Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Dick Prescott's Third Year at West Point by H. Irving Hancock

Part 4 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

the room, every action being clearly revealed in the bright moonlight
that was streaming through the windows.



"Wow, what on earth is the fellow doing?" muttered the puzzled Pierson.

Haynes had gone over to his fatigue blouse, the left front of
which he was examining very closely.

Then the turnback began to mutter indistinctly.

"Why, Haynesy is walking and talking in his sleep!" decided Pierson.
"Queer! I never knew him to do anything like that before. He must
have something on his mind."

Pierson had read, somewhere, that it is never wise to disturb a
sleepwalker, there being a risk that the sleepwalker, if aroused
too suddenly, may suffer collapse from fright.

"I wonder what on earth old Haynesy can have on his mind?" pondered
Pierson. "Oh, well, whatever it is, it is no business of mine."

With that Pierson let his head return to his pillow.

"That did the trick for Prescott---ha! ha!" muttered the turnback.

"What on earth did the trick, and what trick was it?" muttered
watching Pierson, curious despite the admitted fact that it was
all none of his business.

After a few moments more Haynes went back to his cot, pulled the
sheet and a single blanket up over him, and became quiet.

"It wouldn't do any good to ask Haynesy anything about this,"
decided Pierson. "He won't remember anything about it in the

So Pierson went to sleep again. When he awoke in the morning he was
more than half inclined to believe that he had dreamed it all.

The general reviews were drawing toward their close. In two studies
Haynes was making a poor showing, though he believed that he would

Riding drills were being held daily now. Preparations were being
made for the stirring exhibition of cavalry work that was to be
shown before the Board of Visitors.

On the afternoon of the day before the visitors were due, Greg
started up at the call for cavalry drill.

So did Dick.

"Where are you going?" challenged Cadet Holmes.

"To cavalry drill," responded Cadet Prescott.

"Who said you could?"

"The K.C. for one; Captain Albutt for another."

Greg looked, as he felt, aghast at the idea, but he managed to
blurt out:

"What about the rainmakers?"

"Captain Goodwin has examined me again."

"Surely, he doesn't approve of your riding yet, Dick?"

"He didn't say whether he did or not."


"But he certified that I was fit to ride."

"Dick, you didn't have to do this-----"

"No; but I want to be restored to full duty. Captain Albutt has
informed me that the horse assigned to me will be a dependable,
tractable animal, and I shall be on my guard and use my head."

"I don't like this," muttered Greg, as he fastened on his leggings.

"I didn't suppose you would, so I didn't tell you anything about it."

By the time that the second call sounded both young men were prepared,
and joined the stream of cadets pouring out of barracks.

Other cadets than Greg expressed their astonishment when they saw
Prescott in the detachment.

"Is this wise, old ramrod?" asked Anstey anxiously.

"A soldier shouldn't play baby forever," returned Dick. "And
I have permission, or I wouldn't be here."

"I don't like it," muttered Anstey.

Furlong, Griffin and Dobbs all had something to say.

Haynes didn't let a word escape him, but his eyes lighted with
evil joy.

"Now, I can finish the job, I guess," throbbed the evil one.

The detachment to which Prescott and some of his friends belonged
was formed and marched through one of the sally-ports. Just beyond,
a corporal and a squad of men from the Regular Army cavalry sat
in saddle. Each enlisted man held the bridle of another horse
than the one he rode. As the corporal dismounted his men, the
cadets, at the word from their marcher, moved forward and took
their mounts. At the command, the detachment rode forward, by
twos, at a walk, down the road that led to the cavalry drill ground
below the old South Gate.

It was Greg who rode beside his chum. In the drill, later, when
in platoon front or column of fours, it would be Haynes who would
ride on Dick's left.

The turnback had already made sure that his useful black pin was
securely fastened inside his fatigue blouse.

Arrived at the drill ground, the cadets dismounted, standing by
their horses in a little group until Captain Albutt should ride
out of one of the cavalry stables and take command.

Haynes, with a rapid throbbing of his pulses, bent forward and
down, pretending to examine his horse's nigh forefoot.

As he did so, with an expertness gained of practice, Haynes slipped
the head of the black pin in under the front of the sole of his
right boot. Then he straightened up again, chatting with Pierson.

"I say, Haynes," drawled Anstey, a few moments later, glancing
at the turnback's right foot, "that's a dangerous-looking thing
you have in your boot."

"What's that?" demanded Haynes, losing color somewhat, yet pretending
to be surprised.

"That long pin, sticking out of the front of your right boot,"
continued Anstey, pointing.

Haynes glanced down, saw the thing, and pretended to be greatly

"How did I get that thing in my shoe?" he cried.

Then, with an appearance of indolent indifference that was rather
overdone, the turnback stooped low enough to extract the pin.
But his fingers trembled in the act, and half a dozen cadets noted
the fact.

"That's a reckless bit of business, Haynes," continued Anstey in
a voice that did not appear to be accusing.

"Reckless?" gasped Greg Holmes. "It's criminal!"

"What do you mean?" demanded Haynes, straightening himself and
glaring coldly into Holmes's eyes.

But Greg was one of the last fellows in the world to permit himself
to be "frozen."

"I mean what I say, Haynes," he retorted plumply. "With that
thing in the toe of your boot something would be likely to happen
when some other horse's flank bumped you on the right. And, by
George, it's Prescott who rides at your right in platoon or column
of fours!"

Greg shot a look full of keen suspicion at the turnback.

"And it was Prescott who rode on your right the day he was thrown
from Satan!" flashed Greg, his face going white from the depth
of his sudden feeling. "Haynes, did you have that pin in the
toe of your boot the day that Prescott was thrown in the riding

"You-----" Haynes began, at white heat, clenching his free fist.

"Answer me!" broke in Greg insistently.

"I did not!"

"I don't believe you!" shot back Cadet Holmes

"Confound you, sir, do you mean to call me a liar?" hissed the

"Yes!" replied Greg promptly.

Haynes dropped his bridle, stepping toward Greg Holmes, who, however,
neither flinched nor looked worried.

"Hold my lines, Dobbs," urged Pierson, passing his bridle over
to a fellow classman.

Then Pierson sprang in front of Greg, facing his roommate.

"Softly, Haynes!" cried Pierson warningly.

"What is this to you?" demanded the turnback hotly.

"I am under the impression," replied Pierson, "that this is not
a personal matter so much as it is a class affair."

But Haynes, feeling that he was almost cornered, became reckless
and desperate.

"This is a personal matter, Pierson. Stand aside until I knock
that cur down."

"From any other man in the detachment," spoke Greg bitterly, "I
would regard the use of that word an insult. Haynes, if you hit
me, I shall knock you clean into the Hudson River. But I will
not accept any challenge to fight until the class has passed on
this matter."

"The class has nothing to do with it," insisted Haynes.

"I think the class has," broke in Pierson. "When the time comes
I shall have considerable to say."

"Then say it now!" commanded Haynes, glaring at his roommate.

"I will," nodded Pierson. "The other night, Haynes, I was awakened
to find you walking about the room in your sleep. You also talked
in your sleep. At the time I could make nothing of it all. Now,
I think I understand."

Then Cadet Pierson swiftly recounted what he had seen and what
he had heard that night in the room.

"You were fingering something on the left front of your blouse,
and while doing so, you made the distinct remark that this was
what had done the trick for Prescott," charged Pierson. "I did
not see what it was that you were fingering, but the next day,
the first chance I got, I, too, examined the left front of your
blouse. I found a small, black pin fastened there. It has been
fastened there every time since when I have had a chance to look
at your fatigue blouse hanging on the wall."

"I am not responsible for what I say when I'm sleepwalking," cried
Haynes in a rage. "And, besides, Pierson, you're lying."

"I'll wager that not a man here believes I'm lying," retorted
Pierson coolly.

"No, no! You're no liar, Pierson!" cried a dozen men at once.

"Is there a black pin inside your blouse at this moment?" challenged

"None of your business," cried the turnback hoarsely.

"I demand that you show up, or stand accused," insisted Cadet

"I'll show up nothing, or take any orders from anyone who tries
to lie my good name away," retorted Haynes. "But at least two
of you will have to fight me mighty soon."

"I won't fight you," retorted Greg bluntly, "until the class declares
you to be a man fit to fight with."

"Nor I, either," rejoined Pierson decisively. "Stand aside, you
hound, and let me get at that cur behind you!" cried Haynes hoarsely.

"Attention!" called the detachment marcher formally. "The instructor
for the day!"

Captain Albutt rode out of the nearest cavalry stable, mounted on
his own pure white horse.

At the order of the marcher each cadet fell back to the lines of his
own mount.

When Captain Albutt reached the detachment he saw nothing to
indicate the disturbance that had just occurred.



"Prepare to mount! Mount!"

Some preliminary commands of drill were executed. Then the serious
work of the hour began.

Never had Captain Albutt commanded at a better bit of cavalry work
than was done this afternoon by members of the first and second

The wheelings, the facings and all the manoeuvres at the different
gaits were executed with precision and dash. All the movements
in troop and squadron were carried out to perfection.

To the instructor, it was plain that the most perfect esprit de
corps existed. The cadets were acting with a singleness and
devotedness of purpose which showed plainly that the perfect
trooper was the sole subject of thought in their minds. At least,
so the instructor thought, from the results obtained.

Even Haynes's face was inexpressive as he rode.

Greg was as jaunty as though he had not an unkind thought toward
anyone in the world.

Cadet Prescott did not betray a sign of any thought save to do
his duty perfectly.

Yet, every time that his horse was brought close to Haynes's,
Prescott had his eyes open for any foul play that might be attempted
by the turnback.

"If the young men do as splendidly to-morrow before the Board
of Visitors," thought Captain Albutt, "I shall feel that my year
of work here has been a grand success. Jove, what a born trooper
everyone of these young fellows seems to be!"

At last the drill was finished. In detachments, the young cadet
troopers returned to the road between the administration building
and the academic building.

Here each detachment dismounted, surrendered its horses to a waiting
detail of enlisted cavalrymen, and then marched in to barracks.

As soon as the young men had removed their riding leggings, and the
dust from their uniforms, most of them descended into the quadrangle.

Haynes reached his room just an instant behind Pierson.

"See here, Pierson, you cad, what did you-----"

"Oh, shut up!" replied Pierson, with a weary sigh.

"Don't you speak to me like that, sir!" cried Haynes warningly,
as he stepped over to where his roommate was busy with a clothes

"I don't want to talk with you at all," retorted Pierson.

"You'll talk to me a lot, or you'll answer with your fists!"

"Fight with you? Bah!" growled the other man in disgust.

"You cad, you deliberately li-----"

But Pierson, having put his brush away, turned on his heel and
left the room.

Haynes paused for an instant, his face white with a new dread.

A cadet stands low, indeed, when another cadet will not resent
being called a liar by him.

"This has kicked up an awful row against me, I guess," muttered
the turnback, as he hastily cleaned himself. "I must get down
into the quadrangle, mix with the fellows and set myself straight."

Full of this purpose, for he was not lacking in a certain quality
of nerve and courage, Haynes went down to the quadrangle.

"I am afraid a good deal of feeling was aroused this afternoon,
Furlong," began the turnback.

Then he gulped, clenched his fists and lost color, for Cadet Furlong,
without a word, had turned on his heel and walked away.

"Griffin, what does Fur-----"

Cadet Griffin, too, turned on his heel, passing on.


It was Dobbs's turn to show his back and stroll away.

"What the deuce has got into them all?" wondered Haynes, though
his heart sank, for, much as he wanted to ignore the meaning,
it was becoming plain to him.

Another cadet was passing along the walk. To him Haynes turned
with an appealing face.

"Lewis," began the turnback, "I am afraid I shall have to ask

Whatever it was, Lewis did not wait to hear. He looked at Haynes
as though he saw nothing there, and joined a little group of cadets

"Confound these puppies!" growled Haynes to himself. "They're all
fellows that I hazed when they were plebes, and they haven't
forgiven me. I see clearly enough that, if I am to have an
explanation, or get a chance to make one, I must do it through the
members of my old class."

Some distance down the quadrangle stood Brayton and Spurlock, first
classmen and captains in the cadet battalion.

"They're high-minded, decent fellows," said Haynes to himself.
"I will go to them and get this nasty business set straight."

Past several groups of cadets stalked Haynes, affecting not to
see any of the fellows. But these cadets appeared equally indifferent
to being recognized.

Brayton and Spurlock were talking in low tones when the turnback
approached them.

"Brayton," began Haynes, "I want to ask you to do me a bit of
a favor."

Brayton did not stop his conversation with Spurlock, nor did he
show any other sign of having heard the turnback.

"Brayton! I beg your pardon!"

But the first classman did not turn.

"Spurlock," asked Haynes, in a thick voice, "are you in this tommy-rot
business, too?"

Spurlock, however, seemed equally deaf.

"Then see here, both of you-----" insisted Haynes, choking with

The two first classmen turned their backs, walking slowly off.

There was no chance to doubt the fate that had overtaken him.
Haynes had been "sent to Coventry." Henceforth, as long as he
remained in the corps of cadets, he was to be "cut." No other
cadet could or would speak to him, under the same penalty of also
being sent to Coventry.

Henceforth the only speech that any cadet would have with him would
be a necessary communication on official business. Socially there
was no longer any Cadet Haynes at West Point.

Once, two years before, Haynes had helped to put this punishment
on a plebe, who had soon after quitted the Academy.

Then Haynes had thought that sending another to Coventry was, under
some circumstances, a fine proceeding. But now the like fate had
befallen him!

"The fellows don't really mean it. They're excited now, but to-morrow
they'll be sorry and call the whole foolishness off," thought the
"cut" man, trying hard to swallow the obstinate lump that rose in
his throat.

In the quadrangle, mostly in groups, were fully two hundred cadets.
But not one of these young men would address a word to the exposed

"There's one satisfaction, anyway," thought Haynes savagely, as
he walked blindly back toward the door of his own subdivision
in barracks, "I can take it all out on the plebes!"

Just as he was going up the steps Haynes encountered a plebe coming

"Here, mister!" growled Haynes. "Swing around with you! At attention,
sir! What's your name, mister?"

But the plebe did not even pause. He did not avert his head, but
he took no pains to look at Haynes, merely passing the turnback
and gaining the quadrangle below.

Now the utter despair of his position came over Haynes. How suddenly
it had come! And even Haynes, with his four years at West Point,
could hardly realize how the Coventry had been pronounced and
carried out in so very few minutes after release from cavalry

Tears of rage and humiliation in his eyes, Haynes stumbled to his
room. Once inside he shunned the window, but stumbled to his chair
at the study table, and sank down, his face buried in his arms.

"Oh, I'll make somebody suffer for this!" he growled.

Out in the quadrangle, now that the turnback was gone, the main
theme of conversation was the discovery and exposure of the afternoon.

Pierson was requested to repeat his statement to a large group
of first and second classmen.

"I don't believe a man could get a pin stuck into the toe of his
boot accidentally, in the way that Haynes had his pin arranged,"
declared Brayton. "Has one of you fellows a pin to lend me?"

A pin being passed, Brayton sat down on a convenient step and
tried to adjust the pin between the sole and the upper of the
toe of his boot.

"I can force it in a little way," admitted Brayton, "but see how
the pin wobbles. It would fall out if I moved my foot hard.
Some of the rest of you try it."

Other cadets repeated the experiment.

"I'll tell you, fellows," said Spurlock at last; "a fellow couldn't
accidentally get a pin in that position, and hold it firm there.
But I know that, after repeated trying, and working to fit the
pin, I could finally get matters so that I could quickly fit a
pin that would hold in place and be effective."

"Of course," nodded Lewis. "It can be done, but only by design."

"And that was the very way that Prescott's horse was enraged,
so that old ramrod got his awful tumble!" exclaimed Greg bitterly.

"You believe, now, that the whole thing was a dirty, deliberate
trick, don't you?" asked Spurlock of Prescott.

"I am pretty sure it must have been," nodded Dick.

"Then," declared Brayton, "the whole thing is something for you
second classmen to settle among yourselves. In the first place,
it is your own class affair. In the next place, we men of the
first class are practically out of the Military Academy already.
It will do the first class no good to take any action, because
we shall not be here to carry out any decree."

"You can advise us, though," suggested Holmes.

"And we'll do so gladly," nodded Brayton. "Then do we need to
hold a class meeting, and vote to make the Coventry permanent?"

"Hardly, I should say," replied Brayton. "You've already started
the cut, and it can be continued without any regular action---unless
Haynes should have the cheek to try to brazen it out. If he does
insist on staying here at the Military Academy, you can easily take
up the matter during the summer encampment."

"It would seem rather strange for me to call a class meeting,
when the whole affair concerns me," suggested Dick.

"Oh, you don't need to call the meeting, old ramrod," advised
Spurlock. "A self-appointed committee of the class can call the
meeting. You can open the meeting, of course, Prescott, and then
you can call any other member of the class to take the chair."

"I wonder if it will be necessary to drum the fellow out of the
class formally?" asked Anstey.

"Only time can show you that," replied Brayton. "Better just wait
and see what action the fellow Haynes will take for himself. He
may have the sense to resign."

Resign? That word was not in Haynes's own dictionary of conduct.
After his first few moments of despair, on gaining his room,
the turnback had risen from his chair, his face showing a courage
and resolution worthy of a better cause.

"Those idiots may think they have 'got' me," he muttered, shaking
his fist toward the quadrangle. "One of these days they'll know
me better! I'll make life miserable for some of those pups yet!"

Just before it was time for the call to dress parade Pierson came
hurrying into the room to hasten into his full-dress uniform.

Haynes, already dressed with scrupulous care, looked curiously
at his roommate. But Pierson did not appear to see him.

Haynes stepped over to the window, drumming listlessly on the
sill. At length he turned around.

"Pierson," he asked, "have the fellows sent me to Coventry?"

"You don't need to ask that," replied the other coldly.

"Is it because of Prescott?"

"Yes. And now, will you stop bothering me with the sound of your

"Pierson, you know, when a fellow is cut by the corps, his roommate
is not required to avoid conversation with the unlucky one."

"I know that," replied Pierson coldly. "But I've had all I want
of you and from you. Except when it is absolutely necessary I
shall not answer or address you hereafter."

"How long am I to stay in Coventry?"

Pierson acted as though he did not bear.

"Has formal action been taken, or is this just a flash of prejudice,

No answer.


The call to form and march on to the parade ground was sounding.
Snatching up his rifle, Haynes stepped out and joined the others.

Haynes did not receive even as much as a cold glance.

"I'm less than a bit of mud to them!" thought the turnback bitterly.
"These fellows would step around a patch of mud, just to avoid
dirtying their shoes."

It was a relief to hear the command to fall in. Haynes felt still
better when the battalion stepped away at its rhythmic step.
He did not have to look at any of his contemptuous comrades now,
nor did he need a word from them.

Somehow, though in a daze, the turnback got through dress parade
without reproof from any of the watchful cadet officers. Then,
almost immediately after dress parade, came the hardest ordeal
of all.

Once more, this time in fatigue uniform, the turnback had to fall
in at supper formation. With the rest he marched away to cadet
mess ball, found his place at table and occupied it.

During the meal merry conversation ran riot around the tables.
Haynes was the only man among the gray-clad cadets who was left
absolutely alone.

After supper, while Pierson lounged outside, Haynes went back
to his room.

Pacing the floor in his deep misery and agitation, he took this
vow to himself:

"I won't let myself be driven from the Military Academy! No
matter what these idiots try to do to me---no matter what indignities
they may heap upon me, I'll keep silent and fight my way through
the Military Academy! I will receive my commission, and go into
the Army. But that fellow Prescott shall never become an officer
in the Army, no matter what I have to risk to stop him!"



For most of the young men at West Point the academic year now
came swiftly and joyously to an end.

True, some score and a half of plebes were found deficient, and
sent back to their homes.

The same thing happened to a few of the third classmen.

All of the members of the first class succeeded in passing and
in graduating into the Army.

The poor plebes who had failed had been mournfully departing, one
at a time.

These unhappy, doleful young men felt strangely uncouth in the
citizens' clothes that they had regained from the cadet stores.

Yet everyone of these plebes received many a handshake from the
upper classmen and a hearty good wish for success in life.

More doleful still felt the dropped third classmen, who had been
at the Military Academy for two years, and who had thoroughly
expected to "get through" into the Army somehow.

It was now a little before the time when cadets must hasten to
quarters to attire themselves for dress parade.

Several score of cadets still lingered in the quadrangle when
Greg Holmes and Pierson suddenly appeared, heading straight for
one of the largest groups, in which Dick Prescott stood.

"Heard any news lately?" asked Greg, a pleased twinkle in his eyes.

"Nothing startling. We've been supplying new, dry handkerchiefs
to the poor, late plebes," answered Brayton.

"Haven't heard about that fellow Haynes?" asked Greg.

"Nothing," admitted Brayton.

"Well, you see," exclaimed Pierson, "Haynes made up his mind to
disregard the grand cut. He determined to stick it out, anyway,
even for a whole year."

"He'll have a sweet time of it, then," put in Spurlock dryly.
"I never heard of a fellow who got the general cut lasting a whole
year here before."

"That was Haynes's decision, anyway," went on Pierson. "This
is no guess work. The fellow told me so himself."

"I reckon, suh, maybe we'll be able to change his mind," drawled

"No you won't," broke in Greg decisively. "Haynes got in bad
on the last two days of general review. Chemistry and Spanish
verbs threw him. So he was ordered up for a writ (written
examination) in both subjects. He fessed frozen on both of them.
He applied for a new examination in a fortnight, but the fact
that Haynes was already a turnback went against him."

"He's `found,' eh?" questioned Brayton, smiling gleefully.

"Dropped," nodded Pierson.

"Fired!" added Greg, with a look of satisfaction. "There's no
getting around the truth of the old superstition, fellows!"

The "old superstition" to which Holmes referred is one intensely
believed in the cadet corps. While there is nothing whatever to
prevent a sneak from being admitted to the United States Military
Academy, the cadets believe firmly that a dishonorable fellow is
bound to be caught, before he graduates, and that he will be
kicked promptly out of the service by one means or another.

"Has the fellow gone yet?" inquired Spurlock.

"He'll slip away while the rest of us are away at dress parade,
I guess," responded Pierson. "Haynes is in cit. clothes already,
and is just fussing around a bit."

"He must feel fine!" muttered Brayton musingly. "I could almost
say `poor fellow.'"

"So could I," agreed Prescott, with a good deal of feeling. "It
would break my heart to be compelled to leave the corps, except
at graduation, so I can imagine how any other fellow must feel."

"Oh, well, he'd never be happy in the Army, anyway," replied Spurlock.
"Out in the Army the other officers can take care of a dishonorable
comrade even more effectively than we do."

"What made Haynes fess out, I wonder?" pondered Brayton aloud.

"Being sent to Coventry got on his nerves so that he couldn't pull
up enough at review and the writs," replied Pierson. "He wasn't
one of the bright men, anyway, in the section rooms."

"By Jove, suh! There's the fellow now!" muttered Anstey.

The others turned slightly to see Haynes, out of the gray uniform
that he had disgraced, wearing old cit. clothes and carrying a suit
case, step out and cross the quadrangle to the office of the K.C.

A few minutes later, Haynes came out of the cadet guard house.
Knowing that he would never have the ordeal to face again, Haynes
summoned all his "brass" to the surface and stepped down the length
of the quadrangle. He passed many groups of curious cadets, none
of whom, however, sent a look or a word to him.

Then on out through the east sally-port strode Haynes. On the
sidewalk beyond, he passed Captain Albutt. Haynes did not salute
the officer; he didn't have to. Even had Haynes saluted, Captain
Albutt could not have returned this military courtesy, for Haynes
was no longer a member of the American Military establishment.

* * * * * * *

On the afternoon of the day following the graduating exercises
came to a brilliant finish at Cullum Hall. Brayton, Spurlock
and their classmates were honorably through with West Point, their
new careers about to open before them.

Cadet Dick Prescott came forth from the exercises, a look of radiant
happiness on his face.

He had been ordered before a board of surgeons that morning. Just
as a formality he was to go before a medical board again in August.

"But that's only a piece of red tape," Captain Goodwin had explained
to him. "By wonderful good luck, or rather, no doubt, thanks to
Captain Albutt's gallantry, your spine is now as sound as ever.
Come before us in August, but I can tell you now that the August
verdict will be O.K."

"My, but you look like the favorite uncle of the candy kid!" muttered
Greg, as the two chums in gray strode along together.

"Why shouldn't I?" retorted Dick. "My spine is all right, and
I'm to stay in the service. Then besides, Greg, old fellow, think
what we are now."

"Well, what are we?" asked Greg.

"First classmen! Only a year more, Greg, to the glorious old Army!
Think of it, boy! In blue, in a year, and wearing shoulder-straps!"

"I wish we had just graduated, like Brayton, Spurlock and the rest,"
muttered Greg.

"You want to rush things, don't you, lad?"

"But Dick, you see," murmured Holmes, "a cadet can't marry."

"Oh, still harping on Miss Number Three?" laughed his chum.

"Number---thr-----" stammered Greg.

"You don't mean to say that it is all off with Miss Number Three?"

"Oh, yes; months ago."

"She broke the engagement?"

"Yes," admitted Holmes. "But I don't care."

"What's the present girl's number?" teased Dick.

"Five," confessed Greg with desperate candor. "But this girl,
Dick, is worth all the others. And she'll stick. After all, it's
only a year, now, that she'll have to wait."

At this point, however, we find Dick and Greg to be first classmen.
So their further adventures are necessarily reserved for the
next and concluding volume in this series, which will be published
under the title, "_Dick Prescott's Fourth Year At West Point;
Or, Ready to Drop the Gray for Shoulder Straps_." All we need
to tell the reader is that this coming volume will contain the
most rousing story of all in the _West Point Series_.


Book of the day: