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The Boys of Bellwood School by Frank V. Webster

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himself at a crack in the fence, where he could see and hear what was going

"Hi, there, somebody--wake up!" bawled Jem loudly.

A sleepy-eyed hostler made his appearance in a few minutes. There was a
lengthy explanation as to the broken wagon. Jem seemed to make this all
satisfactory in a money way. Then he told the hostler that he must have a
light single rig, and the man took the horse into the stable, while Jem and
Dan remained outside.

"Going on alone, are you?" inquired the latter.

"It's best," replied Jem. "You see, I've got one place in view I want to
visit. You know--Staggers."

"Yes, I've heard of him," nodded Dan. "He's a mighty close one, though. Get
the full value, Jem."

"I will, never fear."

"What shall I do?"

"Oh, go up to the old hut and snooze until I come back."

"I hope that will be soon."

"I won't be any longer than I can help."

"What are you doing?"

Jem was acting strangely, and the peering Frank was surprised and
interested. Jem was going through a puzzling pantomime. He would touch his
head in various places in a whimsical manner, then pause and appear
undecided as to what he would do next.

"It's funny," he remarked, after silently going through these apparently
meaningless gestures for some moments.

"What's that?" inquired Dan.

"I can't get it."

"Can't get what?"

"The high sign."


"You know what I mean?"

"Yes, indeed. Brady told us that Staggers will have no dealings with any
one not having the high sign."

"Exactly. Brady said it was L.E.H."

"I remember that."

"But I've forgotten part of it. Let's see, L. is lip. I know that--you
touch your lip. Then E. Is it eye or ear?"

"Ear," cried Dan. "Say, I'm sure Brady said ear."

"All right. And the last? Oh, of course--hand. You touch your lip, then
your ear, and then put out your hand," and Jem went rapidly through these
maneuvers. "As to the grip, it's easy--slip the forefinger up the wrist.
O.K.--I've got it. Say, what kind of an old tumbledown trap is that thing?"
demanded Jem, as the hostler reappeared leading a sorry nag attached to an
old buggy with an enormous hood and a big shallow boot at the rear.

"It's an old mail carrier cart," replied the hostler. "But it's the only
single rig we've got in the stable at the present time."

"Well, I suppose it will have to do," observed Jem indifferently. "I'll be
back soon, Dan."

"All right."

Jem drove out of the yard and down a road leading out of the town. The
horse was a decrepit animal and did not go very fast. While trying to think
out the best plan to pursue, Frank followed after the cart at a safe

He had gone only a little way when he wished he had remained near the
stable and had followed Dan. That would have been easier. Dan had planned
to return to the hut and had already disappeared in its direction.
Unguided, however, Frank did not believe that he could locate it. He kept
on down the road, therefore, after Jem, unwilling to lose sight of both of
the men who certainly knew all about the diamond bracelet stolen from
Lemuel Mace's jewelry store at Tipton.

"This man Jem has the bracelet," reflected Frank, "and just as surely he is
going to some man named Staggers to sell it or get him to sell it for them.
Then he will return to Dan to divide the spoils. I can't miss scoring some
kind of a point following that cart."

This Frank did for over two miles. Then he began to grow wearied and
footsore. He had no idea how many miles Jem planned to go, and finally he
carried out a bold idea.

This was to climb into the deep boot at the back of the vehicle. The hood
in front prevented Jem from seeing what was going on behind him. As the
horse struck a patch of very rutty road, Frank ran close up to the buggy.

The vehicle was wobbling and jolting so that the action of his additional
weight on the springs did not attract the attention of the driver. Frank
cuddled down in the shell-shaped receptacle for mail and parcels, fairly
out of sight.

It must have been fully two hours later when Jem drove into a town of quite
some size. It was, in fact, a small city, and from what Frank knew of the
district he decided that it must be Rockton, a place about eleven miles
from the academy town.

Frank slipped from the boot of the cart after the vehicle had made one or
two turnings. When he did this he dropped flat in the middle of the road
and remained there until Jem had made another turn, when he was up and
away, again on the trail of the man.

After proceeding quite some distance, Jem halted the horse at the edge of a
sidewalk near an alleyway. He tied the animal to a ring at the curb and
proceeded down the dark lane near by.

Frank had gained the shelter of an open hallway directly opposite the point
where the vehicle had halted. He stood there pondering as to his next move,
when the sharp clatter of running footsteps attracted his attention.

The next minute a boy about his own size darted around the corner, running
at full speed. As he rounded into view, he seemed to see some one ahead
blocking his way. With an utterance of dismay and excitement he veered from
his course, and sprang directly into the hallway that sheltered Frank.

"Hold on, I say!" cried Frank, fairly swept off his footing.

"Don't say a word," panted the strange lad. "Some one is after me! Show
yourself, fool them, or I'm a goner. Is there any way out of this?"

Frank heard the boy run down the hall, try a locked door at the rear, and
utter a cry of sharp disappointment and concern.

"They've trapped me!" he gasped.

Frank stepped toward the sidewalk and peered out, not quite able to figure
out what had happened or was happening. He did not want to become mixed up
in any trouble, especially just now when all his energies were centered on
keeping track of the man Jem.

Frank saw one man coming running around the corner which the refugee had
just turned. Almost in front of the open driveway he met a man who came
running from the opposite direction.

"They're constables," murmured Frank,

"Did you see him?" began the first officer.

"A boy?" queried the man.


"Run into that hallway."

"Ah, there he is! Out with you--aha! I've caught you at last, have I?"
cried the first officer triumphantly.

He seized Frank by the arm and pulled him out on to the sidewalk. The way
he whirled him around amid his wild glee made Frank's teeth chatter.

"Hold on!" our hero demanded, struggling to free himself. "What's all this

"What's it about, eh?" chuckled his captor. "Mighty innocent, aren't you?
Don't remember me a bit, do you? Look sharp at me, now," rallied the
officer. "I guess you'll recognize me, my soft and downy young bird, if
you'll look hard enough."

"I never saw you before, and you never saw me before," declared Frank,
getting nettled at his rough treatment.

"Thunder! that's so."

The officer, peering closely at Frank, staggered back as though he was
about to collapse. He goggled at Frank, choking with stupefaction and

"What's the matter, Hawkes?" asked the other officer.

"This isn't the boy I was chasing."

"It must be."

"But it isn't."

"Well, anyhow, it's the fellow who shot around that street corner a few
minutes ago and dodged into the doorway, for I saw him."

"Then I must have been chasing the wrong boy."

"I reckon that's so."

Both officers looked Frank over speculatively and suspiciously.

"No, he ain't the fellow," observed the officer who had grabbed Frank.
"But, say, who are you?"

"I'm Frank Jordan, a student at the Bellwood Academy," answered our hero

"We don't know that," observed the second officer.

"I can easily prove it to you," asserted Frank.

"All right, fetch him up to the station, Hawkes, and let him explain to the
captain how he comes to be snooking around people's houses at this
unearthly hour of the morning."

Frank was very much cut up at this decision. To leave that spot meant
possibly to lose all track of Jem and the stolen bracelet.

"I'm in this town on business," he said boldly, "and I don't see what right
you have to interfere with me."

"The captain will explain all that to you," observed the officer. "Here,
you come right along with us."

There was no use of resisting. Each of the officers seized an arm of Frank
and marched him down the street. He uttered an anxious sigh as he cast a
last look back at the horse and buggy Jem had left at the curb.

When they got to the little police station of the town, Frank was
confronted by the captain. He proved to be a bright, intelligent man, and
looked over some letters Frank showed him.

"This boy's all right, Hawkes," declared the officer at once. "I should
have thought you would have known that from a look at his honest face. Get
to school, though, lad," he added in a kindly tone to Frank. "I was a boy
once myself, but I know from experience that these student larks don't pay
in the end. Who did you think the lad was, anyway, Hawkes?"

"A young escaped convict," explained Hawkes. "Nice little fifty dollars
reward out for his apprehension, too."

"Well, it seems you started up the wrong covey this time. Good morning,
lad," nodded the officer to Frank, who promptly left the station.

Frank got back to the place where he had been arrested on a run. As he
turned into the street a single anxious glance made his heart sink.

"Too bad--all for a boy criminal!" he exclaimed. "The buggy is gone."

It seemed certain that during the time the officers had taken Frank to the
station, Jem had transacted his business with the mysterious Staggers and
had left town.

Frank came across an early riser opening up a cheap restaurant, and
inquired if he had ever heard of a man named Staggers.

"Nickname, I guess, that," responded the eating-house man. "Fellows here,
shady characters, especially, have all kinds of flash names among their
friends. No, don't know Staggers."

Frank was disappointed and wearied. He had the idea of saying something to
the police about the bracelet. Then he made up his mind that he would get
back to Bellwood and take Professor Eliott into his confidence.

Somewhat dejected and a good deal tired out, our hero turned his face in
the direction of Bellwood Academy.



"Wake up, Frank!"

Frank, roughly shaken by Bob Upton, sat up in bed. He rubbed his eyes
drowsily, and for a moment all the strange happenings of the previous night
seemed like some dream.

Then Frank recalled reaching the school about ten o'clock in the morning,
when all the students were in their classes, of reaching his room
unobserved, lying down on his bed in his clothes to rest and collect his
thoughts, and of dropping into a nap.

"I say," hailed Bob excitedly, "where in the world have you been?"

"It's a long story," explained Frank with a prodigious yawn and stretching
himself. "You wouldn't believe it if I told it to you. Have I been missed?"

"Missed?" echoed Bob, almost in a shout. "The head monitor sat up for you
all night. The gardener and the steward have been searching the creek and
hunting for you everywhere. Our tutor had arranged to send a party of the
class to hunt for you after dinner, and there's been all kinds of
excitement and fuss about you."

"I'm sorry," said Frank, "but I couldn't help it. I've been kidnaped, Bob."


"Don't blurt it out. I want to see Ned Foreman first. He's interested."

"Gill Mace was around with his sneering meanness," said Bob. "He said the
boys had better see that none of their jewelry was missing."

"Did, eh?" said Frank. "He and his uncle will be interested, too, if things
come out as I think."

"Frank, I must tell Professor Drake that you've come back."

"All right," assented Frank, who proceeded to take a refreshing wash as Bob
flew from the room.

He returned just as our hero finished brushing his hair.

"You're to come down to the office at once," he said.

"All right," assented Frank.

He proceeded down the stairs without meeting any of his friends. Frank
knocked at the office door and was admitted by Professor Drake.

"So you have returned, Jordan?" spoke the teacher in a somewhat severe

"Yes, Mr. Drake," replied Frank.

"I hope you have some satisfactory explanation to offer in regard to your
absence against the rules of this school."

"I certainly have, Mr. Drake," said Frank. "There is considerable to tell,
and it is very important. I would like to see the president before I say
anything, though."

"Professor Elliott is absent until to-morrow," said the tutor. "I am in
charge here, and you must explain to me."

"I hope you will excuse me," replied Frank, "but there is a very good
reason why I must tell the president before any one else."

"You are pretty mysterious, Jordan."

"I hope you believe that I am doing just what is right until Mr. Elliott
returns," said Frank earnestly.

The teacher studied Frank's manly face for a moment.

"I must at least believe that you think you are right," he said after a
thoughtful pause. "We will have it that way, if you insist, Jordan."

"Thank you, Mr. Drake," said Frank. "You will find that I am not deceiving

Frank was greeted at dinner with a babel of questions as to his mysterious
absence. He told his friends that he had been away on business; that he
could explain only to the president of the academy.

He attended his classes that afternoon, and joined the crowd on the campus
after study hours. A baseball game was on. Frank was right-fielder, and he
knew he was on his record in this, his first game, and did some pretty good

The game was running pretty close. Two of Banbury's men were on bases, when
Frank noticed a ragged urchin run up to a crowd of spectators.

The strange boy asked some questions, and the lad he addressed pointed to

"Are you--are you Mr. Jordan?" the youngster panted, running up to Frank.

"Yes," nodded Frank.

"Please, sir, quick--there's a man in the old cabin on Greenlee's farm. He
wants Ned Foreman to come right straight to him. He's all cut up and
bleeding. He's dying. The boy yonder said you'd get Ned Foreman for me."

"Who is he?" demanded Frank, interested and startled.

"I don't know, only he said he must see Ned Foreman, because he won't last
long. He's in an awful state. He's in an awful state. He just hollers and
yells, and he's smashing a great big bracelet with shining stones in it."


"Hi--don't miss it!" Whiz!

Just past Frank's head flew a fly from the bat Frank had not turned in
time. But he heeded not the yells, "Deserted his colors!" "Run away again!"
or the fact that his neglect had sent two of Banbury's cohorts home.

Frank knew at once that the man the excited boy spoke of was either Jem or
Dan. The allusion to a bracelet had started him on a vivid run, the boy
keeping breathlessly by his side, panting:

"I was passing the old cabin, when I heard some one groaning on the inside.
Then the man told me to get Ned Foreman."

The little messenger led Frank straight to the hut and slipped down to the
doorstep almost exhausted, while his companion rushed through the open

The man Dan lay on a heap of straw, silent and helpless. His clothing was
stained with blood. Frank at once ascertained that he was still alive, but
he had fainted from weakness.

He went out to the little fellow on the doorstep.

"What's your name?" asked Frank.

"It's Lem."

"Well, you're a grand little fellow," said Frank. "You've done a good deal
already, but I want you to run to the nearest farmhouse and tell the farmer
that he must get here right away to move a dying man to a doctor at

"Yes, sir," nodded the obliging little fellow eagerly.

"Tell him I'll pay all the expenses, and yours, too, Lem, as soon as we get
through with this business."

The boy darted away. Frank re-entered the hut. As he did so his foot kicked
some object, and it jangled across the rough board floor.

Frank picked it up with some eagerness and satisfaction. It was the
bracelet that Lem had described--"with shining stones in it."

Our hero was a good deal excited as he examined the object in his hand. He
thrust it into his pocket with quite a thrill of satisfaction. He then went
closer to the suffering Dan.

The man seemed to have dropped into a deep daze or sleep. Frank realized
that he could do nothing for him until he was removed to some place where
skilled surgical aid could be summoned.

"It's wonderful," mused Frank, as he went outside, impatient and anxious
for the return of his messenger. "This is certainly the bracelet that I've
had so much worry about. I never saw it before, but it must be the one
stolen from Lemuel Mace. How does it happen, though, that Dan has it here?
Why is it all battered up? Where is Jem? Why wasn't it sold to the man,
Staggers? Say, here's a big puzzle, but I've got the bracelet, and this man
Dan can be made to explain all about it when he gets his senses back."

Frank certainly had some perplexing thoughts as to the peculiar situation
of the moment. He could only theorize what had happened.

The way he figured it out was that Jem had been unable to make any bargain
with the man Staggers and dispose of the bracelet. He had come back to the
hut to report this fact to Dan. They must have had a quarrel over it, Frank
decided. Jem had probably been beaten off. Not, however, until he had
pretty badly bruised up his opponent. The bracelet must have got battered
in the struggle for its possession, or Dan, in the delirium which the
farmer boy had described to Frank, had banged it about, not knowing what he
was doing.

Frank paced up and down in front of the hut, turning all these thoughts
over in his mind, and really anxious about the condition of Dan, counting
the minutes and hoping for the speedy return of his messenger with aid. He
was walking slowly on his tiresome patrol, when he heard a rustle in the
bushes. He turned, somewhat startled. Before he could get fully around a
brisk hand slapped him sharply on the shoulder, with the words:

"Hello, you--glad I've found you!"

Frank drew suspiciously away from a lad about his own age, and a total
stranger to him. He was well dressed, and had a keen pair of eyes and a
pleasant, rather quizzical expression of face.

Frank was on nettles for fear Jem might return, and at first feared that
the boy might be some emissary of Brady or his recent kidnapers.

"Don't know me?" questioned the lad, smiling boldly and in an extremely
friendly way into Frank's face.

"Well, I know you," retorted the other. "Here, Frank Jordan, of Bellwood
Academy, shake," and he extended his hand.

"Who are you?" inquired Frank, only feebly returning the hearty handshake
of the stranger.

"I am your everlasting debtor--friend, slave!" declared the lad vehemently.
"See here; that night, or, rather, morning, dark hallway--two officers--
nabbed you, took you for me, and I got away."

"O--oh!" exclaimed Frank slowly, and with a decided shock. "I remember you

"Thought you would," nodded the lad briskly. "You don't seem a bit glad to
see me, but I am to see you."

Frank did not say anything in reply to this. In fact, the boy who had just
revealed his identity was not exactly welcome to Frank just at that moment.
The latter remembered what the policeman, Hawkes, had said about him--that
he was an escaped convict, with a reward out for his arrest. That did not
speak well for the fellow. Then, too, Frank did not fancy the proximity of
such a person, with a diamond bracelet in his possession presumably worth a
great deal of money.

"How did you come to find me here?" demanded our hero with blunt suspicion.

"Didn't--just ran across you. But I was on my way to find you."


"At the academy."

"How did you know I belonged to the academy?" challenged Frank.

"Why, didn't I hear you mention the place and tell your name to the

"Yes, that's so," admitted Frank. "But why did you want to see me?"

"To thank you."

"For what?"

"For saving me from arrest."

"Oh, then you admit that you are what the policeman said?"

"What was that?"

"A convict."

"Yes," answered the boy promptly.

"And an escaped convict."

"That's right, too."

"I don't know, then," said Frank, "that I did right in shielding you."

"Oh, yes, you did," declared the lad buoyantly. "See here, you're a good
fellow, a staving good fellow. You've just about made my future for me.
Isn't that a big thing to do?"

"It is, if it's true," said Frank.

"Well, you'll think so when I tell you something. See here: I was an orphan
boy down at the town where you saved me. Five years ago a crowd of fellows
started out one Hallowe'en night for fun. We had a mean fellow named
Tompkins for a leader. He got us to obey his orders. I had to set fire to a
heap of brush at one farmhouse. The others were to do certain stunts in the
same neighborhood. We found out later that Tompkins was using us as tools
to cover some real spite work of his. I set fire to the brush heap to scare
the farmer. The wind blew the sparks into a two-ton haystack near by, and
it burned down. I was scared and sorry. I was worse scared and sorry the
next day, when I was arrested. Tompkins and his crowd had burned down some
barns and an old mill. Their folks were rich, and they could hire good
lawyers. I was a homeless orphan boy, and was made the scapegoat. They sent
me to the reform school till I was of age."

Frank's mind, of course, was full of anxiety for the wounded man in the hut
and impatient for the return of his messenger, but he could not help but be
interested in the story of his companion.

"My name is Dave Starr," proceeded the lad. "I went to the reform school. I
soon became a good-conduct trusty, but the life nearly killed me. I escaped
one day, and if you go into any of the towns around Rockton you'll find my
picture in the police stations, with a fifty-dollar reward offered for my

"What have you done since you escaped?" inquired Frank.

"I have tried to make a man of myself," replied Dave Starr, drawing himself
up proudly. "I want to show you something," and he drew a folded paper from
his pocket and extended it.

This was what Frank read:

"Received from Dave Starr $37.72, being payment and interest for damage
done to my haystack by fire. He says this was the only fire he was
responsible for, and that it was an accident, and I believe him to be an
honest, truthful lad.

"Understand?" inquired Dave.

"I think I do," nodded Frank. "You've cleaned the slate by paying your

"That's it," assented Dave. "I went back to Rockton to settle that debt,
and the policeman, Hawkes, saw me, recognized me, and I would now be back
in that dismal, heart-breaking old reform school if it wasn't for you."

"Well, I'm glad I happened to help you," said Frank warmly.

"I've been pretty lucky since I escaped," narrated Dave. "I went away and
got work at a factory just outside a little town. One winter day, when a
lot of us were nooning, an empty palace car swung from a switching train
into a ditch. It caught fire. There was no water near, and a good twenty
thousand dollars was burning up, when I led the fellows to the car. We
snowballed it till we put out the flames. That was my start in life. What
do you think? About two weeks later an agent of the railroad came around.
He gave each of my helpers a ten-dollar gold piece, and he gave me one
hundred dollars for saving the railroad property."

"That was fine," commented Frank,

"Wasn't it, though? Well, that was my nest egg. I bought a small stock of
notions. I made money. By and by I had five hundred dollars. I had an old
friend, who had known my father, who had a ranch in California. I wrote to
him, and he replied to my letter saying that he had a place for me. Well, I
spent a year on his ranch, raising plums. Then a month ago I struck a fine
idea. I heard of how they did things in some African fruit colonies. I
enthused my employer. A month ago I came East with his instructions and
plenty of money to gather together one hundred monkeys."

"What!" fairly shouted Frank.

"Just as I say," declared Dave with a pleasant smile.

"One hundred monkeys?"


"To start a show?"

"Not at all."

"What, then?"

"To teach the little fellows to help in the plum orchards. They can be
trained easily. You see, when the plums are ripe we spread a sheet under a
tree and shake the tree. The monkeys pick up the plums fast as can be, and
fill big wicker baskets with them. We take the gang around to other
orchards, and save the hiring of a lot of men."

"Well! well!" murmured Frank admiringly. "What a novel idea."

"I've had to pick up the little animals all over the big cities in bird
stores," explained Dave. "At last I've got the hundred. They are in a
special car down the road, and we start for the Pacific Coast to-morrow

"You certainly have had a queer experience, and you deserve a lot of
credit," said Frank.

"I feel good for meeting a square, fair fellow like you, Frank Jordan,"
continued Dave. "I'd like to feel I had a friend in you, and if I write to
you once in a while, will you answer my letters?"

"I shall be delighted," declared Frank.

"Well, I've said my say," resumed Dave in a practical way, "and I see
you're busy about something about here, and I may be hindering you, so I'll
say good-by."

"Good-by," responded Frank, "and good luck wherever you go."

"Thank you. I say, you wouldn't mind if I sent you a little present as a
sort of reminder of what you've done for me, would you, now?" propounded

"Oh, you mustn't think of that," objected Frank.

"Do they allow pets up at the academy?"

"Oh, yes,--if the fellows keep them from annoying others."

"Well, you'll hear from me about to-morrow. Good-by, Frank Jordan."

The strange lad waved his hand to Frank in a friendly, grateful way, and
disappeared just as a wagon came rattling across the field toward the old



"There's some one at that transom!"

"Quick, see who it is?"

Frank, Bob and Ned sprang to their feet as the latter gave the alarm, and
Frank's words started them speedily into action. Bob, half crippled though
he was, reached the door of the room first, tore it open and gained the

"It was some one from the crowd next door," he reported. "I fancied I saw
Gill Mace vanish into that room. It's just like him--a sneaking spy."

"Ritchie said those fellows were nosing around a good deal to find out
about my being away from the academy," observed Frank. "I suppose they're
pretty curious."

"Yes, and they're bolting away from the ball game the way you did stirs
them up," said Bob.

"Well, the transom is nailed shut, so any eavesdropper wouldn't be likely
to hear much," declared Frank.

"No, but they might see that," and Ned pointed to an object on the table,
where they had been seated for an hour discussing Frank's circumstantial
story of all that had happened to him from the time of his kidnaping. "I
shouldn't suppose you would care to have that Mace fellow see it."

"Oh, anybody can see it and welcome, as soon as I have a talk with the
president," responded Frank carelessly.

Frank took up from the table and pocketed the bracelet he had found on the
floor of the old hut. It was bent and dented as though it had been handled

Frank had just returned from the town, where he had seen to it that the man
called Dan was placed in a comfortable room at a hotel, with a physician in
charge of his case.

The doctor told Frank that the man must have been in a terrible fight with
some one, for he was wounded in several places and unconscious.

Frank told the hotel keeper that he would be responsible for the expense
incurred in caring for the sick man. Our hero offered to pay the farmer
whose wagon had brought Dan to the town. The farmer refused any payment,
but Frank made little Lem a present out of his pocket money.

Now Frank and his two fast friends had gone over the details of his recent
stirring adventures.

"I think that this man Dan is the best of the crowd of plotters," said
Frank. "There must have been a fight over the bracelet. I'm glad I've got
it. I can prove my innocence now."

"What are you going to do with it, Frank?" asked Ned.

"Turn it over to Professor Elliott in the morning, and tell him the entire
story. I am sure that Dan can be made to tell who stole it. I believe it
was Brady."

"He may tell you, too, where to find that lawyer," suggested Bob.

"Grimm--yes," answered Frank. "There's something he's been up to with Brady
that is of interest to Ned here--I am sure of that."

Frank felt certain that affairs were now on a basis where a good many
things would come to light within the next few hours.

He was up bright and early the next morning, and was somewhat disappointed
to learn that Professor Elliott had not yet returned to Bellwood School.

Ritchie came up to him on the campus after breakfast and took him to one

"I say, Jordan," he began in a confidential tone, "there's a good deal of
mystery going on around these diggings."

"How's that?" inquired Frank with a smile.

"Banbury's crowd are up to something, and I feel sure it concerns you in
some way."

"I can't understand how that can be."

"Nor can I," said Ritchie; "but one of our scouts says they were hobnobbing
late into the night. That Gill Mace went to town last evening and sent off
a rush telegram somewhere. This morning the crowd are buzzing like a lot of
bees, whispering together and looking at you, and Mace walks around with
his eye in the direction of the town, as if he expected something to
happen. Look there, now--what's up?"

Gill Mace had hurried toward the campus of the school to meet a man coming
up the road. Accompanying the latter and acting very important and excited,
he advanced across the campus toward the spot where Ritchie and his friends

"That's the boy," pronounced Gill Mace in a loud tone, pointing to Frank.

"Is your name Jordan?" demanded the stranger of Frank.

"Suppose it is?" inquired Frank.

"Then I've come to arrest you, that's all," said the man. "I'm a constable,
and the charge is stealing and having in your possession a certain diamond
bracelet belonging to Samuel Mace of Tipton."

"Yes," cried Gill Mace, "he's got it about him. I saw him with it last

"Oh, then you are the sneak who was spying over our transom last night,
eh?" said Frank, with a glance at Gill that made him quail.

"Search him, officer--get that bracelet," vociferated Gill. "He stole it
from my uncle."

"Come with me, young man," ordered the officer, extending a hand to seize
Frank's arm.

"Hold on," spoke up Ritchie suddenly, stepping in between the two. "You
don't arrest Frank Jordan until we know the particulars of this affair."



The constable of Bellwood drew back a trifle at the warlike demonstration
of Dean Ritchie and his friends. He probably had heard of the treatment of
some of his kind who had been mobbed, ducked and sent home ingloriously
when they had tried to interfere with the sports of the students at the

"Hold on, fellows," said Frank quickly, moving his champions aside. "This
man is only doing his duty."

"There's the president!" exclaimed Ned Foreman, and he ran forward to the
front of the academy, where Professor Elliott had just been driven up in a

"I will go with you," said Frank, ranging himself up by the side of the
officer. "I would like to speak to Mr. Elliott first, though."

"Certainly," acceded the constable willingly, awed by the crowd and pleased
with the gentlemanly manner of his prisoner.

Professor Elliott stood awaiting the approaching crowd, staring in a
puzzled way at them through his eye glasses. Frank walked straight up to

"Professor Eliott," he said, "I have just been arrested by this officer, on
the complaint of Gill Mace, I am led to believe."

The academy president stared in astonishment at Frank, and then at Gill,
who had kept up with the coterie.

"Yes, I had him arrested," proclaimed Gill.

"Indeed," spoke Mr. Elliott. "Upon what charge, may I ask?"

"He stole a diamond bracelet from my uncle's jewelry store at Tipton,"
declared Gill.

"There is the bracelet in question, Professor Elliott," said Frank,
promptly placing a little parcel done up in tissue paper in the hands of
the professor.

"I told you he had it. Didn't I say so?" crowed and chuckled the triumphant

"However, I didn't steal it," continued Frank. "There is a story I should
like to tell you, Professor Elliott. Its telling now may save some trouble
later on."

"Yes--yes," nodded Mr. Elliott in a somewhat disturbed way. "Of course
there is a mistake. Officer, please come with me to the library. I wish to
look into this affair."

"I would like to have Gill Mace and my friend, Ned Foreman, come with us,
sir," suggested Frank.

"Certainly, Jordan. Charged with robbery! Dear me! Officer, this is a
pretty serious action on your part."

"I'm only doing my legal duty, sir," insisted the constable.

"You have a warrant for the arrest of our student, then?"

"No, sir, I haven't," acknowledged the officer, "but the sheriff said I had
a right to act in the premises."

"How so?" demanded Mr. Elliott.

"This lad, Mace, came to us and declared that he had seen in the possession
of the Jordan boy a diamond bracelet stolen from his uncle at Tipton, the
town that both of them came from."


"He had telegraphed for his uncle to come on at once. He expects him on the
eight o'clock train. The sheriff said that, in a way, the case being under
the jurisdiction of another State, we might hold the accused as a fugitive
from justice, pending identification."

"Fugitive, nonsense! identification, fiddlesticks!" commented the old
professor testily. "Jordan isn't going to run away. As to his
identification, he has turned the property in question over to me, and,
knowing him as I do, I would stake a good deal that when he comes to
explain matters it will clear up the situation so far as he is concerned.
You have no legal right to apprehend Jordan, officer, and we certainly will
not allow you to disgrace him through an arrest, except by due process of

"With every respect to you, sir," said the constable humbly, "what am I to
do, then?"

"Go back to town, wait till this man Mace arrives, and bring him here to
consult with me."

Frank gave the professor a grateful look. He felt at that moment that Mr.
Elliott was indeed what Bob Upton had so enthusiastically declared him to
be "a good old man."

"Now, then," continued Professor Elliott, waving the constable away as they
entered the library, "we will get at the bottom of this matter. This is the
bracelet in question, is it, Jordan?" he inquired, indicating the little
parcel Frank had given him.

"I think it is, Mr. Elliott."

"How did you come by it?"

"If you please, Mr. Elliott," said Frank, "I would like to tell you my
story in private. It involves another person, and also some facts about his
relatives, which he might not be disposed to have made public property."

"Very well," answered the professor, and he led the way to his private
office at the end of the library and closed its door.

Frank told his story from beginning to end, and he had an interested and
sympathetic listener.

When he had concluded, the professor extended his hand, and Frank was proud
to grasp it.

"Jordan," he said, "you are a noble fellow. I liked you from the first; I
like you better than ever now. If every boy in the school came to me as you
have done he would find in me a true friend. I hope you will tell the boys

"I don't have to," declared Frank. "They all know you are a good old--I
mean, their friend," stammered Frank, checking his impetuous utterance just
in time, "but they are a little shy."

Professor Elliott returned to the library and Frank accompanied him.

"Mace," said the former, "you may have acted on your best convictions, but
I am assured that you have made a great mistake."

"I don't see how," muttered Gill stubbornly. "There's the bracelet. He had
it, didn't he? So he stole it."

"That does not follow--except in your perverted opinion," observed the
professor drily. "We will move no further in this matter until your uncle
arrives. Foreman, I wish to have a word with you."

"Yes, sir," bowed Ned politely.

"I will give you a note to my attorney in Bellwood. You will tell him all
that Jordan has told you, as to his experiences with the person who visited
us in your behalf the other day. My lawyer will ferret out this mystery
concerning you, and I feel pretty sanguine you will discover something of
decided interest and profit to you."

"Thank you, sir."

"None of you three need report for studies today, as I may desire to see
any or all of you later on quick notice."

The boys were dismissed. Gill Mace looked suspicious and mystified, Ned was
radiant, Frank felt that his patience and loyalty to his friends were about
to score a grand result.

Just then the door opened, and a blustering and excited form burst into the

It was Samuel Mace.



"Hello, Gill," said the jeweler to his nephew, and then, glaring at Frank
and facing Professor Elliott in an insolent way, he added: "Now, what's
doing here?"

"Is this Mr. Mace?" inquired the professor, advancing courteously.

"Yes, it is," retorted the jeweler in an ungracious tone, "and I want to
know who's been interfering with my affairs, and where's the diamond
bracelet that Jordan boy stole from me?"

"This lad stole no bracelet from you, Mr. Mace," said Professor Elliott
positively, and placing his hand on Frank's shoulder.

"Hello! There's a scheme to cheat me and save him, is there?" flared out
the jeweler. "The constable gave me to understand that. See here, Elliott--
if that is your name----"

"I am Professor Elliott, yes," interrupted the academy president.

"Well, I paid my nephew's tuition to have him associate with decent boys--
not with a thief that you seem to be shielding and harboring here."

"We are not used to this kind of language at Bellwood School, Mr. Mace,"
observed the professor with dignity and sternness. "You will kindly desist
from using the same and act like a gentleman, or leave this room."

"If I do, it will be to have that Jordan boy behind the bars mighty quick!"
declared Mace.

"It would be the mistake of your life, Mr. Mace, and a costly experiment
for your pocket. This boy is innocent of the outrageous, and I might say
cowardly and unfounded, charge you make against him. I shall ask you to
remain here for about an hour, while I attend to some details of this case
which will enable me to give you a clear statement as to who stole your

"If it's no scheme to sneak Jordan away----" began Mace.

"Silence, sir!" ordered the professor. "Foreman, kindly show Mr. Mace to my
private office and get him the morning paper from the city to read."

"I'll take my bracelet first, if you don't mind," said Mace, extending his

Professor Elliott took out the little packet that Frank had given him, and
turned it over to the jeweler. Mace opened it eagerly. Then he gave a jump
and uttered a howl that fairly electrified those about him.

"What's this?" he yelled, displaying a piece of jewelry and nearly choking
with excitement. "You're all in a scheme! You're all thieves! I'll have you
all arrested!" and he flung the bracelet to the farther end of the room.

"What's the matter, uncle Sam?" inquired Gill Mace.

"Matter?" screamed the jeweler, hopping madly from foot to foot. "That
isn't my bracelet at all."

"What?" involuntarily exclaimed the startled Frank.

"It's a cheap imitation affair with paste stones in it."

"Is this possible?" inquired Mr. Elliott in surprise.

"Yes, 'tis, and somebody knows it. Don't you crow nor laugh over me, Frank
Jordan!" raved Mace.

"We had better not talk about crowing and laughing just now, Mr. Mace,"
said Frank seriously. "I think I understand about the bracelet, which I
believed until this moment to be the one stolen from Tipton."

"Yah! Yes, you did!" derided the jeweler.

"I think I now guess out the mystery of this substitution. As that
explanation and the fate of the real bracelet may hang on the words of a
dying man, you had better get down from your high horse and help us reach
the facts in the case."

Then in a low tone Frank told the professor that they had better see the
wounded man, Dan, at the village hotel at once.

Mace was induced to await the movements of Professor Elliott, and within
five minutes the latter and Frank and Ned Foreman were wending their way to
the village.

It was arranged that Frank should visit the man Dan at the hotel, while
President Elliott went to his lawyer with Ned.

It was an hour later when Frank, his mission completed, hurried his steps
to overtake Professor Elliott and Ned, just returning to the academy from
the lawyer's office. While in the town Frank stopped at the post-office and
received a letter from his father, in which his parent stated that he was
much improved in health.

"That's the best news yet," said the boy to himself.

"My lawyer believes that there is some plot afoot on the part of that man
Brady to rob Foreman of some fortune," explained the school president. "He
knows who this 'Judge' Grimm is, and will see that Foreman gets his

"Yes," said Frank, "I have learned that this is true, and a good many other
important facts in the case."

"Then the man Dan was able to see you?" inquired Ned eagerly.

"Yes, and he has told me everything," replied Frank. "He explained about
the bracelet. It seems that Dan is not as bad as Brady and Jem, who stole
it originally, right after I had visited the jeweler's shop. It was left in
charge of Grimm, the lawyer. It was given with a sum of money to Jem after
he and Dan brought me, supposed to be you, Ned, to the lawyer's office.
After they brought me back to Bellwood, Jem and Dan went to the old cabin
to settle up. Jem had the real bracelet. He palmed off a brass one on Dan.
The latter discovered the fraud. There was a terrible fight. Dan is getting
better. Jem has the real bracelet."

"Which Mr. Mace will have some trouble in recovering, I fancy," observed

"That is his business," remarked Professor Elliott drily. "We can now with
the evidence of this man Dan positively prove your innocence, Jordan."

"About Ned, here," said Frank, "it seems that recently a distant relative
left his dead stepsister a legacy consisting of some mortgages and a house
and lot. Brady learned of this. His wife being dead, the legacy goes to
Ned. What Brady was figuring on was to become Ned's appointed guardian so
he could manage, or, rather, mismanage the estate until Ned was twenty-one
years of age."

"We will soon have that phase of the case adjusted," observed the professor
in a confident and satisfied tone.

* * * * * * *

"Hi, fellows, look there!" shouted Bob Upton.

It was two days after the arrival of Samuel Mace, the jeweler, at Bellwood
School, and the boys were engaged in their usual late afternoon sports on
the campus. Bob was up and around again now, not much the worse for his
experience with the "doctored" shoes.

"A fight!" exclaimed several, and there was a rush for two combatants, who
seemed sparring in dead earnest on the outskirts of the Banbury contingent.

Banbury himself had just come striding from the school building in a great
huff. He had rushed up to Gill Mace, and pulling him away from the others
had engaged him in combat.

All the fellows knew that when Professor Elliott came home a few days
previous quite a lot of complaints and delinquencies awaited him. Among
these the only one very serious was the burning of a haystack belonging to
a farmer named Wadsworth.

Suspicion had pointed to the Banbury crowd. The farmer had once caught
several members of that group smoking in his barn, and had driven them out
violently. Banbury had threatened revenge, and the day before Frank had
returned from his trip in the covered wagon one of Farmer Wadsworth's
haystacks had burned to the ground.

Banbury had been summoned to the office of the president. Just now
returning from it, he had started the present fight.

As Frank and his crowd reached the scene of the conflict and joined the
ring about the combatants Banbury struck out with a blow that sent Gill
Mace reeling to the ground with a bloody nose.

"Take that, you sneak!" shouted Banbury furiously.

"Hello!" exclaimed Bob Upton. "He knows his right name at last."

"I'll fix you," blubbered Gill, "you great big coward!"

"You shut up, or I'll give you worse," threatened Banbury. "A nice fellow
you are! Went and peached on me about that haystack."

"You lied to the professor about us, saying we had a hand in it," declared

"Well, you've got me suspended, sent home, and I'll probably be expelled."

"You ought to be!" yelled Gill, as a twinge of pain made him howl anew. "It
was you who got me sick smoking cigarettes and thought it was funny. Yes,
and it was you, too," blabbed the mean-spirited traitor, "who put those
brads in Bob Upton's shoes, so he would lose the race."

"What?" shouted Dean Ritchie.

He made a vigorous break through the ranks of the crowd with the word. "The
cat was out of the bag" at last, the secret told. Banbury saw the doughty
Ritchie coming for him. He turned in a flash.

It was a race to the nearest school building. Banbury reached it first. The
other boys, running after pursued and pursuer, arrived at the spot to find
Banbury safe within the precincts of the classic temple of learning, and
Ritchie fuming at the open doorway.

"I say, let up, Ritchie," suggested Frank. "We've had enough squabbling."

"Not a bit of it," demurred Ritchie. "No, sir. I said that if ever I found
out who played that mean, low-down trick on Upton, the culprit or I would
leave this school."

"Well, it was Banbury, and he's going to leave, isn't he?" argued Frank.

"Yes; but I said that one of us would go the worst licked boy in Bellwood.
I mean to keep my word."

Remonstrances were in vain. With a grim, resolute face, Dean Ritchie took
up his post at the entrance to the academy, pacing up and down and waiting
for his chance to have another interview with Banbury.

It never came. Some of Banbury's crowd informed their leader of what was
waiting for him, and Banbury managed to sneak out of the school by the
rear, and reached the depot at Bellwood and was on his way home before
Ritchie found out that he had escaped.

"Well, let him go. A good riddance," commented Ritchie, when he was
informed of the fact. "His crowd needs a further cleaning out, though. I
suggest a law and order vigilance committee. There's going to be a rooting
up of all the cads and sneaks around here, if I have my way. This is a
decent school; we've got a grand old fatherly president, and the fellow who
can't have fun without meanness has got to leave, that's all."

* * * * * * *

"A box, you say?" observed Frank Jordan one day, as Bob Upton came up

"Yes," returned Bob excitedly.

"Just arrived?"

"While you were out on the campus. Came by express, and directed to Mr.
Frank Jordan, as big as life. What do you suppose it is?"

"Maybe some fruit from my folks in the South," suggested Frank. "What was
in the box?"

"It's light. I shook it--nothing to indicate."

"Where is it?"

"I took it up to your room. Hey, Ritchie, and you, Foreman--come and be
witnesses before Frank sneaks a box of goodies under cover."

The little group proceeded pell-mell up the stairs and were soon in Frank's
room. Eager, curious eyes observed a box about two feet square on a little

"There's holes in the top, and--hello! there's something alive in this box,
Frank," declared Bob.

"Yes, I can hear it scratching," put in Ritchie.

"Oho!" exclaimed Frank, enlightened now. "This end up--handle with care. I

"Know what, Jordan?" inquired Ned.

But Frank did not answer. He had detached the shipping tag, and was reading
some words written on its reverse side.

"I am sending you my special pet, Rambo," the scrawl read, "because nothing
is too good for you. Highly educated, gentle. I know you'll be good to

Frank recalled his new friend, Dave, with a smile of pleasure. He took the
cover off the box. Nestled contentedly in some soft hay at its bottom was a
wonder-eyed little monkey. Beside the animal was a thin, long chain.

To be sure, the boys made a lot of the cute little pet during the next
hour. The word went around, and Rambo held quite a reception. A drink of
water and a cracker put the animal in rare good humor, and he began to show

Rambo would sit in a chair and hold a book, pretending to read. He could
whirl around, hanging by his tail from a hook in the ceiling. His agility,
displayed in springs, curvets and climbing, was something prodigious.

Frank arranged the box comfortably, and lots of fun they had with the
clever, friendly little animal.

Mace and his crowd, with their usual envy for the enjoyment of others,
complained finally that the chattering of the monkey awakened them nights.
This was not true, but obedient to the suggestion of the monitor, until the
faculty could act in the affair, Frank shut Rambo up in a room in the
unused attic nights, not wishing to trust him along with the other animals
in the academy stables.

This was a providential move, it developed later. The second night of
Rambo's isolation, toward morning, Frank was awakened by the crash of
glass. He got up to find that the monkey had burst in through the outside
window. Rambo was bleeding and shivering on the floor.

"Hello, this is strange!" exclaimed Bob, roused up also from sleep. "I say,
Frank, I smell smoke!"

"That's so," replied Frank quickly. "Where does it come from?"

They ran out into the corridor, to quickly trace the smoke to its source.
It evidently proceeded from the attic. Rushing there, Frank and Bob found
some rafters on fire. They had evidently ignited near the chimney.

Rambo, it seemed, frightened at his danger, had broken through the attic
window and had reached the boys' room in time to warn them. The fire was
soon extinguished, but it might have been serious had it not been
discovered in time.

That settled it for useful, vigilant Rambo. He was given permanent quarters
in Frank's room, and was treated like a hero by the academy boys.

Another box came to Frank a few days later--from his father in the sunny
South. It was filled with oranges, pineapples and other luscious fruits,
and there was a gay supper in Frank's room that night. Even Gill Mace and
his crowd were invited, and little Rambo was an honored guest at the

Frank felt that the disturbed air of the academy was clearing. Certainly
his own affairs and those of Ned Foreman had come out most satisfactorily.

Samuel Mace had been convinced that Frank was innocent of any connection
with the theft of the diamond bracelet. He had started out the officers of
Bellwood to look up the real robbers, Tim Brady and his accomplice, the man

These two rascals had got an inkling of what was up and had fled the
country--not, however, until they had disposed of the bracelet to an
innocent purchaser. The jeweler had to pay out a large sum of money to
recover it.

Gill Mace was compelled to retract in public his false charge against
Frank, and the vindication of the latter was made complete. Then, to the
surprise of our hero, came word from Banbury that Gill had once boasted of
cutting loose a house that was being moved up a hill, using Frank's knife
for that purpose and thereby getting our hero in trouble. This matter was
investigated, and in the end Samuel Mace had to pay for the wrecking of the
old building. This angered the jeweler, and he punished his nephew severely
for his misconduct.

A pleasant position on a farm was secured for the man called Dan, who
promised to lead an honest life in the future.

As to Ned, the homeless lad felt that the greatest happiness in the world
had come into his life. The lawyer, Grimm, had been frightened into telling
all about Brady's plot. The estate that belonged to Ned was traced, and
Professor Elliott was legally made the boy's guardian.

The academy president called Frank, Ned and Bob to his office one evening,
and informed them of the pleasant outcome of their affairs.

"Just think of it," said Ned, with happy tears in his eyes. "I'm sure of an
education now, and all through the loyal friendship of the best boy I ever
knew, Frank Jordan."

"I echo that sentiment," added Bob. "Why, say, I didn't know life was
really worth living till I met Frank."

"Forget it, fellows," ordered Frank modestly, though flushing with genuine
pleasure. "You may help me to win some battles yet."

"Jordan," spoke the bland old professor, handing a sealed letter to Frank,
"you may feel very proud sending that letter to your father. It tells all
the good things I know about a noble, honorable boy."

"Well, professor," replied Frank, "we've made you a good deal of trouble.
Now we're going to get down to good hard work."

"And play," added Professor Elliott, with the kindly, earnest smile that
made him the true friend of the boys of Bellwood School.


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