Part 4 out of 4
"I'll close one eye, and save that to see Dick with," Darrin muttered
grimly to himself.
So, with one eye closed tightly, Dave yet knew when the instant
came to swing in and stand on the sill.
Opening the closed eye, Darrin sought to peer into the studio.
Such a gust of smoke came out at him that Darrin very nearly lost
his balance from dizziness.
"I can't see a blessed thing in there," Dave muttered. So he
Now, quickly enough Dave stumbled over the prostrate figure of
his unconscious comrade.
Fairly pouncing upon Prescott, Dave half raised that body, then
dragged it to the window.
"Pull!" Darrin yelled up to Tom Reade, peering over the roof's edge.
Over the roar of the fire Dave's voice did not carry well, but
his gesture was seen.
Reade gave the command, and the hoisting commenced, while Dave,
standing at his post, though choking, and his brain reeling, swung
Dick's feet clear of the sill.
Then the body began to go up quickly, while the crowd watched
in greater awe than ever.
Dave Darrin leaped out upon the sill, holding a handkerchief over
his mouth and nostrils in order to protect his lungs as much as
With the other hand Dave clutched at the window frame, for he
had a fearful dread, now that he would lose his hold, his footing
and plunge headlong into the street.
Dick's body disappeared over the roof edge.
After what seemed like a short age, but what was only a few moments,
Reade again showed his face, dangling the noose in his hand.
Then he let it fall until it hung close to Darrin.
Reade and the crowd alike watched breathlessly, while Dave Darrin,
fumbling, almost blindly, tried to slip the noose over his head
and adjust it under his shoulders.
Once he let go of the rope, half swaying out into the street.
A cry of terror went up from the spectators below.
Tom Reade carefully swung the rope back again. Dave caught it.
After it had seemed as though he must fail Dave at last adjusted
the noose under his armpits.
"All right!" bellowed Tom Reade, making a trumpet of his hands.
Darrin answered only by a tug on the rope. Then he hung in mid
air as the hoisting began.
At that moment a new sound cane on the air. The fire department,
with a short circuit somewhere in its wires, had at last been
notified by telephone, and the box number was pealing out on two
Barely were Dave's feet clear of the top of the window casing
when a draught drove the flames out.
His shoes were almost licked by the red tongues.
"Hurry, you hoisters!" bellowed a man in the street.
His voice did not carry, but Tom Reade and his wearied helpers
were doing all that could be done by strong, willing hands.
Another and longer tongue of flame leaped out through the shattered
window, and again Dave's swinging feet were all but bathed in
"Thank heaven we've got you up here, old fellow!" panted Tom Reade
fervently, as Dave was hauled over the roof's edge, helping himself
Dave, as soon as the noose had been slipped over his head, got
up on his feet, though he staggered a bit dizzily.
"We must all get back up to that roof," ordered Dave, pointing
to the roof down from which they had leaped a while before.
"We can't," retorted Reade. "We'll have to wait for the firemen
and their ladders."
"Ladders---nothing!" retorted Dave, though his voice was weak
and husky. "We'll make our own ladders. You, Holmes, get over
against that wall. Hazelton, you beside hind Reade you climb
up onto their shoulders. Now, Dan you climb up on Reade's shoulders,
and you'll reach that roof up there!"
Darrin's orders were quickly carried out. This trick of wall
scaling was really not difficult for football men in daily practice.
Dan's head was quickly above the gutter of the next roof. He
pulled himself over the edge.
"Stand by to catch the rope, Dan," shouted Dave. "Throw it to
Whizz-zz! whirr-rr! That rope was over the edge and in Dan's
hands. Dalzell raced to a chimney, taking two or three turns
around and making fast.
"Come on!" he called down.
Harry Hazelton ascended the rope hand over hand, Reade following.
Then Greg Holmes went up.
Dave, in the meantime, was preparing the apparently lifeless Grace
Dodge for the ascent. As he gave the signal those on the roof
above hauled away.
Grace was soon in a position of safety.
Then Dick, who had not, as yet, revived, was hoisted.
"Now, we'll haul you up," called down Reade.
"Forget it," mocked Darrin. "Toss down the rope and I'll use
my own muscles."
So Dave joined them and stood beside them on the roof.
"Now, we'd better make the street as soon as we can," Darrin advised.
"The one who's strongest pick up Miss Dodge, and another stand
by for relief. Two of you will have to tote Dick. I wish I could
help, but I'm afraid my strength is 'most all out."
Dave, however, led the way. By the time that the little party
had descended two flights they were met by firemen rushing up.
After that the task of reaching the street was easy.
As the rescuers and rescued came out upon the street the crowd,
now driven back beyond police lines, started to cheer.
But Dave's hand, held up, acted as a silencer. Dick and Miss
Dodge were carried to a neighboring drug store for attention.
Now the firemen tried to run up ladders to the studio floor, with
a view to fighting the flames by turning the stream on through
the windows. Flames drove them back. The on-lookers were quick
to grasp the fact that had no one acted before the arrival of
the firemen, Grace Dodge would have been lost indeed. As it was,
the fire fighters were obliged to fight the fire from the roof
of the next building.
The office building in which the flames had started was almost
gutted before the blaze was subdued.
An hour later Grace Dodge was placed in an automobile and carried
to her home, a physician accompanying her.
She had revived for a brief period, but had again sunk into
unconsciousness. Whether her life could be saved was a matter
of the gravest doubt.
Young Prescott was revived soon enough, after expert assistance
had been secured.
Yet he had swallowed more of the overheated air than had the girl.
In the minds of the medical men there was a grave doubt as to
whether his lungs could be fully restored---or whether he would
be doomed to a spell of severe lung trouble, ending, most likely,
in death at a later day!
Scores of people turned back from that fire with tears in their
They had seen this day something that they would remember all
"Dick and Dave were wondering whether they had courage enough
for the military service," sobbed Laura Bentley, in the privacy
of Belles room. "They have courage enough for anything!"
Dick was up and about the next day, though he did not go to school.
Moreover, later reports placed him out of serious danger. The
football squad was gloomy enough, however. Their star left end
man would not be in shape for the big Thanksgiving Day game.
THE THANKSGIVING DAY GAME
Say, you're a great one, Prescott, to throw us down in this way,"
chaffed Drayne, as Dick strolled into dressing quarters.
"Oh, come, now!" broke in Darrin impatiently. "It's bad enough,
Drayne, to have to play side partner to you in the biggest game
in the year, without having to listen to your fat-headed criticism
of better men."
Drayne flushed, and might have retorted, had not Wadleigh broken
in, in measured tones, yet with much significance in his voice:
"Yes, Drayne; cut out all remarks until you've made good. Of
course you are going to make good, but talk will sound better
Most of the fellows who were togging were uneasy.
They wanted, with all their hearts, to win this day's game. First
of all, the game was needed in order to preserve their record
for unbroken victories. Then again, Filmore High School was a
team worth beating at any time and Filmore boosters had been making
free remarks about a Gridley Waterloo.
So there was a feeling of general depression in dressing quarters.
Dick Prescott, with his dashing, crafty, splendid, score-making
work at left end, had become a necessity to the Gridley eleven.
"It's the toughest luck that ever happened," grumbled Hazelton,
right guard, to Holmes, right tackle. "And I don't believe Drayne
is in anything like condition, either."
"Now, see here, you two," broke in Captain Wadleigh behind them,
as he gripped an arm of either boy, "no croaking. We can't afford
"We can't afford anything," grinned Hazelton uneasily.
"Oh, of course, we're going to win today---Gridley simply has
to win," added Holmes hastily.
"Yes; you two look as though you had the winning streak on," growled
Wadleigh, in a low voice. "For goodness' sake come out of your
"Do you think yourself that Drayne is fit?" demanded Hazelton.
"He's the fittest man we have that can play left end," retorted
"Knocking, are you?" demanded Drayne, coming up behind them.
"Nice fellows you are!"
"Oh, now, see here, Drayne, no bad blood," urged Wadleigh. He
spoke authoritatively, yet coaxingly, too. "Remember, we've got
to keep all our energies for one thing today."
"Well, I'm mighty glad you two don't play on my end of the line,"
sneered Drayne, looking at Hazelton and Holmes with undisguised
"Cut it, Drayne. And don't you two talk back, either," warned
"Oh, acknowledge the corn, Drayne," broke in Hudson, with what
he meant for good humor. "Just say you're no good and let it
go at that."
There was a dead silence, for an instant, broken by one unidentified
fellow, muttering in a voice that sounded like a roar in the silence:
"There you go! That's what all of you are saying to yourselves!"
cried Drayne angrily. "For some reason you idiots seem to think
I'm in no shape today. Hang it, I'm sorry I agreed to play.
For two cents I wouldn't play."
"Drayne can be bought off cheaply, can't he?" remarked one of
The last speaker did not intend that his voice should reach Drayne,
but it did.
"Say, you fellows all have a grouch on, just because I'm playing
today!" quivered the victim of the remarks. "Oh, well, never
mind I'll cure your grouch, then!"
Seating himself on a locker box, Drayne began to unfasten the
lacings of his shoes.
"Here, man! What are you doing?" demanded Captain Wadleigh, bounding
"Curing the grouch of this bunch," retorted Drayne sulkily.
"Man alive, there's no time to fool with your shoes now!" warned
the team captain.
"I'm not going to need this pair," Drayne rejoined. "Street shoes
will do for me today."
"Not on the gridiron!"
"I'm not going on the field. I've heard enough knocking," grumbled
A dozen of the fellows crowded about, consternation written in
Prescott was known not to be fit to play. Only the day before
Dr. Bentley had refused to pass him for the game. Hence Drayne,
even if a trifle out of condition, was still the best available
man for left end.
"Quit your fooling, Drayne!" cried two or three at once.
"Quit your talking," retorted Drayne, kicking off his other field
shoe. "I've done all my talking."
Truth to tell, Drayne still intended to play, but he wanted to
teach these fellows a lesson. He intended to make them beg, from
Wadleigh down, before he would go on to the finish of his togging.
Drayne knew when he had the advantage of them.
"Don't be a fool, Drayne," broke in Hudson hotly.
"Or a traitor to your school," added another.
"Be a man!"
In Drayne's present frame of mind all these appeals served to
fan his inward fury.
"Shut up, all of you!" he snapped. "I've listened to all the
roasting I intend to stand. I'm out of the game!"
Several looked blankly at "Hen" Wadleigh.
"Whom have you to put in his place?" Grayson demanded hoarsely.
Drayne heard and it was balm to his soul. He started to pull
off his football trousers.
Outside, the band started upon a lively gallop. The crowd began
to cheer. It started in as a Gridley cheer. Then, above everything
else, rang the Filmore yell of defiance.
Just at this moment Coach Morton strode into the room. Almost
in a twinkling he learned of the new complication that had arisen.
"Captain Wadleigh, who is to play in Drayne's stead" demanded
the coach rather briskly.
"Under certain conditions," broke in Wayne, "I'll agree to play."
"We wouldn't have you under all the conditions in the world!"
retorted Mr. Morton. "A football eleven must be an organization
of the finest discipline!"
Drayne reddened, then went deathly white. He hadn't intended
to let the matter go this far.
"Who is your best man for left end, captain?" insisted Mr. Morton.
"You've got to decide like a flash. Your men ought to be out
in the air now."
There was a blank pause, while "Hen" Wadleigh looked around over
"Will you let me play?"
There was a start. Every fellow in the room turned around to
stare at the speaker.
It was Dick Prescott, who started eagerly forward, his face aglow
"You, Prescott?" cried Mr. Morton. "But only yesterday Dr. Bentley
reported that your lungs had not sufficiently recovered."
"I know, sir," Dick laughed coolly; "but that was yesterday.
"It would be foolhardy, my boy. If you went out on the field,
and any exceptional strain came up, you might do an injury to
"Mr. Morton," replied the team's left end, very quietly, "I'm
willing to go out on the field---and do all that's in me, for
old Gridley---if it's the last act of my life."
"Your hand, Prescott!" cried Mr. Morton, gripping the boy's palm.
"That's the right spirit of grit and loyalty. But it wouldn't
be right to let you do it. It isn't necessary, or human, to pay
a life for a game."
"Will you let me go on the field if Dr. Bentley passes me _today_?"
"But he won't."
Mr. Morton nodded, and some one ran out and passed the word for
Dr. Bentley, who acted as medical director in the School's athletics.
Within two minutes the physician entered dressing quarters.
Coach Morton stated Prescott's request.
"Absurd," declared Dr. Bentley.
"Will you examine me, sirs" insisted Prescott.
With a sigh the old physician opened his satchel, taking out a
stethoscope and some other instruments.
"Strip to the waist," he ordered tersely.
Many eager hands stretched out to aid Dick in his task.
In a few moments the young athlete, the upper half of his body
bared, stood before the medical examiner. For his height, weight
and age Prescott was surely a fine picture of physical strength.
But Dr. Bentley, with the air and the preformed bias of a professional
skeptic, went all over the boy's torso, starting with a prolonged
examination of the heart action and its sounds.
"You find the arterial pressure steady and sound, don't you,"
asked Dick Prescott?
"Hm!" muttered Dr. Bentley. "Now, take a full breath and hold it."
Thump! thump! thump! went the doctor's forefinger against the
back of his other hand, as he explored all the regions of Dick's
A dozen more tests followed.
"What do you think, Doctor?" asked Mr. Morton.
"Hm! The young man recovers with great rapidity. If he goes
into a mild game he'll stand it all right. If it turns out to
be a rough game-----"
"Then I'll fare as badly as the rest, won't I, Doctor?" laughed
Dick. "Thank you for passing me, sir. I'll get into my togs
"But I haven't said that I passed you."
Dick, however, feigned not to hear this. He was rushing to his
locker, from which he began to haul the various parts of his rig.
"Is it a crime to let young Prescott go on the field?" asked Coach
"No," replied Dr. Bentley hesitatingly. "It might be a greater
crime to keep him off the gridiron today. Men have been known
to die of grief."
Probably a football player never had more assistance in togging
up for a game. Those who couldn't get in close enough to help
Dick dress growled at the others for keeping them out.
"You seem uneasy, Coach," murmured Captain Wadleigh, aside.
"I can't believe, sir, that a careful man like Dr. Bentley would
let Prescott go on at left end today, if there was good reason
why Prescott shouldn't. As we know, from the past, Dick Prescott
has wonderful powers of recuperation."
"If Prescott should go to pieces, Captain, whom will you put forward
in his places"
"Dalzell, sir. He's speedy, even if not as clever as Prescott
"I'm glad you've been looking ahead, Captain. Out I hope Prescott
will hold out, and suffer no injury whatever from this day's work."
Was Dick anxious? Not the least in the world. He was care
free---jubilant. The Gridley spirit possessed him. He was going
to hold out, and the eleven was going to win its game. That was
all there was to it, or all there could be.
In the first two or three days after his injury at the fire Dick
had traveled briefly in the dark valley of physical despair.
To be crippled or ill, to be physically useless---the thought
filled him with horror.
Then young Prescott had taken a good grip on himself. Out of
despair proceeded determination not to allow his lungs to go down
before the assault of smoke and furnace-like air.
Grace Dodge was not, as yet, well on the way to recovery, but
Dick Prescott, with his strong will power, and the grit that came
of Gridley athletics, was now togging hastily to play in the great
game---though he had not, as yet, returned to school after his
Out near the grandstand the band crashed forth for the tenth time.
Gridley High School bannerets waved by the hundreds. Yet Filmore,
too, had her hosts of boosters here today, and their yells all
but drowned out the spirited music.
"Here come our boys! Gridley! Gridley! Gridley! Wow-ow-ow!"
Then the home boosters, who had read Drayne's name on the score
card took another look at their cards---next rubbed their eyes.
"Prescott at left end!" yelled one frenzied booster. "Whoop!"
Then the Gridley bannerets waved like a surging sea of color.
The band, finishing its strain, started in again, not waiting
"Prescott, after all, on left end!"
Home boosters were still cheering wildly by the time that Captain
Pike, of Filmore High School, had won the toss and the teams were
Silence did not fall until just the instant before the ball was
put in play.
Drayne, with his headgear pulled down over his eyes, and skulking
out beside the grand stand, soon began to feel a savage satisfaction.
Something must be ailing the left end man after all, for Dick
did not seem able to get through the Filmore line with his usual
Instead, after ten minutes of furious play, Filmore forced Gridley
to make a safety. Then again the ball was forced down toward
Gridley's goal line, and at last pushed over.
Gridley hearts, over on the grand stand and bleacher seats, were
beating with painful rapidity. What ailed the home boys? Or
were the Filmore youths, as they themselves fondly imagined, the
gridiron stars of the school world! Filmore, like Gridley, had
a record of no defeats so far this season.
It was a hard pill for Captain Wadleigh and his men to swallow.
In the interval between the halves the local band played, but
the former dash was now noticeably absent from its music.
The Gridley colors drooped.
SULKER AND REAL MAN
Dave Darrin glanced covertly, though anxiously, at his chum.
Was Dick really unfit to play? Dave wondered.
It was not that Prescott had actually failed in any quick bit
of individual or team play that he had been signaled to perform.
But Darrin wondered if Dick could really be anything like up
to the mark.
During the interval Captain Wadleigh went quietly among his men,
murmuring a word of counsel here and there.
Nothing in Wadleigh's face or tone betrayed worry; intense earnestness
alone was stamped on his bearing.
"Now, remember, fellows, don't get a spirit of defense grafted
on you," were Wadleigh's last words before the second half began.
"Remember, its to be a general assault all the time. If you
get on the defensive nothing can save us from losing."
No sooner was the ball in motion than Gridley's line bore down
upon the enemy. So determined was the assault that Filmore found
itself obliged to give ground, stubbornly, for a while. Yet Captain
Pike's men were not made of stuff that is easily whipped. After
the first five minutes Pike's men got the ball and began to drive
it a few yards, and then a few yards more, over into Gridley's
As the minutes slipped by the ball went nearer and nearer to Gridley's
goal line. Another touchdown must soon result.
Twice Pike tried to throw the ball around the left end. Wadleigh,
Hudson, Darrin and Prescott, backed by quarter and left half,
presented such a stubborn block that the ball did not get another
yard clown the field in two plays. But Pike, who was a hammerer,
made a third attempt around that left end. This time he gained
but two feet, and the ball passed to Gridley.
Of course, after having had its left wing so badly haltered Gridley
was bound to try to work the ball through Filmore's right. As
Wadleigh's signals crisped out, the Gridley players threw themselves
out for a play to right.
Quarter received the ball, starting fiercely to the right. Left
half dashed past quarter, receiving the ball and carrying it straight
to Dick Prescott. For a moment this blind succeeded so admirably,
that even those on the grand stand did not see the ball given
to Prescott, but believed that quarter was rushing the ball over
to the right.
Then, like a flash, the trick dawned.
Dick Prescott had the oval, and was running with it like a whirlwind,
with Darrin and Hudson as his interference, and with quarter dashing
close behind them.
Dick sprinted around the first Filmore man, leaving his interference
to sweep the fellows over.
At Filmore's second attempt to tackle, Dick ducked low and escaped.
In the next instant the would-be tackler was bowled over by Darrin
and Hudson, and Dick swept on with the ball.
By this time all the home boosters were on their feet, yelling
like so many Comanches.
Filmore's half and full contrived a trap that caught young Prescott,
and carried him down with the ball---but this happened at Filmore's
In the next play, Dave had the ball, on a short pass, but with
Dick dashing along close to his side, and Hudson on the other
flank. Before Darrin went down on the ball it had been carried
to Filmore's thirty-yard line. Then it went beyond the twenty-five-yard
line, and Gridley still carried the pigskin.
"Dick's coming up, all right," proudly muttered Darrin to Hudson,
while the next snapback was forming.
"It's putting nerve into all of us," rejoined Hudson.
The pigskin was only fourteen yards from the Filmore goal line
when Captain Wadleigh's men had to see the ball go to Filmore.
Pike's men, however, failed to make good on downs, so the oval
came back into Wadleigh's possession.
Now, the play was swift and brilliant. Dick got the ball around
the left end once, and afterwards assisted Dave to put it through
the hostile line. With the third play Dick carried the pigskin
barely across Filmore's goal line and scored a touchdown. Darrin
immediately after made a kick for goal.
The score now stood eight to six for Filmore but only ten minutes
of playing time remained.
"Our fellows have saved a whitewash, and that's all," reflected
Drayne. "They'd have done better with me, and I guess Wadleigh
knows it by this time."
"Slug's the word," Pike passed around, swiftly. "No fouling,
but use your weight, dash and speed. Slam these Gridley rubes.
"Come on, now Gridley!" rang the imploring request from the home
boosters, who were now too restless to keep to their seats.
"Remember your record so far this season!"
"Forceful playing, but keep cool. Use your Judgment to the last,
and put a lot of speed and doggedness behind your science," was
Those who followed form most close, now had their eyes on young
If he went to pieces that would leave Gridley weak at what had
usually been its strongest point, especially in attack.
And Gridley had the ball again. But what ailed Captain Wadleigh,
the boosters wondered? For he was now sending the ball to the
right wing, as if admitting that Prescott must not be worked too
"Use Prescott!" shouted one man hoarsely.
"Yah! Dot's all right. Vot you t'ink Wadleigh has ein head for'
Leafe him und Bresgott alone, and dey hand you der game a minute
in!" bawled the deep bass voice of Herr Schimmelpodt who, nearly
alone of the Gridley boosters, believed that the home team needed
no grand stand coaching.
"But they've only eight minutes left," grumbled the man sitting
to the left of Herr Schimmelpodt.
"Yah! Dot's all right, too," retorted the German. "Battles haf
been won in less than eight minutes. Read history!"
In two plays Captain Wadleigh had succeeded in advancing the pigskin
less than two yards down the Filmore territory.
But now hats were thrown up in the air, and frantic yells resounded
when it was discovered that Dick had the ball again, and that
Darrin, Hudson, Wadleigh, quarter and left half were fighting
valiantly to push him through the stubborn, panting line of Filmore
It was a splendid fight, but a losing one. Filmore was massing all
its weight, wind and brawn, and Gridley lost the ball on downs.
An involuntary groan went up from the Gridley spectators.
Five and a half minutes left, and the ball in the enemy's hands!
That settled the game.
The musicians looked at their leader, before taking the music
from their instrument racks.
"Keep your music on," called the leader. "We of Gridley are sportsmen
enough to play the victors off the field."
The play was quicker and snappier than ever. All the young men
on both sides were using their last reserves of strength and wind.
Pike was making a ferocious effort to get the ball back and over
Gridley's goal line.
But Pike lost, after three plays, and Wadleigh's men again grabbed
"Barely two minutes!" groaned the Gridley spectators, watches
Dick was seen glancing at Wadleigh and shaking his head almost
imperceptibly. But a hundred people on the grand stand saw that
tiny shake, and, most of all, Pike took it in.
Wadleigh, before bending low over the ball held up thumb and forefinger
of his right hand, formed in a circle, for a brief instant. That
"Emergency signal code!"
Then he bent over to snap the ball back, and the figures that
shot from quarter-back's chest carried different values from those
that any enemy could guess.
Then the ball went back to quarter, who started from a crouch
without straightening up.
Gridley's whole attack seemed to swing to the right. Wadleigh,
himself, from half-facing to right, took a long step toward right
wing; then wheeled like a flash, and went plowing, onward, to the
Quarter, after the start, and ere Filmore could break through,
had passed the ball to half, who, on a wild sprint, had passed
it to Dick Prescott.
And now Dick was racing out around Filmore's right end, backed by
a crushing interference of which Wadleigh was the center. Darrin,
with head high, was watching for every chance at legitimate
interference. Behind them all, quarter and left half pounded and
An instant and Dick was free and around Filmore's end. Now, he
dashed into the race of his life!
Wadleigh sent a man sprawling. Dave's elbow did something to
Filmore's right tackle. Just what it was none of the spectators
could see. But none of the field officials interfered so it must
have been legitimate.
After a fight and a short, brilliant run, Dick was tackled by
One quivering instant---then Wadleigh and Hudson bumped that fullback
so hard that he went down, Dick wriggling safely away and bounding
toward Filmore's goal.
With fire in their eyes, Gridley's center and left wing swept on.
Dick Prescott was over the goal line, bending and holding the
ball down! Then, indeed, the crowd broke loose all except the
few hundreds from Filmore.
Was it a touchdown? That was the question that all asked themselves.
It was so close to the line that many onlookers were in doubt,
and stood staring with all their eyes.
But the ball went back for the kick, and that settled all doubts.
Dave made the kick, and lost it---but who cared?
A moment later and the whistle blew---the second half was over---the
Filmore had bitten the dust to the song of eleven to eight.
Dick's tiny head shake had been a piece of strategy prearranged
with Wadleigh. It was a legitimate ruse, as honest as any other
piece of football strategy intended to throw the enemy "off".
Now the band was indeed thundering out, playing in its best strain.
All restraint thrown aside, the spectators surged over the lines
and out on the gridiron, making a rush for the heated but happy
The record had been kept---a season without a game lost. Filmore
swallowed its chagrin and went home.
Dick? He had helped nobly to save the game and the record, but
now he was exhausted.
Over in dressing quarters two of the subs were rubbing him down,
while Dr. Bentley and Coach Morton stood anxiously by.
After a few days Prescott was back at school. It was noted, however,
that he did not take any part in gym. work, and that he spoke
even more quietly than usual, but he kept up in his recitations.
Youth is the period of quick recovery. That the Thanksgiving
Day game had strained the young left end there was no doubt.
Within a fortnight, however, Prescott was himself again, taking
his gym. work, and a cross-country run three times a week.
"We ought to give Drayne the school cut," hinted Grayson. "He
behaved in an abominable way right at the beginning of the critical
game. He's a traitor."
"Give Drayne the cut?" repeated Wadleigh, slowly, before a group
of the fellows. "Perhaps, in one way, he deserved it, but-----"
"Well, what can you find to say for a fellow who acted like that?"
demanded Hudson, impatiently.
"Drayne helped to win the game for us," replied Wadleigh moderately.
"Had he played Filmore would have downed us---of that I'm sure,
as I look back. Drayne's conduct put Prescott on the gridiron,
didn't it? That was what saved the score for us."
At the time of Grace Dodge's great peril, her banker father had
been away on a business trip. It was two days later when word
was finally gotten to the startled parent. Then, by wire, Theodore
Dodge learned that Grace's condition was all right, needing only
care and time. So he did not hasten back on that account.
When he did return to Gridley, Mr. Dodge hunted up Lawyer Ripley.
"I must reward those boys, and handsomely," he explained to the
lawyer. "Their splendid conduct demands it."
"I am sorry, Dodge, that you have been so long in coming to such
a conclusion," replied the lawyer, almost coldly.
"What do you mean?"
"Why, you still owe Prescott and Darrin that thousand dollars
offered by your family as a reward for finding you when your
"But my son, Bert------"
"Is the bitter enemy of young Prescott, who is one of the manliest
young fellows ever reared in Gridley."
"But my wife has also opposed my paying the reward," argued Mr.
Dodge. "She declares that the two boys were out on a jaunt and
just stumbled upon me."
"Your wife, like all good mothers, is much inclined to take the
part of her own son," rejoined Lawyer Ripley. "However, at the
time Prescott and Darrin found you, they were not out on a jaunt.
They were serving 'The Blade,' and I happen to know that the
young men did some remarkably good detective work in trailing
and rescuing you. They started fair and even with the police,
but they beat the police at the latter's own game. Dodge, by
every consideration of right and justice, you owe that reward
to Prescott and Darrin! If they had not found and rescued you,
you might not be here today. There is no telling what might have
happened to you had you been left helpless less in the custody
of the pair of scoundrels who had you in that shack. I repeat
that you owe that thousand dollars as fairly as you ever owed
a penny in your life"
"Well, then, I'll pay it," assented Theodore
Dodge reluctantly, after some hesitation. "I am afraid my wife
will oppose it, however."
"You can tell Mrs. Dodge just what I've said, or I'll tell her,
if you prefer."
"Will you attend, Ripley, to rewarding all the boys for their
gallant conduct in rescuing my daughter."
"Yes; if you'll leave the matter wholly in my hands, and agree
not to interfere"
Theodore Dodge agreed to this, and Lawyer Ripley went ahead.
The legal gentleman, however had a more difficult time than he
had expected. It took a lot of argument, and more than one meeting,
to make Dick & Co. agree to accept anything whatever.
It was at last settled, however, Mr. Ripley urging upon the young
men that they had no right to slight their own future prospects
or education by refusing to "lay by" money to which they were
honestly entitled, when it cane in the form of an earned reward
from a citizen amply able to pay the reward.
So Dick and Dave received that thousand dollars, which, of course,
they divided evenly.
In addition, each member of Dick & Co. received one hundred dollars
for his prompt and gallant work in rescuing Grace Dodge from death.
Of course Bert, away at private school with Bayliss, heard all
about the rescue. It is not a matter of record, however, that
Bert ever wrote a letter thanking any member of Dick & Co. for
saving his sister.
When the next commencement swung around Fred Ripley, who had managed
to "go straight" all through his senior year, was among those
graduated. What became of him will yet be learned by our readers
in another volume.
There are a host of other Gridley fellows also to be accounted
Their part in the subsequent history of Gridley, and of the world
in general, will also yet be told, all in the proper place.
"Prin.," too, may yet come in for some attention.
Dick & Co. did not take part in basket ball nor any of the organized
winter athletics though they kept constantly in training. But
these young men realized that the High School is, first of all,
a place for academic training; so, after the football season had
ended so gloriously, they went back to their books with renewed
Laura and Belle, as they neared the end of their junior year,
went almost from girlhood into womanhood, as is the way with girls.
Yet neither Miss Meade nor Miss Bentley found Dick or Dave "too
young" for their frank, girlish admiration.
"You see, Dick, that we were quite right about you and Dave having
all the grit that goes with the highest needs of the military
profession," Laura remarked. "Your conduct at the fire shows
the stuff that would be displayed by Dick & Co. in leading a charge
in battle, if need be."
"I guess a reasonable amount of courage, under stress, is the
possession of nearly all members of the human race," laughed young
Here we shall leave our Gridley friends for a short time. We
shall meet them all again, however, in the forthcoming and final
volume of this series, which will be published under the title:
"_The High School Captain of the Team; Or, Dick & Co. Leading
the Athletic Vanguard_."
In this new volume we shall see more of the boys' qualities in
Before we meet our popular boys in high school again the reader
will find the long succession of wonderful events of their summer
vacation following their junior year in the last two volumes of
the "_High School Boys' Vacation Series_", which are published
under the titles, "_The High School Boys' Fishing Trip; Or, Dick
& Co. in the Wilderness_," and "_The High School Boys Training
Hike; Or, Making Themselves 'Hard as Nails.'_"
These two narratives of a real vacation of real American boys
are bound to please the many friends of Dick & Co. Be sure to