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The High School Boys' Training Hike by H. Irving Hancock

Part 4 out of 4

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With a hoarse laugh Miller started to follow up the advantage
with a kick.

"Here! Come back! None of that!" shouted a citizen, throwing
his arms around Miller's neck. "Let the boy get to his feet.
Fight fair or---we'll lynch you when it's over!"

But Dick was up, the blood flowing freely from his nose. Yet
he was hardly less cool as Miller was released and the two again
faced each other.

"Finish him up, Miller, and we'll get back to pleasure!" laughed
one of the drunkards in maudlin glee.

"The boy has no show. This is an outrage!" protested an indignant
citizen. "It ought to be stopped."

As the two sparred Dick suddenly saw his chance to get in under
the powerful guard of his antagonist and landed a hard blow on
his solar plexus.

"Umph!" grunted Miller, as he partly doubled up under the force
of the blow.

That instant was enough for Prescott to drive in a blow that nearly
closed one of the big fellow's eyes.

"Stop this fight!" yelled the same citizen.

"Don't you do it!" warned another. "The boy is taking care of
himself all right. Let him wind the bruiser up."

Now Miller, smarting and fearing accidental defeat, forgot caution
and tried to rush in for a clinch. But this was the kind of attack
that Prescott was skilled in dodging.

Dick gave ground before the furious assault, but he did so purposely.
Back he went, step by step.

"Miller's got him!" cheered the liquor seller's friends.

At last Dick found what he wanted, the opportunity to drive in
again on the big fellow's wind. Miller gave vent to another grunt,
followed by a howl, as he felt a stinging fist land against his
other eye.

Now, Dick had his man blinded, ready for the finish. A high school
fist landed on the side of the big fellow's throat, sending him
to his knees. Dick took but half a step backward as he waited
for the big fellow to get to his feet. The instant that Miller
rose Dick darted in, landing his right fist with all his strength
on the tip of the man's chin.

This time the work was complete. Miller went down. Dick, smiling,
though breathing quickly, stood over his fallen opponent, counting
slowly to ten.

Then, in a moment, those who had favored the boy's side in the
fight realized just what had happened.

Loud cheers arose from the crowd. Tom Drake was one of the first
to dart in and seize young Prescott's right hand briefly before
another man wanted to shake it. Dick was fairly made to run a
gauntlet of handshaking.

Most of Miller's "friends" retreated in sulky bad humor. Three
of the liquor seller's followers, however, picked the big man
up, staggering under his weight, and bore him behind the door
that had closed on more than one man's career.

"What do you think of that, Mr. Drake?" demanded Tom Reade jubilantly.
"Do you put Dick Prescott in the milk-sop class?"



"Let's get out of this place," whispered Dick in Dave's ear as
Darry helped him to staunch the flow of blood from his nose.

"There, the bleeding has stopped," muttered Dave. "Now, put on
your coat and button it up. Then the blood stains on your shirt
won't show."

Tom Drake had very little to say, but he kept close to Prescott.

"Shall we walk down the road a bit, Mr. Drake?" asked Dick, as
soon as he had his coat on.

"I'm in a hurry to get home," nodded the young workman. "I shall
know where I belong, after this. No more of Miller's for me!
For that matter," the young man added, with a hearty laugh, "I
don't believe Miller would ever let me in his place again. Of
course, in his own mind, he will blame me for what happened to-night."

"I hope he didn't get much of your money before it happened,"
murmured Prescott, as be and Drake, followed by Dave, Tom and
Dan, got clear of the crowd and down into a quieter part of the

"He got less than a dollar of my wages," replied Drake. "I'm
sorry he has that much, but he'll never get any more. Say, Prescott,
but you are a fighter! I can imagine how 'sore' Miller will
be, to-morrow, over having been whipped by such a stripling as
you are."

"I've one great advantage over Miller," Dick rejoined. "I've
never tasted alcohol, and Miller has saturated himself with it
for years."

"I used to have an idea that liquor was strengthening," murmured
Tom Drake. "I know quite a good many men who take it to keep
up their strength."

"They're fools, then," Dick retorted tersely. "You could see,
in Miller to-night, what alcohol does toward making one strong.
That man is still powerful, but I'm satisfied that he was once
a great deal stronger. Miller's muscles have grown flabby since
he began to drink. His speed is less than it must have been formerly.
Even his nerve---his grit---has been impaired by the stuff he
has been drinking. Did you notice how early in the fight his
wind left him? The man has very little of his former strength,
and the blame belongs to the liquor he has used."

"Here's my gate," said Tom Drake, at last, as they halted before
the little cottage. "Come in. I've got to tell my wife about
you. I wonder where my two girls are?"

Dick and his friends tried to get out of going into the yard,
but their new friend would not have it that way, so silently they
followed Drake up the path. Then, through a front window, Tom
Drake saw his girls.

His wife sat at a table, her head resting on her arms. On the
floor sat the toddler, Mollie, still in her white dress. She
had two broken dolls, pretending to play with them, but the woebegone
look in her little face showed that her thoughts were elsewhere.

Tom Drake choked as he looked in at the window. Then, throwing
up his head resolutely, he lifted the latch, entering the room
with firm tread.

"I'm a bit late, girls, but come on up in the village!" he invited.
"Here, Hattie, you take charge of this little roll," he added,
thrusting his money into his wife's hand.

Not more than three minutes later the three Drakes issued from
the house, Mollie enjoying a "ride" on her father's shoulder.

"Why, where are the boys?" he demanded. "I left them here."

"Gone, like all good angels, when their work is done," smiled
his wife.

"It's all right, anyway, girls," Tom Drake answered cheerily.
"We're pretty sure to find 'em up in the village, where we're

In the first place that the Drakes entered they came upon Dick
and his three friends. The Gridley boys, after dodging a crowd
that wanted to lionize young Prescott, had taken refuge, unseen,
in the back of an otherwise deserted ice cream saloon.

"There they are!" cried Mollie, running the length of the shop,
as fast as her chubby little legs could take her. She ran straight
to Dick who bent over to give her a gentle hug.

"I don't know what to say to you young men," cried Mrs. Drake,
halting beside the boys, her voice breaking a little, her eyes

"Then, if you'll permit me to offer a suggestion," Dick smiled
back, as he rose, "it seems to me that conversation might spoil
several good things. Won't you all sit down and be our guests
in a little ice cream feast that we have started?"

It was almost an hour before the little party broke up. A few
interested citizens, however, found the hiding place of the Gridley
High School boys and insisted on coming in to shake hands with
the boys.

"Take your family and slip out through the back door," Dick whispered
to Tom Drake.

"I don't know that I'll ever see you again," murmured Drake huskily,
"so I want to say-----"

"Don't say anything," Dick smiled back. "You're all right, from
now on. And we've all learned something to-night. We'll let
it rest there. Good-bye, and the best of good luck for you and

So the Drakes escaped from what would have been an embarrassing
scene. Nor were Dick and his friends long in getting away from
the too-enthusiastic citizens.

"It's late enough for us to go back to camp and turn in, isn't
it?" suggested Tom Reade.

"I was thinking of that myself," Dick admitted.

"You must be tired, anyway," Dave hinted. "You whipped Miller
all right, but he was a tiring brute, and I'll wager that you're
both sore and exhausted."

"I'll plead guilty to a little bit of both," Dick Prescott assented,
laughing at the recollection of Miller at the time when that brute's
second eye was closed.

Yet it was more than half an hour after their return to camp when
slumber finally began to assert its claim upon the Gridley boys.
For Greg and Harry, as soon as they had heard a few words as
to the evening's adventure, insisted upon hearing all of it before
they would let Dick turn in.

"I'll bet they're sore in Miller's place tonight," chuckled Greg,
just before be extinguished the second lantern.

Certainly anger did reign in Miller's place for the rest of that

Miller had been brought to consciousness, after considerable effort.
He was even able to be up and about his place, but his swollen
features looked like a caricature of a face.

"The schoolboy that was able to do that to you, Miller, must have
been eight feet high and as wide as a gate," remarked one of the
red-nosed patrons of the place.

"Shut up!" was Miller's gracious response.

There were other drinking places in Fenton, and to these the news of
the big fellow's drubbing quickly spread.

Indeed, the fight seemed to be the one topic of the talk of Fenton
that evening.

As it happened, it wasn't very long before word was brought to
Miller that Dick and his friends were camping down on Andy Hartshorn's

"It's queer that Hartshorn will let such young toughs stop on
his land!" growled Miller.

"They ought to be chased out of town---that's what!" growled a
patron of the place.

More of this talk was heard, until finally someone demanded thickly:

"Well, why can't we chase 'em out of town?"

At first, the idea met with instant favor among the dozen or more
worthless men gathered in Miller's saloon. The plan grew in favor
until one man, slighter than the rest, observed:

"Say! Stop and think of one thing. We know what one of the boys
did to Miller, and there are six of those boys down at the camp!"

That rather cast a damper over the enthusiasm until one blear-eyed
man of fifty observed, knowingly:

"Well, we don't need to go alone. There are other men in Fenton
who think the way we do. We can go down to the woods in force,
and pretend that what we want to do comes as a rebuke administered
by the citizens of Fenton."

"Hurrah!" cheered one man who seemed in danger of falling asleep.

"Miller, let us use your telephone," urged the former speaker.

"No, you can't," retorted the liquor seller quickly. "It's all
right for you men to do whatever you think is right, but you've
got to remember that I've got to be kept out of whatever happens."

Well enough did the wretch know that half-hearted opposition from
him would only fan the flame hotter among the men who considered
themselves his friends.

So the messengers were sent to the other drinking places in town.
Word was passed for a night raid "by representative citizens,"
as these topers called themselves.

Men of the same turn of mind soon came flocking in from other
drinking resorts.

"Don't talk here about what you're going to do for the good of
the town," Miller ordered. "Remember, I've got to be kept out
of this. My position is a delicate one, you understand."

Soon after midnight the disreputable army of vengeance seekers
was straggling down the road. Talking had ceased. These drink-driven
wretches were hunting for the camp of Dick & Co. and they were
going to attack it in force.



When the crowd reached the camp of the high school boys all was
silent there. From within the tent came the sounds of the heavy
breathing of the sleepers.

"Everything is ready, and there isn't even a dog on the place!"
was the exultant word passed back.

"Bunch up! Get in close and surround the tent," ordered another
voice. "We want some of you men behind the tent, so that none
of the youngsters can slip away from us. Come along, now. Don't
talk! Don't make so much noise. Easy, now!"

Thus the figures continued to gather, like so many evil spirits
of the night.

Here and there one of the rabble fell over something in the dark,
or tripped over a root or stone as he moved about among the shadows.

In the intervals of absolute silence the steady breathing of the
six Gridley High School boys could still be heard, until one man
in the rabble, less sober than the others, fell over a packing-case,
barking his shins and giving vent to a yell of pain.

"What was that?" asked Greg Holmes, waking and rising on one elbow.

Outside all was quiet again.

"Hey, Dave, get up!" Holmes called, shaking the arm of Darry,
who lay asleep on the adjoining cot. "I heard something going
on outside. We'll both get up, light a lantern, and-----"

"Yes! Get up and come out!" jeered a voice near the tent door.
"Come out and have a look at us. The reputable citizens of Fenton
are to chase you out of town---and we'll do it, after we get through
with teaching you manners!"

"Fellows! Hustle!" shouted Greg, leaping from his cot. "Get
ready for trouble. All the topers and loafers who ever knew Miller
are outside to avenge the beating that Miller received from Dick!"

"We'll show you!" came a hoarse yell, and then the foremost ruffians
in the crowd surged in through the tent door.

But Dave had succeeded in lighting a lantern, and this he took
time to hang from a hook on the nearest pole.

Five boys clad only in their pajamas faced this angry rabble.
Dan Dalzell slept through the confusion until Reade, in passing
him, hauled him from bed.

"What are you men doing here?" thundered Reade, striding to the
head of the little group of defenders.

Dick was now beside him like a flash.

"You fellows get out of here!" Prescott ordered, his eyes flaming.

"We'll get out when we get ready!" came the hoarse answer. "Now,
friends, show these young imps-----"

But that speaker got no further, for a blow from Tom's fist brought
him to the ground.

All six of Dick & Co. were now on the fistic firing line.

For a few moments they carried all but consternation to their
opponents. As they were forced back from the doorway, however,
more and more of the mob poured in.

The very weight of numbers was bound to count against Dick & Co.
who were likely to suffer severely at the hands of the miscreants.

Just then there came a flash across the canvas of the tent. The
light had been thrown by a swiftly-moving automobile. There was
another automobile directly behind it. Both cars came to a stop
at the roadside, while from them leaped more than a dozen men.

These men were armed---each with a horsewhip. In an instant the
invaders found them selves assailed from behind.

Whish! slash! zip!

In another instant all was uproar. Yells of pain from the mob
rent the air, for these latest arrivals were laying about them
with their horsewhips with an energy worthy of a good cause.

"Here, you, Andy Hartshorn. Stop that! Don't you hit me! I
know you, and I'll have the law on you!" shrieked one of the
frightened wretches.

"He who goes to law should have his own hands clean," quoth Farmer
Hartshorn, as he dealt the fellow a stinging blow on the legs.

Those of the crowd outside the tent fled in every direction, hotly
pursued, and again and again they were stung by the lashes.

Those of the invaders still in the tent were now in a panic to
get out and away. As they dashed through the doorway they felt
the slashing of horsewhips, while Dick Prescott and his chums
hammered them from the rear.

In less than thirty seconds the invaders had been cleared away.
They fled in screaming panic, scattering in all directions, some
of them being pursued and lashed for a distance of many rods up
or down the road.

On all sides the fleeing wretches threatened their persecutors
with the law, but these threats did not stop the punishment.

"I guess it's all right now, boys!" called Farmer Hartshorn grimly,
as he strode up to the place where Dick & Co. had gathered just
beyond their tent.

"What was that mob, anyway?" Dick asked.

"A gang that came after revenge for what you did to Miller to-night,"
laughed the farmer.

"I thought as much," muttered Dick.

"They've been gathering at Miller's, and other like places, for
a couple of hours," Mr. Hartshorn went on. "But, as is the case
with all such movements, some news of it leaked outside. We got
word a bit late, or we'd have been here before that crowd came
along. When we knew the word was straight some of us telephoned
to others, and our crowd was gotten together, but as it is, we
got here in season. Are any of you boys hurt?"

"No, sir; not one of us," Dick declared. "But some of us might
have been seriously injured if you gentlemen had been delayed
for another minute."

"We'll know the rascals to-morrow," spoke up another of the rescuers.
"If they appear on the streets at all they'll be recognized.
We have marked them up pretty well. They've gone off vowing
to have the law on us."

"All they'll do will be to put arnica on themselves," declared
Mr. Hartshorn. "And they will send friends to the drugstore for
the arnica. They won't take the risk of being recognized on the
streets. They'll be a shame-faced lot in the morning."

"It was mighty good of you men to come down and help us out,"
murmured Dick Prescott gratefully. "We would have had a pretty
tough time if we had been left to ourselves."

"We'd go further than we've traveled tonight, to help out boys
like you," declared another man present. "Prescott, that was
a fine thing you did to Miller to-night, and Tom Drake will be
grateful as long as he lives."

"If Drake keeps away from drink in the future," Dick answered,
"he will have reason to congratulate himself."

"Oh, Drake will keep away from the stuff after this," said one
of the citizens. "Young Drake has a head of his own, and we'll
see that he uses it. We'll keep a friendly eye over him. Don't
worry. Young Tom Drake will never associate with any of Miller's
kind again."

"Whenever any of you boys want to go to sleep, just say so," urged
Mr. Hartshorn, "and we'll run along."

"Why, I believe we're a bit waked up, at present," smiled young
Prescott, as he turned to glance at the others in the light thrown
by the automobile lamps.

"I don't feel as though I needed any more sleep," laughed Tom

"If you boys are thinking of sitting up to watch against another
surprise, don't bother about it," advised Mr. Hartshorn. "You've
seen the very last that you'll see of those rascals. Men of that
sort never have nerve enough to attempt a risky thing twice."

"I'm going to put some wood in the stove and make coffee," Danny
Grin announced.

"Can't we offer you a cup of coffee, gentlemen?" proposed Prescott.
"And sandwiches? We have plenty of the fixings for sandwiches."

The idea prevailed to such an extent that Dalzell put on a kettle
of water to boil, while Tom and Dave began to slice bread and
open tinned meats.

"I'm going to sit down on the ground and be comfortable," declared
one of the Fentonites, when coffee and food were passed around.

"Do you know, gentlemen," said Tom Reade, as he munched a sandwich,
"I'm beginning to like Fenton next to our own town of Gridley."

"Fenton isn't anywhere near as large a place as Gridley," replied
one of the guests.

"No; but for its size Fenton is a lively place," Reade went on.
"There seems to be something happening here every minute."

"That is when young fellows like you come along and start the
ball rolling," chuckled Farmer Hartshorn. "There has been more
excitement to-night in Fenton than I can remember during the last
five years. I've seen you play football, Prescott, and you're
a wonder at the game. Yet what you did to-night for young Tom
Drake is a bigger thing than winning a whole string of the greatest
football games of the year."

"Football is more exciting, though," smiled Dick.

"Is it?" demanded Mr. Hartshorn. "More exciting than what you've
been through tonight? Then I'll never play football! More excitement
than you've had to-night isn't healthful for any growing young

For fully an hour these men of Fenton remained at the camp, talking
with their young hosts, and, incidentally, picking up a lot of
information about the sports and pastimes that most interest wide-awake
boys of to-day.

At last, however, disclaiming the thanks offered by Dick & Co.,
the guests went away in the automobiles that had brought them,
while Dick Prescott and his chums prepared to finish out the night's



"Oh, won't life seem stale when we get back into the land of crowded
business streets and schoolhouses?" grumbled Reade, as, perched
on the seat of the camp wagon, he drove out onto the highway the
next morning, followed by the other members of Dick & Co. on foot.

"No, sir!" Darry retorted. "Life won't seem stale on that account.
Instead, it will be brightened by the pleasant recollection of
this summer's fun, which is now so soon to be ended."

"You're not going through Fenton, are you, Dick?" asked Greg.

"I guess we'll have to. We were pretty well cleaned out of some
of our provisions last night. We shall have to replenish our
food supply, and Fenton is the only real town along our route
to-day. The rest are small farming villages."

"But we'll attract a lot of attention," declared Holmes.

"You won't," laughed Darry. "You didn't go to town with us last
night, and consequently you're not known there."

"I'd rather not go through the town myself," Dick explained, "but
it seems to me that as long as we must purchase supplies we ought
to make a stop in the town that's likely to have the best stores."

Fenton's principal street had rather a sleepy look this hot August
morning. There were but few people abroad as Dick & Co. turned
into the main thoroughfare.

At Miller's place there was not a sign of life. "I'll wager that
brute is applying raw beef to his eyes this morning," muttered
Tom, somewhat vindictively.

Prescott's watchful glance soon discovered a provision store that
looked more than usually promising. At a word from him Tom reined
in the horse, while Prescott and Darrin went inside to make purchases.

When they came out they found Farmer Hartshorn and another man
talking with Tom Reade.

"You young men of Gridley don't look any the worse, this morning,
for the excitement you had last night," said Mr. Hartshorn, after
a cordial greeting. "Reade tells me that you left the milk-pail
at my house as you came along."

"Yes, sir," Dick nodded. "And with it, we left our very best
thanks for the fine treat that milk proved to be to us."

"Prescott, shake hands with Mr. Stark. He's our leading lawyer
in this little place."

"I've heard a good deal about you this morning," said the lawyer,
as he shook hands.

Mr. Stark was a tall, thin man, of perhaps forty-five years of
age. Warm as was the day he was attired wholly in black, a bit
rusty, and wore a high silk hat that was beginning to show signs
of age. He belonged to a type of rural lawyer that is now passing.

"I think we've heard of you, too," smiled Prescott innocently.

"Have you?" asked the lawyer, looking somewhat astonished.

"Yes," Dick went on. "I think it must have been your letter that
Mr. Reuben Hinman showed us one day. It was in regard to a bill
he had given you to collect. Mr. Hinman is in the hospital and
must need quite a bit of money just at present so I beg to express
the hope that you have been able to collect the other half of
the debt---the half that belongs to him."

Lawyer Stark reddened a good deal, despite his sallow skin.

"Why, what about that other half? What's the story?" questioned
Mr. Hartshorn, his eyes, twinkling as though he scented something

"Oh---er---just a matter of business between a client and myself,"
the lawyer explained, in some confusion.

"And poor old Hinman was the client, eh?" asked the farmer.

"We don't know very much about the matter," Dave Darrin broke
in, a trifle maliciously, for he fell that it might be a good
thing to show up this lawyer's tricky work. "Mr. Hinman gave
Mr. Stark a bill of twenty dollars to collect, and-----"

"It was---er---all a matter of business between a client and myself,
and therefore of a confidential nature," Lawyer Stark broke in,
reddening still more.

But Dave was in no mood, just then, to be headed off so easily,
so he went on:

"Mr. Hinman showed us the letter, and asked us what we thought
of it, so that rather broke the confidential nature of the matter.
You see," turning to Mr. Hartshorn, "the bill was for twenty
dollars, and it seems that. Mr. Stark was to have half for his
trouble in collecting it. Now the letter that Mr. Hinman showed

"I protest, young man!" exclaimed the lawyer.

"The letter," Darry went on calmly, "was to the effect that Mr.
Stark had collected his own half of the twenty dollars, and that
the collection of Mr. Hinman's half of the money seemed doubtful."

"Now, now, Stark!" exclaimed the farmer, looking sharply at the
lawyer. "Surely, that isn't your way of doing business with a
poor and aged client like Hinman!"

"I have collected the remainder of the bill, and am going to mail
a settlement to Mr. Hinman to-day," muttered the lawyer, trying
to look unconcerned. "All just a matter of routine office business,
Mr. Hartshorn."

But the lawyer felt wholly uncomfortable. He was thinking, at
that moment, that he would heartily enjoy kicking Darrin if the
latter didn't look so utterly healthy and uncommonly able to take
care of himself.

"Do I hear you discussing money that is due my father?" inquired
a voice behind them. "If so, my father is very ill, as you doubtless
know, and I would take pleasure in receiving the money on his

Timothy Hinman, looking wholly the man of fashion, made this offer.
He had come up behind the group, and there was a look in his
eyes which seemed to say that the handling of some of the family
money would not be distasteful to him just then.

"I'll walk along with you to your office, Mr. Stark, and receipt
for the money, if you're headed that way," suggested the younger
Hinman again.

"Unless you hold a regular power of attorney from your father,
you could hardly give me a valid receipt," replied the lawyer
sourly, as he turned away from Mr. Hartshorn and the boys and
started down the street.

"Won't my receipt do until my father is up and about once more?"
pressed Timothy Hinman.

"No, sir; it won't," snapped the lawyer.

"Have you heard, this morning, how your father is?" Dick inquired.

"Just heard, at the post-office," Hinman answered. "My father
had a very bad day yesterday. Er---in fact, the chances, I am
sorry to say, appear to be very much against his recovery."

"He must feel the strain of his father's illness," observed Dave

"He does!" retorted Mr. Hartshorn, with emphasis. "If old Reuben
dies young Timothy must go to work for a living. The disgrace
of toil will almost kill him. His two sisters are as bad as he
is. They've never done a stroke of work, either. All three have
lived on the poor old peddler's earnings all their lives, though
not one of the three would be willing to keep the old man's house
for him. There are a lot of sons and daughters like them to-day.
Perhaps there always have been."

Mr. Hartshorn waited until Dick and Dave had finished with the
purchases and had loaded them on the wagon.

Then the farmer shook hands with each member of Dick & Co.

"I'm coming up to Gridley to see the football game this Thanksgiving,"
he promised. "I hope I'll see as good a game as I did last year.
Anyway, I'll see the work of a mighty fine lot of young fellows."

Prescott expressed again the heartiest thanks of himself and friends
for the timely aid given them during the trouble in camp.

"We've lost so much time this morning that we'll have to hustle
for the rest of the day," Tom called down from the wagon seat,
as he started the horse.

An hour later they were more than three miles past Fenton.

"Get out of the way, Tom!" called Dave. "Drive up into someone's
yard like lightning. Here comes a whizz wagon that wants the
whole highway."

Behind them, its metal trimmings flashing in the sun, and leaving
a trail of dust in its wake, came an automobile traveling at least
sixty miles an hour.

Yet, fast as the car was going when it passed them, the speed
did not prevent one occupant from recognizing them and calling
out derisively. Then, half a mile ahead, the car stopped, turned,
and came slowly back toward the wondering Gridley boys.



Five rather contemptuous pairs of youthful eyes surveyed Dick
& Co. as their outfit plodded on its way.

"Aren't they a mucker looking outfit?" demanded one voice from
the car.

Then the automobile shot ahead again.

"Phin Drayne! Humph!" said Darry rather scornfully.

Phin Drayne is no stranger to the readers of the "_High School
Boys Series_," who will recall Phin as the "kicker" who, at the
game on the Thanksgiving before, had sulked and refused to go
on the field, hoping to induce the other members of the Gridley
High School gridiron team to coax him to play. Thus Dick, though
suffering at that time from injuries, and forbidden to play, had
been forced out onto the field to help win the great game of the
season. Of course a kicker like Drayne did not like Prescott.
Dick worried but little on that account.

"There! they are coming back," Greg announced. "They are grinning
at us again."

"If they keep on grinning," threatened Darry, "we'll sic Danny
Grin onto them. When it comes to grinning our own Danny boy can
grin down anything on earth."

As if to verify that claim, Dalzell began to grin broadly. Besides
this, he turned his face toward the occupants of the automobile
as it once more passed Dick & Co.

Just at this point the car slowed down. Phin Drayne looked as
though he were exhibiting his fellow students of Gridley High
School as so many laughable freaks.

"That's what I call a vacation on the cheap," Drayne remarked
to his friends, in a tone wholly audible to Dick & Co.

"It is 'on the cheap,'" Dick called out pleasantly. "And yet,
our trip hasn't been such a very cheap one, either, and we've
earned all the money ourselves. I don't suppose, Drayne, you
ever earned as much money in your life."

"I don't have to," scoffed Phin Drayne. "My father is able to
supply me with whatever money I need."

"Why!" uttered Dan Dalzell. "Our old Drayne is just another Timmy
Hinman of the regular kind, isn't he?"

Dan looked so comical when he made this observation that his five
chums burst into a shout of gleeful laughter.

Phin Drayne didn't relish that very sincere laughter. Though
he didn't understand the allusion, he suspected that he was being
made the butt of a joke by Dick & Co.

"Drive on, George," he requested his friend at the wheel. "One
hates to be seen in the company of such fellows."

The car's speed was let out several notches, and shot down the
road ahead of Dick & Co.'s plain little caravan.

"Now that I think of it," Dick declared, "Phin is just another
edition of Timmy Hinman, isn't he? And so are quite a good many
of the fellows we know. The world must be nearly as full of Timmy
Hinmans as it is of fathers either wealthy or well-to-do. I'd
hate to belong to the Timmy Hinman crowd!"

"As for me," sighed Tom comically, "I don't see any chance of
my becoming a Timmy until I'm able to do it on money accumulated
for myself."

As Phin Drayne was still in Gridley High School, and had an overweening
idea of himself as a football player, it is extremely likely that
we shall hear of him again, for which reason, if for no other,
we may as well dismiss him from these present pages.

A few more days of earnest hiking, followed by restful sleep in
camp at night, brought Dick & Co., one fine afternoon toward the
end of August, in sight of the spires of Gridley.

"There's the good old town!" called Dick, first to reach the rise
of ground from which the view of Gridley was to be had.

"Good old town, indeed!" glowed Dave Darrin.

"Whoop!" shouted Tom Reade irrepressibly. "Whoop! And then---whoop!"

Dalzell, as he stood still for a few moments, gazing ahead, grinned

"He thinks his native town is a joke!" called Greg Holmes reproachfully.

"No," replied Dalzell, with a solemn shake of his head. "I am
the joke, and it's on Gridley for being my native town."

"I'm glad to be back---when I get there," announced Hazy. "I
shall be glad, even if for nothing more than the chance to rest
my feet."

"Nonsense!" Dick retorted. "You'll be out on Main Street, to-night,
ready to tramp miles and miles, if anything amusing turns up."

At the first shade by the roadside Dick &. Co. halted for fifteen
minutes to rest.

"Now, each one of you do a little silent thinking," Prescott urged.

"Give us the topic, then," proposed Reade.

"Fellows," Dick went on, mounting a stump and thrusting one hand
inside his flannel shirt, in imitation of the pose of an orator,
"the next year will be an eventful one for all of us. In that
time we shall wind up our courses at the Gridley High School.
From the day that we set forth from Gridley High School we shall
be actively at work creating our careers. We are destined to
become great men, everyone of us!"

"Tell that to the Senate!" mocked Tom Reade.

"Well, then," Dick went on, accepting the doubt of their future
greatness, "we shall, at least, if we are worth our salt, become
useful men in the world, and I don't know but that is very close
to being great. For the man who isn't useful in the world has
no excuse for living. Now, in a little more than another hour,
we shall be treading the pavements of good old Gridley. Let us
do it with a sense of triumph."

"Triumph?" quizzed Tom soberly. "What about?"

"The sense of triumph," Dick retorted, "will arise from the fact
that this is to be the last and biggest year in which we are to
give ourselves the final preparation for becoming either great
or useful men. I'm not going to say any more on this subject.
Perhaps you fellows think I've been talking nonsense on purpose.
I haven't. Neither have I tried to preach to you, for preaching
is out of my line. But, fellows, I hope you all feel, as solemnly
as I do myself, just what this next year must mean to us in work,
in study---in a word, in achievement. It won't do any of us any
harm, once in a while to feel solemn, for five seconds at a time,
over what we are going to do this year to assure our futures."

For once Tom Reade didn't have a jest ready. For once Dalzell
forgot to grin.

The march was taken up again. The next halt was made in Gridley,
thus ending their long training hike, the boys going to their
respective homes.

"Just give three silent cheers, and we won't startle anyone,"
Tom proposed.

"We went out on the trip to harden ourselves," murmured Dave,
"and I must admit that we have all done it."

That evening Dick and Harry Hazelton drove the horse and wagon
over to Tottenville, where the camp wagon was returned to its
owner, Mr. Newbegin Titmouse.

"You young men have worn this wagon quite: a bit," whined Mr.
Titmouse, after he had painstakingly inspected the wagon by the
light of a lantern.

"I think we've brought it back in fine condition, sir," replied
Dick, and he spoke the truth. "The wagon looks better, Mr. Titmouse,
than you had expected to see it."

"You owe me about five dollars for extra wear and tear," insisted
the money-loving Mr. Titmouse.

But he didn't get the money. Again Dick Prescott turned out to
be an excellent business man. Dick was most courteous, but he
refuted all of Mr. Titmouse's claims for extra payment, in the
end even such a money-grubber as Mr. Newbegin Titmouse gave up
the effort to extort more money for the use of his wagon than
was his due. He even used his lantern to light the boys through
the dark side alley to the street where the trolley car ran.

Two or three times after this Dick and his friends heard from
Tom Drake. That young workman never repeated his earlier error.
In time he paid for his home, then began the saving of money
for other purposes. To-day Drake owns his own machine shop and
is highly prosperous.

Old Reuben Hinman lingered many days between life and death.
At last he recovered, and in time was discharged from the hospital.

However, his first attempts to run the peddler's wagon again revealed
the fact that the peddler's days on the road were over. He was
no longer strong enough for the hard outdoor life.

Timothy Hinman and his sisters came forward when the Overseers
of the Poor began to look into the peddler's affairs. These dutiful
children wanted to be sure to obtain whatever might be their share
of their father's belongings.

Timothy and his sisters obtained their full shares---nothing.

The Overseers of the Poor found that they could effect an arrangement
by which the peddler's home, his horse and wagon, stock and good
will could be sold for four thousand dollars.

This was done. With half the money Reuben Hinman was able to
purchase his way into a home for old men. Here he will be maintained,
without further expense, as long as he lives, and he will live
in a degree of comfort amounting, with this simple-minded ex-peddler,
to positive luxury.

The other two thousand dollars, at the suggestion of the Overseers
of the Poor, was spent in buying an annuity from a life insurance
company. This annuity provides ample spending money for Reuben
Hinman whenever, in fine weather, he wishes to go forth from the
home and enjoy himself in the world at large.

Timothy has been forced to go to work as a valet. The daughters
tearfully support themselves as milliners. Reuben Hinman long
ago spent the ten dollars received from Lawyer Stark.

The tramp who accepted work from Dr. Hewitt made good in every
sense of the word. In fact he did so well that, in time, he took
unto himself a wife and is now the head of a family, which lives
in a little cottage built on Dr. Hewitt's estate. The name of
"Jim Joggers" has given way to the real name of that former knight
of the road. However, as the man is sensitive about his idle
past, we prefer to remember him as "Joggers."

And now we come to the end of the "_High School Boys Vacation

It is to be hoped that these four little volumes have not dwelt
so much upon fun as to make it appear that pleasure is all there
is in the world that is worth while.

Dick Prescott and his friends were destined to discover that
all the pleasure in the world that is worth anything at all comes
only as the reward of continuous, hard and useful endeavor.

The further adventures that befell Dick Prescott and his chums
while they were still Gridley High School boys will be found in
the fourth volume of the "_High School Boys Series_," which is published
under the title, "_The High School Captain of the Team; Or, Dick
& Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard_."

In that volume, the last dealing with Dick Prescott's high school
days, the value of sports and the worth of honor and faithful
work will be set forth as strongly as lies within the power of
the narrator of these events.

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