to his surprise the head went well in, then stopped
at last, fitting snugly and stiffly in place.
"If I had a fellow sitting in front of me, what a startling jab
I could give him with the toe of my boot," grinned the turnback.
Then, suddenly, there came a very queer look into his face.
"Why, I reckon I could jab something else with a pin, beside the
flesh of another cadet," he muttered.
Then, trembling slightly, the turnback bent down and carefully
extracted the pin. His next act was to fasten it very securely
on the inside of the front of his fatigue blouse, where the black
uniform braid prevented its being seen.
Of late the second class cavalry drills had been in the open.
That day, however, it was raining heavily, and the order had
been passed for the squads to report at the riding hall.
Soon after Haynes's roommate had returned from recitation the
signal sounded for the squad that was to report at the riding hall.
Haynes rose, drawing on his uniform raincoat.
"What's the matter with you, Haynesy?" inquired his roommate.
"Why do you ask, Pierson?"
"There was a very queer look on your face," replied Cadet Pierson.
I couldn't tell whether it were a diabolical look or merely a
"I was just thinking of a story I heard told years ago," lied
"I don't believe I'd care to hear that story, then," returned
"I'm not going to tell it to you. 'Bye, old man. I'm off for
Dick and Greg were in the same squad. Those who were going for
drill at this hour fell in at the command, of their squad marcher,
and strode away to the riding hall.
Once inside, the cadets disposed of their uniform raincoats. The
squad marcher reported to Captain Albutt, who was their instructor
for the afternoon.
"To horse!" came the crisp order.
Each cadet stepped to his mount, untying the animal and standing by.
Haynes's heart gave a quick jump when he saw that to Dick's lot
had fallen Satan, a fiery black, the worst tempered and most
treacherous horse in the lot.
"My chance is coming sooner than I had thought for", quivered
Dropping his handkerchief, Haynes bent over and quickly slipped
the black pin in at the toe of his right boot.
"When we get into column of fours I have Prescott on my right,
muttered the turnback. He had straightened up again, in almost
no time, tucking the handkerchief again inside his blouse. His
act had attracted no attention.
"Prepare to mount!" rang Captain Albutt's voice.
Each cadet took hold of mane, bridle and saddle in the way prescribed
and stood with left foot in stirrup.
Jauntily each man swung up, passing his right leg over his mounts
back, then settling easily into saddle.
For the first few minutes the squad walked, trotted, cantered
and galloped around the tanbark in single file. Then their instructor,
riding always near the center of the floor, threw them into platoon
front at the west end of the hall. Now he gave them some general
instruction as to the nature of the evolutions they were to perform.
The next command came by bugle, and the platoon broke into column
of fours, moving forward at the trot, Captain Albutt riding at
the left flank near the head of the column.
As the horses fell into column of fours Haynes saw his chance.
Nearly always, in this formation, some of the horses bump their
neighbors. Haynes, by a slight twist of the bridle, threw horse
over against Prescott's. The thing was so natural as to attract
Just as the horses touched flanks, however, Haynes, with his right
foot swiftly withdrawn from its stirrup-box, gave Satan a vicious
jab with the pin-point protruding from the toe of his boot.
There was a wild snort. Satan seemed instantly bent on proving
the appropriateness of his name.
Lowering his head, Satan kicked out viciously with his hind feet,
throwing the horses just behind into confusion.
Almost in the same instant Satan bit the rump of a horse in front
Then up reared Prescotts mount.
Dick was a good horseman, but this move had caught him unawares.
A horse at a trot is not usually hard to manage, and Prescott had
not been on his guard against any such trick.
By the time that Satan came down from his plunge Dick had a firm
seat and a strong hand on the bridle. But Satan was a tough-mouthed
animal. His unlooked-for antics had caused the horses just ahead
Through the scattering four in front plunged Satan, fire in his
eyes, his nostrils quivering.
Captain Albutt took the situation in at once.
"Squad halt!" he roared. Be cool, Mr. Prescott! Bring your mount
down with tact, not brute force.
Satan, having taken the bit between his teeth, went tearing around
the tan-bark, not in the least minding the tight hold that his
rider had on the bridle, or the way that the bit cut into his
mouth. Satan blamed his own rider for that sharp, stinging jab,
and he meant to unseat that rider.
Dick kept perfectly cool, though he realized much of his own great
peril with this infuriated beast.
Captain Albutt, watching closely, became anxious when he saw that
the cadet was failing in bringing down the temper of the infuriated
Satan was more than furious; he was crafty. Master of many tricks,
and with a record for injuring many a rider in the past, the animal
dashed about the tan-bark, seeking some way of throwing his rider.
His uneasiness increasing, Captain Albutt put spurs to his own
mount and went after Satan.
"Steady, Mr. Prescott," admonished the cavalry officer, riding
close. I'll soon have a hand on your bridle, too.
Yet every time that Captain Albutt rode close, Satan waited until
just the right instant, then swerved violently, snatching his
head away from the risk of capture.
So villainous were these swerves that Dick had several narrow
escapes from being unhorsed. A man of less skill would have been.
At first the other members of the squad looked on only with
amused interest. When, however, they caught the grave look on the
captain's face, they began to comprehend how serious the situation was.
Satan, finding other devices for throwing his rider to be useless,
soon resorted to the most wicked trick known to the equine mind.
He reared, intent on throwing himself over backward, crushing
his rider beneath him.
Captain Albutt reached the spot at a gallop, just in the nick
of time. Standing in his stirrups, he caught one side of the
bridle just in time to pull the horse's head down.
But, foiled in this attempt, Satan allowed his front feet to come
down. Close to the ground the brute lowered its head, kicking
up high with his hind heels. This, accompanied by a "worming"
motion, sent Prescott flying from his saddle.
He made an unavoidable plunge over the animal's head.
"Let go your bridle!" roared Captain Albutt.
In the same instant the cavalry officer leaped from his own saddle.
Over came Cadet Prescott, turning a somersault in the air.
Albutt had jumped in order to catch the cadet. It all happened
so quickly, however, that the cavalry officer had chance only
to catch the cadets shoulders. Had it not been for that, Prescott
would have struck fully on his back.
Having thrown its rider, Satan cantered off to the far end of
the riding hall, where he stood, snorting defiance.
Captain Albutt allowed Prescott's head and shoulders to sink easily
to the tan-bark.
"Are you badly hurt, Mr. Prescott?" inquired the officer.
"The small of my back is paining me just a little sir, from the
wrench," replied Prescott coolly. "If it hadn't been for you,
sir, my neck would have been broken."
"I think it would," replied the cavalry officer, smiling. "But
this is one of the things I am here for. Do you feel as if you
could rise, Mr. Prescott, with my help?"
"I'd like to try, sir."
Dick did try, but watchful Captain Albutt soon let him down again.
"You may not be much hurt, Mr. Prescott, but I want one of the
medical officers to take the responsibility for saying so. Just
lie where you are until we get a medical officer here. Mr. Haynes,
pass your lines to the man at your left and run to the telephone.
Ask for a medical officer and two hospital corps men with a stretcher."
The turnback leaped quickly to obey. This gave him the coveted
chance to get away by himself, where he could secretly remove
from his boot the little black pin that had been responsible for
Surgeon and hospital men came on the run. The surgeon declined
to make an examination there, but directed his men to lift the
injured cadet to the stretcher and take him to the hospital.
In the meantime some enlisted men had caught and quieted Satan,
leading him from the tanbark.
"That brute never will be used again, if I have my way," muttered
Captain Albutt, loudly enough to be heard by most of the cadets of
Then the drill proceeded as though nothing had happened.
"I fixed my man that time, and easily enough," growled Haynes to
himself. "He's out of the service, from now on. He can nurse
a weak back the rest of his days."
When the drill was dismissed a party of three ladies, who had
seen the whole scene from one of the iron balconies, came down
to meet the cavalry officer.
"Your conduct was just splendid, captain, cried one of the women,
her face glowing. But I feared you would be killed, or at least
badly hurt, when you put yourself in the way of that somersaulting
cadet. Why did you take such chances?"
"In the first place," replied the cavalry officer quietly, "because
it was simple duty. There was another reason. If I am hurt,
in the line of duty, I have my retired pay, as an officer, to
live on. But a cadet who is hurt so badly that he cannot remain
in the service has to go home, perhaps hopelessly crippled for
life—-and a cadet injured in the line of duty has no retired pay."
"Why is that?" asked another of the ladies.
"I do not know, replied Captain Albutt simply, unless it is because
Congress has always been too busy to think of the simple act of
justice of providing proper retired pay for a cadet who is injured
"Has Mr. Prescott been injured so that he'll have to leave the Army?"
"I don't know. But, if you'll excuse me, ladies, I am going over
to the hospital now and find out."
THE CADET HOSPITAL
Cadet Prescott lay on one of the operating tables at cadet hospital.
Without a murmur he submitted to the examination. At times the
work of the medical officer's hurt a good deal, but this was evidenced
only by a firmer pressing together of the young soldiers lips.
At last they paused.
"Are you through, gentlemen?" Dick asked, looking steadily at the
two medical officers.
"Yes," answered Captain Goodwin, the senior surgeon.
"May I properly ask what you find?"
"We are not yet quite sure," replied the senior surgeon. "None
of the bones of the spine are broken. There has, of course, been
a severe wrenching there. Whether your injury is going to continue
into a serious or permanent injury we cannot yet say. A good deal
will depend upon the grit with which you face things."
"I am a soldier," replied Dick doggedly. "Even if I am not much
longer to be one."
"We will now have you removed to your cot. We are not going to
place you in a cast as yet, anyway. It is possible that, after
a few days, you may be able to walk fairly well."
"In that case, captain, is it then likely that I shall be able to
return to duty?"
"Yes; the quicker things mend, and the sooner you are able to
walk without help, the greater will be your chance of pulling
through this injury and remaining in the service."
"Then I'd like to try walking back to barracks right now," smiled
Cadet Prescott, wistfully.
"You are not to think of it, Mr. Prescott! You must not even
attempt to put a foot out of bed until we give you permission.
If you take the slightest risk of further injury to your back
you are likely to settle your case for good and all, so far as
the Army is concerned."
"I told you I was a soldier, sir," Dick replied promptly. "For
that reason I shall obey orders."
"Good! That's the way to talk, Mr. Prescott," replied the senior
medical officer heartily. "The better soldier you are, the better
your chances are of remaining in the Army."
"There won't be any need, will there, captain, to send word to my
father and mother of this accident until it is better known how
serious it is?" coaxed Dick.
"If you wish the news withheld for the present, I will direct
the adjutant to respect your wishes."
"If you will be so good, sir," begged the hapless cadet.
Hospital men were summoned and Dick was skillfully, tenderly transferred
to a cot in another room. The steward stood by and took his orders
silently from Captain Goodwin.
Hardly had this much been accomplished when a hospital service man
entered, passing a card to Captain Goodwin.
"Admit him," nodded the surgeon.
In another minute Captain Albutt stepped into the room, going over to
the cot and resting one of his hands over the cadet's right hand.
"How are you feeling?" asked Captain Albutt.
"Fine, sir, thank you," replied Dick cheerily.
"I'm glad your pluck is up. And I hear that you have a good chance."
"I hope so, sir, with all my heart. The Army means everything
in life to me, sir. And Captain Albutt, I want to thank you for
your splendid conduct in risking your own life to save me."
"Surely, Prescott," replied the captain quietly, "you know the
spirit of the service better than to thank a soldier for doing
Captain Albutt had called him simply "Prescott," dropping the
"mister," which officers are usually so careful to prefix to a
cadet's name when addressing him. This little circumstance, slight
as it was, cheered the cadet's heart. It was a tactful way of
dropping all difference in rank, and of admitting Prescott to
full-fledged fraternity in the Army.
"I shall inquire after you every day, Prescott, and be delighted
when you can be admitted to the riding work again;" said the captain
in leaving. "And I think you need have no fear of seeing Satan
on the tan-bark again. If I have any influence, that beast will
never be assigned to a cadet's use after this."
When Captain Albutt had gone Greg came in, on tiptoe.
"Out the soft pedal, old chap," smiled Dick cheerily, as their
hands met. "I'm not a badly hurt man. The worst of this is that
it keeps me from recitations for a few days. If it weren't for that,
I'd enjoy lying here at my ease, with no need to bother about
reveille or taps."
Greg's manner was light-hearted and easy. He had come to cheer up
his chum, but found there was no need for it.
Then the superintendent's adjutant dropped in on his way home
from the day in the office at headquarters. Having talked with
Captain Goodwin, the adjutant agreed that there was no need, for
a few days, to notify Prescott's parents and cause them uneasiness.
"We'll hope, Mr. Prescott," smiled the adjutant, "that you'll
be well able to sit up and send them the first word of the affair
in your own hand, coupled with the information that you're out of
Had it not been for his natural courage, Cadet Prescott would
have been a very restless and "blue" young man. He knew, as well
as did anyone else, that the chances of his complete recovery
to sound enough condition for future Army service were wholly
in the balance. But Captain Goodwin had impressed upon him that
good spirits would have a lot to do with his chances. So strong
was his will that Prescott was actually almost light-hearted when
it came around time to eat his evening meal of "thin slops."
Over in cadet barracks interest ran at full height. Greg had to
receive scores of cadets who dropped in to inquire for the best word.
One of the last of these to come was Cadet Haynes.
Greg received him rather frigidly, though with no open breach of
"It's too bad," began Haynes.
"Of course it is," nodded Holmes.
"Prescott has very little chance of remaining in the corps, I suppose?"
"The surgeons don't quite say that," rejoined Greg.
"Oh, the rainmakers (doctors) are always cagey about giving real
information until a man's dead," declared the turnback sagely.
"They seem to believe that Prescott has an excellent chance,"
"No bones broken?"
"Not a one."
"What is the trouble, then?"
"The rainmakers can't say exactly. They're waiting and watching."
"Humph! That sounds pretty bad for their patient."
"They say that if Prescott is able to walk soon, then his return
to duty ought to be rather speedy."
"I'd like to believe the rainmakers," grunted Haynes.
"Would you?" inquired Greg very coolly.
"What is your particular interest in my roommate?" demanded Cadet
He looked straight into the other's eyes. "Why, Prescott is one
of the best and most popular fellows in the class. I've always
liked him immensely, and——-"
"Humph!" broke in Cadet Holmes, using the turnback's own favorite
To just what this scene might have led it is impossible to say,
but just at that instant Anstey and two other second classmen came
into the room, and the turnback seized the opportunity to get away.
Though Cadet Prescott was so cheerful over his injury he was in
a good deal of pain as the evening wore on.
Every hour or so Goodwin or the other surgeon came in to see him.
Though Prescott could hardly be expected to understand it, the
surgeons were pleased, on the whole, with the pain. Had there
been numbness, instead, the surgeons would have looked for paralysis.
Later in the night Dick asked Captain Goodwin if he could not
administer some light opiate.
"You are willing to be a soldier, I know, Mr. Prescott," replied
"Be sure of that, sir," replied the young man, Wincing.
"Then try to bear the pain. It is the best indication with which
we have to deal. It is one of the most hopeful symptoms for which
we could look. Besides, your descriptions of the pain, and of
its locality, if you are accurate, will give us our best indication
of what to do for you."
"Then I don't want any opiate, sir," replied Dick bluntly. "I
don't care whether I'm kept here a day or a year, or what I have
to suffer, only as long as I don't have to lose an active career
in the service!"
"Good for you, my young soldier," beamed the surgeon, patting the
cadet's hand. "The superintendent telephoned over, a little while
ago, to ask how you were. I told him that your grit was the best
we had seen here in a long time."
"Thank you, sir."
"And the superintendent replied, dryly enough, that he expected
that from your general record. The superintendent sent you his
"Thank you, sir, and the superintendent, too."
"Oh, and a lot of others have been inquiring about you, too—-the
K.C. and all of the professors and most of the instructors. And
at least a small regiment of cadets have tramped down as far as
the office door also. I've been saving the names of inquirers,
and will tell you the names in the morning. All except the names
of the cadets, that is. There was too big a mob of cadets for
us to attempt to keep the names."
It was a painful, restless, feverish night for Prescott. He slept
a part of the time, though when he did his sleep was filled with
The surgeons won his gratitude by their devotion to his interests.
The first half of the night Captain Goodwin was in at least every
hour. The latter half of the night it was Lieutenant Sadtler who
made the round.
By permission Cadet Holmes came to the hospital office just after
It was a gloomy face that poor Greg wore back to barracks with him.
The surgeons had spoken hopefully, but—-
"Brains always work better than brute force," Haynes told himself,
struggling hard to preserve his self-esteem.
THE MAN MOVING IN A DARK ROOM
May came, and, with the gorgeous blossoms of that month, Dick
Prescott left the hospital.
He was able to walk fairly well, and was returned to study and
recitations, though excused from all drills or any form of military
Not quite all the old erectness of carriage was there, though
Dick hoped and prayed daily that it would return.
He had been cautioned to take the best of care of himself. He
had been warned that he was still on probation, so far as his
physical condition was concerned.
"A sudden bad wrench, and you might undo all that has been done
for you so far," was the surgeons' hint.
So Prescott, though permitted to march with his sections to
recitations, and to fall in at the meal formations, was far from
feeling reassured as to his ability to remain in the service.
He was to have a physical examination after the academic year
was finished, and other examinations, if needed, during the summer
And well enough the young man knew this meant that, if he was
found to be permanently disqualified in body, he would be dropped
from the cadet corps as soon as the decision was reached.
"Do you know," muttered Greg vengefully, "Haynes had the cheek
to come here and ask after you?"
"Did he?" inquired Dick.
"Yes; he pretended to be sorry about your accident."
"Perhaps he really was," returned Prescott.
"What? After his trick in pushing you from the train?"
"I hope he has lived to regret that," said Dick quietly.
"You're not quite a lunatic, old ramrod, are you?" asked Greg
"Oh, I've heard of fellows being bad, and then afterward repenting,"
murmured Dick. "Perhaps this has been the case with Haynes.
You see, Greg, lying there in hospital, day after day, I had time
to do a lot of thinking. Perhaps I learned to be just a trifle less
severe in judging other fellows."
Anstey visited as often as he could. He and Greg did all they
could to coach Prescott over the hard work that he had missed.
"There isn't going to be anything in the academic work to bother
you," promised Anstey. "You'll have lots of chance to pull through
in the general review."
"It's only the physical side of the case that gives me any uneasiness,"
replied Dick. "And I'm not worrying about that, either."
"I should say not, suh!" replied the Virginian with emphasis.
"I had a chance to talk with Captain Goodwin, one day, without
being too fresh, and he told me, old ramrod, that your work in
athletics did a lot to save your back from faring worse. He said
you were built with unusual strength in the back, and that many
a hard tug in the football scrimmages had made you strong where
you most need to be strong now."
"Now let's get back to work with our old ramrod, Anstey," cautioned
"Surely, suh, with all my heart," nodded Anstey. "But by day
after to-morrow he'll have caught up with us, and be coaching
us along for the general review."
The hard work that Dick had done through March and in early April
now stood him in excellent stead. He had, really, only to make
sure of the work that he had missed while at hospital. As to
reviewing the earlier work of the second term, there was not the
By the time that the general review was half through it was plain
enough that Dick Prescott's class standing was going to be better
than it had ever been before. In fact, he was slated to make
the middle of this class.
"I'll be above the middle of the class next year, if the fates
allow me to remain on with the corps," Dick promised himself and
"Oh, you'll be in the Army, suh, until you're retired for age,
suh," predicted Anstey with great gravity.
The latter part of May passed swiftly for the busy cadets. The
first class men were dreaming of their commissions in the more
real Army beyond West Point; the present third classmen were looking
forward with intense longing to the furlough that would begin
as soon as they had stepped over the line into the second class.
The new plebes were looking forward to summer encampment with
a mixture of longing and dread—-the latter emotion on account of
the hazing that might come to them in the life under the khaki-colored
As the days slipped by, Prescott began to have more and more of
his old, firm step. He began to feel sure, too, that the surgeons
would have no more fault to find with his condition.
"Why, I could ride a horse in fine shape to-day," declared Prescott,
on one of the last days in May.
"Could you?" demanded Cadet Holmes quizzically.
"Perhaps I had better amend that bit of brag," laughed Dick. "What
I meant was that I could ride as well, to-day, as I ever did."
"Don't be in a hurry to try it, old ramrod," advised Greg with
a frown. "Be satisfied that you're doing well enough as it is.
Don't be in a hurry to joggle up a spine that has had about as
much as it could stand."
"I'll bet you I ride in the exhibition riding before the Board
of Visitors," proposed Prescott earnestly.
"I shall be mightily disappointed in your judgment if you attempt
it without first having received a positive order," retorted Greg.
"Don't be a chump, old ramrod."
The exhibition before the Board of Visitors to which Dick had
referred is one of the annual features of West Point life. The
Board is appointed by the President of the United States. The
Board goes to West Point a few days before graduation and thoroughly
"inspects" the Academy and all its workings. The Board of Visitors
impressively attends graduation exercises. Afterwards the Board
writes its report on the Military Academy, and suggests anything
that occurs to the members as being an improvement on the way
things are being already conducted by Army officers who know their
One man in the second class was going badly to pieces in these
closing days of the academic year. That man was turnback Haynes.
His trouble was that he had allowed a private and senseless grudge
to get uppermost in his mind. He lived more for the gratification
of that grudge than he did for the realization of his own ambitions.
"This confounded Prescott has escaped me, so far, though his last
experience was a narrow squeak. I've had two tries—-and, by
the great blazes! the third time is said never to fail. He's
in such bad shape now that it won't take much of a push to put
him over the edge of physical condition. But how can I do it?"
So much thought did the turnback give to this problem that he
fell further and further behind in general review. He was moving
rapidly toward the bottom of the class.
Worse, he began to dream of his grudge by night. In his dreams
Haynes always reviewed his hopes of successful villainy, or else
found himself trying to put through some new bit of profound rascality.
Always the turnback awoke from such dreams to find himself in a
"I'll hit the right scheme—-the real chance—-yet!" the plotter
told himself, as he tossed restlessly at night, while his roommate,
Cadet Pierson, slept soundly the sleep of the just and decent.
"Haynesy, what's the matter with you?" demanded Pierson one morning,
as he watched his roommate going toward the washstand.
"What do you mean?" demanded Haynes, with the pallor of guilt
on his face for a moment.
"Why, you always look so confoundedly ragged when you get up mornings.
You used to wake up looking fresh and rosy. Now, you look like the
ghost of an evil deed."
"Huh!" growled Haynes, plunging his hands into the water. "I'm
"I wish I could believe you!" muttered the puzzled Pierson under
"It's near time to get Prescott, if I'm going to," Haynes told
himself a dozen times a day.
In fact, the matter preyed so constantly on his mind that the
turnback walked through each day in a perpetual though subdued state
of nervous fever.
The next night Pierson awoke with a start. At first the cadet
couldn't understand why he should feel so creepy. He was a good
sleeper, and there had been no noise.
Hadn't there, though? It came again. And now Cadet Pierson rubbed
his eyes and half rose on his cot, leaning his head on one hand.
Now, with intense interest, he watched the proceedings of his
roommate, turnback Haynes, who was up and moving stealthily about
the room, every action being clearly revealed in the bright moonlight
that was streaming through the windows.
THE ROW IN THE RIDING DETACHMENT
"Wow, what on earth is the fellow doing?" muttered the puzzled Pierson.
Haynes had gone over to his fatigue blouse, the left front of
which he was examining very closely.
Then the turnback began to mutter indistinctly.
"Why, Haynesy is walking and talking in his sleep!" decided Pierson.
"Queer! I never knew him to do anything like that before. He must
have something on his mind."
Pierson had read, somewhere, that it is never wise to disturb a
sleepwalker, there being a risk that the sleepwalker, if aroused
too suddenly, may suffer collapse from fright.
"I wonder what on earth old Haynesy can have on his mind?" pondered
Pierson. "Oh, well, whatever it is, it is no business of mine."
With that Pierson let his head return to his pillow.
"That did the trick for Prescott—-ha! ha!" muttered the turnback.
"What on earth did the trick, and what trick was it?" muttered
watching Pierson, curious despite the admitted fact that it was
all none of his business.
After a few moments more Haynes went back to his cot, pulled the
sheet and a single blanket up over him, and became quiet.
"It wouldn't do any good to ask Haynesy anything about this,"
decided Pierson. "He won't remember anything about it in the
So Pierson went to sleep again. When he awoke in the morning he was
more than half inclined to believe that he had dreamed it all.
The general reviews were drawing toward their close. In two studies
Haynes was making a poor showing, though he believed that he would
Riding drills were being held daily now. Preparations were being
made for the stirring exhibition of cavalry work that was to be
shown before the Board of Visitors.
On the afternoon of the day before the visitors were due, Greg
started up at the call for cavalry drill.
So did Dick.
"Where are you going?" challenged Cadet Holmes.
"To cavalry drill," responded Cadet Prescott.
"Who said you could?"
"The K.C. for one; Captain Albutt for another."
Greg looked, as he felt, aghast at the idea, but he managed to
"What about the rainmakers?"
"Captain Goodwin has examined me again."
"Surely, he doesn't approve of your riding yet, Dick?"
"He didn't say whether he did or not."
"But he certified that I was fit to ride."
"Dick, you didn't have to do this——-"
"No; but I want to be restored to full duty. Captain Albutt has
informed me that the horse assigned to me will be a dependable,
tractable animal, and I shall be on my guard and use my head."
"I don't like this," muttered Greg, as he fastened on his leggings.
"I didn't suppose you would, so I didn't tell you anything about it."
By the time that the second call sounded both young men were prepared,
and joined the stream of cadets pouring out of barracks.
Other cadets than Greg expressed their astonishment when they saw
Prescott in the detachment.
"Is this wise, old ramrod?" asked Anstey anxiously.
"A soldier shouldn't play baby forever," returned Dick. "And
I have permission, or I wouldn't be here."
"I don't like it," muttered Anstey.
Furlong, Griffin and Dobbs all had something to say.
Haynes didn't let a word escape him, but his eyes lighted with
"Now, I can finish the job, I guess," throbbed the evil one.
The detachment to which Prescott and some of his friends belonged
was formed and marched through one of the sally-ports. Just beyond,
a corporal and a squad of men from the Regular Army cavalry sat
in saddle. Each enlisted man held the bridle of another horse
than the one he rode. As the corporal dismounted his men, the
cadets, at the word from their marcher, moved forward and took
their mounts. At the command, the detachment rode forward, by
twos, at a walk, down the road that led to the cavalry drill ground
below the old South Gate.
It was Greg who rode beside his chum. In the drill, later, when
in platoon front or column of fours, it would be Haynes who would
ride on Dick's left.
The turnback had already made sure that his useful black pin was
securely fastened inside his fatigue blouse.
Arrived at the drill ground, the cadets dismounted, standing by
their horses in a little group until Captain Albutt should ride
out of one of the cavalry stables and take command.
Haynes, with a rapid throbbing of his pulses, bent forward and
down, pretending to examine his horse's nigh forefoot.
As he did so, with an expertness gained of practice, Haynes slipped
the head of the black pin in under the front of the sole of his
right boot. Then he straightened up again, chatting with Pierson.
"I say, Haynes," drawled Anstey, a few moments later, glancing
at the turnback's right foot, "that's a dangerous-looking thing
you have in your boot."
"What's that?" demanded Haynes, losing color somewhat, yet pretending
to be surprised.
"That long pin, sticking out of the front of your right boot,"
continued Anstey, pointing.
Haynes glanced down, saw the thing, and pretended to be greatly
"How did I get that thing in my shoe?" he cried.
Then, with an appearance of indolent indifference that was rather
overdone, the turnback stooped low enough to extract the pin.
But his fingers trembled in the act, and half a dozen cadets noted
"That's a reckless bit of business, Haynes," continued Anstey in
a voice that did not appear to be accusing.
"Reckless?" gasped Greg Holmes. "It's criminal!"
"What do you mean?" demanded Haynes, straightening himself and
glaring coldly into Holmes's eyes.
But Greg was one of the last fellows in the world to permit himself
to be "frozen."
"I mean what I say, Haynes," he retorted plumply. "With that
thing in the toe of your boot something would be likely to happen
when some other horse's flank bumped you on the right. And, by
George, it's Prescott who rides at your right in platoon or column
Greg shot a look full of keen suspicion at the turnback.
"And it was Prescott who rode on your right the day he was thrown
from Satan!" flashed Greg, his face going white from the depth
of his sudden feeling. "Haynes, did you have that pin in the
toe of your boot the day that Prescott was thrown in the riding
"You——-" Haynes began, at white heat, clenching his free fist.
"Answer me!" broke in Greg insistently.
"I did not!"
"I don't believe you!" shot back Cadet Holmes
"Confound you, sir, do you mean to call me a liar?" hissed the
"Yes!" replied Greg promptly.
Haynes dropped his bridle, stepping toward Greg Holmes, who, however,
neither flinched nor looked worried.
"Hold my lines, Dobbs," urged Pierson, passing his bridle over
to a fellow classman.
Then Pierson sprang in front of Greg, facing his roommate.
"Softly, Haynes!" cried Pierson warningly.
"What is this to you?" demanded the turnback hotly.
"I am under the impression," replied Pierson, "that this is not
a personal matter so much as it is a class affair."
But Haynes, feeling that he was almost cornered, became reckless
"This is a personal matter, Pierson. Stand aside until I knock
that cur down."
"From any other man in the detachment," spoke Greg bitterly, "I
would regard the use of that word an insult. Haynes, if you hit
me, I shall knock you clean into the Hudson River. But I will
not accept any challenge to fight until the class has passed on
"The class has nothing to do with it," insisted Haynes.
"I think the class has," broke in Pierson. "When the time comes
I shall have considerable to say."
"Then say it now!" commanded Haynes, glaring at his roommate.
"I will," nodded Pierson. "The other night, Haynes, I was awakened
to find you walking about the room in your sleep. You also talked
in your sleep. At the time I could make nothing of it all. Now,
I think I understand."
Then Cadet Pierson swiftly recounted what he had seen and what
he had heard that night in the room.
"You were fingering something on the left front of your blouse,
and while doing so, you made the distinct remark that this was
what had done the trick for Prescott," charged Pierson. "I did
not see what it was that you were fingering, but the next day,
the first chance I got, I, too, examined the left front of your
blouse. I found a small, black pin fastened there. It has been
fastened there every time since when I have had a chance to look
at your fatigue blouse hanging on the wall."
"I am not responsible for what I say when I'm sleepwalking," cried
Haynes in a rage. "And, besides, Pierson, you're lying."
"I'll wager that not a man here believes I'm lying," retorted
"No, no! You're no liar, Pierson!" cried a dozen men at once.
"Is there a black pin inside your blouse at this moment?" challenged
"None of your business," cried the turnback hoarsely.
"I demand that you show up, or stand accused," insisted Cadet
"I'll show up nothing, or take any orders from anyone who tries
to lie my good name away," retorted Haynes. "But at least two
of you will have to fight me mighty soon."
"I won't fight you," retorted Greg bluntly, "until the class declares
you to be a man fit to fight with."
"Nor I, either," rejoined Pierson decisively. "Stand aside, you
hound, and let me get at that cur behind you!" cried Haynes hoarsely.
"Attention!" called the detachment marcher formally. "The instructor
for the day!"
Captain Albutt rode out of the nearest cavalry stable, mounted on
his own pure white horse.
At the order of the marcher each cadet fell back to the lines of his
When Captain Albutt reached the detachment he saw nothing to
indicate the disturbance that had just occurred.
THE DECREE OF "COVENTRY"
"Prepare to mount! Mount!"
Some preliminary commands of drill were executed. Then the serious
work of the hour began.
Never had Captain Albutt commanded at a better bit of cavalry work
than was done this afternoon by members of the first and second
The wheelings, the facings and all the manoeuvres at the different
gaits were executed with precision and dash. All the movements
in troop and squadron were carried out to perfection.
To the instructor, it was plain that the most perfect esprit de
corps existed. The cadets were acting with a singleness and
devotedness of purpose which showed plainly that the perfect
trooper was the sole subject of thought in their minds. At least,
so the instructor thought, from the results obtained.
Even Haynes's face was inexpressive as he rode.
Greg was as jaunty as though he had not an unkind thought toward
anyone in the world.
Cadet Prescott did not betray a sign of any thought save to do
his duty perfectly.
Yet, every time that his horse was brought close to Haynes's,
Prescott had his eyes open for any foul play that might be attempted
by the turnback.
"If the young men do as splendidly to-morrow before the Board
of Visitors," thought Captain Albutt, "I shall feel that my year
of work here has been a grand success. Jove, what a born trooper
everyone of these young fellows seems to be!"
At last the drill was finished. In detachments, the young cadet
troopers returned to the road between the administration building
and the academic building.
Here each detachment dismounted, surrendered its horses to a waiting
detail of enlisted cavalrymen, and then marched in to barracks.
As soon as the young men had removed their riding leggings, and the
dust from their uniforms, most of them descended into the quadrangle.
Haynes reached his room just an instant behind Pierson.
"See here, Pierson, you cad, what did you——-"
"Oh, shut up!" replied Pierson, with a weary sigh.
"Don't you speak to me like that, sir!" cried Haynes warningly,
as he stepped over to where his roommate was busy with a clothes
"I don't want to talk with you at all," retorted Pierson.
"You'll talk to me a lot, or you'll answer with your fists!"
"Fight with you? Bah!" growled the other man in disgust.
"You cad, you deliberately li——-"
But Pierson, having put his brush away, turned on his heel and
left the room.
Haynes paused for an instant, his face white with a new dread.
A cadet stands low, indeed, when another cadet will not resent
being called a liar by him.
"This has kicked up an awful row against me, I guess," muttered
the turnback, as he hastily cleaned himself. "I must get down
into the quadrangle, mix with the fellows and set myself straight."
Full of this purpose, for he was not lacking in a certain quality
of nerve and courage, Haynes went down to the quadrangle.
"I am afraid a good deal of feeling was aroused this afternoon,
Furlong," began the turnback.
Then he gulped, clenched his fists and lost color, for Cadet Furlong,
without a word, had turned on his heel and walked away.
"Griffin, what does Fur——-"
Cadet Griffin, too, turned on his heel, passing on.
It was Dobbs's turn to show his back and stroll away.
"What the deuce has got into them all?" wondered Haynes, though
his heart sank, for, much as he wanted to ignore the meaning,
it was becoming plain to him.
Another cadet was passing along the walk. To him Haynes turned
with an appealing face.
"Lewis," began the turnback, "I am afraid I shall have to ask
Whatever it was, Lewis did not wait to hear. He looked at Haynes
as though he saw nothing there, and joined a little group of cadets
"Confound these puppies!" growled Haynes to himself. "They're all
fellows that I hazed when they were plebes, and they haven't
forgiven me. I see clearly enough that, if I am to have an
explanation, or get a chance to make one, I must do it through the
members of my old class."
Some distance down the quadrangle stood Brayton and Spurlock, first
classmen and captains in the cadet battalion.
"They're high-minded, decent fellows," said Haynes to himself.
"I will go to them and get this nasty business set straight."
Past several groups of cadets stalked Haynes, affecting not to
see any of the fellows. But these cadets appeared equally indifferent
to being recognized.
Brayton and Spurlock were talking in low tones when the turnback
"Brayton," began Haynes, "I want to ask you to do me a bit of
Brayton did not stop his conversation with Spurlock, nor did he
show any other sign of having heard the turnback.
"Brayton! I beg your pardon!"
But the first classman did not turn.
"Spurlock," asked Haynes, in a thick voice, "are you in this tommy-rot
Spurlock, however, seemed equally deaf.
"Then see here, both of you——-" insisted Haynes, choking with
The two first classmen turned their backs, walking slowly off.
There was no chance to doubt the fate that had overtaken him.
Haynes had been "sent to Coventry." Henceforth, as long as he
remained in the corps of cadets, he was to be "cut." No other
cadet could or would speak to him, under the same penalty of also
being sent to Coventry.
Henceforth the only speech that any cadet would have with him would
be a necessary communication on official business. Socially there
was no longer any Cadet Haynes at West Point.
Once, two years before, Haynes had helped to put this punishment
on a plebe, who had soon after quitted the Academy.
Then Haynes had thought that sending another to Coventry was, under
some circumstances, a fine proceeding. But now the like fate had
"The fellows don't really mean it. They're excited now, but to-morrow
they'll be sorry and call the whole foolishness off," thought the
"cut" man, trying hard to swallow the obstinate lump that rose in
In the quadrangle, mostly in groups, were fully two hundred cadets.
But not one of these young men would address a word to the exposed
"There's one satisfaction, anyway," thought Haynes savagely, as
he walked blindly back toward the door of his own subdivision
in barracks, "I can take it all out on the plebes!"
Just as he was going up the steps Haynes encountered a plebe coming
"Here, mister!" growled Haynes. "Swing around with you! At attention,
sir! What's your name, mister?"
But the plebe did not even pause. He did not avert his head, but
he took no pains to look at Haynes, merely passing the turnback
and gaining the quadrangle below.
Now the utter despair of his position came over Haynes. How suddenly
it had come! And even Haynes, with his four years at West Point,
could hardly realize how the Coventry had been pronounced and
carried out in so very few minutes after release from cavalry
Tears of rage and humiliation in his eyes, Haynes stumbled to his
room. Once inside he shunned the window, but stumbled to his chair
at the study table, and sank down, his face buried in his arms.
"Oh, I'll make somebody suffer for this!" he growled.
Out in the quadrangle, now that the turnback was gone, the main
theme of conversation was the discovery and exposure of the afternoon.
Pierson was requested to repeat his statement to a large group
of first and second classmen.
"I don't believe a man could get a pin stuck into the toe of his
boot accidentally, in the way that Haynes had his pin arranged,"
declared Brayton. "Has one of you fellows a pin to lend me?"
A pin being passed, Brayton sat down on a convenient step and
tried to adjust the pin between the sole and the upper of the
toe of his boot.
"I can force it in a little way," admitted Brayton, "but see how
the pin wobbles. It would fall out if I moved my foot hard.
Some of the rest of you try it."
Other cadets repeated the experiment.
"I'll tell you, fellows," said Spurlock at last; "a fellow couldn't
accidentally get a pin in that position, and hold it firm there.
But I know that, after repeated trying, and working to fit the
pin, I could finally get matters so that I could quickly fit a
pin that would hold in place and be effective."
"Of course," nodded Lewis. "It can be done, but only by design."
"And that was the very way that Prescott's horse was enraged,
so that old ramrod got his awful tumble!" exclaimed Greg bitterly.
"You believe, now, that the whole thing was a dirty, deliberate
trick, don't you?" asked Spurlock of Prescott.
"I am pretty sure it must have been," nodded Dick.
"Then," declared Brayton, "the whole thing is something for you
second classmen to settle among yourselves. In the first place,
it is your own class affair. In the next place, we men of the
first class are practically out of the Military Academy already.
It will do the first class no good to take any action, because
we shall not be here to carry out any decree."
"You can advise us, though," suggested Holmes.
"And we'll do so gladly," nodded Brayton. "Then do we need to
hold a class meeting, and vote to make the Coventry permanent?"
"Hardly, I should say," replied Brayton. "You've already started
the cut, and it can be continued without any regular action—-unless
Haynes should have the cheek to try to brazen it out. If he does
insist on staying here at the Military Academy, you can easily take
up the matter during the summer encampment."
"It would seem rather strange for me to call a class meeting,
when the whole affair concerns me," suggested Dick.
"Oh, you don't need to call the meeting, old ramrod," advised
Spurlock. "A self-appointed committee of the class can call the
meeting. You can open the meeting, of course, Prescott, and then
you can call any other member of the class to take the chair."
"I wonder if it will be necessary to drum the fellow out of the
class formally?" asked Anstey.
"Only time can show you that," replied Brayton. "Better just wait
and see what action the fellow Haynes will take for himself. He
may have the sense to resign."
Resign? That word was not in Haynes's own dictionary of conduct.
After his first few moments of despair, on gaining his room,
the turnback had risen from his chair, his face showing a courage
and resolution worthy of a better cause.
"Those idiots may think they have 'got' me," he muttered, shaking
his fist toward the quadrangle. "One of these days they'll know
me better! I'll make life miserable for some of those pups yet!"
Just before it was time for the call to dress parade Pierson came
hurrying into the room to hasten into his full-dress uniform.
Haynes, already dressed with scrupulous care, looked curiously
at his roommate. But Pierson did not appear to see him.
Haynes stepped over to the window, drumming listlessly on the
sill. At length he turned around.
"Pierson," he asked, "have the fellows sent me to Coventry?"
"You don't need to ask that," replied the other coldly.
"Is it because of Prescott?"
"Yes. And now, will you stop bothering me with the sound of your
"Pierson, you know, when a fellow is cut by the corps, his roommate
is not required to avoid conversation with the unlucky one."
"I know that," replied Pierson coldly. "But I've had all I want
of you and from you. Except when it is absolutely necessary I
shall not answer or address you hereafter."
"How long am I to stay in Coventry?"
Pierson acted as though he did not bear.
"Has formal action been taken, or is this just a flash of prejudice,
The call to form and march on to the parade ground was sounding.
Snatching up his rifle, Haynes stepped out and joined the others.
Haynes did not receive even as much as a cold glance.
"I'm less than a bit of mud to them!" thought the turnback bitterly.
"These fellows would step around a patch of mud, just to avoid
dirtying their shoes."
It was a relief to hear the command to fall in. Haynes felt still
better when the battalion stepped away at its rhythmic step.
He did not have to look at any of his contemptuous comrades now,
nor did he need a word from them.
Somehow, though in a daze, the turnback got through dress parade
without reproof from any of the watchful cadet officers. Then,
almost immediately after dress parade, came the hardest ordeal
Once more, this time in fatigue uniform, the turnback had to fall
in at supper formation. With the rest he marched away to cadet
mess ball, found his place at table and occupied it.
During the meal merry conversation ran riot around the tables.
Haynes was the only man among the gray-clad cadets who was left
After supper, while Pierson lounged outside, Haynes went back
to his room.
Pacing the floor in his deep misery and agitation, he took this
vow to himself:
"I won't let myself be driven from the Military Academy! No
matter what these idiots try to do to me—-no matter what indignities
they may heap upon me, I'll keep silent and fight my way through
the Military Academy! I will receive my commission, and go into
the Army. But that fellow Prescott shall never become an officer
in the Army, no matter what I have to risk to stop him!"
For most of the young men at West Point the academic year now
came swiftly and joyously to an end.
True, some score and a half of plebes were found deficient, and
sent back to their homes.
The same thing happened to a few of the third classmen.
All of the members of the first class succeeded in passing and
in graduating into the Army.
The poor plebes who had failed had been mournfully departing, one
at a time.
These unhappy, doleful young men felt strangely uncouth in the
citizens' clothes that they had regained from the cadet stores.
Yet everyone of these plebes received many a handshake from the
upper classmen and a hearty good wish for success in life.
More doleful still felt the dropped third classmen, who had been
at the Military Academy for two years, and who had thoroughly
expected to "get through" into the Army somehow.
It was now a little before the time when cadets must hasten to
quarters to attire themselves for dress parade.
Several score of cadets still lingered in the quadrangle when
Greg Holmes and Pierson suddenly appeared, heading straight for
one of the largest groups, in which Dick Prescott stood.
"Heard any news lately?" asked Greg, a pleased twinkle in his eyes.
"Nothing startling. We've been supplying new, dry handkerchiefs
to the poor, late plebes," answered Brayton.
"Haven't heard about that fellow Haynes?" asked Greg.
"Nothing," admitted Brayton.
"Well, you see," exclaimed Pierson, "Haynes made up his mind to
disregard the grand cut. He determined to stick it out, anyway,
even for a whole year."
"He'll have a sweet time of it, then," put in Spurlock dryly.
"I never heard of a fellow who got the general cut lasting a whole
year here before."
"That was Haynes's decision, anyway," went on Pierson. "This
is no guess work. The fellow told me so himself."
"I reckon, suh, maybe we'll be able to change his mind," drawled
"No you won't," broke in Greg decisively. "Haynes got in bad
on the last two days of general review. Chemistry and Spanish
verbs threw him. So he was ordered up for a writ (written
examination) in both subjects. He fessed frozen on both of them.
He applied for a new examination in a fortnight, but the fact
that Haynes was already a turnback went against him."
"He's `found,' eh?" questioned Brayton, smiling gleefully.
"Dropped," nodded Pierson.
"Fired!" added Greg, with a look of satisfaction. "There's no
getting around the truth of the old superstition, fellows!"
The "old superstition" to which Holmes referred is one intensely
believed in the cadet corps. While there is nothing whatever to
prevent a sneak from being admitted to the United States Military
Academy, the cadets believe firmly that a dishonorable fellow is
bound to be caught, before he graduates, and that he will be
kicked promptly out of the service by one means or another.
"Has the fellow gone yet?" inquired Spurlock.
"He'll slip away while the rest of us are away at dress parade,
I guess," responded Pierson. "Haynes is in cit. clothes already,
and is just fussing around a bit."
"He must feel fine!" muttered Brayton musingly. "I could almost
say `poor fellow.'"
"So could I," agreed Prescott, with a good deal of feeling. "It
would break my heart to be compelled to leave the corps, except
at graduation, so I can imagine how any other fellow must feel."
"Oh, well, he'd never be happy in the Army, anyway," replied Spurlock.
"Out in the Army the other officers can take care of a dishonorable
comrade even more effectively than we do."
"What made Haynes fess out, I wonder?" pondered Brayton aloud.
"Being sent to Coventry got on his nerves so that he couldn't pull
up enough at review and the writs," replied Pierson. "He wasn't
one of the bright men, anyway, in the section rooms."
"By Jove, suh! There's the fellow now!" muttered Anstey.
The others turned slightly to see Haynes, out of the gray uniform
that he had disgraced, wearing old cit. clothes and carrying a suit
case, step out and cross the quadrangle to the office of the K.C.
A few minutes later, Haynes came out of the cadet guard house.
Knowing that he would never have the ordeal to face again, Haynes
summoned all his "brass" to the surface and stepped down the length
of the quadrangle. He passed many groups of curious cadets, none
of whom, however, sent a look or a word to him.
Then on out through the east sally-port strode Haynes. On the
sidewalk beyond, he passed Captain Albutt. Haynes did not salute
the officer; he didn't have to. Even had Haynes saluted, Captain
Albutt could not have returned this military courtesy, for Haynes
was no longer a member of the American Military establishment.
* * * * * * *
On the afternoon of the day following the graduating exercises
came to a brilliant finish at Cullum Hall. Brayton, Spurlock
and their classmates were honorably through with West Point, their
new careers about to open before them.
Cadet Dick Prescott came forth from the exercises, a look of radiant
happiness on his face.
He had been ordered before a board of surgeons that morning. Just
as a formality he was to go before a medical board again in August.
"But that's only a piece of red tape," Captain Goodwin had explained
to him. "By wonderful good luck, or rather, no doubt, thanks to
Captain Albutt's gallantry, your spine is now as sound as ever.
Come before us in August, but I can tell you now that the August
verdict will be O.K."
"My, but you look like the favorite uncle of the candy kid!" muttered
Greg, as the two chums in gray strode along together.
"Why shouldn't I?" retorted Dick. "My spine is all right, and
I'm to stay in the service. Then besides, Greg, old fellow, think
what we are now."
"Well, what are we?" asked Greg.
"First classmen! Only a year more, Greg, to the glorious old Army!
Think of it, boy! In blue, in a year, and wearing shoulder-straps!"
"I wish we had just graduated, like Brayton, Spurlock and the rest,"
"You want to rush things, don't you, lad?"
"But Dick, you see," murmured Holmes, "a cadet can't marry."
"Oh, still harping on Miss Number Three?" laughed his chum.
"Number—-thr——-" stammered Greg.
"You don't mean to say that it is all off with Miss Number Three?"
"Oh, yes; months ago."
"She broke the engagement?"
"Yes," admitted Holmes. "But I don't care."
"What's the present girl's number?" teased Dick.
"Five," confessed Greg with desperate candor. "But this girl,
Dick, is worth all the others. And she'll stick. After all, it's
only a year, now, that she'll have to wait."
At this point, however, we find Dick and Greg to be first classmen.
So their further adventures are necessarily reserved for the
next and concluding volume in this series, which will be published
under the title, "Dick Prescott's Fourth Year At West Point;
Or, Ready to Drop the Gray for Shoulder Straps." All we need
to tell the reader is that this coming volume will contain the
most rousing story of all in the West Point Series.