The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Putnam Hall Rebellion; or, The Rival Runaways

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Title: The Putnam Hall Rebellion; or, The Rival Runaways

Author: Edward Stratemeyer

Illustrator: Charles Nuttall

Release date: November 25, 2014 [eBook #47451]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Stephen Hutcheson, Rod Crawford, Dave Morgan
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


The Putnam Hall Rebellion

The Putnam Hall Rebellion. Frontispiece. (Page 157.)

Or, The Rival Runaways




Copyright, 1908, by



I. Out on the Campus 1
II. Pepper Plays a Joke 11
III. At Target Practice 21
IV. The Blank Cartridges 32
V. A “Rough House” at Putnam Hall 41
VI. The New Teacher 51
VII. An Encounter on the Lake 60
VIII. Starching and Blueing 71
IX. What Happened at the Ice House 81
X. A Mix-up on the Road 91
XI. What Happened to Andy 101
XII. The Beginning of a Rebellion 111
XIII. Pluxton Cuddle’s Proposition 121
XIV. In Which the Storm Gathers 131
XV. Words and Blows 141
XVI. Prisoners in the Dormitories 151
XVII. Andy Snow’s Discovery 159
XVIII. On a Foraging Expedition 167
XIX. What Happened to Jack Ruddy 175
XX. The Escape from the Guardroom 183
XXI. How the Cadets Ran Away 191
XXII. Josiah Crabtree Is Worried 199
XXIII. A Discovery in the Woods 207
XXIV. The Rival Runaways 215
XXV. News of Interest 222
XXVI. After the Stolen Camp Outfit 229
XXVII. A Case of Tit for Tat 236
XXVIII. After the Tramps 243
XXIX. Something of a Confession 250
XXX. Back to School—Conclusion 262


My Dear Boys:

This story is complete in itself, but forms the fourth in a line known under the general title of “Putnam Hall Series.”

As I have said before, this series was started at the request of numerous boys and girls who had read some volumes of my “Rover Boys Series,” and who wanted to know what had taken place at Putnam Hall Military Academy previous to the arrival there of the three Rover brothers.

In the first volume of this series, called “The Putnam Hall Cadets,” I related how Captain Putnam came to found the institution and also told of the doings of Jack Ruddy, Pepper Ditmore and their chums. The young cadets were whole-souled and full of fun, and enjoyed themselves to the utmost.

In the second volume, entitled “The Putnam Hall Rivals,” more of the doings of the cadets were chronicled, and the particulars were given of a queer balloon ride, and of an odd discovery in the woods.


The third volume, “The Putnam Hall Champions,” brought Jack and Pepper once again to the front, in a series of stirring athletic contests. They had some bitter rivals, and one of these played Jack a most foul trick, which came close to having a serious ending.

Ever since the opening of the school the scholars had had much trouble with an overbearing teacher named Josiah Crabtree. When the Hall was left in charge of Crabtree and a new instructor named Cuddle, matters rapidly grew worse, until there seemed nothing for the lads to do but to rebel. How this was done, and what the rebellion led to, I leave for the pages which follow to relate.

Once more I thank my young friends for the interest they have shown in my books. May this tale please you in every way.

Affectionately and sincerely yours, Arthur M. Winfield.




“Boys, we are to have target practice to-morrow.”

“Good!” cried Pepper Ditmore. “That suits me exactly. Just wait, Jack, and see me make half a dozen bull’s-eyes, handrunning.”

“Why don’t you make it a dozen, Pep, while you are at it?” answered Major Jack Ruddy, with a smile.

“If Pep makes one bull’s-eye he will be lucky,” came from another of the cadets gathered on the Putnam Hall campus. “The last time we had practice, instead of hitting the target he almost killed a cow in the next field.”

“Hold on, Andy Snow!” cried Pepper. “I shot straight enough, but the wind blew so hard it sent the bullet the wrong way. Now if——”

“What a pity the wind didn’t shift the target to meet the bullet,” cried Paul Singleton. “Now when I shoot——”


“You’re too fat to shoot, Stuffer,” interrupted a youth who spoke with a strong Irish accent. “Sure, if you had to crawl up on the inimy, like in war, you’d tip over on your nose!” And at this sally from Joseph Hogan a laugh arose.

“I’d rather be fat than skinny,” retorted Paul, whose waist measurement exceeded that of any other cadet of the Hall.

“Where are we to do the practicing?” asked another boy, who was somewhat of a newcomer, having been a pupil at the Military Academy for less than a term.

“I understand we are to go to Rawling’s pasture, Fred,” answered Jack Ruddy. “Captain Putnam is going to make the test a very thorough one, too, for he says all of the students here ought to be first-class marksmen.”

“Well, I’d certainly like to know how to handle a rifle,” answered Fred Century. “I’ve used a shotgun, in the woods, but never a rifle. I’m afraid I’ll make a rather poor showing at first.”

“Many of the fellows will,” returned the young major. “It isn’t given to everybody to become a good shot, no matter how hard a fellow tries.”

While the others were talking, a big, broad-shouldered youth joined the gathering. He was Dale Blackmore, the captain of the Putnam Hall football team, and a general leader in all kinds of athletic sports.


“Talking about the rifle practice, eh,” said Dale. “I just heard the other fellows talking of it, too. One of ’em said he was going to show your crowd how to shoot,” and he nodded toward Jack Ruddy.

“Who was it?” questioned the young major.

“Reff Ritter.”

“Oh, that bully makes me tired!” cried Pepper Ditmore. “Every time anything is going on he tries to push himself to the front—and nobody wants him—at least I don’t want him.”

“Nor I,” came from Andy Snow and Paul Singleton.

“Sure, an’ I doubt if he’s any better shot nor Major Jack,” remarked Hogan.

“Not half as good, Emerald,” interposed Pepper quickly. “Jack’s a soldier through and through. If he wasn’t the fellows wouldn’t have elected him major.”

“Perhaps Reff Ritter is a good marksman,” said Jack. “He has made some fair scores and he may have been practicing up for this contest. Who was he talking to, Dale?”

“Oh, his usual crowd of hangers-on, Gus Coulter, Nick Paxton, Billy Sabine, and that bunch. Coulter thinks, too, that he can make a big score.”


“Well, I’ll bank on Jack—and on Bart Conners,” said Pepper. “Bart is a good shot and always was.”

“Say, here comes Reff Ritter now,” whispered Andy, as a youth with a somewhat sour-looking countenance put in an appearance. “Gus Coulter is with him.”

“Hello, Reff!” sang out one of the boys, Dave Kearney by name. “I hear you are going to wax us all at target practice to-morrow.”

“Who told you?” demanded Reff Ritter, coming to a halt.

“Oh, I heard it.”

“Yes, Reff and I are going to make star records,” came from Gus Coulter.

“Perhaps you think you can shoot better than Major Ruddy and Captain Conners?” questioned Andy Snow.

“We can,” came from Reff Ritter promptly. “When it comes to handling a rifle I don’t take a back seat for anybody.”

“Must have been practicing a tremendous lot lately,” was Pepper’s comment.

“Never mind what I’ve been doing,” growled Reff Ritter. “I’m willing to bet anybody here a new hat that I come out ahead to-morrow.” And he gazed around with a “you don’t dare to take me up” look.

“I’d take that bet,” answered Pepper dryly. 5 “Only a new hat would do me no good—since I have to wear the regulation cap here. Just the same, Reff, my boy, you won’t come out ahead of Jack and Bart, and I know it—and neither will you, Gus.”

“Huh! just wait and see,” grumbled Coulter.

“You fellows think that because you have won a few races and things like that you can win everything,” said Reff Ritter, sourly. “Well, to-morrow you’ll find out differently. After the shooting is over you’ll see where I and Gus and Nick Paxton stand.” And with this remark he strutted off, arm in arm with Coulter.

“Say, but he is in a bad humor,” observed Andy Snow. “Somebody must have brushed his fur the wrong way.”

“He has been behind in his lessons for over a week,” answered a boy named Joe Nelson, a quiet and studious lad. “Yesterday Captain Putnam called him into the office for a talk. When Reff came out he looked pretty glum.”

“Must have gotten a strong lecture,” said Pepper. “And lectures don’t agree with such fellows as Ritter.”

“Do they agree with you, Pep?” asked the young major of the school battalion, with a twinkle in his eye.


“Me? Not much! I’d rather write a composition in Latin than face the captain for a lecture! But, just the same, you can be sure Ritter didn’t get it harder than he deserved.”

“There is nothing like blowing one’s own horn,” observed Fred Century. “And certainly Reff Ritter knows how to do that to perfection.”

“Time for drill, boys!” cried Jack Ruddy, as a bell rang out. “Now, do your best on the parade ground, even if you don’t know how to hit the target.” And off he ran to get ready to assume command of the Putnam Hall battalion.

The bell had hardly ceased to ring when there followed the rolling of a drum, and out on the school campus poured the students, in their neat military uniforms, and with their guns and swords polished to the highest degree. Major Jack Ruddy was at the head of the battalion, which consisted of Companies A and B, under the commands of Bart Conners and a youth named Henry Lee.

“Battalion attention!” commanded Major Jack, after the rattle of the drum had ceased. “Shoulder arms! Forward, march!” And then the drums beat, the fifes struck up a lively air, and the cadets began a march around the school grounds.


To those who have read the previous volumes of this “Putnam Hall Series,” the lads mentioned above will need no special introduction. For the benefit of others let me state that Putnam Hall Military Academy was a fine institution of learning, located on the shore of Cayuga Lake, in New York State. It was owned by Captain Victor Putnam, a retired army officer, who, in days gone by, had seen strenuous military service in the far West. It was modeled somewhat after West Point, our great national school for soldiery, but, of course, on far less pretentious proportions. The school building proper, located not far from the lake, was of brick and stone, and contained many classrooms, a big mess hall, a business office, library and sitting room, and, on the upper floors, many dormitories. Besides this building there were a gymnasium, a boathouse, a barn, and half a dozen minor structures. The location was ideal, exactly suited to such a school as Captain Putnam had established.

Jack Ruddy and Pepper Ditmore were chums, hailing from the western part of New York State. Jack was a little the older of the two and was inclined to be studious. Pepper was full of fun, and on this account was often called The Imp, a nickname that did not bother him in the least.


When Jack and Pepper first arrived at the school, as related in the initial volume of this series, called “The Putnam Hall Cadets,” they found that no regular military organization had yet been effected. After some time spent in drilling and studying, the cadets were permitted to ballot for their own officers, with the result that Jack became the major of the battalion, Henry Lee captain of Company A, and Bart Conners captain of Company B. Jack wanted Pepper to try for an official position, but The Imp declined, stating he thought he could have more fun as a private.

At that time there was an overbearing lad at the school named Dan Baxter. He bribed Coulter and some others to vote for him, but nevertheless was defeated. Baxter was now away on a vacation, and Jack and his chums wished he would never come back.

It was not long before Jack and Pepper made many friends, including Andy Snow, who was an acrobatic youth, used to doing marvellous “stunts” in the gymnasium; Dale Blackmore, of football fame; Hogan, whose Irish wit was delightful to listen to; Stuffer Singleton, who much preferred eating to studying, and Joe Nelson, the best scholar the Hall possessed.


But if Jack and Pepper made many friends, they also made many rivals and not a few enemies. Baxter was gone, but Reff Ritter remained, and what sort of a fellow he was we have already seen. As Andy Snow said, Ritter frequently imagined that he “was the whole show.” His particular cronies were Gus Coulter and Nick Paxton, while he had something of an admirer in a small lad named Fenwick, usually known as “Mumps,” who was a contemptible sneak, as had been proved on more than one occasion.

The organizing of the school had been followed by hard studying, yet not a few adventures had fallen to the lot of Major Jack and Pepper, and some of their chums. In the middle of one of the terms George Strong, the second assistant teacher, disappeared. He was found a prisoner in a hut, being kept there by two insane relatives, and to rescue him proved no easy task.

The assistant teacher’s ancestry dated back to Revolutionary times, and he told the boys of a treasure buried in that vicinity by some relatives. How the treasure was unearthed had been told in detail in “The Putnam Hall Rivals.”


With the coming of summer, the attention of the cadets was given largely to sports in the field and on the water. Jack’s uncle presented him with a fine sloop, the Alice, and in this the young major sailed several races, as related in the third volume of this series, entitled “The Putnam Hall Champions.” The cadets also held a great bicycle race and a hill climbing contest, and they likewise had a bowling match with the team of a rival school, Pornell Academy. At that time Fred Century was a student at Pornell, but he became disgusted at the way his fellow students acted, and at the treatment he received from Doctor Pornell, and left that institution of learning and came to Putnam Hall.

As the time went on Reff Ritter became more and more jealous of Major Jack’s popularity. A contest in the gymnasium was arranged between the two, and then Ritter, with a wickedness which he was wise enough to keep to himself, dosed the young major with some French headache powders, putting the stuff in Jack’s drinking water. As a consequence, Jack, while on the flying rings, became dizzy and then unconscious, and would have hurt himself seriously had he not been caught as he fell. He was put to bed and was sick for some time. It was discovered that he had been dosed, but, so far, the perpetrator of the vile deed had managed to keep his identity a secret. Jack and Pepper suspected Ritter, but not being able to prove the rascal guilty, could do nothing.



As there were a great many students to take part, it had been arranged that the whole of the next day should be devoted to rifle practice. The cadets were to march to Rawling’s pasture directly after breakfast, and each youth was to carry his lunch with him, as well as his rifle and some rounds of ammunition.

“Now, young gentlemen,” said Captain Putnam, when the quartermaster of the battalion had distributed the cartridges. “Kindly remember that your cartridges have bullets in them. I want no loading or firing without permission. A rifle, thoughtlessly discharged, may do great harm, and there will be no need of loading your guns until you are called upon to fire at one of the targets.”

“Have we—we all got to do the—the firing?” asked Fenwick, the school sneak, in a trembling voice.

“Certainly,” answered Captain Putnam.


“I’ll wager Mumps is afraid to shoot with bullets,” whispered Pepper to Andy Snow. “He always handles his gun as if he was afraid it would go off.”

“He’s as much of a coward as he is a sneak,” answered Andy. His face broke into a sudden grin. “I’ve got an idea,” he whispered.

“Let me in on it quick,” returned Pepper, scenting fun.

“I’ve got a pack of firecrackers, left over from last Fourth of July——”

“Andy, how could you keep them all this time?” cried The Imp, reproachfully. “Why, a pack of firecrackers means dead loads of fun. Let me have them, please.”

“What, the whole pack? Not much! I want some fun myself, sometime. I’ll let you have a dozen crackers, though.”

“All right—I’ll make them do.”

“Want to play a trick on Mumps?”

“Yes, keep your eye peeled for fun.”


This talk took place half an hour before the boys were to start away from the school. Having procured the firecrackers, Pepper sought out the school sneak and found him talking to Billy Sabine, a cadet who was at times a sneak and then again quite a good fellow. Mumps had his gun over his shoulder and Sabine had his firearms across his elbow. Without being observed, The Imp lit the long stems of two firecrackers and dropped one down the barrel of each weapon.

“Hullo, you fellows!” he cried, hurriedly. “Have you heard the news?”

“What’s that?” asked both of the others, while a small crowd began to collect.

“Somebody has sticks of dynamite, and some of the stuff was put in some of the guns,” went on Pepper innocently. “You want to look out, or your gun may explode and blow you to bits.”

“Gracious me, is that possible!” ejaculated Mumps, and turned pale.

“I didn’t know——” began Sabine, and then glanced at the muzzle of his weapon. “I declare, what makes that smoke? And look, your gun is smoking, too!” he added, to Mumps.

“It’s the dynamite——” began Pepper, and backed away as if in terror.

“Oh, dear, do you really think so?” quaked Mumps. “If I thought—— Oh!”

Bang! went one of the firecrackers, and both Mumps and Sabine let out yells of fear. Bang! went the second cracker, and now both cadets threw their guns from them and ran toward the school building.

“It’s the dynamite! We’ll be blown to pieces!” screamed Mumps.


“Somebody wants to kill us!” roared Sabine, and put his hands to his ears, as if to keep out the sounds of some awful explosion.

And then both boys disappeared around a corner of the Hall. As they did this The Imp rushed forward, cleaned the guns of the exploded firecrackers, and threw the burning bits of cracker paper in some bushes.

“What a joke!” cried Andy, who has witnessed the scene, and he and a number of others laughed heartily.

“They’ll be afraid to touch the guns after this,” was Emerald’s comment. “Sure, they’ll think the old Nick is after bein’ in ’em, so they will!”

“Here they come back!” called out Dave Kearney. “And look, they’ve got old Crabtree with them!”

“If Crabtree is coming I think I’ll dust out!” murmured Pepper, and lost no time in disappearing.

Josiah Crabtree was the first assistant teacher, and he was as cordially hated by the majority of the cadets as George Strong, the second assistant, was beloved. Crabtree was a fine scholar, but he was headstrong and sarcastic, and continually “picking” at those under him, no matter how hard they studied or how well they behaved.


“What is this I hear about dynamite?” he demanded, as he strode up and glared at the assembled boys.

“Dynamite?” asked Andy innocently. “Did you say dynamite, Mr. Crabtree?”

“I did. There was an explosion out here. These boys’ guns——”

“Why, these guns are all right,” said Dale Blackmore, picking them up. “I guess Fenwick and Sabine got scared at nothing.”

“They certainly did,” added Andy, and then, getting behind the teacher, he doubled up his fist and shook it threateningly at Mumps and Billy.

Now, if there was one thing both the younger cadets feared it was a whipping, and this suggestive attitude of Andy made each of them quail. They both realized that if they told on Pepper they would be punished for it. Each took his gun rather sheepishly.

“Fenwick, what have you to say?” began Josiah Crabtree. Just then the welcome rattle of the drum was heard, calling the battalion to get ready for the march.

“I—I guess it was a—a mistake,” faltered the sneak. “Can I go and get in line, please sir?” he added.


“I—er—I suppose so—since this is no time to investigate,” answered Josiah Crabtree; and off ran Mumps and Sabine, and the others also departed.

“Well, what did Crabtree say?” asked Pepper of Andy, when he got the chance.

“Didn’t have time to say much—the drum call broke in on his investigation. I hope, for your sake, Pep, he doesn’t take it up when we get back,” added the acrobatic youth.

It was a beautiful day for the outing, and the cadets certainly presented an inspiring sight as they marched from the campus and turned into the country road leading to the pasture where the rifle practice was to be held. Captain Putnam was on horseback, along with George Strong and an old army officer named Pallott, who was to assist in showing the boys how to hold their rifles while shooting and how best to take aim. Behind this little cavalcade came Major Jack with his sword flashing brightly, and followed by Company A and Company B. To the front were the two drummers and two fifers, making the welkin ring with their martial music.


“Hi, you look fine, so you do!” sang out an old farmer, as he drew up by the roadside with his wagon to let them pass. “You’re a credit to this section. If I had the money I’d send my son Jock to train with you, yes, I would!” And he waved a grimy hand after them.

A little later the cadets heard the honk honk of an automobile horn and soon a big touring car came into sight. It contained Roy Bock, Bat Sedley and several other students from Pornell Academy. As soon as Bock saw the young soldiers he stopped his machine.

“Hello, look at the tin soldiers!” he sang out. “Going to hunt mosquitoes?”

“No, we are going to hunt somebody who knows how to bowl,” retorted Pepper, who was near.

“Huh! We can bowl right enough and don’t you forget it,” growled Bock.

“Yes, but you can’t beat Putnam Hall,” retorted Dale; and then the cadets passed on, leaving the bully of the rival school in anything but a happy frame of mind.

“Those tin soldiers make me sick,” said one of the students in the touring car.

“We ought to get square with them for taking our trophies away,” said another.

“They did that because we stole their cannon and flagstaff,” added another.

“I don’t see how Fred Century can train with them,” added a youth named Carey.


“We’ll square it up with them some day,” came from Roy Bock. “Just wait till I think of something good. I’ve got it in for Jack Ruddy, Pepper Ditmore and that crowd, and don’t you forget it!”

“I’ve got it!” cried another boy. “The whole crowd is away from the school to-day. Why can’t we visit the place on the sly and turn things topsy-turvy?”

“Somebody must be left behind,” answered Will Carey, who was far from brave, as my old readers know.

“That doesn’t matter—we can keep out of the servants’ way—or get them out of ours,” answered Roy Bock. His crafty face became fixed for a moment. “That’s a good idea. Let us visit Putnam Hall by all means and fix things up! When those tin soldiers get back they won’t know what to make of it!”

“Well, we don’t want to get caught at this,” said Carey.

“Are you afraid?” demanded Bock.

“No, but——”

“No ‘buts’ about it,” said a youth named Grimes, who hated Major Jack and his chums greatly. “I’m for visiting Putnam Hall to-day. We couldn’t have a better chance, with the captain and his cadets away.”


The touring car journeyed along slowly and the students from Pornell Academy talked the matter over carefully. Just as they came in sight of the Hall they saw a buggy drive away from the entrance and turn in the direction of Cedarville, the nearest village.

“There goes the head teacher, a fellow named Crabtree,” said Bock. “The fellow driving him is Peleg Snuggers, the general helper. Boys, outside of some help that doesn’t count, the coast is clear!”

“I’ve got a scheme,” said Grimes. “Let us hide the auto in the woods, and then disguise ourselves as tramps by rubbing dust on our faces and putting on the old auto dusters. Then we can sneak up to the school building and the gym., and learn how the land lays.”

“Yes,—and turn things inside out,” answered Roy Bock, with a gloating look. “Oh, won’t they be surprised when they get back to-night!”


The suggestion to hide the touring car and disguise themselves was quickly put into execution, and then, with great caution, the six students from Pornell Academy leaped a side hedge and made for the gymnasium. Here they spent nearly half an hour in “fixing things up” to their satisfaction. Then they entered the school building by a side door, and while three went to the library and classrooms the others ascended to the dormitories. They took care to keep out of the way of all the hired help, although to do so taxed their ingenuity to the utmost.

“Now, I reckon we have done something toward squaring accounts,” remarked Roy Bock, as he led the way back to the touring car. “Even the servants won’t be able to straighten things out. When those folks get back they won’t know their own school!”



“Here we are! Now to make nothing but bull’s-eyes!”

It was Pepper who spoke, as the Hall cadets came to a halt in Rawling’s pasture,—a lot containing nearly a hundred acres which were almost as smooth as a barn floor. It had taken the battalion almost an hour to march there, and the students were allowed half an hour in which to rest up previous to beginning the contest on the three ranges which had been established in the pasture. The ranges were of one hundred yards, two hundred yards, and three hundred yards, the last named distance being deemed sufficiently great for the light rifles the cadets used. Had they had arms of greater caliber, Captain Putnam would have made the long range five hundred yards.

“I don’t expect to make very much of a score,” said Andy Snow. “I am not much of a shooter. Now if it was a contest in the gym.——”


“Andy would win all the medals,” finished Jack, with a laugh.

“I’d rather have a fishing contest,” put in Stuffer, who loved to go out with his rod.

“Sure, and what’s the matter wid an eating contest, Stuffer?” inquired Hogan, with a broad grin. “I’m after thinking you’d take the head prize there—and all the others, too!”

“Huh, you needn’t talk,” grumbled Stuffer. “I notice you can do your share when we sit down in the mess hall.”

“That’s one thing I like about Putnam Hall,” declared Fred Century. “A fellow always gets enough to eat—at least I do. Now at Pornell Academy the meals were very uneven. The dinners were usually good, but some of the suppers were woefully slim.”

“If the meals were slim here I’d rebel,” answered Pepper.

“So would I!” cried Stuffer. “I’d raise the biggest kick you ever heard of.” How true their words were to become we shall see later.

The shooting soon began—at a distance of one hundred yards, and for two hours there was a steady crack! crack! of the rifles.

Each cadet had three shots at each target. A bull’s-eye counted five, so a perfect score would total up to forty-five.


On the short range, Jack managed to make three bull’s-eyes, thus scoring 15. Pepper got 13 and Andy 11. Much to his own delight Reff Ritter got 15, although one of his shots barely touched the bull’s-eye. Coulter received but 9, much to his disgust. The other cadets ranged from 10 to 5,—the five being made by Mumps, who was almost afraid to discharge his weapon.



“Wouldn’t Mumps make a fine soldier!” whispered Pepper to Jack. “If he saw the enemy approaching he’d run for all he was worth.”

“If he didn’t get too frightened to move,” added the young major.

“He certainly is both a coward and a sneak.”

At the two-hundred yard range Jack made 14, while Pepper finished with 13, the same as before. The long-range shooting was not to take place until after lunch.

“I don’t know whether to call it my unlucky thirteen or not,” said The Imp. “It’s not so good as your score, but it’s better than some others.”

“It is certainly lucky,” answered Andy, who had made but 9 on the middle range. “If you do so well on the long range you’ll be one of the leaders.”

“Reff Ritter made 14,” put in Joe Nelson. “He and Jack and Bart Conners are tied for first place so far.”


“Coulter had dropped behind, and Paxton’s score isn’t much better than Mump’s,” came from Dale Blackmore.

“I’ve got two elevens,” said Fred Century. “I don’t think that’s so bad for a fellow who hasn’t used a rifle for some years.”

Lunch was had in the shade of a number of trees growing at the edge of the pasture. While the cadets were eating many of them stacked their rifles and hung their belts and cartridge boxes on the weapons. Jack put aside his sword and also the gun and cartridge holder he had been using. There was a small brook nearby, fed by springs, and in this many of the boys washed their hands and faces before eating.

While the meal was still in progress Gus Coulter motioned to Reff Ritter and Nick Paxton, and the three drew away from the crowd and into some bushes behind the trees.

“I’ve got an idea,” said Coulter, in a low voice. “I don’t know if we can work it or not, but if we can—well, somebody will be surprised, that’s all.”

“What’s your idea?” demanded Ritter.


“I was hanging around when Bob Grenwood, the quartermaster, was giving out the ammunition for the shooting after lunch, on the three-hundred yard range. I heard him say that he had brought along a case of blanks by mistake. He said they looked a good deal like the cartridges that had bullets in. Now if we could get hold of that case of blanks——”

“We can do that easily enough,” interrupted Nick Paxton. “The case is right over yonder, on a rock.” And he pointed with his hand.

“I reckon I know what you mean,” said Reff Ritter, a wise look coming into his face. “You mean for us to get the blanks and substitute them for the regular cartridges some of the fellows intend to use.”

“Exactly. Can we do it?”

“I don’t know. But it’s a great scheme. I’d like to put it up Ruddy’s back—and up Ditmore’s back, too.” Ritter bit his lip in thought for a moment. “Let’s see if we can get hold of that case of cartridges anyway.”

With great care the plotters stole through the bushes and up to the rock upon which rested the case containing the blank cartridges. All of the other cadets were busy lunching and nobody noticed them as they hauled the box out of sight.

“The cover is loose, anyway,” reported Ritter. “Guess I’ll take a few out, just for luck,” and he appropriated about a dozen blanks.


“Take out the top layer,” suggested Coulter. “Then Grenwood won’t be so apt to notice that the box has been trifled with.” And he and Paxton did so. Then the cover was slid into place once more and the case was restored to its original position. The blanks certainly looked like full cartridges, being tipped with silvery paper.

“Now to do some substituting,” said Reff Ritter. “That’s the hardest part of the job. Some of the fellows are hanging around those cartridge belts and boxes.”

“Maybe we can get them to walk away,” suggested Coulter. “Get them interested in something, you know.”

“I have it!” cried Ritter. “Nick, you walk down in the woods on the other side of the brook and yell like mad. Say you saw a big snake, or something. That will draw the crowd, and then Gus and I can get in our work with the blank cartridges.”

“I’ll do it,” answered Nick Paxton, and hurried around through the bushes and across the brook. He had been gone about five minutes when the cadets at lunch, as well as Captain Putnam and the others, heard a great yelling.

“Help! help! A snake! A snake!”

“What’s that?” exclaimed half a dozen, and then, as the yelling was continued, a rush was made in the direction of the brook.


“Now is our chance,” said Ritter to Coulter, and then the pair stole out of the bushes and in the direction of the stacked arms and the cartridge belts and boxes.

“What’s the matter, Paxton?” demanded Captain Putnam, who was the first to arrive at the spot from whence the cries for help emanated.

“A snake, sir!” answered the cadet glibly. “Ugh! He ran right between my legs!” And Paxton pretended to shiver.

“A snake!” cried several.

“Where is it?”

“Why didn’t you kill it?”

“Yes, a snake, and—and I guess it was a rattler, too. It was about that long,” and Nick Paxton held his hands as far apart as possible. “I couldn’t kill it for I didn’t have a thing in my hand. I—er—I looked for a rock, but the snake was too quick for me.”

The news that a snake was around—and that it might be a rattlesnake at that—alarmed many of the cadets, and some of them recrossed the brook to the open pasture. But others, and Captain Putnam, began a hunt for the reptile, but, of course, without success.


“We may as well give up the search,” said the master of the Hall, after a hunt of ten minutes. “If it was a rattlesnake it has managed to get away.”

“What was you doing here, Paxton?” asked Andy.

“Why I—er—I came over to look for—er—for ferns,” stammered the youth who had played the trick.

“Ferns? Didn’t know you were interested in ferns,” observed Joe Nelson, who was something of a collector of plants himself.

“Oh, I do a little collecting now and then,” answered Paxton, and then walked off, to escape being questioned further.

Half an hour later the noonday rest came to an end and the target practice was again taken up. In the presence of his pupils Captain Putnam took several shots at the long distance target, making a bull’s-eye each time. Then he and the old army officer who had been hired showed the boys how to fire to the best advantage.

Reff Ritter was one of the first to shoot at the three hundred yard target, and much to his chagrin got only three fours—a total of 12. Coulter got but 9, and Paxton 7.

When Jack stepped to the front with the rifle and cartridge box he had been using Reff Ritter winked suggestively at Coulter and Paxton.


“Now we’ll see something rich!” whispered Coulter.

“Hush! you want to keep this to yourself,” warned the bully of the Hall.

“Now, Jack, a bull’s-eye!” said Pepper to his chum.

“Right in the middle of the eye, too,” added Andy.

“I’ll do what I can,” answered the young major, modestly.

With great care he took aim at the target and pulled the trigger. There was a crack and a flash and then a moment of breathless waiting.


“He didn’t hit the target even!”

The announcement was true, and the young major turned a trifle pale in spite of his efforts to control himself.

“Don’t fire hastily, Major Ruddy,” said Captain Putnam kindly. “Draw a bead directly on the center of the target.”

“I—I—thought I did,” stammered Jack.

Again the rifle was raised. Jack was now a bit nervous, yet he managed to steady himself ere he took another shot. His aim was directly for the center of the target.

“Another miss!”


“Why, Jack, what’s got over you?” cried Pepper, real distress showing in his voice.

“I—I don’t know,“ faltered the youthful major.

“Don’t you feel well?” asked Stuffer. “Or is it your eyesight?”

“Yes, I feel well enough—and my eyesight is all right.”

“Maybe you had a blank cartridge,” cried Dale, suddenly.

This remark caused Jack to look at the remaining cartridges he possessed. Captain Putnam insisted upon examining them also, for he, too, was unwilling to believe that the young officer has made a total miss of the two shots.

“These are certainly ball cartridges,” he said, as he looked them over. “Nothing wrong there. You must have been careless in your aim, Major Ruddy.”

“Captain Putnam, I did the very best I could,” pleaded Jack.

“Well, you have one more shot,” answered the master of the school.

As pale as a sheet the young major of the battalion walked to the front once more and raised his rifle. For several seconds there was a deathlike silence. Then came another crack and flash and a moment of suspense.

“Hurrah! A bull’s-eye!”


“That’s the time you did it, Jack!”

“Why didn’t you do that before?”

With a long breath, Jack lowered his rifle and, turning faced the master of the school:

“Captain Putnam,” he said in a low but firm tone. “I made a bull’s-eye that time because there was a bullet in the cartridge. I am satisfied now that my other two shots were blanks.



For the moment after Jack spoke so positively there was a silence. Captain Putnam looked at the young officer thoughtfully.

“Huh! that’s all tommy-rot!” observed Reff Ritter. “He missed and that is all there is to it.”

“Of course he missed,” chimed in Coulter. “He isn’t a crack shot by any means.”

“What makes you so certain that the first two shots were blanks, Major Ruddy?” asked the master of the school, somewhat sternly.

“Well, sir, I think my record helps to prove it,” answered Jack. “At the hundred-yard target I made three bull’s-eyes; at the two-hundred-yard target I made two bull’s-eyes and a four; now I have made a bull’s-eye and two blanks. Doesn’t it stand to reason, sir, that if those cartridges had not been blanks I would at least have made a two or a one?”


“It is probable, yes,” answered the captain, thoughtfully. “But I did not know any blanks had been brought along, much less dealt out.”

“I brought a case along by mistake,” put in Bob Grenwood. “But as soon as I discovered my mistake I put the case to one side. There it is, sir, on yonder rock.”

“I see. You are sure you didn’t hand any blanks around? That particular box looks like the real thing.”

“Yes, sir—I was very careful.”

Captain Putnam strode over to the rock and shoved back the lid of the case.

“Why, the top layer of cartridges is gone!” he cried. “Was the box full when you opened it?”

“Why—er—yes, sir—I think so, sir,” stammered the quartermaster of the school battalion. “It looked full to me.”

“Young gentlemen,” went on Captain Putnam, raising his voice. “Please to look over the cartridges you have left.”

There was a hasty examination by over a score of cadets.

“Mine are O. K., sir.”

“So are mine.”

“Here, I’ve got a blank!” cried Andy Snow, rushing forward and holding it up. “It’s one of the kind we used to have—those that looked so much like the ball cartridges.”


“Hum! So it is—one of the kind made to represent ball cartridges,” mused Captain Putnam.

“I’ve got two of them!” exclaimed Pepper, and held them up. “My other one is all right,” he added.

“Two blanks and one good one,” said Jack. “That must have been just what I had!”

“Quartermaster Grenwood, can you explain this?” demanded Captain Putnam, sternly.

“N—no, sir. I—I am sure I didn’t deal out any of the blanks. I was very careful, sir.”

“Then how do you account for the blanks being in use?”

“I—I don’t account for it, sir. I am sure, though, I didn’t give them out.”

“You gave out all the ammunition, didn’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then you must have given out the blanks. It was very careless on your part.”

“No wonder I missed!” growled one of the cadets.

“I think we ought to shoot over again,” added another.

“It was a mean trick!” cried a third.

“Quartermaster Grenwood, you have been grossly careless, and your carelessness has caused a great deal of trouble,” said Captain Putnam, sternly.


“I wasn’t careless, I tell you, I——”

“Silence. I say you were careless, and I now ask you to resign your position as quartermaster of the school battalion.”

“Resign!” gasped Bob Grenwood.

“That is what I said. The battalion must have a quartermaster who can be relied upon at all times. Supposing we were going to have a sham battle and you dealt out ball cartridges instead of blanks, what would happen? Why some of the cadets might be killed! Do you resign or not?”

“Captain Putnam, I—I——”

“If you refuse to resign I shall have to take the office away from you.”

“All right, I’ll resign,” cried Bob Grenwood, bitterly. “All the same, I say you are treating me unjustly.” And with a red face and bowed head he stepped back into the crowd.

“I don’t believe Bob did it,” whispered Stuffer to Hogan.

“Sure, and I thought he was more careful meself,” answered the Irish-American cadet. “It’s a bad mess, so it is!” added.


Captain Putnam now held a consultation with several of the others and then announced that for every shot fired which had not hit a target the cadet should have another try. In the meantime the blanks were collected and ball cartridges dealt out instead.

“Now, Jack, show ’em what you can do!” cried Pepper, as his chum walked to the front once more.

“Confound it, I guess our plan is busted,” whispered Paxton to Ritter.

“Hush! Not a word of it!” whispered the bully, warningly. “If Captain Putnam ever finds it out,—well, he’ll make it mighty warm for us, that’s all!”

With great care Jack took aim once more. Everybody watched him with interest, and a wild shout went up when the result was announced.

“A bull’s-eye!”

“There, what did I tell you?” cried Pepper. “I knew he could do it!”

“Now another, Jack!” said Andy, enthusiastically.

And the youthful major did make another bull’s-eye, amid the applause of his many friends.

“That’s the highest score yet!”

“Major Ruddy, I must congratulate you,” said Captain Putnam, holding out his hand. “I am now as convinced as you are that those other shots were blanks.”

“Jack, that’s the highest score yet,” said Dale. “I rather think you take the prize.”


“Didn’t know there was a prize, Dale.”

“Well, metaphorically speaking.”

“You’ve bested Reff Ritter and that’s a good deal,” said Andy.

When Pepper came to shoot he made one bull’s-eye and two fours. This gave him quite a high score and made him content. Andy and Dale also did well, while Bart Conners tied Ritter. Mumps and Paxton each made two misses on the long distance target.

“More blanks, I suppose,” grumbled Paxton, although he knew better.

“No,” said Captain Putnam. “That was only your carelessness did that. You shot too quickly.”

“I—I’m not feeling well to-day,” said the school sneak lamely. “I ought to have stayed at the Hall.”

After the target practice was at an end the cadets were allowed an hour to themselves.

“Let us take a walk through the woods,” said Pepper. And he and Jack and half a dozen went off in one direction while Reff Ritter and his cronies went off in another. Bob Grenwood felt so bad that he strolled off by himself.

“I must say, I feel sorry for Bob,” said Jack. “Even if he did deal out the blanks, I don’t think he meant to do it.”


“He feels all cut up to lose the quartermastership,” said Dale. “After the captain made him resign I saw the tears standing in his eyes.”

“What do you say if we go to Captain Putnam and ask him to reinstate Grenwood?” questioned Pepper, who was always ready to help anybody in distress.

“I’ll do that willingly,” came from several of the others.

“I don’t think we ought to go right away,” said Bart Conners. “Wait a few days—until his temper has a chance to cool. Finding the blanks riled him all up.”

“By the way, fellows, have you heard the news?” asked Joe Nelson.

“What news?”

“A new teacher is coming.”

“Who told you that?” asked Pepper.

“Nobody. I heard Captain Putnam and Mr. Strong talking about it. It seems Mr. Strong has got to go away on business, and the new man is coming during his absence.”

“Who is he, did you hear, Joe?” asked several, for they were always anxious concerning their instructors.

“Hope he isn’t like old Crabtree,” was Pepper’s comment. “If he is I’ll feel like jumping into the lake!”


“I don’t know anything about him, excepting that his name is Pluxton Cuddle.”

“Pluxton Cuddle!” cried The Imp. “Wonder if he’ll try to cuddle up to us?”

“I did hear that he was quite a scientist,” went on Joe Nelson. “One of the kind who does everything by rule.”

“Oh, dear! I can see my finish!” sighed Pepper. “It will be ten minutes for this, ten minutes for that, and so on, all day long. And find out the whyforness of the thus of everything in the bargain!”

“Oh, don’t worry beforehand,” answered Jack. “He may be another Mr. Strong.”

“Not much, Jack! Mr. Strong is one teacher out of a hundred, heaven bless him!”

“If all teachers were like Mr. Strong, going to boarding school would be a cinch,” added Andy, slangily. “He’s the dearest man who ever tried to teach a fellow the value of x and y, and don’t you forget it!”

“And I firmly believe we learn twice as much under a man like Mr. Strong as we do under old Josiah Crabtree,—although Crabtree may be the greater scholar,” came from Stuffer.


The cadets spent a pleasant time in the woods, and at the roll of the drum hastened back to the pasture. When the two companies were formed it was found Bob Grenwood was missing.

“He got disgusted and said he was going to walk back to the Hall alone,” said one of the students. “I can’t say that I blame him much. It was a terrible thing to be made to resign.”

In a few minutes more the line of march back to Putnam Hall was taken up. To give the cadets a variety of scene, Captain Putnam took to another road than that pursued in the morning. This was nearly a mile longer, and, consequently, it was after the supper hour when the cadets came in sight of the school buildings.

As the cadets marched up to the campus a man came rushing out of the school holding up his hands in horror. It was Josiah Crabtree.

“Captain Putnam! Captain Putnam!” he gasped. “Come quickly! Something dreadful has happened!”



“What is the matter, Mr. Crabtree?” demanded the master of the school, as he dismounted from his horse and strode forward.

“The schoolrooms, sir—and the sitting room and library! All turned topsy-turvy!”


“Yes, sir! I just came in from the village—I went on a little business, as you know. When I got back I went to the library for a book—‘The History of Turkey’—and when I got there!” Josiah Crabtree held up his hands mutely. “It is a shame, an outrage, sir! And the classrooms are about as bad!”

“I’ll see about this,” said Captain Putnam, and strode into the school.

“Something is wrong,” said Pepper, after the cadets had broken ranks. “Let’s see what it is!” And he ran off to place his weapon in the gun rack.


Something was indeed wrong, as a hasty glance around the lower floor of the school building revealed. Every book in the library had been thrown on the floor, and to the general heap were added several pictures and maps taken from the walls. Two inkstands from a writing desk had been overturned, one on a table and over a beautiful statue of Justice standing on a pedestal in a corner. The floor rug had been folded up and thrown over a chandelier.

“Who did this?” demanded the master of the school sternly. “Who did this, I say?”

Nobody answered for the reason that nobody knew.

“And the schoolrooms are as bad,” cried Josiah Crabtree. “Never have I seen the equal, sir!”

Without loss of time Captain Putnam walked from one classroom to another and the cadets and teachers followed him, and so did some of the frightened servants. In every room books and papers were scattered in all directions. On a big school globe rested an old silk hat, and an old linen duster that Josiah Crabtree occasionally used in warm weather.

“Look at that! The rascals!” spluttered the irate teacher. “My coat, sir! It makes the globe look like a—a—scarecrow, sir!”




“It certainly does,” answered Captain Putnam, and for an instant he felt inclined to laugh. At the same time Pepper burst into a roar and Andy and some others did the same.

“This is a rough house and no mistake,” murmured Jack. “Who did it, I wonder?”

“Somebody has been here during our absence,” said Dale.

“Boys, stop your laughing!” exclaimed Josiah Crabtree, turning suddenly upon Pepper and his chums. “If you do not stop this minute, I’ll punish you severely! This is no laughing matter!”

“I won’t laugh any more,” answered Pepper, and, behind the fussy teacher’s back drew such a doleful face that Andy and Dale were almost convulsed.

“Here’s a go!” cried one of the cadets presently. “My Latin grammar is gone!”

“So is my history!” came from another.

“So is mine!”

“And mine!”

A hasty hunt was made and soon it was discovered that every history and every Latin grammar was missing. All the other books were there, although mixed up and mussed.

“Well, I don’t mind the loss of the grammar and history so much,” observed Pepper. “I’d like to get rid of them forever!”

“So say we all of us!” sang out Andy softly.


“Boys!” cried Captain Putnam loudly, and at the call everybody became silent. “If any one of you know anything about this, I want that pupil to step forward and say so.”

There was a pause. Nobody budged.

“Was anybody left behind when we went for the target practice?”

Again there was a pause. Nobody spoke.

“This is, as Mr. Crabtree says, an outrage, and I intend to get at the bottom of it.”

“I know somebody who came back before we did,” said Mumps, stepping to the front.

“Who was that, Fenwick?”

“Bob Grenwood.”

“Oh, what a little sneak!” murmured Pepper.

“He ought to have his neck wrung!” added Andy.

“Humph! So he did,” said Captain Putnam. “Does anybody know where Grenwood is now?”

He looked from one to another of the assembled scholars, but all shook their heads.

“Mr. Crabtree, have Peleg Snuggers hunt Grenwood up, and at once.”

“I will, sir,” answered the teacher and hurried off to find the general utility man of the Hall. Then both went in search of Bob Grenwood, but failed to find the ex-quartermaster.


“Perhaps he didn’t come back after he left us,” said Jack. “Maybe he felt too down-hearted to return. I must say, I feel mighty sorry for Bob.”

There was nothing to do but to straighten out the library, sitting room and classrooms, and then the cadets went to supper. After that some of the boys went out on the campus, some to the lake shore, and others to the gymnasium.

“Well, one thing is certain, some of our school-books are gone,” said Joe Nelson. “Too bad! I had an essay in my history. If it is not found I’ll have to write another paper I suppose.”

“I’d not do it!” cried Stuffer. “It’s not your fault that the paper is gone.”

Jack and his chums were entering the gymnasium when a student who had gone ahead uttered a cry.

“They have been here, too!”

“What did they do?”

“Do? Did everything they could to spoil this place,” was the answer.

When lit up the gymnasium certainly presented “a sight for to see,” as Andy expressed it. The wooden horses had been stacked in a corner, the rings and turning bars had been cut down, and the Indian clubs, pulling machines, and the floor covered with oil and grease. Jack did not notice the grease on the floor until he slipped and fell, and Pepper, who was at his side, came down on top of him.


“This is the worst yet!”

“Why, fellows, this place is almost ruined!”

“The fellows who did this ought to be tarred and feathered!” cried Jack, as he got up and rubbed a bruised elbow.

“I don’t believe any of our cadets would do such a trick as this,” observed Andy.

“Reff Ritter and his cronies are mean enough to do anything,” answered Pepper.

“But they were with us,” answered Bart Conners.

“Boys, I think I know who is guilty!” almost shouted Jack, as a sudden idea popped into his head.


“Roy Bock and his crowd—the fellows we met this morning in the big touring car—the chaps who called us tin soldiers.”

“My gracious, Jack, do you think that is true?” demanded Pepper.

“If it is we ought to march over to Pornell Academy and wipe them off the face of the earth,” said Fred Century. “This looks just like Roy Bock’s underhanded meanness,” he added.

Captain Putnam was notified of the new discovery made and came down to inspect the damage done. His face grew very stern.


“This is positive vandalism,” was his comment. “If any boy in this school is guilty I shall expel him.”

“If you will permit me, Captain Putnam, I’d like to say a word,” said Jack.

“What is it, Major Ruddy.”

“I do not think this was done by anybody in our school. If you will remember, we were all away to-day to target practice.”

“That is true, but one boy, Robert Grenwood, came back early.”

“I know that, sir, but——”

“And I rather think he was in an ugly frame of mind upon his return,” pursued the master of the school grimly.

“That might be, too, sir. All the same, I don’t think he’d do this. Bob isn’t that kind of a fellow.”

“Well, what were you going to say?”

“I was thinking of that crowd of Pornell Academy students we met on the road this morning.”

“The ones in an automobile?”

“Yes, sir,—the fellows who jeered at us and called us tin soldiers.”

“Ahem! What of them?”


“I don’t want to say too much, sir. But you know they are down on us,—and you know how our flagstaff and our cannon disappeared,” went on the young major, referring to an incident which had been related in detail in “The Putnam Hall Champions.”

“Yes, yes. And I also know how Doctor Pornell complained of the disappearance of some choice trophies belonging to his students,” said Captain Putnam grimly.

“Well, they got those trophies back,” said a student in the rear of the crowd, and a snicker passed among the cadets at the remembrance of the incident.

“Those fellows are the worst boys at Pornell,” went on the young major. “I don’t think they’d stop at anything to do this school an injury.”

“Can you prove any of them guilty?”

“No, sir—at least, not yet.”

“Then I can do nothing, for Doctor Pornell and myself are no longer on speaking terms.”

“I think it is clear enough,” said Pepper. “Outsiders wouldn’t have any reason to come here and do this—unless they had a grudge against you.”

“Maybe that butcher, Pangborn, did it,” suggested Dale, mentioning a meat dealer who had had trouble with the captain over his meat bill, and who no longer supplied the school.

“It might be.” The master of the school drew a long breath. “Well, I shall watch out, and I want you young gentlemen to do the same. If you learn of anything, let me know.”


A little later Bob Grenwood came in. From the target grounds he had walked to Cedarville and had purchased his supper at the village. He tried to slip upstairs unobserved, but was caught by Josiah Crabtree.

“Ha! so we have you, you young villain!” cried the teacher, taking him by the collar.

“What’s the matter?” asked Bob, somewhat startled.

“You know well enough,” stormed Josiah Crabtree, and without further ado marched the ex-quartermaster to Captain Putnam’s private office. Here Grenwood was put through a great number of questions. When he learned the drift of things he was highly indignant.

“Captain Putnam, I am not guilty, and you ought to know it!” he cried. “It was bad enough to make me resign my position, this is even worse. I shall write to my folks and ask them to take me away from this school!”

“You may do as you please, Grenwood,” was the captain’s cold reply.

“Some day, perhaps, you’ll find out your mistake,” said the cadet, and then, with tears of anguish and indignation standing in his eyes he left the office and ran up the stairs to the dormitory occupied by himself and several others.


Left to himself, Captain Putnam leaned his elbow on his desk and rested his head in his hand.

“These boys! These boys!” he murmured to himself. “I hardly know whether to believe them or not—they are up to so many tricks! Grenwood looks honest enough, and yet—you never can tell!” And he heaved a deep sigh. He was beginning to learn that after all, running a boarding school was not such an easy thing as he had at first supposed. He wanted to do what was just,—but he hated to be imposed upon.



The first person the ex-quartermaster encountered upstairs was Jack.

“Hello, Bob,” cried the young major. “Just the person I want to see.”

“I—I—some other time, Ruddy,” stammered the youth, whose eyes were full of tears.

“See here, Bob, what’s your hurry? Anything special on?” And now Jack caught the other boy affectionately by the shoulder.

“I—I am going to leave this school!” was the bitter response. “Captain Putnam hasn’t treated me fairly. I didn’t distribute those blanks, I am certain of it—and I didn’t have anything to do with rough-housing the Hall, either!”

“Who said you played rough-house here?”

“He did—or he said as much.”

“Where have you been?”

“To Cedarville. I walked there directly from the target grounds.”

“Meet anybody on the road?”


“Why—er—yes, a farmer named Laning. He was driving a team of oxen and wanted to know what the shooting meant.”

“Where did you go when first you got to Cedarville?”

“What do you want to know that for?”

“Never mind, just tell me?”

“I went to the steamboat dock. There I met the agent, and helped him tow a boat up to Chase Point. When we got back I went and got supper at Berry’s and then came to the school.”

“Did you tell the captain all that?”

“No—he didn’t give me the chance.”

“Well, you should have told him. It seems to me it would be easy for you to prove an alibi, so far as being here this afternoon is concerned.”

“I am not going to bother with it—I’m going to quit and go home,” answered Bob Grenwood recklessly.

“I wouldn’t do it. Stay, Bob, and face the music. If you go away it will make it look as if you were guilty.”

“But Captain Putnam——”

“Is all upset on account of this awful mix-up. He’ll calm down by to-morrow—and so will you. And let me say another thing, Bob. None of us fellows thinks you distributed the blanks,—or, if you did, we are sure it was a pure and simple mistake.”


At this moment came a cry from one of the dormitories, followed a second later by a yell from another room.

“This is the worst yet!”

“Every bed sheet is gone!”

“So are all the night clothes!”

“Here is some of the stuff, in the closet, and, yes, it’s tied up in hard knots!”

“Talk about ‘chawin’ on the beef!’ It will take some ‘chawin’’ to get these knots out!”

“Oh, if I only had the fellow who did this, wouldn’t I give him a piece of my mind!”

“I’d give him a piece av me fist!” roared Emerald. “Just be after looking at them beautiful pajamas of mine, toied in about twinty knots!” And he held up the articles of wearing apparel dolefully.

Jack ran into his dormitory, to find Pepper with a bundle in his hand. The bundle consisted of their night clothes and some bed sheets, all knotted together in a hopeless tangle. Several similar bundles were in the possession of other cadets.

The uproar was so great that soon all the teachers and the servants were on the scene. For once Captain Putnam was as furious as Josiah Crabtree had ever been.


“This is the vilest kind of an outrage!” cried the master of the Hall. “If I find out who is guilty I’ll have that person locked up!”

“I fancy more than one person did this,” said George Strong.

“You are right—it would take several at least. What a mess!” The captain glanced from room to room in perplexity. “I hardly know what to do.”

“Please, Captain Putnam, my nightgown is split from top to bottom,” wailed Mumps.

“One of the legs of my pajamas is torn off,” growled Reff Ritter.

“An arm of mine is gone,” added Coulter.

“Boys, you will have to straighten out things as best you can for the night,” said Captain Putnam at last. “To-morrow I’ll have a thorough investigation.”

The cadets went to work “chawin’ good and proper,” as Andy expressed it, and inside of half an hour the sheets and night clothing were straightened out, and then the lads went to bed, tired but highly excited. All voted that this was the most strenuous day that had ever come to them.

“Captain Putnam can think as he pleases,” said Pepper. “I am certain in my mind that the Pornell fellows did this, although how they managed it without being seen is a wonder to me.”


“It wasn’t so difficult, with all the cadets and all the teachers away,” answered Stuffer. “They must have gotten in on the sly and then posted a guard.”

“If we find out it was really the Pornell fellows we ought to pay ’em back,” spoke up Dale.

“We will,” answered Pepper promptly.

On the following morning both the cadets and the teachers had calmed down, and Captain Putnam acted like quite another person. A rigid investigation was held, but nothing came of it, although the missing school books were found in a hall closet. Acting on Jack’s advice Bob Grenwood went to the master of the school and told his story in detail, adding that he could prove by Mr. Laning, the farmer, and by the people in Cedarville how he had put in his time.

“Well, Grenwood, if you are innocent of this rough-house work I am glad to know it,” answered Captain Putnam finally. And so that matter was dropped. But he still believed poor Grenwood guilty of having distributed the blank cartridges and refused to reinstate the ex-quartermaster.


Two days later the new teacher arrived and was introduced to the cadets by Captain Putnam. Mr. Pluxton Cuddle proved to be a large man, fully six feet two inches in height and weighing at least two hundred pounds. He had a shock of heavy black hair, a heavy black moustache, and heavy black eyebrows. When he spoke his voice was almost a rumble, and he had a manner of shifting his eyes constantly and of rubbing his hands together as if soaping them well.

“I am sure we shall get along well together, young gentlemen,” he said in a voice that could be heard out on the campus. “Education is a great thing, a grand thing, and while you are at this institution you must make the most of your opportunities. My heart goes out to all boys who desire to elevate themselves mentally, and you who love to study will find me your best friend. In a few days I shall feel more at home here, and then we will see how much of precious study we can crowd into the all but too short hours of school life.” And having said this he bowed profoundly and sat down.

“Phew! but he’s a corker!” whispered Pepper to Jack. “I rather think he’ll make us sit up and take notice, eh?”

“Right you are, Pep,” answered the young major. “If I am any judge he’ll be even stricter than old Crabtree.”

“Looks like a chap who would carry out his ideas, once he had made up his mind,” came from Andy.


“Silence in the classroom!” called out Captain Putnam, and then, after a few words more, he left the new teacher and the students alone. Mr. Pluxton Cuddle got to work at once, and that day the boys studied more mathematics, astronomy and physics than ever before. They found that Mr. Cuddle was a regular “slave driver,” as Dale called him. Even Joe Nelson, studious as he was, shook his head.

“He’d want to keep a fellow at it every minute,” he observed. “I don’t mind boning away, but I want a breathing spell now and then.”

In the mess hall Pluxton Cuddle made himself even more disliked than in the classrooms. Hardly had the cadets at his table begun to eat when he commenced to find fault.

“The food is really cooked too much,” he said. “It is not healthy for the human stomach to eat food so well-done. And, boys, do not overload your stomachs. An overloaded stomach befogs the brain. To grow up clear-brained one must eat little and only that which is rare-done.”

“Gracious! does he want to starve us?” cried Pepper.

“He shan’t starve me!” returned Stuffer. He looked up to see the eyes of the new teacher fastened on him and his plateful of victuals.


“I say, you!” cried Pluxton Cuddle, pointing a long finger at poor Stuffer. “Do you mean to eat all that food?”

“Ye—yes, sir,” stammered Singleton.

“It is entirely too much, young man, entirely too much. Why, sir, do you know the capacity of the human stomach?”

“I know what mine can hold,” answered Stuffer, and at this answer a titter arose.

“Half of that food is sufficient for any boy,” went on Pluxton Cuddle, and glared around so sharply that the tittering stopped at once. “You cannot have a clear brain if you stuff yourself.”

“Captain Putnam lets me eat what I please,” grumbled Stuffer.

“Then the captain is making a sad mistake, and I feel it my duty to rectify it. Take a saucedish and put half of the food on it, and then eat what is left on your plate and no more.”

After that there was silence, but many of the cadets looked at each other meaningly. Here was a brand-new experience. When they got out on the campus they gathered to talk it over.

“Cut me off on food!” snorted Stuffer. “Say, if this thing keeps up I’ll go home. Why, I ain’t had half enough to eat!”

“Poor Stuffer!” cried Pepper. “Now see what you get for pampering your stomach!”

“I wanted some more rice pudding but I didn’t dare to ask for it,” said Dale.


“I wanted some more meat,” came from Bart Conners. “But he wouldn’t let the waiter bring me any. I think this is the limit!”

“What made me mad was the way Reff Ritter grinned at me from the next table,” continued Stuffer. “He had all he wanted to eat, for they had Mr. Strong there.”

“Too bad Mr. Strong is going away,” was Jack’s comment. “I hope he doesn’t stay long.”

“When does he go?” inquired another pupil.


“The only thing this Cuddle knows is lessons,” said Dale. “There is no denying he is learned—more so even than old Crabtree. But I must say I like him even less than Crabtree—and that is saying a whole lot.”

“I don’t see how Captain Putnam came to pick him out,” said Henry Lee. “There are plenty of good teachers to be had.”

“He came well recommended,” answered Jack. “I heard Mr. Strong say so.”

“Humph! Wish he had stayed home,” growled Pepper. “If this sort of thing keeps on, I’ll rebel.”

“So will I!” cried Andy.

And several others said the same. Little did they dream then, however, of the rebellion so close at hand, and of the adventures which were to follow.



“I am going out for a sail,” said Jack, on Saturday afternoon. “Will you go along, Pep?”

“Certainly,” was the ready response. “Anybody else going?”

“Yes, Dale and Stuffer. Fred Century is going out in his boat too, and take several others of our crowd.”

“Going to race again?”

“I don’t think so,” answered the young major. “He hasn’t said anything. Of course I’ll race him if he wants to.”


As my old readers know, there had been in the past two races between the Alice, the sloop owned by Jack, and the Ajax, the craft belonging to Fred Century. These had taken place while Fred was a student at Pornell Academy. In the first race a sudden gust of wind capsized the Ajax and Jack and his chums had to go to the rescue of Fred and his friends. In the second race, which included another sloop belonging to a young man who lived near the two schools, the Alice came in ahead, with the Ajax second. On this race Roy Bock and his cronies lost considerable money by betting, and they circulated a story that Fred had “sold out” to the Putnam Hall boys. This caused a great rumpus, and a fight in which Bock and several other Pornell students got a good drubbing. Then Fred had a bitter interview with Doctor Pornell, and left the Academy and came to Putnam Hall.

The two sloops, looking very much alike, now that both flew the colors of the Hall, were soon standing up the lake in a breeze which was just sufficient to fill the sails. Each carried a party of four, and all the boys were in the best of spirits in spite of another “run in” with Pluxton Cuddle over the matter of eating.

“Jack, if you don’t mind, I’ll race you for a couple of miles!” sang out Fred, who was handling the tiller of the Ajax.

“Want to get beat again?” asked the young major, with a grin.

“No, I want to prove to you that the Ajax is just as good a sloop as the Alice.”

“All right, I’ll race if you want to. What’s the course?”

“From here to Borden’s Cove, if you don’t mind.”


“Want to capsize again?” questioned Pepper.

“No, I know enough to take in sail now,” answered Fred.

“All right!” sang out the owner of the Alice. “What’s the prize for winning?”

“A quart of baked ice-cream,” answered Fred merrily.

“Add a dozen stuffed pancakes fried in ice and I’ll go you!” called the young major. “Are you ready?”


“Then go! And catch me if you can!”

“Catch me, you mean!” yelled Fred, and then both skippers settled down to handle their respective craft as best they knew how. Each had his topsail broken out, and each made his passengers sit so as to make his sloop ride on as even a keel as possible.

It was a beautiful day for a race, warm and clear, with scarcely a cloud in the sky.

“I know what I’d like,” said Pepper, as they bowled along over the course. “I’d like to take a swim. I know the water must be dandy.”

“I’ll be with you—after this race is over,” answered Dale.

Side by side the two sloops kept on the course until Cat Point was rounded. Then the Ajax began slowly to crawl ahead.


“There! What did I tell you!” cried Fred Century. “See how we are going ahead!”

“This race isn’t over yet,” answered Jack.

They had passed the spot where the mishap had occurred to the Ajax and were now heading directly for Borden’s Cove. Soon the Alice began to crawl up and presently passed the Ajax. Those on Jack’s craft gave a cheer.

“You can’t beat the Alice, Fred!”

“If you want a tow we’ll throw you a rope!”

“Wait, this race isn’t over yet!” called Fred, and swung his tiller over a little. At once his sloop began to move faster, and soon the two craft were side by side again. And this position they kept until the Cove was gained and the race had come to an end.

“We’ll have to call it a tie!” declared the young major.

“A tie it is,” answered the owner of the Ajax. “But some day I’ll beat you yet,” he added, with a determined shake of his head.

“Well, I’d rather be beat by you than anybody else on this lake, Fred,” said Jack.

“Thank you, that’s a nice thing to say.”

“I mean it.”


“I believe you, Jack, and I’d rather come in behind the Alice than behind any other sloop,” added Fred. “My opinion is that our boats are both crackerjacks.”

“Right you are,” came from Pepper.

“If you want to give them away, I’ll take either,” said Andy, with an innocent look, and this remark caused a general laugh.

The boys found a secluded spot, and tying up the two sloops, went ashore and began to get ready for a swim. Soon Pepper plunged into the clear water and Andy and the others followed. It felt a trifle cold at first, but they soon got used to it, and they dove, splashed, and swam around to their hearts’ content.

“Come on and race!” sang out Pepper, presently.

“Done!” called Dale, and side by side they struck out for a distant rock. The others joined in, and in a few minutes all were some distance away from where they had left the sloops and their clothing.

In the meantime a large gasolene motor boat had come up the shore of the lake. It contained a pleasure party from Pornell Academy, including Roy Bock, Grimes, Gussic, Sedley, and several others. The motor boat was an easy-running affair and under reduced speed made little noise, so the swimmers did not notice its approach.


“Hello, I see two sloops in the Cove,” remarked Roy Bock.

“One of ’em is Fred Century’s boat,” said Grimes.

“Yes, and the other is the boat belonging to Jack Ruddy,” added Gussic. “Nobody on board,” he went on, after a close look.

“They must have gone ashore,” remarked Sedley.

“There they are, over by that rock, swimming,” said Will Carey, who was present.

The motor boat had come to a stop and now the wind blew it inshore behind a clump of overhanging bushes. From this point those on board watched the antics of the swimmers for several moments.

“I’ve got an idea!” cried Roy Bock suddenly.

“So have I!” added Grimes.

“We’ll tow their sloops out into the lake and cast them adrift.”

“I was going to take their clothes and hide them.”

“Say, let’s do both!” put in Will Carey.

“We want to be careful,” added another student who was present. “If we get caught——”

“We weren’t caught the other day, when we turned Putnam Hall inside out.”


“That’s so,—but the cadets are close by now.”

“I have it. We can tie something over our faces, and over the name of the motor boat,” said Gussic.

This advice was acted on, and then two of the boys stole ashore and gathered up the heaps of wearing apparel Jack and his chums had left there. In the meantime Roy Bock got out some ropes, with which to tow away the Ajax and the Alice.

“If this won’t put them in a pickle nothing will,” said the bully of Pornell Academy. “Miles from their school and nothing to wear!”

“It’s the best joke we ever played on them,” answered Gussic.

“Hurry up, you fellows!” called Roy Bock to those who were gathering up the clothing. “Be quick!”

“Stop! stop!” yelled a voice suddenly, and from some bushes rushed Joe Nelson, a trowel in one hand and some wild plants in another. “What are you doing with that clothing? Who does it belong to?”

“Confound it, who is this chap?” muttered one of the Pornell students who had come ashore.

“I don’t know,” answered the other.


“Help!” yelled Joe. “Some fellows running off with this clothing! Cadets ahoy!” For he saw that the bundles contained Putnam Hall uniforms.

“What’s up?” called back Jack. He swam to a rock. “Well, I never!” he gasped, looking into the Cove.

“What do you see?” questioned Pepper, anxiously.

“Some fellows at our clothing! And look, there’s a motor boat!”

“Yes, and tying fast to our sloops!” gasped Fred Century. “Stop, you thieves!” he bawled.

“Let that clothing alone!” commanded Joe, and ran forward with his trowel uplifted as if it was a dagger. “Drop them, I say, or somebody will get hurt!”

His attitude was so fierce that the students from Pornell Academy let the bundles fall and ran back to the motor boat with all speed. Bock was also alarmed, both at the shouts from shore and from the swimmers at a distance, and had shoved off, so the pair had to wade in up to their knees to get on board.

“Going to leave us behind, Roy?” demanded one, angrily.

“No, but we haven’t any time to waste,” said the bully. “Here they come, like a band of wild Indians!”


And Jack and his chums certainly did look like wild men as they rushed along the shore, catching up rocks as they did so.

“Stop, or I’ll hit you with a stone!” called out Pepper, and then let fly a missile that whizzed so close to Roy Bock’s head that the bully dodged. More stones followed, thrown by Jack and the other swimmers and by Joe Nelson, and several students on the motor boat were hit.

“Don’t! don’t!” screamed Will Carey. “You may kill somebody!”

“Then leave those sloops alone!” called Jack.

“We know you, Roy Bock,” added Fred. “And you too, Gussic and Carey. You clear out mighty quick, or you’ll get into trouble.”

“We have a right to come here if we want to,” growled Bock, seeing that the chance to play the Putnam Hall lads a trick had passed.

“Perhaps. But you have no right to touch our boats,” answered Jack.

“Nor our clothing,” added Andy. “Joe, how is it that you are here?” he went on.

“I was digging plants in the woods when I heard some talking,” answered Joe Nelson. “I came to the shore just in time to see two of that crowd gathering up your clothing.”

“I see. Well, it was lucky you arrived.”

“We found the boats deserted,” said Sedley. “We were going to tow them down to your dock.”


“Tell that to your grandmother, Sedley,” retorted Dale. “You were going to run away with the sloops—and run away with our clothing too.”

“It’s on a level with the joke you played at Putnam Hall the other day,” added Stuffer.

“What joke?” demanded Grimes.

“You know well enough.”

“I don’t know anything,” retorted the Pornell student uneasily.

“Perhaps you don’t know how we found you out,” added Jack, pinching Pepper’s arm.

“And perhaps you don’t know that Captain Putnam is going to swear out a warrant for your arrest,” added The Imp, as he returned Jack’s pinch.

“Our arrest!” cried Roy Bock, in consternation.

“That’s what I said.”

“He won’t dare to do it. If he does—well, we haven’t forgotten how you came to our school one night and stole all our trophies.”

“You just wait and see what he does,” said Jack, calmly. And then he started to dress and his chums did the same. Roy Bock wanted to talk some more, but the young major cautioned his chums to keep silent, and at last the motor boat and its occupants moved away across the lake.


“Well, we’ve found them out,” declared Pepper. “They are responsible for that rough-housing right enough!”

“Yes, and we have them guessing as to what Captain Putnam is going to do about it,” answered Jack with a grin. “Maybe they won’t sleep much to-night, thinking it over!”

“We must get square on them, for that and for their attempt to take our boats and our clothing,” declared Dale.

“You bet we will!” declared Andy; and all of the others agreed with him.



“To get square with those Pornell fellows means two things,” remarked Jack, as the boys proceeded to push off and out of the Cove. “One is to do something worth while, and the other is to keep Captain Putnam in the dark about the rough-house affair. If we raise a row about that——”

“The Pornell students will raise a row if we do anything and are found out,” finished Andy.

“Right you are.”

“Well, I guess we can keep still, since the captain has admitted he thinks Bob Grenwood innocent of the affair,” remarked Dale.

On the arrival at the Hall the two sloops were tied up at the dock, and the boys drifted down to the gymnasium, where Andy did some wonderful “stunts” on the rings and bars. Jack drew some of his chums aside and in a corner it was discussed how accounts might be “squared up” with the Pornellites.


“I know what I’d like to do,” grumbled Stuffer. “I’d like to present them with Pluxton Cuddle. They could have him and welcome.”

“What, have you had more trouble?” questioned Pepper.

“Indeed I have! What do you think! I was eating some candy I bought in town last week and he told me to throw it away—that it would ruin my digestion!”

“That’s fierce,” said Hogan. “Sure, and where is this tyranny to stop, I don’t know! Next thing ye know he won’t let us eat at all, at all!”

“I move we give Cuddle a lesson—after we get through with Pornell,” said Bart Conners, and this suggestion was hailed with satisfaction by all present.

One of the boys had learned that a number of Pornell students were going to a party on the following Wednesday afternoon. The affair was to be given by a number of girls at a place called Lakelawn, a mile from the Academy. Among the invited guests were Bock and several of his cronies.

“And what do you think!” said the cadet who gave this news. “Reff Ritter, Coulter and Paxton are also invited and I believe they are to go too.”

“We ought to do something to spoil that fun,” said Andy.


“Let us think it over,” answered Jack.

On Monday afternoon Pepper learned through Mumps that Ritter, Coulter and Paxton had accepted the invitation to Lakelawn and expected to have a “large time,” to use Ritter’s own words.

At the time the school sneak gave this information to Pepper the latter was eating candy from a bag he had purchased. Mumps wanted some of that candy and he lingered around even after Pepper had given him several chocolates.

“Say,” he said finally. “Give me some more chocolates and I’ll tell you something very important.”

“What about, Mumps?”

“About Ritter and his crowd.”

“But you have just told me about them.”

“This is something different.”

“Well, let me have it.”

“Will you give me the chocolates?”

“Yes,—if the news is of importance.”

“How many?”

“All there are left in the bag.” The Imp twisted the top of the candy bag shut as he spoke.

“All right.” The school sneak looked around the hall, to make certain nobody was listening. “Ritter and his crowd are going to do you up brown to-night,” he said coarsely.


“Do us up brown? What do you mean?” And now Pepper was all attention.

“I don’t know any particulars. But I heard Reff say that, when he was talking to Coulter, Paxton and Sabine. I think they are going to visit your dormitory after you are asleep.”

“What else did they say?”

“I didn’t catch much, for Reff saw me and ordered me away. I heard them mention starch. He told some kind of a joke about putting the starch in you instead of taking it out.”

“Hum!” mused Pepper. “Is that all?”

“Yes. But don’t say I told you, please!” pleaded Mumps.

“I won’t. And here is the candy.”

The Imp held out the bag and the sneak snatched it eagerly, and looked inside.

“Huh!” he said, indignantly. “There is only one chocolate in the bag!”

“I gave you all I had left—just as I promised,” answered Pepper with a grin, and walked away, leaving the sneak much crestfallen.

Pepper lost no time in hunting up Jack and some of the others and relating all he had heard.

“We must be on our guard to-night,” said the young major.

“What do you make of this talk about starch?” asked Andy.


“I know that to-day is wash day and the wash-women in the laundry are using a lot of starch,” answered Jack. “Maybe Ritter and his gang think to steal some and use it.”

“Gracious! if they do that I know what I’ll do!” cried Pepper, struck by a sudden idea.


“If they try to starch us why can’t we blue them? We can get some of the blueing balls from the laundry, and——”

“Good? Just the cheese!” cried Dale. “Blueing is better than starching any day!” And he laughed gleefully.

The boys laid their plans with care, and retired to their dormitory at an early hour. They had a little studying to do and got through with their lessons as speedily as possible.

“Now I am going out and play enemy,” said Pepper, when it was time to retire. “Remember, when I whistle it means get busy!” And he stole forth out of the dormitory and down the semi-dark hallway with the silence of a shadow.

When he reached the doorway of the room Ritter and his cronies occupied he paused and listened intently. A low murmur of voices reached his ears.

“Are you fellows all ready?” he heard Ritter ask, presently.


“Yes,” was the general answer.

“Everybody got his can of starch?”

“I couldn’t get any more starch so I got mucilage,” answered Paxton. “I reckon it will be just as sticky.”

The others said they had starch, and then Reff Ritter came to the door and opened it softly. Pepper was too quick for him, however, and hid out of sight around an angle of the hall.

The conspirators had scarcely left the dormitory when Pepper entered it and spent several minutes inside. Then he came out on the run, a handkerchief tied over his face.

In the meantime Ritter and his crowd had entered the room Jack and the others occupied. They were about to pour the cans of starch and mucilage over the beds, where they supposed the cadets were reposing, when something unexpected happened. From out of two closets leaped Jack, Andy and the others, each with a wet and knotted towel in his hand.

“At them, fellows!” cried the young major. And whack! came his wet towel on Reff Ritter’s head, sending the water flying into his face.

“Hi! stop!” roared the bully, taken completely off his guard.


Whack! whack! whack! went the wet and knotted towels, and every one of the intruders received several cracks on the head and in the face. The cloths were so saturated with moisture that the water flew in all directions, wetting them completely. Ritter and his crowd were so bewildered they knew not what to do and forget all about using the cans of starch. Coulter let his can drop and then slipped on the contents, pulling another boy down on top of him.

“Hi, Ritter, get back to your room! Old Crabtree is coming!” called out Pepper in a disguised voice from the hallway, and then, more scared than ever, the bully turned and darted from the dormitory and his cohorts followed. In the darkness Pepper tripped the bully up, sending him headlong on his nose. Then Pepper darted into the dormitory, and the door was shut and locked.

“That’s the time we caught them on the fly,” cried Jack, joyously. “My, but didn’t we give it to ’em good!”

“I hope you wet them all,” said Pepper.

“We did,” answered Andy.

“Then they’ll have a fine time drying themselves—if they get hold of the towels I fixed up,” grinned The Imp.

They waited and heard Ritter and his cronies enter the dormitory at the end of the hallway. Then they stole forth, Pepper leading the way.


“Who said Crabtree was coming?” they heard Ritter ask.

“Must have been some friend from another dormitory,” answered Billy Sabine. “Ugh! I’m soaked through!” And he shivered.

“Don’t say a word, I got a crack right in the nose and it’s bleeding,” growled Coulter.

“What, the crack or the nose?” queried Paxton grimly.

“Huh, this ain’t no time to joke! Where is there a towel?”

Towels were handy—Pepper had seen to that—and one after another of those in the dormitory caught up a cloth and began to wipe the water from his face and neck. They were doing this vigorously by a dim light when of a sudden Coulter let out a yell.

“What’s the matter with your face, Paxton?” he asked.

“My face? Nothing, only it’s mighty wet.”

“It’s as blue as indigo!”


“It’s as blue as indigo and all streaked!”

Nick Paxton ran to a glass and gave a look. But before he could say a word Reff Ritter gave a cry.

“My hands are all blue—and so is my nose!”

“I’m blue too!” ejaculated Billy Sabine. “Oh, what has happened to us?”


“Maybe they had blue paint in those towels,” suggested Coulter. “Gosh, if this ain’t fierce! We look like a lot of painted Indians!”

“So we do!” cried another student. “Wonder if it will wash off?”

Reff Ritter turned up the light and examined a towel closely.

“I see what it is!” he cried. “Somebody has put blueing powder all over the towels. The water has made a regular dye of it!”

“Oh!” came in a groaning chorus.

“Will the—the blueing wash off?” asked Paxton, in a faint voice.

“I don’t think all of it will—it’s too strong,” answered Ritter. “I’ll bet this is some of the Ruddy crowd’s work,” he added bitterly.

Just then a sheet of paper was thrust under the door. Coulter picked it up. A patter of footsteps could be heard in the distance.

“A note,” said Coulter. “I’ll wager it is from those fellows.”

He brought the sheet of paper to the light and read it, the others gazing over his shoulders. On the sheet was written:

“Thank you very much for the starching. We return the compliment by doing the blueing.”


“I told you so!” growled Reff Ritter. “Blueing indeed? If we can’t get this stuff off we won’t want to show ourselves in the classrooms to-morrow!”

“And what about the party at Lakelawn?” groaned Gus Coulter. “Don’t forget that, Reff!”

“If we can’t clean up we’ll have to stay at home. I don’t want to go looking like a bluejay, do you?”

“We’ll have to get square with the Ruddy crowd for this,” said Paxton. “Oh, what a mess!” And he did his best to get the blueing from his face.

“Just wait, that’s all!” answered Reff Ritter, savagely. “I’ll get square if it takes a thousand years!”



The next morning Reff Ritter had to excuse himself, and he did not come downstairs all day. Some of the blueing had gotten on his nose and refused to come off. Paxton and Coulter appeared, and they looked “blue” in more ways than one.

“We are going to square up some day!” growled Coulter, when he met Pepper. “Just wait, that’s all!”

“Look out that you don’t burn your fingers doing it,” answered The Imp. “Remember, we can give you as good as you send, every time!”

Coulter and Paxton still had some of the blueing on them and some of the cadets not in the secret wanted to know what was the trouble.

“Oh, we had some blue ink and it got spilled,” answered Paxton, and that was all he and Coulter would say. When Captain Putnam went upstairs to call on Ritter and make sure he was not seriously sick the bully told the same story.


“Well, be careful the next time,” said the master of the Hall, and he left Ritter in deep thought. He felt almost certain some kind of a joke had been played, but he did not wish to investigate, having his hands full with other things. George Strong had departed, having received a special message of importance, and the captain himself had to leave the school the following Monday, to go to Chicago.

In a roundabout way Jack and his chums learned that Reff Ritter, Coulter and Paxton were going to attend the lawn party in spite of the blueing that still showed on their hands and faces, and they at once set to work to see what could be done toward having more fun.

“This is going to be rather a delicate proceeding,” said the young major. “Remember, we have two crowds to deal with—Ritter’s and Roy Bock’s.”

“Perhaps we had better divide our forces?” suggested Dale.

“I’ve got a plan, but I don’t know if it can be carried out,” said Pepper. “To my mind, Ritter and Bock are quite friendly.”

“Yes, it’s a case of one bully loving another,” chimed in Stuffer. “They are thick, and so are Coulter and Gussic and Grimes.”


“Then perhaps I can get this plan to work after all,” went on The Imp, and then he told the others of his scheme. This was nothing more than to send a letter to Bock asking him and his cronies to meet Ritter at a certain ice-house on the lake front, at two o’clock—just an hour before the party was to come off. Another letter was to be sent to Ritter asking him to meet Bock and his crowd at the same place, but a little earlier.

The letters were written without delay and a farm boy of that vicinity was hired to deliver them both at noon on the day the party was to come off. Each letter spoke of “a way to fix Ruddy and his crowd,” and was unsigned.

As Pepper anticipated, Bock and Ritter and their cohorts fell into the trap readily. Each bully was more than anxious to learn of something whereby he might do the young major and his chums injury.

“Ritter is a fine fellow,” said Roy Bock, to his cronies. “He hates Ruddy and those other chaps like poison, too. He must have something great up his sleeve.” And the others agreed this must be so; and all voted to stop at the ice-house on the way to the lawn party.

On the other hand, Ritter was equally enthusiastic, and so were Coulter and Paxton.


“We’ll work with the Pornell fellows in this,” said the Hall bully. “I always liked Bock, and if he will show us how to turn a trick on Ruddy I’ll like him better than ever.”

It was no easy matter for Jack, Pepper and the others to get away early on the day the lawn party was to be held. Yet they managed it by various excuses, and then met back of the gymnasium, and hurried at top speed to the ice house.

The structure was empty, the last of the former winter’s ice having been removed the week before. It was a large and gloomy place, and scattered around were many tons of wet sawdust.

“Now boys, follow my directions and be quick about it!” cried Pepper. “Andy, you keep an eye open and let us know as soon as you see anybody. Jack, here’s your make-up,” and as he finished speaking he handed over a suit of plain clothes and a hat, such as Bock was in the habit of wearing. These the young major donned with all speed, and pulled down his hair over his forehead, in the style Bock affected. This done, at a distance he resembled the bully of Pornell Academy.

The cadets set to work doing various things in the ice house that Pepper suggested. Hardly had they completed their labors when Andy gave a low whistle.

“Ritter and his crowd are coming!” he called, as he came into the building.


It was now that Jack acted. He ran to the doorway, and seeing Ritter at a distance waved his hand wildly.

“Hurry up! You’re late!” he called out, imitating Bock’s voice as much as possible.

Not dreaming that anything was wrong, Reff Ritter and his cronies quickened their pace and soon came up to the ice house.

“Where are you?” called out Coulter.

“Here, inside,” was the muffled answer. “Come in, the place is empty.”

Ritter entered, followed by Coulter and Paxton. They saw somebody move at the rear end of the building and started in that direction. Each had hardly taken a dozen steps when he found himself attacked from behind. A long bag was thrown over his head and pulled to his knees and tied fast there.

“Hi, you! What does this mean?” roared Ritter, trying in vain to clear himself of the bag. Then he commenced to cough, for the bag was full of dust.

“Silence—unless you want to be buried deep in the sawdust,” commanded Jack, in a heavy, unnatural voice.

“Do—don’t!” spluttered Paxton. “If yo—you bury us in that we—we’ll smother to death!”

“Wh—who are you fel—fellows?” gasped Coulter.


“We are the Pornell Academy boys, and we mean to keep you from that party,” answered Andy, in a voice that sounded much like that of Grimes.

“Confound the luck!” growled Reff Ritter. “Say, Bock, this isn’t fair. You said in the letter you would help us to get Jack Ruddy into trouble.”

“Ha! ha! you were nicely fooled!” laughed Jack, still disguising his voice.

“March!” ordered Pepper.

“I won’t budge!” cried Paxton.

Scarcely had he spoken when he felt a whip lash across his legs.

“Ouch! Oh, let up! I’ll march!” he whined. “Don’t lash me again, please!”

As they were absolutely helpless with the strong bags tied down to their knees, Ritter Coulter and Paxton had to do as commanded, and they were marched out of a back door of the ice house and to a grove of trees some distance away.

“Hurry up, boys!” whispered Pepper, to his chums. “Somebody is coming down the road. It must be the Pornell Academy crowd!”

In a twinkling the prisoners were tied with ropes to several trees. Then Jack led the way back to the ice house. Here Pepper went to the front, while the major resumed his uniform.


“Say, you fellows!” cried Pepper, as soon as he was sure of the party approaching. “Don’t be all day! Hurry up!”

“It’s too warm to hurry!” called back Roy Bock. “Do you think I want to get all heated up?” He was faultlessly dressed in his best, and so were his cronies, for nearly all of the Pornell students were rich and spent a good deal upon their attire.

They walked into the ice house just as Ritter and the others had done. It was Dale who called them to the rear, and then the others came up behind with another set of long bags and ropes.

“Let up!” roared Roy Bock, and began to fight with such vigor that he almost broke away. But Jack held fast and both went down into the wet sawdust, much to Bock’s disgust.

“Confound it, you’ve ruined my best suit!” he cried, “I’ll fix you for this, see if I don’t!”

“When you get the chance,” answered Jack in a disguised voice. “Glad you answered my letter,” he added.

“So this is what you were up to, eh?” stormed the Pornell bully, after further resistance was useless. With the bag over him he could, of course, see nothing. “What are you going to do with us?”


“Nothing, only keep you here while we enjoy that lawn party,” answered Pepper, in a disguised voice.

“It’s a plot against us!” groaned Grimes. “I told you to be cautious about coming here.”

“Say, Ritter, I thought I could trust you,” continued Roy Bock. “This isn’t fair at all. I thought we were going to hatch out something against Ruddy, Ditmore, and those fellows.”

“Not to-day,” murmured Dale, and he had all he could do to keep from laughing over the turn of affairs. Andy was in a corner, holding his sides and chuckling, and all of the other cadets were grinning broadly.

The Pornell students wanted to argue, but Jack and his chums would not listen. With strong ropes they tied each of the enemy fast to a beam in the ice house.

“W’ll be back bye and bye,” cried Jack, in an unnatural voice,

“Don’t leave us!” cried Gussic. “This bag is horribly dirty. I’ve got my whole head full of it!”

“Come back!” yelled Ritter, from his bag. “Say, if you’ll let us out we’ll call it square. If you don’t, I’ll——”

“What will you do?” asked Jack, from a distance.


“Report you to Captain Putnam.”

“Do it—I don’t care,” was the young major’s answer, and then he and his chums departed, rolling the ice house door shut as they did so. They waited till they had covered a hundred yards or so and then of a sudden every cadet present burst into a roar of merriment that lasted for several minutes.

“It’s the richest ever!” cried Andy, the tears fairly running down his cheeks. “We’ve got ’em all prisoners and each party thinks the other guilty!”

“Think of Roy Bock reporting to Captain Putnam for this!” said Pepper. “Wouldn’t that make you scream?”

“And maybe Ritter will report Bock and his gang to Doctor Pornell,” suggested Dale.

“Sure, and its the foinest mix-up I ever seen in me life,” was Emerald’s comment. “If only they meet some day an’ fight it out!” And the grin on his broad face spread from ear to ear.

The crowd walked down to the lake shore and then to the place where the lawn party was in progress. They saw a dozen or more girls in the grounds, but only five boys.

“It’s hard luck for the girls,” was Pepper’s comment. “But it can’t be helped.”


“I don’t pity them,” said Andy. “They didn’t invite me,—and I once took two of them rowing, too.”

“Yes, and they didn’t invite me—and I once treated three of them to ice-cream soda,” added Dale.

The boys watched the party from a distance, and then, when it was growing late, started again in the direction of the ice house.

“Hark! what is that?” called Andy suddenly.

“Sounds like somebody fighting,” answered Pepper.

“I think I know what it is,” burst out Jack. “Come, follow me!” And he dove into the bushes lining the roadway.



As luck would have it, Reff Ritter’s party and the crowd from Pornell Academy had become free at the same time, each working out of the ropes and bags in a manner known only to themselves. Each had brushed up as much as possible and started hurriedly for the place where the lawn party was in progress. The two crowds had come together on the road not over two hundred yards from the ice house. Each accused the other of being guilty of the trick, and in less than five minutes blows were being freely exchanged.

“I’ll show you what it means to treat me like a pig!” cried Roy Bock, and he struck Ritter a blow in the nose that drew blood.

“Oh, you can’t bluff me!” retorted the Putnam Hall bully, and hit the lad from Pornell in the left eye. Then the pair clinched and rolled over and over in the dirt of the road.


In the meantime Grimes struck Coulter and Paxton hit Gussic. Then everybody struck out, and inside of a minute the three Putnam Hall boys were down and the enemy were on top of them. Clothing was torn, collars and ties pulled off, and the general melée was something awful to behold.

It was in the midst of this excitement that Jack and his chums arrived.

“Whow!” cried Andy. “Say, but they are going at each other for keeps, aren’t they?”

“Sure, an’ it’s fightin’ like cats an’ dogs they are,” was Hogan’s comment. “’Tis a bit av Donnybrook Fair,” he added. “Oh, for a shillalah!”

“The Pornell crowd isn’t fighting fair,” said Jack. “They outnumber our fellows.”

“What of it?” demanded Dale. “I reckon Ritter, Coulter and Paxton are getting all they deserve.”

“Ge—get off of m—me!” came in a groan from Paxton. “Yo—you are crushing in my ribs!”

“Don’t hit me with that stone!” they heard Coulter scream.

“They are certainly going too far,” said Pepper. “Enough is enough. Let us scare the Pornell fellows off.”

This was agreed to, and picking up sticks and stones Jack’s crowd set up a sudden wild yelling that made the Pornellites stop fighting and glance around in fear.


“Come on!” cried Pepper. “Putnam Hall to the rescue! Down with Pornell Academy!” And he looked over his shoulder, as if urging others behind him. Then Jack and the others took up the cue, and they made it appear as if a big party was approaching. Andy even ran behind some bushes and called out in as many different tones of voice as he could master.

The ruse worked to perfection, and Roy Bock and his cohorts lost no time in leaping to their feet and retreating a few paces.

“I guess the whole school is coming!” said the bully of Pornell Academy.

“Charge them! Charge them!” yelled Jack, and ran forward brandishing a big stick. Pepper was at his side, and flung a big stone over Bock’s head. This was too much for the Pornell students, and turning, they ran along the road for a short distance and then took to the woods. They did not stop running until they had covered a good quarter of a mile and were sure the pursuit had come to an end.

“It was a put-up job!” growled Roy Bock, as he leaned against a tree to rest and catch his breath. “That was Ruddy came to help Ritter and the others. It was a put-up job and nothing else!”


“Yes, and we walked into the trap like a lot of mice after cheese,” grunted Gussic, with his hand on his windpipe, where he had been hit.

“Just look at these duds!” came from another lad. “About fit for the ragbag!” And he mournfully surveyed a torn sleeve and a hole in his trouser leg.

“My collar is gone, and so is that new dollar tie I bought for the party,” said Bock. “I ought to make somebody buy me another tie.”

“Speaking of the party,” said another. “Are you going?”

“Going?” stormed the bully. “Are you crazy? If we went the girls would take us for scarecrows!”

“It’s funny that other crowd didn’t go to the party,” remarked Grimes.

“Oh, I guess they’d rather play a trick on us than go to any party,” was Gussic’s comment. “I am of the firm opinion that Ritter, Ruddy and the whole bunch was in the plot against us.”

“Sure thing,” answered Roy Bock. And then he and his cronies walked slowly in the direction of Pornell Academy, wondering what they should say when they got there, and what sort of excuse they should send to the girls who had been waiting for them.


In the meantime Reff Ritter and his cronies had gotten up and brushed themselves off. They were considerably astonished to find that Jack and his chums had come to their rescue.

“Huh! So it’s you!” growled Ritter, with a far from pleasant look on his face.

“Yes,” said the young major cheerily. “I guess we got here just in the nick of time, didn’t we?”

“Maybe you did.”

“What’s the row about?” questioned Pepper innocently, but with a side wink at Andy and Dale.

“About? They tied us up in bags, and——” began Paxton, when a cold look from Reff Ritter stopped him. “I mean—er—they——”

“Never mind what it was about,” growled Ritter.

“Tied you up in bags, did they?” said Andy. “That was hard luck sure. How did you escape?”

“I cut my way from the bag with my pocketknife,” said Coulter, ignoring Ritter’s look. “Those fellows——”

“Say, can’t you keep it to yourself?” demanded the bully of the Hall sourly. He was afraid Jack and his chums would laugh at him and those who had suffered with him.


“Ritter, you needn’t tell us anything,” said the young major, drawing himself up, stiffly. “We did what we could for you, but we don’t expect either your confidence or your thanks.” He turned to his chums. “Come, fellows, I fancy we are not wanted here,” and he turned and walked in the direction of Putnam Hall, with Pepper and the rest at his heels. Each boy wanted to laugh but each managed to keep a straight face until a safe distance was covered. Then Pepper had to roll on the ground and roar, and Andy did the same.

“Oh, Jack!” panted The Imp, when he felt able to speak. “That was the richest yet—what you said—‘We did what we could for you, but we don’t expect your thanks!’ Gracious, I thought I’d die when you said it!”

“We’ve got ’em guessing,” said Dale.

“Yes, and I reckon Bock and his gang and Ritter and his cronies will be enemies for life now,” said Andy.

“Boys, in honor of this occasion, I move we celebrate to-night,” said Pepper.

“Second the motion,” answered Andy, promptly. “But how is it to be done?”

“Might each do an extra example in geometry, in honor of the event,” suggested Jack, with a smile.

“Geometry!” snorted Stuffer. “Not much! Let’s have something to eat!”


“Stuffer’s one idea of celebrating is something to eat,” cried Andy.

“Well, a feast isn’t so bad,” said another cadet.

“Where are we going to get anything?” asked Pepper. “We can’t go to Cedarville—it’s too late.”

“I have it!” cried Andy. “Let us have an ice-cream festival.”

“That’s easy enough to say, Andy, but where are you going to get the cream?” asked the young major.

“If some of you will make excuses for me after supper I’ll get the cream,” answered the acrobatic youth. “I can go to Cedarville and back in no time on my wheel. But I want some money,” he added, suddenly. “Poser, the ice-cream man, doesn’t tick anybody.”

“An ice-cream party it is,” said Emerald. “Sure, an’ I could eat some now, so I could!” And he smacked his lips.

When the cadets got back to Putnam Hall they washed up hastily and then some of the others turned over to Andy a portion of their spending money. Andy got a hasty supper, and then, watching his chance, stole from the mess hall on the sly. His bicycle was in the wagon house, and mounting this he spun along the highway leading to the town at record-breaking speed.


“Where did Snow go?” demanded Pluxton Cuddle, when he noticed the vacant chair.

“Perhaps he wasn’t feeling well,” suggested Pepper. “I noticed he had his hand to his stomach.”

“He eats too much,” grumbled the new teacher. “All of you boys eat more than is good for you. After this I shall have to keep an eye on Snow.” He glared round the table. “Singleton, what is that you have in your hand?”

“A piece of cake, sir,” answered Stuffer.

“Didn’t you have a piece before, sir?”

“Yes, sir. But I’m hungry and——”

“One piece of cake is enough, Singleton. Put that down and leave the table.”

“Do you want me to go hungry?” demanded Stuffer, half angrily. The strenuous events of the afternoon had made him unusually hungry.

“I will not allow a cadet to stuff himself. I do not wonder that some of the boys have given you the nickname of Stuffer—although I abhor nicknames. Leave the room, sir!”

“All right, old cat!” grumbled Paul, under his breath, and he marched out, with Pluxton Cuddle’s eyes glaring after him. In the meantime Pepper calmly reached over, took half a dozen slices of cake and rolled them up in a napkin in his lap. Seeing this, Jack did the same. When Pluxton Cuddle chanced to look at the plate a minute later he stared in amazement.


“Who took that cake?” he thundered.

To this question all the cadets remained silent.

“Answer me, who took that cake?” he repeated, and looked at each boy in turn.

“I didn’t,” answered Dale.

“I ate but one piece, Mr. Cuddle!” said Pepper.

“That is all I ate, too,” added Jack.

“Only Stuffer—I mean Singleton—ate more than one piece,” said Bart Conners.

“Strange! strange! I thought the plate was full of cake,” murmured Pluxton Cuddle. He glared again at the cadets. “If I find out that any of you have deceived me I shall punish you severely. Now finish your suppers!” And he began to munch away vigorously on the dry toast he was eating. His theory was that a person should eat very little but masticate that little well, and he sometimes chewed a mouthful of food thirty or forty times.

When the meal was over, Pepper and Jack slipped the napkins full of cake under their jackets and left the mess hall. Then they took the cake upstairs and hid the dainty in a safe place. This done they strolled down the highway leading to Cedarville, looking for Andy.


“He ought to be coming soon,” remarked the young major, after a half hour had passed.

They walked a short distance from the Hall and then sat down on a rock to rest. Here presently Dale and Stuffer joined them.

“Where is Andy?” called out Stuffer. “I am hungry enough to eat that ice-cream right now.”

“I think something is wrong,” said Jack. “He ought to be back by this time.”

“What could be wrong, Jack?” asked Pepper.

“I don’t know, but——” The young major paused. “Somehow, I feel that something serious has happened to Andy!”



“Perhaps Andy had a tumble from his wheel,” suggested Dale. “It might have broken down, you know.”

“Let us walk toward town and find out,” answered Pepper.

To this the others readily consented, and all set off in the direction of Cedarville. They had to go around a long curve, and then came to a spot where the roadway was lined upon either side with thick brushwood and trees.

“Here he is!” called out Jack, and ran forward. “At least, here is his wheel.”

He was right about the bicycle. It rested by the roadside, close to the fallen limb of a tree.

“He certainly took a tumble!” cried Stuffer. “But where is he?”


This question was answered by a groan that made all of the cadets start. They turned, peered into the bushes, and there beheld poor Andy stretched out on some grass. The blood was flowing from a wound in his forehead and from a cut on his hand.

“Andy!” cried the young major. “Are you hurt much?”

“I—I don’t know,” was the gasped-out reply.

“Didn’t you see the tree limb?” asked Pepper, as he got out his handkerchief to wipe away some of the blood on his chum’s face, so he might see the extent of the injury. Fortunately the cut was not deep, and it was easily bound up.

“That limb came down right in front of me,” was Andy’s answer. “If it had been down before I got to it I could have cleared it somehow.”

Stuffer ran to a nearby brook for water, bringing some in a cone he made of a sheet of writing paper, and inside of five minutes the sufferer felt well enough to tell his story.

“I was coming along, guiding the wheel with one hand and holding the ice-cream with the other,” he explained. “All at once the limb came down right in front of me. I crashed into it and landed on some stones in the bushes and then, I guess, I lost consciousness. That’s all I’ve got to tell.”

“What became of the ice-cream?” asked Stuffer, and despite Andy’s plight the lad who loved to eat gazed around rather anxiously.


“Why, it—it—I don’t know, I’m sure,” stammered Andy. “Isn’t it on the road?”

It was not, nor was it anywhere in that vicinity. The cadets looked at each other suggestively.

“Maybe it was a trick,” said Pepper. “A trick to get the cream away from Andy and spoil our little festival.”

“That’s it!” cried Dale. “For look, there is no tree around here where that limb could come from.”

The others looked around and saw that Dale was right. Only small trees were in that vicinity and none of these had lost a branch.

“If it was a trick, it was a mighty mean one,” was the young major’s comment. “Why, the tumble might have killed Andy!”

“Did you see anybody, Andy?” questioned Stuffer.

“No, and I didn’t hear anybody either.”

“Well, it’s too bad. It must have been a trick. I wonder if some of our fellows or some fellows from Pornell Academy played it?”

“That remains for us to find out,” said Pepper. “And when we do find out—well, somebody will suffer, that’s all!”

“Right you are!” answered Jack and Dale.


The other boys helped Andy to his feet. He was still dizzy and they had to support him on either side. It was found that the bicycle had a broken pedal.

“I wish I knew who did this,” grumbled Andy, as he started to limp along between Pepper and Jack. “I’d—Oh!” And he stopped short.

“What’s the matter?” came simultaneously from those who were assisting him.

“It’s gone!”

“What is gone?”

Andy did not answer immediately. He began to search his clothing, going through every pocket several times. Then he started to hunt around on the ground.

“What have you lost, Andy?” asked Jack.

“Was it valuable?” put in Stuffer.

“Was it valuable?” queried Andy. “Well, I just guess yes! It was worth at least two hundred dollars!”

“Two hundred dollars!” exclaimed all of the others in astonishment.

“Yes—and more.”

“What was it?”

“Joe Nelson’s medal.”



That was all the others said—but it was enough. Every lad at Putnam Hall knew Joe Nelson’s medal, the one left to Joe by his Uncle Richard. It was a beautiful racing medal of gold, set with jewels, and Joe was very proud of it.

“What were you doing with Joe’s medal?” asked Jack, after a pause.

“The pin catch got broken and Joe sent it to the watchmaker to have another put on. He asked me to get it for him—I was with him when he left it at Bright’s shop. I went for it before I went for the cream.”

“And where did you have the medal?” asked Dale.

“In the inside pocket of my jacket, and I had the pocket fastened with a safety pin, too, to keep the medal from jumping out on the road.”

“It must be somewhere around here,” said Stuffer. “Let us make a good search.”

This they did, but it was of no avail. In the midst of it Andy set up another cry.

“My change is gone, and so is my ring!”


“Boys, I have been robbed!”

“Oh, Andy, can this be true?” burst out Jack.

“What else can it be? I couldn’t lose my ring and everything else, could I, by just tumbling from my bicycle?”

“Andy must be right—the sudden coming down of the tree limb proves it,” declared Pepper. “Were you unconscious long?” he continued.


“I don’t know.”

“But you are sure you were completely knocked out when you hit the rock?” asked Dale.

“Yes—everything got dark and I didn’t know a thing. And, yes, when I came to my senses—just before you arrived—I was in the bushes!”

“Then somebody must have carried you from the road!” declared Jack. “And that somebody robbed you!” he added, bitterly.

After this there was a moment of silence. The others looked at Andy, and the acrobatic lad stared at them blankly.

“Yes, I must have been robbed,” he said slowly. “But who did it?”

“I don’t believe any of our fellows would do it,” answered Dale. “Even Ritter isn’t bad enough for that.”

“Would the Pornell fellows do it?” queried Stuffer.

“I don’t think so,” answered the young major. “Why, this is a prison offence!”

“Andy, who knew you were carrying the medal?” questioned Pepper.

“I don’t know.”

“Did anybody see you get it from the watchmaker’s?”

At this question Andy’s face lit up suddenly.


“Yes, a beggar, who came in and asked Mr. Bright for the price of a meal. Mr. Bright gave him five cents and I gave him the same. He was a tall, hungry looking fellow, with a flat nose, and, I remember now, he looked greedily at the gold medal and at the things in the shop.”

“Then maybe he is the guilty man,” said Dale.

“How would he know enough to come here and strike Andy down?” asked Stuffer.

“He would know, by Andy’s uniform, that he belonged to the Hall,” answered the young major. “He may have taken to this road and laid in wait for Andy.”

“I believe you are right!” cried Andy. “I didn’t like the looks of that chap, even though I did give him five cents. He looked just as if he wanted to get his hands on something of value.”

“And he must have taken the ice-cream too,” came mournfully from Stuffer.

“I hope it poisons him,” muttered Pepper.

“Humph! The idea of ice-cream poisoning anybody! Besides, a fellow like that most likely has the digestion of an ostrich,” returned Stuffer.

It was now growing so dark that to look around further was impossible. Jack and Pepper assisted Andy, and Dale brought along the broken bicycle, and thus the crowd returned to Putnam Hall. At the entrance to the campus they encountered Josiah Crabtree.


“Stop!” called the teacher, harshly. “Where have you been? Did you have permission to leave?”

“Mr. Crabtree, where is Captain Putnam?” asked Jack, without answering the questions put. “Andy had been hurt and robbed. We’ll have to notify the authorities at once.”

“Hurt? Robbed? How?” And Josiah Crabtree was much interested.

“He was knocked off his wheel and robbed of a ring, some money and Joe Nelson’s fine gold medal. Is Captain Putnam in his office?”

“I presume so. But I want to know——”

“Time is valuable here, Mr. Crabtree. We want to catch the thief if we can,” put in Pepper, and then the whole party hurried to the office of the master of the Hall before Josiah Crabtree could detain them further. The teacher’s curiosity was aroused and he stalked after them.

Captain Putnam listened to Andy’s story with keen attention, and then asked all of the boys a number of questions. Nothing was said about ice-cream, nor did the captain ask Andy if he had had permission to go to the village.

“You did not come back at once, after getting the medal?” was the question put.


“No, sir. I went to a couple of stores and posted a letter at the post-office.”

“Then that would give the rascal time enough to get out of the village and make his plans to waylay you,” answered Captain Putnam. “I think the least we can do is to try to catch that beggar and make him give an account of himself. If he can prove he was in Cedarville at the time of the robbery, why then you’ll have to look further for the thief.”

His army experience had taught Captain Putnam to act quickly in a case of emergency, and now, without delay, he had Peleg Snuggers hitch his fast mare to a buggy, and he and Andy drove down to Cedarville. Here the local authorities were interviewed, and two constables and a special policeman went out on a hunt for the beggar. The policeman had seen the man, and remembered how he looked and how he had been dressed.

“He had an upper set of teeth that were false and a flat nose,” said the policeman. “He was dressed in a suit of blue that was too big around for him but not quite long enough. I saw him begging down at the steamboat dock, and I told him if he didn’t clear out he’d be run in.”


A hunt was instituted that very night, and was kept up for several days. But the beggar had disappeared and all efforts to locate him seemed fruitless. A reward was offered by the captain and by Andy’s parents, but brought no results.

“I am afraid he’s gone, and for good,” sighed Andy.

“Well, if the medal is gone it’s gone, and that is all there is to it,” answered Joe Nelson. He felt the loss of his uncle’s gift greatly.

“Joe, my father says he will buy you another medal,” said Andy.

“He doesn’t have to do that, Andy,” was the quick reply. “It wasn’t your fault you were robbed. Besides, I’d like to have that particular medal back.”

“Yes, and I want my ring,” said Andy. “My mother gave me that on my last birthday, and I prized it highly.”

“Well, maybe the medal and the ring will turn up some day,” concluded Joe; and there the subject was dropped.



As has been said, George Strong had gone away on business, and now Captain Putnam followed him. This left the school in charge of Josiah Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle. That there might be no dispute regarding authority the master of the school made it plain to the two assistants that Crabtree was to have undisputed sway during school hours and that at other times Cuddle was to assume command.

“We are in for it now,” said Bart Conners, after the captain had gone. “Just you wait and see. Crabtree will be as dictatorial as possible during recitations and Cuddle won’t let us call our souls our own the rest of the time.”

“Well, I’ll stand just so much,” answered Pepper. “Then, if it gets worse, I’ll kick.” And his chums said about the same.


The first trouble arose in the schoolroom. Some of the boys had a Latin lesson that was extra difficult, and when they stumbled in the recitation Crabtree read them a lecture that was bitter in the extreme.

“You must understand that I am now in authority here,” he declared, pompously. “I want no more shirking. The reason you haven’t this lesson is because you are lazy!”

“Mr. Crabtree,” answered Joe Nelson, with a flushed face. “I did my best on that translation. But we have never had——”

“Stop, Nelson, I want no excuses,” roared Josiah Crabtree. “This lesson is simple enough for a child to learn.”

“I did my best,” put in Jack, half aloud.

“Ruddy, did you speak?” demanded the teacher, whirling around and eyeing the young major savagely.

“I did, sir. I said I did my best. As Joe says, we have never had——”

“Silence! Didn’t I say I wanted no excuses? Ditmore, you may translate from the beginning of paragraph twenty-four.”

“I didn’t study paragraph twenty-four,” answered Pepper. “I thought we were to take to twenty-two only.”

“I said twenty to twenty-five,” answered Josiah Crabtree, coldly. “If you can’t translate sit down, and I’ll mark you zero. Ritter, you may translate paragraph twenty-four for Ditmore’s benefit.”


The last words were said maliciously, for the teacher knew that Pepper and Ritter were on bad terms with each other. Pepper’s face reddened and he scowled. But a moment later he had to grin.

“Mr. Crabtree, I—er—I am not prepared to translate,” stammered Reff Ritter.

“What!” shouted the teacher.

“I am not prepared to translate. I—er—I had such a headache last night I couldn’t study.”

“Headache is good!” muttered Dale into Pepper’s ear. “He was out on the lake having a good time and smoking cigarettes!”

“Perhaps the cigarettes made his head ache,” answered Pepper.

“Stop that talking!” bawled Josiah Crabtree, and rapped sharply on his desk with a ruler. “Kearney, you may go on with the lesson.”

Now as it chanced, Dave Kearney was an exceptionally good Latin scholar, so he translated fairly well, even though he had not looked over the paragraph given. Then Stuffer was called on.

“I studied only up to twenty-three,” said he. “That’s as far as you said we were to go.”


“Don’t contradict me! Don’t you dare!” shouted Josiah Crabtree, red in the face with rage. “I know what lessons I give out. Conners, you go on.”

The big boy of the class shrugged his shoulders.

“I can go on, but not very well, sir,” he answered. “I understood we were to go to the end of paragraph twenty-two only. I may be mistaken——”

“You’re right!” came from a cadet in the rear of the room.

“So he is!” said several others.

“Silence! silence!” shouted Josiah Crabtree, leaping to his feet and shaking his ruler in the pupils’ faces. “Silence! I will have silence!”

“Anybody got any silence to spare?” murmured Pepper, looking behind him. “Mr. Crabtree wants to borrow some silence.” And at this a snicker went around.

“I will have silence!” repeated the teacher. “If you are not silent I will keep every one of you in after school!”

“Mr. Crabtree,” said Jack, arising and facing the irate teacher boldly. As major of the school battalion he felt it his duty to speak.

“Ruddy, what do you want?” snapped the teacher.


“There has evidently been a mistake made. I think most of the boys here understood you to say we were to go to the end of paragraph twenty-two——”

“That’s it! That’s it!” came in a dozen voices.

“Silence! Ruddy, sit down!”

“But, sir, I would suggest——”

“Sit down, or I’ll make you!” stormed Josiah Crabtree, and leaving his desk he strode down the aisle with his ruler brandished over his head.

It was a critical moment—one of the most critical Putnam Hall had ever seen—and many of the cadets present held their breath. Some expected to see Jack drop into his seat, but the young major did nothing of the kind. He stood in a soldierly attitude and looked the angry teacher full in the eyes.

“Will you sit down or not?” demanded Josiah Crabtree, as he came to a halt in front of the pupil.

“Will you listen to me, or not, Mr. Crabtree?” asked Jack. “If you won’t, I have nothing more to say, here. But I’ll report the matter to Captain Putnam when he returns.”

“Good! That’s the talk!” came from several others.

“Crabtree made the mistake and he is afraid to acknowledge it,” said one cadet.


“Boys, will you be silent?” yelled the teacher. “This is—er—outrageous! I never saw such actions in a schoolroom before! Am I in authority here, or am I not?”

“You are—not!” squeaked a voice from the rear.

“Walk out in the air and forget to return,” added another voice.

“Take a vacation until Captain Putnam gets back,” suggested a third.

Josiah Crabtree trembled with rage and from red grew white. He waved his ruler wildly in the air.

“This is—is rebellion!” he gasped. “Rebellion! I want everybody to sit down!” For all the cadets were now on their feet.

“Sit down yourself!” came from Coulter, who was in the rear, and then somebody threw a book into the air. More books followed, and several volumes landed on Josiah Crabtree’s head and shoulders. He danced around wildly, trying to reach some of the cadets with the ruler, but all kept out of his way.

It was the most exciting time Putnam Hall had ever witnessed, and the climax was gained when an inkwell, thrown by Reff Ritter, struck Josiah Crabtree in the neck. Up flew the ink into the instructor’s face, covering his nose, chin and one cheek.


“You wretches!” spluttered Crabtree, wiping the ink from one eye. “You wretches! Stop, or I’ll have you all locked up! This is—is disgraceful, outrageous, preposterous! I never imagined any set of boys could be so bad! I shall have somebody arrested for assault and battery! I’ll have the law on all of you!” And still brandishing the ruler he ran from the classroom, banging the door after him.

For the moment after he was gone nobody spoke. Then Bart Conners emitted a low whistle.

“Here’s a how-do-you-do!” he exclaimed.

“Do you think he’ll try to have anybody arrested?” questioned Reff Ritter. He was just a little scared and wished he had not thrown the inkwell.

“He’ll have a job arresting the whole class,” was Andy’s comment.

“It wasn’t our fault,” added Dale. “He started the trouble. It was his mistake about the lesson.”

“So it was,” put in Dave Kearney. “I knew paragraph twenty-four, but he gave us only to the end of twenty-two, I am certain of it.”

“So am I,” added nearly every student present.

“Boys, come to order!” called out Jack. “Everybody take his books and sit down,” and all but Ritter did as requested. The latter took up the fallen inkwell and carried it to his seat.


“It wasn’t fair to throw that inkwell,” remarked Joe Nelson.

“That was going a little too far,” said another student.

“Huh! Are you fellows going back on me?” demanded the bully, uneasily. “Didn’t you throw books and other things?”

“Books aren’t inkwells full of ink,” remarked Stuffer.

“You threw an apple core!” flared back Ritter.

“So I did—into the air. But it struck the blackboard, not old Crabtree.”

“It’s just as bad.”

“Sure it is,” put in Coulter, bound to stand by his crony.

“We are all in this together,” said Paxton. “The fellow who tries to crawl ought to be kicked.”

“And you’d be the first to do it—if you could,” retorted Pepper. “Just the same, nobody is crawling yet,” he added, quickly.

A warm discussion arose on all sides, and it was generally admitted that, barring the inkwell incident, Josiah Crabtree had gotten no more than he deserved.


“He ought to be kicked out of this school,” said Henry Lee. “We ought to combine and ask Captain Putnam to get rid of him.”

“He’s under contract,” said Bart Conners. “If the captain sent him away, old Crabtree would most likely sue for his salary.”

“I’ll tell you what we can do,” said Jack. “Sit down and begin to study just as if nothing had happened.”

“But if he has gone for the authorities——” began one of the cadets.

“I don’t think he’ll go. He’ll have to wash that ink off first—and the water will cool him down.”

“He won’t dare to go, for we can complain too,” added Andy.

At that moment the door opened and Pluxton Cuddle stalked in, followed by the gymnasium instructor and Peleg Snuggers. The general utility man carried a cane and looked troubled. The new teacher marched to the platform and the others did the same.

“This room will come to order!” commanded Pluxton Cuddle, but this order was unnecessary, for every cadet was in his seat and all were sitting up as stiff as ramrods. The silence was so complete that the clock in the hall could be heard ticking loudly.


“Mr. Crabtree informs me that a disgraceful scene just occurred here,” went on Pluxton Cuddle. “He was assaulted by books, inkwells and other things. Were it not that he does not wish to bring disgrace upon this institution of learning, he would at once summon the authorities and have all of you placed under arrest.”

The instructor paused, hoping somebody would say something, but not a cadet opened his lips, although all faced the teacher boldly.

“I want the names of all who threw anything at Mr. Crabtree,” continued Pluxton Cuddle. “Everybody who threw anything stand up.”

The cadets looked at one another and nobody budged from his seat.

“Did you hear what I said, young gentlemen?” demanded the new teacher.

To this there was no reply. The students acted as if they were images of stone.

“I will call the roll!” cried Pluxton Cuddle. “Snuggers, go to the door and see that no boy leaves this room.”

“Yes, sir,” answered the general utility man, and with shuffling steps he took up a position as required.

There was a pause, as the new teacher got out the roll book and began to scan the pages. Then, of a sudden, the door opened once more and Josiah Crabtree came in swiftly and marched to the desk. In his hand he held a cat-o’-nine tails.



“Say, Jack, this begins to look serious,” remarked Pepper in a whisper, as all eyes were directed to Crabtree and the lash he carried.

“He’ll make a big mistake if he tries to whip us,” was the young major’s comment. “What’s this?” he asked, as a bit of paper was thrust into his hand. The paper read:

Refuse to say a word about anything. Pass this paper along.

“That’s the talk,” said the young major, and slipped the sheet to the student behind him. Thus the paper travelled from one end of the classroom to the other.

“I was just going to call the roll, Mr. Crabtree,” said Pluxton Cuddle. “We’ll find out soon who is guilty of assaulting you.”

“Yes! yes! The quicker the better,” answered the other teacher, grimly, and clutched his cat-o’-nine tails tightly.


“If he tries to use that there will be a regular fight, mark my words,” whispered Dale, who sat near Pepper.

“He’s a fool to bring that here, at such a time,” answered The Imp. “What does he take us for, a lot of kids?”

“Addison!” called out Pluxton Cuddle, with his eyes on the roll book. “Stand up!”

The cadet addressed did so.

“Did you throw anything at Mr. Crabtree?”

“I have nothing to say, sir.”

“Do you defy me?” fumed Pluxton Cuddle.

To this the pupil made no answer.

“Sit down! Blackmore, stand up. What have you to say?”

“I have nothing to say, Mr. Cuddle.”

“What! You—er—Is this a plot, sir?”

“I have nothing to say, sir, excepting that I am willing to go on with my lessons, Mr. Cuddle.”

“We’ll have no lessons here until this is settled!” cried Josiah Crabtree. “Call the next pupil.”

“Blossom! What have you to say for yourself?” asked Cuddle.

“I have nothing to say, sir,” replied the first lieutenant of Company A, in the same tone of voice employed by those who had answered before him.


“This is—a conspiracy!” gasped Pluxton Cuddle.

“I told you how it was!” cried Josiah Crabtree. “I think the best thing I can do is to give each pupil present ten lashes with this cat.” And he shook the cat-o’-nine tails in the boys’ faces.

“Mr. Crabtree!” called out Jack, rising. “As major of the school battalion I feel it my duty to speak out. I think the boys would like me to be their spokesman.”

“Yes! yes!” was the cry from all sides.

“Tell him we won’t stand for a licking,” said one boy in the rear.

“Silence!” cried the two teachers simultaneously.

“We want justice!” came from the middle of the room.

“Leave it to Captain Putnam!” came from the right.

“Forget it and go on with the lessons,” added a voice from the left.

“Boys!” called out Jack and waved his hand. “Let me do the talking please.” And at once the classroom became silent.

“Ruddy, I want you to sit down!” thundered Josiah Crabtree.


“Perhaps it would be as well to listen to what he has to say,” whispered Pluxton Cuddle, who was growing a little alarmed at the demonstration the pupils seemed to be on the point of making.

“Mr. Cuddle, am I in authority here, or you?” demanded the unreasonable Crabtree.

“You asked me to assist you, sir,” answered Cuddle, sharply.

“So I did, but—but—these young ruffians must be taught to mind! The way they have acted is outrageous!”

“You won’t gain much by bullying them,” went on Pluxton Cuddle. “If I had my way, I know what I’d do, sir.”

“And what would you do?” snapped Josiah Crabtree.

“I should cut down their supply of food. That is the whole fault in this school—the boys get too much to eat, sir, entirely too much. It makes animals of them, yes, sir, animals!” Pluxton Cuddle was beginning to mount his hobby. “I have told Captain Putnam about it already. If the boys had only half of what they get now they would be brighter, quicker to learn, and much more easy to manage. As it is, they get large quantities of meat and it makes perfect bulls of them—and the pastry clogs their brains, and they can’t learn their lessons even if they try. Put them on half rations, and in less than a week you will behold a wonderful change in them.”


“Humph!” mused Josiah Crabtree, struck by a sudden idea. “It might be a good thing to cut down their food—give them say one meal a day until they got to their senses.”

“Two small meals,” interposed Pluxton Cuddle, eagerly. “And meat but once every forty-eight hours—and no pastry of any kind. It would do them a world of good.”

“Well, do as you think best, Mr. Cuddle. You have charge of them outside of the classrooms, remember.”

“Then you agree?” questioned Pluxton Cuddle eagerly.

“You may do as you please—I leave them entirely in your hands, outside of the classrooms. During school hours my word must be law.”

“Exactly, I understand.” Pluxton Cuddle began rubbing his hands together. “We’ll start on the new system of meals this very evening.”

“Do as you like.” Josiah Crabtree paused. “But I must finish what I started out to do.” He looked at Jack. “Ruddy, since you seem so very anxious to talk, what have you to say for yourself?”


“I wish to speak for the whole class—or at least for the majority of the boys,” corrected the young major, with a glance at Ritter, Coulter, Paxton and Sabine.

“Well, out with it!” snapped Crabtree.

“This trouble, sir, is all due to a misunderstanding,” pursued the young major. “We thought you wanted us to study the Latin lesson up to and including paragraph twenty-two. We were not prepared to go any further than that, even though Dave Kearney did get through all right. We think the whole matter might be dropped where it is—and we are willing to go back to our studies.”

“Drop it!” snapped Josiah Crabtree. “Never! If I do nothing more, I am going to thrash the boy who threw that inkwell at me and covered my face with ink.”

He said this so fiercely that Reff Ritter grew pale and looked around anxiously. The bully wondered if the other cadets present would help him to keep his secret.

“I want the student who threw that inkwell to stand up,” went on the teacher, as Jack, having had his way, sat down.

Nobody moved, although several pairs of eyes were turned upon Reff Ritter. Many lads present would have been glad to have seen the bully punished, but they did not consider it honorable to expose him.


Crabtree had Pluxton Cuddle go through the roll, but this gave the teachers no satisfaction. Each and every cadet answered that he had nothing to say.

After the last student had been questioned there was another pause and an ominous silence. The boys were curious to know what Josiah Crabtree would do next. The teacher was in a quandary.

“We will take this up again another time,” he snapped, finally. “You may return to your lessons, and to-morrow we’ll have for a Latin lesson down to the end of paragraph thirty-two. Do you understand?—down to the end of paragraph thirty-two—not thirty or thirty-one, but to the end of thirty-two.” And then turning he wrote the statement on the blackboard. “Now there will be no further misunderstanding,” he added sourly. Then he dismissed Peleg Snuggers and the gymnastic instructor, put away the cat-o’-nine tails in his desk, and turned to talk with Pluxton Cuddle in a whisper, so that the scholars might not hear what was said.

“Phew! I wonder if he really expects us to take such a long lesson?” exclaimed Pepper in a low voice. “Why, from twenty-two to thirty-two are ten paragraphs, and we never had over six before.”


“He is going to get square in one way if not in another,” answered Andy. “Just the same, I’ll wager a lot of the fellows won’t have the lesson to-morrow.”

A few minutes later Pluxton Cuddle hurried out to another classroom, and then the routine for the day went on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. The cadets even saw Josiah Crabtree smile to himself. It was a bad sign, and they knew it.

“He’s got it in for us,” whispered Dale. “Look out for a storm.”

“Yes, and a hurricane at that,” returned Stuffer.

The classes were usually dismissed in the morning at ten minutes to twelve, thus giving the cadets ten minutes for exercise before sitting down to dinner. But twelve o’clock came and Josiah Crabtree made no motion to dismiss the boys.

“Hello, this is a new move,” cried Pepper, in a low voice.

“Silence in the room,” called out the teacher sharply. “We will now take up the lesson in algebra. Conners, you may go to the blackboard.”

Somewhat perplexed, Bart Conners arose and walked to the board. He did not know the algebra lesson very well, for he had counted on going over it during the noon hour. He was given a decidedly difficult problem in equations.


“Say, is he going to keep us here all noon?” asked Hogan. “Sure, if he is, ’tis an outrage, so ’tis!”

“He isn’t going to starve me!” answered Stuffer, who, as usual, was very hungry. He raised his hand, and then, to get quicker recognition, snapped his finger and thumb.

“Singleton, what do you want?” asked Josiah Crabtree, tartly.

“Please, sir, it’s after twelve o’clock.”

“I know it.”

“Aren’t we to go to dinner, sir?”

“Not now. Sit down.” And the teacher frowned heavily.

Stuffer sank into his seat, a look of misery on his face. His appearance was so woe-begone Pepper had to laugh outright. At this Crabtree rapped sharply on his desk.

“Silence! I will have silence!” he called. “Conners, go on with the example.”

“I can’t—er—do it,” stammered the captain of Company B.

“Huh! Then take your seat! Ritter!”

“Please, sir, I am afraid I can’t do it either. I was going to study directly after dinner——” began the bully.

“Never mind the rest, Ritter. Paxton!”


“I guess I can do it,” answered Nick Paxton, and shuffled to the blackboard. He soon had a mass of figures written down, but they seemed to lead to nowhere, and Josiah Crabtree was more put out than ever.

“That is all wrong, Paxton!” he said. “You are a blockhead! Take your seat!” And Paxton did so, with his head hanging down.

In the meantime the other classes had been dismissed, and those kept in could hear the other cadets walk through the halls and enter the mess room. Then followed a clatter of knives and forks and dishes. These sounds made many cadets besides Stuffer feel an emptiness in the vicinity of their belts.

“As no one appears to know the algebra lesson, we will take time for studying,” said Josiah Crabtree. “I will examine you again at one o’clock. The room will be quiet.”

Quarter of an hour dragged by slowly. The boys wanted to talk the situation over, but Josiah Crabtree would permit no whispering. Presently the teacher arose and walked to the door.

“I will be back shortly,” he said, in a cold voice. “I want absolute order maintained during my absence.” Then he went out, shutting the door after him. A strange clicking followed.

“He has locked us in!” exclaimed a youth who sat near the door, in a hoarse whisper. “Now what do you think of that?”



“I guess he has gone off to get his own dinner, and he is going to leave us starve!” groaned Stuffer. “I’m not going to stand it—no, sir!” And he jumped up from his desk and began to walk around nervously.

“This is certainly a new move,” said Jack.

“I don’t believe Captain Putnam or Mr. Strong would do such a thing,” vouchsafed Bart Conners.

“No, both of them are too considerate,” answered Dale.

“This is the combined work of old Crabtree and Cuddle,” came from Andy. “Cuddle loves to cut a fellow short on grub.”

Jack walked to the door and tried the knob.

“Locked, true enough,” he said.

“But the windows aren’t,” added Pepper. “I could get out of a window almost as quick as out of a door,” he went on suggestively.


“Let’s all climb out and make a break for the mess hall,” cried Fred Century. “He has no right to cut us out of our dinner. It’s paid for.”

“So it is!” answered several.

“I’ll climb out if anybody else will,” said Reff Ritter.

“So will I!” said Dale and Coulter in a breath.

“Look here, fellows, if we make a move we ought to have a regularly appointed leader,” said Dave Kearney. “I move we make Major Ruddy our leader. He’s the commander of the battalion anyway.”

“Second the motion!” came in a dozen voices.

“What’s the matter with my leading?” demanded Reff Ritter. “I made the suggestion to climb out of the window, didn’t I?”

“That’s it—make Reff leader,” put in Paxton, quickly.

“He’s just the fellow for the place,” added Coulter, while Sabine nodded.

“No, no, give us Ruddy!” called out a great number of cadets.

“Ruddy! Ruddy!”

“No, give Ritter a show!”

“Might as well put it to a vote,” suggested Dale, when cries were heard from all sides. “All in favor of Jack Ruddy for leader raise their right hand.”


Instantly fifteen hands went up.

“Now those in favor of Reff Ritter.”

Eight hands went up. The other cadets present refused to vote at all.

“Major Ruddy has it,” announced Dale. “Is everybody satisfied?”

“Yes!” was the loud cry.

“I suppose we’ll have to be,” grumbled Coulter. “But Ritter would have made a better leader. He offered to go through the window, and——”

“Never mind chewing it over now,” broke in Pepper. “From now on, let Jack do the talking.”

“Boys, are all in favor of leaving this room and going to the mess hall?” asked the young major, mounting to the top of a desk and gazing around him.

“Yes! yes!” was the answer.

“Then let us get out of the windows, form a company on the campus, and march into the mess hall in regular soldier style. When we get there, let every fellow take his usual place—and refuse to budge until dinner is served.”

“Hurrah! That’s the talk!” cried Stuffer. “And a full-sized dinner too, with dessert!” he added hastily.


For cadets used to gymnasium practice, it was an easy matter to climb out of the classroom windows to the campus. Once on the green, Jack lost no time in forming the boys into a single company.

“Attention!” he called out. “By column of two, forward march!” And he led the way, the cadets following in pairs, and marching as stiffly as if on dress parade.

It may be that somebody was on the watch, yet the boys were not disturbed, and soon they filed into the mess hall, where the other cadets were just finishing their midday meal. At one table sat Pluxton Cuddle and at another Josiah Crabtree. Both leaped to their feet in amazement.

“How dare you!” gasped Josiah Crabtree. “How dare you!” For the moment he could think of nothing else to say.

“As it was past the dinner hour the class made up its mind to come in and get something to eat,” said Jack, stiffly, and looking the teacher full in the face.

“You—you—rascal!” exploded the teacher. “I’ll have you to underst——”

“Excuse me, Mr. Crabtree, I am not a rascal,” interrupted Jack. “I am the major of the Putnam Hall battalion and the spokesman of our class—so chosen by a vote of the cadets. We decided that we wanted dinner—and we are here to get it.”


“This is mutiny—rebellion!” gasped Pluxton Cuddle.

“You can call it what you please, Mr. Cuddle. We are entitled to our dinner and we mean to have it.”

“Good for you, Major Ruddy!” came from a pupil from another classroom.

“Crabtree and Cuddle have no right to do you out of your dinners,” added another.

“Make them give you what you pay for,” added a third.

The cries increased until it looked as if the demonstration in the mess hall would be greater than that which had occurred in the classroom. Pluxton Cuddle called for order, but even as he spoke a hot potato went sailing through the air and hit him in the shirt front. Then a shower of bread went up into the air, falling all around both Cuddle and Crabtree.

“Boys! boys!” gasped Josiah Crabtree, and now he turned pale, wondering what would happen next.

“Better give ’em something to eat, sah!” suggested the head waiter, a colored man. “Some of them hungry chaps look wicked, sah!”


“They have all been fed too much, that is the reason,” said Pluxton Cuddle. “I don’t mean to-day, I mean in general. However, perhaps it will be as well, just now, to let them have a—er—a light repast,” he went on stammeringly, for another hot potato had hit him on the shoulder.

“Boys!” called out Jack. “Stop throwing things. Mr. Crabtree wants to say something.” For he saw that the teacher wanted to speak to the assemblage.

“I—er—I wish to state,” began Josiah Crabtree, when the cadets settled down at Jack’s command, “that I—er—I did not intend to make you do without your dinner. I was—er—going to—er—let you come to the mess hall—er—after the other pupils had finished. But as it is——” he gazed around somewhat helplessly, “I—er—I think you can stay. The waiters will bring in the dinner.” And he sat down and mopped his perspiring forehead with his handkerchief.

“Gosh! I’ll bet it was hard for him to come down!” whispered Dale to Pepper.

“He’s getting afraid of the crowd,” returned The Imp. “He was afraid we’d pass him the stuff on the table without waiting for plates!” And Pepper grinned suggestively.

The cadets had to wait a long time before they were served. Meanwhile Pluxton Cuddle consulted with the head waiter and paid a visit to the kitchen. As a result, when the dinner came in, the cadets found the food both scanty and exceedingly plain.


“Say, how is a chap to get along on this,” growled Stuffer. “I could eat twice as much!”

“Make the best of it this time,” said Jack. “We can hold a meeting after school and decide upon what to do in the future—if things don’t mend.”

The worst of it—to Stuffer’s mind—was that there was nothing but a little rice pudding for dessert. All of the cadets who had rebelled went from the mess room hungry—and out on the campus they discovered that the other cadets had fared little better.

“It’s Cuddle’s doings,” said one of the other students. “He’s a crank on the question of eating—thinks a man ought to eat next to nothing to be healthy and clear-minded.”

“Crabtree was willing enough to fall in with his views,” returned Pepper.

“That’s because he wanted to square up with you. Personally, Crabtree likes to eat as hearty a meal as anybody.”

“I know that.”

“I don’t know what we are coming to, if Captain Putnam or Mr. Strong don’t come back soon,” said another cadet. “We had a row in our classroom too.”


“Neither Crabtree nor Cuddle are fit to manage a school,” said Dale. “They may be good enough teachers, but they need somebody in authority over them.” And this statement hit the nail squarely on the head.

Reff Ritter was still disturbed, thinking that Crabtree might find out that he was guilty of throwing the inkwell, and he went around, “sounding” various cadets and getting them to promise not to mention the matter. He was chagrined to think that he had not been chosen leader in the rebellion, and was half inclined to draw away from Jack’s friends and form a party of his own.

“Ruddy wants to lead in everything,” he growled to Coulter. “It makes me sick!”

“Well, you can’t afford to go back on him now,” was the answer. “If you do he may take it in his head to let old Crabtree know about the inkwell, and then——”

“Oh, he can lead if he wants the job so bad,” interrupted the bully hastily.

At the proper time the bell rang for the afternoon session and all of the cadets marched to their various classrooms as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. Lessons were taken up where they had been dropped, but the boys found it hard to concentrate their minds on what they were studying or reciting. All felt that a storm—and a big one at that—was brewing.


Josiah Crabtree did not come into the classroom occupied by Jack and his chums, and Reff Ritter and his crowd. Instead he sent an under teacher, a meek man who did just what he was told, no more and no less. With this teacher the boys got along very well.

“Wish we could have him right along,” observed Stuffer.

“If you did have him you wouldn’t make much progress,” answered Jack. “He’s good enough for the lower classes, but that’s all. He doesn’t know half as much as Mr. Strong.”

When the cadets were dismissed for the day they hurried out on the campus, and here Jack asked all who were interested in what had occurred to attend a meeting at the boathouse. About three-quarters of the cadets responded, those holding back being the smaller lads and a few timid ones like Mumps.

At this meeting it came out that every class in the school had “caught it,” either from Josiah Crabtree or Pluxton Cuddle. Sharp words and almost blows had been exchanged in the classrooms, and every cadet had some fault to find with the food served for dinner.


“Cuddle not only wants to cut down the amount, but he wants the meats and other things cooked in a peculiar way,” said one cadet. “I have always been used to a good table and I am not going to stand for it.”

“Nor will I!” cried Stuffer. “Our parents pay for good board—and that means three square meals a day.”

“I understand Captain Putnam and Mr. Strong expect to be away for at least ten days,” said Henry Lee. “I am not going to starve myself for that length of time, even to please Crabtree and Cuddle.”

“Just what I say!” exclaimed Pepper.

“We are certainly entitled to as good a table as we have been having,” was Jack’s comment.

“Then, if we don’t get it, let’s strike!” cried Andy.



The meeting at the boathouse lasted for nearly an hour, yet no definite conclusion was reached. Some of the boys wanted to wait and see what developed, while others were for taking the most drastic action immediately. At last it was voted to wait, and to leave the matter of what was to be done in the hands of a committee of five, of which Jack was the chairman. The other four members of this committee were Pepper, Dale, Bart Conners and a cadet named Barringer, a youth who had the distinction of being the first cadet enrolled at the Hall, and whose folks were warm personal friends of Captain Putnam.

“I am sure if we act with care and fairness Captain Putnam will uphold us,” said Frank Barringer. “But there must be no rowdyism. If there is I shall withdraw from the committee and from whatever is done.”

“I shall not favor rowdyism,” answered the young major. “But neither shall I allow Crabtree or Cuddle to walk over us.”


“Oh, I agree on that, Major Ruddy. Both of those teachers have been far too dictatorial. But it was a mistake to throw potatoes and bread around the dining room, and it was vile to throw an inkwell at Crabtree,” added Frank Barringer.

During the afternoon Josiah Crabtree drove to Cedarville in Captain Putnam’s coach. When he returned he had with him three men, burly individuals who looked like dock hands—and such they were.

“What are those men going to do here?” asked Andy of his chums.

“I can’t imagine,” answered Pepper. “If they were going to do some work they wouldn’t come at this time of day.”

“Let us see if Peleg Snuggers knows anything about it,” suggested Dale, and he and the others walked down to the barn, where they found the general utility man putting up the team the teacher had used.

“Come to help me, young gents?” asked Snuggers, with a grin.

“Peleg, we want to know what those three men came for?” said Dale.

“Oh!” The general utility man shrugged his shoulders. “Better go an’ ask Mr. Crabtree—he brung ’em.”


“You mustn’t say ‘brung,’ Peleg,” said Pepper. “It’s bad geography. You ought to say bringed or brang.”

“Well, you see, I ain’t never had much schoolin’,” was the reply, as the man scratched his head. “Say,” he went on, with a grin, “you had high jinks this mornin’, didn’t you? I wanted to laff right out, but I didn’t dast.”

“Are those men going to work here, Peleg?” demanded Jack, sternly.

“Why don’t you ask Mr. Crabtree? He brung—no, bringed, no brang ’em.”

“Are they here to keep the peace?” asked Andy, suddenly.

“Mr. Crabtree said as how I wasn’t to say nuthin’ about it,” stammered the general utility man.

“Then he brought them here for that purpose?” demanded Jack.

“Yes—but don’t let on as how I told ye!” whispered Peleg Snuggers. “He an’ Cuddle got scart, I reckon, and Crabtree said he was goin’ to git some special policemen to keep the peace.”

“Well, if that isn’t the limit!” cried Pepper.

“The next thing you know he’ll be marching the whole school down to the Cedarville lock-up,” came from Dale. “That is—if he can!” he added significantly.


“Now please don’t let on I said a word about it!” pleaded Peleg Snuggers. “If ye do it may cost me my place.”

“We won’t utter a syllable,” answered Jack. “Remember that, fellows,” he added, and the others nodded.

“Crabtree is awful mad,” went on the man of all work. “He an’ that new teacher have got it in for all of ye! Better watch out!”

“We will,” said Pepper; and then he and his chums walked away.

It was now time for the afternoon dress parade, and the cadets had to hurry to get ready. Soon the drum sounded out and the cadets gathered on the campus. Jack got his sword and took command, and put the boys through a drill that would have done any army officer good to behold. Only a few boys, like Ritter, Coulter and Paxton took advantage of the fact that Captain Putnam was absent, and to these the young major and the other officers paid scant attention. Ritter hoped he would be “called down,” so that he might have a chance to answer back, and it made him sour when this opportunity was denied to him.

It was whispered around what the three Cedarville men had been brought for, and loud were the denunciations of Josiah Crabtree in consequence.


“He wants to give Putnam Hall a black eye,” said Stuffer. “If he was a gentleman he would let us settle this matter among ourselves.”

“If those men try to do anything I fancy there will be a pitched battle,” said another.

As was the custom, Jack marched the battalion around the grounds and then into the mess hall, and here all sat down to the tables for supper. They saw the three strange men sitting at a side table, in company with the gymnastic instructor, and near at hand were half a dozen heavy carriage whips.

“Jack, did you notice the men and the whips?” questioned Pepper, in a low, excited voice.

“I did—and I think Crabtree and Cuddle are crazy,” was the equally low response.

“Young gentlemen!” called out Josiah Crabtree, from his place at the head of a table. “This noon we had a most outrageous scene enacted here. Such a scene must not be repeated. We must have order—no matter what the cost.” And he allowed his eyes to wander toward the three strange men and the gymnastic instructor and then to the whips.

No more was said, and the waiters began to bring in the food. There was bread and butter, some very thin slices of cold roast beef, tea, and some exceedingly small pieces of plain cake.


“What a supper!” murmured Pepper. “Does he take us for fairies?”

“I could eat three times as much as this,” said Andy. “Poor Stuffer, this will just about finish him!”

“It’s an outrage!” cried Dale, but in a low tone.

“Mr. Crabtree!” The call came from Stuffer, who had arisen.

“What do you want, Singleton?” snapped the teacher.

“I want more to eat.”

“You have all you are going to have. Sit down, or else leave the room.”

“I am hungry, and——”

“You boys all eat too much,” interposed Pluxton Cuddle. “Hereafter you are to have what is proper for you and no more.”

“I tell you I am hungry,” insisted Stuffer.

“Sit down, or leave!” cried Josiah Crabtree.

“I want some more too,” put in Andy.

“So do I!” added Henry Lee.

“We are entitled to more,” came from Dave Kearney.

“Our folks pay for it,” said Reff Ritter.

“Will you be quiet,” stormed Josiah Crabtree. “Mr. Cuddle and I know what is best for you.”


“Mr. Crabtree!” called out Jack, getting up. “In the name of this school I demand that you listen to me.”

He spoke in a full, ringing voice that penetrated every corner of the dining hall. Instantly every eye was fastened on the youthful major.

“Ruddy!” gasped the teacher. “How dare you talk to me in this fashion! Sit down! Sit down instantly!”

“Not until I have had my say. Mr. Crabtree, the cadets of this school had a meeting this afternoon, and we resolved to——”

“Ruddy, sit down and be quiet, or I’ll have you put out!” burst out Josiah Crabtree, purple in the face.

“We resolved that we would not stand this treatment any longer. A committee was formed, of which I have the honor to be chairman. This committee is willing to have a conference with you and Mr. Cuddle, and——”

Jack got no further, for, wild with rage, Josiah Crabtree had motioned to two of the strange men and these fellows now came forward, each with a whip in his hand.

“Don’t strike Ruddy!” called out Pepper. “If you do, you’ll rue it!” And he caught up a plate from the table.


“Put those whips down!” came from a dozen boys, and on the instant the mess hall was in an uproar. Nearly every cadet armed himself with a plate, cup or saucer.

The strange men who had come close to Jack halted, and then slunk back. They saw that the cadets “meant business” and as a consequence they were afraid to act.

“Boys, keep quiet!” called out Jack, in the midst of the din, and when the tumult had somewhat subsided, he went on: “Mr. Crabtree, do not go too far, or the consequences will be on your own head. We are willing to do what is fair and just. But you must treat us fair and just, too, and we want the same kind of food, and the same quantity, that we had when Captain Putnam was here.”

“I would like to ask one question,” put in Frank Barringer. “Did Captain Putnam authorize anybody to cut down our food?”

“He authorized Mr. Crabtree and myself to manage the school,” snapped Pluxton Cuddle.

“That isn’t answering the question,” said Jack. “Did the captain say anything at all about the food?”

“I am not on the witness stand,” snarled Cuddle.


“We intend to manage this institution as we deem best,” said Josiah Crabtree. “I command every student present to put down the dish he is holding.”

“Then make those men retire and put down the whips,” cried Andy.

“Yes! yes!” was the cry. “Take the men and the whips away!”

Again the tumult arose, and in the midst of the uproar a plate whizzed through the air and struck Pluxton Cuddle on the shoulder, causing him to utter a cry of pain and alarm. Then a saucer landed on Josiah Crabtree’s bosom.

When the first plate was thrown the men with the whips sprang forward, and in a twinkling half a dozen cadets felt the keen lashes. But then came more dishes, and one man was hit on the nose and another on the hand.

“Hi! we can’t stand this!” called one of the men. “We’ll be killed! Come on!” And dodging a sugar bowl, he ran out of a side door, and the other men, including the gymnasium instructor, followed him. Then, shaking his fist at the students, Josiah Crabtree backed out also, and Pluxton Cuddle followed.

“Hurrah! We have vanquished the enemy!” cried Andy.


“Boys, stop that plate throwing!” called out Jack. And then gradually the excitement died down. Only the cadets and the waiters were left in the mess room. The waiters were so scared and perplexed they did not know what to do.

“Let us have some more eating,” exclaimed Stuffer. “We may not get another chance like this in a hurry.” And he gave a waiter an order to fill. Then came more orders, and the waiters went off, grinning from ear to ear, for at heart they sided with the students.

While waiting for more food the cadets talked the situation over from every possible point of view. Many condemned the plate throwing, which had been started by Ritter and Coulter. Yet all were glad that the men with horsewhips had been routed. What to do next was a question nobody was able to answer.

“I know one thing we ought to do,” said Jack. “Telegraph to Captain Putnam to come back at once.”

“That’s it!” cried Dale. “Do it before old Crabtree sends a message. That will show the captain we are not afraid to leave the case to him.”

“We’ll have to get his address first,” said Henry Lee.

“I have it,” answered Frank Barringer, “and I’ll send him a telegram to-night. But I don’t think he’ll be able to get back here inside of several days.”



“Well, one thing is certain,” observed Pepper, as he and half a dozen others left the mess hall. “We are getting into this thing deeper and deeper. I wonder how it is going to end?”

“I doubt if it ends before Captain Putnam gets back,” answered Jack. “Crabtree is just headstrong enough to attempt something even worse than getting men with whips. Maybe he’ll have all of us locked up.”

“Will you stand for being arrested, Jack?” asked Andy.


“Old Crabtree is a fool!” burst out Henry Lee. “I’d give half my spending money to ship him to—to Africa or the North Pole.”

“Say, I’ve got an idea!” burst out Stuffer. “Why not send him a bogus telegram, saying his grandfather or second cousin is dying of brainstorm, or something like that, and ask him to come right on? That might take him away until the captain got back.”


“We might try that,” mused Jack. “But let us see first what happens to-morrow. Maybe by morning Crabtree and Cuddle will cool off—and perhaps the fellows will cool off too.”

What had become of the teachers and the strange men none of the cadets knew, and the absence of all made the boys worry somewhat, although they tried not to show it. They wondered if the teachers had really gone off to summon more help, or make a formal complaint to the authorities. There was very little playing or studying done that evening.

“Might as well go to bed,” said Pepper, when the usual time for retiring was at hand. “I must say, I am dead tired. Such strenuous times are too much for me.”

One by one the cadets went to their various dormitories. A few were inclined to “cut up,” but Jack soon stopped this in every room but that occupied by Reff Ritter and his cronies.

“I want you to be on your good behavior,” said the young major. “Remember, when Captain Putnam gets back I am going to give him a full and true report of what happened.”

“Don’t you dare to say anything to him about inkwells and plates,” growled Ritter. “If you do you’ll get into trouble.”

“I expect every student to confess to just what was done,” answered Jack.


By ten o’clock the majority of the cadets went to bed, and an hour later the Hall was wrapped in stillness. Then, from the barn, there came a number of strange men, Josiah Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle.

“Now make no noise,” cautioned Crabtree. “If you do some of them may wake up and make trouble.”

“We understand,” answered one of the strange men, who appeared to be something of a leader. Then the whole party entered the school building by a back door, and went about carrying out a plan they had arranged.

“Hello!” cried Pepper, as he woke up in the morning and looked at his watch. “Half-past seven! I didn’t hear any bell.”

“Neither did I,” came from Andy, who sat up at the same time. “I fancy it didn’t ring.”

“Everything is going wrong in this school,” put in the young major, as he slipped out of bed and commenced to dress.

“Maybe old Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle, Esquire, have given it up,” suggested Pepper, as he rubbed his eyes and yawned.

Jack was the first to be dressed and Andy quickly followed.

“Let us take a look around and see how the land lays,” suggested the young major.


“I’m with you,” responded the acrobatic youth promptly.

“Beware of traps!” sang out Pepper. “Crabtree may be waiting for you with a club.”

“Or a shotgun,” added Dale, with a grin.

Jack walked to the door and turned the knob. To his surprise the door refused to open. He tried to shake it, but it remained firm.

“What’s the matter?” cried Pepper.

“The door is locked.”


“Yes.” Jack stooped down and looked into the keyhole. “The key is on the outside,” he added.

“Perhaps somebody is playing a trick on us,” suggested Dale.

“Yes—Crabtree and Cuddle,” murmured the young major.

“Let’s try the door to the next room,” suggested Andy.

Several of the dormitories were connected by side doors, and hurried into the next room, Andy tried the door leading to the hall.

“This is locked too!” he said.

“We’re locked in, that is all there is to it!” cried one of the cadets. “The enemy has locked us in while we slept!”


“This must be a new idea for bringing us to terms,” said Stuffer. “Wonder how long Crabtree and Cuddle expect to keep us here?”

“Long enough to make you go without your breakfast, Stuffer,” said Pepper, with a grin. “Not much! I’ll break down the door first!”

“No, you won’t break down no door!” cried a harsh voice from the outer side of the barrier. “If you try it, you’ll get hurt, remember that!”

“Who are you?” demanded Andy, in astonishment.

“I’m a man hired to watch this door, and I am going to do it. Don’t you try no funny work, or you’ll get hurt.”

“Are you one of the fellows who was in the mess hall yesterday?” asked Jack.


“Then you’ve been hired by Mr. Crabtree and Mr. Cuddle?”

“That’s it.”

“Where are they?”

“That ain’t none of your business,” answered the strange man, roughly.

“It is my business,” returned the young major, warmly. “You send for Mr. Crabtree at once.”

“I ain’t a-going to do it. I was told to stay here and watch these doors. Now you jest keep quiet and mind your own business.”


“Supposing we break down the door?” asked Pepper.

“The first boy who tries it, will get a good licking, and he’ll be tied up in the coal cellar in the bargain.”

“Are you alone?” asked Fred Century.

“Not much I ain’t! There are ten of us here and outside, and we are actin’ under orders from the teachers. They are going to show you that you can’t run this school during Captain Putnam’s absence.”

“I wonder if he is telling the truth?” whispered the young major to his chums. “Ten of them! It doesn’t seem possible!”

“Wait till I take a look out of a window,” said Dale, and ran to the nearest opening. He poked out his head and looked down on the campus. “Well, I declare!” he ejaculated.

“What do you see?” asked several in a chorus.

“Three men down there, and they are armed with clubs and guns!”


“Never!” burst out Jack, and ran forward to take a look himself. Soon every window was crowded with cadets, all gazing down to the ground below. There were three strange men, including one of those who had been in the mess hall the evening previous. As Dale had said, each had a club in one hand and a gun in the other. They walked up and down the side of the building, every once in a while glancing upward.

“This is the limit!” cried Pepper. “Why, you’d think we were prisoners in a penitentiary!”

“Yes, and some of those men were the keepers,” added Andy. “Oh, I say,” he went on, “let us give them something to let them know we are awake.”

“Right you are!” cried Pepper, quick to catch on to a joke. “Everybody hand them a souvenir!”

In a moment more each cadet present in the two rooms had armed himself. One had a cake of soap, another an old pair of shoes, another a pitcher of water, and the rest old books and odds and ends of various kinds.

“Now then, all together!” cried Pepper. “One, two, three!” And down went the miscellaneous collection on the heads of the guards. Yells of pain and wonder arose, for each of the men was struck. Before the guards could recover from the unexpected attack, each cadet withdrew from sight.

“Hi, you! We’ll get square, see if we don’t!” yelled one of the men. “Don’t you attempt to git out o’ them windows or you’ll git shot!”


“Do you think they’d attempt to shoot us?” asked one of the boys, in consternation.

“I don’t know what to think,” answered Jack, and his tone was very grave. He realized that the situation had become a truly serious one.



Leaving the windows, the cadets went back to the doors leading to the hallway. They again called up the man on guard there and asked for Josiah Crabtree.

“We must speak to him,” said Jack. “And if you won’t call him we’ll all rush the doors, break them down, and—well, you know what to expect.”

At first the man wanted to argue again, but presently he became frightened and blew a whistle he carried. Then the cadets heard footsteps approaching.

“What do you want?” came in Josiah Crabtree’s sharp voice.

“They want to talk to you,” answered the guard doggedly. “Said they’d break down the doors if I didn’t call you.”

“They’ll not dare to do it!” cried the teacher.

“Yes, we will dare!” shouted several of the boys who heard the remark.


“Mr. Crabtree, what is the meaning of this?” demanded Jack, in a loud, clear voice.

“It means that I am going to keep you in your rooms until you learn how to behave yourselves,” was the cold answer.

“What about breakfast?”

“You can have something to eat when you come downstairs.”

“Then let us come down now,” put in Stuffer.

“Not a cadet shall leave these rooms until he has apologized to Mr. Cuddle and myself and given his word of honor that he will in the future do precisely as he is told,” said Josiah Crabtree, in the overbearing, dictatorial tone he so often employed in the classroom.

“Apologize!” gasped a number of the cadets.

“That is what I said.”

“I’ll not apologize!” murmured Fred.

“Not in a year of Mondays,” added Dale. “I don’t know that I did anything to apologize for. He and Cuddle started the row.”

“Mr. Crabtree, I demand my breakfast!” cried Stuffer. “I am entitled to it—my folks have paid for it—and I am not going to let you swindle me out of it.”

“Swindle you!” gasped the teacher, in a rage. “Such language! To me! me! Ha! boy, wait till I get my hands on you!”


“Mr. Crabtree, I think you’ll find it best to let us out and give us our breakfast,” continued the young major. “You certainly can’t intend to starve us.”

“We do intend to starve you, until you come to your senses,” said another voice in the hallway. It was Pluxton Cuddle who had come up. “As I have said many times, you eat too much and it has made you saucy, impudent and unreasonable. An empty stomach may bring you to your senses.”

“It may make us desperate,” murmured Stuffer. “I am not going to let anybody starve me!”

During this talk there had been considerable pounding on the doors of various other dormitories. Evidently the great majority of the cadets were held prisoners in their rooms. Now Josiah Crabtree went off to talk at another door, and was followed by the new teacher.

“Boys, I want you to come to order!” called out Jack, to the cadets of the two rooms that adjoined each other.

“Going to hand around sandwiches?” questioned Stuffer, dolefully. “If you are, give me about six!”

“Pull up your belt, Stuffer,” was the answer, with a smile. “If you don’t get breakfast to-day you may get it to-morrow.”


“I’ll have breakfast to-day—or pull down the Hall!” said the youth who loved to eat.

“The question is, What are we going to do?” said Jack, in a loud voice. “Mr. Crabtree wants us to apologize and promise to do exactly as we are told in the future. What have you to say to his proposition?”

“No apologies!” was the cry.

“No promises to do just whatever he wants,” added Dale. “He is too unreasonable.”

“That’s it!” said Fred.

“Tell him we are willing to return to our lessons and behave ourselves,” said Bart Conners. “And add that we are willing to leave the question of punishment for what has happened to Captain Putnam.”

“That’s the talk!” said several.

“And if he won’t give in, sure, we can break down the dures, bedad!” came from Emerald. “We can have a regular Donnybrook Fair time, so we can!”

“If possible we ought to keep from further quarrels,” said Jack. “Let us arbitrate if it can possibly be done.”


So it was finally decided, and again Josiah Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle were called to one of the doors of the two rooms. In a calm voice Jack explained to the teachers and pleaded that the whole matter be allowed to rest until Captain Putnam’s return. He said he would vouch for it that the boys would go back to their studies just as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He added, that he thought it was a disgrace to bring the strange men to the Hall as guards and he asked that they be dismissed.

It was with difficulty that Josiah Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle could be made to listen. The two instructors had talked the matter over between them, and the unreasonableness of the one was bolstered up by the other. They refused to listen to any argument, and stuck by the proposition Josiah Crabtree had first laid down.

“And not a mouthful of food shall any cadet have until he does as we demand,” said Crabtree.

“And if you try to break out you’ll do it at your peril,” added Pluxton Cuddle. And then the two teachers gave the guards in the hallways some instructions in whispers, and went below again.


It would be hard to define the feelings of the cadets when they were left alone once more. Some wanted to break down the doors at once, while others spoke of climbing out of the windows, using knotted-together bedsheets for that purpose. Still others advised waiting to see what might turn up.

“We can all do without our breakfast,” said Jack. “And we can go without dinner, too, if we have to.”

“Maybe you can, but I can’t,” groaned Stuffer.

“I think old Crabtree wants us to break down the doors and do as much damage to the building as possible,” said Andy. “Then he’ll be able to prove to Captain Putnam what a lot of ruffians we are.”

“Maybe you are right,” answered Dale. “I agree with Jack, let us go slow and see what happens.”

“I wonder how Reff Ritter and his crowd are taking it,” said Henry Lee.

“Coulter won’t want to go without his breakfast,” answered Andy. “He is the greatest feeder in the school. He eats even more than Stuffer.”

“Reff Ritter can eat his share, too,” said Bart.

“Ritter is responsible for a good deal of this trouble,” went on Dave Kearney. “He made old Crabtree boiling mad by throwing the inkwell, and he started the throwing of things in the mess room.”


It was a dreary wait in the dormitories, and the majority of the boys did not know what to do with themselves. Joe Nelson started to study but soon gave it up. One lad had some dominoes and several cadets played a dozen games or more.

While this was going on Jack walked around the two rooms and looked into the various clothing closets. Presently an idea struck him and he called Andy to his side. The two entered one of the closets, and the acrobatic youth got up on a shelf and pulled loose a board of the ceiling. Then he wormed his way through the opening made.

“What is Andy doing?” asked Pepper, coming up.

“Why, I remembered the board ceiling in this closet,” answered Jack. “I wondered what was above it. Andy is such a gymnast I sent him up to investigate.”

It was so dark beyond the hole that little or nothing could be seen. Andy was gone over quarter of an hour. Then his head appeared and he called softly.


“Well, have you discovered anything?” asked the young major, eagerly.

“Have I discovered anything? Well, I just guess yes!” was the reply. “I’ve made the greatest discovery of the century!”



“Here, take these bags first. I would have brought more, only I couldn’t carry them.”

And then, to the amazement of the cadets who assembled in the clothing closet and near the doorway, the acrobatic youth passed down four large paper bags, each filled with something to eat. Then he came down himself, closing the opening in the ceiling after him.

“Tell us, Jack, where does the hole lead to?” asked Dale.

“That hole leads to one end of the trunk room,” was the answer. “The door to the trunk room was unlocked, and from there I passed to a back hallway and down a back stairs to the kitchen and pantry. Fellows, we’ve got Crabtree and Cuddle beaten a mile! We can get all the grub we want—and have our liberty too!”



The announcement that Andy made was received with keen interest by all. Every cadet crowded around to get some of the food brought in and to learn the particulars of his foraging and exploring expedition.

“Getting down the back stairs was easy,” said the acrobatic youth. “But once I was in the lower entryway I had to keep my eyes open, to escape the cook and the waiters. I found the bags on a hook behind the door and I got the grub from the pantry when nobody was near. I was careful what I took, for I didn’t want anybody to discover what had been done. I may want to go back for dinner, you know,” and Andy grinned broadly.

“Andy, you have saved my life!” cried Stuffer, with his mouth full of bread and cheese. “I shall remember you in my will.”


“Leave some for me,” was the reply. “I am just as hungry as anybody. All I had in the pantry was one cold sausage and a cracker.”

“Here, we’ll divide the stuff equally,” said Jack, and this was done. Fortunately the paper bags held quite some food, so there was more than enough for all.

“It’s a pity we can’t get some of this stuff to the fellows in the next dormitory,” said Pepper. “I suppose they are as hungry as we are.”

“I’ve got an idea!” cried Dale. “Put all your contributions for the next room into this bag,” and he held up the receptacle as he spoke.

“How are you going to get it to them?” questioned Henry Lee.

“I have a brand new, patented and copyrighted way,” went on Dale. “Just fork over, everybody, for the benefit of the heathens in Hungry Land.”

The bag was soon filled with bread, cheese, crackers and chipped beef, and then Dale tied it fast to the end of a hockey stick. This done, he went to one of the windows and looked out cautiously. Not one of the guards below was looking up. He shoved the bag outside and swung it to the left as far as possible—directly in front of another window.


“Hello, what’s this?” a voice cried, and then the bag was caught and taken in. Then the head of a cadet appeared. “Much obliged,” he said to Dale. “Just what we were wishing for. How did you get it?”

“That’s a secret,” answered Dale. “Maybe, if you keep mum, there will be more coming later.” “Are you fellows going to give in?” went on the cadet from the next dormitory.


“Just what we’ve decided. We’ve got a plan.”

“What’s that?”

“If we are kept here until to-night we are going to run away.”

“Perhaps we’ll be with you,” answered Dale, and then, as a guard looked up, he drew in his head.

“That’s a great idea, Dale,” said Jack. “By means of the windows we can communicate with every dormitory on this side of the building. Queer we didn’t think of it before.”

“We were too much upset by the talk with Cuddle and Crabtree,” answered Stuffer.

“Let us pass along some notes and see how the different rooms feel over this affair,” continued the young major.


Soon the notes were written, each having on it the number of the dormitory for which it was intended. Then the communications were pinned to the hockey stick, and by this means passed from one room window to the next. Thus five rooms were reached, and soon notes began to come back.

“We are certainly of one mind,” said Jack, after the various communications had been read. “Everybody says, ‘No surrender!’ That’s plain enough.”

“Barringer’s room is giving out apples,” said Bart. “That’s not so bad. I shouldn’t mind an apple myself.”

“They are all waiting for food, and I suppose it is up to us to supply them with some,” continued Jack. “I have half a mind to go down myself and look around.”

“I’ll go with you,” put in Pepper. “I am tired of being boxed in here.”

“Well, be careful, or you’ll give the snap away,” cautioned Andy. “Some of the steps of the back stairs squeak terribly. I left my shoes in the trunk room when I went down.”

“We’ll leave them here,” answered The Imp, and took off the footwear then and there, and Jack did likewise.

It was no easy thing to climb through the ceiling opening into the trunk room, and once above they had to feel their way through the darkness to the door. Pepper stubbed his toe on a trunk and drew a sharp breath of pain.


“Hurt?” whispered Jack.

“No, but I put an awful dent in the trunk,” was the joking reply. “Let us get a candle when we go down. I hate this darkness.”

With bated breath the two cadets walked out into the deserted hall and then down the back stairs. Once they heard somebody close at hand slam a door and their hearts leaped into their throats.

“If anybody sees us, run like mad for the trunk room and fasten the door somehow,” said Jack. “We don’t want a soul to know what we are up to. If we can get food we can stand Cuddle and Crabtree off indefinitely.”

At last the boys reached the back entryway, and through a crack of the door peered into the kitchen. Nobody was present, and the big pantry was also deserted, and so was the mess hall.

“We’ve got it all to ourselves!” whispered Pepper joyfully. “Jack, this is a cinch, a picnic! Let us take up all the food we can carry!”

“Here is just what we want,” replied the major, and took from a hook two big waiters’ aprons. “We can bundle up a lot of stuff in these.”

“And here are two fresh tins of crackers, ten pounds in each tin. We must take these by all means—and that fresh chunk of cheese!”


“You take what you can carry to the trunk room,” answered Jack. “I’ll hunt up something a little more appetizing.”

While Pepper was on his errand the young major made a careful survey of the pantry, and into a wooden box he found there placed a freshly-boiled ham, some cold roast beef, several loaves of bread, some butter, three bottles of pickles, some cans of sardines and some bottles of milk. Then, from a barrel, he filled a wash basin with apples.

“This will do for the present, I’m thinking,” he said, as he surveyed the stuff. “Now for a candle and some matches,” and he procured them.

He carried the wooden box on his shoulder and Pepper came down and got the apples, and also two loaf cakes which had been baked the day before, and some knives, forks and several glasses and tin plates.

“You’d think we were getting ready for the annual encampment,” said The Imp, while he and Jack were on the way upstairs with the last of the things.

“Listen!” exclaimed the young major, suddenly. “Somebody is coming!”

“It’s the cook!” gasped Pepper, as he caught sight of a well-known figure coming along the upper hallway. “Jack, what shall we do?”


“I—I don’t know! We’ll have to run past her, I guess.”

“We can’t do it—the hall is too narrow.”

The cook came closer, and the two cadets turned back and tried to crouch out of sight in a doorway. The boys’ hearts were, figuratively speaking, in their throats.

But just as the cook was almost on them she paused and turned back.

“Oh dear, I meant to bring that clean apron down!” the cadets heard her murmur, and then she passed out of sight.

“What a lucky escape,” gasped Pepper.

“Don’t stop any longer—get up to the trunk room before it is too late,” urged his chum, and together they sped on as if a ghost was at their heels. Having arrived there they shut the door and pulled a trunk in front of it, first, however, lighting the candle, that they might not break anything.

It took some time to transfer all the food to the dormitory below. The quantity made all the boys smile, and Stuffer’s eyes fairly glistened.

“This is the best yet,” said the youth who loved to eat. “Say, isn’t it most dinner time?”

“I wish Bob Grenwood was in this room,” said Jack. “I’d appoint him quartermaster once more—to divide the rations.”


“Make me quartermaster,” pleaded Stuffer.

“He’ll be sure to look out for No. 1!” said Fred, with a laugh.

“This food is to be divided among all the rooms we can reach,” said Jack. “And it is to be a fair division, too.”

The division then commenced, and for the best part of an hour the cadets were busy, passing stuff from one window to another. They had to do this with care, so that none of the guards on the campus might discover what was going on.

“And now for dinner!” cried Pepper, as he looked at his watch and saw that it was twelve o’clock. “Boys, I think we can all be truly thankful for the good things provided.”

“So we can,” answered Dale.

At that moment there sounded footsteps in the hallway and then came a knock on the door.



“Boys, get the eating out of sight—somebody may want to come in!” cried Jack, in a low voice. And in a few seconds the food was placed in a closet and covered with papers and books.

“I want to talk to you!” called the voice of Josiah Crabtree.

“What do you want, Mr. Crabtree?” demanded the young major.

“It is now twelve o’clock,” went on the teacher. “Dinner will be served in a few minutes. Are you ready to do as I wish?”

“You mean for us to apologize?” asked Pepper.

“Yes, and to promise to do as ordered in the future.”

“We won’t apologize,” answered several, in unison.

“Don’t you want your dinner?” demanded the teacher, in a somewhat crestfallen tone of voice.


“This is not a question of dinner—it is a question of principle, Mr. Crabtree,” answered Jack.

“Exactly—but you must be hungry.”

“We are,” and this was true, for nobody had as yet started to eat.

“There is no use of your being stubborn,” continued Josiah Crabtree.

“We are not stubborn.”

“Yes, you are!”

“You are the one who is stubborn,” put in Dale. “You and Mr. Cuddle think you are right—but we are about thirty or thirty-five to two.”

“Bah! you are only boys and do not realize what you are doing.”

“We are going to leave this matter to Captain Putnam.”

“Then you don’t want any dinner, eh?” Josiah Crabtree felt certain that the cadets must be very hungry.

“Not on your terms,” answered Jack.

“Do you all say that?” called out the teacher.

“Yes!” came in a chorus.


“Very well, you can go hungry a while longer!” cried Crabtree in a rage, and stalked off to interview the boys in some of the other rooms. One and all refused to “surrender,” as they expressed it. Then Josiah Crabtree went below to the office, where he met Pluxton Cuddle.

“They are as yet not hungry enough,” said Cuddle, after listening to the other teacher’s story. “Wait until the middle of the afternoon, or supper time. I’ll warrant they will then be glad enough to do anything we wish.”

“Let us hope so,” answered Josiah Crabtree, and then he and Cuddle talked the matter over from beginning to end, and fixed up the story they should tell Captain Putnam when he returned. According to their idea the cadets were to blame for everything and had assaulted them most outrageously. Crabtree had already interviewed one of the men hired by him at Cedarville and this fellow was ready to corroborate any tale the instructors might put forth.

The teachers had just about finished their talk when they heard a hurried knock on the door of the office and one of the waiters appeared.

“The cook and the head waiter would like you to come to the kitchen at once, please!” cried the colored man.

“What for?” demanded Josiah Crabtree.

“A lot of the eating has been stolen, sah!”

“Stolen!” screamed Pluxton Cuddle.

“Yes, sah. They jess found it out, sah, and they sent me to tell you, sah.”


“This is—er—extraordinary!”

“It’s those confounded boys!” roared Josiah Crabtree. “They must have gotten to the kitchen somehow and taken the things.”

“But the guards—you forget the guards,” returned Pluxton Cuddle.

“Perhaps one of them was bribed—and perhaps a waiter was bribed too,” said Crabtree with something like a groan. “Oh, I know no longer whom to trust here!”

Both of the teachers followed the waiter to the kitchen. Here they found the cook and several others talking excitedly. Nobody could tell exactly what had been taken, but the cook was certain it was considerable.

“They have outwitted us!” moaned Pluxton Cuddle. “Now they will stuff themselves and be more ugly than ever!”

“I am going to find out if they are in league with anybody outside,” said Josiah Crabtree, and started without delay to interview all the hired help around the Hall and also the men from Cedarville. Each and every person, of course, declared he or she knew absolutely nothing of the missing food and had had no communication whatever with the cadets.


“We are following your ordars, sah,” declared the head waiter. “Right or wrong, we are following ’em.”

“Don’t you think I am in the right?” demanded Josiah Crabtree, sourly.

At this the colored man shrugged his shoulders.

“That is fo’ Cap’n Putnam to say, sah.”

“Ha! then you side with the boys, eh?”

“I ain’t sidin’ at all, sah. I obeys orders, that’s all, sah.”

“Humph!” growled the teacher and walked off, followed by Pluxton Cuddle. Then the teachers held another conference.

In the meantime the imprisoned cadets ate what they had for dinner with keen satisfaction, and then put away the rest of the food for future use.

They had hardly finished when they heard footsteps in the hallway and heard somebody talk to the guard.

“There is Peleg Snuggers,” said Pepper. “Wonder what he wants?”

“I say, in there!” called out the man of all work, pounding on the door with his fist.

“Hello, Peleg! What’s this, a bombardment?” asked Jack, pleasantly.

“No, it ain’t no bombardment,” answered the man. “I want to talk to Major Ruddy.”

“You’re talking to him now, Peleg, my son.”


“You are to come down to the office to onct,” went on the general utility man.

“Who wants me?” asked the young major, in considerable astonishment.

“Mr. Crabtree. He wants to talk to you.”

“Does he want anybody else?” asked Pepper.

“No, only Ruddy.”

“Jack, look out,” whispered Dale. “This may be some trick.”

“I don’t think I’d go,” came from Bart. “There is no telling what those teachers may be up to.”

“I am not afraid of them,” answered the young major bravely. “Perhaps they want to compromise.”

“Are ye comin’ or not?” demanded Peleg Snuggers, impatiently.

“I can’t come unless the door is unlocked.”

“I’ll unlock it. But, remember, nobody but Ruddy is to come out,” went on the man of all work.

With great caution the door was unfastened by Peleg Snuggers and the guard, and Jack was allowed to pass into the hallway. Then the door was fastened as before.

“I say, Jack!” called out Pepper. “If everything is O. K. we’ll look for you back inside of an hour.”

“Very well,” answered the young major.


He was accompanied downstairs by Peleg Snuggers. Several times the general utility man seemed to be on the point of speaking, but he did not say a word until the door of the office was gained.

“Take care o’ yourself!” he whispered hoarsely. “Sorry I can’t do nuthin’ for ye!” And then he opened the door and allowed Jack to enter.

The young major found Josiah Crabtree seated at Captain Putnam’s desk. The teacher had a slip of paper in his hand.

“Major Ruddy, I wish you would read that,” he said, shortly.

Wondering what the paper would contain, Jack took it and started to read. As he did so he was attacked from behind and a rope was quickly passed from one wrist to another. In the meantime a folded towel was held over his mouth, so that he might not cry out. Although he struggled he was no match for Pluxton Cuddle and the guards, and in a very few minutes he was a helpless prisoner. A loose gag was placed in his mouth, so that to call out was impossible.


“I am very sorry to have to treat you in this fashion,” said Josiah Crabtree, with a wicked gleam of triumph in his eyes. “But your conduct, and the conduct of your associates, has rendered it necessary. I trust by to-morrow you will be in a proper frame of mind to come to terms. Mr. Cuddle, you may have him taken away.”

Then Jack was led from the office to the rear of the Hall, where there was a sort of guardroom. This was an apartment not over ten feet square and having a single window, high up from the floor. Outside, a tall iron fence ran around the window in the form of a semi-circle. In the guardroom were two chairs and a washstand. The place was damp and gloomy.

“You’ll stay here for the present,” said Pluxton Cuddle, as he thrust Jack inside. Then the gag was removed, and his hands were unfastened.

“I shall report this outrage to Captain Putnam,” answered the young major. And then the door was closed and locked on him, and he was left alone.



The young major was in no agreeable frame of mind when he found himself locked in the guardroom. He had been attacked in an underhanded fashion and rather roughly treated, and one button had been torn from his uniform. He sat down on a chair and shut his teeth tightly.

“This is the limit,” he mused. “When I get out I rather think I’ll make it warm for both Crabtree and Cuddle! They have no right whatever to treat me in this fashion.”

A quarter of an hour passed—to the young major it appeared a much longer time—when he heard footsteps approaching and the door was unlocked. He sprang up, hoping for freedom. But he was mistaken, instead another cadet was thrown into the room, protesting loudly. Then the door was secured as before.

“Ritter!” exclaimed Jack, in astonishment.

“Oh, so you are here, eh?” cried the school bully. “I thought I was to be alone. This is a fine way to treat a student.”


“If you mean that for sarcasm I agree with you,” answered the young major.

“Say, was it you gave me away to old Crabtree?” demanded Reff Ritter suddenly.

“I don’t know what you mean, Reff.”

“He sent Peleg Snuggers up to the door of our dormitory, stating he wanted to have a talk with me. As soon as I got to the office Cuddle and some of those outside guards pounced on me like a lot of wolves. I gave Cuddle a good one in the nose and he hit me over the head with a cane—and then I was thrown in here. Somebody must have told them about the inkwell and the hot potatoes and plates. I believe it was you!” And Ritter gave Jack an ugly look.

“I didn’t say a word, Reff—I give my word of honor.”

“I don’t believe you, Jack Ruddy. If you didn’t, why am I here?”

“For that matter, why am I here?”

“I don’t know, excepting as a witness against me.”

“You are mistaken, Reff. Whether you believe it or not, I did not tell Crabtree a word about you—in fact, your name wasn’t mentioned to me. I was asked to come down to the office and I went—and then I was attacked from behind, made a prisoner, and brought here.”


“Humph!” muttered the bully, and that was all he said for the time being.

Several more minutes passed and then from a distance they heard a sudden cry for help. Both leaped up from their chairs.

“That was Bob Grenwood’s voice!” exclaimed Jack. “It came from the direction of the office. Maybe they are serving him as they served us.”

“Maybe,” returned Reff Ritter, and his face lost some of its gloomy look. It was a case of “misery loves company,” with him. The young major’s words proved true, and in a few minutes the former quartermaster of the Hall battalion was thrown violently into the guardroom. His collar was partly torn, and blood was flowing from a scratch on his cheek.

“They must have had quite a time with you, Bob,” said Jack, after greeting the new arrival.

“They sure did!” was the reply. “We had a pitched battle in the office, and Crabtree hit me in the mouth and I landed on his left eye. I guess he’ll carry the eye in mourning for a while.”

“It looks as if they were going to make all of us prisoners one by one,” said Reff Ritter.

“That’s about the size of it.”


“This guardroom won’t hold over a dozen,” said Jack. “What will they do with the rest? I’ve got an idea!” he added suddenly.

“What’s that?”

“Old Crabtree is sending for the leader of every dormitory. More than likely he thinks if he can get the leaders under lock and key the other cadets will knuckle under to him.”

“Maybe they’ll do it,” growled Reff Ritter. “When I came away Mumps and Billy Sabine wanted to give in. Mumps, the sneak, was scared half to death.”

“If they take the leader from each dormitory you’ll soon see Frank Barringer and Mart Ballock coming along,” said Bob Grenwood.

The three youths talked the situation over until another noise was heard in the hallway. Then Frank Barringer was shoved into the guardroom. He was a dignified, gentlemanly youth and showed little resistance.

“Mr. Cuddle, I protest against such rough treatment,” he said. “I shall hold you responsible for what you have done. If Captain Putnam will not take up the matter, I shall get my father to do so. I thought this was a young gentlemen’s school, not a penitentiary.”

“Don’t talk to me, sir, don’t talk to me!” spluttered Pluxton Cuddle. “I know what I am doing!” And then the door was banged into Frank’s face.


“Number Four!” cried Jack. “We are gradually filling the ranks. Before long we’ll have enough recruits for an awkward squad!” And he smiled faintly.

“Mart Ballock next,” said Bob Grenwood, and he was right, the cadet mentioned was thrown into the guardroom a few minutes later. Then came two more cadets, the head lads in two other dormitories.

“Boys, I’ve got a scheme,” said Jack. “There are now seven of us here. Why not try to break away when they come with the next cadet? I’d rather be out of the school than in such a gloomy hole as this.”

“I am with you!” answered Bob Grenwood.

“It may mean some fighting,” mused Frank Barringer.

“What of it?” blustered Reff Ritter. “I’ll fight if the rest will. Let us give it to ’em good when they come!”

“But if we get away, where are we to go to?” questioned Mart Ballock. “I haven’t a cent of money with me.”

“We can camp out, if we can’t do anything else,” said Jack. “We could get a tent or two, some provisions, and go up the lake shore——”

“Hurrah! that’s the idea!” exclaimed another cadet. “We could remain out till Captain Putnam came back.”


“What of the other fellows?” asked Reff Ritter.

“They can join us if they want to,” answered the young major.

“That will be a regular rebellion,” said Frank Barringer.

“Don’t you think we are justified, Frank?”

“Oh, yes, Jack—under the circumstances we are justified in doing almost anything. Besides, if we get away, I’ll have a chance to send that telegram to Captain Putnam. It ought to be sent at once.”

“We ought to have some plan of action,” said Bob Grenwood. “After we break away what shall we do?”

“We ought to fix it so that the fellows left behind will know what we are up to,” said the young major. “Perhaps they might get out tonight and follow us—if they wanted to.”

After considerable discussion it was decided that, given the chance, each cadet should get out of the Hall as best he could. All were to meet later at the ruins of an old barn, half a mile up the lake shore.

“Don’t be worried if I don’t show up on time,” said Jack. “If I can I want to let the other fellows know what is going on.” And then he told of the hole in the closet ceiling and of how it led to the trunk room above.


There was little time to say more, for soon more footsteps sounded in the hallway and again the door was opened. This time the prisoner was Fred Century.

“Now, boys, all together!” shouted Jack, and leaped for the half-closed door. “Come on, Fred!” he added. “We are off for Bailey’s old barn.” He spoke the last words softly, so that those outside might not hear.

Then came a wild rush, and blows were freely exchanged between the guards and Pluxton Cuddle and the cadets. One of the guards was thrown down and the other received a kick in the shins that made him roar with pain. Cuddle made a grab for Jack, but Reff Ritter caught him by the ankles and threw him on his back, where he lay for the moment, his wind knocked out of him.

The encounter made considerable noise, and before the cadets could get away Josiah Crabtree and one of the guards from upstairs appeared on the scene. Crabtree held a cane in his hand and struck several lads. Then Jack caught hold of the cane and wrenched it from the teacher’s grasp.

“Don’t—don’t hit me, Ruddy!” gasped the teacher, as he saw the cane go up.


“Then get out of our way!” answered the young major, and Josiah Crabtree shrank back in terror. The next moment Jack was bounding through the hallway, and the other cadets scattered in several directions. Some went into the classrooms and out of the windows while two ran out of a side door. Jack mounted a side stairs, skipped past a guard who looked bewildered and frightened, and then sped for the trunk room. But as he reached the door his heart failed him. He remembered how the door had been barricaded from the inside by a heavy trunk.

“If I can’t shove it back, I can’t get in!” he thought, and tried the door. Just as he did so it came open, and to his surprise he found himself confronted by Pepper.

“Jack!” gasped The Imp. “Where have you been? I was just going on a scouting expedition after you.”

“Shut the door—and push the trunk back into place,” answered the young major. “I’ve got a great story to tell,” he added. “We are now in open rebellion!”



While the uproar below was still in progress, Jack and Pepper climbed down to the dormitory, and there the young major told of all that had occurred since his departure.

“Old Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle are carrying matters with a high hand,” he went on, “and we have decided to stand it no longer.”

“Well, we about reached the same conclusion here,” said Andy. “Pepper was going to try to find you, and then we were going to see if we couldn’t get the whole crowd to run away.”

“I hope none of the fellows who were in the guardroom with me are captured,” continued Jack. “If Crabtree or Cuddle laid his hands on anyone it will go hard with that cadet, I know.”


The guards had all gone below, so the cadets in the dormitories were left to themselves. They crowded to the various windows and soon espied Bob Grenwood, Reff Ritter and two others on the road beyond the campus. As soon as the runaway cadets saw that they were noticed they raised their hands and beckoned for those left behind to join them. At this the cadets in the windows nodded vigorously. And so the plan to run away from Putnam Hall grew rapidly.

“I see two of the guards going after those cadets,” said one student who chanced to have a field glass. “But I doubt if they catch our fellows.”

“It will soon be night,” said Dale. “In the darkness getting away ought to be easy.”

“Provided the teachers don’t get a stronger guard,” answered Stuffer. “Now they are on the warpath there is no telling how far they will go. I expect to see one of the cadets beheaded next.”

“Or made to learn ten pages of Latin backward,” put in Joe Nelson, and this remark caused everybody to laugh.

“If we are going to run away, we want some definite plan of action,” said Jack. “I’ve got my own idea, but I don’t know if it will suit the rest.”

“What is the plan?” asked several.

“That we get away as best we can, and, if possible, get some tents and rations, too. If we can’t get the rations from the pantry and the storehouse, get them from the storekeepers of Cedarville. I am sure we can raise some money, and we can get trust for the rest. Then we can go off and establish a regular camp until we hear from Captain Putnam.”


This plan met with instant favor, and the idea was quickly circulated to some of the other dormitories. Fully three-quarters of the cadets agreed to run away, if the chance offered. The others, including Mumps and Billy Sabine, were too timid and said they would not go.

Of the lads who had broken out of the guardroom only one was captured and that was Frank Barringer. He and Josiah Crabtree had a warm discussion after the capture, and what Barringer said made the teacher somewhat nervous.

“You are carrying matters with a high hand, Mr. Crabtree, and when Captain Putnam comes back I feel certain he will not uphold you,” said Barringer.

“We must have order,” grumbled the teacher.

“That is true, but you must try to get it in the right way. To treat the cadets as if they were hoodlums is not the right way.”

“We know what we are doing,” interposed Pluxton Cuddle. “You boys eat too much, and——”

“Mr. Cuddle, I am talking to Mr. Crabtree,” said Barringer, with dignity. “He is the oldest teacher in the Hall, and he is responsible for what is happening.”


“I am responsible for what happened in the classrooms,” said Josiah Crabtree, quickly. “The outside care of the students was left to Mr. Cuddle.”

“And I know what I am doing,” said that individual, pompously. “I am willing to assume all responsibility, and I want no advice from you.”

“All right—we’ll wait till Captain Putnam gets back,” said Frank; and there the discussion ended. But the talk made Josiah Crabtree nervous and after that he left the management of affairs largely in Pluxton Cuddle’s hands. Perhaps he was “casting an anchor to windward,” and he had need to, as later events proved.

Before the excitement attending the escape from the guardroom came to an end, it was growing dark. When it was time for supper the door to each dormitory was suddenly thrust open and a basket was set inside, containing bread and butter and a tin pail full of milk, with a glass.

“Hello, they have given up the idea of starving us!” cried Dale.

“Huh! Nothing but bread and butter!” grumbled Stuffer. “I’m glad some of that other grub is left.”


“They are afraid to let us go without food,” said Andy. “Perhaps they think we’ll grow desperate on empty stomachs and break down the doors and create trouble generally.”

“’Tis a great shame old Crabtree is so pig-headed,” observed Emerald. “I shall be greatly surprised if the captain is afther upholdin’ him in it.”

While it was growing dark the boys completed, as far as they could, their plans for leaving Putnam Hall. Of course, much depended on chance and there was considerable fear that their actions might fail. Word was circulated that the movement should commence at exactly midnight, and in the meanwhile every cadet should pretend to go to sleep.

Fortunately for the boys, nature aided them in their undertaking. Heavy clouds obscured the sky, making it very dark outside of the school. From a distance came the low rumble of thunder, drowning out many other sounds.

“I hope it doesn’t rain,” said Pepper.

“I don’t think it will,” said Jack. “That storm is passing off to the westward.” And he was right, hardly a drop of rain fell in the vicinity of the lake.


A heavy rope had been procured and this was strung along the windows of the various dormitories and by its aid many of the cadets climbed into the room occupied by Jack and his chums. Then Andy went through the trunk room to the upper hall and from thence, by a ladder, to the roof. From that point of vantage he let down the rope to the window of a dormitory on the other side of the building. To the end of the rope was a note reading as follows:

“Use this to get down to the ground. Wait until we make a noise down by the gym., to attract the guards. Meet us at the old Bailey barn. Bring camping outfit with you, if possible.

“The Putnam Hall Rebels.”

To deceive the guards in the hallways, many of the cadets pretended to go to bed about eleven o’clock.

“Might as well get a good night’s rest,” said Jack loudly. “We can’t do anything more until morning.”

“Right you are,” answered Bart Conners, in an equally loud voice. “Call it off, boys, and get to bed.” And this ruse was worked in every dormitory from which the cadets hoped to escape. It deceived the guards completely, and when Pluxton Cuddle came up to learn how matters were progressing he was informed that the cadets had retired.


At one minute after twelve the boys arose from the beds upon which they had been resting, and with their shoes and various bundles in their hands crawled silently through the hole in the ceiling to the trunk room above. Then, with Jack to lead them, they tiptoed their way through the back hall and down the rear stairs, and then to the kitchen. Here the back door was opened, and ten of the lads went out and in the direction of the barn and storehouse. This detail was led by Andy.

“We want at least ten tents,” said the acrobatic youth. “And as much food as we can lug along.”

“Say, why can’t we get a horse and wagon?” suggested Stuffer, who hated to carry anything.

“Maybe we can—if Jack is willing. But get out the tents and food first—so we can dust with them if there is any alarm.”

“We might take to the boats,” said Dale.

“No, Jack said that wouldn’t be safe. Old Crabtree would hire a steam tug and come after us in no time. But say, I’ll tell you what we can do—hide the boats in the creek! That will throw them off the scent.”


In the storehouse were packed a number of army tents, to be used when the cadets went out on the annual encampment. Here were also boxes and barrels of provisions, for use in the school. Making certain nobody was around, the boys shut the door, pinned some empty potato bags over the windows, and lighted a lantern. Then, with great rapidity, they got out some of the tents, and in them rolled up various kinds of rations, beans, bacon, dried fish, coffee, sugar, butter, crackers and so forth. They also took along a small sack of potatoes and another of apples. Then they got out a camp cook stove, and some tinware, including cups and plates, and pots, kettles and frying pans.

“We can’t carry all this,” said Dale, in dismay. “We’ll simply have to get a horse and wagon.”

“Very well then, we’ll do it,” said Andy. “But it is running an extra risk.”



While Andy and those with him were getting out the things in the storehouse, Jack and some others were searching the pantry and kitchen for such articles as they thought they needed. These included knives, forks and spoons, and also pepper, salt, lard and several smoked hams and tongues, and all the bread in the big wooden bread box.

“Let’s take some jam too,” said one cadet, and several glasses were added, and also such cake as chanced to be in sight. The boys also found a small cheese, some lemons and oranges and a box of raisins.

“I reckon we’ve got all we can carry,” said Fred Century. “Talk about moving day! This looks like one to me!”

As silently as shadows the cadets took the things outside and hurried with them in the direction of the storehouse, where they met some of the others.

“Where is Andy?” asked the young major, anxiously.


“Gone for a horse and wagon,” answered Dale. “It is simply out of the question to carry all this stuff by hand.”

“But the risk!” cried Pepper. “I’m going to see how he is making out.”

He ran for the stable and saw Andy bringing forward one of the horses. A spring wagon stood near by, under a shed, and Pepper ran it forward, and helped his chum to hitch up the horse.

“Listen, somebody is coming!” said Pepper, presently, and a moment later they heard Peleg Snuggers calling from his room over the horse stable.

“Who’s down there? What ye doin’?” bawled the man. And then he appeared at a window in his nightdress.

“Stop your noise, Snuggers!” ordered Pepper. “If you don’t they may find a dead man around here in the morning.”

“Land sakes alive! Don’t shoot me!” spluttered the man of all work, and dropped out of sight in a hurry.

“Don’t you say a word and you won’t be touched,” went on The Imp. “If you open your mouth there will be trouble, and lots of it, Peleg!”


“I ain’t sayin’ nary a word!” answered the man, in a voice filled with terror. The doings of the day had filled him with apprehension.

As quickly as they could the cadets loaded up the spring wagon, putting in all of the things collected and adding such additional stores as the wagon would hold. Then Andy drove off, taking Dale, Stuffer and some others with him.

“I’ll go up to Daly’s clearing,” said the acrobatic youth. “I’ll drive right into the woods beyond. I don’t think anybody will find us there.” And so it was arranged.

The outfit having been sent on its way, the cadets left behind breathed more freely. If an alarm came they could take to their legs, and they doubted if any of the teachers or guards could catch them.

“Now for the demonstration near the gym.,” said Jack. “Make as much noise as possible, so the other fellows will have a chance to get out of the dormitories, but don’t let the enemy catch you.”

In less than five minutes after that a loud yelling arose back of the gymnasium and several cadets could be seen running in as many different directions. There were calls for “Come this way, boys!” and “Look out, there’s a guard after you!” and a lot of other cries that seemed to mean much.


“What is that?” ejaculated Josiah Crabtree, who had fallen asleep in an easy chair in his room. “Are they breaking out?”

“To the gymnasium!” was the call outside. “Catch them, men, at yonder building!”

Then came a rush from the guards, and they were quickly joined by Crabtree and Cuddle. All ran in the direction of the gymnasium, leaving the school building, for the time being, to take care of itself.

It was what those left in the dormitories were watching and waiting for, and in a twinkling cadet after cadet came sliding down the rope and a line made of torn-up sheets. They threw out their bundles in advance, and then, picking up the baggage, darted for a back path, leading through the vegetable garden attached to the Hall.

“Hi! hi! Look!” shrieked Pluxton Cuddle, as he chanced to gaze behind him.

“What is it?” demanded Josiah Crabtree.

“The boys! They are leaping from the dormitory windows!”

“Impossible! Some of them will be killed. Ha! I see. They have ropes! Come, this is a trick—to get us from the school!” And the teacher ran back toward Putnam Hall.


By this time the guards were thoroughly bewildered and did not know what to do. Crabtree gave orders, and Cuddle told them to do something else, and, as a consequence, nothing was accomplished. The teachers were frantic.

“They have—have run away!” gasped Josiah Crabtree, as, having reached the school, he threw open the door of one dormitory after another.

“All of them?”

“No, but the majority. What shall we do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Mr. Cuddle, you are responsible for this!”

“I, sir?” gasped the new teacher.


“Not at all, sir, not at all, Mr. Crabtree! You started the affair. You are responsible.”

“It is not true. If you had not cut down the food——”

“Tut! tut! tut! If you had not made a mistake in that Latin lesson, sir, the cadets——”

“Don’t talk to me, sir! I say it was your fault, Mr. Cuddle,” growled Josiah Crabtree.

“And I say, sir, it was your fault.”

And then the two teachers glared fiercely at each other.

“Please, sir, what do you want us to do?” asked one of the guards, somewhat sheepishly.


“Do!” cried Josiah Crabtree. “You can’t do anything! You allowed those cadets to run away! You are a set of blockheads!”

“So they are, blockheads!” added Pluxton Cuddle.

“I’m not a blockhead and I want you to know it,” answered the man angrily. “You fellers brought us up here on a fool’s errand, I think. If you’ll pay me off I’ll go home.”

“Yes, pay me off and I’ll go home too,” added another of the guards.

“What, are you going to desert us!” exclaimed Josiah Crabtree, in sudden fear.

“I ain’t no blockhead. You pay me and I’ll go.”

“But see here, you promised to stay here as long as wanted,” pleaded Crabtree.

“You don’t want me any longer—now the boys have run away. And let me say one thing—I think the boys had a right to run away.”


“You teachers ain’t treatin’ ’em right,” went on another guard. “Just you wait till Captain Putnam gits back—I reckon he’ll make it warm for you!”


At this plain talk Josiah Crabtree almost collapsed. He realized that he had gone too far. He wondered what the result would be when the captain did get back. He was getting a fine salary and he did not wish to lose his position.

“My dear fellows, you are making a mistake,” he said, in a milder voice. “Those cadets have broken the rules of this institution and must be punished. I was simply going to keep them in their rooms until to-morrow and then I was going to give them a lecture, nothing more.”

“What about the grub they wanted?” asked another guard, who had come up during the talk.

“A little hunger would do them good. They would have gotten their fill to-morrow, and——”

“No! no! that’s a mistake!” burst out Pluxton Cuddle. “Too much eating——”

“Mr. Cuddle, I no longer agree with you on that point,” said Josiah Crabtree coldly. “If they return they shall have the same quantity of food as they got when Captain Putnam was here.”

“Humph! Then you have not the boys’ welfare at heart,” snorted the new teacher.

“I want you men to stay here, at least for the present,” continued Josiah Crabtree. “Let me see, I believe I promised you two dollars a day, didn’t I?”

“You did,” said one of the guards.


“Your work has not been pleasant and therefore I’ll make the pay three dollars a day. I did not mean to call you blockheads—I—er—was excited. Let us get down to—er—business now—and see if we cannot find those runaway cadets and persuade them to return to the Hall. If we can do that and—er—hush up this whole unpleasant matter I will—er—reward you handsomely.”

This talk was “pouring oil on the troubled waters,” and in the end the guards promised to stick by Josiah Crabtree and do what they could to bring the cadets back to school. They also promised, in view of a liberal reward, to tell Captain Putnam that the students and not the teachers were to blame for the outbreak.



“Andy, look out that you don’t drive off the road and into the gully,” said Stuffer, as the spring wagon lurched forward over the rough ground leading to Daly’s clearing.

“Stuffer wouldn’t have you lose any of that food for a fortune,” said Dale, with a laugh. “Trust him to look out for that!”

“Well, you’ll be just as ready to eat your breakfast as anybody,” grumbled the cadet who loved to eat.

Forward rolled the wagon, groaning dubiously when it bounded over the rocks. It was loaded to the limit and the boys feared that the springs would break before the journey was over.

From the vicinity of the Hall came calls and considerable noise. But this presently died away, and then all was as quiet as a tomb on the woody road the runaway cadets were traveling.


In half an hour the clearing was gained. They drove across it, and into the woods beyond for a distance of a hundred yards. Here it was so dark they had to light a lantern to see the way.

“They’ll be good ones if they track us to this spot,” observed Dale.

Having reached the place, they blanketed the horse and sat down to wait. It was somewhat chilly and all of the cadets present were glad enough to put on the heavy coats they had brought along.

“Don’t you think some of us ought to go over to Bailey’s barn and see if the others have arrived?” asked Stuffer, presently.

“We might do that,” answered another cadet. “But we can’t all go. Somebody must remain here and watch the horse and the outfit.”

In the end it was decided that Andy and Stuffer should make the journey to the old Bailey barn, a distance of a mile or more. They set off at once, Stuffer first, however, filling his pockets with crackers and apples.

“I know a path right through these woods,” said Stuffer. “It will bring us out just to the north of the old barn.”

“Well, be sure of the way,” answered the acrobatic youth. “We don’t want to get lost in this darkness.”

“How can we get lost in the dark if we carry a lantern, Andy?”


“Easily enough—if you get twisted around, Stuffer. I was lost once, in the Adirondacks, and I know.”

The two boys set off, Andy carrying a small lantern picked up in the carriage shed. This gave more smoke and smell than light and they had to proceed slowly, for fear of tumbling over the tree roots or into some hollow.

“Oh!” cried Stuffer, presently, as a strange sound struck his ears from close at hand. “What’s that?”

“Only an owl,” cried Andy, with a laugh. “How you jumped!”

“Are you sure it was an—an owl?” was the nervous question.

“Dead certain. Go ahead, or we won’t reach the old barn till morning.”

The path through the woods was not well defined and at one place forked in several directions. Stuffer did not notice this and kept to the right when he should have gone to the left. Andy followed without question, and thus the two cadets, instead of nearing the old barn, plunged deeper and deeper into the woods.

“Say, Stuffer, this doesn’t seem to be right,” observed Andy, after a full mile and a half had been covered.


“Huh! I know I am right,” was the reply. “We’ll get to the barn in a few minutes.”

They continued to go forward, up a slight rise of ground and then down into something of a hollow. Andy was just about to say again that he thought they were on the wrong path when he caught sight of a small campfire.

“Hello, see that!” he exclaimed.

“They have arrived and lit a fire!” answered Stuffer. “I don’t blame them. It is pretty cold. But they are running the risk of being discovered.”

“Stuffer, this isn’t the location of the old barn. We are not near the lake.”

“How do you know?”

“The locality doesn’t look like it. These are hemlock trees, while back of the barn there are chestnuts and walnuts.”

“That’s so too,” and now Stuffer became doubtful.

Moving a little more slowly, the two boys drew closer to the campfire. They saw that it was in a little clearing, to one side of which were some rocks and a spring of water. On the other side several small trees had been cut down and a rude shelter erected, covered with an old wagon top and several old horse blankets.


“Must be a gypsy camp,” said Stuffer, in a low tone, as the two boys stepped behind some bushes to gaze at the scene presented.

“They are tramps,” was Andy’s answer. “Don’t you see the hoboes lying around?”

He pointed to the forms of three men resting near the campfire. They were all rough-looking individuals and their clothing and shoes were much dilapidated. Several empty bottles lay scattered around, indicating that the fellows were drinkers. Near the shelter were a pile of chicken feathers and the skin of a lamb.

“I’ll tell you what I think,” whispered Andy. “These are not only tramps but also thieves. They have been robbing the farmers’ henroosts and somebody’s sheepfold. They’ve got a regular hangout here. I wonder how many of them there are?”

“I see three—but some of the crowd may be under the shelter. If they are thieves they ought to be locked up.”

“Yes. Shall we go into the camp and ask them the way?”

“I don’t think we ought to trust them. They might detain us, and rob us.”


Putting out the light so that they might not be discovered, the two cadets walked around the camp of the tramps. They saw that it was a hangout that had been used for some time. With great caution they stole up to the back of the rude shelter and peered within. They saw three more men, who were all snoring lustily.

“That makes six all told,” said Stuffer, as he and his chum withdrew.

“Did you notice that fellow who was in the corner?” demanded Andy, excitedly.

“Not particularly. Why?”

“Unless I am greatly mistaken he is the fellow I saw in the jewelry store the day I was robbed—the chap I thought might be guilty.”

“Is that so, Andy? Are you certain it is the fellow?”

“No, because I didn’t get a good look at his face. But he certainly looked a good deal like him.”

“Then you ought to investigate—I mean later on, when we have some of the others with us,” went on Stuffer hastily. “It would be foolish for us to tackle six men alone.”

“I’ll come back some time to-morrow—if I can get a crowd to come along,” was the reply from the acrobatic youth. “Beyond a doubt these fellows are thieves, and the farmers around here would be glad to place them under arrest.”

“In that case let the Putnam Hall cadets make the capture. It will be quite a feather in our cap.”


“I’d like to get back that stolen medal and the ring,” said Andy, as they moved away from the tramps’ hangout. “And I’d like to see the guilty party punished for attacking me.”

Having withdrawn into the woods once more the two cadets set to work to find the right path to the old barn. This was no easy task, and it was not until almost daybreak that Andy gave a cry and pointed ahead.

“I see the lake! I think I know where we are now.”

He hurried on and Stuffer came behind him, and presently the pair struck a wagon road running directly past the old Bailey barn. They ran up to the structure, to be stopped by a cadet who was on guard.

“Halt and give the countersign!” cried the cadet.

“Hello!” cried Andy. “That sounds natural. Is the crowd here?”

“It is,” answered the cadet. “How did you make out?”

Andy told him and then went in the barn, where he found the other cadets assembled, some sleeping and a few talking in low tones. Four guards had been stationed outside, to give the alarm, should the enemy be seen approaching.


“We might as well be on the move,” said Jack, after Andy and Stuffer had told their story. “As soon as it is daylight Crabtree and Cuddle will most likely send somebody out to look for us.”

“Yes, and we want to make a regular camp somewhere,” put in Stuffer. “Then we can start a fire and cook a good breakfast, and——”

The boy who loved to eat did not finish for several began to laugh.

“We’ll make Stuffer head cook,” cried Pepper. “Stuffer, how does that suit you?”

“All right—if only you won’t ask me to wash dishes,” was the reply.

“Everybody will have to do his share of work,” said Jack, and looked knowingly at Pepper. Then he leaned over and whispered in Andy’s ear. “I am afraid we are going to have trouble with Reff Ritter and his crowd. Reff wants to have everything his own way, and he thinks the fellows ought to make him leader.”



By eight o’clock that morning the runaway cadets of Putnam Hall went into camp not a great distance away from where Andy had driven the wagon into the woods. They found an ideal spot in a small clearing surrounded by dense woods. There the tents were pitched, and some of the boys cleaned out a handy spring, that all the water needed might be procured. While some of the cadets were raising the tents, others, under the directions of Bob Grenwood and Stuffer, were preparing breakfast. The cook stove had been set up, and three cadets had been detailed by Jack to procure firewood.

“We’ll have this camp in apple-pie order before noon,” said the young major. “I am going to observe the same kind of regulations as if we were off on an annual encampment.”


Early in the morning one of the cadets had hurried away to Cedarville, to send a telegram to Captain Putnam, notifying him of the state of affairs. A letter was also dropped into the post-office for the master of the Hall, and this was marked Private. Then another letter was sent to Josiah Crabtree, a farm boy being hired to deliver it. This letter ran as follows:

Mr. Josiah Crabtree:

Dear Sir: We have left Putnam Hall to camp out until the return of Captain Putnam. To remain at the school under the management of yourself and Mr. Cuddle was impossible. As soon as Captain Putnam returns we shall lay our case before him.

“Yours truly, The Students’ Committee, Joseph Nelson, Sec’y.”

“I guess that will set old Crabtree to thinking,” was Dale’s comment, when the communication was dispatched. “He’ll find out that he can’t do just as he pleases.”

“Yes, and it will set that new teacher to thinking too,” added Pepper. “Oh, wouldn’t I like to square up with Pluxton Cuddle, for cutting us short on rations!”

Andy had told the young major about the tramps and Jack agreed to see what could be done as soon as camp matters were arranged.


“I’ve got to get things into shape here first,” said Jack. “I feel it in my bones that Ritter is going to make trouble. Since we ran away he acts like a regular sorehead.”

While breakfast was being served Reff Ritter and Gus Coulter growled at nearly everything that was being done. The camping spot, to them, was no good, the tents were not properly placed, and Reff stated loudly that he would have picked out a spot that had better drinking water, while Coulter turned up his nose at the coffee served.

“This is regular dishwater,” said Gus. “I thought we ran away to have something good to eat and to drink.”

“See here, Gus, if you don’t like the coffee, supposing you make some for yourself,” answered Bob Grenwood, sharply.

“Huh! Maybe you think I can’t make coffee!”

“This ham is about half done,” came from Nick Paxton. “It isn’t fit for a dog to eat.”

“Well, what can you expect, when those fellows are running everything to suit themselves?” growled Reff Ritter. “If I was leader I’d have things different.”


“See here, Reff!” cried Jack, sharply. “I don’t like your talk at all. The boys are doing the best they can. You can’t expect everything to work like a charm at the very start. We are all tired out, and what we need is a good night’s sleep. Don’t grumble so much.”

“I’ll grumble if I please!” flared up the bully of the school. “You may be major of the battalion but you can’t boss me here.”

“You didn’t have to come with us if you didn’t want to,” put in Dale. “Jack is our leader, and everybody in this camp has got to obey his orders.”

“That’s the talk!” cried Pepper.

“Humph! Then I reckon the best we can do is to get out,” answered Ritter, with a meaning look at his cronies.

“Yes, give us our share of the camp stuff and we’ll go,” added Coulter.

“All in favor of going with Reff Ritter raise their right hand,” sang out Nick Paxton.

Evidently the matter had been talked over between the bully and his cohorts for on the instant nine hands went up.

“Ten of us, counting Reff,” said Coulter. “How many are there all told?”

“Thirty-three,” answered Fred.

“Then we number about one-third of the total and we ought to have one-third of the stuff,” said a cadet who had voted to join Reff Ritter.


“That wouldn’t be fair!” cried Hogan. “Sure, and it was Jack and his chums who planned this thing and who got the most of the goods together, so they did. Ritter didn’t carry a thing but his own clothing.”

“Never mind,” said the young major. “If Ritter and his crowd want to camp by themselves let them do it. We’ll give them a fair share of the tents and the provisions.”

A warm discussion followed, which almost ended in a fight. But Jack’s suggestion prevailed, and just before noon Ritter and his nine followers left, taking with them a share of the tents and the provisions. The bully wanted more than was dealt out to him, and went away muttering that he would pay the others back for their meanness.

“I am glad they are gone,” said Jack, when the crowd had departed. “We’d never have harmony with them around.”

“Right you are,” answered Pepper. “Just the same, I think we gave them more than they deserved.”

“We’ve got to keep our eyes peeled for them,” was Dale’s comment. “Ritter is just the fellow to play us some underhanded trick.”

“That’s true—he doesn’t know when to be grateful,” said Bart Conners.


“I am glad he is gone,” came from Stuffer. “Now we won’t have to cook for so many.” And this remark caused a smile.

With the discontented ones gone the camp took on a more cheerful appearance. Breakfast was finished, and the few dishes washed, and then the majority of the cadets laid down to rest, for they had not had a sound sleep since the rebellion had begun. Andy and Joe were anxious to go after the tramps, but Andy could hardly keep his eyes open, while Joe was little better off.

“Might as well wait until to-morrow,” said the young major. “It isn’t likely those tramps will go away in a hurry. Most likely they intend to stay there until cold weather.”

A guard was set, which was changed every two hours, and the cadets laid down to rest. The majority of them slept “like logs,” and it was again dark when they commenced to stir around, and Stuffer began preparations for supper.

“Wonder what is going on at the Hall,” said Jack, as he stretched himself. “Crabtree and the others must be hunting for us.”

“I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t find us,” answered Pepper.

In the evening Pepper and Andy set off for Cedarville, to buy some things that were needed in the camp. They took to the regular road, thinking they could easily get out of sight if any of the enemy appeared.


As they walked along they saw a buggy approaching. It contained two girls, and as it came closer Pepper uttered an exclamation of pleasure:

“Laura Ford and her sister Flossie! Won’t they be surprised when they learn what has happened.”

The girls he mentioned were two old friends of the cadets. They were the daughters of a Mr. Rossmore Ford, a rich gentleman who owned a summer cottage called Point View Lodge, located on the lake shore. In the past the boys had done the girls several services of importance and the young ladies and their parents were correspondingly grateful.



“And so you’ve really and truly run away!” cried Laura Ford, after Pepper and Andy had told their story. “What fun! I wish I was a cadet!”

“How angry that Mr. Crabtree must be!” came from Flossie, as she tossed back her curls. “Of course he’ll tell Captain Putnam it was all your fault.”

“Most likely,” said Pepper.

“Where are you going now?” asked Laura.

“To Cedarville—to buy some things we need. You see, we came off in such a hurry we forgot some things,” and The Imp grinned.

“Can’t we help you?” asked Flossie. “I’d dearly love to—you boys have done so much for us.”

“Might bake us some pies,” suggested Andy, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Just the thing—only we’ll get the cook to do the baking. We’ll have the pies for you to-morrow. Where shall we bring them?”


“Oh, that will be too much trouble,” cried Andy. “I didn’t really mean what I said.”

“But we’ll get the pies for you—and some cake too. Just tell us where to bring them,” said Laura. “Can we visit your camp? I’d like to see what it looks like.”

“We’ll feel honored,” said Pepper, and then he told where the camp was located. The girls said they would have the coachman drive them as close as possible to the spot and would get there early enough, so the cadets could have the pies for dinner. Then the two parties separated.

“Now those are girls worth knowing!” cried Pepper. “Always willing to treat a fellow just right.”

“I guess Stuffer would think so—if he knew about the pies,” returned Andy. “Well, I’d like a piece of good pie myself.” And he smacked his lips.

The boys hurried to Cedarville and there procured the articles they wanted. Then they asked several people if any chicken thieves had been around lately.

“Yes, indeed!” said one man. “Tom Robinson lost some chickens last week, and so did Billy Peters and the Widow Lilly.”

“Were any lambs stolen?” asked Andy.


“I heard that Landerson the butcher, had a lamb stolen a couple of weeks ago. He just bought it from a man over to Hoetown. What do you want to know for? Do you know anything about the thieves?”

“I think I do. I’ll go over and ask the butcher about the lamb.”

At the butcher shop the two cadets had quite a talk, the upshot of which was that the butcher said he would visit the camp on the following afternoon, bringing two farmers who had lost chickens with him. He let the boys have some fresh meat on trust, and smiled broadly when they asked him not to tell anybody where their camp was located.

“I know something about the trouble up to the school,” he said. “One of them teachers—I think his name is Crabapple, or something like that—wanted my cousin, Jim Pepperhill, to go up there to keep order. But Jim didn’t like the looks of the teacher and wouldn’t go.”

“Did Mr. Crabtree say what the trouble was?” asked Pepper.

“Said some of the boys wouldn’t behave themselves, and that they had to be locked in their bedrooms and kept there.”


From the butcher shop the two cadets visited the post-office, to see if there was any mail for themselves and their fellow students. To their surprise they were told that another cadet had called there only half an hour before and taken all the cadets’ mail away.

“Who was it?” asked Andy, and the clerk described the person.

“I think his name is Coulter,” he said. “He has been here for mail before. Wasn’t it all right to give it to him?”

“Not just now,” answered Pepper. “After this you keep some of the mail here until one of our party calls for it.” And he wrote down a list of names. Then he and his chum hurried off in the direction of camp.

“It was mighty cheeky of Coulter to take all the mail!” grumbled Andy. “Why didn’t he sort it out and hand our mail back? Now we have got to wait until he gets ready to bring it to us.”

“Maybe he won’t bring it, Andy.”

“Then we’ll have to go for it.”

“You forget that we don’t know where the Ritter crowd is located.”

“Gracious, that’s so! Well, we will have to find out. If he’s got any of my mail, I want it.”

When the boys got back to camp the others listened with interest to what they had to tell.


“It will be fun to go after those tramps and clean them out,” said Dale. “And if the fellow is there who attacked Andy I hope we catch him and get back the stolen things.”

“Home-made pies!” murmured Stuffer, referring to what the boys said about the Ford girls. “Yum! yum! That’s the best ever!”

“I knew that would make a bull’s-eye hit with you!” said Pepper, with a merry laugh.

“I hope they bring enough to go around. Did you tell them how many there were of us?” asked the boy who loved to eat, anxiously.

“I told them there were over half a dozen of us,” answered Pepper, with a wink at the others.

“Oh, Pepper! Half a dozen! Then they’ll only bring two or three pies, and we won’t get more than a mouthful apiece!” And Stuffer’s face took on a mournful look.

“Well, you know, Master Singleton,” said The Imp, imitating Pluxton Cuddle’s tone of voice. “Too much eating is bad for a youth. It makes him stupid and incapable of studying properly. If one ate less——”

“Oh, stop your tommy-rot about eating less!” roared Stuffer. “I guess you must really believe in it—or you wouldn’t let those Ford girls bring only two or three pies.” And he turned to walk away.


“Stop, Stuffer, Pep was only fooling,” cried Andy. “They’ll bring enough pies, don’t you worry.” And then the youth who loved to eat felt relieved.

A campfire was kept going during the evening, and around this the runaway cadets gathered, to tell stories, sing songs and speculate upon how the whole affair was to end. A few were nervous, but others felt certain that Captain Putnam would not blame them for what they had done.

“If he does, he is not the man I take him to be,” said Dale.

“If he sides with Crabtree and Cuddle I shall ask my father to send me to another school,” said another.

“If we stick together he is bound to side with us,” added Fred.

“Now, don’t make such a mistake as that,” said Jack, to the last speaker. “Captain Putnam will not be influenced by our sticking together, even if it breaks up his school. He will decide this case solely on its merits. But I hope he will see that we were in the right—at least, that we were not as much in the wrong as Josiah Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle.”


Among the boys to be placed on guard when the cadets retired was Fred Century. He was stationed at the east side of the camp, not far from where the wagon stood and the horse was tethered. In the wagon were a goodly part of the provisions, covered with a tarpaulin that had been brought along.

Fred had not slept well the night before and was consequently sleepy. He tramped around for a while and then sat down on a rock to rest.

He had been sitting still for several minutes, with his eyes partly closed, when he heard a slight noise behind him. Before he could move a cloth was clapped around his mouth and his hands were caught and held. Then a rope was brought into play, and he was made a close prisoner and carried away into the woods.



“Hi, fellows, get up! Something has happened!”

It was Pepper who aroused the others, and he made such a noise that the cadets who were asleep sprang up without delay.

“What’s wrong?”

“Have the enemy discovered us?”

“Are we going back to the Hall?”

These and a number of other cries rang out, and nearly all the runaways surrounded The Imp. For answer Pepper pointed to where the horse and wagon had been.


“Who took them?”

“Don’t ask me,” was the answer. “I missed them a minute ago and tried to find out what had become of them. But they are teetotally gone, and that is all there is to it.”

“Where are the guards?” demanded Jack. “Brightwood, did you see anything of the horse and wagon?”


“I did not,” answered one of the cadets who had been on guard duty. Then some of the others were questioned, but all shook their heads.

“Fred Century was on guard near the wagon,” said Andy, suddenly. “Where is he?”

All looked around, but in vain.

“Maybe he drove off with the horse and wagon,” suggested Hogan. “But I don’t know where he’d go, so I don’t.”

“Perhaps he got afraid and went back to the Hall,” suggested another.

“Fred Century wasn’t the sort to get afraid,” answered the young major. “But I must confess I don’t understand this.”

“Do you think Reff Ritter and his crowd would play this trick?” demanded Pepper.

“He might, Pep, but what of Fred?”

“Maybe Century joined the Ritter gang,” vouchsafed Brightwood.

“No, Fred didn’t like Ritter at all,” answered Andy.

“We’ll have to make a search for the horse and wagon,” said the young major. “And the sooner the better. We can’t afford to lose all those stores.”

“Oh, I say, can’t we get breakfast first?” asked Stuffer, reproachfully.


“No, we’ll hunt first and eat afterwards,” said Jack, decidedly.

The cadets scattered in all directions, and less than three minutes later Dale set up a call that brought the others running to him. He had found poor Fred, gagged, and bound to a tree. The captive was glad to be released and to have his power of speech restored. His story was a short one.

“There must have been four or five who attacked me from behind,” he said, “and they gave me no chance to cry out. I heard them talking about taking the horse and wagon and some other things, but I couldn’t do a thing to warn any of you. They must have gotten off very quietly, not to have attracted the attention of the other guards.”

“Were they the Ritter crowd?” asked Andy.

“I am not sure. I thought perhaps they might be those tramps Andy and Stuffer discovered in a hangout in this neighborhood.”

“The tramps!” ejaculated Andy. “That’s so! Why didn’t I think of them! If they rob the farmers around here, they wouldn’t hesitate to rob us.”

“Fred, who was on guard next to you?” asked the young major.

“Caller was on one side and Beck on the other.”


“Well, Caller is a little deaf, he wouldn’t be apt to hear them,” said Pepper. He looked around. “Where is Beck?”

Beck was not in sight, and then the various cadets stated they had not seen him since he had gone on guard duty.

“He must be tied up too,” said Jack. “Let us continue the hunt, fellows.”

This was done, and the search lasted fully an hour. But not a trace of the missing cadet could be discovered.

“I’ll tell you what I think,” said Pepper, when they met around the campfire. “I think the Ritter crowd ran off with the horse and wagon and I think Beck went with them. If you’ll remember, he and Coulter and Paxton are quite chummy, and Coulter wanted him to come with them when they left our crowd. I think, if we can find out where the Ritter crowd is staying, we can get back our things—and not before.”

“Then we’ll find them,” cried Andy.

It was soon learned that not only were the things left in the wagon gone, but also some of the cooking utensils and the fresh meat purchased from the butcher in Cedarville. This discovery made the cadets more angry than ever, and all vowed to “square up” with the Ritter crowd if they were really guilty and if it could possibly be done.


“We gave them their share and they had no right to come here and take more,” was the way Joe Nelson expressed himself.

Breakfast was had, and then Jack divided his force into three parties. Of these one party was to remain in camp and watch such of the outfit as was left. The other parties were to go on a hunt for the horse and wagon, one going to the north and the other to the west. The boys tried to follow the wagon tracks through the woods, but this was impossible, for many spots were hard and stony, and here the tracks were not distinguishable.

Jack and Pepper were in the party which moved to the westward, and they were accompanied by four other cadets, including Dale. They spread out in a line, about twenty feet apart, so that they might cover that portion of the woods as well as possible.

“This may prove to be nothing but a wild goose chase,” observed the young major as they moved along. “But it is better than sitting still and doing nothing.”

They soon crossed a clearing, and then came to a wagon road leading up a small hill. Here they saw freshly-made tracks and this gave them some encouragement.


“I don’t know of any farm up here,” said Pepper. “And if there isn’t any farm what would a wagon be doing here this time of year?” For the road was one for hauling wood.

“Better not make any noise,” cautioned Dale, as one of the cadets commenced to whistle. “We may be nearer that wagon than you suspect.”

They moved onward for about an eighth of a mile further, and then Jack called a halt.

“I see something moving over yonder,” he said, pointing with his hand. “I think we had better investigate.”

With increased caution, for they wished if possible to surprise the enemy, they went forward, keeping as much as possible behind the bushes lining the wood road. Then they made a turn, and off in a little glade to the left they saw the horse and wagon, the animal being tied to a tree. At the edge of the glade were several tents, and in front of them the remains of a campfire.

“Do you see anybody?” questioned Pepper, in a whisper.

“Yes, I see Ritter and Coulter, back of the tents,” answered Jack. “I see some of the fellows in the tents,” announced Dale. “They are fast asleep.”

“Most likely tired out, because of last night’s work,” said another cadet. He looked at Jack. “What do you want us to do, Major?”


“You fellows look in the wagon and see if our stuff is there,” was the reply. “Come, Pep, let us walk behind those bushes and see if we can discover anything more. If Ritter and Coulter are hatching out more mischief we want to know it.”

“I am with you,” answered The Imp.

“If the stuff is in the wagon, shall we drive off with it?” questioned Dale.

“Yes, but don’t go too far, Dale,” answered Jack. “We may want you and the other fellows here.”

“All right—if you want us, give the signal.”

Then, while Dale and the others hurried toward the horse and wagon, Jack and Pepper stole behind the tents to where Ritter and Coulter were talking earnestly. Little did the young major dream of what he was to hear or of the discovery he was to make.



Reff Ritter was evidently in high spirits over the success of his midnight raid, for his voice sounded positive and loud. Coulter was a little bit afraid.

“They may follow us up,” were the first words Jack and Pepper caught, coming from Gus Coulter.

“Oh, they may try it, but I don’t think they can do it,” answered Ritter. “We took good care to keep to the rocks when we left their camp. They can’t follow the wagon tracks. Oh, say, but it’s a rich joke on them, isn’t it?” And the bully of the Hall chuckled loudly.

“It sure is, Reff. But if they found us out——” Coulter shook his head. “I suppose Jack Ruddy would be mad enough to chew us up.”

“I am not afraid of Ruddy.”

“Oh, I know that, Reff.”


“And I don’t think he can find us out. He isn’t as knowing as you think he is.”

“Yes, but he’s pretty sharp,” insisted Coulter.

“Humph! He never found out how he happened to get sick so suddenly the day we had the gymnastic contest and he fell from the flying-rings.”

“Oh, you said you’d tell me all about that some day,” said Coulter. “How did you manage it, Reff?”

“It was easy enough. If I tell you, will you keep it to yourself?”


“Well, I got that French headache powder out of the medicine cabinet. I knew about how much to use to make Ruddy dizzy and dull.”

“Yes, but how did you manage to give it to him without his knowing it?” went on Coulter with interest.

“That was easy enough. I went down to the mess room just before the evening parade. I watched my chance, and when none of the waiters were looking, I slipped up to Ruddy’s seat and put the powder into the glass of water in front of his plate. Just as I hoped, he came in feeling dry, and he drank the stuff without knowing it. I think he did say something about a bitter taste, but that was all.”


“It was an all-right trick,” said Coulter. “Only it didn’t pan out just as you wanted.”

“But Jack Ruddy never found out about it,” answered Reff Ritter. “Say, I’m getting sleepy,” he added, with a yawn. “Let’s turn in, like the rest have done.”

“Want to set a guard?”

“Oh, all the fellows are too tired to stand guard,” was the bully’s reply, and then he passed into one tent and Coulter into another.

With keen interest Jack and Pepper had listened to every word of the conversation. The young major could scarcely control himself, and his chum had to hold him back.

“The rascal!” cried Jack. “I always suspected him of having drugged me, and now I have the proof. I ought to hammer him well!”

“Wait—don’t let him see you here,” pleaded Pepper, and pulled his chum back of some bushes.

“But, Pep, that villain——”

“Yes, yes, I know. You’d like to pound the life out of him, and so would I. But we can do no more—we can expose him to Captain Putnam.”

“Certainly. But let me pound him first.”


“Not yet, Jack. Remember, we are two to two, and Ritter and Coulter can deny anything we say. We had better go slow, and fix it so that, when the time comes for an exposure, Ritter can’t worm out of it.”

As angry as he was, the young major saw the wisdom of this, and he allowed Pepper to draw him away from the vicinity of the tents. Both rejoined Dale and the others, who were behind some bushes close to where the horse was tied.

“Our stuff is all in the wagon,” announced Dale. “We were going to drive off with it, but we saw Ritter and Coulter looking this way and we didn’t want to be discovered.”

“Wait—they are going to retire,” said Pepper. “I think in a few minutes every fellow in this camp will be asleep, and then——” He did not finish but his eyes began to twinkle.

“Hurrah!” cried Dale. “I know what you mean! Tit for tat, eh?”

“And why not, Dale? Let me tell you fellows something.” And then The Imp repeated the conversation that had just been overheard.

“Is that true?” demanded Dale.

“It is—word for word. Jack wanted to pound Ritter then and there, but I made him hold back, for we want to prove this matter to Captain Putnam.”

“If that’s the sort he is, he and his cronies deserve to be cleaned out,” said another cadet.


“And we’ll clean them out,” answered Jack. “We’ll leave them the tents and their clothing and that’s all.”

The boys had not long to wait for Ritter and Coulter to retire. Then, when they felt certain that all of the enemy were asleep, they stole into the camp and picked up the cooking utensils and provisions lying around and loaded them on the wagon. Then the horse was untied and the journey back along the wood road was begun.

“We can change our own camp this afternoon,” said the young major. “And we can fix it so they won’t have an easy time to find us.”

It was nearly noon when the boys came into their camp with the horse and wagon. The other searching party had come back a few minutes before, much discouraged.

“Good for you!” said one of the other searchers. “I’m glad we didn’t all fail.”

“Jack, don’t forget that we expect visitors,” said Andy, a little later.

“Of course!” exclaimed the young major. “Boys, I want you to put this camp into first-class shape immediately,” he added, and then proceeded to wash up and brush his hair before the one tiny mirror brought along from the Hall.


It was not long after this that a call sounded through the woods, and then the cadets saw two men and two girls approaching, each carrying a basket covered with a napkin. The party consisted of Mr. Rossmore Ford and his two daughters, and the family coachman.



“So this is where you are stopping!” cried Mr. Ford, after the greetings were over. “An ideal spot, I must say, and one pretty well hidden from the carriage road. I take it that your teachers haven’t found you yet.”

“No, sir,” answered Jack.

“Would you mind telling me why you rebelled? I am very much interested,” went on the gentleman.

In as few words as possible the young major told the particulars of the trouble with Josiah Crabtree and Pluxton Cuddle. Mr. Ford, Laura and Flossie listened with close attention.

“Well, if all this is true, I do not wonder at your running away,” said Rossmore Ford. “I rather think I should have run away myself.”

“Here are the pies, and some cakes and fresh rolls,” said Laura. “The pies are apple, lemon and cocoanut, and we hope you’ll like them.”

“Like them!” cried a dozen cadets in chorus. “Just you wait till you see us eat them!”

“We have only one lad here who doesn’t like pie,” went on Pepper, soberly. “That’s Paul Singleton. He——”


“Hi, you!” cried Stuffer. “I like pie as well as anybody, and you know it. Miss Ford, don’t you pay attention to what he says!”

“Maybe he wants all the pie to himself,” answered Flossie.

“We’d feel honored to have you take dinner with us,” said Jack to Mr. Ford, after consulting some of his chums.

“Oh, let us stay, papa! It would be such fun!” pleaded Laura.

“Yes! yes!” added her sister.

“Well, if it is not too much trouble——” murmured Rossmore Ford.

“No trouble at all!” cried the cadets and then it was arranged that all of the visitors should remain for the midday meal. This settled, Stuffer and the other cooks bustled about to get the repast ready.



It was pleasant for Jack and his chums to have the Fords with them, and all spent an agreeable hour together, while waiting for the meal and during the repast. The pies and fresh rolls proved highly acceptable. The cake Stuffer wanted to cut, too, but the young major said that must be kept for supper.

“He’d put on everything in camp, if I let him,” Jack explained to the girls. “He’s the greatest eater in the school, and that’s why we call him Stuffer. But he’s a good fellow all the same,” he added, hastily.

During the meal the boys told Mr. Ford of the tramps, and what was to be done that afternoon to capture the fellows. The gentleman was much interested.

“We have lost fowls over to my place,” he said. “Perhaps these men are guilty of the depredations. If so, I think I ought to have a hand in this round-up,” and he smiled faintly.


“You can go along if you wish, Mr. Ford,” answered Jack, readily.

“Then I will. The girls can drive home with Michael.” And so it was arranged.

“Papa, I want you to keep out of harm,” said Laura, on parting. “And you boys had better take care, too,” she continued.

“We’ll be on our guard, don’t fear,” answered Pepper, and then he and Andy saw the girls to the carriage, and saw Michael the coachman drive off with them.

While the cadets were awaiting the arrival of Landerson the butcher and Peters and Robinson, two farmers who had lately lost chickens by stealing, the young major gave some of them directions where to go and establish a new camp. This was a spot known to but a few, and he felt certain that Reff Ritter would not be able to follow them to it.

“Take the horse and wagon along over the stones,” he said, “and then drive them down Baker’s brook. Water leaves a mighty poor trail.”

“All right, we’ll do the best we can,” said Bob Grenwood, who was placed at the head of the cadets to superintend the removal.


About half-past two the butcher and the two farmers arrived, in company with a small, fat man who gravely announced himself as one of the deputy sheriffs of the county.

“Great Cæsar! Has he come to arrest us!” whispered Bart Conners, as the deputy sheriff eyed the boys in a suspicious manner.

“No, he has come to arrest the chicken thieves—if he can find them,” answered Jack.

It looked as if a storm might be brewing, so no time was lost in starting in the direction of the tramps’ camp. Andy and Stuffer, knowing the trail, led the way, and the men from Cedarville and Mr. Ford and six of the cadets followed. The deputy sheriff and the two farmers carried shotguns, and the butcher boastfully exhibited a pistol of the old “hoss” variety, and nearly two feet long.

“We may as well arm ourselves,” suggested Rossmore Ford. “There is no telling what may happen, if those rascals show fight.” And he cut himself a stout stick, and the cadets did likewise.

The deputy sheriff being fat was also short of wind, so the party had to move slowly. Once they came to a halt, Andy and Stuffer being a little doubtful of the trail.

“Don’t—er—take us off the road,” panted the deputy sheriff. “This walk—er—is bad enough as it is,” and he gave a deep sigh. Walking had never been his strong point.


At last they came in sight of the hollow and Andy pointed out the rude shelter and the remains of a campfire. Not a soul was to be seen.

“Perhaps they have deserted the spot,” said Jack. “If they have it’s too bad.”

“Ha! don’t tell me you have brought me here on a fool’s errand!” puffed the deputy sheriff.

“If you are fooled, Mr. Nugg, so are we,” answered Rossmore Ford.

“I think I see somebody sleeping under that shelter,” said the butcher. “Yes, I do! It’s a man—and a tramp, by the looks of his ragged clothing!”

“Then some of them must be on hand,” answered Pepper.

“I hope the man I am after is there,” put in Andy. He was thinking more of the things he had lost than of capturing the rascals on account of the chickens that had been stolen.

“Hadn’t we better surround the place?” suggested Jack, with true military instinct.

“Just—er—what I was going to suggest,” said Mr. Nugg, quickly. “But don’t do any shooting unless I give the command,” he continued warningly.


“I doubt if it will be necessary to do any shooting,” said Rossmore Ford. “Tramps are usually cowards and give up at the sight of firearms. If we do any shooting somebody of our own party may get hurt.”

They spread out in a circle and with caution drew closer to the tramps’ camp. As they approached they saw that three men were resting under the rude shelter. Presently one of the men raised his head, looked around and uttered a cry of warning. Then all leaped to their feet, gazing at the approaching men and boys in consternation.

“Surrender, in the name of the law!” shouted the fat deputy sheriff.

“Wot’s dis anyhow?” demanded one of the tramps, trying to retreat, and finding himself hemmed in.

“Do you surrender, or do you want to be shot?” asked the butcher.

“Surrender?” asked a second tramp. “Wot’s dis? We ain’t done nuthin.”

“Up with your hands!” went on the deputy sheriff, who was bound to make the capture as dramatic as possible, and up into the air went three very dirty pairs of hands.

“Any more of you around here?” asked Andy, quickly, for he saw that not one of the fellows present was the individual he had met at the jewelry store.


“De udders have——” began the third tramp, a nervous looking young fellow.

“You shut yer mouth, Bug!” cried the first tramp who had spoken, warningly.

“Let him speak if he wants to,” said Jack, stepping forward. At the sight of the military uniform the rascals looked much worried.

“So youse is bringin’ de soldiers here, hey?” said one.

“Da ain’t soldiers, da are cadets from a school,” said one tramp. “Don’t yer know Flatnose told us about ’em?”

“Where is Flatnose?” asked Andy eagerly. He remembered that the tramp he was after had a somewhat flat nose.

“He’ll be back in about——” began the younger of the three tramps, when a warning look from both of the others halted him as before.

“When will he be back—answer me?” said Rossmore Ford sternly.

“Don’t youse say a word more!” growled the largest of the tramps.

“Here comes some men now—over yonder hill!” cried Dale, who chanced to look back.

“Yes—and there is the rascal I want to catch!” returned Andy. “Come on, Jack and Pepper, will you help me?”


“We will!” answered his two chums.

“There are four men!” cried the butcher.

“I know one of ’em!” yelled one of the farmers. “I saw him around my henhouse one evening! He’s the chap I want to catch!” And away he went with his shotgun.

“Hi! Wot’s dis?” cried one of the tramps in the distance.

“I know wot’s up,” answered another. “Da are after us! Our hangout has been discovered! Say, boys, we have got to dust if we want to keep out o’ jail!”

And then off they ran, in several different directions, and after them went Andy, Jack and Pepper, and two other cadets, and Mr. Ford and one of the farmers did likewise.



“I want to get hold of that fellow with the flat nose!” cried Andy to his chums. “I don’t care so much about the others.”

“We are with you, Andy,” answered the young major.

“We are bound to catch him sooner or later,” added Pepper.

The tramps had a start of at least a hundred yards and lost no time in trying to escape. The fellow called Flatnose made for a dense patch of woods behind the spring and was soon lost to sight. But the cadets heard him as he crashed and plunged through brushwood and over rocks, and slowly but steadily they drew nearer to the rascal.

“You might as well stop!” cried Andy. “We are bound to catch you.”

“If you come any closer somebody will git hurt,” called back the tramp roughly. “You ain’t goin’ to catch me, not much you ain’t!”


“Do you think he’ll dare to shoot at us?” asked one of the cadets.

“No,” answered Jack. “I believe they are all cowards.”

On and on plunged the tramp, with the boys after him. He was now ascending a small hill. Beyond, the cadets knew, was a cliff, fringed with brushwood.

“Wonder if he knows about the cliff?” said Pepper.

“He must—since he has been in this neighborhood so long,” answered Jack. “But if he doesn’t he may take a nasty tumble.”

“Maybe he is hoping to make us take the tumble,” came from Andy.

This was a trick the tramp had in mind, and reaching the edge of the cliff, he darted to the right and crouched down under some thick bushes.

The cadets ran on at full speed until they neared the cliff and then slowed up. They peered over the edge of the height into the little valley below but could see no one.

“He’s around here somewhere,” declared Jack, and just then saw a bush that had been caught back switch itself into place. He leaped into the direction.

“Here he is, fellows!”


“Where?” asked Andy and Pepper in a breath.

“Under a bush. Come out of that!” Jack added to the fugitive.

“I ain’t comin’ out,” whined the tramp. He was out of wind and crestfallen.

“If you don’t come out, we’ll kick you out,” answered Andy, and then he shook his stick at the fellow. “Come out of that, and be quick about it.”

The tramp looked at the acrobatic youth and he gave a little gasp. Evidently he recognized Andy.

“I ain’t done nuthin,” he grumbled. “I’m an honest fellow, I am.”

“You certainly look it,” answered Jack. “Come, get up.” And he, too, raised his stick as if to hit the rascal over the head.

“Don’t—don’t strike me!” was the cry. “I’ll come out! But I ain’t done nuthin’.”

Very reluctantly the tramp crawled out from under the bushes and faced the boys. When Andy looked at him his eyes fell.

“I guess you know me,” said Andy, sternly.

“You? I ain’t never seen you before.”

“Oh, yes, you have. We met in the jewelry store in Cedarville one evening.”

“Not me. You’ve got the wrong man.”


“No, you are the fellow. And after we met at the jewelry store you attacked me on the road, threw me off my bicycle, and robbed me.”

“No, I didn’t!” cried the tramp, but his manner showed that he was much dismayed by the accusation.

“What I want to know is, What did you do with the things you took from me?” continued Andy.

“Didn’t I say you had the wrong man?”

“Will you give up the stuff or not?”

“Say, I ain’t——”

“Answer my question.” And Andy raised his stick as if to hit the fellow on the head.

“I—I ain’t got the stuff,” cried the tramp in alarm. “Don’t hit me. I—I turned the stuff over to Levi, the fence.”

“Levi, the fence?” queried Andy.

“A fence, in criminals’ language, is a receiver of stolen goods,” explained Jack. “Where is this Levi?” he asked.

“Over in Albany. He was in Cedarville when I give him the goods. He promised me twenty dollars, but I only got five. He ought to be pinched,” went on the tramp, meaning by “pinched” he should be arrested.

“You come with us,” said Andy, and between them the cadets marched the tramp back to the camp in the hollow.


At the hangout they found that four of the tramps had been caught and made prisoners. The others had escaped, and what became of them nobody found out.

“I have heard of that fellow Levi,” said the deputy sheriff. “He has been wanted for some time. I think the Albany police are now after him.”

Seeing it would be useless to conceal matters longer, the tramp called Flatnose made a full confession, in which he told of attacking Andy just as had been supposed. He had found the tree limb in the woods near the road, and had thrust it out from the bushes just when the bicyclist was passing.

“I got scared when you didn’t come to your senses,” he said. “I didn’t mean to do nuthin’ but knock you into the road an’ take the things.”

“Well, that was enough,” said Andy, grimly. “But I must say I am thankful I wasn’t killed.”


“These men are all rascals,” said Rossmore Ford. “They are petty thieves, and they have terrorized the women and children for several miles around. We’ll see to it that they all get what they deserve.” And it may be added here that every one of the tramps was sent, later on, to jail. At the camp were found ample proofs of how they had been robbing not only henroosts and sheepfolds, but also houses and barns. The butcher and the farmers were glad to see the rascals rounded up, and the deputy sheriff was proud of the part he had played in the affair.

“We’ll look out for your things,” said the deputy to Andy. “And as soon as we get them we’ll let you know.”

It was not deemed necessary for the cadets to help get the tramps to the Cedarville lock-up and so, after bidding the men good-bye, the boys started off in the direction where the new camp of the school runaways was to be located.

“I’ll wager Reff Ritter was mad when he found the horse and wagon and all those things gone,” said Pepper.

“He’ll do his best to find our new camp,” answered Jack. “Perhaps he’ll want to fight next.”

“If he does, I reckon we can give him all he wants,” said Andy.

The sky was much overcast and it looked as if it might rain at any moment. This caused the cadets to increase their speed, and soon they were past the spot where the first camp had been located.

“Hello, look there!” cried Pepper, presently, and pointed among the trees.

“It’s Gus Coulter!” answered another cadet “What is he doing here?”


“They must be looking for us already,” exclaimed Jack.

All ran up to Coulter, to learn that he was alone—some others who had been with him having scattered to look for the new camp of the crowd under the young major.

“See here, Coulter, I want to talk to you!” cried Jack, grabbing the cadet by the arm. “Come here, boys!” he added, to his friends.

Thus caught alone, Coulter was much frightened and when the young major began to talk to him he trembled in every limb.

“What do you want?” he faltered.

“I want to talk to you, Coulter.”

“What about?”

“About a certain talk you had with Reff Ritter.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Well, you will know before I am done with you.”

“You let me go,” said Coulter, uneasily. “You haven’t got any right to detain me in this fashion.”

“Well, I am taking the right,” answered the young major sturdily. “I want you to understand——”


Jack got no further, for with a sudden twist and a push Gus Coulter freed himself, leaped through the crowd, and dashed away.

“After him!” yelled Pepper. “He mustn’t get away like this!”

“I reckon we can catch him,” put in Andy, and then all of the cadets started in pursuit of the fleeing one.

Coulter was badly scared—why he could not exactly tell—and he ran like a deer. But the others kept on his track.

“There he goes!” cried Jack, as the running lad darted behind a heavy clump of bushes.

The next instant there arose on the air a wild cry of dismay and alarm.

“Oh, dear! Help me, somebody!”

“He’s in trouble!” said Andy.

“Go slow—or somebody else may get into trouble, too,” cautioned the young major.

Slackening their pace, the crowd approached the clump of bushes and passed around to one side. They then saw what had caused Coulter to cry for assistance.

On the other side of the bushes was a big swamp hole, filled with muck, dead leaves and water. In his anxiety to escape Gus Coulter had plunged into the swamp hole and was now up to his waist and rapidly sinking.


“Ge—get m—me out, somebody!” he gasped. “Quick, or I’ll—I’ll go down an—and be smothered!”

The others saw that Coulter’s plight was serious and something must be done to save him.

“I’ve got it!” cried Andy, as he looked around. “I reckon I can get him out.”

“How?” questioned Pepper.

“Wait—I’ll show you.”

The acrobatic youth ran to a big tree growing close to the edge of the swamp. He climbed up with marvellous rapidity, and then worked his way out on a branch that grew over Coulter’s head.

“Good for Andy!” cried Jack.

“If only the limb will bend down far enough,” added Pepper.

Soon the acrobatic youth was close to the outer end of the limb. He bent down, but his hand did not come within a foot of Gus Coulter’s reach.

“I—I can’t ma—make it!” gasped the boy below. His face was full of abject fear.

“Wait a minute,” answered Andy.

He turned over, and the next moment was hanging from the limb by his feet, which he had crossed one over the other. Thus he was able to reach Coulter with ease.


“Look out, Andy, that you don’t go down, too,” cautioned Jack.

“And take care that the limb doesn’t break,” added Pepper.

Slowly but surely Andy began to draw poor Gus Coulter from the muck. It was a severe strain on the acrobatic youth, and his muscles stood out like whipcords, while his face, from hanging down, became purple. The tree limb bent low, until the outer leaves swept the swamp hole.

“I don’t think he’ll make it,” was the comment of one of the cadets, but even as he spoke there was a sucking sound and up came Coulter, and the tree limb bounded several feet higher.

“Hurrah! He’s got him!” yelled Pepper, and his cheer was echoed by the others.

Both boys in the tree were somewhat out of breath and they did not descend at once. Finally Andy slid down and Coulter followed.

The lad who had the accident presented a most woebegone appearance. He was covered with black muck up to his armpits, and some of the muck was on his hands and face. Now that the danger was over the others had all they could do to keep from laughing at the unfortunate one.

“Coulter, you can thank Andy for saving your life,” remarked Pepper.


“I—er—I wouldn’t have tumbled into the hole if you hadn’t chased me,” grumbled Coulter.

“And we wouldn’t have chased you if you hadn’t tried to run away,” came from the young major.

“You had no right to stop me.”

“As I said before, I am taking the right, Coulter. I want you to confess something.”

“Me? I haven’t done anything.”

“You know what Reff Ritter did. I heard you talk it over.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean just this,” answered Jack, and then spoke about the talk he had heard between Reff Ritter and Coulter concerning the use of the French headache powders.

“Now I want you to tell the truth, Coulter,” said the young major, finally. “Who put those powders into my drinking water? Answer, or I’ll give you the biggest thrashing you ever had in your life!”

“Don’t—don’t hit me!” cried the cadet.

“Then answer—and tell the strict truth.”

“Reff Ritter. But if he learns I told on him he’ll hammer me to death,” added Coulter, with a very white face.


And then he told the particulars, just as Ritter had given them. All of the cadets present listened with interest. When Coulter had finished Jack caught him by the shoulder.

“Now get out!” he cried. “Go back to Ritter, and don’t you show your face near our camp!” And Coulter lost no time in disappearing.

Five minutes later the cadets came in sight of the new camp. As they entered the clearing Pepper gave a gasp.

“Look! There is Captain Putnam!”

“You are right,” answered Jack. “Now we’ve got to face the music!”



“Well, young gentlemen, it would seem that you have been taking matters into your own hands,” remarked Captain Putnam, as he faced those who had just arrived. He looked stern, yet not as angry as they had sometimes seen him.

“Captain Putnam, we felt it was absolutely necessary to do what we have done,” answered Jack.

“Have the others told you how we were treated?” asked Pepper.

“In part, yes. But I wish to hear what you have to say also.”

“And I suppose you’d like to hear what Mr. Crabtree and Mr. Cuddle have to say,” put in Andy.

“Never mind that just now,” said the master of the Hall. “Major Ruddy, I will listen to your story.”


In a plain, straightforward manner Jack told his story from beginning to end, very much as I have set it down here. He did not omit a single important detail. He told of the throwing of the inkwell, the hot potatoes and the bread, but mentioned no names. He also related the particulars of the trouble in the classrooms, and of how Pluxton Cuddle had endeavored to starve them into submission, aided in this work by Josiah Crabtree. When this was told the captain drew down the corners of his mouth and frowned.

“He won’t stand for that—I knew he wouldn’t,” whispered Dale to Stuffer.

“Nobody would stand for starving!” cried the lad who loved to eat.

After Jack had finished, several other cadets were interviewed. Then Captain Putnam wanted to know the whereabouts of Ritter and his crowd.

“We can take you to them,” said Dale.

“That will not be necessary, Blackmore. You may go to their camp and tell them that I want them to return to Putnam Hall at once.” And somewhat against his will, Dale departed on the errand.

“What are we to do?” asked Andy.

“Break camp and return to the school, now,” Captain Putnam turned to Jack. “Major Ruddy, you will give the necessary orders.”


“Gladly, sir—now that you are back, Captain Putnam,” cried Jack.

“Are you really glad that I am back, Ruddy?”

“Yes, sir—and I know the others are glad, too. We didn’t run away just for the fun of it,” he added, earnestly.

“It may give my school a black eye.”

“Not as much of a black eye as the teachers gave it by hiring those men from Cedarville to come down and play guard.”

“This is true—and I have already told Mr. Crabtree so.”

“Oh, then you’ve been to the school?”


“Then—then——” The young major hesitated.

“We’ll thrash this whole thing out later, Ruddy. It is too serious a matter to decide now. A storm is coming and I want you to get back if possible before it breaks. Start for the school as soon as you can.”

In less than quarter of an hour the cadets were on the march. Andy drove the wagon, which was piled high with the outfit. Captain Putnam walked by the young major’s side, and the cadets kept step as if on dress parade. All wondered what would be the end of the affair. Would any of them be expelled?


At the entrance to the campus they were met by Peleg Snuggers, and he was directed to take charge of the wagon and its contents. Then the cadets entered the Hall. All was silent within, and neither Josiah Crabtree nor Pluxton Cuddle showed himself. The boys were told to go straight to the general assembly room.

It had begun to rain and soon it was pouring in torrents, while the lightning flashed and the thunder roared incessantly. In the midst of the storm Dale dashed in.

“I went to their old camp, but Ritter and his crowd had moved,” he said. “I couldn’t find them, and not wishing to get soaked I came to the school.”

“It is too bad,” said Captain Putnam. “But it cannot be helped. I will send for them again after the storm clears off.” Then the captain left the cadets in the assembly room, telling them to keep quiet until his return.

“I guess he is going to have it out with Crabtree and Cuddle,” whispered Pepper. And he was right.

An hour passed, and then a side door opened and Captain Putnam entered, followed by Josiah Crabtree and Frank Barringer. The boys started on seeing the teacher for he seemed suddenly to have grown several years older. The master of the Hall ascended the platform and made a speech.


“I have heard both sides of this controversy,” said he. “Mistakes have been made all around. It was a mistake for you cadets to become disorderly in the classrooms and in the mess hall—and it was a mistake on the part of the teachers to attempt to starve you into submission. For trying to starve you I find Mr. Cuddle responsible, and he has this day severed his connection with Putnam Hall.”

“Good!” whispered Andy. “Good-bye to Cuddle, and may we never see his like again!”

“Mr. Crabtree is willing to let bygones be bygones,” went on Captain Putnam. “He realizes his mistakes and regrets them. Supposing I am willing to overlook what you have done, young gentlemen, are you willing to start in to-morrow morning as if nothing unusual had occurred? If so, stand up.”

One after another the cadets stood up until not one remained seated. A smile spread over Captain Putnam’s face, and this was reflected on the face of Josiah Crabtree. The cadets did not know it, but their standing up saved for the teacher his position. Had they not been willing to forgive and forget Crabtree would have been discharged.


“Three cheers for Captain Putnam!” cried Pepper, and though the master of the Hall raised his hand to protest the cheers were given with a will. A faint cheer followed for Crabtree and the teacher arose and very awkwardly bowed his acknowledgement. Then the cadets were dismissed and the bell rang for supper.

“I reckon we won’t see Pluxton Cuddle,” said Andy, and he was right, that unpopular teacher left early the next morning, before any of the cadets were around.

It was not until the next afternoon that Reff Ritter and his crowd showed themselves, and they brought the mail taken from the post-office. They had heard of Captain Putnam’s return and had come in of their own accord. The storm had blown down their tents and they were wet to the skin and terribly hungry. There had been a bitter quarrel among the crowd, and this was kept up after they got back. One of the boys had heard Ritter speak about the exchanging of blank cartridges for those containing bullets at the target practice and immediately upon his return to Putnam Hall he sought out Captain Putnam.

“Well, what do you want, Akers?” demanded the master of the school, sternly.


“I know I have done wrong, sir,” said Akers. “But, Captain Putnam, I came to speak of something else.”

“What is it?”

“It concerns Bob Grenwood, our former quartermaster.”

“What of Grenwood?”

“I suppose you remember about those blank cartridges that were dealt out to some of us when we had target practice.”


“Well, I want to tell you positively, sir, that Grenwood is not guilty—that he had nothing to do with handing them out.”

“How do you know this?”

“Because, when we were out camping, Reff Ritter got to boasting, and he told how he and another fellow got the blanks and distributed them. It was done at the time of the snake scare. There was no snake—the scare was gotten up merely to attract our attention, so that the blanks could be taken from the box.”

“Humph! You are sure of this?” demanded Captain Putnam.

“Yes, sir.”

“Tell me all the particulars.”


Thereupon Akers told his story in detail, to which the master of the Hall listened with close attention. Then several other boys came in, among them Andy and Pepper.

“I want to speak to you about the time Major Jack Ruddy fell from the flying rings and came pretty close to being dangerously hurt,” said Andy. “I guess you remember that, sir.”

“Indeed I do—since he was very sick at the time,” answered Captain Putnam.

“We know just how he got sick.”

“What was the cause, Snow?”

“Reff Ritter put some French headache powders in his drinking water. The powders made him dizzy, and that is how he came to fall from the rings.”

“Can this be true?” And the captain’s face grew very stern.

“Yes, sir, it is—and we can prove it by several boys,” put in Pepper.

“It would seem that Ritter is responsible for many wrongdoings,” mused the master of the school.

“He’s a bad egg,” said Andy. “My own opinion is that he ought to be expelled.”

“We’ll see about that later. Now tell me all you know.”

Andy and Pepper related what they had heard, and then several other boys were called in.


An hour later Captain Putnam sent for Reff Ritter. The moment the bully entered the office he knew that something had gone wrong.

“I have had some very bad reports about you, Ritter,” said the master sternly. “I have a mind to expel you on the spot.”

“What for?” asked Ritter. His voice shook as he spoke.

“For doing some very wicked and mean things.”

“I—I haven’t done anything, sir.”

“You have—and it is useless for you to deny it.”

“Wh—what—er—do you mean?”

“I am speaking of how you took those blank cartridges and used them, and of how you dosed Major Ruddy with those French headache powders.”

“Captain Putnam, I didn’t——”

“Stop, Ritter, don’t add falsehoods to your other faults. I am positive that you are guilty. And as I said before, I have a good mind to expel you here and now.”

“Don’t! Please don’t!” cried the bully, breaking down. “I—I didn’t mean any harm—it was only done in fun, sir! I—er—I’ll never do such things again! Please don’t expel me!”

“You might have killed Ruddy!”


“I—er—I thought the powders would make him a little sick—so he—er—he wouldn’t want to compete with me—for I was afraid of being beaten. And the blanks——”

“Made me take Greenwood’s office away from him. But he shall be restored.”

“Please, please, Captain Putnam, don’t expel me!” groaned Ritter.

“Are you willing to apologize to Grenwood?”

“Yes, yes!”

“And to Ruddy?”

“Ye—yes.” It was like pulling teeth for Ritter to utter that last word.

“Ruddy’s folks may want to prosecute you criminally,” continued the captain.

“Oh! I—I hope not.” And now Ritter grew deadly pale.

After that Captain Putnam gave the misguided youth a stern lecture and then sent him to his room. Then Jack was called in.

“I don’t think I’ll make a complaint,” said the young major. “Perhaps, after all, it was only a boyish prank. But I don’t want him to try such a prank again.”

“It was a dastardly piece of business,” was Captain Putnam’s comment.

“I believe Ritter often acts before he thinks,” went on Jack.


“Then you want me to give him another chance?”

“Yes—as far as I am concerned.”

“This is generous of you, Ruddy.”

“I don’t want to be the means of casting Ritter out, sir. Maybe if he was expelled, he’d go to the bad utterly.”

“That is true, too,—yet this school cannot afford to suffer from the actions of such a fellow. But I will give him one more chance,” concluded the master of Putnam Hall. And so the matter rested.

Andy was anxious to hear from the authorities, and one day came word that the man named Levi had been caught. In his possession were the medal and the ring taken from the acrobatic youth, so Andy got back what belonged to Joe Nelson and himself, much to his satisfaction. Levi followed the tramps to prison.

“Well, I am rather glad our running away is at an end,” said Jack, two days after the return to Putnam Hall. “Although I did like the camping out.”


“We are to go camping soon, Captain Putnam said so,” returned Pepper. “We are to go out in true military style too,” he added. How the cadets went out, and what sports and adventures they had, will be told in another volume of this series, to be entitled “The Putnam Hall Encampment; or, The Secret of the Old Mill.” In that book we shall meet all our old friends again, and likewise some of their enemies.

“I don’t think running away did us any harm,” said Dale.

“It was fun,” put in Bob Grenwood, who had been restored to his position as quartermaster of the school battalion.

“Just what I say,” declared Pepper.

And then the drum rolled for the evening parade and the cadets rushed off to get their guns and swords; and here we will leave them, wishing them well.


Books by Arthur M. Winfield



(Other volumes in preparation.)



(Other volumes in preparation.)

12mo, Cloth, Illustrated.
Price, per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.



The Famous Rover Boys Series


No stories for boys’ Reading ever published have attained the immense popularity of this new and extremely favorite series. They are full of fun, fancy, enterprise, and adventure, and each volume is hailed with delight by boys and girls everywhere.

12mo. Cloth. Handsomely printed and illustrated.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume. Postpaid.

Or, The Last Days at Putnam Hall
The latest and best of all the Rover Boy Books.
Or, The Deserted Steam Yacht
A trip to the coast of Florida.
Or, The Mystery of Red Rock Ranch
Relates adventures on the mighty Mississippi River.
Or, The Search for the Missing Houseboat
The Ohio River is the theme of this spirited story.
Or, The Rivals of Pine Island
At the annual school encampment.
Or, The Crusoes of Seven Islands
Full of strange and surprising adventures.
Or, A Hunt for Fame and Fortune
The boys in the Adirondacks at a Winter camp.
Or, The Secret of the Island Cave
A story of a remarkable Summer outing; full of fun.
Or, The Search for a Lost Mine
A graphic description of the mines of the great Rockies.
Or, Stirring Adventures in Africa
The boys journey to the Dark Continent in search of their father.
Or, A Chase for a Fortune
From school to the Atlantic Ocean.
Or, the Cadets of Putnam Hall
The doings of Dick, Tom, and Sam Rover.

Always Ask for the Grosset & Dunlap Editions


The Putnam Hall Series

Companion Stories to the Famous Rover Boys Series


Open-air pastimes have always been popular with boys, and should always be encouraged, as they provide healthy recreation both for the body and the mind. These books mingle adventure and fact, and will appeal to every healthy and manly boy.

12mo. Handsomely printed and illustrated. Bound in cloth, with stampings in Colors.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume. Postpaid.

Or, Bound to Win Out

In this new tale the Putnam Hall Cadets show what they can do in various keen rivalries on the athletic field and elsewhere. There is one victory which leads to a most unlooked-for discovery. The volume is full of fun and good fellowship, calculated to make the Putnam Hall Series more popular than ever.

Or, Good Times in School and Out

The cadets are lively, flesh-and-blood fellows, bound to make friends from the start. There are some keen rivalries, in school and out, and something is told of a remarkable midnight feast and a hazing that had an unlooked-for ending.

Or, Fun and Sport Afloat and Ashore

It is a lively, rattling, breezy story of school life in this country, written by one who knows all about its ways, its snowball fights, its baseball matches, its pleasures and its perplexities, its glorious excitements, its rivalries, and its chilling disappointments. It is a capitally written story which will interest boys vastly.

Other Volumes in Preparation.


The Rise in Life Series

By Horatio Alger, Jr.

These are Copyrighted Stories which cannot be obtained elsewhere. They are the stories last written by this famous author.

12mo. Handsomely printed and illustrated. Bound in cloth, stamped in colored inks.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume. Postpaid.

THE YOUNG BOOK AGENT: Or, Frank Hardy’s Road to Success

A plain but uncommonly interesting tale of everyday life, describing the ups and downs of a boy book-agent.

FROM FARM TO FORTUNE: Or, Nat Nason’s Strange Experience

Nat was a poor country lad. Work on the farm was hard, and after a quarrel with his uncle, with whom be resided, he struck out for himself.

OUT FOR BUSINESS: Or, Robert Frost’s Strange Career

Relates the adventures of a country boy who is compelled to leave home and seek his fortune in the great world at large. How he wins success we must leave to the reader to discover.

FALLING IN WITH FORTUNE: Or, The Experiences of a Young Secretary

This is a companion tale to “Out for Business,” but complete in itself, and tells of the further doings of Robert Frost as private secretary.

YOUNG CAPTAIN JACK: Or, The Son of a Soldier

The scene is laid in the South during the Civil War, and the hero is a waif who was cast up by the sea and adopted by a rich Southern planter.

NELSON THE NEWSBOY: Or, Afloat in New York

Mr. Alger is always at his best in the portrayal of life in New York City, and this story is among the best he has given our young readers.

LOST AT SEA: Or, Robert Roscoe’s Strange Cruise

A sea story of uncommon interest. The hero falls in with a strange derelict—a ship given over to the wild animals of a menagerie.

JERRY, THE BACKWOODS BOY: Or, The Parkhurst Treasure

Depicts life on a farm of New York State. The mystery of the treasure will fascinate every boy. Jerry is a character well worth knowing.

RANDY OF THE RIVER: Or, The Adventures of a Young Deckhand

Life on a river steamboat is not so romantic as some young people may imagine. There is hard work, and plenty of it, and the remuneration is not of the best. But Randy Thompson wanted work and took what was offered. His success in the end was well deserved, and perhaps the lesson his doings teach will not be lost upon those who peruse these pages.


The Flag of Freedom Series


A favorite Line of American Stories for American Boys. Every volume complete in itself, and handsomely illustrated. 12mo. Bound in cloth. Stamped in Colors.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume. Postpaid.

Or, A Young Scout among the Indians.

Tells of the remarkable experiences of a youth who, with his parents, goes to the Black Hills in search of gold. Custer’s last battle is well described. A volume every lad fond of Indian stories should possess.

Or, A Young Captain’s Pluck.

This story of stirring doings at one of our well-known forts in the Wild West is of more than ordinary interest. The young captain had a difficult task to accomplish, but he had been drilled to do his duty, and does it thoroughly. Gives a good insight into army life of to-day.

Or, Concert, Stage, and Battlefield.

The hero is a youth with a passion for music, who becomes a cornetist in an orchestra, and works his way up to the leadership of a brass band. He is carried off to sea and falls in with a secret service cutter bound for Cuba, and while there joins a military band which accompanies our soldiers in the never-to-be-forgotten attack on Santiago.

Or, The Mystery of a Great Volcano.

Here we have fact and romance cleverly interwoven. Several boys start on a tour of the Hawaiian Islands. They have heard that there is a treasure located in the vicinity of Kilauea, the largest active volcano in the world, and go in search of it. Their numerous adventures will be followed with much interest.

Or, Afloat in the Philippines.

The story of Dewey’s victory in Manila Bay will never grow old, but here we have it told in a new form—as it appeared to a real, live American youth who was in the navy at the time. Many adventures in Manila and in the interior follow, give true-to-life scenes from this portion of the globe.

Or, the War Adventures of Two Chums.

Two boys, an American and his Cuban chum, leave New York to join their parents in the interior of Cuba. The war between Spain and the Cubans is on, and the boys are detained at Santiago, but escape by crossing the bay at night. Many adventures between the lines follow, and a good pen-picture of General Garcia is given.


The Frontier Series
Stories of Early American Exploration and Adventure for Boys.


The Historical Background Is Absolutely Correct.

12mo. Well printed and well illustrated. Handsomely bound in cloth, stamped in Colors.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume. Postpaid.

Or, The Nugget Hunters of ’49

A tale complete in itself, giving the particulars of the great rush of the gold seekers to California in 1849. In the party making its way across the continent are three boys, one from the country, another from the city, and a third just home from a long voyage on a whaling ship. They become chums, and share in no end of adventures.

Or, With Lewis and Clark Across the Rockies

A splendid story describing in detail the great expedition formed under the leadership of Lewis and Clark, and telling what was done by the pioneer boys who were first to penetrate the wilderness of the northwest and push over the Rocky Mountains. The book possesses a permanent historical value and the story should be known by every bright American boy.

Or, The Pioneer Boys of Old Kentucky

Relates the true-to-life adventures of two boys who, in company with their folks, move westward with Daniel Boone. Contains many thrilling scenes among the Indians and encounters with wild animals. It is excellently told.


The Great Newspaper Series


The incidents in these clever stories are taken from life. Beside being a popular writer of books for boys’ reading, the author is a practised journalist, and these stories will convey an absolutely true picture of the workings of a great metropolitan newspaper in its entirety. Cheery, sensible, healthy stories, all finely illustrated.

Or, The First Step in Journalism
Or, Strange Adventures in a Great City
Or, The Hunt for a Missing Millionaire

12mo. Handsomely printed and illustrated. Bound in cloth with decorative cover.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume.

The Dick Hamilton Series


A new series that is bound to become immensely popular. The author has vivid powers of description and uses them to excellent effect. Will hold the attention of the reader from start to finish.

Or, The Stirring Doings of a Millionaire’s Son

Dick was left a fortune by his mother, but before he could obtain possession of the wealth, he had to fulfil several conditions. If he failed he had to go live with a miserly uncle whom he despised. A volume that is full of snap and “ginger.”

12mo. Cloth, with decorative cover. Well illustrated.

Price, 60 Cents.


The Enterprise Books

Captivating Stories for Boys by Justly Popular Writers

The episodes are graphic, exciting, realistic—the tendency of the tales is to the formation of an honorable and manly character. They are unusually interesting, and convey lessons of pluck, perseverance and manly independence.

12mo. Handsomely illustrated. Printed on excellent paper, and attractively bound in colored cloth, stamped in Colors.

Price, 60 Cents per Volume. Postpaid.

A Story of College Baseball

Books have been written about college baseball, but it remained for Mr. Moffat, a Princeton man, to come forward with a tale that grips one from start to finish. The students are almost flesh and blood, and the contests become real as we read about them. The best all-around college and baseball tale yet presented.

Or, Adventures in Winding Waters

Where is there a youth who does not love a gun, a fishing rod, a canoe, or a roaring camp-fire? In this book we have the doings of several bright and lively boys, who go on a canoeing trip on a winding stream, and meet with many exciting happenings. The breath of the forest blows through this tale, and every boy who reads it will be sorry that he was not a member of the canoe club that took that never-to-be-forgotten outing.

Or, With the Greatest Show on Earth

Andy is as bright as a silver dollar. In the book we can smell the sawdust, hear the flapping of the big white canvas and the roaring of the lions, and listen to the merry “hoop la!” of the clown.

A Tale of Ocean Adventure

A Youth’s story of the deep blue sea—of the search for a derelict carrying a fortune. Brandon Tarr is a manly lad, and all lads will be eager to learn whether he failed or succeeded in his mission.

Or, The Tyler Will

If you had been poor and were suddenly left a half-million dollars, what would you do with it? Do you think the money would bring you happiness, or would it bring only increased cares? That was the problem that confronted the Pell family, and especially the twin brothers, Rex and Roy. A strong, helpful story, that should be read by every boy and every young man in our land.

Or, A Hero in Spite of Himself

Relates the experiences of a poor boy who falls in with a “camera fiend,” and develops a liking for photography. After a number of stirring adventures Bob becomes photographer for a railroad, and while taking pictures along the line thwarts the plan of those who would injure the railroad corporation and incidentally clears a mystery surrounding his parentage.

A Story of South American Adventure

Jack is sent to South America on a business trip, and while there he hears of the wonderful treasure of the Incas located in the Andes. He learns also of a lake that appears and disappears. He resolves to investigate, and organizes an expedition for that purpose. The book is a thriller.

Or, Daring Adventures Round the South Pole

An expedition is fitted out by a rich young man who loves the ocean, and with him goes the hero of the tale, a lad who has some knowledge of a treasure ship said to be cast away in the land of ice. On the way the expedition is stopped by enemies, and the heroes land among the wild Indians of Patagonia. When the ship approaches the South Pole it is caught in a huge iceberg, and several of those on board become truly lost in the land of ice.


Transcriber’s Notes