Part 4 out of 4
noon the day following.
Dick and Dave remained enrolled at High School until the Christmas
Holidays, then dropped out, having ended the term.
Each boy had other studies with which he wished to busy
himself---studies that would have a direct bearing on the stiff
entrance examinations at West Point and Annapolis. The rest of
their time, until they reported at their respective National
Academies, they intended to devote to these other studies to make
doubly sure of their success.
Dick's notification from the Secretary of War arrived on Christmas
"The grandest Christmas present. I ever had!" muttered Dick,
gazing at the single sheet, the words on which were couched in
stiff official language.
Dave Darrin fumed a good deal, for it was nearly a month later
before he received his notification from the Secretary of the
Navy. It came at last, however, and Darrin knew what postponed
The Message from the Unknown
With the Christmas holidays Phin Drayne came home, to stay so
far as school was concerned.
After his unhappy experience at the Fordham Military Institute,
Phin had found things almost as unpleasant at Wilburville Academy.
For some reason the boys at Wilburville hadn't taken to him.
Phin had come to the conclusion that he wasn't appreciated anywhere
save at home, so back he came, disgusted with the idea of carrying
his education any further.
As a natural sequence, Drayne took to lounging about the streets.
High School boys and girls no longer paid any heed to him, so
he did not fear slight or insult.
Two nights in every week Dick and Dave went faithfully to the
High School gym. to help Mr. Morton with the new evening classes
One afternoon Prescott and Darrin encountered good old Dr. Thornton,
the principal, who asked them how they were coming along.
"We're pretty busy," Dick admitted. "Still, it does seem rather
hard to us not to be connected with the High School any more."
"Why, you are with us yet, and of us!" cried the principal. "I
carry your names on the rolls, with 'excused' written against
your names. If you don't believe that you're still of my High
School boys, then drop in any day and take your places, for an
hour, or as long as you please, at your old desks. You will find
them still reserved for you."
"Now, isn't that mighty decent of old Prin.!" demanded Dave, after
the two chums had thanked Dr. Thornton, and had gone on their
way. "So we still belong to old Gridley High School?"
"We always shall, I reckon," declared Dick. "Gridley High School
has done everything for us, and has given us our start and most
of our pleasures in life."
"I'm going to drop in, one of these January days," murmured Dave.
"And so am I. But," added Dick, with a smile, "don't let us be
indiscreet and be roped into going into a recitation. We'll find
the class has been moving ahead while we've been boning over West
Point and Annapolis requirements."
"At all events, none of them ought to be ahead of us when we've
gone four years further," contended Dave. "At West Point or Annapolis
we have to grind in a way that is never required of mere college
men. We ought to be miles ahead of any fellow who has just finished
at High School and then has put in four years only at college."
Thus the happy young egotists always talked, nowadays. To them
there was really little in life that did not come through the
government military academies.
Phin Drayne, lounging about purposely, with the shambling gait,
often saw these happy chums, and scowled after them.
"Everything seems to come to them!" growled Phin. "What rot it
is to say that this is a square world, and that everyone has the
same chance! Why doesn't something good come my way?"
The oftener Phin looked in the direction of the chums, and more
particularly of Dick, the blacker did Drayne's thoughts become.
"Prescott has had everything come his way ever since he entered
High School," growled Phin. "And now the mucker is going off
to West Point, and the government is going to stamp him 'gentleman.'
A gentleman? Pooh! I'd like to show him up, as a bumptious upstart.
Phin scowled fiercely for a moment, before he added:
"And, by glory, I will do something to him! I'll take the conceit
out of Dick Prescott!"
At first it was only the purpose that formed in Drayne's dark
mind. But, by dint of much thinking, he began to feel that he
saw the way of working to Prescott's complete disgrace.
Dick, in the meantime, was still writing occasionally for "The
"I'm afraid you've slipped away from us, Dick," declared Mr. Pollock,
with a wry smile. "If you go to West Point and pass the exams.
there, then newspaper work is going to lose one of its bright,
promising young men."
"But I always told you that my plans would undoubtedly take me
away from 'The Blade' when my High School life was done with,"
"Yes; but why do you want the life of the uniform? That's what
I fail to understand? Why don't you go into something connected
with the pulsing everyday life of the country? Here you are,
going away to bury yourself in a uniform. You'll work, of course;
the Army is no place for loafers. But after all, you're only
preparing for war, and you may be an old, white-haired officer
before we have another war."
"If that war does come in your life time," returned Dick, "you'll
know what we of the uniforms have been working for all along.
You'll realize, then, that an Army's biggest work isn't fighting,
in time of war, but preparing in time of peace. And you'll thank
every one of us when the time comes."
"Oh, yes, I suppose so," smiled the editor. "But it all seems
so far away. Now, here is something much more practical right
at hand. Take these burglaries that have been annoying the small
merchants lately. The police don't seem to be able to catch the
fellow. For the last three days I've taken Len Spencer off of
all other work and set him to trying to run down the burglar.
Now, Len isn't afraid of much, and he's one of the brightest
young reporters going. Yet Len admits he's stumped. All the
while the merchants are fearing that the burglar will bring about
bigger losses. Dick Prescott, if you could catch that burglar,
and see him sent off where he belongs, you'd be doing a vastly
greater service to the community than you possibly could by helping
the country prepare for a war that is thirty or forty years away."
"I wouldn't mind having a crack at the burglar scare, either,"
laughed Dick. "But the question is, how am I going to go about
it to catch the fellow? He has baffled all the police, and even
Len Spencer. What show have I for finding the rascal?"
"Just the same, Dick, I believe you would catch him, if you'd
set your mind and your energies to it. Will you do it? Will
you put in a week trying to run down this burglar and give 'The
Blade' the first chance at the story? I'll agree, in advance,
to pay you for whatever time you'll put in on it for a week, if
even you are not successful in running him down."
"I'll think it over," Dick replied, with a quiet smile. "I'll
talk it over with Dave."
"There's another mighty bright young fellow!" cried the editor.
"Now, why can't you get Darrin to go into it with you? I'll
pay Darrin for his time, too."
Dave, when the project was sprung on him, gave his hearty assent.
"It won't do any harm to have a try at it, anyway, Dick," urged
Darrin. "It'll wake us up a bit, too. Not that I've any real
and abiding idea that we're going to catch Mr. Burglar."
"If we're in earnest we're going to catch him," declared Prescott.
"That's the old Gridley High School way, you know. What well
start on we've got to put through."
Night after night, in that cold January week, Dick and Dave slipped
out late at night, and prowled about through the business district
of Gridley. Very often the chums ran across the police, but both
were known well to the police, and were not challenged. Indeed,
the police soon learned that Dick and Dave were employed by "The
Blade" for the purpose of assisting in the efforts to capture
the mysterious burglar or burglars.
In that week two more "breaks" happened, and each time the thief
or thieves got away with valuable booty.
"You youngsters don't seem to be having any luck," remarked Editor
Pollock. "But keep on the case a little longer. I know you'll
land something sooner or later. Keep ahead, just as if you had
to score a touchdown before the half was over."
So for two nights Dick and Dave kept out, with equally bad luck.
One night at eleven o'clock Dick answered the home telephone.
He listened in amazement, then tried to find out who his informant
was, but the latter rang off promptly.
"I believe that is straight," muttered Dick. "At all events,
I'll look into this game for all it's worth. What if we are about
to catch the thief red-handed?"
Snatching up a heavy walking stick, Dick Prescott hurriedly quitted
The Plight of the Innocent
If the information that had come over the wire from an unknown
was correct there was not a moment to be lost in telephoning.
It was a masculine voice that had sounded in the 'phone and the
message was to the effect that the sender of the message had just
observed two men forcing the rear entrance of Kahn's drygoods
"And hearing that 'The Blade' is trying to catch the burglars
I thought I'd just let you know," the voice had continued. "But
I guess you'll have to be quick if you want a sight of the burglars.
They'll probably get away in quick order."
Then had come the ring-off, just as Dick had tried to get the
name of his informant.
Now Dick was sprinting toward the scene by the shortest route
that he could think of.
Kahn's store was on Main Street, but the rear entrance, used for
the receipt of goods opened in off an alleyway that ran parallel
with Main Street.
"There can't be much time to spare," muttered Dick, looking hard
for a policeman.
At this late hour of the night the streets that Dick traveled
in his haste were bare of pedestrians.
"I wish I had had time to get Dave," though Prescott. "But that
would have lost at least five minutes more. And Dave wasn't going
to be ready to go out until he came around for me nearer midnight."
Dick was at the head of the alley, now, an moving cautiously,
eyes wide open and ears on the alert.
How dark it was down in here! Dick wondered, a moment, at the
keenness of vision that had enabled some neighbor to see what
was going on over in this dark place.
In his pocket, at the time of receiving the message, Prescott
had placed a pocket electric "search-light."
This he thought of, now, but he did not deem it wise to go flashing
the light about unless he had to.
"The first point in my information is right, anyway," muttered
Dick. "The rear door of Kahn's is open."
Moving in the shadow of the building, he had paused not far away
from the door in question.
"There were two of the fellows, the message said," muttered Dick.
"In that case, I should think one would have been left outside as
a lookout. However, the lookout may be just a little way inside
of the door. It won't do to use my light now. I'll see if I can
slip in and get close to the lookout before the thieves know
there's anyone around."
A step at a time Prescott softly reached the open door. He paused,
"I don't hear a sound in there. I guess I'd better take a few
very soft steps inside, and see if I can discover where the rogues
are. That is, unless they have already bagged their booty, and
have gotten away again."
Just inside of the open door, Dick halted again. He listened,
but there was no sound.
"These scoundrels are surely the original mice for soft moving,"
muttered the boy grimly. "What part of the establishment can
they be in? Hadn't I better slip out and get the police? I can't
learn anything in here unless I use my light."
Yet Prescott didn't want to turn on that flare. The light was
much more likely to show him up to the burglars than to enable
him to find men who were not making a sound.
So Dick penetrated a little further, and a little further, listening.
As he moved he was obliged to grope his way.
At last, however, he found himself confused as to the points of
the compass. In this darkness, he was not even sure which was
the way out.
"I'll have to use the flash now," concluded Dick.
Taking the long tube from one of his pockets, he pressed the button
briefly, giving a flash that lasted barely a second.
"What was that?" muttered the boy, with a start, as the light
Clearly enough, now, he heard stealthy steps. He was almost certain,
too, that he distinguished the sound of low whispers.
"That flash has scared the rascals," throbbed Dick Prescott.
"Now, if I can only locate 'em, and get out first! I may succeed
in getting the police to the scene before both get away. One
of 'em, anyway, I ought to be able to floor with this heavy cane!"
Transferring the light to his left hand, Dick took a strong grip
of the cane. It did not eyed occur to him to be afraid in here.
He was trying to trap the burglars as a piece of enterprise for
"The Blade," and that was all he thought about.
Suddenly there was a more decided step in the darkness. It sounded,
too, right in advance of the boy who stood there guessing in the dark.
"Halt, where you are!" shouted Dick. "And throw up your hands
as high as you can, if you don't want to get drilled! Don't try
to use your weapons, for I have the drop!"
It was sheer bluff, for the only thing with which Prescott could
claim the drop was his cane.
Yet, in such circumstances, a bold front is half the battle.
Prescott bounded forward, boldly, at the same moment turning on
The next moment, though he held the light, the cane dropped from
his nerveless fingers.
"We've got you, Prescott!" roared a voice. "And you? Of all
the thundering big surprises. But we've got you! Stop all nonsense
and get in line to come along with us."
It was the chief of police, backed by three of his men, whom Dick
now faced. They had thrown their lights on, too, so that there
was now plenty of illumination.
Nor was this Chief Coy, one of Dick's old time friends, but Chief
Simmons, a new man appointed only a few months before.
Chief Simmons was almost frantically anxious to catch the burglar
or burglars, for their continued operations reflected upon his
abilities as the new police chief.
All in a flash young Prescott took in the horrifying idea that
Chief Simmons believed him to be the real burglar.
"But I-----" began Dick chokingly.
"Yes, you will!" retorted Chief Simmons. "You can't put up any
fight, and you can't make any denial."
"Take him, you men, and handcuff him." roared the chief. "Then
we'll go through the rest of the store, and see what we can learn."
Dick drew back, with a shudder, as two of the officers came toward
him, intent on carrying out their chief's order.
"You'd better submit, Prescott," warned the chief sternly. "We're
not in a mood to stand any fooling."
"But won't you listen-----" began Dick, gasping.
"I'm not the trial judge," jeered Simmons. "Still, I'll listen
to you all you want, later in the night. Now, stand forward!"
Dick realized the folly and the uselessness of defying the police.
He moved nearer to the chief, as ordered. And Prescott began
to understand how black the whole affair looked for him.
But how had it happened?
He would have given worlds to know.
"Hold your hands forward, and together," commanded Chief Simmons.
Quivering, flushing with the shame of the thing, young Prescott
obeyed. The officer who fitted the handcuffs to the boy's wrists
felt ashamed of his work, for he had always been one of Dick's
The click of the steel ratchets brought Prescott back to a realization
"I'm not much of a catch, chief," muttered the boy. "You'd better
not be content with me alone. Leave me under watch and then the
rest of you had better spread through this place. I think there
are others here---the men you seek."
"You've confederates here, have you?" demanded Simmons, fixing
his suspicious gaze on the boy. "Judkins, you watch Prescott---and
mind you don't let him give you the slip. The rest of us will
keep on going through this store. You say you think there are
others here, Prescott?"
"I think so," replied the boy.
Chief Simmons raised his voice.
"If there's anyone here-----" he called.
"There is!" came back in a tone that made Dick Prescott start
and throb with alarm.
"Who---where---" asked Chief Simmons, excitedly.
"Right here!" came the voice. "Hold your lights on me!"
Two flash-lights at once centered their rays on the speaker, and
Dave Darrin bounded forward into the light.
"So you two have been working this thing as side partners, have
you?" asked Chief Simmons harshly. "Great Scott, how you've fooled
us, then! Like everyone else, we believed you two boys to be
straight. Tell me," commanded Simmons dryly, "is Editor Pollock
in this store-robbing gang, too?"
"Ask Mr. Pollock yourself," Dave flung back.
"I will, when I get time," retorted Simmons. "Grab Darrin and put
the irons on his wrists, too!"
Dave Gives Points to the Chief of Police
"You clumsy bungler!" spoke Dave Darrin hotly. "Chief, I demand
the right to speak to you for a moment."
"After you're ironed and taken to the station house," snapped
"Chief, you're not afraid to step aside with me and listen to
about ten words?" demanded Darrin scornfully. "And if you don't---if
you go on in your bull-headed way---you'll be the scorn of the
town by morning. Why don't you hear what I've got to say, instead
of letting precious seconds slip by. Come! Over this way!"
There was something so commanding in Darrin's voice and manner
that Simmons concluded to listen for a moment.
Keeping his flash-light turned on Darrin, the chief of police
followed Dave. Darrin whispered something in the big man's ear.
In another moment the two were whispering together animatedly.
"Why didn't you come to the point before, Darrin?" demanded the
"Great Scott, didn't I, as soon as I could postpone your mania
for having me loaded down with police chains?"
"Yet how do I know you're telling me anything like the truth?"
"If I'm lying, you can find it out very quickly, can't you?" demanded
Darrin. "But come along, or you'll be too late. Oh, why do all
the biggest slow pokes in creation get appointed to the police
"Come along with me, Delmar," ordered Chief Simmons, turning to
one of his policemen. "The rest of you stay here---though you
can pass on into the open air. Then wait there for us."
"Don't you waste any time on worry, Dick," Dave called back.
Prescott laughed easily. Whatever Dave had discovered, or thought
he had, Darrin's chum was quite content now to await the result
of all that enthusiasm.
"We must not make much noise," cautioned Darrin, as he led the
way swiftly, though on tiptoe. "We don't want to scare the other
people cold until we have them cooped so that they can't get away.
But you'd better be ready, in case they're desperate enough to
Up the street, to the head of another alley way, Darrin led the
"Now, softer than ever," he whispered, over his shoulder, without
A moment later Dave halted before two stone steps that led down
to a basement junk shop.
Just as he did so a low voice inside could be heard, saying in
barely audible tones:
"I'm so anxious to know whether Prescott fell into the trap that
I can hardly wait another minute."
"You'd better wait until morning, or you'll tumble into something
with your eyes shut, and that will mean both of us nabbed," growled
"Do you think they found Prescott---that they believed in the
appearances against him?"
"I can't say," came the other low voice. "And I can wait. I'm
not crazy on the subject, as you seem to be."
"Explain this all over again, to us, won't you?" shouted the chief,
pushing open the door of the junk shop and striding in, backed
by the light and the revolver of Officer Delmar.
"What?" screamed Phin Drayne, then sank to his knees in the extremity
of his terror.
"Don't either of you try to put up any fight," warned the chief.
"Delmar, here are my handcuffs to put with your own. Hand me
your light, and then iron both of these fellows securely."
The owner of the junk shop, a man under thirty, dirty and low
browed, stood cowering back against a bench. The fellow looked
as though he would have fought had there been any chance to draw
a weapon. But he was gazing straight into the muzzle of the police
An instant later both prisoners had been handcuffed, and a pistol
had been taken from the clothing of each. From the junkman,
too, had been taken a ring of keys.
"One of these fit your door?" demanded Simmons.
"Yes," growled the scowling one. "The long key."
"Bring the prisoners along, Delmar," ordered the chief. "I'll
lock up here. We'll come back later for a search."
Out on the sidewalk Phin Drayne plucked up courage enough to find
"For goodness' sake, let me go, Chief," he begged, falteringly.
"I haven't done anything, although things look against me."
"I guess we'll be able to put things enough against you," retorted
the police official mockingly.
"Think of my mother!" pleaded the wild boy. "Think of our family---one
of the most respectable in town. Think of-----"
"Oh, you're enough to make one tired," broke in Dave Darrin,
in deep disgust. "You thought of Dick Prescott when you put up
the job to have him arrested as a burglar, didn't you?"
"Why, what do you mean? I didn't do anything to Dick Prescott,"
shouted Drayne angrily, or affecting to be angry.
"Tell that to the marines," quoth Darrin contemptuously. "It
was through following on your trail, Drayne, that I discovered
the whole trick, and also knew just where to take the police to
An hour later Chief Simmons was well satisfied that he had laid
the burglar scare in Gridley.
Not that the new chief had had so very much to do with the result,
The first move had been to get back to the Kahn store, where Dick
Prescott was promptly freed, with the chief's hearty apologies.
Over at the police station, by separating Drayne from his accomplice,
Bill Stevens, the junkman, and questioning each separately, the
whole story had come out, chiefly through frenzied confessions.
Phin Drayne, loafing about town, and with his pocket money nearly
cut off by his father, had formed the acquaintance of Stevens,
who, besides being a junkman, was a very fair locksmith, though
about the latter trade he had never bragged publicly.
Drayne had been ripe for any move that would place him in more
funds. So, first of all, he and Stevens had entered the commercial
establishment of Drayne, senior. There, thanks to Phin's knowledge
of the premises, they had made a very good-sized "haul."
After that the pair had operated together frequently. Stevens'
junk shop had offered a handy pace in which to hide the plunder.
Then, as time went on, and Phin heard, by chance, that Dick and
Dave were trying to catch the burglars in behalf of "The Blade,",
a plan had occurred to Phin by which he might ruin Dick utterly
in the eyes of the community.
The whole plan had been carefully laid by Stevens and young Drayne.
On this night, just after Conklin's drug store had been closed
for the night, Stevens had slipped in a key that had opened a
side door for him. Then the door was left closed but unlocked.
At that hour of the night no one was likely to notice anyone
who went in or out at the side door. And Conklin's was equipped
with a public telephone.
Then down to the alleyway had stolen the evil pair. Kahn's rear
door had been opened with false keys and left ajar. Then Phin
Drayne stole back to the junk shop, while Stevens, whose voice
could not be recognized over the wire by Dick, sent the message.
Next, back to where he could watch the alleyway, hurried Stevens,
and hid. Stevens saw Dick Prescott slip into the alleyway, then
go inside the store. That was enough for Stevens, who had slipped
back and into the drug store once more, getting the police station
on the wire and 'phoning to the chief that Gridley's burglars
had just entered Kahn's through the rear door.
Only a block and a half from Kahn's was the police station. Almost
immediately the officers were on the spot, stalking---Dick Prescott.
But, at the time when Dick left his own home and went down the
street so hurriedly Dave Darrin had been sauntering along, to
call his chum out on their nightly quest for "The Blade."
Seeing Dick move so swiftly, Darrin concluded that something
most unusual was about to happen. So Dave trailed swiftly in
Thus it was that Darrin drew back just in time to see Bill Stevens
slipping away from a hiding place at the head of that alleyway.
"That does for Prescott," chuckled Stevens, half aloud.
"Oh, it does, does it?" silently murmured alert Dave, and now
he intently followed Stevens to the drug store, and thence back
to the junk shop. Dave's next swift move was to rush back to
Kahn's with the result already known.
"Well, did you think the folks of Gridley would continue to believe
such a charge against young Prescott?" demanded Chief Simmons
of the sneak.
"I knew some wouldn't, but I thought the whole affair would make
such a row that Prescott would never be quite able to hold up
his head in Gridley again," declared Drayne huskily. "But I thought
that it would stop his thinking of going to West Point, anyway."
"Instead of which," muttered Simmons dryly, "you'll get four
years---or more, Drayne at some place that won't be West Point."
"Oh, my father won't quite stand for that," returned Phin, a bit
more loftily. "He has money and some family pride."
"Money doesn't help much for confessed burglars," rejoined Chief
At that moment Heathcote Drayne, who had been roused out of bed
by a policeman, came in, so white faced that Dick and Dave felt
sorry indeed for the unhappy parent.
But Dick didn't remain to see the meeting between father and son.
Prescott and his chum hastened around to "The Blade" office.
Gladly enough would both boys have kept Phin's disgrace from
going before the public, but it was too big a story, locally,
and was bound to come out. So Dick wrote a straight account,
after which he and Dave hurried home to get the fag end of a night's
Gridley merchants lost but little, in the end, through the series
of burglaries. Most of the plunder was recovered at the junk
Bill Stevens was sent to prison for a term of eight years. Phin,
being only seventeen, was allowed to plead his youth. In his
case justice was satisfied with his commitment to a reform school
until he should be twenty-one years of age.
And so ended the story of the mysterious burglaries.
One evening about a week after these events Dick and Dave were
sitting in the former's room chatting, when Greg Holmes and Dan
Dalzell, apparently in great good humor, broke in upon them.
"When do you go to West Point, Dick?" queried Greg.
"I'm ordered to report to the adjutant there on the first of March,"
"Mind my running up there with you?" demanded Greg.
"Why, I'd be tickled to pieces, if you can afford the trip, Greg."
"Oh, I guess I can," laughed the other boy. "Dad is going to
pay my freight bill."
"See here, you fellows, you can't have been reading the newspapers
much, since you two were appointed," broke in Dan Dalzell.
"What have we missed?" challenged Dave.
"Why, didn't you know a thing about Senator Frayne and his
appointments?" went on Dan Dalzell. "The Senator doesn't appoint
from a single district. He appoints at large from the whole state.
Senator Frayne announced, a while ago, two appointments-at-large, one
for West Point, the other for Annapolis."
"And we went up to the state capital yesterday," rattled on Greg.
"We went through the examinations. The winners weren't named
until this morning. You'll find it in the evening papers, later
to-day. I go to West Point, and Dan goes to Annapolis."
"What?" yelled Dick, leaping as high as he could jump.
"Tell it to us again!" begged Darrin huskily.
"Oh, it's all a fact, straight and right enough," Greg assured
Then and there the four chums executed a war dance. It seemed
too wonderful to believe.
"But isn't Gridley the whole show?" demanded Dave presently.
"Four cadetships in the same year to one little city!"
"Well, we had to win 'em from other comers," retorted Greg. "And
none of us are out of the woods yet. We've got to pass at West
Point and at Annapolis.
"This is great!" quivered young Prescott. "But wouldn't it be
grand if only Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton had gotten in line,
too, and gone along into the service with us? Then all of the
old Dick & Co. would have been enrolled under the battle flag."
"But you know what Tom told us," put in Darrin. "He said he wouldn't
live at West Point, and he wouldn't be caught dead at Annapolis.
Tom is all for becoming a great civil engineer---a builder of
railroads and all that sort of thing."
"Well, Harry Hazelton is just as bad," said Greg. "He's all for
doing engineer stunts in the wilderness, too."
"Here they come now," announced Dan Dalzell.
Tom and Harry were heartily glad, of course, to hear of the luck
that had befallen Greg and Dan.
"We were just wishing that you two had fallen into the same kind
of luck, and that you were going into uniform with us," declared
Reade glared at Prescott.
"Humph!" muttered Tom. "I thought you were a friend of mine!"
"I judge it's a mighty good thing we don't all hunger for the
same careers," laughed Harry. "For instance, all young fellows
can't go into the United Service. There aren't jobs enough to
go around. The United States Army is just about big enough to
find with a good magnifying glass. As for the Navy-----"
"Be careful," warned Darrin touchily.
"As for the Navy," continued Hazelton, "Congress has a lot of
officers trained and then seems to think that one new battleship
every other year or so ought to keep the country patient."
"You fellows are going to be downright happy, I know," resumed
Tom. "But so are Harry and I. We finish out our High School
work, and then our chance is ahead of us."
"To _find_?" queried Dave.
"No, sir! We've _got_ it," retorted Tom. "It came to us only
recently, and Harry and I have been keeping a bit quiet, but now
it is time to tell the news---just in the circle of Dick & Co."
By dint of great hustling, and backed by recommendations from
the local civil engineer, Reade and Hazelton had secured a chance,
beginning in the coming July, to join as rodmen the engineering
party that was laying a new railroad over the Rockies, in Colorado.
Just before the first of March, Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes
slipped quietly away, and reported at West Point.
But what further happened to Dick and Greg---and there was a lot
of it---must be reserved for the volumes of the new West Point
The first volume will appear under the title, "_Dick Prescott's
First Year at West Point; Or, Two Chums in the Cadet Gray_."
Later on Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell left Gridley and home for
Annapolis. Their adventures will be followed up in the new Annapolis
The first volume in this series will be entitled: "_Dave Darrin's
First Year at Annapolis; Or, Two Plebes at the Naval Academy_."
Nor did Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton fail of some very extraordinary
adventures in their chosen career of engineering. Their career
led them into some of the wild spots of the earth. It will all
be told in the Young Engineer series.
The first volume in this series will appear shortly under the
caption: "_The Young Engineers in Colorado; Or, at Railroad Building
How about the other Gridley folks whose acquaintance has been
so enjoyable? Fred Ripley? Well, as to Fred---when we first
made his acquaintance, he was anything but an agreeable fellow,
but he learned his lesson in time, and, under the wholesome influence
of Dick & Co., but especially of Dick Prescott himself, Fred had
become a different boy. Such is the effect of good example.
As to the rest, many of them are bound to appear again, as we
follow the fortunes of our Gridley boys through the tales of West
Point, the annals of Annapolis and the doings of the Young Engineer
So here we will leave them all for the moment, soon to renew the
acquaintance of all who had any future share in the lives or thoughts
of the six splendid young Americans who were once known to their
classmates as Dick & Co.