Part 2 out of 4
"I know it, old fellow."
"It's queer that the question never came up before about the muckers,"
"We never had Dick & Co. in school athletics, until last year,"
replied Bayliss significantly.
"That fellow, Prescott, is about the worst-----"
Bert Dodge stopped right there. Bayliss, too, started and turned.
Around the nearest corner some folks were making a big noise. Then
around the corner came two autos, while a crowd raced along on the
"Hurrah! Mr. Dodge is found. Dick Prescott and Dave Darrin found
him!" shouted a score of urchins in the crowd.
Bert and Bayliss both gasped. Then the autos slowed up at the
curb before the gate. The police prisoners were still in the
Bert took a look, recognized his father, despite the strange look
in that parent's face.
"Help them bring my father in, Bayliss!" called young Dodge.
"I'll run to prepare the folks."
In another moment there was a turmoil of excitement inside the
Dodge house. While the excitement was still going on Bert came
out to inform the crowd that both his father and mother needed
quiet and medical attendance. Bert begged the crowd to go away
Dick and Dave were standing before the gateway way while Editor
Pollock answered some of the queries of the crowd.
"Great luck for you fellows, Prescott and Barren!" called some
one in the crowd. "You two will know what to do with a thousand
Bert Dodge wheeled about like a flash, and facing Dave and Dick,
"If that's what you two fellows are hanging around here for,
you'd better clear out! Take it from me that you fellows will
get no thousand dollars, or ten cents, out of our family!"
THE FOOTBALL NOTICE GOES UP
Mr. Pollock, usually a very calm man, wheeled upon young Dodge.
"My lad, when you find out what Prescott and Darrin have done in
the way of rescuing your father, you'll feel wholly ashamed of
yourself. I don't believe either young man has given a second
thought to the reward."
People in a crowd take sides quickly. Bert heard several muttered
remarks from the bystanders that made him flush. Then, choking
and angry, he turned and darted for the house.
By this time Mr. Pollock, Dick and Dave were speeding for "The Blade"
Already a run had started on the Second National Bank. A crowd
filled the counting room and extended out onto the sidewalk.
Their depositors, largely small business men and people who ran
private check accounts, were frightfully nervous about their money.
Up to noon the bank paid all demands, though the accounts were
adjusted slowly, while the crowd grew in numbers outside. At
noon the Second National availed itself of its privilege of closing
its doors promptly at that hour on Saturday.
Dick Prescott wrote with furious speed at "The Blade" office.
In another room Mr. Pollock wrote from the facts supplied by
Dave Darrin. In half an hour from the time these three entered
the office the "Extra" was out on the street---fifteen minutes
ahead of "The Mail," which latter newspaper contained very little
beyond the fact that Mr. Dodge had been found, and that he was
now under the care of his family. "The Mail" stated that the
discovery had been made by "two High School boys" aiding the police,
and did not name either Dick or Dave.
On Monday the bank examiner arrived. He made a quick inspection
of the bank's affairs, and pronounced the institution "sound."
The run on the bank stopped, and timid depositors began to bring
back their money. The members of the Dodge family could once
more hold up their heads.
In the meantime Dr. Bentley had called in a specialist. Together
the two medical men decided that Theodore Dodge had suffered only
from an extreme amount of overwork; that the strain had momentarily
unbalanced his mind, and had made the deranged man contemplate
By means of a modified form of the "third degree" Chief Coy, by
this time, had succeeded in making the two vagrants confess that
they had found Mr. Dodge, with his coat and hat off standing by
the bank of the stream. Guessing the banker's condition, and
learning his identity, the two men, though they did not confess
on this point, had evidently coaxed the banker away to their shanty
away off in the heart of the woods. Undoubtedly it had been their
plan to keep the banker under their own eyes, with a view of extorting
a reward from the missing man's family. The judge of the local
court finally decided to send both men away for six months on
a charge of vagrancy.
And here the matter seemed to end. Though Lawyer Ripley urged
the prompt payment of the offered reward to Prescott and Darrin,
Mrs. Dodge, influenced by her son, demurred. At Mr. Pollock's
suggestion Dick and Dave promptly drew up and signed a paper releasing
the Dodge family from any claim. This paper was also signed by
the fathers of the two boys, and forwarded to Lawyer Ripley.
That gentleman man returned the paper to Dick, with a statement
that he might have something to communicate at a later date.
Tuesday morning, with many secret misgivings, Coach Morton, who
was also one of the submasters of the High School, posted the
call for the football squad. The call was for three o'clock Thursday
afternoon, at the gym.
"Humph!" was the audible and only comment of Bayliss, as he stood
before the school bulletin board at recess and read the announcement.
"I guess the day for football here has gone by," observed Porter
"Of interest to ragamuffins only," sneered Paulson, as he turned
away to join Fremont of the senior class.
"Listen to the wild enthusiasm over upholding the school's honor
in athletics," muttered Dave, scowling darkly.
"We knew it was coming," declared Tom Reade.
Abner Cantwell was still principal at Gridley High School, though
that violent-tempered and unpopular pedagogue had been engaged,
this year, only as "substitute" principal. There were rumors
that Dr. Thornton, the former and much-loved principal, would
soon be in sufficiently good health to return. So the Board of
Education had left the way clear for dropping Mr. Cantwell at
any moment that it might see fit.
Dick & Co. had gathered by themselves on this Tuesday, at recess.
They did not discuss the football call, nor its reception by
the "soreheads," for they had known what was coming. Just before
recess was over, however, there were sudden sounds of a riot around
the bulletin board.
"Tear that down!"
"Throw 'em out!"
"The mean cheats!"
There was a surging rush of High School boys for the bulletin
Bayliss and Fremont, both of the senior class, who had just posted
a new notice, were now trying to push their way through an angry
crowd of youngsters that had collected.
"They're no good!"
"A disgrace to the school!"
"Send 'em to Coventry!"
"No! Handle 'em right now!"
There was another rush.
"Get back, you hoodlums!" yelled Bayliss, his face violet with
"I'll crack the head of any fellow that lays hands on me!" stormed
"Oh, will he? Come on, then, fellows!"
Fremont was caught up as though by a cyclone. Two or three fellows
seized him at a time, passing him down the corridor. The last
to receive the hapless Fremont propelled him through the main
doorway of the school building. Nor was this done with any gentle
Bayliss, not attempting to fight, was simply hustled along on
Out of one of the rooms near by rushed Mr. Cantwell, the principal---or
"Prin." as he was known, his face white with the anger that he
felt over what he regarded as a most unseemly disturbance.
"Stop this riot, young gentlemen!" commanded the principal sternly.
"Send in the riot call, like you did last year!" piped up a disguised,
thin, falsetto voice from the outskirts of the rapidly growing
crowd. Quite a lot of the girls had gathered, too, by this time.
The principal turned around, sharply, as some of the girls began
to giggle. But Mr. Cantwell was unable to detect the one who
had thus taunted him.
Coach Morton peered over the railing of the floor above.
"Mr. Morton!" called the principal.
"Sound the assembling gong, if you please."
Clang! clang! clang!
The din of the gong cut their recess four minutes short, but not
one of the excited High School boys regretted it. They had had
a chance to express themselves, and now fell in, filing down to
the locker rooms, then up the stairs once more to the assembly
room. Bayliss and Fremont came in, joining the others. They
were white-faced, but strove to carry their heads very high.
The sounding of the gong had stopped the circulating of the paper
that had been so angrily torn down from the bulletin board. It
was in Dick Prescott's hands now.
The notice had announced the formation of a "select" party for
a straw ride for the young men and young women of the junior and
senior classes on Thursday afternoon, starting at two-thirty o'clock.
Invitations would be issued by the committee, after requests
for tickets had been passed upon by that committee. Bayliss,
Fremont and Paulson signed the notice of the straw ride.
This was the means by which the "soreheads" chose to announce
that they would ignore the football squad call for Thursday.
Wisely, for once, the principal did not choose to question the
young men regarding the excitement attending the close of recess.
Studies and recitations went on as usual.
But feeling ran high. The "soreheads" and their sympathizers
were known, by this time, to all the other young men of the student
body. During the rest of the day's session many a "sorehead"
found himself being regarded with black or sneering looks.
Of course the self-elected "exclusive" set was not numerously
represented in the High School. Most of the boys and girls did
not come from well-to-do families. Some who did had refused to
have anything to do with the "sorehead" crowd.
The instant that school was dismissed that Tuesday afternoon scores
of the more boisterous boys rushed from the building, across the
yard, and double-lined the sidewalk leading from the gateway.
"Ugh! ugh! ugh!" they groaned, whenever any of the "soreheads"
tried to walk this gauntlet in dignified silence.
"Let's keep out of that, fellows," advised Dick, to his chums,
who grouped themselves about him. "Groans and catcalls won't
smooth or soothe any hard-feelings."
"I don't blame any of the fellows for what they're doing to the
snobs," blazed Dan Dalzell indignantly.
"I don't say that I do, either," Dick replied quietly. "But there
may be better ways of teaching fellows that they should stand
by their school at all times."
"I'd like to know a better way, then," flared Tom Reade.
"Let's have it, instanter, Dick, if you've got one," begged Greg
"Yes; out with it, old chap," begged Harry Hazelton.
But Dick Prescott smiled provokingly.
"Perhaps, with the help of some of the rest of you," he replied,
"I shall be able to find a way of cooling some hot heads. I hope
"Dick has his plan all fixed, now," Dan whispered, hopefully,
"If he has," quoth Reade, under his breath, I wish he'd tell us
"Humph!" retorted Dan. "You know Dick Prescott, and you know
that he never shoots until he has taken time to aim."
DICK FIRES BOTH BARRELS
"Oh---great Scott!" gasped Tom Reade, as he paused at an item in
"The Blade" the following morning.
That item had been written by Prescott. There could be no doubt
about it in Reade's mind.
"What's the matter?" asked Tom's father.
"Oh, Dick has been paying his respects to a certain clique in
the High School, I take it," Tom replied, with a grin. "I heard,
yesterday, that he was going to shoot into that crowd. But---and
here's a short editorial on the same subject, too. Wow! Dick
has fired into the enemy with both barrels!"
A moment later Tom passed the paper over to his father. Dick's
_There is a possibility that Gridley High School will not be in
the front ranks in football this year. Those who know state that
a "sorehead" combination has been formed by the young male representatives
of some of our wealthier families. These young men, having elected
themselves, so it is said, the salt of the earth, or the cream
of a new Gridley aristocracy, are going to refuse to play in the
football eleven this year.
Even young men who belong to "prominent" families may have some
gifts in the way of football ability. Three or four out of the
dozen or more "soreheads" are really needed if Gridley High School
is to maintain its standing this year. The remainder of the
"soreheads" may, with advantage to the High School eleven, be
excused from offering themselves.
The "soreheads," it is stated, feel that it would be beneath the
dignity of their families for them to play on an eleven which
must, in any event, be recruited largely from the sons of the
Gridley families less fortunately situated financially.
Strangely enough, though they don't intend to play football this
year, these "soreheads" have been training hard of late, one of
their practices being the taking of an early morning cross-country
The average young man at the High School is as eager as ever to
uphold the town's and the school's honor and dignity on the football
gridiron this year. Whether the so-called "soreheads" will reconsider
their proposed course of action and throw themselves in with the
common lot for the upholding of the Gridley name and the honor
of the High School will have been determined within the next few
days. It is possible, however, that this little coterie of self-appointed
"exclusives" will continue to refuse to cast their lot with the
commoner run of High School boys, to whom some of the "soreheads"
have referred as "muckers." A Gridley "mucker," it may be stated
in passing, is a Gridley boy of poor parents who desires to obtain
a decent education and better himself in life._
"Is that article true?" demanded Tom Reade's father.
"Yes, sir," Tom responded. "Dick wouldn't have written it, if
it hadn't been. But turn over to the editorial column, and see
that other little bit."
The editorial in question referred to the news printed in another
column, and stated that this information, if correct, showed a
state of affairs at the High School that needed bettering. The
_If there are in the High School any young snobs who display such
a mean and un-American spirit, then the thoughtful reader must
conclude that these young men are being unjustly educated at the
public expense, for such boys are certain to grow into men who
will turn nothing of value back into the community. Such young
men, if they really need to study, should be educated at the expense
of their families. Both the High School and the community can
easily dispense with the presence of snobs and snobbery._
"I guess there'll be some real soreness in some heads this morning,"
laughed Tom's father.
"Won't there!" ejaculated Tom, and hurried out into the street.
It did not take him long to find some of his chums and other
High School boys. Those who had not seen "The Blade" read the
two marked portions eagerly.
Bert Dodge had "The Blade" placed before him by his sister. Bert
read with reddening cheeks.
"That's what comes of letting a fellow like Dick Prescott write
for the papers," Bert stormed angrily. "That fellow ought to
be tarred and feathered!"
"Why don't you suggest it to the 'soreheads'?" asked his sister,
quizzically. Grace Dodge was an amiable, democratic, capable
girl who had gone through college with honors, and yet had not
gained a false impression of the importance conferred by a little
"Grace, I believe you're laughing at me!" dared the young man
"No; I'm not laughing. I'm sorry," sighed the young woman. "But
I can imagine that a good many are laughing, this morning, and
that the number will grow. Bert, dear, do you think any young
man can hope to be very highly esteemed when he sets his own importance
above the good name and success of his school?"
Bert did not answer, but quit the house moodily. He encountered
some of "his own set," but they were not a very cheerful-looking
lot that morning. Not one of the "soreheads" could escape the
conviction that Dick Prescott held the whip hand of public opinion
over them. What none of them appreciated, was the moderation
with which young Prescott had wielded his weapon.
Dodge, Bayliss, Paulson and Hudson entered the High School grounds
together, that morning, ten minutes before opening time. As the
quartette passed, several of the little groups of fellow students
ceased their talk and turned away from the four "soreheads."
Then, after the quartette had passed, quiet little laughs were
All four mounted the steps of the building with heightening color.
Before the door, talking together, stood Fred Ripley and Purcell,
whom the "soreheads" had endeavored to enlist.
"Good morning, Purcell. Morning, Ripley," greeted Bayliss.
Fred and Purcell wheeled about, turning their backs without answering.
Once inside the building the four young fellows looked at each
"Are the fellows trying to send us to coventry?" demanded Dodge.
"Oh, well," muttered Bayliss, "there are enough of us. We can
Yet, at recess, the "soreheads" found themselves extremely uncomfortable.
None of their fellow-students, among the boys, would notice them.
Whenever some of the "soreheads" passed a knot of other boys,
low-toned laughs followed. Even many of the girls, it proved,
had taken up with the Coventry idea.
"Fellows, come to my place after you've had your luncheons," Bayliss
whispered around among his cronies, after school was out for the
day. "I---I guess there are a---a few things that we want to
talk over among ourselves. So come over, and we'll use the carriage
house for a meeting place. Maybe we'll organize a club among
ourselves, or---or---do something that shall shut us out and away
from the common herd of this school."
When the dozen or more met in the Bayliss carriage house that
afternoon there were some defiant looks, and some anxious ones.
"I don't know how you fellows feel about this business," began
Hudson frankly. "But I've had a pretty hot grilling at home by
Dad. He asked me if I belonged to the 'sorehead' gang. I answered
as evasively as I could. Then dad brought his list down on the
table and told me he prayed that I wouldn't go through life with
any false notions about my personal dimensions. He told me, rather
explosively, that I would never be a bit bigger, in anyone's estimation
than I proved myself to be."
"Hot, was he?" asked Bayliss, with a half sneer.
"He started out that way," replied Hudson. "But pretty soon Dad
became dignified, and asked me where I had ever gotten the notion
that I amounted to any more than any other fellow of the same
"What did you tell him? asked Bert Dodge, frowning.
"I couldn't tell him much," retorted Hudson, smiling wearily.
"Dad was primed to do most of the talking. When he stopped for
breath mother began."
"It's all that confounded Dick Prescott's doings! It's a shame!
It's a piece of anarchy---that's what it is!" muttered Paulson.
"On my way here I passed three men on the street. They looked
at me pretty hard, and laughed after I had gone by. Fellows,
are we going to allow that mucker, Dick Prescott, to make us
by-words in this town?"
"No siree, no!" roared Fremont.
"Good! That's what I like to hear," put in Hudson dryly. "And
what are we going to do to stop Dick Prescott and turn public
opinion our ways"
"The way to-----"
Several spoke at once, then all came to a full stop. The "soreheads"
looked at each other in puzzled silence.
"What are we going to do?" demanded Fremont. "How are we going
to hit back at a fellow who has a newspaper that he can use as
a club on your head?"
"We might have a piece put in 'The Evening Mail,'" hinted Porter,
after a dazed silence. "That's the rival paper."
"Yes!" chimed in Bayliss, eagerly. "We can write a piece and
get it put in 'The Mail.' Our piece can say that there has been
a tendency, this year, or was believed to be one, to get a rowdyish
element of the High School into the High School eleven, and that
our move was really a move intended to sustain the past reputation
of the Gridley High School for gentlemanly playing in all school
sports. That will hit Dick & Co., and a lot of others, and will
turn the laugh back on the muckers."
This proposition brought forth several eager cries of approval.
"I see just one flaw in the plan," observed Hudson slowly.
"What is it?" demanded half a dozen at once.
"Why, 'The Evening Mail' is a paper designed to appeal to the more
rowdyish element in Gridley politics. 'The Mail's' circulation is
about all among the class of people who come nearest to being
'rowdyish.' So I'm pretty certain, fellows, that 'The Mail' wouldn't
take up our cause, and hammer our enemies with the word 'rowdy.' 'The
Blade' is the paper that circulates among the best people in Gridley."
"And Dick Prescott writes for 'The Blade'!"
A gloomy silence followed, broken by Bayliss's disconsolate query:
"Then, hang it! What can we do?"
And that query stuck hard!
BAYLISS GETS SOME ADVICE
On that fateful Thursday morning every High School boy, and nearly
every High School girl saw "The Blade."
The morning paper, however, contained no allusion whatever to
the football remarks of the day before.
Instead, there was an article descriptive of the changes to be
made out at the High School athletic field this present year,
and there were points and "dope" (as the sporting parlance phrases
it) concerning the records and rumored new players of other High
School elevens that were anxious to meet Gridley on the gridiron
this coming season.
Thursday's article was just the kind of a one that was calculated
to make every football enthusiast eager to see the season open
in full swing.
Again the "soreheads" came to school, and once more they had to
pass the silent groups of their fellow students, who stood with
heads turned away. The reign of Coventry seemed complete. Never
before had any of the "soreheads" understood so thoroughly the
meaning of loneliness.
At recess all the talk was of football. None of this talk, however,
was heard by the "soreheads." Whenever any of these went near
the other groups the talk ceased instantly. There was no comfort
in the yard, that morning, for a "sorehead."
When school let out that afternoon, at one o'clock, Bayliss, Fremont,
Dodge and their kind scurried off fast. No one offered to stop
them. These "exclusive" young men could not get away from the
fact that exclusion was freely accorded them.
Fred Ripley, as had been his wont in other years when he was a
freshman, walked homeward with Clara Deane.
"Fred, you haven't got yourself mixed up at all with that 'sorehead'
crowd, have you?" Miss Deane asked.
"Not much!" replied Fred, with emphasis. "I want to play football
"Will all the 'soreheads' be kept out of the eleven, even if they
come to their senses?" Clara inquired.
"Now, really, you'll have to ask me an easier one than that,"
replied Fred Ripley laughingly.
"I had an idea that all of the fellows whose families are rather
comfortably well off might be in the movement---or the strike or
whatever you call it," Clara replied.
"Oh, no; there's a lot of us who haven't gone in with the kickers---and
glad we are of it," Fred replied.
"Still, don't you believe in any importance attaching to the fact
that one comes of one of the rather good old families?" asked
Clara Deane thoughtfully.
"Why, of course, it's something to be quietly proud of," Fred
slowly assented. Then added, with a quick laugh:
"But the events of the last two days show that one should keep
his pride buttoned in behind his vest."
As for the "soreheads" themselves, there weren't any more meetings.
As soon as they actually began to realize how much amused contempt
many of the Gridley, people felt for them, these young men began
to feel rather disgusted with themselves.
Across the street, and not far from the gymnasium building, was
an apartment house in which two apartments were vacant. Being
well acquainted with the agent, Bayliss borrowed the key to one
of the apartments. Before half past two that afternoon, Bayliss
and Dodge were in hiding, where they could look out through a
movable shutter at the gymnasium building.
"There go Prescott, Darrin and Reade," Bayliss soon reported.
"Oh, of course; they'll answer the football call," sniffed Dodge.
"It was over fellows just like them that the whole trouble started."
"And there's Dalzell, Hazelton and Hanshew. Griffith is just
"Yes; all muckers," nodded Dodge.
"There's Coach Morton."
"Of course; he has to attend," replied Dodge, coming toward the
shuttered window. "But I'll wager old Morton isn't feeling over-happy
"I don't know," grumbled Bayliss. "There he is at the gym. door,
shaking hands with Dick Prescott and Dave Darrin, and laughing
"Laughing to keep his courage up, I reckon," clicked Bert Dodge
dryly. "Morton knows he's going to miss a lot of faces that he'd
like to see there this year."
Then Dodge took up post at the peephole, while Bayliss stepped
Several more football aspirants neared and entered the gym. The
name of each was called off by Bert.
"This is the first year," chuckled Bayliss, "when Gridley hasn't
had a chance for a star eleven."
"I'll miss the game, myself, like fury," commented Dodge. "All
through last season, when I played on the second eleven, I was
looking forward to this year."
"Now, don't you go to getting that streak, and quit us," warned
Bayliss quickly. "Our set is going to get up its own eleven;
don't forget that! And we're going to play some famous games."
"Sure!" admitted Dodge. But there was a choke in his throat.
Just a few moments later Bert Dodge gave a violent start, then
cried out, in a voice husky with emotion:
"Oh, I say, Bayliss, look-----"
"What about him?"
"Well, you ninny,"
"Hudson is going in the-----"
With a cry partly of doubting, partly of rage, Bayliss leaped
forward, crowding out Dodge in order to get a better view.
Hudson was actually ascending the gym. steps, and going up as
though he meant business.
"He's gone over to---to---them!" gasped Bert Dodge.
"The mean _traitor_!" hissed Bayliss.
Hudson did, indeed, brave it out by going straight on into the
gym. As he entered some of the fellows already there glared at
him dubiously. But Hudson met the look bravely.
"Hullo!" cried Dick. "There's Hudson!"
Coach Morton heard, from another part of the gym. Turning around,
the coach greeted tile reformed 'sorehead' with a nod and a smile.
Then some of the fellows spoke to Hudson as that young man moved
by them. In a few moments more, Hudson began to feel almost
at home among his own High School comrades.
Then Drayne, another 'sorehead,' showed up. He, too, was treated
as though nothing had happened. When Trenholm, still another
of the "soreheads," looked in at the gym., he appeared very close
to being afraid. When he saw Hudson and Drayne there he hastened
forward. By and by Grayson came in. At the window across the
street Bayliss and Dodge had checked off all four of these "deserters"
"Well, they'll play, anyway---either on school or on second,"
muttered Bert, to himself. "Oh, dear! Just think the way things
have turned out."
These four deserters from the "soreheads" were all out of that
very select crowd who did respond to the football call.
Promptly at three o'clock Coach Morton called for order. Then,
after a very few remarks, he called for the names of all who intended
to enter the football training squad for this season.
"And let every fellow who thinks he's lazy, or who doesn't like
to train hard and obey promptly, keep his name off the list,"
warned the coach dryly. "I've come to the conclusion that what
we need in this squad is Army discipline. We're going to have
it this year! Now, young gentlemen, come along with your
names---those of you who really believe you can stand Spartan
"I think I might draw the line at having the fox---or was it a
wolf---gnawing at my entrails, as one Spartan had to take it,"
laughed one youngster.
"Guess again, or you'd better stay off the squad this year," laughed
the coach. "This is going to be a genuinely rough season for
There was a quick making up of the roll.
"Tomorrow afternoon, at three sharp, you'll all report on the
athletic field," announced Coach Morton, when he had finished
writing down the names. "Any man who fails to show up tomorrow
afternoon will have his name promptly expunged from the squad
rolls. No excuses will be accepted for failure tomorrow."
There was a crispness about that which some of the fellows didn't
"Won't a doctor's certificate of illness go?" asked one fellow
"It will go---not," retorted coach. "Pill-takers and fellows
liable to chills aren't wanted on this year's team, anyway. Now,
young gentlemen, I'm going to give you a brief talk on the general
art of taking care of yourselves, and the art of keeping yourselves
The talk that followed seemed to Dick Prescott very much like
a repetition of what Coach Luce had said to them the winter before,
at the commencement of indoor training for baseball.
As he finished talking on health and condition Mr. Morton drew
from one of his pockets a bunch of folded papers.
"I am now," he continued, "going to present to each one of you
a set of rules, principles, guides---call them what you will.
On this paper each one of you will find laid down rules that
should be burned into the memories of all young men who aspire
to play football. Do not lose your copies of these rules. Read
the rules over again and again. Memorize them! Above all, put
every rule into absolute practice."
Then, at a sign, the young men passed before the coach to receive
their printed instructions.
"Something new you've gotten up, Mr. Morton?" inquired one of
"No," the coach admitted promptly. "These rules aren't original
with me. I ran across 'em, and I've had them printed, by authority
from the Athletics Committee. I wish I had thought up a set of
rules as good."
As fast as they received their copies each member of the squad
darted away to read the rules through. This is what each man
found on the printed sheet:
_"1. Work hard and be alive.
2. Work hard and learn the rules.
3. Work hard and learn the signals.
4. Work hard and keep on the jump.
5. Work hard and have a nose for the ball.
6. Work hard all the time. Be on speaking terms with the ball
7. Work hard and control your temper and tongue.
8. Work hard and don't quit when you're tackled. Hang onto the ball.
9. Work hard and get your man before he gets started. Get him
before the going gets good.
10. Work hard and keep your speed. If you're falling behind
your condition is to blame.
11. Work hard and be on the job all the time, a little faster, a
little sandier, a little more rugged than the day before.
12. Work hard and keep your eyes and ears open and your head up.
13. Work hard and pull alone the man with the ball. This isn't a
game of solitaire.
14. Work hard and be on time at practice every day. Train faithfully.
Get your lessons. Aim to do your part and to make yourself a
perfect part of the machine. Be a gentleman. If the combination
is too much for you, turn in your togs and call around during
"What do you think of that, as expounding the law of football?"
smiled coach, looking down over Dave Darrin's shoulder.
"It doesn't take long to read, Mr. Morton And it ought not to
take long to memorize these fourteen rules. But to live them,
through and through, and up and down---that's going to take a
lot of thought and attention."
To the four ex-"soreheads" not a word had been said about the
late unpleasantness, nor was this quartette any longer in Coventry.
Trenholm, Grayson, Drayne and Hudson were the four best football
men of the Bayliss-Dodge faction. Now that they were to play
with the High School eleven all concerned felt wholly relieved.
As the young men were leaving the gym. that afternoon Coach Morton
found a chance to grip Dick's arm and to whisper lightly in his
"Thank you, Prescott."
"For what, Mr. Morton."
"Why, for what you managed to do to hold the school eleven together.
That was clever newspaper work, Prescott. And it has helped
the school a lot. I'm no longer uneasy about Gridley High School
on the gridiron for this season. We'll have a team now!"
With a confident nod the coach strolled away.
As the gym. doors were thrown open the members of the new football
squad rushed out with joyous whoops. Some of the more mischievous
or spirited actually tackled unsuspicious comrades, toppling their
victims over to the ground. That line of tactics resulted in
many a "chase" that brought out some remarkably good sprinting
talent. Thus the squad dissipated itself like the mist, and soon
the grounds near the school were deserted.
Bayliss and Bert Dodge went away to nurse a grievance that nothing
seemed to cure.
For these two, now that their strong line of resistance had been
broken, found themselves secretly longing, as had the four deserters,
for a place in the football squad.
Bert Dodge sulked along to school, alone that Friday morning.
Bayliss, however, after a night of wakefulness, had decided to
So, as Dick, Dave and Greg Holmes were strolling along schoolward,
Bayliss overhauled them.
"Good morning, fellows," he called, briskly, with an offhand attempt
All three of the chums looked up at him, then glanced away again.
"Oh, I say, now, don't keep it up," coaxed Bayliss. "We High
School fellows all want to be decent enough friends. And how's
the football? I don't suppose the squad is full yet. I---I half
believe I may join and take a little practice."
"Thinking of it?" asked Dick, looking up coolly.
"Yes---really," replied Bayliss.
"See the coach, then; he's running the squad."
"Yes; I guess I will, thanks. Good morning!"
Bayliss sauntered along, blithely whistling a tune. He knew Coach
Morton would give him the glad hand of welcome for the squad and
"Oh, Mr. Morton," was Bayliss's greeting, as he encountered the
coach near the school building steps.
"Yes?" asked the submaster pleasantly.
"I---I---er---I didn't make the meeting yesterday afternoon, but
I guess you might put my name down for the squad."
"Isn't this a bit late, Bayliss?" asked the submaster, eyeing
the youth keenly.
"Perhaps, a bit," assented the confident young man. "However-----"
"At its meeting, last night, Mr. Bayliss, the Athletics Committee
of the Alumni Association advised me to consider the squad list
"Closed?" stammered Bayliss, turning several shades in succession.
"Closed? Do---do you mean-----"
"No more additions will be made to the squad this year," replied
the coach quietly, then going inside.
Bayliss stood on the steps, a picture of humiliation and amazement.
"Fellows," gasped Bayliss, as Prescott and his two chums came
along, "did you hear that? Football list closed?"
"Want some advice?" asked Dick, halting for an instant.
"Yes," begged Bayliss.
"Never kick a sore toe against a stone wall," quoth Dick Prescott,
and passed on into the school building.
TWO GIRLS TURN THE LAUGH
By this time training was going on briskly. Four days out of
every week the squad had to practice for two hours at the athletic
There were tours of work in the gym., too.
Besides, it was "early to bed and early to rise" for all members
of the squad.
Even those who hoped only to "make second" were under strict orders
to let nothing interfere with their condition.
Three mornings in the week Coach Morton met all squad men for
either cross-country work or special work in sprinting. And this
was before breakfast, when each man was on honor pledged to take
only a pint of hot water---nothing more---before reporting.
On the other mornings, football aspirants were pledged to run
without the coach.
Yet, with all this, studies had to be kept up to a high average,
for no man on the "unset" list could hope to be permitted to play
Hard work? Yes. But discipline, above all. And discipline is
priceless to the young man who really hopes to get ahead in life!
"You're not playing fair," Dave cried reproachfully to his chum
"Why not?" Prescott questioned mildly.
"You're using hair tonic!" Darrin asserted, with mock seriousness,
as he gazed at Dick's bushy mop of football hair. "You're growing
a regular chrysanthemum for a top piece to your head."
"Oh, my hair, eh?" smiled Dick. "Why, you can have as fine a
lot of hair if you want to take the trouble."
"Don't I want it, though?" retorted Darrin. "What kind of tonic
do you use?"
"Grease," smiled Prescott.
"Nothing but grease?"
"What kind of grease?"
"Now, stop your joshing," ordered Dave promptly. "No kind of
muscular work is going to bring out a fuzzy rug like that on anyone's
"But that's just how I do it," Dick insisted. "Not a bit hard,
either. See here! Just use your finger tips, briskly, like this,
and stir your whole scalp up with a brisk massage."
"How long do you keep it up?" demanded Dave, after following suit
for some time.
"Oh, about ninety seconds, I guess," nodded Prescott. "You want
to do it eight times a day, and wash your head weekly, though
with bland soap and not too much of it."
"Is that honestly all you do to get a Siberian fur wig such as
"That's all I do," replied Dick. "Except---yes; there's one
thing more. Go out of doors all you can without a hat."
"The active curry-comb and the vanished hat for mine, then," muttered
Dave, with another envious look at Dick's bushy hair.
Nor did Dave rest until the other chums all had the secret. By
the time that the football season opened Dick & Co. were the envy
of the school for their heavy heads of hair.
With all the hard work of training, Coach Morton did not intend
that the young men should be so busy as to have no time for recreation.
He understood thoroughly the value of the lighter, happier moments
in keeping an athlete's nervous system up to concert pitch.
Though the baseball training of the preceding spring had been
"stiff" enough, Dick & Co. soon found that the football training
was altogether more rugged.
In fact, Coach Morton, with the aid of Dr. Bentley as medical
director, weeded out a few of the young men after training had
been going on for a fortnight. Some failed to show sufficient
reserve "wind" after running. A few other defectives proved not
to have hearts strong enough for the grilling work of the gridiron.
All the members of Dick & Co., however, managed to keep in the
squad. In fact, hints soon began to go around, mysteriously,
that Dick & Co. were having the benefit of some outside training.
Purcell came to young Prescott and asked him frankly about this
"Nothing in it," Dick replied promptly. "We're having just the
same training as the rest of the boys. But I'll tell you a secret."
"Go on!" begged Purcell eagerly.
"You know the training rules---early retiring and all?"
"Yes; of course."
"Well, we fellows are sticking to orders like leeches. Every
night, to the minute, we're in bed. We make a long night's sleep
of it. Then, besides, we don't slight a single particle of the
training work that we're told to do by ourselves. We've agreed
on that, and have promised each other. Now, do you suppose all
the fellows are sticking quite as closely to coach's orders?"
"I---I---well, perhaps they're not," agreed Purcell.
"Are you?" insisted Dick.
"In the _main_, I do."
"Oh," observed Prescott, with mild sarcasm. "'In the main'!
Now, see here, Purcell, we High School fellows are fortunate in
having one of the very best coaches that ever a High School squad
did have. Mr. Morton knows what he's doing. He knows how to
bring out condition, and how to teach the game. He lays down
the rules that furnish the sole means of success at football.
And you---one of our most valuable fellows---are following some
of his instructions---when they don't conflict with your comfort
or with your own ideas about training. Now, honestly, what do
you know about training that is better than Coach Morton's information
on that very important subjects"
"Oh, come, now; you're a little bit too hard, Prescott," argued
Purcell. "I do about everything just as I'm told."
"You admit Mr. Morton's ability, don't you?"
"Yes, of course."
"Then why don't you stick to every single rule that's laid down
by a man who knows what he is doing? It will be better for your
condition, won't it, Purcell?"
"Yes, without a doubt."
"And what is better for you is better for the team and for the
school, isn't its"
"By Jove, Prescott, you're a stickler for duty, aren't you?" cried
He spoke in a louder tone this time. Two girls who were passing
the street corner where the young men stood heard the query and
glanced over with interest.
Neither young man perceived the girls at that moment.
"Why, yes," Prescott answered slowly. "Duty is the main thing
there is about life, isn't it?"
"Right again," laughed Purcell.
One of the girls looked swiftly at the other. They were Laura
Bentley and Belle Meade, friends of Dick's and Dave's, and also
members of the junior class.
"Well, I'm going to take a leaf out of your book," pursued Purcell.
"I'm really as anxious to see Gridley High School always on top
as you or any other fellow can be."
"Of course you are," nodded Dick. "The way you put our baseball
team through last season proves that."
"I'm going to be a martinet for training, hereafter," Purcell
declared earnestly. "I'm going to be a worse stickler than old
coach himself. And I'm going to exercise my right as a senior
to watch the other fellows and hold their noses to the training
"Then I'm not worried about Gridley having a winning team this
year," Dick answered.
"By Jove, you had a lot to do with that, too, didn't you, Prescott?"
cried Purcell. "You put it over the 'soreheads' so hard that
we never heard from them again after we got started."
"You helped there, also, Purcell. If you and Ripley and a few
others had gone over to the 'soreheads' it would have stiffened
their backbone and nothing could have made it possible, this year,
for Gridley High School to have an eleven that would represent
all the best football that there is in the grand old school."
In the first two years of their school life Dick and Dave had
spent many pleasant hours in the society of Laura and Belle.
So far, during the junior year, the chums had had but little
chance to see the girls, for the demands of football were fearfully
Laura, being almost at the threshold of seventeen years, had grown
tall and womanly. Bert Dodge began to notice what a very pretty
girl the doctor's daughter was becoming. So, one afternoon while
the football squad was practicing hard over on the athletic field,
Bert encountered Laura and Belle as they strolled down the Main
Lifting his hat, Dodge greeted the girls, and stood chatting with
them for a few moments. To this neither of the girls could object,
for Bert's manners, with the other sex, were always irreproachable.
But, presently, Laura saw her chance. She did not want to be
rude, but Bert's face had just taken on a half-sneering look at
a chance mention of Dick's name.
"You aren't playing football this year, Bert?" Laura asked innocently.
Bert quickly flushed.
"No," he admitted.
"Of course everyone can't make the eleven," Belle added, with
"I---I don't believe I'd care to," Dodge went on. "I---you see---I
don't care about all the fellows in the squad."
"I don't suppose every boy who is playing on the squad is a chum
of everyone else," remarked Laura.
"Such fellows as Prescott, for instance, I don't care much about,"
Bert continued, with a swift side glance at Laura Bentley to see
how she took that remark. But Laura showed not a sign in her
"No?" she asked quietly. "I think him a splendid fellow. By
the way, he and Dave Darrin haven't received the reward for finding
your father, have they?"
Bert gasped. His face went white, then red. He fidgeted about
for an answer.
"No," he replied, cuttingly, at last, "and I don't believe they
"Oh, I beg your pardon," cried Laura in quick contrition. "I
didn't know that it was a tender spot with you, or your family."
"It isn't," Bert rejoined hurriedly. "It simply amounts to this,
that the reward will never be paid to a pair of cheeky,
"Won't you please stop right there, Mr. Dodge?" Laura asked sweetly.
"Mr. Prescott and Mr. Darrin are friends of ours. We don't like
to hear remarks that cast disrespect in their direction."
"Oh, I beg your pardon," answered Bert, trying not to be stiff.
But he was ill at ease, leaving the girls very soon after.
Yet, in his hatred for Dick and Dave, young Dodge resolved upon
a daring stroke. He enlisted Bayliss, and the pair sought to
"cut out" Prescott and Darrin with Laura and Belle.
Neither Dick nor Dave was in love. Both were too sensible for
that. Both knew that love affairs were for men old enough to
know their own minds. Yet the friendship between the four young
people had been a very proper and wholesome affair, and much pleasure
had been derived on all sides.
Nowadays, however, Bert and Bayliss managed to be much out and
around Gridley while the football squad was at practice. Almost
daily this pair met Laura and Belle, as though by accident, and
the two young seniors usually managed, without apparent intrusion,
to walk along beside Laura and Belle, often seeing the pair to
the home gate of one or the other.
"You two fellows want to look out," Purcell warned Dick and Dave,
good-naturedly, one day. "Other fellows are after your sweet-hearts."
"I wonder how that happened," Dick observed good-humoredly. "I
didn't know we had any sweethearts."
"What about-----" began Purcell, wondering if he had made a mistake.
"Please don't drag any girls' names into bantering talk," interposed
Dave, quickly though very quietly.
So Purcell said no more, and he had, indeed, meant no harm whatever.
But others were noticing, and also talking. High School young
people began to take a very lively interest in the new appearance
of Dodge and Bayliss as escorts of Laura and Belle.
Then there came one especially golden day of early autumn, when
it seemed as though the warm, glorious day had driven everyone
out onto the streets. Dodge and Bayliss met Laura and Belle,
quite as though by accident, and manifested a rather evident
determination to remain in the company of the girls as long as
Finally Laura halted before one of the department stores.
"Belle, there's an errand you and I had in mind to do in there,
isn't there?" Laura asked.
"May we have the very great pleasure, then, of your leave to wait
until you are through with your shopping?" spoke up Bert Dodge quickly.
Laura flushed slightly. Just then more than a dozen of the football
squad, coming back from the field, marching solidly by twos, turned
the corner and came upon this quartette. There were many curious
looks in the corners of the eyes of members of the squad.
Despite themselves Dick and Dave could feel themselves reddening.
But Laura Bentley was equal to the emergency. "Here come the
school's heroes---the fellows who keep Gridley's High School banner
flying in the breeze," she laughed pleasantly.
Both Dodge and Bayliss started to answer, then closed their lips.
"Won't you please excuse us, boys?" begged Laura, in her usual
pleasant voice. "Here are Dick and Dave, and Belle and I wish
to speak with them."
From some of the members of the football squad went up a promptly
stifled gasp that sounded like a very distant rumble.
Dick and Dave, looking wholly rough and ready in their sweaters,
padded trousers and heavy field shoes, stepped out of the marching
formation as though obeying an order.
The chums looked almost uncouth, compared with the immaculate,
dandyish pair, Dodge and Bayliss. The latter, with so many amused
glances turned their way, could only flush deeply, stammer, raise
their hats and---fade away!
The lesson was a needed and a remembered one. Laura and Belle
took their afternoon walks in peace thereafter.
DIES FOOTBALL TEACH REAL NERVE?
"Get in there, Ripley! Don't be afraid. It's only a leather
dummy. It can't hurt you! Now, tackle the dummy around the
A laugh went up among the crowd as Fred, crouching low, head down,
sailed in at that tackling dummy.
Young Ripley's face was red, but he took the coach's stern tone
in good part, for the young man was determined to make good on
the eleven this year.
"Now, Prescott! Show us that you can beat your last performance!
Imagine the dummy to be a two hundred and twenty pound center!"
Dick rushed in valiantly, catching the dummy just right.
"Let go!" called the coach, laughingly. "It isn't a sack of gold!"
Another laugh went up. This was one of the semi-public afternoons,
when any known well-wisher of Gridley was allowed on the athletic
field to watch the squad at work.
For half an hour the young men had been working hard, mostly at
the swinging dummy, for Coach Morton wanted much improvement yet
"Now," continued the coach, in a voice that didn't sound very
loud, yet which had the quality of carrying to every part of the
big field, "it'll be just as well if you fellows don't get the
idea that only swinging leather dummies are to be tackled. The
provisional first and second teams will now line up. Second has
the ball on its own twenty-yard line, and is trying to save its
goal. You fellows on second hustle with all your might to get
the ball through the ranks of the first, or School eleven. Fight
for all you're worth to get that ball on the go and keep it going!
You fellows of the first, or School eleven, I want to see what
you can do with real tackling."
There was a hasty adjusting of nose-guards by those who wore that
protection. The ball was placed, the quarter-back of the second
eleven bending low to catch it, at the same time comprehending
the signal that sounded briskly.
The whistle blew; the ball was snapped, and quarter-back darted
to the right, passing the ball. Second's right tackle had been
chosen to receive and break through the School's line. On School's
left, Dick and Ripley raced in together, while second's interference
crashed into the pair of former enemies as right tackle tried to go
through. But Fred Ripley was as much out for team work this day as
any fellow on the field. He made a fast sprint, as though to tackle,
yet meaning to do nothing of the sort. Dick, too, understood. He
let Ripley get two or three feet in the lead. At Ripley, therefore,
the second's interference hurled itself savagely. It was all
done so quickly that the beguiled second had no time to rectify
its blunder; for Fred Ripley was in the center of the squirming,
interfering bunch and Dick Prescott had made a fair, firm, abrupt
tackle. In an instant the ball was "down." Second had gained
less than a yard.
"Good work!" the coach shouted, after sounding the whistle."
Ripley and Prescott, that was the right sort of team work."
Again second essayed to get away with the ball. This time the
forward pass was employed---that is to say, attempted. Hudson
and Purcell, by another clever feint, got the ball stopped and
down; third time, and second lost the ball on downs.
Now School had the ball. As the quarter-back's signals rang out
there was perceptible activity and alertness at School's right
end. As the ball was snapped, School's right wing went through
the needful movements, but Dick Prescott, over at left end, had
the ball. Ripley and Purcell were supporting him.
Straight into the opposing ranks went Ripley and Purcell, the
rest of the school team supporting. It was team work again.
Dick was halted, for an instant. Then, backed by his supporters,
he dashed through the opposition---on and on! Twice Dick was
on the point of being tackled, but each time his interference
carried him through. He was over second's line---touch-down,
and the whistle sounded shrilly, just a second ahead of cheers
from some hundred on-lookers.
As Dick came back he limped just a bit.
"I tell you, it takes nerve, and a lot of it, to play that game,"
remarked one citizen admiringly.
"Nerve? pooh!" retorted his companion. "Just a hoodlum footrace,
with some bumping, and then the whistle blows while a lot of boys
are rolling over one another. The whistle always blows just
at the point when there might be some use for nerve."
The first speaker looked at his doubtful companion quizzically.
"Would it take any nerve for you," he demanded, "to jump in where
you knew there was a good chance of your being killed,"
"Yes; I suppose so," admitted the kicker.
"Well, every season a score or two of football ball players are
killed, or crippled for life."
"But they're not looking for it," objected the kicker, "or they
wouldn't go in so swift and hard. Real nerve? I'd believe in
that more if I ever heard of one of these nimble-jack racers taking
a big chance with his life off the field, and where there was
no crowd of wild galoots to look on and cheer!"
"Of course killing and maiming are not the real objects of the
game," pursued the first speaker. "Coaches and other good friends
of the game are always hoping to discover some forms of rules
that will make football safer. Yet I can't help feeling that
the present game, despite the occasional loss of life or injury
to limb, puts enough of strong, fighting manhood into the players
to make the game worth all it costs."
"I want to see the nerve, and I want to see the game prove its
worth," insisted the kicker.
Second eleven, though made up of bright, husky boys, was having
a hard time of it. Thrice coach arbitrarily advanced the ball
for second, in order to give that team a better chance with High
And now the practice was over for the afternoon. The whistle
between coach's lips sounded three prolonged blasts, and the young
players, flushed, perspiring---aching a bit, too---came off the
field. Togs were laid aside and some time was spent under the
shower baths and in toweling. Only a small part of the late crowd
of watchers remained at the athletic field. But the kicker and
his companion were among those who stayed.
Coach Morton stood for a time talking with some citizens who had
lingered. As most of these men were contributors to the athletic
funds they were anxious for information.
"Do you consider the prospects good for the team this year?" asked
"Yes," replied Mr. Morton promptly.
"Is the School eleven decided upon in detail?" questioned another.
"No; of course not, as yet. Each day some of the young men develop
new points---of excellence, or otherwise. The division into School
and second teams, that you saw this afternoon, may not be the
final division. In fact, not more than five or six of the young
men have been definitely picked as sure to make the School team.
We shall have it all decided within a few days."
"But you're rather certain," insisted another, "that Gridley is
going to have as fine a School team as it has ever had?"
"It would be going too far to say that," replied Coach Morton
slowly. "The truth is, we never know anything for certain until
we have seen our boys play through the first game. Our judgment
is even more reliable after they've been through the second game."
By this time, some of the football squad were coming out of locker
rooms, heading across the field to the gate. Coach Morton and
the little group of citizens turned and went along slowly after
them. The kicker was still on hand.
Just as the boys neared the gate there were heard sounds of great
commotion on the other side of the high board fence. There were
several excited yells, the sound of running feet, and then more
"He's bent on killing the officer! Run!"
"Look out! Here he comes! Scoot!"
Then came several more yells, a note of terror in them all.
Five youngsters of the football squad were so near the gate that
they broke into a run for the open. Coach Morton, too, sped ahead
at full steam, though he was some distance behind the members
of the squad. The citizens followed, running and puffing.
Once outside, they all came upon a curious sight. One of the
smallest members of Gridley's police force had attempted to stop
a big, red-faced, broad-shouldered man who, coatless and hatless
had come running down the street.
Two men had gotten in the way of this fellow and had been knocked
over. Then the little policeman had darted in, bent on distinguishing
himself. But the red-faced man, crazed by drink, had bowled over
the policeman and had fallen on top of him. The victor had begun
to beat the police officer when the sight of a rapidly-growing
crowd angered the fellow.
Leaping up, the red-faced one had glared about him, wondering
whom next to attack, while the officer lay on his back, more than
Making up his mind to catch and thrash some one, the red-faced
man came along, shouting savagely. It was just at this moment
that Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes, sprinting fast, came out through
"Look out, boys! He'll kill you!" shouted one well-meaning citizen
in the background.
"Will he?" grunted Dick grimly. "Greg, I'll tackle the fellow---you
be ready to fall on him. Head down, now---charge!"
As though they had darted around the right end of the football
battle line, and had sighted the enemy's goal line, Prescott and
Holmes charged straight for the infuriated fellow.
"Get outer my way!" roared red-face, turning slightly and running
furiously at them.
Dick's head was down, but that did not prevent his seeing through
his long hair.
"Get out of my way, you kid!" gasped the big fellow, halting in
his amazement as he saw this youngster coming straight at him.
Greg was off the sidewalk, running a few feet out from the gutter
But Dick sailed straight in. As he came close, red-faced seemed
to feel uneasy about this reckless boy, for the big fellow, holding
his fists so that he could use them, swerved slightly to one side.
Fifty people were looking on, now, most of them amazed and fearing
for young Prescott.
But Dick, running still lower, charged straight for his man.
The big fellow, with a bellow, aimed his fists.
Dick wasn't hit, however. Instead, he grappled with the fellow,
just below the thighs, then straightened up somewhat---all quick
as a flash.
That big mountain of flesh swayed, then toppled. Red-face went
down, not with a crash, but more after the manner of a collapse.
As he fell, Greg darted in from the street and fell upon the big
fellow's chest. In another instant young Prescott was a-top of
"Keep him down, boys!" yelled Coach Morton.
Just before the coach sprinted to the spot Dave Darrin, then Tom
Reade, and then Tom Purcell, hurled themselves into the fray.
When the coach arrived he could not find a spot on red-face at
which to take hold.
The policeman, limping a bit, came up as fast as he could.
"Will you young gentlemen help me to put these handcuffs on?"
asked the officer, dangling a pair of steel bracelets.
"Will we?" ejaculated Dave. "Whoop!"
"Roll the fellow over!" called Dick Prescott.
With a gleeful shout the squad members rolled red-face over,
dragging his powerful arms behind his back. There was a scuffle,
but Coach Morton helped. A minute more and the handcuffs had been
snapped in place.
In the eyes of the recent kicker, back on the field, there now
appeared a gleam of something very much akin to enthusiasm.
"What do you say, now?" asked that man's companion. "Though,
of course, Prescott and Holmes knew that help wasn't far off."
"It doesn't make any difference," retorted the recent kicker.
"Either boy might have been killed by that big brute before the
help could have arrived."
"Then does football teach nerve?"
"It certainly must!" agreed the recent kicker.
DICK, LILE CAESAR, REFUSES THE CROWN
A few days later the members of the school team, and the substitutes,
had been announced. Then the men who had made the team came together
at the gymnasium.
Who was to be captain of the eleven?
For once there seemed to be a good deal of hanging back.
If there were any members of the team who believed themselves
supremely fitted to lead, at least they were not egotistical enough
to announce themselves.
There was a good deal of whispering during the five minutes before
Mr. Morton called them to order. Some of the whisperers left
one group to go over to another.
"Now, then, gentlemen!" called Coach Morton. "Order, please!"
Almost at once the murmuring stopped.
"Before we can go much further," continued the coach, "it will
be necessary to decide upon a captain. I don't wish to have the
whole voice in the matter. If you are to follow your captain
through thick and thin, in a dozen or more pitched football battles,
it is well that you should have a leader who will possess the
confidence of all. Now, whom do you propose for the post of captain?
Let us discuss the merits of those that may be proposed."
Just for an instant the murmuring broke out afresh.
Then a shout went up:
But that young man shook his head.
"Prescott!" shouted another.
Dick, too, shook his head.
"Now, listen to me a moment, fellows!" called Purcell, standing
very straight and waving his arms for silence. "I don't want
to be captain. I had the honor of leading the baseball nine last
"No matter! You'll make a good football captain!"
"Not the best you can get, by any means," insisted Purcell. "I
decline the honor for that reason, and also because I don't want
the responsibility of leading the eleven."
"Prescott!" shouted three or four of the squad at once.
Purcell nodded his head encouragingly.
"Yes; Prescott, by all means! You can't do better."
"Yes, you can! And you fellows know it!" shouted Dick.
His face glowed with pleasure and pride, but he tried to show,
by face, voice and gesture, that he didn't propose to take the
"Prescott! Prescott!" came the insistent yell.
Above the clamor Coach Morton signaled Dick to come forward to the
"Won't you take it, Prescott?" inquired the coach.
"I've no right to, sir."
"Then tell the team why you think so."
As soon as coach had secured silence Dick, with a short laugh,
"Fellows, I don't know whether you mean it all, or whether you're
having a little fun with me. But-----"
"No, no! We mean it! Prescott for captain! No other fellow
has done as much for Gridley High School football!"
"Then I'll tell you some reasons, fellows, why I don't fit the
position," Dick went on, speaking easily now as his self-confidence
came to him. "In the first place, I'm a junior, and this is my
first year at football. Now, a captain should be a whole wagon-load
in the way of judgment. That means a fellow who has played in
a previous season. For that reason, all other things being equal,
the captain should be one of the seniors who played the gridiron
game last year."
"You'll do for us, Prescott!" came the insistent call.
"For another thing," Dick went on composedly, "the captain should
be a man who plays center, or close to it. Now, I'm not heavy
enough for anything of that sort. In fact, I understand I'm cast
for left tackle or left end---probably the latter. So, you see,
I wouldn't be in the right part of the field. I don't deny that
I'd like to be captain, but I'd a thousand times rather see Gridley
"Then who can lead us to victory" demanded Dave Darrin briskly.
Dick promptly. "He's believed to be our best man for center.
He played last year; he knows more fine points of the game than
any of us juniors can. And he has the judgment. Besides, he's
a senior, and it's his last chance to command the High School
"If Wadleigh'll take it, I'm for him," spoke Dave Darrin promptly.
Henry Wadleigh, or "Hem," as he was usually called, was turning
all the colors of the rainbow. Yet he looked pleased and anxious.
There was just one thing against Wadleigh, in the minds of Hudson
and some of the others. He was a boy of poor family. He belonged
to what the late but routed "soreheads" termed "the mockers."
But he was an earnest, honest fellow, a hard player and loyal
to the death to his school.
"Any other candidates?" asked Coach Morton.
There was a pause of indecision. There were a few other fellows
who wanted to captain the team. Why didn't some of their friends
put them in nomination?
Dick & Co. formed a substantial element in the team. They were
for "Hen" Wadleigh, and now Tom Reade spoke:
"I move that Wadleigh be considered our choice for captain."
"Second the motion," uttered Dan Dalzell, hastily.
Coach Morton put the proposition, which was carried. Wadleigh
was chosen captain, subject to the approval of the Athletics Committee
of the alumni, which would talk it over in secret with Coach Morton.
And now the team was quickly made up. Wadleigh was to play center.
Dick was to play left end, with Dave for left tackle. Greg Holmes
went over to right tackle, with Hazelton right guard. Dan Dalzell
was slated as substitute right end, while Tom Reade was a "sub"
Fred Ripley was put down as a substitute for left end. As one
who kept in such close training as did Prescott he was not likely
to miss many of the big games, and Fred's chances for playing
in the big games was not heavy. Yet Ripley was satisfied. Even
as a "sub," he had "made" the High School eleven.
"I think, gentlemen," declared Mr. Morton, in dismissing the squad,
"that we have as good a team to put forward this year as Gridley
has ever had. The only disquieting feature of the season is
the report, coming to us, that many of the rival schools have,
this year, better teams in the field than they have ever had before.
So we've got to work---well like so many animated furies. Remember,
gentlemen, 'coldfeet' never won a football season."
Bayliss and Dodge when they heard the news, were much disgusted.
They had hoped that subs. Instead, Dick and three of his cronies
had been put in Gridley's first fighting line, only two of the
redoubtable six being on the sub list.
School and second teams, being now sharply defined, fell to playing
against each other as hard and as cleverly as they could.
Wadleigh's choice as captain was confirmed by the Athletics Committee.
"But I'd never have had the chance, Prescott, old fellow, if it
hadn't been for you," "Hen" protested gratefully. "Dick, I won't
forget your great help!"
"I didn't do anything for you, Hen," Prescott retorted, with one
of his dry smiles.
"You didn't?" gasped Wadleigh.
"No, sir! I did it for the school. I wanted to see our team
have the best possible captain and the winning eleven!"
Bert and Bayliss happened to be passing the gymnasium when they
heard of the selection of Wadleigh.
"Bert," whispered Bayliss, "I believe you're at least half a man!"
"What are you driving at?" demanded Dodge.
"We owe Dick Prescott a few. If you're with me we'll see if
his season on the gridiron can't be made a farce and a fizzle."
BERT DODGE "STARTS SOMETHING"
As always happens the schedule of the fall's games was changed
somewhat at the last moment.
In the first change there was a decided advantage. Wrexham withdrawing
its challenge almost at the last, Coach Morton took on Welton
High School for the first game of the season.
Now, Welton must have played for no other reason than to gratify
a weak form of vanity, for there were few High School teams in
the state that had cause to dread Welton High School.
For Gridley, however, the game served a useful purpose. It solidified
Captain Wadleigh's team into actual work. The score was 32 to
0, in favor of Gridley. However, as Dick phrased it, the practice
against an actual adversary, for the first time in the season,
was worth at least three hundred to nothing.
"But don't you fellows make a mistake," cautioned Captain Wadleigh.
"Don't get a notion that you've nothing bigger than Welton to
tackle this year. Next Saturday you've got to go up against
Tottenville, and there's an eleven that will make you perspire."
Coach Morton had Tottenville gauged at its right value. During
the few days before the game he kept the Gridley boys steadily
at work. The passing and the signal work, in particular, were
reviewed most thoroughly.
"Remember, the pass is going to count for a lot," Mr. Morton warned
them. "You can't make a weight fight against Tottenville, for
those fellows weigh a hundred and fifty pounds more, to the team,
than you do. They're savage, swift, clever players, too, those
Tottenville youths. What you take away from them you'll have
to win by strategy."
So the Gridley boys were drilled again and again in all the special
points of field strategy that Coach Morton knew or could invent.
Yet one of the best things that Mr. Morton knew, and one that
always characterized Gridley, was the matter of confidence.
Captain Wadleigh's young men were made to feel that they were
going to win. They did not underestimate the enemy, but they
were going to win. That was well understood by them all.
Now, in the games of sheer strategy much depends upon nimble ends.
Dick Prescott, in particular, was coached much in private, as
well as on the actual gridiron.
"Keep yourself in keen good shape, Mr. Prescott," Mr. Morton insisted.
"We need your help in scalping Tottenville next Saturday."
As the week wore along Mr. Morton and Captain Wadleigh became
more and more pleased with themselves and with their associates.
"I don't see how we can fail tomorrow," said Mr. Horton, quietly,
to "Hen" Wadleigh, just after the School and the second teams
had been dismissed.
It was not much after half-past three. Practice had been brief,
in order that none of the players might be used up.
"Prescott, in especial, is showing up magnificently," replied
Wadleigh. "He and Darrin are certainly wonders at their end of
"You must use them all you can tomorrow, and yet don't make them
fight the whole battle," replied Coach Morton. "Save them for
the biggest emergencies."
"I'll be careful," promised Wadleigh.
Dick and Dave walked back into the city, instead of taking a car.
"How are you feeling, Dick?" asked Dave.
"As smooth as silk," Prescott replied.
"I don't believe I've ever been in such fine condition before,"
"That's mighty good, for I have an idea that the captain means
to use us all he can tomorrow."
"Oh, Tottenville is as good as beaten, then," laughed Dave, with
all the Gridley confidence.
"I'd like to know just how strong Tottenville is on its right end of
the line," mused Prescott.
"I don't care how strong they are," retorted Darrin, with a laugh.
"You and I are not going to use strength; we're going to rely upon
brains---Coach Morton's brains, though, to be sure."
The two chums separated at the corner of the side street on which
stood the Prescott bookstore and home. Dave hurried home to attend
to some duties that he knew were awaiting him.
Dick, whistling, strolled briskly on. He saw Dodge and Bayliss
on the other side of the street, but did not pay much attention
to them until they crossed just before Dick had reached his own
"There's the mucker," muttered Bayliss, in a tone intentionally
loud enough for the young left end to overhear.
"I won't pay any attention to them," thought Dick, with an amused
smile. "I can easily understand what they're sore about. I'd
feel angry myself if I had been left off the team."
"Why do fellows like that need an education?" demanded Dodge,
in a slightly louder tone, as the pair came closer.
Still Dick Prescott paid no heed. He started up the steps, fumbling
for his latch key as he went.
"You faker! You mucker!" hissed Bayliss, now speaking directly
to the young left end.
This was so palpable that Dick could not well ignore it. Dropping
the key back into his pocket, he turned to stare at the two
"Eh?" he asked, with a quiet laugh.
"Yes; I meant you!" hissed Bayliss.
"Oh, well," grinned Dick, "your opinions have never counted for
much in the community, have they?"
"Shut up, you ignorant hound!" warned Bayliss belligerently.
"Too bad," retorted Dick tantalizingly. "Of course, I understand
what ails you. You were left off the High School team, and I
was not. But that is your own fault, Bayliss. You could have
made the team if you hadn't been foolish."
"Don't insult me with your opinions fellow!" cried Bayliss, growing
angrier every instant. At least, he appeared to be working him
self up into a rage.
"Oh, I don't care anything about your opinions, and I have no
anxiety to spring mine on you," retorted Dick, in an indifferent
voice. Once more he fumbled for his latch key.
"You haven't any business talking with gentlemen, anyway," sneered
Dick flushed slightly, though he replied, coolly:
"As it happens, just at present I am not!"
"What do you mean by that?" flared Bert.
"Oh, you know, you don't care anything about my opinions," laughed
Dick. "Let us drop the whole subject. I don't care particularly,
anyway, about being seen talking with you two."
"Oh, you don't?" cried Bayliss, in a voice hoarse with rage.
In almost the same breath Bert Dodge hurled an insult so pointed
and so offensive that Dick's ruddy cheek went white for an instant.
Back into his pocket he dropped the latch key, then stepped swiftly
down before his tormentor.
"Dodge," he cried warningly, "take back the remark you just made.
Then, after that, you can take your offensive presence out of my
"I'll take nothing back!" sneered the other boy.
"Then you'll take this!" retorted Dick, very quietly, in a cold,
Prescott's fist flew out. It was not a hard blow, but it landed
on the tip of Bert Dodge's nose.
"You cur!" cried Dodge chokingly. "Wait until I get my coat off."
"No; keep it on; I'm going to keep mine on," retorted Prescott.
"Guard yourself, man!"
"Jump in, Bayliss! We'll thump his head off!" gasped Dodge, with
almost a sob in his voice, to was so angry.
Bayliss would have been nothing loath to "jump in." But, just
as Dick Prescott, after calling "guard," aimed his second blow
at Bert, Fred Ripley, Purcell and "Hen" Wadleigh all hurried up
to the scene.
For Bayliss to be caught fighting two-to-one would have resulted
in a quick thrashing for him. So Bayliss stood back.
"Bad blood, is there?" asked Wadleigh, as the new arrivals hurried
"Prescott, after insulting Bert, flew at him," retorted Bayliss,
panting some with the effort at lying.
Dodge was now standing well back. He had parried three of Dick's
blows, but had not yet taken the offensive. As Dodge was a heavier
man, and not badly schooled in fistics, Dick had the good sense
to go at this fight coolly, taking time to exercise his judgment.
"What's it all about?" demanded Wadleigh.
Just for an instant Bayliss felt himself stumped. Then, all of a
sudden, an inspiration in lying came to him.
"Prescott got ugly because the Dodges never paid that thousand-dollar
reward," declared Bayliss.
Dick heard, and with his eye still on Dodge, shouted out: "That's
not true, Bayliss. You know you are not telling the truth!"
Bayliss doubled his fists, and would have struck Prescott down
from behind, but Wadleigh, who was a big and powerful fellow,
caught Bayliss by his left arm, jerking him back.
"Now, just wait a bit, Bayliss," advised "Hen," moderately. "From
what I know of Prescott I'm not afraid but that he'll give you
satisfaction presently---if you want it."
"You bet he'll have to!" hissed Bayliss.
"If Prescott loses the argument he has on now," added Purcell,
significantly, "I fancy he has friends who will take his place
with you, Bayliss."