Part 2 out of 4
The sophomores had captured four more freshmen, and marched all of
the crowd down to the river front, when the band under Dick, sixteen
strong, appeared. The latter came on yelling like Indians, and
flourishing their sections of hose, and sticks and other things.
"Let 'em go! Let 'em go!" was the rallying cry, and then whack! whack!
whack! down came the rubber clubs and the sticks on the backs of the
"Fight 'em off!" came from the sophomores.
"Chase 'em away!" yelled Dudd Flockley; but hardly had he spoken when
Max discharged the squirtgun, and the water took Flockley in the eye,
causing him to yell with fright and retreat. Then Max turned the gun
on Larkspur, soaking the latter pretty thoroughly.
Attacked from the rear, the sophomores had to let go their holds on
their victims, and as soon as they were released Sam, Songbird and the
others ran to the right and the left and joined the force under Dick.
All told, the freshmen now numbered twenty-three, while the sophomores
could count up but fourteen. The second-year students were hemmed in
and gradually forced nearer and nearer to the bank of the river.
"Let up! let up!" yelled several in alarm. "Don't knock us overboard!"
"It's nothing but mud here! I don't want my new suit spoiled!" cried
"I can't swim!" added another.
"I've got an idea," whispered Tom to the others near him. "Shove 'em
in the mud and water, or else make 'em promise not to take part in the
"That's the talk!" replied Dick. He caught hold of the sophomore in
front of him. "All shove, fellows!" And the second-year students were
gradually forced to the very edge of the river at a point where there
was a little water and a good deal of dark, sticky mud. Of course
they fought desperately to push the freshmen back, but they were
outnumbered, as already told.
"Now, then, every fellow who will promise not to take part in the
necktie rush Monday will be allowed to go free," said Dick loudly.
"The others must take their ducking in the water--and mud."
"Let me go!" roared Dudd Flockley. "I'm not going to have this suit
"I don't want to get these patent leathers wet!" cried Jerry Koswell,
who had on a new pair of shiny shoes.
"Then promise!" cried Sam, and "Promise!" "Promise!" came from many
Without delay several of the sophomores promised, and they were
allowed to depart. Then the others began to show fight, and three
managed to escape, among them being Dudd Flockley. The others were
forced into the water and mud up to their knees. Then they cried out
in alarm, and while two finally escaped, the others also promised to
keep out of the necktie contest.
"Just wait!" snarled Jerry Koswell as he at last managed to pull
himself out of the sticky mud. "Just wait, that's all!" His
patent-leather shoes were a sight to behold.
"Not so much fun when you are hazed yourself, is it?" asked Sam
"We'll give it to 'em yet," put in Bart Larkspur. "Lots of time
between now and the closing of the term." And then he and Koswell ran
off to join Dudd Flockley. The three went to their rooms and cleaned
up as best they could, and then took a walk down the road in the
direction of Rushville.
"It was that Dick Rover who led the attack," said Dudd Flockley. "Do
you know what I think? I think he is going to try to make himself
leader of the freshies."
"Just what I thought, too," answered Larkspur. "And if that's the fact
we ought to do all we can to pull him down."
"Tom Rover is the fellow I am going to get after," came from Jerry
Koswell. He had not forgotten how Tom and Sam had sent him to the
floor in the presence of Minnie Sanderson.
The three students walked a distance of half a mile when they saw
approaching them a trampish-looking man carrying what looked to be a
new dress-suit case. They looked at the fellow rather sharply and he
halted as he came up to them.
"Excuse me," he mumbled, "but did any of you gents lose this case?"
"Why, it must be Rover's case!" cried Flockley. Nearly every one in
the college had heard about the missing baggage.
"I found it in the bushes alongside the road," went on the tramp.
"Thought it might belong to some of the college gents."
"Let me look at it," said Koswell, and turned the case around. "Yes,
it's Rover's," he added, seeing the initials and the address.
"Better take it up to the college," put in Larkspur.
"Wait, I'll take it up," said Jerry Koswell suddenly. "This belongs to
a poor chap," he added to the tramp. "He won't be able to reward you,
but I will. Here's a quarter for you." And he passed over the silver
"Much obliged," said the tramp. "Want me to carry it up to the
"No, I'll do that," said Koswell, and then he winked at his cronies.
The tramp went on and the three watched him disappear in the distance.
"What did you do that for, Jerry?" asked Flockley with interest. He
surmised that something new was afoot.
"Oh, I did it for the fun of the thing," answered Koswell coolly. "But
maybe I can work it in somehow against that Rover bunch. Anyway, I'll
THE COLORS CONTEST
The next morning Tom was much surprised to find his missing dress-suit
case standing in front of his room door.
"Hello! How did this get here?" he cried as he picked up the baggage.
"What's that?" asked Sam, who was just getting up.
"Look!" answered his brother, and brought the case in. "Somebody must
have found it and left it here while I was asleep."
"Very kind, whoever he was," said Sam. "Are the contents all right?"
Instead of answering Tom placed the suit case on a chair and started
to unlock it.
"Hello, it's unlocked!" he murmured. "I thought I had it locked."
He shoved back the clasps and threw the case open. The contents were
much jumbled, but he had expected this from the fact that the bag had
been jounced out of the carriage.
"I guess the stuff is all here," he said slowly, turning over the
clothing and other things. "Somehow, I thought I had more in the case,
though," he added presently.
"Don't you know what you had?"
"Well--er--I packed it in a hurry, you know. I wanted to go fishing,
and so I got through as soon as I could. Oh, I guess it's all right."
Tom was too lively a youth to pay much attention to his personal
belongings. Often he hardly knew what suit of clothing he had on or
what sort of a necktie. The only times he really fixed up was when
Nellie Laning was near. Why he did that only himself (and possibly
Sunday passed quietly. Some of the boys attended one or another of the
churches in Ashton, and the Rovers went with them. Dudd Flockley and
his cronies took a walk up the river, and reaching a warm, sunny spot,
threw themselves down to smoke cigarettes and talk.
"Well, what did you do about the dress-suit case, Jerry?" asked
Flockley with a sharp look at his crony.
"Returned it, as you know," was the answer, and Jerry winked
"I'd have flung the bag in the river before I would give it to such a
chap as Tom Rover," growled Larkspur.
"You trust me, Larky, old boy," answered Jerry Koswell. "I know what
"I said I returned the case, but I didn't say I returned all that was
"What do you mean by that?" demanded Flockley. "If you've got a
secret, out with it."
Koswell looked around to make certain that no outsider was near.
"I kept a few things out of the bag--some things that had Tom Rover's
name or his initials on them."
"And you are going to--" went on Flockley.
"I am going to use 'em some day, when I get the chance."
"Good!" cried Flockley. "I'll help you, Jerry!"
"And so will I," added Larkspur. "If we work it right we can get Tom
Rover in a peck of trouble."
On Monday morning the college term opened in earnest, and once again
the Rovers had to get down to the "grind," as Sam expressed it. But
the boys had had a long vacation and were in the best of health, and
they did not mind the studying.
"Got to have a good education if you want to get along nowadays," was
the way Dick expressed himself. "If you don't learn you are bound
to be at the mercy of anybody who wants to take advantage of your
"Dick, what are you going to do when you get out of college?" asked
"I don't know--go into business, I imagine."
"Oh, he'll marry and settle down," chimed in Sam. "He and Dora will
live in an ivy-covered cottage like two turtle doves, and--"
Sam got no further, for a pillow thrown by Dick caught him full in the
face and made him stagger.
"Sam is thinking of what he and Grace are going to do," said Dick.
"And you and Nellie will likely have a cottage across the way," he
added, grinning at Tom.
"Really!" murmured Tom, and got as red as a beet. "Say, call it off,"
he added. "Do you know we have the necktie rush this afternoon?"
"It won't amount to much," answered Sam. "Too many sophs out of it."
"Don't you believe it," said Dick. "Remember, the juniors come into
this as well as the sophs."
"Say, I've thought of a plan!" cried Tom. "Greatest ever! I'm going to
patent it!" And he commenced to dance around in his excitement.
"What's loose?" asked Songbird, coming up at that moment, followed by
some others. "Tom, have you got a pain in your inwards?"
"No, an idea--it's about the same thing," responded Tom gaily. "We
want to get the best of the second and third-year fellows during the
necktie rush, and I think I know how we can do it. We'll all sew our
For a moment there was silence, and then, as the others caught the
idea, they commenced to laugh.
"That's it!" cried Sam. "I'll sew mine as tight as a drum!"
"I'll rivet mine on, if that will do any good," added Dick.
"Sure thing!" came from Songbird, and he commenced to recite:
"Oh, the sophs and the juniors will try
To steal from the freshies each tie;
But they will not win,
For we'll fight them like sin--"
"And bust 'em right plumb in the eye!"
finished Tom. "Oh, say, but will you all sew your neckties fast?"
"And we'll tell the rest to do so, too," added another freshman who
The news soon circulated, and was kept from all but the first-year
It must be confessed that many of the students found it hard to fix
their minds on their lessons that afternoon. One boy, Max Spangler,
brought on a great laugh when the following question was put to him:
"What great improvement in navigation did Fulton introduce?"
"Neckties," answered Max abstractedly.
"Neckties?" queried the instructor in astonishment.
"I--er--I don't mean neckties," stammered the German-American student,
"I mean steamboats."
When the afternoon session was over the students hurried to their
various rooms. The sophomores and the juniors who were to take part
in the contest talked matters over, and as far as possible laid out a
plan of action. It was decided that the largest and heaviest of the
second and third-year students were to tackle the smallest freshmen
first, while the others were to hold the rest of the first-year men at
"We'll get fifteen or twenty neckties first clip that way," said one
of the sophomores, "and it doesn't matter who we get them from. A
little chap's tie counts as much as that of a two-hundred pounder."
In the meantime the freshmen were busy following Tom's advice and
sewing their ties fast to their collars, shirts, and even their
undershirts. Then Dick, who had, unconsciously almost, become a
leader, called the boys into an empty recitation-room.
"Now, I've got a plan," said he. "We want to bunch up, and all the
little fellows and lightweights get in the center. The heavy fellows
can take the outside and fight the others off. Understand?"
"That's a good idea!"
"Forward to the fray!" yelled Stanley, "and woe be to him who tries to
get my tie! His blood be on his own head!" he added tragically.
"Forward!" cried Sam, "and let our watchword be, 'Die, but no tie!'"
"Now don't get excited," said Dick. "Take it coolly, and I'm certain
that when the time is up we'll have the most of our ties still on."
It was the custom to go out on the campus at a given time, and when
the chapel bell sounded out the hour Dick led the freshmen forward.
They came out of a side door in a body and formed around the flagstaff
almost before the sophomores and juniors knew they had appeared.
The seniors took no part, but three had been "told off" to act as
referees, and they stood around as if inspecting the buildings and the
scenery. The instructors, who also knew what was coming, wisely kept
out of sight.
"Come on, and at 'em!" called out Dudd Flockley, and this cry was
quickly taken up by all the others who were to take part in the
"Hello! They know a thing or two," said Frank Holden, who was the
sophomore leader in the attack. "They've got the little fellows in the
As tightly as possible the freshmen gathered around the flagstaff.
Each wore a necktie of the college colors and it was fastened as
tightly as strong thread could hold it.
"At 'em!" was the yell of the second and third-year lads. "Tear 'em
apart! Pull the ties from 'em!"
And then they leaped in at the big freshmen, and on the instant a
battle royal was started. Down went four boys on the campus, rolling
over and over. Others caught each other by the hands and shoulders and
Dick and Tom were in the front rank, with Sam directly behind them.
Dick was caught by Frank Holden, and the two wrestled with might and
main. Frank was big and strong, but Dick managed to hold him so that
all the sophomore leader could do was to get his finger tips on the
Flockley tackled Tom, and much to his surprise was tripped up and sent
flat on his back. Mad with sudden rage, Flockley scrambled up and let
out a savage kick for Tom's stomach. But Tom was too quick for the
sophomore, and leaped to one side.
"Foul!" cried Tom.
"Don't do that again!" called one of the seniors to Dudd. "If you do
you'll be ruled out." Kicking and punching were prohibited by the
rules. All the boys could do was to wrestle and throw each other, and
either try to pull the neckties away or hold on to them.
On and on the battle waged, each minute growing hotter. Many of the
students were almost winded, and felt that they could not endure
the struggle much longer. Dick, Tom and Sam managed to keep their
neckties, although Sam's was torn loose by two sophomores who held him
as in a vise until Stanley came to his assistance. When the time was
half up eleven neckties had been captured--two of them almost torn to
"At 'em!" yelled Frank Holden. "We haven't begun yet!"
"Hold 'em back!" was Dick's rallying answer. "Don't let 'em get near
the little fellows!"
Again the contest raged, and this time with increased bitterness. In
the melee some few blows were exchanged, but it must be admitted that
one side was about as much to blame for this as the other. Three
additional neckties were captured, making fourteen in all. As
thirty-seven freshmen were in the contest, the sophomores and juniors
had to capture five more neckties to win.
"Only three minutes more!" sang out one student, looking at his watch.
"At 'em! Rip 'em apart!"
"Three minutes more!" yelled Dick. "Hold 'em back and we'll win!"
The enemy fought with increased fury, and one more necktie was
taken--the collar and collar band coming with it. But then of a sudden
the chapel bell tolled out the hour.
"Time's up!" was the cry.
"And we win!" came from a score of freshmen in huge delight.
"Look out! Look out!" cried several small youths in the center of the
Crack! It was the flagstaff, and all looked in that direction. The
pole, old and decayed, was falling. It looked as if it would crush all
who stood in its path.
TOM IN TROUBLE
"Look out, the flagpole is coming down!"
"Stand from under, or you'll be killed!"
Crack! came from the pole, and now many saw that it was breaking off
close to the ground. Some of the students had clung to it during the
contest, and the strain had been too much for the stick, which was
much rotted just where it entered the ground.
Those on the outside of the crowd ran away with ease, but not so those
who were hemmed in. Two of the smallest of the freshmen, Billy Dean
and Charley Atwood, could not move fast enough, and one fell over the
other, and both went down.
"Save me!" gasped one of the lads.
"Don't let the pole come down on me!" screamed the other.
The flagstaff was falling swiftly, and Dick and many others saw that
it would fall directly across Dean and Atwood unless its progress was
"Hold it up! Hold it up!" yelled Dick. "Hold it up, or they'll be
He put up his hands to meet the pole, which was coming down across
the front of the campus. Tom did likewise, and so did Frank Holden,
Stanley Brown, and several others, including an extra tall and
It was a heavy weight, and for the moment the boys under it thought
they would have to let it go. Over came the pole, and when it rested
on the boys' hands the top overbalanced the bottom and struck the
ground, sending the lower end into the air. As this happened Billy
Dean and Charley Atwood were hauled out of harm's way. Then the pole
was dropped to the campus with a thud.
For several seconds all who stood near were too dazed to speak. Then
a cheer arose for those who had held the flagstaff up long enough for
the small youths to be rescued.
"Say, that was a close shave!" exclaimed Sam, He, like a good many
others, was quite pale.
"It was indeed," said a senior who had come up. "The fellows who held
the pole up deserve a good deal of credit."
"Dick Rover suggested it," said Songbird, "Good for you, Dick!" he
The falling of the flagstaff sobered the whole party of students, yet
the freshmen were jubilant over the fact that they had won in the
"And we'll wear the colors this term," cried Tom proudly.
"So we will!" called out others in a chorus. "We'll wear 'em good and
strong, too!" And they did. The very next day some of the lads came
out with neckties twice the ordinary size, and with hat bands several
inches wide, all, of course, in the Brill colors.
Billy Dean and Charley Atwood were much affected by what had occurred,
and quickly retired from the scene. But later both of the small
students thanked Dick and the others for what had been done for them.
The broken flagstaff was hauled away by the laborers of the place, and
inside of a week a new pole, much larger than the old one, and set in
concrete, was put up.
For several days after the contest over the colors matters ran along
smoothly at Brill. The Rover boys made many more friends, and because
of his work during the necktie rush Dick was chosen as the leader of
the freshmen's class.
"On Friday I am going to fix Tom Rover," said Jerry Koswell to Dudd
Flockley. "Just wait and see what I do--and keep your mouth shut."
"I'll keep my mouth shut right enough," answered Dudd, "but what's in
"I'm going to pay off Professor Sharp for some of his meanness--and
pay off Tom Rover at the same time."
"Give me a map of the proceedings. I'm too tired to guess riddles,
"Well, you know how Sharp called me down to-day in English?"
"Well, I've learned that he just received a new photograph of some
lady--I think his best girl. He has it on the mantle in his room. I'm
going to doctor that picture, and I'm going to lay the blame on Tom
"How will you do it?"
"By using something I got out of Rover's dress-suit case."
"Oh, I see!"
"Sharp will suspect Rover at once, because he and Rover had a few
"Good! I hope he catches it well--Rover, I mean," answered Dudd
Saturday was more or less of a holiday at Brill, and the three Rover
boys planned to go to town. Incidentally, they wished to learn if Dora
Stanhope and the Laning girls had as yet arrived at Hope Seminary.
They had received no letters from the girls since coming to Brill, and
were growing anxious.
Tom was dressing to go to town when there came a knock on his door,
and one of the proctors presented himself.
"Thomas Rover, you are wanted at the office immediately," said the
"What for?" asked Tom.
"Don't ask me, ask Professor Sharp," answered the proctor, and looked
at Tom keenly.
Wondering what could be the matter, Tom finished dressing, and in a
few minutes presented himself at the office. President Wallington and
Professor Sharp were both waiting for him.
"So you've come at last, have you, you young rascal!" cried Abner
Sharp angrily. "How dare you do such an outrageous thing?"
"Gently, professor," remonstrated the president of Brill. "You are not
"Oh, he did it, I am sure of it!" spluttered Professor Sharp. "I
declare I ought to have him locked up!"
"Did what?" demanded Tom, who was much mystified by what was going on.
"You know well enough, you young reprobate!" stormed the instructor.
"See here, Professor Sharp, I'm neither a rascal nor a reprobate, and
I don't want you to call me such!" cried Tom, growing angry himself.
"You are, and I will have you to understand--"
"I am not, and if you call me bad names again I'll--I'll--knock you
down!" And Tom doubled up his fists as he spoke.
"Rover, be quiet!" exclaimed Doctor Wallington, so sternly that both
Tom and Professor Sharp subsided. "I'll have no scene in this office.
You must behave yourself like a gentleman while you are here.
Professor, you must not call a student hard names."
"But this outrage, sir!" spluttered the instructor.
"We'll soon know the truth of the matter."
"I'd like to know what you are talking about," said Tom. "I haven't
committed any outrage, so far as I know."
"Didn't you do this?" cried Abner Sharp, and thrust under Tom's nose
a photograph of large size. The picture had once represented a fairly
good-looking female of perhaps thirty years of age, but now the hair
was colored a fiery red, and the end of the nose was of the same hue
while in one corner of the dainty mouth was represented a big cigar,
with the smoke curling upward. Under the photograph was scrawled in
blue crayon, "Ain't she my darling?'"
The representation struck Tom as so comical that he was compelled to
laugh outright; he simply couldn't help it. It was just such a joke
as he might have played years before, perhaps on old Josiah Crabtree,
when at Putnam Hall.
"Ha! So you are even willing to laugh in my face, are you!" almost
screamed Abner Sharp, and rushing at Tom he caught the youth and shook
him roughly. "Do you--er--know that this lady is my--my affianced
"Let me go!" cried Tom, and shook himself loose. "Excuse me, sir. I
know I hadn't ought to laugh, but it looks so--so awfully funny!" And
Tom had to grin again.
"Rover!" broke in the president of Brill sternly, "aren't you ashamed
to do such a thing as this?"
"Why--er--what do you mean, sir?"
"Just what I said."
"Oh!" A light began to break in on the fun-loving Rover's mind. "Do
you think I did this?"
"Of course he did!" fumed Professor Sharp. "And now he is willing to
laugh over his dastardly work!"
"I didn't do it, sir," said Tom firmly.
"You are certain?" It was the head of the college who asked the
"Yes, sir. I never saw that picture before."
"But I have the proof against you!" fairly shouted Abner Sharp. "It is
useless for you to deny your guilt."
"I say I am not guilty."
"Isn't this your box, Rover?"
As Professor Sharp uttered these words he brought to light a German
silver case which Tom had picked up in a curiosity shop in New York.
The case had his name engraved on it, and contained pencils, crayons,
and other things for drawing.
"Where did you get that?" demanded the youth.
"Never mind where I got it. Isn't it yours?"
"Ha! Do you hear that, Doctor Wallington?" cried Abner Sharp in
triumph. "He admits the outfit is his!"
"So I see," said the president of Brill, and if anything his face
grew a trifle more stern. "Then you admit your guilt, Rover?" he
"What! That I defaced the photograph?"
"No, sir! Didn't I say I had never seen the picture before?"
"This photograph was in Professor Sharp's room, on the mantel. The
room was locked up, and the professor carried the key. This box was
found on the table, beside some books. You had some difficulty with
the professor a day or two ago in the classroom."
"I didn't touch the picture, and I haven't been near Professor Sharp's
room," answered Tom stoutly. "If I was there, would I be fool enough
to leave that box behind, with my name engraved on it? And if the door
was locked how would I get in?"
"Did you lend the box to anybody?"
"No. The fact is, I--er--I thought I had left the box home. I--Oh!"
"I think maybe the box was in my dress-suit case, the case I lost. But
it wasn't in the case when it was left at my door that morning."
"Oh, nonsense!" muttered Professor Sharp. "He is guilty, sir, and he
might as well own up to it first as last."
"I have told the strict truth!" cried Tom hotly. "I am not in the
habit of telling falsehoods."
"Have you any other proof against Rover, Professor Sharp?"
"Not now, but I may be able to pick up more later."
"Hum! This is certainly a serious matter. Rover, you will go to your
room and remain there until I send for you again."
"Can't I go down to town?" asked Tom.
"Not for the present. I intend to get to the bottom of this affair,
if I possibly can. If you are innocent you shall not suffer. But at
present it looks to me as if you were guilty. You may go."
"Not another word at present. I have other matters to attend to. I
shall call on you later. But remain in your room until I send somebody
An angry answer arose to Tom's lips, but he checked it. In the college
Doctor Wellington's word was law, and he knew he would only make
matters worse by attempting to argue. With a heavy heart he turned,
gazed coldly at Professor Sharp, and left the office.
SONGBIRD MAKES A DISCOVERY
"It's all up with me," said Tom to his brothers when he met them in
the hall. "I can't go to town."
"Why not?" asked Sam.
"Got to remain in my room until Doctor Wallington sends for me."
"What have you been doing, Tom?" came from Dick.
"Nothing." And then Tom told of what had occurred in the office. His
brothers listened with much interest.
"This is the work of some enemy," said Sam quickly.
"And the one who got hold of the dress-suit case," added Dick. "Tom,
do you suspect any one?"
"Only in a general way--Koswell, Flockley, Larkspur, and that crowd."
"It's too bad."
"Say, but that picture was a sight!" cried the fun-loving Rover, and
gunned broadly. "No wonder old Sharp was mad. I'd be mad myself,
especially if it was a photo of my best girl."
"I hope the doctor doesn't keep you in the room all day," said Sam.
"You and Dick might as well go to town without me," returned Tom with
a sigh that he endeavored to suppress. "Your staying here won't do me
"What will you do?"
"Oh, read or study. It will give me a chance to catch up in my Latin.
I was a bit rocky in that yesterday. I can bone away until the
president sends a special message for me."
"Want us to get anything for you?" questioned Dick.
"Yes, a good fat letter from--well, a fat letter, that's all."
"Postmarked Cedarville, and in Nellie Laning's handwriting," came from
"I didn't know they postmarked letters in handwriting," answered Tom
"Oh, you know what I mean."
"Sure, Sam, for I know you're looking for a letter, too. Well, run
along, children, and play," said Tom, and a minute later Sam and Dick
set off for Ashton.
Tom did not feel as lighthearted as his words would seem to indicate.
He knew that the charge against him was a serious one, and he saw no
way of clearing himself. The finding of the box with his name on it
seemed to be proof positive against him.
"No use of talking, the minute I get to school I seem to get into
trouble," he soliloquized. "Wonder if they'll put me in a cell, like
old Crabtree did at Putnam Hall? If they do I'll raise a kick, sure as
eggs are unhatched chickens!"
Tom sat down to study, but he could not fix his mind on his lessons.
Then he heard somebody come along the hallway and turn into the next
"Must be Songbird, or else one of the servants," he thought. "Guess
I'll take a look." If it was Songbird, he could chat with his friend
for a while.
He went to the next room. As he opened the door he saw Songbird, with
his back toward him. The so-styled poet was waving his arms in the air
"The weeping winds were whispering through the wood,
The rolling rill ran 'round the ragged rock;
The shepherd, with his sunny, smiling face,
Was far away to feed his flitting flock.
Deep in the dingle, dank and dark--"
"I thought I heard an old crow bark!"
finished Tom. "Say, Songbird, how much is that poetry by the yard--or
do you sell it by the ton?" he went on.
At the sound of Tom's voice the would-be poet gave a start. But he
quickly recovered. He scowled for a moment and then took on a look of
"You've spoiled one of the best thoughts I ever had," he said.
"Don't you believe it, Songbird," answered Tom. "I've heard you make
up poetry worth ten times that. Don't you remember that little sonnet
you once composed, entitled 'Who Put Ink in Willie's Shoes?' It was
great, grand, sublime!"
"I never wrote such a sonnet!" cried Songbird. "Ink in shoes, indeed!
Tom, you don't know real poetry when you see it!"
"That's a fact, I don't. But, say, what's on the carpet, as the iceman
said to the thrush?"
"Nothing. I thought I'd write a few verses, that's all. Thought you
were going to town with Sam and Dick?"
"Can't." And once again Tom had to tell his story. He had not yet
finished when Songbird gave an exclamation.
"It fits in!" he cried.
"Fits in? What?" asked Tom.
"What I heard a while ago."
"What did you hear?"
"Heard Flockley, Koswell and Larkspur talking together. Koswell said
he had fixed you, and that you were having a bad half hour with the
"Where was this?"
"In the library. I was in an alcove, and they didn't see me. I was
busy reading some poetry by Longfellow--fine thing--went like this--"
"Never mind. Chop out the poetry now, Songbird. What more did they
"Nothing. They walked away, and I--er--I got so interested in making
up verses I forgot all about it until now."
"I wish you had heard more. Do you know where they went to?"
"No, but I can look around if you want me to."
"I wish very much that you would. I can't leave, or I'd go myself."
A few more words followed, and then Songbird went off to hunt up the
Flockley crowd. On the campus he met Max Spangler.
"Yes, I saw them," said the German-American student in answer to a
question. "They are down along the river, just above the boathouse."
"I'll show you if you want me to," went on Max.
"You might come along, if you have nothing else to do," answered
The two walked toward the river, and after a few minutes espied
Flockley and the others sitting on some rocks, in the sun, talking
"I want to hear what they are saying," said Songbird. "I have a
special reason." And at Max's look of surprise he told something of
what had happened.
"If Koswell is that mean he ought to be exposed," said Max. "I don't
blame him for playing a trick on old Sharp, but to lay the blame on
Tom--why, that's different."
"Will you come along?"
"If you want me to."
"I don't want to drag you into trouble, Max."
"I dink I can take care of myself," answered the German-American
The pair passed around to the rear of the spot where Flockley and his
cronies were located. Here was a heavy clump of brushwood, so they
were able to draw quite close without being seen.
The talk was of a general character for a while, embracing football
and other college sports, and Songbird was disappointed. But presently
Jerry Koswell began to chuckle.
"I can't help but think of the way I put it over Tom Rover," he
exclaimed. "I'll wager old Sharp will make him suffer good and
"Maybe they'll suspend Rover," said Bart Larkspur. "But that would be
carrying it pretty far, wouldn't it?"
"They won't suspend him, but he'll surely be punished," came from Dudd
Flockley. "By the way, are you sure it was a photo of Sharp's best
"Yes; but she isn't a girl, she's a woman, and not particularly
good-looking at that," answered Jerry Koswell.
"Well, Sharp isn't so very handsome," answered Larkspur. "His nose is
as sharp as his name."
"I suppose Rover will wonder how somebody got hold of that case of
pencils and crayons," remarked Flockley. "If he--"
"Hello, Max!" cried a voice from behind the bushes, and the next
moment a stout youth landed on Max Spangler's back, carrying him down
with a crash in the brushwood. "What are you doing here, anyway?"
At the interruption the whole Flockley crowd started to their feet,
and turning, beheld not only Max and the boy who had come up so
suddenly, but also Songbird. The latter was nearest to them, and
Koswell eyed him with sudden suspicion.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded, while Max and his friend were
wrestling in a good-natured way in the bushes.
"Oh, I've been listening to some interesting information," answered
"Playing the eavesdropper, eh?" came from Flockley with a sneer.
"If so, it was for a good purpose," answered the would-be poet warmly.
"Say, Jerry, you want to look out for him!" cried Larkspur warningly.
"He rooms with Dick Rover, remember. They are old chums."
"I know that," said Koswell. He faced Songbird again. "How long have
you been here?" he cried angrily.
"That is my business, Koswell. But I heard enough of your talk to
know how you tried to put Tom Rover in a hole. It's a mean piece of
business, and it has got to be stopped."
"You can 'bah!' all you please, but I mean what I say. To play a joke
is one thing, to blame it on a fellow student who is innocent is
another. As the poet Shelley says--But what's the use of wasting
poetry on a chap like you? Max, you heard what was said, didn't you?"
By this time the German-American student was free of his tormentor, a
happy-go-lucky student named Henry Cale. He nodded to Songbird.
"Yes, I heard it," he said, and gave Koswell a meaning look.
"Fine business to be in, listening around corners," sneered Larkspur.
"Say that once more and I'll punch your head!" cried Max, doubling up
"What are you fellows going to do?" questioned Koswell. He was
beginning to grow alarmed.
"That depends on what you fellows do," returned Songbird.
"Why--er--do you think I am going to the doctor and--er--confess?"
"You have got to clear Tom Rover."
"Our word is as good as yours," said Larkspur.
"Then you are willing to tell a string of falsehoods, eh?" said
"I didn't say so."
"But you meant it. Well, Larkspur, it won't do. I know about this, and
so does Max. Koswell has got to clear Tom Rover, and that is all there
is to it."
"Will you keep quiet about me if I clear Rover?" asked Jerry Koswell
"That depends on what Tom Rover says. I am going right to him now and
tell him what I heard."
"And I'll go along," said Max. He turned to Henry Cale. "You will have
to excuse me, Henry. This is a private affair of importance."
"Sure," was the ready answer. "I wouldn't have butted in if I had
known something was doing," and Henry walked off toward the college
"Just tell Tom Rover to wait--we'll fix it up somehow," cried Jerry
to Songbird and Max as the pair departed. "It's all a--er--a mistake.
I'm--er--sorry I got Rover into it--really I am."
"No doubt of it, now!" answered Songbird significantly. "Evildoers are
usually sorry--after they are caught!"
HOW TOM ESCAPED PUNISHMENT
Dick and Sam were good walkers, so it did not take them long to reach
Ashton. While covering the distance they talked over Tom's dilemma,
but failed to reach any conclusion concerning it.
"It's too bad," said Sam, "especially when the term has just opened.
It will give Tom a black eye."
"I don't think he'll stand for too much punishment, being innocent,
Sam. He'll go home first."
"I was thinking of that. But we don't want to be here with Tom gone."
Arriving at Ashton, the boys hurried to the post-office. The mail for
the college was in, and among it they found several letters from home
and also epistles from Dora Stanhope and the Laning girls.
"Here's one for Tom--that will cheer him up a bit," said Dick, holding
up one addressed in Nellie Laning's well-known hand.
The boys sat down in an out-of-the-way corner to read their letters.
Dick had a communication of ten pages from Dora, and Sam had one of
equal length from Grace. Then there was one for all the boys from
their father, and another from their Aunt Martha.
"The girls are coming next Wednesday," said Dick. "I hope we can get
down to the depot when they arrive."
"Don't forget poor Tom, Dick,"
"Yes. Isn't it too bad?"
"Nellie will cry her eyes out if he is sent away."
"Oh, we've got to fix that up somehow."
Having read the letters carefully, the boys went to one of the stores
to make some purchases, and then drifted down to the depot. A train
was coming in, but they did not expect to see anybody they knew. As a
well-dressed young man, carrying a suit case, alighted, both gave an
The individual they mentioned will need no introduction to my old
readers. During their days at Putnam Hall the Rover boys had had in
Dan Baxter and his father enemies who had done their best to ruin
them. The elder Baxter had repented after Dick had done him a great
service, but Dan had kept up his animosity until the Rovers imagined
he would be their enemy for life. But at last Dan, driven to
desperation by the actions of those with whom he was associating,
had also repented, and it was the Rovers who had set him on his feet
again. They had loaned him money, and he had gotten a position as a
traveling salesman for a large wholesale house. How he was faring they
did not know, since they had not seen or heard of him for a long time.
"Hello! You here?" cried Dan Baxter, and dropped his suit case on the
depot platform. "Thought you were at the college."
"Came down for an airing," answered Dick. He held out his hand. "How
goes it with you, Dan?"
"Fine! Couldn't be better." Baxter shook hands with both boys, and
they could not help but notice how clean-cut and happy he appeared,
quite in contrast to the careless, sullen Dan of old.
"Come on business?" inquired Sam.
"What are you selling?" asked Dick.
"I am in the jewelry line now, representing one of the biggest houses
in the United States. I was going through to Cleveland, but I made up
my mind to stop off here and see you. I heard from one of the old boys
that you were here."
"I am sure I am glad to see you, Dan," said Dick, "and glad to know
you are doing well."
"Maybe you'll be a member of the firm some day," added Sam with a
"I don't know about that. I'm willing to work, and the traveling suits
me first-rate. They pay me a good salary, too--thirty dollars per week
and all expenses."
"Good enough!" cried Dick.
"I came to see you fellows," went on Dan Baxter in a lower voice. "I
haven't forgotten what you did for me when I was on my uppers. It was
splendid of you. I realize it more every day I live. My father is
with me now--that is, when I'm home. We are happier than we ever were
"That's good," murmured Sam.
"I want to see you all. Where is Tom?"
"Up to the college." Sam did not deem it necessary to go into
"I'd like to see him, too. I've got something for each of you."
"What is that?"
"Before I tell you I want you to promise you'll accept it. And by the
way, you got that money back, didn't you?"
"Well, will you accept what I want to give you? I want to show you I
appreciate your kindness."
"We didn't expect anything, Dan," said Dick.
"Oh, I know that, Dick, but please say you'll take what I have for
you. It isn't so very much, but it's something."
"All right, if you want it that way," answered the oldest Rover,
seeing that his former enemy was very much in earnest.
Dan Baxter put his hand in an inner pocket and brought forth three
"This is for you, Dick, and this for you, Sam," he said. "The other is
for Tom. They are all alike."
The two Rovers undid the packages handed to them. Inside were small
jewelry cases, and each contained a beautiful stickpin of gold,
holding a ruby with three small diamonds around it.
"Say, this is fine!" murmured Sam.
"Dan, we didn't expect this," said Dick.
"But you said you'd accept," pleaded Baxter. "They are all alike, as
I said before. I had the firm make them to order, so there is nothing
else like them on the market. The three diamonds represent you three
brothers, and the ruby--well, when you look at that you can think
of me, if you want to. And another thing," went on Baxter, his face
flushing a trifle, "the pins are settled for. They didn't come out
of my stock. I mention this because--because--" The young traveling
salesman stopped in some confusion.
"Dan, we know you are not that kind," said Dick hastily.
"Well, I was, but I'm not that kind any longer--everything I do is as
straight as a string. I paid for those stickpins out of my wages. I
hope you will all wear them."
"I certainly shall," said Dick. "I shall prize this gift very highly."
"And so shall I," added Sam.
Dan Baxter had heard something about their search for the fortune on
Treasure Isle, and as they walked over to the hotel for lunch the
Rovers gave him some of the details. In return he told them of some
of his experiences on the road while representing a carpet house and
another concern, as well as the jewelry manufacturers. He told them of
several of the former pupils of Putnam Hall, including Fenwick better
known as Mumps, who he said was now working in a Chicago hotel.
"You boys can rest assured of one thing," said Dan Baxter during the
course of the conversation, "if I can ever do you a good turn I'll do
it, no matter what it costs me."
"That is very kind to say, Dan," answered
Dick. "And let me say, if we can do anything more for you we'll do
The three youths spent several hours together and then Sam and Dick
said they would have to get back to college. Secretly they were
worried about Tom.
"Well, please give the pin to Tom," said Baxter, "and if you feel like
it, write me a letter some day," and he told them of the cities he
expected to visit during his next selling tour. Then the Rovers and
their one-time enemy separated.
"Not at all like the old Dan Baxter," was Sam's comment,
"He is going to make a fine business man, after all," returned Dick.
"Well, I am glad of it, and glad, too, that he and his father are
reconciled to each other."
Sam and Dick had covered about half the distance back to Brill when
they saw a figure striding along the country road at a rapid gait.
"Why, say, that looks like Tom!" cried Sam.
"It is Tom," returned his big brother.
"Do you suppose he has run away?"
"I don't know. Perhaps the doctor has suspended him."
"Hello!" called Tom as he came closer. "Thought I'd find you in town
yet. Come on back and have some fun."
"What does this mean, Tom?" demanded Dick, coming to a halt in front
of his brother. He saw at a glance that Tom looked rather happy.
"What does what mean, my dear Richard?" asked the fun-loving Rover in
a sweet, girlish voice.
"You know well enough. Did you run away?"
"No. Walked away."
"Without permission?" asked Sam.
"My dear Samuel, you shock me!" cried Tom in that same girlish voice.
"See here, let us in on the ground floor of the Sphinx," cried Dick
"I will, kind sirs," answered Tom, this time in a deep bass voice. "I
went to the room and remained there about an hour. Songbird went out
on a still hunt, Max with him. The two overheard Jerry Koswell and his
cronies talking, learned Jerry did the trick, came back and told me,
"You told the president," finished Sam.
"Not on your collar button," answered Tom. "I waited. The president
sent for me. I went. He tried to get me to confess, and then the
telephone rang, and that did the biz."
"Say, Tom, are you crazy?" demanded Dick.
"Crazy? Yes, I'm crazy with joy. Who wouldn't be to get free so
"But explain it," begged Sam.
"I can't explain it. As I said, the president tried to make me
confess, and of course I had nothing to confess. When the telephone
rang I heard one voice and then two others, one after another. I think
they belonged to Koswell, Flockley and Larkspur, but I am not sure.
The voices talked to Doctor Wallington about ten minutes. He got mad
at first and then calmed down. I heard him ask, 'In Professor Sharp's
room?' and somebody said 'Yes.' Four times he asked for names, but I
don't think he got them. Then he went out of the office and was gone
about a quarter of an hour. When he returned he said, 'Now, on your
honor, for the last time, Rover, did you mar that photograph?' and I
said 'No,' good and hard. Then he said he believed me, and was sorry
he had suspected me, and he added that I could go off for the rest of
the day and enjoy myself, and here I am."
"And you didn't squeal on Koswell & Company?" asked Sam.
"Nary a squeal."
"Do you imagine they confessed?"
"I think they told the president over the 'phone that I was innocent,
maybe the three swore to it, but I don't think they gave their names."
"What did they mean about Sharp's room?"
"I was curious about that, and I found out from one of the servants.
Sharp found an envelope under the door. It contained a five-dollar
bill, and on it was written in a scrawl, 'For a new photograph.'"
"Koswell & Company got scared mightily," mused Dick. "Well, I am glad,
Tom, that you are out of it."
"And as a token of your escape we'll present you with this," added
Sam, and brought forth the package from Dan Baxter. Tom was much
surprised, and listened to the story about the former bully of Putnam
Hall with interest.
"Good for Dan!" he cried. "I'll write him a letter the first chance I
"And here's a letter from Nellie," said Dick, "and one from father,
and another from Aunt Martha."
"Hurrah! That's the best yet!" exclaimed Tom. "I've got to read 'em
all. Sit down and rest." And he dropped down on a grassy bank and his
brothers followed suit.
IN WHICH THE GIRLS ARRIVE
"You may be sure of one thing, Tom," remarked Dick while he and his
brothers were walking back to Brill, some time later, "Jerry Koswell
has it in for you. You had better watch him closely."
"I intend to do so," answered Tom. "But there is another thing which
both of you seem to have forgotten. That's about the dress-suit case.
Did Koswell find it, and if so, did he take anything else besides the
box of pencils and crayons?"
"He'll never admit it," put in Sam. "Not unless you corner him, as
Songbird did about the photo."
"He'll have to tell where he got the box, Sam."
"I doubt if you get any satisfaction."
And Sam was right, as later events proved. When Tom tackled Koswell
the latter said positively that he knew nothing of the dress-suit
case. He said he had found the box on a stand in the hallway near
Professor Sharp's door, and had used it because it suited his purpose.
"But you saw it had my name on it," said Tom.
"No, I didn't. It was rather dark in the hall, and all I saw was that
it contained pencils and crayons," answered Jerry Koswell.
"Well, I don't believe you," answered Tom abruptly. "You did it on
purpose, and maybe some day I'll be able to prove it." And he walked
off, leaving Koswell in anything but a comfortable frame of mind.
Tom was curious to see how Professor Sharp would act after the affair.
During the first recitation the instructor seemed ill at ease, but
after that he acted as usual. Tom half suspected the professor still
thought him guilty.
"Well, it was a pretty mean thing to do," soliloquized the fun-loving
Rover. "If anybody did that to a picture of Nellie I'd mash him into a
All of the Rovers were awaiting the arrival of the girls with
interest, and each was fearful that some poor recitation might keep
him from going to meet them at the Ashton depot on Wednesday. But,
luckily, all got permission to go to town, and they started without
delay as soon as the afternoon session was ended.
"Where bound?" asked Songbird, in some surprise, as he saw them
driving off in a carriage Dick had ordered by telephone.
"Going to meet Dora and Nellie and Grace," answered Dick. "Do
you--er--want to come along?"
"Oh, sure. I'll see them all home myself," answered the would-be poet
with a wink of his eye. "No, thank you. I know enough to keep out
of somebody else's honey pot. Give them my regards," he added, and
strolled off, murmuring softly:
"If them love me as I love thee,
How happy thee and I will be!"
The boys got down to the depot ahead of time, and were then told that
the train was fifteen minutes late. They put in the time as best they
could, although every minute seemed five.
"Hello! There is Dudd Flockley!" exclaimed Sam presently, and pointed
to the dudish student, who was crossing the street behind the depot.
"Maybe he came down to meet somebody, too," said Tom. "More than
likely there will be quite a bunch of girls bound for the seminary."
At last the train rolled in, and the three Rovers strained their eyes
to catch the first sight of their friends.
"There they are!" shouted Dick, and pointed to a parlor car. He ran
forward, and so did his brothers. The porter was out with his box, but
it was the boys who assisted the girls to alight, and Dick who tipped
the knight of the whisk-broom.
"Here at last!" cried Dick. "We are so glad you've come!"
"Thought the train would never get here," added Sam.
"Longest wait I've had since I was able to walk," supplemented Tom.
"Oh, Tom, you big tease!" answered Nellie merrily, and caught him by
"Yes, we are late," said Dora a bit soberly. She gave Dick's hand a
tight squeeze. They looked at each other, and on the instant he saw
that she had something to tell him.
"How long it seems since we saw you last," said Grace as she took
Sam's hand. Then there was handshaking all around, and all the girls
and boys tried to speak at once, to learn how the others had been
since they had separated after the treasure hunt.
"We'll have to look after our trunks," said Dora. "There they are,"
and she pointed to where they had been dumped on a truck.
"I'll take care of the baggage," said Tom. "Just give me the checks."
"And we've got to find a carriage to take us to Hope," added Grace.
"All arranged," answered Sam. "We are going to take you up. Dick is
going to take Dora in a buggy, and Tom and I are going to take you and
Nellie in a two-seated. The baggage can go in a wagon behind."
"But I thought there was a seminary stage," began Grace.
"There is, and if you'd rather take it--"
"Oh, no! The carriage ride will be much nicer." And Grace looked at
Sam in a manner that made his heart beat much faster than before.
"Do you know, it seems awfully queer to be rich and to be going to a
fine boarding school," said Nellie. "I declare, I'm not used to it
yet. But I'm glad on papa and mamma's account, for neither of them
have to work as hard as they did."
"Papa is going to improve the farm wonderfully," said Grace. "He is
going to put up a new barn and a carriage house and a new windmill for
pumping water, and he has bought a hundred acres from the farm in the
back, and added, oh, I don't know how many more cows. And we've got a
splendid team of horses, and the cutest pony you ever saw. And next
year he is going to rebuild the wing of the house and put on a big
piazza, where we can have rocking-chairs and a hammock--"
"Yum! yum!" murmured Sam. "The hammock for mine, when I call."
"Built for two, I suppose," remarked Dick dryly.
"Dick Rover!" cried Grace, and blushed,
"He'll want it for himself and Dor--" began Sam.
"Here comes Tom," interrupted Dick hastily. "All right about the
baggage?" he asked loudly.
"All right. The trunks and cases will go to the seminary inside of an
hour," answered Tom, "so we might as well be off ourselves. We can
drive slowly, you know."
"Well, you can go ahead and set the pace," answered his elder brother.
The buggy and the carriage were already on hand, and soon the boys and
girls were in the turnouts, and Tom drove off, with Dick following.
As they did so they saw Dudd Flockley standing near, eyeing them
curiously. They had to drive close to the dudish student, who was
attired in his best, and he stared boldly at Dora and the Laning
"What a bold young man!" was Dora's comment after they had passed.
"He's a student at Brill," answered Dick. "Not a very nice kind,
either." Dick was much put out, for he did not like any young man to
stare at Dora.
Ashton was soon left behind, and carriage and buggy bowled along
slowly over a country road lined on either side with trees and bushes
and tidy farms. Under the trees Dick allowed his horse to drop into a
walk, and managed to drive with one hand while the other found Dora's
waist and held it.
"Dick, somebody might see you!" she half whispered.
"Well, I can't help it, Dora," he answered, "It's been such a long
time since we met."
"Yes, it seems like years and years, doesn't it?"
"And to think we've got to go through college before--before we can--"
"Yes, but Dick, isn't it splendid that we are going to be so close to
each other? Why, we'll be able to meet lots of times!"
"If the seminary authorities will let you. I understand they are very
"Oh, well, we'll meet anyhow, won't we?"
"If you say so, dear."
"Why, yes, dear--that is--Oh, now see what you've done!--knocked
my hat right down on my ear! Now, you mustn't--one is enough! Just
suppose another carriage should come up--with somebody in it from the
"I've got my eye open," answered Dick. "But just one more--and then
you can fix your hat. They've got to make some allowance for folks
that are engaged," he added softly, as he pressed her cheek close to
"Are we engaged, Dick?" she asked as she adjusted her hat.
"Aren't we?" he demanded. "Why, of course we are!"
"Well, if you say so, but--but--I suppose some folks would think we
were rather young."
"Well, I'm not so young as I used to be--and I'm growing older every
"So am I. I am not near as young as I was when we first met--on that
little steamboat on Cayuga Lake, when you and Tom and Sam were going
to Putnam Hall for the first time."
"No, you're not quite so young, Dora, but you are just as pretty. In
fact, you're prettier than ever."
"Oh, you just say that!"
"I mean it, and I'm the happiest fellow in the world this minute,"
cried Dick, and caught her again in his arms. Once more the hat went
over on Dora's ear, but this time she forgot to mention it. Truth to
tell, for the time being she was just as happy as he was.
But presently her face grew troubled, and he remembered the look she
had given him at the depot.
"Something is on your mind, Dora," he said. "What is it?"
"Dick, do you know that Tad Sobber is alive? That he escaped from that
dreadful hurricane in West Indian waters?"
"Yes, I know it. But I didn't know it until a few days ago, when
Songbird Powell came to Brill He said he had met Sobber in Ithaca,"
"He came to see mamma."
"I was afraid he would. What did he say?"
"He came one evening, after supper. It was dark and stormy, and he
drove up in a buggy. Mamma and I and the servants were home alone,
although Nellie had been over in the afternoon. He rang the bell, and
asked for mamma, and the girl ushered him into the parlor. He asked
the girl if we had company, and he said if we had he wouldn't bother
"Guess he was afraid of being arrested."
"Perhaps so. He told the girl he was a friend from New York. I went
down first, and when I saw him I was almost scared to death. I thought
I was looking at a ghost."
"Naturally, since you thought he had been drowned. It's too bad he
scared you so, Dora."
"He said he had come on business, and without waiting began to talk
about the treasure we had taken from the isle. He insisted upon it
that the treasure belonged to him, since his uncle, Sid Merrick, was
dead. When my mother came in he demanded that she give him some money
and sign some papers."
"What did your mother do?"
"She refused, of course. Then he got very wild and talked in a
rambling fashion. Oh, Dick, I am half inclined to think he is crazy!"
And Dora shuddered.
"What did he say after your mother refused to do as he wished?"
"He got up and walked around the parlor, waving his hands and crying
that we were robbing him, that the treasure was his, and that the
Rovers were nothing but thieves. Then mamma ordered him out of the
house and sent the girl to get the man who runs the farm for us. But
before the man came Sobber went away, driving his horse as fast as he
"Have you heard from him since?"
"Yes. The next day we got an unsigned letter. In it Sobber said that,
by hook or by crook, he intended to get possession of the treasure,
and for the Rovers to beware,"
THE ROWING RACE
Having told so much, Dora went into all the particulars of Tad
Sobber's visit to the Stanhope homestead. She told of how Sobber had
argued, and she said he had affirmed that the Rovers had falsified
matters so that the Stanhopes and the Lanings might benefit thereby.
"What he says is absolutely untrue," said Dick. "Father went over
those papers with care, and so did the lawyers, and the treasure
belongs to you and the Lanings, and to nobody else."
"Don't you think Sid Merrick fooled Sobber?" asked the girl.
"Perhaps, but I guess Tad was willing to be fooled. They set their
hearts on that money, and now Tad can't give it up. In one way I am
sorry for him, and if a small amount of cash would satisfy him and set
him on his feet, I'd hand it over. We put Dan Baxter on his feet that
"Oh, but Baxter isn't Sobber, Dick. Sobber is wild and wicked. I was
so afraid he would attack mamma and me I hardly knew what to do. And
his eyes rolled so when he talked!"
"Did he go to the Lanings?"
"Probably he was afraid of your uncle. Mr. Laning won't stand for any
nonsense. I suppose your mother is afraid he'll come back?"
"Yes; and to protect herself she has hired one of the farm men to
sleep in the house. The man was once in the army, and he knows how to
use a gun."
"Then that will make Sobber keep his distance. He is a coward at
heart. I found that out when we went to Putnam Hall together,"
"But you must beware of him, Dick. He may show himself here next."
"It won't do him any good. All I've got here is a little spending
money. No, I don't think he'll show himself here. More than likely
he'll try to hire some shyster lawyer to fight for the treasure in the
courts. But I don't think he'll be able to upset your claim."
They had now reached Hope Seminary, and the conversation came to an
end. The boys helped the girls to alight, and said good-by. Then they
drove back to Ashton, where the buggy was left at the livery stable;
and all piled into the carriage for the college. On the way Dick told
his brothers about Tad Sobber.
"Dora is right. He is a bad egg," said Sam. "I wouldn't trust him
under any consideration,"
"He is too much of a coward to attack anybody openly," was Tom's
comment. "But as Dick says, he may hire some shyster lawyer to take
the matter into the courts. It would be too bad if the fortune was
tied up in endless litigation."
"He's got to get money to fight with first," said Dick.
"Oh, some lawyers will take a case like that on a venture."
Several days passed quietly, and the Rover boys applied themselves
diligently to their studies, for they wished to make fine records at
"We are here to get a good education," was the way Dick expressed
himself, "and we want to make the most of our time."
"As if I wasn't boning away to beat the band!" murmured Tom
"I'd like to take the full course in about two years," came from Sam.
"College studies are mighty hard," broke in Songbird, who was working
over his chemistry. "I don't get any chance to write poetry any more."
"For which let us all be truly thankful," murmured Sam to Tom.
"Ten minutes more," announced Dick, looking at his watch. "Then what
do you say to a row on the river?"
"Suits me!" cried Tom.
"All right, then. Now clear out, and--silence!"
A quarter of an hour later the Rover boys and Songbird walked down to
the river. There were plenty of boats to be had, and Dick and Tom were
soon out. Songbird and Sam received an invitation to go for a ride in
a gasolene launch owned by Stanley.
"Suits me!" cried the would-be poet. "I can row any time, but I can't
always ride in a motor boat."
"Same here," said Sam.
A number of craft were on the river, including one containing Jerry
Koswell and Bart Larkspur. Koswell scowled as he saw Tom and Dick
rowing near by.
"We'll give 'em a shaking up," he said to his crony, and turned their
rowboat so that it bumped fairly and squarely into the craft manned by
Tom and Dick. The shock was so great that Dick, who had gotten up to
fix his seat, was nearly hurled overboard.
"See here, what do you mean by running into us?" demanded the oldest
Rover on recovering his balance.
"Sorry, but it couldn't be helped," answered Koswell. "Why didn't you
get out of the way?"
"We didn't have to," retorted Sam, "and if you try that trick again
somebody will get his head punched."
"Talk is cheap," sneered Larkspur.
"Say, I heard you fellows have been boasting of how you can row," went
on Koswell after a pause.
"We haven't been boasting, but we can row," answered Tom.
"Want to race?"
"I don't know as I care to race with a chap like you, Koswell,"
answered Dick pointedly.
"No, I am not afraid."
"Let us race them," whispered Tom to his brother. "I am not afraid of
"Oh, neither am I, Tom."
"Well race you to Rock Island and back," said Koswell, after
"All right," answered Dick.
"Want to bet on the result?" questioned Koswell. He was usually
willing to bet on anything.
"We don't bet," answered Tom.
"And we wouldn't with you, if we did," added Dick. "I don't think you
are in our class, Koswell, and you never will be. At the same time,
since you are so anxious to row against us, we'll race you--and beat
This answer enraged Jerry Koswell, and he dared the Rovers to wager
ten dollars on the race. They would not, but others took up the bet,
and then several other wagers were made.
Rock Island was a small, stony spot half a mile up the stream, so
the race would be about a mile in length. Frank Holden was chosen
as referee and umpire, and all of the contestants prepared for the
"Your boat is lighter than that of the Rovers," said Holden to Koswell
and Larkspur. "You really ought to give them some lead."
"No. This is an even start," growled Koswell.
"Very well, but it doesn't seem quite fair."
It was soon noised around that the race was to take place, and the
river bank speedily became lined with students anxious to see how the
contest would terminate.
"Now, Tom, take it easy at the start, but finish up strong," cautioned
"I feel like pulling a strong stroke from the first," answered Tom.
"Let us do it, and leave them completely in the shade."
"No. We must first try to find out what they can do."
"Say, you've got to beat 'em," came from Sam, as the launch came
close. "If they win you'll never hear the end of it."
"They're not going to win," answered Dick, quietly but firmly.
"All ready?" asked Frank Holden, as the boats drew up side by side
near the boathouse float.
"We are!" sang out Tom.
"Ready!" answered Jerry Koswell.
"Go!" shouted Frank.
Four pairs of oars dropped into the water simultaneously, and away
shot the two craft side by side. There was no disguising the fact
that Koswell and Larkspur were good oarsmen, and what was equally
important, they had done much practicing together. On the other hand,
while Dick and Tom could row well, they had pulled together but twice
since coming to Brill.
"You've got your work cut out for you!" shouted Songbird. "But never
mind. Go in and win!"
For the first quarter of a mile the two row-boats kept close together.
Occasionally one would forge ahead a few inches, but the other would
speedily overtake it. Then, however, the Rover boys settled down to a
strong, steady stroke, and forged a full length ahead.
"See! see! The Rovers are winning!" shouted Max in delight.
"That's the way to do it!" cried Stanley, "Keep it up! You're doing
"Show 'em the way home!" added Songbird.
"Pull, Jerry! Pull!, Bart!" screamed Dudd Flockley to his cronies.
"Don't let them beat you!"
Before long the island was reached, and the Rovers rounded it a length
and a half ahead. This made Jerry Koswell frantic, and he called on
Larkspur to increase the stroke.
"All right, I'm with you," was the short answer.
The increase in the stroke speedily told, and inch by inch the second
boat began to overhaul the first Then Tom made a miss, sending a
shower of water into the air. At this the craft containing Koswell and
Larkspur shot ahead.
"Hurrah! That's the way to do it!" yelled Flockley in delight. "Even
money on the green boat!"
"Take you," answered Spud Jackson promptly. "How much?"
"Steady, Tom," cautioned Dick. "Now, then Ready?"
"Then bend to it. One, two, three, four."
Again the Rover boys went at the rowing with a will, increasing their
stroke until it was six to the minute more than that of Koswell and
Larkspur. The latter were frantic, and tried to do likewise, but found
it impossible. Inch by inch the Rovers' craft went ahead. Now it was
half a length, then a length, then two lengths.
"Say, there is rowing for you!" was the comment of a senior. "Just
look at them bend to it!"
"Yes, and look at the quick recovery," added another fourth-year
From two lengths the Rovers went three lengths ahead. Then Koswell
missed a stroke, and tumbled up against Larkspur.
"Hi! What are you doing?" spluttered Larkspur in disgust.
"Cou--couldn't hel--help it," panted Jerry, He was all but winded, for
the pulling had been too much for him.
"The Rovers win! The Rovers win!" was the shout that went up, and in
the midst of the hubbub Dick and Tom crossed the line, winning by at
least six lengths. Koswell and Larkspur were so disgusted that they
did not even finish, but stopped rowing and turned away from the
"The Rovers win," announced Frank Holden. "A fine race, too," he
added. "Let me congratulate you," and he waved his hand pleasantly to
Dick and Tom.
"I got a pain in my side, and that made me miss the stroke," said
Jerry Koswell lamely. "Some day I'll race them again, and win, too."
"You should have won this time," growled Dudd Flockley when he was
alone with his cronies. "I dropped twenty dollars on that race."
"I never thought they could row like that," was Larkspur's comment. "I
don't think I want to row against them again."
Dick and Tom were warmly congratulated by all their friends. It had
been a well-earned victory, and they were correspondingly happy.
Koswell was sourer than ever against them, and vowed he would "square
up" somehow, and Larkspur agreed to help him. Dudd Flockley was glum,
for his spending money for the month was running low, and it was going
to be hard to pay the wagers he had lost.
WILLIAM PHILANDER TUBES
On the following Saturday the Rover boys went down to Ashton in the
afternoon. They had arranged for the hire of a large touring car, with
a competent chauffeur, and were to take Dora and the Laning girls out
for a ride to another town called Toddville. Here they were to have
supper at the hotel, returning to Ashton in the evening.
Lest it be thought strange that the girls could get permission from
the seminary authorities to absent themselves, let me state that
matters had been explained by Mrs. Stanhope and Mrs. Laning to the
principal of Hope, so Dora and her cousins were free to go out with
the Rovers whenever they could go out at all.
"We'll have the best time ever!" cried Tom enthusiastically. "I hope
you ordered a fine supper over the telephone, Dick."
"I did," was the reply. "Just the things I know the girls like."
"And a bouquet of flowers," added Sam. He knew that Grace loved
"Yes. I didn't forget them, Sam,"
The boys arrived in Ashton a little ahead of time, and while waiting
for the chauffeur of the car to appear they walked down to the depot
to see if there would be any new arrivals on the Saturday special.
When the train pulled into the depot a tall, well-dressed youth, with
an elaborate dress-suit case and a bag of golf sticks, descended from
the parlor car and gazed around him wonderingly.
"Are you--ah--sure this is--ah--Ashton?" he inquired of the porter.
"Yes, sah," was the brisk answer.
"Not a--ah--very large place, is it, now?" drawled the passenger.
"Look who's here!" burst out Tom as he hurried forward.
"Why, it's Tubbs--William Philander Tubbs!" ejaculated Sam.
And sure enough, it was Tubbs, the most dudish pupil Putnam Hall had
ever known, and one with whom the cadets had had no end of fun.
"My dear old Buttertub, how are you?" called out Tom loudly, and
caught the new arrival by the shoulder. "How are you, and how is the
wife, and the eight children?"
"Why--ah--is it really Tom Rover!" gasped Tubbs. He stared at Tom and
then at Dick and Sam. "What are you--ah--doing here, may I inquire?
But please," he added hurriedly, "don't call me Buttertub, and don't
say I have a wife and children, when I haven't." And Tubbs looked
around to see if anybody had overheard Tom's remark.
"We go to school here," said Dick as he shook hands. "Brill College."
"Well, I never!" gasped the tall dude. "Brill, did you say?"
"That's it," put in Sam.
"I am going there myself."
"You!" roared Tom. "Hail Columbia, happy land! That's the best yet,
Tubblets. We'll have dead loads of fun. Did you bring your pet poodle
and your fancywork, and those beautiful red and yellow socks you used
"I hope you didn't forget that green and pink necktie you used to
have," came from Sam, "and the blue handkerchief with the purple
"I--ah--I never had those things," stormed Tubbs. "Oh, say, do you
really go to Brill?" he questioned, with almost a groan in his voice.
"Sure as you're born," answered Dick. "We'll be glad to have you
there, William Philander. You'll be a credit to the institution. We
have a few fellows who dress well, but you'll top them all. I know
"Do you--ah--really think I can--ah--I will be as well dressed as
the--ah--as anybody?" asked the dude eagerly. He was a fair scholar,
but his mind was constantly on the subject of what to wear and how to
"Oh, you'll lead the bunch, and all the girls at Hope will fall dead
in love with you," answered Tom.
"Hope? What do you mean?"
"That's the seminary for girls. Fine lot of girls there, waiting to
see you, Philliam Willander."
"William Philander, please. So there is a girls' school here, eh?
That's--ah--very nice. Yes, I like the girls--I always did. But, Tom,
please don't call me--ah--Buttertub. I think it's horrid, don't you
"All right, Washtub, anything you say stands still," answered Tom
cheerfully. "I wouldn't hurt your feelings for a million warts."
"There is the carriage for Brill," said Sam, pointing it out.
"Are you going with me?" asked the dude.
"No. We are not going back until this evening," explained Dick. "We'll
see you later."
"Only one other student going with you," added Tom mischievously.
"He's kind of queer, but I guess he won't hurt you." He had seen an
innocent, quiet youth, named Smith, getting into the college turnout.
"Queer?" asked Tubbs.
"Yes. Gets fits, or something like that. He won't hurt you if you keep
your hand to your nose."
"My--ah--my hand to my nose?"
"Yes," went on Tom innocently. "You see, he has an idea that folks are
smelling things. So if you keep your hand to your nose he will know
you are not smelling anything, so he'll keep quiet."
"I don't--ah--know as I like that," stammered William Philander.