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Title: Dick Hamilton's Football Team - Or, A Young Millionaire On The Gridiron
Author: Garis, Howard Roger, 1873-1962
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dick Hamilton's Football Team - Or, A Young Millionaire On The Gridiron" ***

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                  DICK HAMILTON'S FOOTBALL TEAM


               A YOUNG MILLIONAIRE ON THE GRIDIRON

                       BY HOWARD R. GARIS

    AUTHOR OF "DICK HAMILTON'S FORTUNE," "DICK HAMILTON'S CADET DAYS,"
    "DICK HAMILTON'S STEAM YACHT," "FROM OFFICE BOY TO REPORTER," "LARRY
    DEXTER'S GREAT SEARCH," ETC.


    _ILLUSTRATED_

    THE GOLDSMITH PUBLISHING CO.
    CLEVELAND

    MADE IN U. S. A.

    Copyright, 1912, by
    GROSSET & DUNLAP

    PRESS OF
    THE COMMERCIAL BOOKBINDING CO.
    CLEVELAND



[Illustration: "GRAB HIM! DON'T LET HIM GET PAST YOU!" CALLED TOM
COLETON.]



PREFACE


MY DEAR BOYS:

In writing this, the fourth volume of the "Dick Hamilton Series,"
telling of the doings of the young millionaire on the gridiron, I have
had one particular thought in mind. That was to make as interesting a
story as possible for you. Now that it is finished, it is for you to say
whether or not you like it. I trust I may be pardoned if I say I hope
that you will.

When Dick returned to the Kentfield Military Academy after his vacation
on his steam yacht, he found the football team of which he was a member,
in poor shape. In fact the eleven was laughed at by other military
schools, one of which refused to accept a challenge that Kentfield sent.

How Dick hired a coach from Princeton and one from Yale, and how they
"whipped" the team into shape, how championship material was made from
them, you will find told of in this book.

There is also related how Dick worked to save his father's wealth by
getting possession of certain electric road stock, which was held by a
crabbed old man who disliked cadets and football. Of course there is
also something about the bulldog, Grit, in this book, and about Uncle
Ezra Larabee, and the doings of our hero's friends and enemies are fully
set forth.

Again expressing the hope that you will find this story interesting, and
that you will care to hear more of Dick Hamilton, I remain,

Yours cordially,

HOWARD R. GARIS.



CONTENTS


   CHAPTER PAGE

        I. TURNED DOWN                                     1

       II. WAR ON MR. HAMILTON                             8

      III. DICK'S PLAN                                    15

       IV. FOOTBALL PRACTICE                              26

        V. DISQUIETING NEWS                               36

       VI. MR. DUNCASTER AGAIN                            45

      VII. THE COACHES ARRIVE                             54

     VIII. THE TRY-OUT                                    64

       IX. THE ACCUSATION                                 72

        X. DICK IS REBUFFED                               78

       XI. A RIVALRY                                      89

      XII. THE MIDNIGHT ALARM                             96

     XIII. THE RESCUE OF DUTTON                          101

      XIV. THE ELECTION                                  111

       XV. THE GAME WITH DUNKIRK                         118

      XVI. A DARING PLAN                                 126

     XVII. UNCLE EZRA ARRIVES                            135

    XVIII. ANOTHER FRUITLESS ATTEMPT                     142

      XIX. A GREAT STRUGGLE                              151

       XX. JOINING THE LEAGUE                            169

      XXI. READY FOR BLUE HILL                           175

     XXII. THE BLUE HILL GAME                            182

    XXIII. SORE HEARTS                                   199

     XXIV. TREACHERY                                     205

      XXV. A DESPERATE RACE                              212

     XXVI. ANOTHER GAME                                  222

    XXVII. DICK IS SUMMONED                              231

   XXVIII. "LINE UP!"                                    238

     XXIX. HAMMER AND SMASH                              246

      XXX. THE WINNING TOUCHDOWN                         255

     XXXI. THE TROLLEY STOCK--CONCLUSION                 264



DICK HAMILTON'S FOOTBALL TEAM



CHAPTER I

TURNED DOWN


"Well, if those fellows haven't got nerve!"

"I should say so! Why it's a direct insult!"

"We ought to challenge 'em to a sham battle. I know we could put it all
over 'em at that game, if we can't at football; eh, fellows?"

"Sure thing!" came in a chorus from a group of cadets who surrounded a
rather fat, good-natured companion. The latter held an open letter in
his hand, and had just finished reading it, the contents causing the
various exclamations.

"Say, Beeby," spoke Paul Drew, "are you sure it isn't a joke? Maybe
they're just trying to have fun with us."

"Fun! This is serious enough," replied the stout youth, "Frank Anderson,
manager of the Blue Hill Academy eleven, takes pains to be very
explicit. Listen."

Once more Beeby read the note.

     "In reply to your challenge for a series of football games, in the
     Military League, and your request that we give you a contest at an
     early date, we regret to say that our team cannot play yours. To be
     frank, we do not think that your eleven is in the same class with
     ours. We won nearly every game we played last season, and, you
     know, as well as do we, that Kentfield was away down at the tail
     end.

     "It is the sense of the Athletic Committee of Blue Hill Military
     Academy that we must play with teams of greater strength and in a
     better class than the one that represents Kentfield. If you wish,
     perhaps I can arrange some games with our second team, but not with
     the first.

     "Regretting very much that we cannot accept your challenge, I
     remain,

     "Yours very truly,

     "FRANK ANDERSON, Manager."

"Well, wouldn't that put a crimp in your bayonet?" demanded John Stiver.

"They'll condescend to let their second team come over and beat us!"
exclaimed Ray Dutton sarcastically. "Bur-r-r-r-r!"

"Oh, say, this makes me mad!" spluttered Beeby, and he made as though to
tear the letter to shreds.

"Don't! Wait a minute!" begged Paul Drew. "Let's talk this over a bit,
first. Something's got to be done about it. We can't let this insult
pass. I wish Dick Hamilton was here."

"Where is he?" asked Beeby, as he folded the crumpled letter.

"He went to town to send a message home, I guess. He'll soon be back."

"Let's go to the Sacred Pig, and talk this over," suggested Dutton, as
he opened a few buttons on his tightly fitting parade coat, for drill
among the cadets was just over, and they had not yet gotten into their
fatigue uniforms.

"Yes, let's plan some scheme to get even with those Blue Hill snobs,"
added Paul. "Say Toots," he went on to one of the janitors about the
academy, "if you see Mr. Hamilton, just send him over to the Sacred Pig,
will you?"

"I sure will, Mr. Drew," and Toots, so called because he was generally
whistling some military air, saluted.

The cadets still talking among themselves about the churlish letter they
had received, passed on toward a society chapter house--that of the
Sacred Pig--one of the most exclusive organizations among the cadets of
Kentfield.

"If Anderson wanted to turn us down why didn't he simply say that all
their dates were filled?" demanded Beeby, on whom the blow fell
especially heavy, as he was manager of the eleven.

"Well, if the truth _had_ to be told I suppose it might as well come out
first as last," spoke Paul frankly.

"The truth!" demanded Innis Beeby, half indignantly.

"Yes! Kentfield hasn't a good team, and we all know it. It's no one's
fault in particular," went on Paul, "but we don't practice enough, we
don't play well enough together, and we were the tail-enders last year.
We might as well face the music."

"Even if it isn't particularly harmonious," commented Innis bitterly, as
he walked up the steps of the handsome society house. "Well, let's see
what we can do."

The rest of the cadets followed, to be greeted by a number of other
students who were already gathered in the pleasant reading room. There
was a general movement toward the newcomers when the news quickly
flashed around, and the letter was passed from hand to hand.

There were more comments, caustic ones in the main, and had Manager
Anderson been present he would probably have had several challenges to
fight, for the feeling was bitter against him.

"You can't beat this for nerve!" declared Jim Watkins.

"I say, let's get up a good team, and force 'em to play us," suggested
Teddy Naylor.

"How are you going to force 'em?" demanded Frank Rutley.

"Why, play such fast and snappy games that they can't refuse us--get in
the champion class--_make_ 'em recognize us."

"Oh, it's easy enough to talk," murmured Innis, "but when it comes to a
football team----"

"What's the matter with the football team?" demanded a new voice, and a
tall, good-looking cadet, bronzed almost to a copper color, came in.
"Are we going to have practice to-day?"

"Hello, Dick!"

"Glad you came in, Hamilton."

"You're just in time to hear the news."

These were some of the expressions that greeted the advent of the
newcomer. Dick Hamilton pressed up into the group of indignant lads, and
accepted the letter which Innis held out to him.

"Read that!" spluttered the stout lad.

As Dick read a dull flush crept up under his coat of tan.

"Um!" was his only comment for a moment. Then he said: "Well, he didn't
soften it any. But how about it; isn't it almost true?"

"That's what I say," cried Paul Drew.

"We haven't a very good team, that's a fact," admitted Jim Watkins, who
played centre.

"Oh, bosh! You fellows make me tired," declared Innis. "You are almost
as bad as Anderson."

"Well, we ought to perk up."

"Oh pshaw! We can play all right."

"All we need is practice."

"And a little harder work against the scrub."

These and other comments flew back and forth. Dick Hamilton strolled
toward an easy chair near a table. Casually he picked up a paper, and
glanced over it as the discussion waxed warmer. There were two sides,
one set of cadets holding that the eleven was not so bad, and the others
maintaining that the players should not shut their eyes to facts, but
endeavor to correct their faults. Both factions numbered members of the
team, so it could not be said that prejudice shaped the opinions.

"Well, what do think about it, Dick?" asked Paul at length, as he sat
down beside his roommate.

"About what?" asked the young millionaire, somewhat absently-mindedly.

"Well, for the love of mustard! Have you been dreaming while all this
racket was going on? And you read that letter, too! I say, Dick, what's
up?"

"Oh, yes, I remember now. I was thinking of something else," and Dick
recovered himself with an effort, seeming to bring his thoughts back
from some distant point. "The football team."

"Of course, the eleven--or, rather, the woeful lack of one. What's to be
done, Dick? I rather thought you might have a scheme, when you heard the
news."

There was silence in the room for a moment, and nearly all eyes were
turned on Dick Hamilton.

"A plan--yes--I might--by Jove, fellows, I believe I have a plan!" he
exclaimed suddenly. "It ought to work, too. We've got to have the best
team on the gridiron in the Military League, and just now I thought of
something that will bring it about."

"Then in the name of the two-horned rhinoceros speak it quickly!" begged
Innis. "Say something so I can get back at this dub Anderson. I'll write
him a hot one!"

"Oh, it will take a little while to put it through," went on the young
millionaire, "but I believe I can do it. Now my plan is----"

At that moment one of the pages employed at the society house, which was
sort of cadet club, approached the eager group of students.

"Beg pardon," the page said, "but here is a telegram that just came for
Mr. Hamilton."

Dick tore open the yellow envelope. He read the message at a glance and
seemed to start as at the receipt of unwelcome news.

"I've got to go out for a while," he said to his chums. "I'll be back as
soon as possible. This is important."

"But your football plan," begged Innis.

"I'll tell it when I come back," called Dick Hamilton as he hurried out,
leaving a much-wondering group of cadets looking after him.



CHAPTER II

WAR ON MR. HAMILTON


"The rumor is true then," mused Dick, as he hurried out of the chapter
house, and started toward the telegraph office. "I rather hoped it would
prove to be _only_ a rumor, but if dad has heard it also, there must be
something in it. Now I wonder if I can get hold of any more news, so I
can wire him? Let's see, what is it he says."

Dick glanced again at the telegram that had been brought to him. It was
from his father, Mortimer Hamilton, a multi-millionaire, and was in
answer to a message the youth had sent his parent that day.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Have heard rumor you speak of," the father's message read, "see if you
can learn more. Wire me at once. Our trolley interests are threatened.
They are trying to get me out of control."

       *       *       *       *       *

"If they do that it will be a hard blow for dad," said Dick, as he
hurried along.

Of late Mr. Hamilton had put much money in an important trolley line,
and had called in several other investments so that he might buy more
of the stock. A large part of his fortune was now involved in the
electric road, and if he lost the controlling interest it might mean his
ruin.

Consequently our hero was not a little alarmed. Only that day he had
heard the disquieting rumor. It came from a fellow cadet, Sam Porter,
whose father was very wealthy. In the hearing of Dick, Sam had
accidently mentioned a deal his father was putting through, involving
the very electric line in which Mr. Hamilton was so vitally interested.
But then Sam did not know how much of the stock Mr. Hamilton owned, in
fact he did not know that Dick's parent was at all interested.

But the young millionaire--for Dick was that in his own right--had taken
alarm at once, and had immediately wired his father.

"And now I must see if I can get any further information," mused the
lad. "It will hardly be safe to ask Porter directly. I wonder if I could
pump him through Jake Weston, his crony? I'll try it, after I wire dad
that I'm on the job."

While Dick is on his way to send the message I will take the opportunity
to explain to you something more about him, and also something about the
previous books in this series. As I told you in the first volume,
entitled "Dick Hamilton's Fortune," he was left a large sum by his
mother, who had been dead some years. But he must comply with certain
conditions of Mrs. Hamilton's will, before he could get control of his
millions.

One stipulation was that he must use his funds to make some sort of a
paying investment. If he failed in this he would have to spend some time
with a crabbed old uncle, Mr. Ezra Larabee, who lived in a gloomy place
called Dankville.

Dick tried several schemes to make money for himself, but, as may be
imagined from a lad who had had no experience, one plan after another
failed. But, at the last moment a small investment he had made, to help
a poor, but fine-charactered lad, named Henry Darby, start in the junk
and iron business, proved wonderfully successful, and Dick fulfilled the
conditions of the will. Uncle Ezra was much provoked that he was not to
get control of his dead sister's son, and his millions, but he was
routed, and had to flee from Grit, the prize bulldog Dick owned.

"Dick Hamilton's Cadet Days," was the title of the second volume. In
that I told how Dick, to further comply with the instructions in his
mother's will, went to the Kentfield Military Academy. There he was to
make his way, unaided by any influence of his millions.

He had an up-hill struggle, for there was a prejudice against him. But
he was delighted with the military life. He took part in the drills, in
the cavalry exercises, he helped to win a victory in a big sham battle,
and he fought a duel that had a curious outcome. He was wounded in a
broad sword combat, and was the means of saving the life of his enemy
Dutton, who later became his friend.

Kentfield Academy was located in one of the middle western states, near
Lake Wagatook. Colonel James Masterly was superintendent, Major Henry
Rockford, commandant, and Major Franklin Webster, of the United States
Army, was the instructor in military tactics. Captain Hayden was head
master, Captain Grantly in charge of the science classes, and Captain
Nelton of those in mathematics.

Dick, while attending there, was the means of solving the mystery of the
identity of "Toots," the whistling janitor, and when the society house
of the Sacred Pig burned down, and it was found that the insurance had
expired, Dick rebuilt the meeting place in much handsomer style than
formerly, thereby gaining the everlasting admiration of the cadets.

Dick and his chums had many social pleasures, and if you care to know
how well they could dance, Miss Nellie Fordice, Mabel Hanford, Nettie
French or Mildred Adams could tell you.

Dick spent his first summer's vacation at Hamilton Corners, a town named
after his father, who was the principal citizen there, as well as owner
of many local enterprises, including a bank. In the fall Dick returned
to the academy, and was promoted to a captaincy.

In the third volume of the series, entitled "Dick Hamilton's Steam
Yacht," I told of a long trip our hero took in a steam yacht which he
purchased from his ample fortune. With a party of friends he went to
Cuba.

Uncle Ezra Larabee thought that Dick did very wrong to spend so much
money, so the crabbed old man conceived a plan of kidnapping the youth,
and taking him in charge, to "teach him frugal ways," as he said.

Mr. Larabee hired a small steamer, and set off after his nephew. He did
kidnap a youth--or, rather the men he hired did--but it was not Dick,
and that made all the confusion. However, Dick had trouble enough, for
his yacht was stolen, and he was left marooned with his friends on a
lonely island. How they built a raft, set out to sea, how they were
rescued, and the pursuit after Dick's yacht, aboard which was his mean
uncle--all this you will find set down in the book.

After his trip Dick came back up north. All too soon the academy opened,
and our hero had to dock his fine vessel, don his uniform, and get back
to his studies. But he did not mind, once he was among his classmates
again, and he had been "buckling down to hard work" as he expressed it,
for a few weeks, when the events narrated in the first chapter took
place.

Dick's interest was divided between anxiety over the plight that might
befall his father, and the "slump" that hung over the football eleven.

"I hope my football scheme works," he said. "But I can't think about
that now. I must help out dad. It's too bad, after all the work he put
in on getting that trolley line in shape, to be threatened with the loss
of it. I must do all I can to stop it. I'll just wire him that I'll be
on the lookout, and then I'll see what I can pick up from Porter or
Weston."

Dick knew where to find the two cadets in question. They were first-year
students, and were not members of the Sacred Pig, though they would have
given much to join. Dick was not especially friendly with them, but he
now resolved to cultivate their acquaintance, at least long enough to
see if he could get on the track of the men who were seeking to wrest
the control of the trolley line from Mr. Hamilton.

After sending his second message, Dick strolled toward a "fashionable"
pool club in town, where many of the more "sporty" cadets spent much of
their time, when not at study.

"Hello, Hamilton!" greeted Porter. "Have a cue. I'm tired of playing
Weston. He's too easy."

Dick was a good pool and billiard player, and had two fine tables at
home. But somehow he did not play well on this occasion. Porter easily
beat him.

"I'll try again," said the young millionaire, and when the second game
was well under way he gradually led the talk around to business matters.

"My dad is great on business, and deals," chuckled Porter as he made a
good shot, and finished up with a run of six. "He's got a deal on now
that will put a few crimps in a couple of people that think themselves
some pumpkins."

"Yes?" queried Dick, as he missed what seemed to be an easy shot.

"Sure. That trolley deal I mentioned. But I forgot, I'm not supposed to
talk about it. Only there's some gazabo of a millionaire, down east or
somewhere, that will get the gaff all right. Say, I hear your dad is
pretty well up in business, Ham?"

"Yes, he has a number of interests," spoke Dick, as he chalked his cue
for a billiard game. He was hoping it would not develope that he was the
son of the "gazabo" in question.

"Well, my dad is the limit," went on Porter. "When this trolley deal
goes through, as it will, he'll be several millions better off. It's war
to the knife, so he told me. I don't know who he's fighting, but it's
some one."

Dick knew, but he kept still.

"It sure is war," he reflected as he made ready to shoot. "I must learn
all I can about the plans of Porter's father, and the men who are in
with him. Then I can help dad. And then--there's the football trouble.
Well, Dick Hamilton," and he paused for a serious moment before making a
nice shot that required plenty of "English" on it, "you sure have your
hands full."



CHAPTER III

DICK'S PLAN


Rain was coming down heavily when Dick finished the game, and he looked
out from the poolroom with rather a rueful face as he heard the
downpour.

"I'll run you back in my car," offered Porter. "We can stop at Martin's
on the way in, and have a jolly little supper. What do you say, Ham?"

Dick rather resented being called "Ham" by a youth who had known him but
a short time. Likewise he did not care to stop at Martin's. So he
covered his dislike as best he could, and answered:

"No, thank you. I have some business to attend to, and I don't want to
keep you. Go on back to Kentfield, and I'll take a taxicab when I've
finished with my matters."

"Oh, I suppose you follow in the footsteps of the governor, and are in
business too," almost sneered Weston.

"Well, I help my father whenever I can," answered Dick, as the blood
surged up under his coat of tan. "Sorry I couldn't beat you, Mr.
Porter. I hope to have better luck next time."

"You want to bring along all the luck you have, Hamilton," declared the
rich lad, as he put on his coat, while Dick settled for the games, which
he had almost purposely lost in order that he might have a better excuse
for talking to Porter. "I'm a pretty good shot," and he laughed in
Dick's face.

"So I see," agreed Dick.

"Then you won't motor back with us?" asked Porter, for he had an
expensive machine, which was in the repair shop a good part of the time,
owing to his reckless driving.

"No, I've got several matters to attend to," answered Dick, and he
watched the two cronies going out together.

The storm continued, the rain coming down harder than ever, and, as Dick
had no umbrella he decided to go down to the telegraph office in a
taxicab, a service but newly installed in the college town, but which
was taken advantage of by many students.

Dick was not a spendthrift, and he knew the value of money. Still, when
he did not have to count his dollars, he did not see the harm in
spending a few in hiring an auto cab, when he had no umbrella.

A few minutes later he was bowling along the rain-swept streets toward
the telegraph office which he had but recently left.

"Dad will think I'm making the wires hot," he mused, as the taxicab
careened along, "but I guess I'd better keep him informed right up to
date. That Mr. Porter means business, if I'm any judge. Probably he has
a syndicate of rich men back of him, and they are trying to get control
of father's interests. But we'll put a stop to that if possible.

"What a cad that Porter fellow is, with his billiard shots, and his
cigarettes! I could have beaten him easily, if I'd wanted to, but if I
had he might have turned sulky, and wouldn't have talked so much. As it
is I've gotten some good information out of him."

Dick leaned back on the cushions and let his thoughts wander free. As he
had said, there were two big problems ahead of him. He wanted to see the
cadet football team triumph on the gridiron, and he wanted to help his
father get ahead of his enemies.

Both matters were important to Dick, for he realized that his father's
interests, being now so much bound up in the trolley line, would suffer
seriously if antagonists got in control.

As for football, our hero, who was one of the best members of the team,
wanted to see his eleven at the head of the Military League.

And, for several seasons past Kentfield had been the tail-ender, and
practically out of the league. True, they had won some games, and big
ones, too, but it was more like a sudden spurt, and then the cadets
seemed to go "stale," and played in such poor form that inferior teams
beat them.

"It's got to stop," said Dick to himself. "We've got to win, and if I
can put my plan through, and I don't see why I can't, we'll be at the
top of the heap pretty soon. That is if the fellows will work. And
they've got to! By Jove I'm not going to stay at a college where a
little dinky team like the one from Blue Hill, can put it all over us,
and write such letters as Beeby got to-day.

"Poor Beeby! He felt it a heap. It was like the time when we were
marooned on that island, and he managed to snap-shot a lot of birds, and
came in to tell us about them. We thought he meant he had killed them
for dinner. Oh, that was a time all right!" and Dick fell to thinking of
the adventures he had gone through when he was taking the first voyage
in his steam yacht.

The taxicab came to a sudden stop. The young millionaire looked out, and
through the rain he saw the telegraph office.

"I guess the man will think I'm running a regular brokerage business,"
he reflected as he alighted and went in. He sent a message to his
father, telling what he had heard from Porter during the billiard game,
and warning Mr. Hamilton to be on the watch for treachery.

"There, I guess that will make dad get busy," said the lad. "Now I'll
wait for further instructions, and devote a little time to planning out
what I want to do for the football team. We've got to be champions of
the league or I'll know the reason why. What's the good of money if it
can't get you what you want?"

"Where to now, sir?" asked the taxi-driver, as Dick got in the machine
again. "Like to go around town for a while? Most of the cadets do when
they get out."

"Back to the college," ordered Dick a bit curtly, for he did not like
the familiar tone of the man.

"Hum, he must be one of those tight-wads," thought the driver, as he
threw in his gears and started off. "I like a fellow that spends money."

If he had known how much Dick Hamilton _could_ have spent had our hero
been so inclined, the taxi-man might have had a different opinion of
him.

The machine was bowling along at a good speed, through the principal
street of the town, preparatory to turning off on the road that led to
the military academy. It was a cab with the front of glass, and Dick
could look out at one side of the driver, and observe what was going on.

Suddenly, as they crossed a side street, an elderly man, with a big,
old-fashioned umbrella held low over his head, ran out directly in front
of the cab.

"Look out! Stop!" cried Dick, involuntarily jumping up. "You'll run him
down!"

The driver was on the alert, however, and jammed on the brakes with a
practiced hand, and a quick foot. With a shudder of springs and a
shriek of metal the cab came to a stop. Not before, however, it had run
into the man with the big umbrella, upsetting him, though so gently that
he was not hurt. His rain-shield however, was crumpled up and his legs
were entangled in it.

Before the driver could leave his seat, Dick had jumped out and gone to
the aid of the pedestrian.

"I hope you're not hurt!" the lad exclaimed, as he helped the aged man
to arise. "I'm very sorry it happened. I guess you held your umbrella so
low that you couldn't see us coming."

For clearly it was not the fault of the driver that the accident had
occurred.

"Ha! Hum! So that's what you think, eh?" demanded the man in a rasping
voice, as he fairly grabbed the broken umbrella from Dick's hand. "Here
I be, walking peaceably along the street, trying to protect myself from
the rain, when you reckless military students come along in one of those
fire-snorting new-fangled automobiles, and run me down. It was all your
fault, and if I could see a policeman I'd have you both locked up! How
many of those tin soldiers from the military academy have you in there
anyhow? Cadets! Humph! Much better be at some honest business instead of
learning to kill folks! Are there any more of you? If there are, come
out, and I'll give you a piece of my mind! Learning murder as a fine
art! How many in there?" and he glared at the taxicab.

"I'm the only one," said Dick modestly.

"Hum! Too mean to let some one else ride with you, I reckon. Well, it
was all your fault, and you'll have to settle with me. Duncaster is my
name, Enos Duncaster, and I don't intend to be imposed upon."

Dick could not help thinking how like his uncle Erza Mr. Duncaster was.

"It was your fault, you old hayseeder!" cried the taxicab man with a
nervous voice, for he had been mortally afraid of a fatal accident.
"What do you want to run under a machine that way for? Hey? Why can't
you look where you're going?"

"Young man!" exclaimed Mr. Duncaster in a calm voice, "if I didn't know
that you were excited you'd pay dearly for this. You don't know me, but
I'll say, for your information, that I own enough stock in this taxicab
company to have you discharged. I'm sorry I ever invested in it, but I
didn't know them machines were so rip-snorting. Now you can go on, but
first give me your names."

"What for?" demanded the driver suspiciously.

"Oh, in case I find I have worse injuries than a broken umbrella,"
replied the elderly man with a half-smile. "I may want to bring suit
against the company in which I hold stock."

"Well, my name is Martin," replied the driver, "James Martin. I
certainly didn't mean to run you down, Mr. Duncaster. But the rain was
in my eyes, and----"

"That will do," said the man with an air of authority. "Now who are
you--my young soldier lad? I don't believe in this war business, but the
country seems to be going crazy over it, so I might as well keep still.
Who are you?"

"Hamilton--Dick Hamilton is my name."

"Hum--Hamilton--no relation to Mortimer Hamilton; are you?"

"He is my father."

"What."

"I say he is my father."

"Why that's odd--I'm--no, never mind--so you're Mortimer Hamilton's son;
eh? I heard he had one, and that he was going to some sort of military
school. I'm sorry to see it. And so you're the one who ran me down? And
you haven't a crowd of roistering students with you?"

"No, I'm all alone. I've been attending to some business for my father."

"Hum! Business, yes. That's about all Mortimer Hamilton does. Well, you
may go. I know where to find both of you in case I want you."

The odd old man gathered up what was left of his umbrella, and,
declining the aid of a policeman who came up to see what the gathering
crowd meant, Mr. Duncaster walked off.

"We got out of that lucky," commented the taxi-driver, as Dick
re-entered the vehicle. "I sure thought he would fire me. Who'd think
old man Duncaster would be up here?"

"Is he really a wealthy man?" asked Dick.

"You bet he is. He lives away down in the country somewhere, and all he
does is to cut off the interest coupons from his bonds. He's a
millionaire, but you'd never think it to look at him. The idea of
walking, when he could hire a machine and ride. But he's close--awful
close."

"I hope he doesn't make trouble," commented our hero. "If he does, let
me know. In spite of who he is I think it was his own fault that we hit
him."

"Sure it was," declared the driver heartily.

Dick was soon back at school and his first visit was to the society
house of the Sacred Pig. He found only a few of his cadet chums there,
as it was nearing mess time, and they had gone to dress for the meal.

"Well, you're a fine fellow to run off and desert us the way you did!"
cried Innis Beeby, as he clapped Dick on the shoulder. "What's your
great scheme about a football team? The fellows are half wild trying to
guess. Couldn't you explain before you hiked away?"

"No, didn't have time."

"Then tell me now."

"No, I'd like all the fellows to be together when they hear it and then
they won't get it twisted. I'll meet you all here after grub, and tell
you what I think of doing."

"All right; it's a go."

Dick found a goodly crowd waiting for him in the main room of the club
house, for word had gone around of what was about to take place. Our
hero wasted no time on preliminaries.

"Boys," he began, "you know as well as I do, that we have received an
insulting letter from the Blue Hill academy. Our football team, of which
I have the honor to be a member----"

"Hurray for the team!" cried Paul Drew. "Long may she wave, o'er the
land----"

"Order in the ranks!" cried Innis Beeby, who was presiding.

"Our team needs strengthening," went on Dick. "There is no use ignoring
the facts before us. We never have had a first class team--that is, to
judge by the records of the past. We have not a good team now, and I'm
as bad as the worst member, so I'm not shielding myself. That being the
case, what's to be done?"

"Get a new team!" called someone.

"Revamp the old one," cried another.

"That's my idea exactly," went on Dick. "We must use the material we
have, but with this restriction--there must be a fair field and no
favors. The best men must be picked on the team."

"Sure!" cried someone.

"But who's going to do the picking?" demanded Beeby.

"That's what I'm coming to," went on Dick. "I was going to tell you my
plan, when I had to leave this afternoon."

"Tell it now!" was the general shout.

"This is it!" replied the young millionaire. "You know what good
coaching can do for a team. I think that's what we need, and it is
casting no reflection on the present coaches, for we all know they can
devote only a little time to the work. Now what I propose is this: We
can get two of the best coaches in the country--say one from Yale and
one from Princeton. They can come here, and in a few weeks I'm sure they
can whip our team into shape. We have the material--all it needs is to
be developed."

"That's right--but how can we afford to pay for a Yale and a Princeton
coach?" demanded George Hall.

"I'll attend to that end," replied Dick calmly. "This is my treat. I
want Kentfield to have the best eleven in the league, and if coaching
can do it we'll have it. Then we can win some games. I'll pay for the
coaches, and we'll see what they can do. That was my football scheme.
What do you think of it, fellows?"



CHAPTER IV

FOOTBALL PRACTICE


For a few seconds no one spoke after Dick Hamilton had mentioned his
plan for improving the Kentfield eleven. But at length, with a
long-drawn sigh of satisfaction, Innis remarked:

"Dick; you're a trump!--a brick!--an ice-cream brick on a hot
day!--you're all to the mustard!--a----"

"Cut it out!" cried our hero, "can't you see how I'm blushing? But
seriously, fellows, is my plan all right?"

"I should say it was!" exclaimed Paul Drew.

"But look at what it's going to cost," objected George Hall. "Those Yale
and Princeton coaches are high-fliers--that is, if you can get them to
come--and then besides their salary, we'll have to board 'em. Though I
s'pose we could put 'em up at the Pig, provided they won't scrap all the
while over different training plans."

"Oh, I fancy that part will be all right," remarked Teddy Naylor.

"But do you think you can get any Yale or Princeton coaches to come
here--to Kentfield--with her poor, old, broken-down team--that is
according to Anderson," spoke Frank Rutley.

"Well, of course we'll have to take a chance on that," replied Dick. "If
we can't get men from those two colleges we can try some others. But dad
is an old Princeton grad. and I have sort of a distant forty-second
cousin who was once a star half-back at Yale. I might get them to put in
a good word for us."

"Hurray!" cried Innis in the excitement and exuberance of the moment.
"That's the stuff! Now we'll wipe up the ground with those Blue Hill
snobs! Whoop-la!"

He shot out a sturdy fist, and squarely hit a football that Teddy Naylor
was balancing on his hand. The spheroid flew straight and true across
the room, and caught John Stiver on the chin. Stiver at that moment
happened to be looking at the sporting page of a paper and did not see
the ball coming. Consequently it was quite a surprise, and he went over
backward against Paul Drew, both going down in a heap.

"I say, who did that?" cried John, as he arose with the symptoms of
wrath in his eyes.

"I did, old chap!" confessed Innis contritely. "You see I felt so good I
wanted to start something. I beg your pardon."

"Granted. But you certainly started something all right," remarked John
grimly. "There goes Drew's nose bleeding. You sure started something all
right."

"Oh, I don't mind," responded Dick's roommate, as he went to a toilet
room to staunch the flow of blood. "If we get a good team and play some
stiff games I'll probably have worse than this before the season is
over."

Innis went out with Paul to assist in attending to the bleeding member,
and the others resumed their football talk. There was but one opinion
about Dick's plan--everybody said it was just what was needed, and to
all suggestions that it would cost a mint of money, the young
millionaire declared that it would be worth all it cost him.

"What's the use of having a fortune if you don't spend it?" he asked
with a smile. "Though I suppose if my Uncle Ezra hears about my latest
scheme he'll try again to kidnap me, to stop me from carrying it out.
But he isn't here, is he Grit, old boy?" and Dick stooped over to pet
his bulldog, who crouched at his feet, the animal being an honorary
member of the Sacred Pig Society.

Grit growled at the mention of the name of Uncle Ezra. He had a deep
antipathy to that gentleman, and with reason, for Mr. Larabee hated
dogs, and kicked Grit on the sly every time he got the chance.

"Then it's all settled," remarked Dick, when Paul and Innis had come
back to the general room. "I'll get busy writing some letters, and we'll
see what we can do. It's lucky the season hasn't started yet, for we
have plenty of time to get into shape."

"Yes, and we'll not only do up Blue Hill good and brown, but we'll put
it all over Mooretown and some of the other teams in the Military
League," declared Innis. "But you fellows must get at practice, and try
and harden yourselves. I wish Bert Cameron was here--I don't know how
he's going to take to this new coaching idea."

"Oh, Bert won't mind," declared Jim Watkins. "He'll be only too glad to
be relieved of the coaching, for I heard him say he was trying for an
extra exam. in maths, and he needs all the time he can get."

Bert, who was a star football player, had given up active participation
in the game to act as coach for Kentfield. But, as his chums well knew,
he had not the necessary time to devote to the work of telling them what
to do and how to do it, and the team suffered in consequence.

However, the mention of this gave Dick an idea. He did not want to hurt
the feelings of Bert, and, when the coach entered the club a little
later the matter was mentioned to him.

"Go ahead, grand idea," he declared and his enthusiasm was not forced.
"I know I haven't been keeping you fellows up to the mark, and I'll be
glad to see some one here who can. Besides, I need all the time I can
get to bone away at my maths."

"Then I'll go ahead," declared the young millionaire. "I'll have the new
coaches here in a week if I can get them, and I'll meet any financial
demand they make."

"That's the way to talk!" cried Paul, clapping his chum on the back with
such energy that Dick uttered a protest.

When our hero turned in at taps that night, his mind was filled with two
main thoughts. One was the future of the football team, and the other
was the trouble that threatened his father. Then another remembrance
came to him.

"I wonder who that Mr. Duncaster is that we so nearly ran over?" mused
Dick. "He must know dad. He's a queer sort of a character, I guess."

Dick little thought of what an important part in the future of himself
and his father this same Mr. Duncaster was to play.

"Well, I'll see if I can get any more information from Porter about the
deal his father is in," said Dick to himself, as he turned over to
compose himself for sleep. "There must be more than one man in the game,
and it's up to me to find out who the others are, so dad can be on his
guard. I hope he doesn't lose control of the trolley, for a lot of small
investors have put all their money in it, and if other interested men
get hold of it the investors might lose all they have. I guess that's
why dad is so worried. I'll cultivate the acquaintance of Porter and
Weston, though I don't care much for them."

A better day for football practice could not have been desired. There
was just enough crispness in the air, and the gridiron, newly marked
with its chalk-lines was green under the autumn sun as a crowd of cadets
released from drill and studies, flocked over the campus, shouting and
laughing.

"Line up there, you scrubs!" called Paul Drew. "This is where we walk
all over you. Here, Dick, catch this!" and he kicked a puzzling spiral
toward the young millionaire.

Dick made a jump for the ball, but it slipped through his fingers.

"Wow! Rotten!" he cried. "That wouldn't do in a game."

"That's right," agreed Innis. "But you're no worse than the rest. Look
at Watkins miss that drop kick he tried to make."

Shouts of derision from the scrub greeted the effort of Watkins to boot
the pigskin. The scrub, in spite of its unenviable position, had been
doing better in practice than the regular team. Captained by Tom Coleton
the lads had scored many a touchdown on their superiors, and they were
proud of it.

"Line up, fellows!" called Teddy Naylor, the Varsity captain. "We'll see
what we can do."

The game at Kentfield was played under the old rules of halves, instead
of quarters, and, in fact, all the teams in the Military League
preferred that style.

Goals were chosen, and it was announced that two ten minute halves would
be played. Dick was to play at quarter-back, John Stiver at left
half-back, Ray Dutton at right half-back, Paul Drew at left guard,
George Hall at right tackle, Teddy Naylor at full-back, Frank Rutley at
left tackle, Jim Watkins at centre, Innis Beeby at right guard, Sam
Porter as left end, and his crony, Jake Weston, at right end.

The scrub were to kick off, as Teddy wanted to see how well his men
could rush back the ball. Not that he expected much, but somehow, under
the stimulus of the new plan proposed by Dick, there was a more
confident feeling among members of the Varsity eleven, than had existed
in some time.

"I think we'll surprise 'em to-day," remarked Paul Drew, as he took his
place beside Jim.

The signal was given, and Hal Foster made a big dent in the side of the
ball. It came sailing toward the spread-out Varsity team, and was caught
by Dick. He started back over the chalk marks, well protected by
interference.

"Grab him! Don't let him get past you!" called Tom Coleton, who was in
charge of the scrub. Dick's helpers shoved aside several impetuous lads
who tried to break through to tackle him, and it looked as though he
might make a sensational run. But when Bart Gerard slipped past Paul
Drew, and got in to the running lad, there was a quick, fierce tackle,
and Dick went down heavily.

"Not so bad! Line up!" cried Bert Cameron, who stole a few minutes from
his studies to come out and see how the play was going.

"Get ready, fellows!" cried Dick, as he took his place behind Jim, while
the big centre leaned over and prepared to snap back the ball when the
signal was given.

Dick called out a string of numbers which indicated that Ray Dutton was
to take the ball between the left guard and tackle of the scrub. The
ball came back, and with all his might Dutton leaped for a hole that
Beeby and Hall made for him. On and on he struggled pushing and being
pushed.

"Brace, fellows! Brace!" implored Coleton, and his men tried, but there
was no withstanding the fierce rush of the Varsity. Through they went,
and when Dutton was finally stopped he had gained five yards.

"It's been some time since we did that," commented Dick, as he looked
back at the ground covered--ground whereon were strewn fallen players
for the rush had been a fierce one.

Again came the line up, and again the advance with the ball, Stiver
taking it this time for a run around end. He made a good gain. Then
followed more rushing tactics, until, when in reasonable distance of
the goal, Dick gave the signal for a try for one from the field.

Straight and true the ball came back to Teddy Naylor, and the next
instant it was booted over the crossbar.

"Wow!" cried Beeby capering about. "That's the stuff. Now if that was
against Blue Hill I'd stand on my head!"

"Impossible, old chap--I mean impossible to stand on your head--you're
not balanced right," panted Dick, for the last few minutes of play had
been strenuous. "But it was good work all the same."

"You can't repeat it," declared Coleton, half chagrined yet glad that
the Varsity was picking up.

But the Varsity did even better, for they rolled up two touchdowns in
that half, a thing they had been unable to do since practice started.

They did not have things all their own way, however, for the scrub
played so fiercely and with such desperate energy in the next half, that
they, too, got a touchdown, and would have had another but for a
splendid tackle Porter made.

"Good!" cried Teddy encouragingly, for Porter was not a good player, and
would not train properly. But he had been picked on the team early in
the season, when available material was scarce, and the captain did not
like to drop him now. His fine stopping of the man with the ball,
however, showed what he could do when he tried.

The play was resumed. There were only a few more minutes left, and the
scrubs were trying with all their might to score again, while, on their
part, the Varsity was trying to stop them. The scrub had the ball on the
Varsity twenty-five yard line, when the signal came for a play through
centre.

Dick half guessed that it was coming, and when the man with the ball
made his appearance in the hole torn for him, our hero met him with a
suddenness that shocked them both.

"I've got you!" cried the young millionaire. There was a revolving
struggle, and then something hit Dick on the head. It became black all
around him, and he went down in a limp heap, while he heard some one
crying:

"Get up, fellows, Hamilton's hurt!"



CHAPTER V

DISQUIETING NEWS


There was a singing in Dick's ears. He seemed to be on a heaving,
rolling sea, and he dimly wondered how he happened to be back on board a
boat. Then he felt a dash of water on his face--cold, stinging
water,--and he half imagined himself back on the raft with a sea
breaking over him. Next he felt some one lifting him to his feet, and he
heard the murmur of voices.

"That was a nasty blow."

"Yes. Who did it?"

"Shall we send for the doctor?"

"I'm--I'm all right," protested Dick feebly, as he opened his eyes. He
came back to earth with a shock, and the boatlike motion suddenly
ceased. "I--I----"

"Are you sure you're all right?" asked Paul anxiously.

Dick put his hand up to his head. A big lump was beginning to form, and
was tender to the touch. His head started to ache and hum.

"That was my fault," contritely confessed Hal Foster, of the scrub. "I
was trying to stop you from making that tackle, when my feet slipped
from under me, and shot right at your head, Hamilton. I hope you're not
much hurt. I'm awfully sorry."

He took hold of Dick's arm in a brotherly fashion.

"It's all right--don't mention it old chap. It was no one's fault. I
shouldn't have jumped in so quickly. I'm all right again. Come on, we'll
finish the game."

"No, the time's about up," announced Teddy. "We've had enough for
to-day. And it's been better practice than we've had in a long while. I
guess we're all anxious to get on Hamilton's team."

"Hamilton's team?" asked Sam Porter, in a curious tone. "Since when has
it been _his_ eleven?"

"Oh, I forgot you hadn't heard the news," went on Teddy. "Why Dick is
going to pay for two of the best coaches in the country, and we're going
to have a team as _is_ a team. That's why we all played so well to-day,
I guess--even the scrub."

"Thanks!" exclaimed Tom Coleton. "We'll do you up good and proper
to-morrow just the same."

"Not with Dick Hamilton's team," cried Teddy with a laugh.

"It isn't going to be my team at all," declared Dick, as he supported
himself on Paul's shoulder and walked along, after his head had again
been bathed in the cold water. "I don't want it known as that. I'm only
doing what any fellow would do--putting up some cash to help out. It
isn't my team at all."

"I should say not!" sneered Porter. "Hamilton's team--that sounds like
playing favorites all right."

"Yes, if it keeps on this will be known as the Kentfield-Hamilton
Military Academy," added his crony.

Dick heard, and his face flushed. He took a step toward the two lads,
but he was unsteady on his feet, for the blow on his head had been
severe.

"You'll have to take that back Mr. Porter," said our hero a bit stiffly,
"and you too, Mr. Weston."

It was seldom that the cadets addressed each other thus, and only when
there was some feeling engendered.

"Take what back?" demanded Porter.

"What you said about favorites," went on Dick. "I won't stand for that."

There was that in his look and manner, and in his words that impressed
not only his friends but the two cronies as well. They realized that
Dick as an upper classman, had considerable influence, and, though they
had their own following, due to their wealth and their willingness to
spend money, they doubtless felt that they had gone too far.

"Oh, well, I didn't mean anything," said Porter, half sulkily. "I--I was
only joking."

"I don't like such jokes," declared Dick grimly, and he looked at
Weston.

"Same here," muttered Porter's crony. "I was only fooling."

"Your apologies are accepted," was Dick's reply. He walked on, half
supported by Paul, and when his chums saw how evidently weak he was they
wanted him to go to the doctor's office. But Dick would not.

"I'll be all right in the morning," he said. "All I need is a little
rest. We're getting right into football good and proper," he added with
an attempt at a smile.

"Yes, starting off with a hospital list," added Teddy. "Don't have too
much of it, though."

Dick was rather lame and stiff the next morning, and his head was in
poor shape for study, so he cut some lectures, and got excused from
drill and artillery practice. In the afternoon however, he was much
better, and insisted on going through light practice in signals playing
one half against the scrub, his place being taken by a substitute in the
second period.

Whether it was because Dick was off the team, or because the scrub
played with fiercer energy, due to their defeat of the day before, was
not manifested, but the Varsity was beaten by a score of fourteen to
eleven, and once more there was a feeling of gloom in the ranks of the
first eleven.

"Oh, it's all right," Teddy assured his players. "We will make up for
it to-morrow. By the way, Dick, when are your coaches coming?"

"I've written, and I expect an answer some time this week. It may take a
little longer than I hoped, but I told them not to let money stand in
the way. I have made an offer to Burke Martin of Yale, and Wilson
Spencer of Princeton."

"Martin and Spencer!" cried Teddy in delight. "Say, if we get them here
they'll make even the goal posts play the game. There aren't any two
better coaches living."

"It pays to get the best," said Dick, with a smile. "I have had my
father send a line to the athletic committee of the Tigers, and I told
him to write to our distant relative who once went to Yale, and get him
to put in a good word for us."

"Fine!" cried the captain. "I fancy they'll make the team all over again
when they get here. I may lose my place."

"Nonsense!" declared Dick. "But the way I feel about it is this--we want
the best men to represent Kentfield, and we'll let the coaches do the
picking. I don't want to play unless they say I'm better, in my
particular place, than some other fellow. It's a fair field and no favor
for me."

"Same here," declared Naylor. "I'll step out the minute I'm asked to.
It's for the honor of Kentfield, not for any particular player. But it
would be rubbing it in if they turned you down Dick, after what you've
done--putting up all that money."

"Say, look here, that's a matter I want to speak about!" exclaimed Dick
with sudden energy. "I don't want the coaches to know who is putting up
the money--I don't want it known that I am doing it. They are both fair
men, and I know you couldn't influence them with a million dollars. But
let this matter be kept quiet, and have it given out that the athletic
committee of Kentfield is supplying the funds. Then there can't be
anything said against me."

"I guess that would be the best way," assented Teddy. "I'll call a
meeting right away and we'll settle it. But you say you have already
written to the coaches."

"I did, but I wrote in the name of the committee," said Dick. "I took
that liberty, as I wanted to conceal my part in the affair. I thought it
would be all right."

"Sure. I'll see that it is."

The athletic committee at a meeting that night, endorsed the action of
our hero, and the members were bound to secresy in the matter as to who
was supplying the money with which to pay the coaches.

For the next few days practice went on, and there was a distinct
improvement in the playing of the Varsity team, to the disquieting of
the scrub, for those unfortunate players were shoved all over the
gridiron, and several were laid up with bruises, as the first eleven
was playing for touchdowns, and secured several. Still their playing was
anything but what it should be, and the lads themselves realized it. But
they were willing to learn, and anxiously awaited the arrival of the
coaches.

Dick, meanwhile, had spent some time with Porter and his crony, though
he did not like their companionship. He played many games of pool and
billiards with them, losing occasionally, and again, by some brilliant
cue work, making the two gasp with astonishment and chagrin.

"I don't see how it is that you don't win oftener," spoke Porter a bit
suspiciously one day.

"Oh, well, it's luck I guess," declared Dick, and then he steered the
conversation around to the topic on which he wanted information--the
plan to wrest the control of the trolley line from his father.

But Porter either did not want to tell more, or could not. He declared
that his father's plans were coming along in great shape, and that Mr.
Porter was a wonder as a financier.

"There'll be some surprised millionaires when my dad gets through with
them," he boasted.

"Is he doing it all alone--I mean hasn't he some men associated with
him?" asked Dick as carelessly as he could as he made a neat carom shot.

"Oh, I guess there are some pikers in along with my governor, but he's
the main squeeze," declared Porter. "He lets some fellows trail along
so he can use 'em when he wants to. But he gets most of the dough, and
he keeps it too. I hope the deal soon goes through, for I want my
allowance increased, and the governor promised to raise the ante as soon
as he gets control of this electric road. By the way, it's somewhere out
your way, Hamilton. You must have heard of it."

"I have," answered Dick as quietly as before.

"Is your dad interested? I hear he has scads of money. Maybe he's in
with my father."

"No, I fancy not. It's your turn, Weston," and Dick turned aside to
conceal a grim smile on his face.

That night there was a letter for Dick from his father. It contained
disquieting news, for it bore the information that the enemies of the
millionaire were getting more active.

       *       *       *       *       *

"There is some other man besides Mr. Porter who is in this matter,"
wrote Mr. Hamilton. "I can't just learn who he is, but he holds a large
number of shares, that he has bought up in little lots from the original
holders. If I could learn who he is, and get in touch with him, I might
persuade him to sell me some stock, so I would have the controlling
interest. Then I could bid these others defiance. If you can learn who
this man is, Dick wire me at once. I'll do the same for you, but as
things are now they certainly look bad for the Hamilton family. But
keep up your spunk."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Poor dad," mused Dick, "I guess managing finances is about as hard as
trying to re-shape a slumping football team. But we'll both do our best.
I wonder who that unknown man is?"



CHAPTER VI

MR. DUNCASTER AGAIN


"I say, Dick, are you in?"

It was a cautious voice making this inquiry after a gentle knock at the
door of the room where our hero and Paul Drew lived when they were not
playing football, drilling with the other cadets, or reciting their
lessons.

"Who is it?" whispered Dick to his chum.

"Blessed if I know. Sounds like Beeby, and again it might be Teddy.
Going to let him in?"

"Sure. No one's around this early and it's safe. Unbolt the door. I've
done enough boning to-night."

It was shortly after Dick had received the letter from his father, in
which the disquieting news was given, and the two cadets were preparing
their lessons for the morrow.

But as this was ever-wearying work, to be disposed of as quickly as
possible in case any pleasure was available, the two friends welcomed
the disturbing knock.

"Come on in," invited our hero as his chum opened the portal. "What's
up, anyhow."

"Something doing," replied Innis Beeby cheerfully as he slid inside the
room, and carefully closed the door. "Are you fellows ready for a little
fun?"

"It depends on what kind," answered Dick. "Are you going to run one of
the six-pounders up on the chapel steps, or turn the flag upside down?"

"Neither. But did you know that Porter and Weston were giving a little
spread to-night?"

"A spread? No! And those fellows only freshmen of the freshest kind,"
answered Paul. "Say, we ought to take 'em down a peg."

"Exactly what I think," agreed Beeby. "I came over to see if you didn't
want to join in the fun. We're going to invade their spread, take Porter
and Weston captive, and carry them into town."

"Then what?" inquired Paul eagerly. He was always ready for fun.

"We'll make them do 'sentry-go' in front of the town jail. Have them
march up and down with wooden guns on their shoulders. Maybe they won't
feel sick!"

"But will they do it?" asked Paul.

"They'll have to if we make a freshman matter of it. Otherwise they'll
go to Coventry for the rest of the term. Oh, they'll do it all right.
How about it, Dick?"

Now our hero had shown a curious lack of interest in the matter of
hazing Porter and Weston, from the time their names were mentioned. He
seemed to cool down all at once, though he had always done his share
heretofore in making the first year men feel their inferior positions.

"Well?" asked Innis Beeby, after a pause, as he glanced at the young
millionaire.

"Oh, what's the use?" inquired Dick. "Can't we let 'em alone? It might
make trouble in the football team if we put them through the third
degree too strong."

"Bosh!" cried Innis. "They need it. Besides, if any fellows take offense
at a little hazing they're not fit to play on the football team. Eh,
Paul?"

"Sure not."

But Dick was thinking what effect his participation in the affair would
have, especially when he still wanted to get some information from
Porter, and depended on keeping in with that worthy in order to secure
it.

"Come along, Dick," urged Innis.

"Oh, I don't know," and the young millionaire paused before a case full
of books--a case seldom opened. "I ought to do some boning, and----"

"What!" cried Beeby aghast. "Don't speak of such a thing again. You
nearly gave me heart disease. Come along and have some fun. We don't
often have a chance at it, but there is a faculty pow-wow to-night, and
the coast is unusually clear. That's why Porter had his spread I guess.
We'll go over, make a rough house, and take him and his friend out for
an airing. Then we'll all feel better. Come on, Dick."

There was no help for it, and, somewhat against his will, our hero made
ready to accompany his chums. He did not like to go, as he feared to get
on bad terms with Porter.

It was a very much surprised party of surreptitious midnight feasters on
which our hero and his chums burst half an hour later. The spread was
being held in the apartments of Porter, for he had hired a sitting room
as well as a dormitory chamber. Both were well filled with most of the
members of the "sporting" set.

"What does this mean?" demanded Porter indignantly, as the upper
classmen made their appearance. "I think I did not invite you to my
little affair."

"No, we didn't wait for a bid, Porter, though it was mighty careless of
you to overlook us," retorted Beeby. "But we came, anyhow. Now I guess
you can come with us, Porter and Weston. We're going to initiate you
into the mysteries of the gun club."

There were significant glances from the other cadets for they knew what
this meant. Many of them had been through it on previous occasions.

"We're not coming!" exclaimed Porter aggressively.

"No, and you haven't any right to interrupt us in this manner,"
declared his crony with dignity. "Leave here at once."

"With you, dear friend, and not otherwise," put in Teddy Naylor. "Come
on, it's part of the game."

But Porter and Weston could not see it that way. They protested, and
made a show of fighting. They appealed to the other cadets, but the
latter said they had better comply with the demands of the upper
classmen.

Even then the two cronies remained ugly, and made a show of resistance,
until Beeby and the others, tired of the delay, made a sudden rush, tied
the captives with ropes that had been brought for the purpose, and
marched them quietly from the building.

"Here, you let go of that rope, Hamilton!" cried Porter, as he saw Dick
holding one end of the cords that bound the hands of the two captives
together.

"Can't do it--nohow," was the grim answer, and yet Dick wished that he
might, for he was afraid that this would prove an insurmountable barrier
to future talks with the son of the man who was seeking to ruin Mr.
Hamilton.

"Then I'll get even with you," threatened Porter. "I'll make you fellows
sorry for this night's work, you see if I don't."

"Don't mind him--he's talking like a cannon-swab," said Beeby with a
chuckle.

In a little while the two captives had been placed in front of the town
jail, with instructions to march up and down before it, bearing on their
shoulders grotesque wooden guns made for the hazing purpose.

"And if you desert inside of an hour, you know what it means,"
threatened Jim Watkins. "You'll belong to the Down and Out Club after
that. So keep on the job."

Porter and Weston knew better than to disobey, for their chums, who had
been present at the spread, had whispered to them of the dire penalties
that would follow a disregard of the hazing instructions of the upper
classmen. So the two cronies marched gravely up and down the dark
street, while occasional pedestrians paused to gaze, chuckle silently as
they realized what was in progress.

"I'm not going to stand it!" indignantly declared Porter after a half
hour of the ordeal.

"We'd better," counseled Weston. "I don't want to stay at Kentfield for
a month with not a soul to speak to but you. We've got to do it."

"All right. But I'll get even with Hamilton for this. I think he started
it. I'll get square with him."

"Same here," and Weston shifted his gun to the other shoulder, and
marched forward wearily.

The night wore on, and in the shadows of several buildings the upper
classmen who had originated the joke on the two freshmen, looked on and
chuckled in mirth. Occasionally they called out a remark to the
sentries. More people passed, and some paused to laugh, to the anger of
Porter and Weston. Policemen walked by, but they were familiar with that
form of hazing and did not make any complaint of the odd sight. Some of
the prisoners in the jail peered out from their barred windows and
jeered. All this was bitterness to the two.

After a time Beeby and his chums wearied of the joke, and on the
invitation of George Hall went to a nearby soda fountain for some
chocolate.

"They'll skip out as soon as we're gone," declared Ray Dutton.

"No, I think they'll stick," declared Innis. "Anyhow, Dick, you go back
and take a look. We'll keep your chocolate for you."

Our hero did not relish the task, but did not want to object.
Accordingly, he walked back to the corner where he could look down the
street and catch a glimpse of the two cadet jail-sentries. They were
still on their posts.

Dick turned back to join his chums, and, as did so he almost collided
with a man coming around the corner in an opposite direction.

"I beg your pardon!" exclaimed the cadet. "I didn't see you."

"Very evidently," was the rasping reply. "That's the trouble with you
young men, you never look where you're going. Ah! I see, another one of
the soldiers--and if it isn't the same one who nearly ran me down the
other night in an automobile."

Dick recognized the aged Mr. Duncaster.

"I--I'm afraid it is," our hero faltered. "I--I didn't mean to, I'm
sure. I didn't hurt you this time."

"No, but it's not your fault that you didn't. You came around that
corner under a full head of steam. Have you run down any more persons in
your auto?" Enos Duncaster asked sarcastically.

"No, and that time it wasn't my fault."

"Hum--let's see--your name is Hamilton--son of Mortimer Hamilton--I know
him--a hard man in a bargain. Well, I'll let you off this time. Who are
those two young men marching up and down over there--chums of yours?"

"Yes--we--we're hazing them," faltered Dick.

"Ha! Hazing! A senseless and foolish proceeding! But just what I would
expect of you soldier lads--heartless and cruel. Well, let me pass, I've
wasted enough time on you."

Mr. Duncaster's voice was grim and harsh. He brushed by Dick roughly and
passed on down the street, muttering to himself about the foolishness of
youths in general, and in particular regarding those boys who attended
military schools.

Dick, having assured himself that the hazed ones were still patrolling
their post, returned to his chums and helped get away with some
chocolate soda.

There was a telegram awaiting our hero when he reached his room later
that night, Porter and Weston having been released from their hazing
duties.

"Hum, I guess that's from dad," mused Dick. "I wonder what the new
developments are?"

Rapidly he scanned the few words. They were these:

     "Dear Dick: Enos Duncaster is the name of the man who holds a lot
     of trolley stock. See if you can locate him for me. I understand he
     lives somewhere in the vicinity of your academy. Trouble is
     thickening. I need help."

"Whew!" whistled Dick. "Enos Duncaster! He's the man who holds the
stock, and whom both sides are after. And I'm in his bad books if ever a
fellow was! Whew! I can see the finish of this without any spectacles!"



CHAPTER VII

THE COACHES ARRIVE


Cavalry evolutions were ordered for the next day, followed by a field
drill, and a service march of several miles, so that there was no chance
for football practice.

"And we need all we can get, too," remarked Dick to Paul.

"Let's suggest to Colonel Masterly that he give up lessons and drill
while the gridiron season is on," suggested Paul with a smile.

"Yes, I can see him doing it," cried the young millionaire. "Which horse
are you going to ride, Paul?"

"The little black--I'm fond of him, though he is a bit vicious."

The boys were on their way to the cavalry barracks, and in their wake,
and ahead of them, were other cadets hastening to secure their mounts,
for the bugle was impatiently calling.

"Do you think Spitfire is safe?" asked Dick, naming the steed Paul had
said he would use. "Why don't you take the little gray I used to ride?
He's a good steady mount, though a bit slow."

"That's the trouble," was the answer, as Dick's roommate tightened the
belt of his sabre. "I want to keep up with the rest of the bunch. No,
I'll take Spitfire. I reckon you'll ride Rex; eh?"

"Sure," for Dick had brought his own fine horse to Kentfield with him,
together with his bulldog, and Grit was now ambling along behind the two
chums, occasionally uttering a low bark of satisfaction, for the dog
loved to go along on the practice "hikes."

"Well, be careful," cautioned the wealthy youth, as Paul went in to
saddle up.

"All right," laughed his chum, but there was a serious look on the face
of our hero, and he resolved to keep near his chum that day.

Artillery practice followed the cavalry drill, and the cadets, sitting
as straight as ramrods on the caissons while the horses galloped around
at full speed, leaped off the moment the sudden halt was made,
unlimbered, fired rapid shots and, limbering up again, went off at a mad
gallop to repeat the operation.

"Forward march!" signalled the bugler when arrangements had been made
for the "hike," and the eager horses, astride of which were the no less
eager cadets, started off.

It was a pleasant day, though a trifle cool, and the service overcoats,
with their flashily yellow linings, showing gaily in the sun when they
flapped back, felt very comfortable.

At first the march was in orderly array, while Major Webster, and some
of the other military instructors, passed here and there among the new
cadets, telling them the proper way to manage their horses. Dick and his
chums, however, having passed several terms at the academy, needed no
hints.

"Don't hold your snaffle reins that way, Mr. Porter," said the major to
the new lad as he rode up beside him. "You can't control your horse in
an emergency. Let me show you," which he did, also correcting a fault he
noticed in the way Weston sat on his steed.

"Humph! I guess I know something about horses," complained Porter, when
the instructors had passed on. "I straddled one before I came here. I
had a German riding master, and what he didn't know about horses wasn't
worth putting on ice. I'll ride as I please."

As he spoke, he put spurs to his horse, digging them in viciously, and
as the startled animal leaped forward, the cruel lad wrenched the poor
brute's mouth open with the strong curb bit. There was a momentary
confusion among the horses immediately surrounding Porter, and several
of the older cadets called sharply to him to "stop his funny work."

"Oh, you fellows make me tired!" Porter grumbled. "Why don't you do some
fast riding."

"You'll get all the fast riding you want if you stay long enough," spoke
Paul sharply.

A little later the order was given to ride at will, and Major Webster,
galloping back to Dick, said:

"Captain Hamilton, you and Lieutenant Drew take several of the new
cadets and ride around by the long lake road. Give them some points.
Take about ten--Mr. Porter and Mr. Weston, fall in with Captain
Hamilton's squad."

"Hum! I guess Captain Hamilton thinks he knows it all," sneered Weston.

"Not a bit of it," answered Dick good naturedly. "But orders are orders
you'll find. Come ahead, and I'll show you a fine bit of road, some
magnificent scenery, and we'll have a good gallop. Look out there, Paul,
I don't like the way Spitfire is acting!" The young millionaire called
this suddenly as he saw his chum's steed waltzing up to another animal,
with ears laid back as though to bite, and so cause trouble.

"I can manage him," answered Paul confidently, as he put the restless
steed about in a rapid circle.

Dick's little squad, himself and Paul the only really military
experienced riders in it, set off along a cross road that would bring
them to the shore path of Lake Wagatook. There, as the young captain had
said, was a fine road with scenery that one would have to travel many
miles to equal.

"Now for some fast riding!" called Dick, when they came to a long open
stretch. "You can go as far as you like, Porter."

"Good! Then here I go!"

Viciously he again spurred his horse, and his example was followed by
his crony. The two animals sprang away together, but Porter's stepped on
a round stone, stumbled, and almost fell. The boastful lad proved that
he did know something about animals, for he pulled up the beast's head
sharply, and got him in hand again. Not before, however, the frightened
steed had collided with some force into Spitfire.

Paul's horse lashed out instantly with its hind hoofs, and then, with a
shake of the head bolted. The cadet attempted to pull him in, but, a
moment later, uttered a startled cry.

"My curb rein is broken!"

It flashed through Dick's head in an instant what that meant. Naturally
ugly, Spitfire, now unusually frightened, was practically beyond
control. Paul was doing his best but was rapidly being carried down the
broad highway, with Porter and Weston galloping after him, their own
steeds none too well in hand.

"I've got to stop him!" exclaimed Dick. "I've got to catch Spitfire and
stop him, or Paul may be hurt! That brute isn't fit to ride. Come, Rex!"

Rex needed no spur. Off he started like a racer, and Dick, looking back,
flung over his shoulder at the other cadets:

"Come on, fellows, keep up as well as you can!"

Rex soon fell into his stride, and fairly skimmed along the smooth
road. But Paul was quite a distance ahead, and Spitfire was running
hard. Dick could see his chum sitting easily in the saddle, now and then
leaning forward trying to grasp the broken and flapping end of the curb
rein.

"Don't do it! Wait! I'll catch you!" shouted Dick, but it is doubtful if
Paul heard him.

"Come on, Rex old man, we must do better than this. We can beat
Spitfire," spoke Dick gently, patting his horse on the neck. Rex
understood and let out a few more "kinks" of his speed.

The young millionaire soon reached and passed Porter and Weston, whose
steeds had soon tired of the speedy spurt. But not so with Spitfire.
Dick knew he would have a race. On galloped Rex, and before him sped
Spitfire.

"A little better, boy, a little better," urged Dick. And a little better
Rex went.

Dick could now see that he was overhauling the uncontrolled steed, and
he was glad of it, for he feared Paul might be flung off, in spite of
the lad's skill in horsemanship.

"I'll have him in another minute," reflected Dick, when there suddenly
loomed in sight a big touring car, and right at a point where the road
narrowed. Spitfire was viciously shaking his head, now and then holding
it low.

"Jove, he'll crash into that car!" cried Dick aloud. "Why don't they
keep that infernal horn still? It's making him wilder," for the
autoists were frantically tooting away.

"I've got to get in ahead of him, and ride him off to one side," thought
our hero. "Rex, old boy, I hate to do it, but--just a touch."

Gently Dick pricked his pet animal with the spurs--just a touch, for
voice was not quite incentive enough. Like a shot Rex sprang forward,
and covered the ground so rapidly that in another brief instant the
young millionaire was ahead of his friend, and between Spitfire and the
now stationary auto. Then, with the skill of long practice, Dick urged
Rex up to Spitfire, who was losing speed, and a moment later the
frightened steed had been forced off the road, into the grassy side
path, and headed toward a fence, which effectually stopped farther
progress.

"Well ridden! Excellently well ridden!" cried the man at the wheel of
the auto. Dick saluted, for there were several ladies in the car, and
then turned to Paul.

"All right, old man," he asked anxiously.

"Yes, but I might not have been a little later. I should have looked to
my reins. Thanks--for coming as you did," and Paul warmly grasped Dick's
hand.

"You knew I'd come. Now let's see if we can mend that leather and ride
back. Are you game?"

"Oh, sure. I fancy Spitfire has had all he wanted for to-day." In fact
the animal was much subdued after his run. The auto passed on, not even
the tooting of the horn causing Paul's steed to prance. Then he and Dick
managed to patch up the curb leather, and rode back to meet the other
cadets.

"Don't spur up so suddenly when other horses are too near you," advised
the young captain to Porter, who seemed a bit ashamed of the trouble he
had caused.

"I beg your pardon, old man--and yours, Captain," spoke the lad, who
though impulsive, was not a bad fellow at heart.

"All right," answered Dick easily. "We'll take it a little more slowly
now."

They finished the ride in about two hours, reaching the academy as the
last of the other riding squads came in. Dick made no report of the
little incident which, but for his promptness, might have had a fatal,
or at least a serious, ending.

Rifle practice, and field telegraph work occupied the rest of the day,
and there was a final drill and inspection in the late afternoon.

"A pretty strenuous day," remarked Paul to Dick, as they went to their
room that evening.

"Yes, and there'll be another to-morrow."

"How so?"

"We must get in some good football practice, for I expect the two
coaches soon, perhaps to-day."

"Then Martin and Spencer are both coming?"

"Yes, the good salary and the influence of the old grads, including dad,
brought them around."

"I'm glad of it. Now Kentfield will do something."

Out on the gridiron were a score or more of the mole-skin clad warriors,
doing all sorts of things to a harmless pigskin spheroid. It was booted
and passed about.

"Line up! Line up!" called Teddy Naylor. "Get together fellows! Where
are you scrubs? We're going to send all of you to the hospital. Come on,
Dick, run through some signals."

Eleven panting youths faced eleven others, and the ball went sailing
into the midst of the Varsity. George Hall caught it, and ran back with
it, well protected by interference. But some of the scrub managed to get
through, and downed him before he had gone far.

"Down!" panted George, as he tried to rise from underneath a mound of
human forms.

"Down indeed, but too soon," remarked a strange voice, to one side of
the scrimmaging lads. They all looked up. Two young men stood looking at
the heap of humanity. They were strangers to all the cadets.

"May I ask--perhaps you don't know it, but only members of the academy
are allowed out here," spoke Teddy Naylor a bit stiffly.

"Oh, but we were sent for," remarked one of the strangers. "We just
came, and we were interested in seeing you play."

"You were sent for?" repeated the captain.

"Yes, that is----"

"Oh, isn't this Mr. Martin?" asked Dick, striding forward and holding
out his hand.

"Yes," was the answer from the man with a small black moustache. "I'm
Mr. Martin and this is Mr. Spencer," and he indicated his companion.

"Fellows, the coaches have come!" cried Dick. "Now to learn how to play
football!"



CHAPTER VIII

THE TRY-OUT


Scores of expectant lads sat in the meeting room of the Kentfield
Academy gymnasium. They faced two quiet gentlemen, who, from time to
time, whispered to each other. Beside the two gentlemen were Teddy
Naylor and Innis Beeby, who also, as the minutes passed, conferred in
low voices.

"Hadn't we better start?" asked Innis, of the football captain.

"No, we'll wait a few minutes longer. Porter and Weston aren't here, and
I want them to come."

"Those fellows will never train for the eleven."

"Yes they will. There is good material in both of them. Here they are
now. I guess we've got enough. Will you start her off, or shall I?"

"Oh, you'd better, Teddy. I'll say something later if it's necessary.
Better introduce 'em formally first, and let 'em do most of the
talking," and the stout cadet looked at the two coaches.

"Fellows," began Teddy, arising and moving forward a bit nervously, "you
all know why we are here--that is I suppose--we are here--we came----"

"Good, Teddy!" called someone encouragingly. "Say it over, we missed
part of it."

"We are here----"

"Because we're here!" interpolated another tormentor.

"Oh, hang it all! We've met to discuss football!" cried the captain in
desperation. "The athletic committee feels that something should be
done--you all know how Blue Hill turned us down--we've got to play
better. We now have two of the best coaches in the country, and they're
going to have charge. I take pleasure in introducing to you Mr. Burke
Martin of Yale, and Mr. Wilson Spencer of Princeton."

"Three cheers for both of 'em!" cried someone, and the big gymnasium
reverberated with the shouts. Mr. Martin nodded to his colleague to
speak first, and the Princeton coach arose.

"I am glad to see you all so enthusiastic," he began. "You know why the
services of Mr. Martin and myself were secured, and I assure you that we
will do our best to get your team into shape. To do this we may have to
tell you some unpleasant truths, and some of you who imagine yourself
good players may find that you cannot make the team--at least not at
once. But I hope there will be no hard feelings. Now to begin with, I
want to say something about training, as that is my specialty, and
afterward Mr. Martin will give you a little talk about playing the game
to win."

Thereupon the Princeton coach touched briefly on the more important
points of the training system. It was soon evident to the Kentfield lads
that they had not done enough of this in times past, and perhaps this
was the cause of some of their defeats--at least they ascribed it to
that.

"Football men, among other things, need quickness," said Mr. Spencer,
"and beyond all else, according to Michael Murphy of Pennsylvania, than
whom there is no better trainer, the players on the gridiron need to
have plenty of superfluous energy to draw on. That is you need a sort of
reserve stock to use at the time of a big match. Your mental condition
is no less important than your physical. You must _want_ to win, and you
must feel that you are _going_ to win.

"The care a player takes of himself in the summer determines in a great
measure how soon he can get into condition in the fall."

"We had pretty good training on Dick's yacht," whispered Innis to Teddy.

"Now, I propose that we start at the beginning," went on the coach.
"We'll have some setting-up exercises, some track work, and general
gymnastics, and then we'll get in a position to pick the men for the
Varsity by a series of try-outs." He made some special references to the
details of training, and then yielded to Mr. Martin.

The latter went into the fine points of the game, emphasizing the needs
of the individual players, laying stress on what the backs, tackles,
ends and guards should do, and urging on the lads the necessity for
fast, snappy playing.

"Demoralize your opponents by the quickness with which you jump into
formations," said the Yale man. "As soon as one play is finished be
ready for the next. In defense, never give up, no matter how the game
seems to be going against you. Hold hard, tire out the other side, and
then you may have a chance to get the ball and--win!"

He spoke at some length, and his remarks were eagerly listened to. Then
Innis got up, and, after a trifling show of nervousness, and two or
three false starts, which gave the cadets a chance to "rig" him, he
said:

"I want to say that I'm sure none of us will feel any resentment if,
after a fair trial, it is decided by the two new coaches that he isn't
fit for the team," went on the stout lad. "I know my own failings and
I'll be trying to get my weight down----"

"Don't eat so much," urged Jim Watkins, and there was a laugh, whereat
Innis blushed.

"And I'm going to train hard," he concluded. "I guess that will be all
this evening."

The meeting broke up, but the boys lingered to talk with each other,
many surrounding the coaches, and asking all sorts of questions.

It had been arranged with Colonel Masterly that Mr. Martin and Mr.
Spencer could occupy rooms in the Senior dormitory, and Dick, through
the athletic committee, had provided for paying the bills.

Preliminary work of training started the next day, and though some of
the boys thought it useless, they went through the exercises. But the
two coaches were too wise to keep the cadets at mere gymnasium work too
long, and so some field work with the ball, and some running exercises,
were arranged.

Several candidates could not stand the pace and the grind and dropped
out, but their places were eagerly taken by others. The scrub members
were enthusiastic, and each one hoped to make the Varsity.

"Now we'll try a little practice game, between the first and second
teams," proposed Mr. Martin, about a week after the arrival of himself
and his colleague. "It will be in the nature of a try-out, for probably
those who do the best work will be put in the first squad, and from that
the men for the Varsity will be picked. That does not mean, however,
that those who fail to make good this time will be barred. We will keep
on the lookout for good material all the while."

"And I want you boys to feel that you are always being watched," added
Mr. Spencer. "We'll have our eyes on you when you least expect it."

"That's what we want," declared Dick with a laugh. "We want the best
team possible."

"Yes--Hamilton's team," sneered Porter to Weston.

"He'll be sure to make it, anyhow," added the latter.

"If he does, and I don't, I'll kick up a row," threatened the rich lad.

"So will I. Come on let's go to town and have a pool game. I'm pretty
dry, too.

"Better not get caught with any of that bottled stuff," cautioned
Porter.

"Don't worry. They will have to be pretty foxy to spot me, but I'm not
going to be a temperance crank just because those coaches say so. Come
ahead and we'll have some fun. It will be stiff enough work to-morrow."

The practice game was a hard one. Each player did his best, and on
several occasions, after a hard scrimmage, time had to be taken out
while some cadet had the wind pumped back into him, or a twisted ankle
vigorously rubbed.

Slowly but surely the Varsity pushed back the luckless scrub. Slowly but
surely a touchdown seemed about to be made. Dick gave a signal for a
fake kick. John Stiver, the left half-back was to take the ball, run
wide toward his own right end, pass the pigskin to Teddy Naylor, at
full-back and the latter was to try and advance it for a touchdown.

All went well until Teddy got the ball. Then, as he was charging around
the end, with Dick and Stiver forming interference for him, he dropped
the ball. Something like a groan came from the young millionaire, for he
saw their chance to score lost. Tom Coleton, of the scrub, came charging
through, but the next instant Dick had made a grab for the pigskin,
picked it up, and, dodging Coleton, made a dash toward the goal line.

The day was saved, for our hero, making a splendid run, planted the ball
squarely between the posts, and behind the final chalk mark.

"Touchdown! Touchdown!" came the triumphant cry. "Varsity touchdown!"

"But it wouldn't have been one except for Hamilton," remarked Mr. Martin
grimly. "Naylor, how did it happen that you couldn't hold the ball?"

"I don't know," answered the luckless captain.

"We can't have that," remarked Mr. Spencer with a dubious shake of his
head. "Well, try for goal."

It was an easy shot, and Innis made it quickly. Then the game went on,
but the Varsity could not score again, and the scrub was equally unable
to advance the ball when they had it.

"That will be enough for to-day," announced the coaches. "We are going
to make some changes to-morrow. The list of the first squad will be
posted in the gym."

There were anxious looks among the players. Who would be on the
preliminary Varsity team. It was a question every cadet asked himself.

"Well, if I don't make it," reflected Dick, "I will have so much more
time to try and get on the trail of Mr. Duncaster. But--I want to play
football."



CHAPTER IX

THE ACCUSATION


"Come on, Dick!" cried Paul excitedly, as he burst into the room where
his chum was industriously boning away over the pages of his
trigonometry. "Hurry up!"

"What's the rush, son?" calmly asked the young millionaire.

"Haven't you heard? The list of the Varsity players has just been posted
in the gym."

"Who told you?"

"Toots. He was whistling 'Just Before the Battle, Mother,' when I
spotted him, and he sung out that the list was up. I want to see if my
name is there."

"It sure is--you played your head off yesterday," declared Dick.

"That's no sure sign. I wish I had your chances."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Dick. Yet, deep down in his heart he could not
help feeling that perhaps, after all, he might be put on the scrub. He
had played his best, but he had made some errors, and one fumble. Yet
it would seem that his run and touchdown would count for much.

"Aren't you ever coming?" asked Paul. "Jove! I can't wait."

"Sure I'm coming," answered his roommate, as he tossed the book upon a
heap of others. "No use getting excited though."

It was the day after the try-out game, and the coaches after a long and
none too easy process of elimination had arrived at some definite
results. They had made up a tentative Varsity team.

As Dick and Paul hurried across the campus toward the gymnasium, they
saw many other students bent on the same errand as themselves, for the
news had quickly spread, and each cadet who had football aspirations was
anxious to see if he was one of the lucky eleven.

There was such a crowd about the bulletin board that for a time Dick and
his chum could not get near it. They heard many names called out though,
for the second team was posted as well as the first.

"There's Beeby--lucky dog--he's made it!" exclaimed someone.

"I thought he was too fat," came in disappointed tones from Roy Haskell,
who coveted the centre rush's place.

"And Hall--he's on."

"Yes, and there's Dutton and Stiver, both on the first team."

"Say--look--Teddy hasn't made it!"

"Get out!"

"Sure not! Look, he's on the scrub."

"Poor Teddy. That's because of that fumble yesterday. Who's got his
place?"

"I can't see. Oh, yes, it's Coleton!"

"Say, did you hear that?" asked Paul in a low voice of his chum.

"Yes, it's bad news. But Teddy will be on before we get through the
season. He's a better all around player than Coleton. Can you get up
there now?"

"I guess so. Come on. Say, let a fellow up, will you?" begged Paul of
those about him.

As they were worming their way up they heard another piece of news.

"Porter is off," remarked one lad.

"I thought he'd be," came from Jim Watkins. "He made two bad fumbles
yesterday, and he isn't quick enough for an end."

"Can you see, Dick?" asked Paul, as he clung to the side of his
companion. "Is your name there."

"I don't know yet--Hey, Frank, get your head out of my way for a second;
will you?"

"Sure thing, Dick. Tough about Teddy; isn't it?"

"Yes, but don't worry. We'll have him back."

"I hope so."

"Now can you see?" implored Paul.

"Yes, your name----"

Dick paused a moment.

"Well!" panted his roommate.

"Is there all right. You're on the Varsity."

"What position?"

"Left guard--where you wanted to play."

"But what about you, Dick?"

"Oh, I'm down at quarter all right," and from the calm way in which he
said it those who heard him would never have imagined that Dick's heart
had almost stopped beating when, for a brief moment, he thought he had
caught sight of his name on the second list.

"Good, old man!" cried Paul fervently as he clasped his chum's hand. "I
knew you'd make it. Now we'll see what sort of a team we'll have with
the two changes. Are those the only ones made?"

"Yes, Porter and Naylor are off."

"Who's got Porter's place?"

"Hal Foster--a good fellow, too."

The throng surged about the bulletin board, newcomers arriving every
minute, and all the cadets making various observations as they were
pleased or disappointed. Teddy Naylor was not in sight. He had heard the
news, and in the bitterness of his heart he kept to himself for a while.

Yet he did not complain. Teddy played the game fairly, and he was a
loyal son of Kentfield. He was willing to defer to the judgment of the
coaches--yet no one but himself knew how he longed to be among the first
squad, and with a grim setting of his lips he resolved to make it
before the big games were played.

"Well, come on," invited Paul to Dick. "I'll treat you to a soda on the
strength of this."

"Don't you think it will put us out of training?"

"One can't. We've got to celebrate in some way."

The two chums strolled across the campus arm in arm, toward a spot where
an enterprising dealer, well aware of the desire for sweets on the part
of the students, had set up a little confectionery shop.

As Paul and his chum neared it they saw, walking toward them, Porter and
Weston. The cronies were talking earnestly together.

"I wonder if Porter's heard?" ventured Paul.

"If he hasn't he soon will. I'm sorry for him. He's a brilliant player,
but careless. He may come back before the season is over."

"He isn't much of an addition to the team--too snobby for me," spoke
Paul in a low voice.

Porter suddenly seemed to become aware of Dick's presence, for Weston
called his attention to it. Glancing up quickly, a black look passed
over the features of the rich youth. Then striding ahead of his
companion, he confronted our hero.

"Well, you've heard the news I suppose?" he snarled.

"About the announcements being made?" inquired Dick gently.

"No--about me being off the team."

"Yes, I'm sorry, but perhaps----"

"Oh, yes; you're sorry!" snapped Porter. "But I notice that _your_ name
is down all right."

"Yes," and Dick controlled himself by an effort, for the tone was
insulting.

"We all know why you're on the Varsity. It isn't because of your star
playing."

"I never claimed to be a star," was the calm answer, "but I probably
played well enough to be picked."

"No, you didn't!" fairly shouted Porter. "You were picked because it is
your money that's paying the salaries of the coaches and they were
afraid if they didn't pick you that they'd lose their jobs. That's why
you're on the Varsity, Dick Hamilton, and you can put that in your pipe
and smoke it!"

Porter, with a sneer on his puffed and red face, swung around angrily,
and started off.

"Wait one minute, Mr. Porter," called Dick in a strangely quiet voice.
"I want to say something to you."

"No, let me say it," begged Paul quickly, as Porter turned and faced
them.



CHAPTER X

DICK IS REBUFFED


For a moment the four cadets--two on one side and two on the
other--stared at each other. The face of Dick Hamilton was rather pale,
but he held himself well in control. As for Paul, he had one hand on the
shoulder of his chum, and had taken an eager step forward to confront
Porter.

That bully regarded the two friends with a sneer on his face, and the
countenance of Weston wore an amused smile.

"Well, I thought you were going to say something," half-snarled Porter.
"If you are, put some steam on. We're in a hurry."

"You made an accusation just now," went on Paul, making a motion to Dick
to keep silent.

"I did, and I think I can back it up. Why it's plain to everybody how
the thing is worked. It's even known as Hamilton's football team, and no
wonder he is picked to play on it."

"It isn't my team at all!" burst out the young millionaire.

"Well, you're paying for the coaches," put in Weston. "That's why
they----"

"They don't know a thing about it!" cried Paul Drew. "That's what I want
to say. From the beginning it was feared that something like this might
crop up, and so Dick arranged to hand the money to the athletic
committee, of which I happen to be a member. Our committee pays the
salaries of the coaches, and also for their board, and the coaches
themselves only know that much. They have no more idea that Dick is
footing the bills than that an inhabitant of Mars is doing it, and if
any one makes a statement to the contrary--well, we have a way of
dealing with such persons at Kentfield," and Paul looked significantly
at Porter and Weston.

"Does that satisfy you?" asked Dick quietly, as Paul paused. "I would
have told you the same thing, but perhaps it is just as well to come
from a member of the committee. I am only too glad to help out the team
by hiring the coaches, but they don't know me from any other player, and
I took my chances with all of you. If I had been turned down, as I half
expected to be, it would have made no difference."

"Wait until you get turned down, and then you'll sing a different tune,"
remarked Porter bitterly, and Dick realized how he must feel.

"I'm sorry," said the young millionaire gently, "and if I had any
influence at all you should be on the Varsity, for I think you are a
good player."

"The coaches don't," and Porter laughed sarcastically.

"There's plenty of chance yet," went on Dick. "We are to have another
practice game this week, and there may be a turn about in some players."

"I have a large sized gold framed picture of 'em naming me," exclaimed
Porter with sarcasm. "But I take back what I said about your money
getting you on. It did seem so, at first."

"Perhaps naturally," agreed Dick. "But your apology is accepted," and he
held out his hand. "I hope we can be friends," he concluded.

"I guess so," mumbled Porter, with rather a shamed air.

"I presume Mr. Weston seconds what his friend says," spoke Paul
significantly.

"Oh, yes," and it was with rather an obvious effort that the crony made
reply. "Come on, Porter, or the best billiard tables will all be
occupied."

"Well, I'm glad that's over," remarked Dick to Paul, as they turned
away. "I was afraid this would crop up, and it's just as well to settle
it. I only hope it does settle it, and that no other fellows will think
as Porter and Weston did."

"Oh, some of them are bound to think it anyhow," said Paul easily.
"Don't mind it, for it will wear away sooner or later. I'm afraid,
though, that the team will be known as yours."

"I don't want that, Paul."

"Can't be helped, old man. After all it's a high honor. I wish I could
afford a football team, and a steam yacht."

"Maybe you will some day. And, come to think of it I may not have a
steam yacht much longer."

"Why, are you going to sell it?"

"No, but dad's finances are in a bad way, and may become worse."

"You don't mean to say he's lost all his money?" and Paul gave Dick a
startled glance.

"Oh, we have enough to keep the wolf from howling under the parlor
windows, and I don't expect to have to go to work in Uncle Ezra's woolen
mill right away, but dad is involved in some trolley deal, and it's
'crimping' him, as he says. He's got most of his money tied up in it
now, and some men, of whom Porter's father is one are trying to get the
road away from dad."

"Does Porter know this?"

"He doesn't know it's my father whom his father is fighting, and I'd
just as soon he wouldn't. But I've got to do something to help out, and
one thing is to locate a Mr. Duncaster," and Dick told of his encounters
with the eccentric man, and how he held a large block of stock in the
trolley line.

"I'll help if I can," agreed Paul. Then they got their ice cream sodas,
and strolled back to the academy.

That night Dick wrote his father a long letter, explaining about the
football team, and also detailing his meetings with Mr. Duncaster.

       *       *       *       *       *

"He lives in a place called Hardvale," wrote Dick, "and he seems to be
as hard as the place is named. However, I'll try to see him, and get him
to sell you the stock. You had better write me some specific
instructions, and say how high I can go in bidding for it. If Mr.
Porter, whose son is here at Kentfield, learns that Duncaster has the
stock, he may have a try for it, so I'll have to go at it quietly. But
I'll do my best."

       *       *       *       *       *

Then, having done as much as he could in his father's business matters,
our hero resumed his interrupted studies.

There was more football practice the next day, and the coaches now put
the Varsity team through some rigorous work. The cadets were a little
inclined to find fault at the strenuous tasks assigned to them, but the
experts were exacting, and said that if Kentfield expected to be in the
championship class she must work for it.

Meanwhile the scrub was being moulded into shape, for a good opponent is
a necessary element in practice, and unless there is something to fight
against practice goes for little.

And how eager that same scrub was to make touchdowns against the
Varsity! How they did work, taking desperate chances all the while, and
the individual players making names for themselves by brilliant dashes.
For they all wanted to get on the first team, and they bore in mind what
the coaches had said about giving them a chance if they did well.

"We certainly have our work cut out for us," remarked Dick, after a
particularly gruelling day. "I'm as lame as a fellow who's tumbled
downstairs."

"Same here," agreed Paul. "Some one walked all over me in that last
scrimmage."

But the effect of the hard work was fast becoming noticeable, for the
team was getting to be like "nails" as Mr. Martin said, and the players
were working more in unison.

There was a practice game between the Varsity and scrub on Saturday, and
it was the best one yet, from a critical football viewpoint. The coaches
nodded their heads in approval when the first team made six touchdowns.
And, though the scrub did manage to get a field goal, it was not to the
discredit of the Varsity.

"We're picking up," declared Dick, as he ducked under a shower bath in
the gymnasium. "We'll be able to challenge Blue Hill again, and they
won't dare turn us down."

"I think we're going to try on some other team first," said Paul. "I
heard the coaches talking about it. But say, who's going to be our
captain--have you heard?"

"Not a word about it. Maybe it will fall on you, since Teddy is out."

"Jove! it would be an honor, but I don't hope for it. I'd like to see
you fill that berth," went on Paul unselfishly.

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Dick. "I guess--blub--glub--ugh!" for he turned
his head up and the shower from the spray filled his mouth and nose
unexpectedly.

"Wow! That was a wet one!" he cried when he had caught his breath.

"Dutton would like to be captain, I hear," put in George Hall, who was
in the next shower to Paul. "He says he's going to try for it."

"And he'd be a good one," declared Dick heartily, for he and his former
enemy were now firm friends, though not exactly chums.

There were many speculations as to who would head the eleven, but the
coaches had advised the cadets to wait until the Varsity team was
definitely selected before holding an election, and this had been agreed
to.

There came a long telegram for Dick late that Saturday night. It was
from his father, and showed more plainly than anything else how anxious
the financier was. For he did not wait to write a reply to Dick's
letter, preferring the speed of the wire.

       *       *       *       *       *

"See Duncaster by all means," read part of the message, "and offer him
ten points above par for the stock--all he has. It's a big price, but it
will soon be worth more. See him soon."

"I'll make a trip out there Monday," decided Dick. "Whew! Things are
beginning to happen evidently."

With Paul for a companion our hero hired an auto and made the journey to
Hardvale. Grit sat on the floor of the tonneau, with a contented look on
his ugly but honest countenance.

"Grit may come in handy if Duncaster sets his dogs on us," remarked Dick
with a grim smile, as they bowled along at good speed.

"Why, do you expect trouble?" asked Paul.

"Not exactly, but I imagine he hasn't much use for me. He didn't act
very friendly the last time we met, and then the sight of the auto may
make him angry, remembering how we ran him down. But it's too slow to
take a horse. I hope we find him at home."

It was rather a lonesome part of the country through which they were
traveling--a sparsely settled district that, somehow, reminded the young
millionaire of the gloomy landscape at Dankville where his Uncle Ezra
lived.

Mr. Duncaster was at home, a fact which a crabbed old housekeeper
conveyed to the boys in no very cheerful voice.

"But I don't believe he'll see you," she added. "He's just woke up from
his afternoon nap, and he's always a little riled then."

"Hum," mused our hero, "rather an unfavorable time to call, but it can't
be helped. Will you tell him Dick Hamilton wants to see him?" he
requested of the housekeeper.

"Oh, I s'pose so," and the woman went off grumbling, leaving the two
lads standing on the doorstep.

"Polite," commented Paul with a short laugh.

The woman came back presently.

"He wants to know what you want," she said.

"I'd like to see him, and explain in person," said the young
millionaire, "but will you tell him it is about the stock of the Midvale
Electric Road he holds. I wish to purchase it for my father."

"Oh, you do; eh?" snarled a voice behind the housekeeper, and the
wizzened and rather scowling face of Mr. Duncaster was thrust out. "So
that's why you called on me, Dick Hamilton? I haven't forgotten you, as
you'll note. Ha! There's another of the tin soldiers," he sneered as he
caught sight of Paul. "If I had my way you'd all be breaking stone on
the road, and you wouldn't have those soldier suits on, either," and he
chuckled hoarsely. Clearly he was none the better for his nap.

"I called in reference to the Midvale stock," explained Dick, trying
hard to keep down his anger and speak politely. "My father told me to
offer you ten above par for it."

"Ten; eh?" and Mr. Duncaster chuckled. "Did he say you were to go higher
in case I refused that offer?"

"No, he did not."

"Well then you can go back where you came from and tell your father that
I won't sell."

"Do you mean for that price? Do you want more money? I can wire my
father, and say----"

"You needn't say anything for me!" snapped the crabbed man. "I won't
sell at that price, nor any other he can offer me. I've had a better
offer than his, you can tell him, but I won't do business with him. Now
get away from here! This isn't war time and I don't want a couple of tin
soldiers on my front steps," and once more the old man chuckled at his
insulting words.

Dick and Paul flushed, but made no retort.

"Won't you consider any offer at all from my father?" asked the young
millionaire, wondering if the other bid for the stock had come from Mr.
Porter. "I will send him a message, telling him you----"

"I told you that you needn't tell him anything from me!" snapped Mr.
Duncaster. "I won't sell, and that's all there is to it! Now get out!"
and he slammed shut the door.

For a moment Dick paused irresolutely on the steps. Then, with a shrug
of his shoulders, he said:

"Turned down! Well I'll have to try some other way. It will be a
disappointment for dad though."

As the two chums walked out of the yard the chauffeur came toward them
with a small pail.

"What are you going to do?" asked Dick.

"Get some water for the radiator. It's almost out. I see a well over
here."

He approached it to draw up the bucket, when a window was raised, and
the head of Mr. Duncaster was thrust out.

"Here! Keep away from that well!" he cried. "You shan't have any of my
water for your old rip-snorting contraption. I believe you are the
fellow who ran into me the other night. Get away from there and water
your machine somewhere else."

"Hum! You're a cheerful companion for yourself in your old age,"
remarked the chauffeur, as he turned back.



CHAPTER XI

A RIVALRY


"What are you going to do?" asked Dick of the auto driver, as the three
walked out of the yard of the mean man, watched all the way by the
squinting eyes of Mr. Duncaster.

"Oh, I'll go to some place down the road where they're not so careful of
their water," was the answer.

"Have you enough to run on?" asked Paul, and the chauffeur assured them
that he had. The next resident was a cheerful farmer, who not only gave
permission for them to take all the water they needed, but even drew it
from the well for them.

"And if your machine needs a drink, perhaps you will too," said the
farmer's wife. "I've just made some hot coffee, and I'd like you all to
come in and have some."

"We will!" assented Dick, and most grateful was the beverage, for riding
in the open car was chilly.

"What a difference in people," commented Paul, as they started off
again.

The young millionaire felt almost as badly at sending the discouraging
news to his father as Mr. Hamilton must have felt on receiving it. But
he immediately wired back a cheerful telegram to his son.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Don't worry," he advised, "we'll try some other way, and perhaps you
may be able to get around Duncaster later. I'd come on and tackle him
myself, but I can't spare the time."

       *       *       *       *       *

Thereupon Dick began to devise ways and means of inducing the miserly
and crabbed financier to part with the stock. He even thought of taking
part of the money that was in his own right, and making an offer higher
than the one authorized by his father, but he reflected since Mr.
Hamilton had not told him to go more than ten points above par value,
perhaps there might be a special reason for this.

"I might take a crowd of the fellows out to his house some night and
haze him," ventured our hero.

"Let me go along if you do," begged Paul eagerly. "I'd like to get even
with him for calling us tin soldiers."

"I'm afraid it can't be done," and Dick sighed. "I'll have to think of
something else."

Football practice now occupied all the spare time the cadets had. Early
and late they were on the gridiron, playing under the watchful eyes of
the two coaches, who still found many faults to correct.

"No team is perfect," declared Mr. Spencer, "but we want Kentfield to be
as nearly so as possible. You boys must do better on kicking though, for
you may meet some team where you'll have to depend on your
leg-and-foot-work to pull you out of a hole."

"And they're not quite as fast as I'd like to see them," added Mr.
Martin. "They don't snap back into place quickly enough after each play.
Now try it again. Get in the habit of running back into place instead of
walking. Be lively!"

They lined up again, to run through some new plays and formations, and
then were ready for the scrub, against whom they made such a good
showing that both coaches warmly congratulated their charges.

"I wish poor Teddy was back on the Varsity," confided Dick to Paul, as
they finished the day's practice. "He's feeling it very much, and he's
falling off in form."

"Yes, I was afraid of that. I wonder if we couldn't do something?"

"I'm afraid not. Porter is playing well on the scrub though. He's much
faster than he was in getting down on kicks, and he tackles fiercely.
Did you ever have him come at you?"

"Indeed I have," answered Paul ruefully. "I've got a lump on my head
yet where he threw me down last week. But that's the way to play the
game."

"Sure. Say, don't you think it's rather queer not to have a captain?"

"Yes, and it's evident that Teddy isn't going to stand any show for it
now. It will be some one of the present team, I fancy."

"Probably. Have you heard any rumors?"

"Well, George Hall would like it--in fact every fellow would, but Dutton
is the hottest after it. He's pulling wires all he can--in a legitimate
way, of course, and lots of the fellows like him."

"I don't blame him. Well, I'll vote for him, when the election is held."

"I won't!" declared Paul stoutly.

"Why not?"

"Because I'm going to vote for you, old man."

"Nonsense! I don't know as I want it."

"You deserve it, which is more. No one has done as much for the
Kentfield eleven since the academy was started as you have this one
season, and you ought to be captain. Then you couldn't kick when they
called it Dick Hamilton's football team."

"Oh, get out!" cried the young millionaire, yet he was not displeased at
his chum's sincere words. And what normal healthy lad would not want to
be captain of an eleven?

There was much buzzing talk the next few days concerning the captaincy,
and when the coaches announced that the present Varsity eleven would
stand, at least for the present, and that in order to play match games a
captain would be needed, the excitement grew apace.

"Nominations to-morrow night!" cried Paul one afternoon as he burst into
the room he and Dick shared. "Dutton's name is sure to go up. I'm going
to nominate you and I've got the promise of nearly enough votes to put
you through."

"Look here!" began Dick, "I don't want----"

"It doesn't matter what you want!" cried Paul, clapping his chum on the
back, and doing a sort of war dance around him, "you haven't anything to
say in this matter. You just come to the meeting and see what happens."

It was a lively session, for several matters cropped up that needed to
be settled. There was also a manager to be chosen, and, as Beeby did not
want the place, preferring to spend more time in practice and training,
it was practically decided to have some one not on the team to look
after business ends.

Dan Hatfield was talked of for manager, and his name met with such
instant favor that none other was considered. But when it came to the
captaincy that was a different matter.

The little boom that started in favor of George Hall was so feeble that
he himself saw that he had no chance, and nipped it. There was much
talking and putting together of heads when Mr. Martin arose to announce
that nominations for captain were in order, and that the names would be
posted three days, and then voted on.

"I nominate Ray Dutton!" sung out John Stiver, who was the particular
chum of the former.

It was quickly seconded, and then up jumped Paul Drew.

"I nominate Dick Hamilton!" he sung out.

"Second it!" came promptly from Dutton himself, a courtesy that Dick
acknowledged with a bow.

The former rivals--now rivals again--faced each other with smiles, but
there were anxious feelings in the hearts of both.

"Three cheers for the candidates!" cried Jim Watkins, and they were
given heartily, with a tiger added.

"Any more nominations?" asked Mr. Martin.

"Well there's luck in odd numbers, I nominate Frank Rutley!" called out
Porter with a laugh. "We might as well have a good choice while we're at
it."

Weston seconded this name, and there were no comments. Thereupon the
three names were posted on the bulletin board, and the meeting
adjourned.

"Well, what do you think of it, Dick?" asked Paul, as they strolled back
to their room.

"I'm glad I'm nominated, of course, but----"

"Well, but me no buts, what is it?"

"Dutton is very popular, and I can't help remembering how he was against
me when I first came here. But I'll take my chance with him!"



CHAPTER XII

THE MIDNIGHT ALARM


Wire-pulling extraordinary went on at Kentfield for the next two days.
Each candidate had his particular friends, who worked hard to gain votes
for him.

It was soon seen that Rutley had no chance, and though he would poll
several votes, the main contest was between Dutton and Dick Hamilton.

"And you're going to win!" declared Paul with enthusiasm, as he clapped
his chum on the back. "I've got nearly enough votes promised right now,
and I know I can gain over more of the fellows."

"But say, old man, don't make such a fuss. You make me feel----"

"No matter how you feel, you're going to be captain! I'm sure of it!"

"Well, there's no use saying I don't care how the election goes, for I
do," declared Dick honestly. "I'd rather it was some one else than
Dutton though, who was against me."

"Why, you're not afraid of him; are you?"

"No, but you remember the old rivalry. I'm afraid it will make talk, but
I want to say right here and now that if he is elected he won't have
any better friend than I, and I'll play my head off to help his team
win!"

"We all know that!" cried Paul, looking at his chum admiringly. "It goes
without saying. Now I'm off to see some more of the first year fellows."

"Don't make too much of a fuss about it," begged Dick. "Don't make it
look as though I'd give my head to be elected. I want it, of course,
but----"

"I understand!" cried Paul lightly as he hurried off.

As the time for election drew nearer the excitement increased and there
were all sorts of rumors floating around. Votes were openly bought and
sold, but in a friendly, boyish fashion, the inducements being nothing
more important than "treats" or some special favors. Some even traded
the horses assigned to them in the cavalry drills, one cadet getting a
handsome black he coveted in exchange for a rather poor roan, but Dick
gained a vote thereby.

Paul Drew was a faithful lieutenant in his chum's cause, and he did
valiant work. As for the young millionaire and Dutton, they kept
discreetly out of it. They met several times during the course of the
first day's electioneering, and gaily chaffed each other on the chances
they stood.

"I hear you won't have one vote, 'Ham,'" laughingly declared Dick's
former enemy.

"That's right," half-seriously assented our hero. "I told all my friends
to vote for you."

"So I heard. Kind of you. Come on over and I'll buy you a soda."

"No. They're on the forbidden training menu now."

"That's so, I nearly forgot. Well, come on up to the Sacred Pig, and
we'll have some toast and tea," for there was a lunch room in the
society house. The two rivals went off arm in arm, watched by an
admiring throng of cadets, for they were both great favorites with their
schoolmates.

At the close of the first day it was generally admitted by the workers
on both sides that the two candidates for captain had about the same
number of votes. Rutley was "not in it," as Paul said, and the lad
himself laughingly admitted this. Still Porter and his particular set
were working in his interests, not so much because they really wanted
him, as that they did not want Dick to win, and they took this means of
deflecting votes from him. At the last minute, it was rumored, the
Rutley votes would be swung to Dutton.

"But you've got heaps of chances yet, Dick," declared Paul, "and there's
lots more time to canvass."

But not much electioneering could be done on the next day, for a
competitive drill was ordered and after that was to come artillery
practice. There was barely a chance for some football work, and it had
to be cut short.

What little was done, however, demonstrated that the team was shaping up
well, and the coaches were more than pleased.

"We'll have them play the Dunkirk Military Academy next Saturday,"
announced Mr. Spencer, "and we'll see what they can do in a real
contest."

"I have great hopes of them," declared Mr. Martin. "Of course they ought
to beat Dunkirk, for it's a smaller academy than this, but if they roll
up a big score, bigger than Blue Hill did against the same team last
year, Blue Hill can hardly refuse to play our boys, and I understand
that their refusal to meet Kentfield is a sore point."

"It certainly is. Oh, we'll whip our lads into shape yet, and then Blue
Hill can look to her laurels."

The two coaches walked over to the gymnasium, for they kept themselves
in condition by hard physical work on the apparatus, as well as by
out-door practice.

All through the academy that night went the buzz and hum of talk about
the election. Several votes changed hands, so to speak, though it could
not be said that Dick's chances were increased thereby. In fact Paul was
a little downcast as he reckoned up the number he was sure of for his
chum, and thought of the number needed.

"But I'll get them!" he told himself fiercely as he looked at the list
in his hand. "There are some new fellows I haven't seen yet."

"Oh, go to bed," advised Dick, who was tired with the day's duties, but
Paul would not.

The young millionaire was sleeping soundly when Paul came in a little
later.

"Well?" asked Dick, half awake.

"Not very well," answered Paul dubiously, "but it may be in the morning.
Dutton certainly has lots of friends."

"All right," announced Dick as cheerfully as he could.

It was after midnight when the two chums, as well as several other
cadets, were awakened by an alarm wildly shouted.

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" came in startled tones from a voice they recognized
as that of Toots. "Fire in the ammunition house!"

Paul and Dick were out of bed in the same instant, and rushed to the
window. They saw a red glare, and the cry of Toots was echoed by other
janitors.

"By Jove! The ammunition house is blazing!" cried Paul aghast. "If that
goes up----"

"It's far enough removed from the main buildings," cried Dick, as he
began hurriedly to dress, "but it may damage the Sacred Pig. Besides,
there are some valuable guns in there--and Paul--I forgot--Grit is in
there! Come on!" and Dick raced from the room, half attired as he was.



CHAPTER XIII

THE RESCUE OF DUTTON


"What do you mean? Grit in there--in the ammunition house?" cried Paul,
hurrying after his chum. He wondered whether he had understood Dick
rightly.

"Yes, he's there," came the reply, and the young millionaire never
turned around as he sped down the corridor that was rapidly filling with
half-dressed cadets who had been aroused by the cries of the janitors.
"They're repairing the stable where I keep him nights, and as it was
unlocked I put Grit in the powder house so no one would steal him. Now
it's on fire!"

"We'll get him!" cried Paul. "Come on, fellows, Dick's dog is in there!"

The flames were now more plainly visible, and they were gaining rapidly.
Two of the janitors, one of whom was Toots, had pails of water and were
dashing the fluid on the fire, while others were unreeling a hose.

The ammunition house was a large one, made in the main of concrete, but
there was built on it a small, wooden shed under which some empty
packing boxes and cases were stored, and where some garden tools were
kept. It was this shed which had caught fire, and unless it was quickly
put out the flames might communicate to the wooden door of the powder
house proper. There could be but one result then--an explosion.

Everyone realized this as he rushed on to fight the fire. Some of the
professors were now up and were issuing orders, but there was so much
excitement that no one paid much attention to them.

"Is there a good water pressure?" panted Paul.

"I don't know," answered Dick, as he ran on. "There was the other day
when we had fire drill, but maybe just when we want it there won't be
any."

"Hurry! Hurry!" shouted Toots, as he and the others dashed pail after
pail of water on the fire.

"Use the hose! Turn on the water!" cried Ray Dutton, who was just ahead
of Dick. "Why don't you turn on the pressure?"

"Guess they don't know how to do it," answered the young millionaire.
"One of those men is a new hand. Come on, boys, I can't see Grit burned
to death!"

"He's howling now," cried Paul.

Indeed the frightened yelping of the imprisoned animal could be heard
above the roar and crackle of the flames, and Dick increased his speed.

"I'm coming, Grit! I'm coming!" he shouted, but it is doubtful if the
dog heard him.

The burning shed was in front of the only door to the ammunition house,
and the fire must first be extinguished before the portal could be
reached. To go through the flames now was out of the question.

"Keep back, boys! Keep back!" cried Major Webster. "There may be an
explosion any moment. Keep back!"

"But my dog is in there!" shouted Dick. "I must get Grit out!"

"You can't. It's madness to go too close!"

"I'm going to!" replied Dick grimly. "We'll put out the fire."

"Then use the hose--don't go too close with the buckets. That wooden
shed should never have been built where it is."

"Come on! Get the hose into action!" yelled Dutton, and taking the
nozzle from the hands of puzzled and inexperienced men, the cadet
directed it at the fire, while Dick and Paul, aided by some of their
companions, turned on the water, the supply coming from a big storage
tank, raised high on metal supports to give the necessary force.

A moment later the water spurted from the nozzle and sprayed on the fire
with a hiss of steam.

"That's the stuff!" shouted Dick. "We'll soon have you out of there,
Grit! Wait a minute, old boy!"

This time the dog heard his master's voice, and a joyful bark replaced
his howls of fear.

It was high time that there be used some more effective means of putting
out the fire than buckets of water, for the flames were burning
fiercely.

"It's lucky that the door of the powder house is thick," murmured Major
Webster. "It will take some time to burn through. But if it does----"

He did not finish his half-spoken thought, but shuddered as he looked at
the cadets grouped around the burning structure. He wanted to order them
away, but he knew the only safety lay in putting out the flames to
prevent the explosion. And the cadets seemed to be the only ones capable
of handling the situation, for the janitors had completely lost their
heads and were so confused that they could not obey the simplest order.

"Get the other hose into action!" cried the major, for there were two
small lines available for use at the powder house. "You'll never get it
out with one."

"I'll attend to it!" answered Dick, and, leaving Dutton and Paul to
manage the one line, he and John Stiver ran to the other and began
unreeling that.

The flames were now at their height, and were blazing high, the loose
and light wood of the packing boxes making excellent fuel.

"Hurry! Hurry!" nervously ordered the major, doing all he could.
Colonel Masterly and some of the other instructors now arrived, but
there was little they could do.

"If we can only keep the fire away from the door a little longer,"
murmured the colonel. "They are subduing it, don't you think, Major?"

"They are doing good work--plucky lads. It takes an emergency like this
to show their mettle."

"Do you think the door will catch?"

"I hope not, but----"

It was a vain hope, as they could see a moment later.

A puff of wind blew the smoke and flames aside for a second, and the two
men could look plainly at the thick door of the ammunition building.
What they saw caused them to start back, for a tiny whisp of fire was
eating away at the edge of the portal.

"Too late!" groaned the colonel. "We must get the boys back! We shall
have to let it burn. Get back, boys! Get back!"

"We'll have it out in another minute!" yelled Dick, as he turned on the
water from his line. "I'm going to save Grit!"

The fire died down for a few seconds, owing to the increased amount of
water poured on it, but it was only for a moment, and then it flared up
again. But the cadets fought on grimly. Some were even using pails,
dipping water from a nearby cistern, and they would not obey the orders
of the teachers to keep back. They did little good, however, as they
could not get near enough to make much of the fluid effective.

The door of the powder house was now burning in a larger area, and it
seemed that the explosion might come at any moment. All saw it, and
while they knew that they themselves could get a safe distance away, and
while they realized that even if the powder did blow up, none of the
college buildings would be damaged, it was different in the case of
their favorite club house--the Sacred Pig--for it was close to the
blazing structure.

"It will be 'roast pig' in a few minutes," murmured Paul Drew ruefully.

"I should say yes," agreed Dutton. "But we won't let it happen. If only
the water holds out!"

Once more came a howl from the imprisoned Grit.

"Poor dog!" cried Dick, stooping down to see if there was a chance to
get in and save his pet. But there seemed to be none.

Almost at that instant the roof of the burning shed fell in, carrying
with it part of the half consumed structure. This gave a better view of
the powder house door, which was seen to be on fire in several places.
Grit's howls of anguish became louder.

"I can't stand that--I'm going to save him!" cried Dutton to George
Hall.

"But how can you? You can't get near the place."

"Yes, I can--there's a side window. I wonder some of us didn't think of
it before. I can reach it by a short ladder, and break open the window
with an axe. Here goes. You handle the hose in my place."

Before George could make any objection, Dutton had thrust the nozzle
into his friend's hand and was running toward the powder house. On his
way he caught up a light ladder and a fire axe that was on one of the
hose reel carts.

"Where are you going, Dutton?" called Major Webster.

"To get Dick's dog--out through the window. I can do it all right."

"Come back!" cried the major, but the cadet did not heed.

Dick was having his hands full with the hose and for a moment he did not
see what his former enemy had done. The fire was a little less fierce
now, as the material on which it fed had been nearly all consumed, but
the door was blazing in spots. They played water on it, but as fast as
one area of fire was extinguished it would break out in another.

There came a crash of glass and a cry from Dutton.

"I'm in! Look out for Grit. Here he comes--through the window!"

"Grit! Through the window!" cried Dick in amazement. "Why--how----?"

"Ray went in after him!" called George Hall.

"There's the dog."

At that instant the cadet inside the powder house thrust Grit out of the
window. The brute fell harmlessly in a heap on the grass, but sprang up
a moment later and rushed toward the fire-fighting cadets.

"Here, old man!" cried Dick, and the dog went into a demonstration of
joy, fawning all over his master, while the youth hugged the ugly but
loving animal close in his arms, the hose being grasped by ready hands
as he let go of it.

"Come out, Dutton, come out!" cried Major Webster. "Come out at once."

Hardly had he spoken than there sounded from within the powder house a
dull explosion. It was not a hard one, and no evidences of it could be
observed outside the structure. But the cadets and professors looked at
each other in alarm, their faces lighted up by the dancing flames. They
all knew what it meant.

"The beginning of the end!" remarked the colonel gravely. "Get back,
everyone! I order it!"

"But Ray Dutton is in there!" cried Dick. "He may be injured and can't
get out. I'm going to save him!"

The young millionaire sprang away. Grit started to follow.

"Come back at once!" ordered the colonel.

"Not until I save him!" answered Dick. "He risked his life to save my
dog, and now I'll rescue him! Go back, Grit. Wait for me."

The dog whined but obeyed, and Dick ran on. As he passed by the second
hose reel he grasped from it an axe. Straight for the door of the powder
house he ran, the water from the two lines of hose falling in a spray
around him.

The fire was now sufficiently out to permit of reaching the portal over
the wet embers which still glowed faintly. The shed had fallen apart and
what was left of it was burning on one side. Little tongues of flame
spurted here and there on the main door.

Dick rushed up and with the axe began raining blows on the portal. His
fellow cadets cheered lustily, and then devoted all their energies to
keeping the water playing about their brave comrade. He was soaked
through but in this lay his only safety, for the flames still were
dangerously close.

There came another slight explosion inside the powder house. Evidently
small cases of the gun cartridges were going off, but as they were all
blanks there was no danger from bullets.

"Ray--are you alive--are you all right?" cried Dick, as he paused for a
moment. There was no answer, and he rained the blows from the axe more
madly than before.

With a crash the door gave way. Flinging his implement aside, Dick
sprang into the powder house. There was an anxious moment, and the
cadets and instructors waited in fear and trembling.

"He may be overcome by the powder fumes," said the colonel. "Poor
lads--they may both be killed."

An instant after the colonel had spoken a form appeared in the blackened
doorway. One form? No, two, for in his arms Dick Hamilton bore the limp
body of Dutton.

"He's got him! He's got him!" yelled Paul Drew, and a great shout
followed his words.

On staggered Dick with his burden. Grit saw his master in the now
dimming light from the fire, and barked joyfully.

"Back! Get back everybody!" panted the young millionaire. "She's going
up! There's a fire inside! Get back--quick!"



CHAPTER XIV

THE ELECTION


Dick was seen to stagger, and it was no wonder, for Ray Dutton was no
light weight.

"Let me help you!" shouted Paul, as he ran toward his chum. He grasped
the limp legs of the unconscious cadet, while Dick carried the
shoulders, and together they hastened on.

"Back! Get back!" cried Dick again, as his schoolmates crowded up around
him and Paul. "The explosion will come any minute! There's fire in
there!"

"Back this instant, every one of you! You can't do anything more!" cried
Colonel Masterly sternly, and the boys knew it was now time to obey.
Those holding the hose lines dropped them, and the crowd of
fire-fighters surged back.

"Is Dutton dead?" gasped Paul.

"Not dead--and not hurt much, I hope," answered Dick. "He was overcome
by the powder fumes--there was a little explosion almost as soon as he
got inside--some sparks must have blown in the window. But he saved
Grit."

"And you saved him."

"Come on, we'd better get farther back!" cried the young millionaire as
Paul hesitated, and was about to lay Dutton down. "The force of it
will----"

His voice was drowned in a detonating report, and the darkness of the
night was lighted by an intense glare. The powder house had blown up,
and the wind of the concussion knocked down Paul and Dick in a heap with
the unconscious Dutton. Other cadets who had not run far enough back
were also bowled over.

Then came intense blackness, following the bright flash and this was
succeeded by the patter of small missiles tossed into the air by the
force of the powder.

"Jove, I hope none of the chunks of concrete come this way!" cried Paul
as he got up. "Are you hurt, Dick?"

"Not a bit of it. Look at Dutton though."

"He doesn't seem to be," answered Paul, as he looked at the unconscious
cadet as well as he could in the dim light that came from a few
scattered and burning embers blown here and there by the explosion.

"Oh--I'm--I'm all right," gasped Dutton, as he slowly sat up. "What
happened?"

"My it sounds good to hear you speak again!" cried Dick, as he put his
arms around his friend and assisted him to arise. "You were overcome in
there when you went in to get Grit, and I took you out. Now the whole
thing has gone up, but it doesn't seem to have done much damage."

Scores of cadets now crowded around the three lads. The rain of missiles
had ceased, and quick inquiries showed that beyond a few scratches or
bruises no one was seriously hurt. The heavy concrete side of the walls
of the powder house had merely toppled outward, almost in four solid
pieces, and it was only the light wooden roof, purposely made so, that
had been much shattered. It was the fragments of this that had rained
down.

The fire was effectually scattered by the explosion and what little
remained was quickly extinguished by the janitors with pails of water,
and one hose line. The other had been blown apart and was useless.

Colonel Masterly and the other instructors went about among the lads,
making sure that none needed hospital treatment. They came to where
Dick, Paul and Ray stood.

"Hamilton, let me congratulate you on your pluck and daring in saving
your comrade's life," said the colonel gravely, as he shook hands with
Dick in the light of several lanterns that had been brought up. "It was
a brave act."

"Well, he saved Grit, and it was the only way I could pay him back,"
replied our hero simply, as he fondled the dog that leaped up on him
with demonstrative affection.

"I couldn't bear to hear Grit howl," explained Ray, who had now
recovered from the powder fumes. "Let's go see if the Sacred Pig is
much damaged," he added quickly, for neither he nor Dick liked to pose
as heroes.

"I fancy the building is not much harmed," spoke the colonel. "Most of
the force of the explosion was upward. You young gentlemen deserve a
vote of thanks from the faculty for the manner in which you acquitted
yourselves to-night, and I will see that you get it. Now we had better
go back to the dormitories. The night is rather chilly." Indeed it was,
lightly clad as everyone was.

Beyond a few shattered windows, and some broken glassware in the pantry,
the society house of the Sacred Pig was not damaged, at which the cadets
were very glad. The excitement quieted down, and after the doctor had
looked over Dutton, and pronounced him safe and sound, the students went
back to their beds, but hardly to sleep much.

An investigation was made the next day, to discover if possible the
cause of the fire, but beyond the fact that it had started in some
refuse of the shed nothing could be learned.

"It was careless on my part to allow the shed to be there," said the
colonel. "When we rebuild the ammunition house I will have it placed
farther off, and there will be no wooden structures attached to it. We
must not risk another accident like this."

In view of the fire, lessons were suspended that day, and only a short
drill ordered. When this was over the electioneering began again, for
in the afternoon the selection of the football captain was to be made.

There was quite a change of sentiment, and Paul Drew found that he had
to do very little pleading now to get the promise of votes for Dick.

"It was the pluckiest and nerviest thing I ever saw done," declared
Harvey Nolan, one of the new cadets, who had hitherto resisted Paul's
pleadings, being firm for Dutton. "I like Ray immensely, but I think
I'll vote for Hamilton."

"If this keeps on it will be unanimous for him," said Paul in delight.
He was hardly prepared for what followed.

The cadets were assembled in the gymnasium, and Mr. Martin, by request,
was presiding over the important session.

"I understand you are now ready to proceed with the election for a
captain and a manager," began the Yale coach.

"Sure," came the inelegant but hearty reply from several.

"There are three candidates," went on the coach. "Mr. Hamilton, Mr.
Dutton and Mr. Rutley. How will you vote, by ballot or acclimation?"

"Ballot--ballot!" came the cry.

"Very well, then I will appoint the tellers, and you----"

"One moment, if you please," interrupted Dutton, as he arose. "There
has been a slight mistake made. There are only two candidates in the
field--Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Rutley. I wish to withdraw in favor of Mr.
Hamilton. You--you all know what he did last night--for me," faltered
Ray, and his voice was a trifle husky. "After that I could not stand
against him in the election."

"Yes, you will--I insist!" cried Dick, jumping up. "I don't want you to
withdraw."

"You can't help yourself, old man!" cried Ray heartily, playfully
shaking his fist at Dick. "I want all you fellows who were going to vote
for me to vote for Dick Hamilton--that is unless you are committed to
Frank Rutley," and he bowed in the direction of that cadet.

"No one can vote for me--I'm out of it!" called out Frank. "I'm for
Hamilton."

"Hurray!" cried Paul Drew.

"Three cheers for Dick Hamilton!" sung out someone, and how those cheers
were given!

"Do I understand that both you young gentlemen withdraw?" asked Mr.
Martin.

"I do," answered Ray.

"Same here!" called Frank.

"Then, as there is but one candidate in the field, perhaps it is
unnecessary----"

"I move that Dick Hamilton be unanimously elected captain of the
Kentfield football eleven, by acclimation, and long may he wave o'er
the team of the strong and the team of the brave!" cried Dutton.

"Second it!" cried Frank.

"All those in favor of this motion will signify it by saying 'yes,'"
called the coach.

"YES!" was the reverbrating shout that fairly made the walls ring.

"Then Dick Hamilton is the football captain, and I beg to extend him my
congratulations," said Mr. Martin.

"And I, also," added his colleague, and the two coaches stepped from the
platform, and advanced toward the blushing young millionaire, while his
friends crowded around him to do him honor.



CHAPTER XV

THE GAME WITH DUNKIRK


There was little else to do at the meeting in the way of business. Dan
Hatfield was unanimously named for manager, and then the coaches
announced that after a few more days of practice the team would be ready
for the first game of the season, to be played on the grounds of the
Dunkirk Military Academy, a school similar to that of Kentfield, and
situated about twenty miles away.

"It is rather a disadvantage not to open on your own grounds," said Mr.
Spencer, "but it cannot be helped. I hope you will play all the better
for the slight handicap, and I am sure you can win if you try."

"Yes, Dunkirk is hardly in your class," put in Mr. Martin, "but it was
the best arrangement we could make under the circumstances. You really
need practice against other opponents than your own scrub eleven, and
this will give it to you. If you roll up a good big score, then it will
be time to talk of taking on Blue Hill, and some of the larger teams."

"Blue Hill beat Dunkirk twenty-six to nothing last year," remarked Dick.

"Then you want to take their measure about forty-six to nothing,"
remarked Mr. Martin, "and I trust you do it."

There was some hard practice in the next few days, harder practice than
any the cadets had yet experienced, but the effects of it were
noticeable. They had more confidence in themselves, they were better
kickers, quicker in getting down the field, and in offensive work they
played together like clockwork. On the defense there was still something
to be desired, but that would come with practice the coaches knew.

"Well I guess I'd better go to the railroad station and arrange about
getting the tickets for the team to go to Dunkirk to-morrow," remarked
Manager Hatfield, the day before the game.

"You needn't get any tickets for the team and substitutes," spoke Dick.

"Why not?"

"Because I've hired some touring automobiles that will take us over and
bring us back."

"You have! Say, Hamilton, there's class to you all right! You're a
brick! This will be great, and we'll save the money in the treasury. We
need it, too. I hope we get a good crowd to swell the gate receipts."

The team that was to open the season was the same that had been
practicing against the scrub lately. Teddy Naylor could not make good,
and so was not to play, but he was promised by the coaches that he
would be the first substitute called on, and this was some consolation.
Porter was warned that unless he trained and practiced better he would
be dropped altogether, and his sullen answer was that he "didn't much
care."

As many of the Kentfield cadets as could manage it went on the train to
see the game. Four big cars, which Dick generously hired, transported
the team and substitutes, and they started off amid cheers and songs,
with the auto gaily decorated with flags.

"It's a good start all right," remarked Paul to Dick, as they flew down
the road.

"Yes, and I hope the coming back will be even better."

"Why, you're not afraid of not beating them; are you?"

"Not exactly afraid, but I never was captain of a big football eleven
before, and I guess I'm a bit nervous. Of course we'll beat Dunkirk, but
I want it to be by a big score."

"Oh, don't worry. We'll make out all right."

There was a big crowd in the grandstands when the team and substitutes
drove up, and they were received with cheers as they alighted from the
autos. The Dunkirk team had not yet appeared, but their manager met
Hatfield, was introduced to Dick, and then the lads were escorted to
their dressing rooms.

"There come our fellows," remarked Dutton a little later when, as he
was slipping into his jersey, a great cheer was heard, followed by the
Kentfield cry.

"Yes, and they've got their voices with them," said Dick. "They're great
shouters."

When the Kentfield team trotted out they were met with a rousing welcome
of vocal sounds, not only from their own cohorts, but from the Dunkirk
sympathizers.

"They're friendly all right," remarked Dick. "Come on, fellows, we'll
line up and run through some signals."

He and his men were soon in practice, and the young captain was glad to
note that no one had gone stale. Everyone seemed on the alert.

A little later the Dunkirk team trotted out, to be met with a salvo of
cheers, and then they, too, lined up and began to work with the ball.

"They are a fast, snappy, little lot, but I think we have them for
weight," remarked Paul, looking critically at their opponents.

Dunkirk won the toss, and elected to defend the north goal. Kentfield
was to kick off, and on the whole Dick was rather glad, as he could thus
early get the measure of the offensive tactics of their enemies.

Beeby sent the ball spinning well down the field as the echoes of the
whistle died away. The pigskin was neatly caught, and one of the Dunkirk
players began running back with it.

"Nail him, fellows," cried Dick. "Don't let him gain much!" George Hall
broke through the interference and had the man down before he had
covered ten yards. Then came the line up.

"Watch out now, boys," warned the captain, as the Dunkirk quarter-back
began giving the signal.

At the line of Kentfield came a man, hurling himself toward a hole that
had been partly opened between Paul Drew and George Hall. Into the
opening the man went, but no further, for he was neatly stopped. Only a
yard was gained.

"That's the way to do it!" cried Dick in delight. "Hold 'em, boys! Hold
'em!"

Once more Dunkirk made a gallant try, this time around left end, but
again the man with the ball was nailed, and thrown for a loss.

"They'll have to kick," cried Dick. "Watch out!"

The backs retreated, and it was well they did for Dunkirk had a powerful
ball-booster in the shape of their full-back, and the leather went well
into the territory of our friends.

Hal Foster caught it, and protected by excellent interference he rushed
it well back before he was downed.

"Now to see what we can do!" exclaimed Dick, as he knelt down back of
Jim Watkins, to pass the ball. He signalled for Frank Rutley to take the
ball through right tackle, and it was executed to perfection. In vain
did the Dunkirk captain beg and plead with his men to hold. Dick's
players pushed and shoved Frank through for a ten yard gain.

"That's going some!" panted the left tackle as he took his place again.

Dunkirk was saddened by the advance, thus easily made, though she was
not discouraged. But when Ray Dutton went through the line for another
substantial gain, and when, without the necessity for kicking in the
next scrimmage, John Stiver got through between tackle and guard for
eight yards, then there were anxious hearts.

"Walk up for a touchdown!" called several in the crowd of Kentfield
supporters in the grand stand.

"We'll do it!" cried Dick.

The coveted touchdown came a few minutes later, the ball having been
carried down the field in a series of whirlwind rushes. Paul Drew was
shoved over the line, and then Jim Watkins kicked goal.

"Our first points!" cried Dick in delight. "Now the team is beginning to
play."

And play they did. It was a foregone conclusion after that, and Dunkirk
had no chance. They realized it, and when, after the first half, there
were thirty points in favor of Kentfield, and none for their opponents,
the captain of Dunkirk said to Dick:

"Our only hope now is to hold you down. You're better off now than Blue
Hill was against us."

"That's what we're after," declared the young millionaire. "We're going
to wallop Blue Hill when we get the chance, too."

The second half was a repetition of the first. Once on a fumble Dunkirk
got the ball, and another time as a penalty for holding on the part of
too eager George Hall. The home team tried desperately hard to score,
and several of their men were knocked out, but it was not to be.

Once, when because of a miscalculation, the man with the ball got
through Dick's line, the young captain had a momentary fear lest his
team be scored against. But Hal Foster was on the alert and nailed the
panting man with the ball.

There came some fierce scrimmages for Dunkirk was desperate, and Hal was
knocked out. This gave Teddy Naylor a chance to get in the game, and he
rushed in with eager impetuosity.

"I'm going to make a touchdown!" he declared. "Let me try, Dick."

He was given a chance, and made good, bursting through the line of
Dunkirk players, shaking off a fierce tackle by the full-back, and
making a score after a forty yard run amid frantic cheers.

After that the Kentfield lads took it a little easier, for which their
opponents were duly grateful. Teddy Naylor kicked a beautiful field
goal, and then time was called, with the score fifty to nothing in favor
of "Dick Hamilton's team," as his chums insisted on calling it.

"Oh, but I feel good!" cried our hero as he ran to the dressing rooms.

"You look like a peach," said Paul. "One eye is half closed and your
nose looks as if some one had hammered brass work on it."

"They did, I guess. But you're no picture either. Look at your left
ear."

"Wish I could. But never mind. We beat 'em!"



CHAPTER XVI

A DARING PLAN


"Well, what do you boys think of yourselves?" asked Coach Martin the day
after the game with Dunkirk, when the football eleven and its supporters
had gathered in the gymnasium preparatory to going out to practice.

"Why, did we do so rotten?" asked Innis.

"Had we ought to have piled up a bigger score?" inquired George Hall.

"We did make a few fumbles--at least I did, and once I didn't take care
of my man," admitted Jim Watkins. "But----"

"No, I haven't a bit of fault to find," went on Mr. Martin. "I was just
wondering whether you felt more confident of your playing ability than
you did before we came. I want to get a sort of line on my ability."

"Yes," put in Mr. Spencer, "we are far from finding fault with you, for,
on the contrary I think you did exceptionally well. We couldn't ask for
any better results, but what Mr. Martin means is whether or not you
yourselves feel satisfied."

There was a moment's hesitation. The boys did not know exactly how to
take the questions.

"I wish we could beat Blue Hill to a standstill," murmured Captain Dick.

"And then wallop Mooretown," added Ray Dutton.

"Say, can't we challenge Blue Hill now?" asked John Stiver eagerly.

"Yes, let's do it!" came a chorus of voices.

"Better wait," advised Mr. Martin with a laugh and a quick look at his
colleague. "If you sent Blue Hill another challenge so soon, they'd only
laugh at you, and very likely they would say you arranged the whole
coaching plan merely to beat them. If you will permit us to suggest
something, we have another scheme."

"What is it?" sung out Innis with engaging frankness.

"We will play some other strong team before we again ask Blue Hill to
let us have a chance at them," suggested Mr. Martin. "Then, if we win,
as I hope we shall, we will be more in their class. Beating Dunkirk
hardly put us there, even though we made a bigger score against them
than Blue Hill did. And then, after you get your second wind, so to
speak, we will consider getting into the Military League. Do you agree
to that plan?"

"Sure!" came instantly from all present. The boys would have agreed to
anything that would have paved the way to tackling Blue Hill.

"Then we'll go ahead on that understanding," proceeded the coach. "And
now for the second part of the plan. You know it is of little benefit to
play some team weaker than you are. What you want to do is to take on
some eleven that you know is going to be hard to beat. That will bring
out whatever good points we have not yet discovered. Is that clear?"

Once more the boys looked at each other in some astonishment. What was
the coach leading to?

"Am I making myself clear?" he asked again.

"Yes. Sure. Go ahead," were some of the answers.

"Then the plan of Mr. Spencer and myself is this," went on Mr. Martin.
"We will put you through some hard practice in the next week, and then
we will challenge Haskell University."

For a moment there was a period of intense silence in the room. Then
several half-astonished gasps could be heard. Once more the boys looked
at one another, but this time, instead of with puzzled glances, it was
more with looks of fear, or at least uncertainty.

"Haskell University," murmured Dick Hamilton.

"Champions of the Military League year before last," added Innis.

"And likely to be again this year," put in George Hall.

"And he wants us to tackle them--us the tail-enders," muttered Jim
Watkins. "It can't be did! We'd all be in the hospital, fellows, and
our team would be crippled."

Talk was flying thick and fast now, and almost every remark seemed to be
against the daring plan of the coaches. Then Dick realized that he, as
captain, ought to say something. It would not do to knuckle under in
this craven fashion. A team to do anything must do or dare.

"If Haskell will take us on, we'll play them," he said simply, as he
arose in his seat. "But will they, after Blue Hill turned us down?"

"I'm glad that at least your captain isn't afraid," spoke Mr. Spencer,
for he and his colleague had heard the half-suppressed whispers of
objection. "I know it sounds like a big thing to you, for I know what a
strong team Haskell has. But I believe it will do you good to play that
eleven. Of course if you don't feel that you could stand the pace,
or----"

"Go on! Challenge 'em! We'll play 'em."

"Of course we will."

"And beat 'em, too!"

These expressions took the place of those heard a few minutes before. It
argued a good change of heart.

"I'm glad to hear that," commented Mr. Martin. "Then if Manager Hatfield
will confer with us after the meeting and practice, we will arrange to
get a date with them."

"But will they play us?" asked Dick. "You know they always like to
arrange big games, and they may not want to take us on."

"Oh, I fancy that can be arranged," spoke Mr. Martin easily. "Mr.
Spencer and I know the coach there and he is a good friend of ours. I am
acquainted with the captain, too, and I am almost sure they will give us
a game. Now let me congratulate you once more on the showing you made
yesterday, and suggest that we get out to practice. We can't get any too
much if we are to play Haskell--and beat them." He concluded his remarks
with a grim smile.

"Beat 'em! We'll be lucky if we hold 'em down to as much as the score by
which we beat Dunkirk," remarked George Hall, as he stepped out beside
Captain Dick.

"Here! None of that!" cried the young millionaire, half seriously.

"None of what?" asked George.

"That treason talk," replied Dick. "I want you all to feel that we're
going to win, or there isn't much use playing."

"Oh, well, just as you say," agreed George with a laugh. "Do you think
we'll win, Paul Drew?"

"Of course," was the answer, for Paul was always loyal to his chum.

As several of the cadets were lame and stiff from the unusual exertion
in the Dunkirk game, only light practice was indulged in. Several minor
faults were corrected, and then the coaches put their charges through
some wing-shift plays, and gave them a chance to improve their work in
the on-side kick and the forward pass, in both of which the Kentfield
lads were a trifle uncertain.

"Oh, we'll have you in shape to tackle Haskell before you know it," said
Mr. Martin encouragingly.

If any of the players were doubtful about this they did not say so, and
they took heart from the confident air Dick Hamilton assumed.

In the days that followed the practice gradually became more and more
rigorous, and, as a result, fast, snappy playing became the order of the
day.

"Have you heard whether or not Haskell will play us?" asked Paul of Dick
one night, as they sat in their room studying and waiting for "taps" to
sound.

"No, I haven't. I meant to ask Hatfield to-day whether he had heard from
their manager, but I was so busy drilling a squad of raw recruits that I
didn't get a chance. Guess I'll go to his room now and ask him. I'll
have time I think."

As Dick arose there sounded the mournful yet sweet notes of the bugle
that was a signal for "lights" out.

"Too late!" exclaimed Paul.

"I'll chance it," ventured Dick. "I can cross to his dormitory by the
rear path, and the sentries are hardly posted yet. Besides, I guess they
won't report me when they know it's football matters. I'm anxious to
know."

"Better stay here--morning will do," counseled Paul.

"No, I'm going, I'll be right back," replied his roommate, and off Dick
started before the last notes of the bugle had died away.

Rules regarding being out of the academy after taps were very strict,
except at certain times when more liberty was allowed. But this was not
one of those occasions, and Dick knew he would have to be careful. He
did not mind indulging in a few pranks occasionally, but now, as he was
on the eleven, and captain as well, it behooved him to be careful, so
that he would not be barred from athletics.

He swung quietly along the tree-shaded path leading to the dormitory
where Hatfield had his rooms. The path was not so well shaded now as in
summer, for the trees were almost leafless save for certain oaks, the
brown foliage of which rustled in the night wind.

"Sounds like a storm," mused the young millionaire. "I hope it keeps
clear long enough for the Haskell game--that is if they'll play us."

As he strolled along he kept a lookout for any sentries, for sometimes
new cadets were picked for this duty, and they took delight in reporting
their older comrades. But the coast seemed to be clear.

"Guess I'll go see how Grit is, before I go to Hatfield's room," said
Dick half aloud, for his pet was now kept in one of the stable barracks.
"Poor old fellow, I wish they'd let me keep him with me nights; but they
won't."

He swung off in the direction of the building where the cavalry horses
were kept, and, as he neared the one where his dog slept he saw a dark
figure step out from behind a tree. The figure was that of a cadet with
a rifle.

"Hope that's a friend of mine," mused Dick grimly.

A moment later came the command:

"Halt!"

Dick obeyed.

"Who goes there?" was the inquiry as the rifle was swung around.

"Friend."

"Advance friend, and give the countersign."

Dick was startled. Though this was strictly in accordance with the
rules, it was something that was seldom enforced. And, to tell the
truth, Dick did not have the countersign.

"Well?" came the impatient query. Dick wondered who his challenger could
be, for the face was in the shadow.

"I--I'm afraid I haven't the countersign," faltered Dick, who was
somewhat annoyed. "Is it actually necessary?"

"Of course it is," was the snapping answer. "Otherwise I shouldn't have
asked for it. If you haven't it, you're under arrest."

"I'm Dick Hamilton," said our hero, "and I was on my way to see Hatfield
about some football matters. Besides taps have only just sounded."

"Some time ago," was the curt reply. "Besides Hatfield's rooms aren't in
the stable."

"I know, but I wanted to see if my dog Grit was safely fastened."

"Oh. Well, I'm sorry," but there was no contrition expressed in the
voice, "but I'll have to place you under arrest for trying to run guard,
Captain Hamilton," and with that the sentry stepped out from under a
tree, revealing himself as Sam Porter.



CHAPTER XVII

UNCLE EZRA ARRIVES


For a moment Dick half thought it was a joke, and he was about to laugh
it off. The idea of a member of the football squad--even though
temporarily deposed from the team, stopping another team member when on
athletic business, even though against the rules, was almost unheard of.

"I guess it's all right--you might remember the countersign for me,"
said Dick lightly.

"Not much!" snapped Porter.

"Why not?"

"Because I don't choose to. You're under arrest and you will so report
to Major Webster.

"Do you mean it?"

"I certainly do."

"But it's--it's so unusual."

"That's just the reason I'm doing it. They make a fellow do guard duty
on a frosty night, to catch guard-runners, and then some one kicks when
he does it. No, I'm in earnest, and if some of the other fellows who do
sentry-go would be the same, they'd stop this. I don't care enough
about war tactics to be a sentry, but as long as I am here no one can
run the guard on me."

"I wasn't running the guard. I told you where I was going. I want to see
if Hatfield had heard from the Haskell team yet."

"And I find you headed toward the stable where your dog is kept, so I
can believe you or not as I choose."

Dick started. It was, in a measure telling him that he had not spoken
the truth and for a brief moment he felt the hot blood mount to his
head. Then he calmed down as he remembered that he was captain of the
eleven, and, in a measure responsible to his men for his conduct.
Besides, he reflected quickly, Porter might be trying to force him into
a quarrel, and that would never do.

"Very well," answered Dick, as quietly as he could, "I'll report to the
major. Good night!" He swung on his heel and turned aside.

"Um!" was the only reply that Porter grunted out, as he resumed the
patrolling of his post.

"Well?" asked Paul, as his chum entered.

"Not well--bad. I was caught."

"By whom?"

"Porter."

"Porter. Hum! Was he in earnest about it?"

"He seemed so," and Dick recounted the conversation.

"Well, there's something in what he says," agreed Paul. "Sentry-go is no
fun, but as long as we're at a military school we have to do it once in
a while. Still if enough of us enforced the rules, as I suppose we ought
to do, there'd be one of two things happen. They'd either abolish it, or
running the guard would stop, and there wouldn't be anything for the
sentries to do."

"That's so. Well, I'm the goat to-night. Might as well have a bad job
over with. I'm going to report."

"Then you didn't see Hatfield?"

"No, we'll have to wait until morning to hear."

Dick went off in no very happy frame of mind, and he was a little uneasy
as to what form of punishment the major would mete out. But he was
fortunate in finding that old soldier entertaining a war comrade in his
room, and swapping campaign stories. The major was, therefore, in a very
amiable mood, and after listening to Dick's frank report said:

"Hum! Well, don't do it again. You may write me out a page of field
tactics and consider yourself relieved of arrest. Don't do it again.
Good night, Captain Hamilton."

Dick saluted and swung away, highly pleased at the lightness of his
task. He heard the major and his comrade-in-arms laughing as he strode
away, and the instructor in tactics exclaimed:

"That's not a circumstance to what we used to do, eh, Ned, when we were
camped near some city and wanted to go in and have a good time?"

"That's right," agreed his friend.

Dick's little escapade was known all over the academy next morning, and
there was almost universal condemnation of Porter's act. But Dick, to
the no small astonishment of his chums, declared that the deposed
left-end had done just right.

"What are you sticking up for him for?" asked Paul in some indignation.
"It'll get so all the other sentries will do the same thing."

"Well, that might not be so bad. Besides, I do think he did right--even
though class custom is against it. Then, too, I don't want to get on
unfriendly terms with him. I hope to keep in touch with that old miser
Duncaster through Porter."

"Oh, yes, about your father's business. How is it coming on?"

"Not very well. I hear that the other side has made a very good offer to
Mr. Duncaster, but he has turned them down the same as he did me. There
are other matters cropping up, however, that make things complicated in
the electric road business, and poor dad is worried to death. I don't
know what his next move will be."

"Did you hear whether or not we'll have a game with Haskell?"

"No, but here comes Hatfield now. We'll ask him. He has some mail,
perhaps he just heard."

"It's all right!" joyfully called the manager, waving a letter at Dick.
"They'll play us next Saturday. Those coaches must have quite a pull."

"Will they put in their first team?" asked Dick anxiously, for there
would be little glory in beating the Haskell scrub.

"They'll do that, and also come here to give us a game."

"On our own grounds? Good!" cried Paul. "We'll play our heads off!"

"It's great!" declared Dick. "I only hope we--but there of course we're
going to win!" and he changed his sentence with an assumed confidence he
hardly felt.

"Will we work any of the new plays on 'em?" asked Paul. "I like the wing
shifts and the sequence plays."

"We'll work 'em if we get a chance," said Dick. "It will all depend on
what sort of a game they put up. We may have to kick a lot."

"Well, we're up to snuff on that line," declared the manager. "Now I
must arrange the details. I hope we get out a big crowd and make some
money."

"And I hope the fellows come out to practice this afternoon," spoke
Dick. "Come on Paul, we've got the science lecture on now."

The scrub, against whom the Varsity matched forces that afternoon, had
been having some secret practice of their own, and they worked a couple
of tricks on the rather surprised first team that netted a good gain,
and eventually a touchdown.

"That's something you must be on the lookout for," said Mr. Martin, who
was a bit chagrined over what had happened. "It isn't enough to play
well on your own team, you must watch what the other fellow is doing.
Now try again, and put some ginger into your work."

"Yes, you're getting a bit stale I'm afraid," declared Mr. Spencer, and
he added some rather sharp words of correction.

The Varsity members were somewhat hurt. They did not know that the words
were spoken intentionally, and to force them to do a little better.

The rebuke had the desired effect, and thereafter the unfortunate scrub
team was shoved all over the gridiron, not only not getting within
striking distance of their opponents' goal line, but having three
touchdowns rolled up against them in short order.

"That's something like!" cried Mr. Martin in approval. "Now, Hamilton,
try that wing shift," he whispered to Dick. "I think we can fool them."

It was a well executed play, and when the man with the ball got safely
away, and through the scrub line Dick slipped and fell, for the ground
was soft from a recent rain. Down he went at full length into a puddle,
with another player on top of him, and when he arose he was rather a
sorry-looking sight, but not injured.

Time was called directly after that, and as the players filed off the
field, passing through a little knot of spectators, Dick heard his name
called.

"Well, of all the disgraceful sights, you certainly present one!"
exclaimed a rasping voice. There was a menancing growl from Grit, whom
one of Dick's friends held in leash. Our hero looked toward where the
voice had sounded.

"Uncle Ezra!" he faltered, as he saw his grim-visaged relative.

"Yes, I'm here, and I must say of all the brutal exhibitions I ever saw,
this is the worst. I never saw a bull fight, but it can't be much
worse!"

There was some laughter at this, and Dick looked at his crabbed uncle in
some alarm.

"Have you come to see me?" he asked.

"Not exactly. I came because your father is in trouble, and I want to
help him."

"Trouble? What kind--the--" began our hero.

"If you'll go somewhere and get washed up, and put some clean clothes
on, so you won't look so much like a tramp, I'll talk to you," said Mr.
Larabee stiffly. "I've come to take you back home, Nephew Richard."



CHAPTER XVIII

ANOTHER FRUITLESS ATTEMPT


For a moment the young millionaire did not know what to say or think.
His father in trouble! Uncle Ezra had come to take him away from
Kentfield! And in the height of the football season just before the
first big game!

"Is my father ill?" asked Dick.

"No, not ill, only worrying over business. I always said he had too many
irons in the fire, and now some have burned him," declared the old man
as he walked along beside his nephew out of ear-shot of the crowd. "I've
come on to try my hand at helping him."

"But what can you do here?" asked Dick. "And why must I leave
Kentfield?"

"To help your father. I should think you'd be glad to. He needs money.
It costs money to stay here and play those silly, dangerous games."

"Not very much money, Uncle Ezra."

"Don't tell me! You ought to be in my woolen mill earning four dollars
and a quarter a week, instead of wasting cash here. Now I want to have a
serious talk with you, Nephew Richard. Your father is in trouble, and
it's your duty to leave here and help him."

"I think I can help him by staying here just as well. But did he tell
you to take me away from Kentfield--just when I have the football team
in good shape? Did he say I was to leave?"

"No, he didn't exactly say so, but I know it would help. Besides, you
might get injured playing this game, and then you'd be a cripple for
life. You ought to be at work. Now I can make a place for you in the
mill. In time you could work up to twelve or fifteen dollars a week, and
of course, being my nephew, and the son of my only sister, I'd give you
a chance. Better come, Dick. You might be hurt here."

"And I might be hurt in the mill, Uncle Ezra. I have heard of people
being caught in the machinery."

"Well, of course it's possible," admitted the crabbed man. "But you must
be careful. Besides if you got hurt in the mill it would be in a good
cause. Though I warn you I carry accident insurance for all my employees
and you can't collect any damages from me."

"Then I think I'll stay and play football, Uncle Ezra."

"Oh, the perversity and foolishness of the rising generation!" groaned
Mr. Larabee. "But hurry on and get cleaned up. It is a disgrace for me
to be seen walking with you, and I have on my best black suit that I
don't want to get spoiled. Besides I must hurry back. I have a lazy
hired man that loafs when I'm away."

Dick thought that any hired man who would not take a little chance of
resting when his taskmaster was away from home would not show much
spirit. But there was Mrs. Larabee to reckon with, and she was almost as
much of a "driver" as her husband.

"There, now I am ready to hear all about it," said Dick, when he had led
his uncle to one of the reception rooms of the academy, and had removed
most of the traces of the recent football conflict. "Are father's
affairs in much worse shape?"

"I should say they were!" exclaimed Uncle Ezra. "This man Porter--why
Nephew Richard--what is that on your nose?" and the horrified old man
sprang from his chair and approached our hero.

"Nose? What's the matter with it?" asked Dick in some alarm.

"There's a great big cut on it! How did it happen?"

"Oh, that's where I tried to stop Hal Foster's shoe with my nose, I
expect. That's nothing. It's only a little cut. You should have seen the
one I had last year. And when Teddy Naylor broke his collar bone----"

"That's enough! Not another word about the brutalities of football! I've
heard enough! It's disgraceful. Let us talk about something else."

"I'm anxious to hear about father's affairs," said Dick.

"I don't know very much," replied his uncle, "but I know that his
enemies are pressing him hard to get the control of the trolley line
away from him, and it is paying well, too. I never thought it would, but
your father insisted that he was right. But he has too many irons in the
fire, I'm sure. This time this Mr. Porter is fighting him, and when I
saw your father yesterday he said he did not know what to do, because a
Mr. Duncaster would not sell his stock."

"Yes, I know that Mr. Duncaster," said Dick, with a grim smile at the
recollection of the interview with the man.

"I came here to argue with him," said Mr. Larabee.

"You did?" cried Dick.

"Yes, your father consented. He said you had been unable to do anything
with him, and it would do no harm if I tried. I'm a fighter, I am!" and
Uncle Ezra squared his jaw aggressively. "I'll make him do as we want
him to."

Dick had his doubts about this, but said nothing. He had, moreover, a
little feeling against his uncle.

"I want to help dad myself," reflected the young millionaire, "and I
believe I can do more with this Mr. Duncaster than Uncle Ezra can. I
don't like him 'butting in,' but if dad told him to it must be all
right. But I don't believe he'll have much success."

"Now I thought if you could take me to see this person who has the
stock," went on Mr. Larabee, "I can induce him to sell it. Once your
father has possession of it matters will be all right. Could we go out
to his place this afternoon?"

"Oh, yes," agreed Dick. "It is not much of a run to Hardvale."

"I'm glad of it, for then I can start back home to-night. If I take
along some sandwiches, which perhaps you can get from the kitchen here
for me, I can ride all night in a day coach, and so save a hotel bill.
We'll start for Hardvale at once. It is within walking distance, I
presume."

"No," answered Dick, and he felt a secret delight in his answer, "the
only way to get out there and back in time for you to make an early
start for home is to take an auto."

"An auto!" cried Uncle Ezra in horror. "Never! I'll never waste money on
one of those affairs, and when I undertook to come here on your father's
business I stipulated that I would pay all expenses. He is to give me a
commission for doing the work, provided I get the trolley stock, and the
less expenses I have the more money I can make."

"But if you don't hire an auto you'll be here so long that you'll have
to stay over and pay a hotel bill," said Dick, trying not to smile.

"Couldn't we hire a horse and carriage, or go in a trolley car--trolleys
are cheap." Mr. Larabee looked hopeful.

"There is no trolley line to Hardvale," said Dick, "and a horse and
carriage would be too slow. It's an auto or a hotel bill, Uncle Ezra."

"Oh dear! What a hard world this is! Well, let us go and get a cheap
auto. I'll bargain with the driver."

The chauffeur wanted six dollars to go out to Hardvale and back with his
taxicab. At the first mention of the price Dick thought his uncle would
have a fit. Then, with a grim tightening of his lips, the old man began
to bargain.

"I'll give you two dollars," he said.

"It wouldn't pay for my time, oil and gasolene," declared the man.

"I'll make it three, and not a cent more!" exclaimed Uncle Ezra firmly,
with his hand on his pocketbook as if afraid it would be taken away from
him.

"You'd better walk!" said the chauffeur. "I haven't any more time to
bother with you."

Uncle Ezra begged and pleaded, but the driver was firm.

"Well, I'll tell you what I'll do," said the crabbed old man finally.
"I'll pay your price, though I want you to understand that I think it's
robbery, but will you throw in some sandwiches for my supper. I'm going
to travel all night."

"Oh, yes, I suppose so," finally agreed the chauffeur. "Though it's the
first time I've ever given a tip in my own cab. Hop in."

They arrived at Mr. Duncaster's house a little before dusk, and Uncle
Ezra rapped on the door. There was a long silence and he knocked again.

"Nobody home I guess," ventured the chauffeur, who was lighting his
lamps, preparatory for the trip back.

"Let me try," suggested Dick, and he gave several vigorous blows on the
door. Uncle Ezra had rapped lightly, probably so as not to unduly wear
out the pair of ancient gloves he was wearing.

This time a window over the front door was opened, and the head of Mr.
Duncaster, graced with a nightcap and a tassle, was thrust out.

"What do you want? Go away from here! I've gone to bed!" he shouted.
"I'll have you arrested for disturbing the peace! Get away!"

He started to close the window.

"Here! Wait!" cried Mr. Larabee. "I want to talk to you about your
trolley stock."

At the mention of stock the window was opened again, and once more the
head came out.

"Stock is it? Trolley stock? I suspected it was something like that when
I smelled your gasolene wagon coming to my door. Well, that stock isn't
for sale, and don't you bother me any more about it. I won't sell to
either side. Now you get away. I always go to bed early and it's past my
sleeping time now. Get away!"

"But you don't understand!" cried Mr. Larabee in desperation. "We want
your stock, and I am authorized to offer you----"

"I won't listen to you! Get away, I'm going to sleep!" The head was
drawn in and the window came down with a bang.

"Wait! Hold on! I'll increase the price! I must talk to you!" cried
Uncle Ezra, but Mr. Duncaster was firm, and there was no reply to
repeated knockings.

"I guess we'd better go," said Dick gently. He had surmised how it would
be.

"I'm going to try the back door," said Uncle Ezra craftily. "Maybe I can
surprise him." But he had his knocking for his pains, and came back
crestfallen.

"Come on," suggested the chauffeur. "I want to get back and do some
business where I can make something."

"Humph! You made enough out of us," declared Mr. Larabee as the man
cranked up. "Now don't you forget my sandwiches."

They were bowling along through the outskirts of the town when suddenly,
around the corner swung another auto. The driver of the one containing
Dick and his uncle tried to get out of the way, but it was impossible.

The next instant there was a crash of glass, and Dick found himself
sitting on the curbstone, while his uncle with a slight cut over his eye
from which the blood was coming, was holding to a street lamppost. Both
autos were slightly damaged, but the drivers were not hurt and they
proceeded to lay the blame one on the other.

"I'll sue you for this! I'll have damages! I'm an injured man!" cried
Uncle Ezra, as he put his handkerchief to his cut eye, while Dick tried
to get up, but found that he could not.

"By Jove! I hope my leg isn't broken!" he thought in dismay. "And the
Haskell game Saturday! Whew, this is tough luck!"

Once more he made an effort to get up, but fell back in a faint as a
sharp pain shot through his ankle. He was conscious of a horrible fear
of being disabled, as he felt some one lift his head while a girl's
voice exclaimed:

"Why, it's Dick Hamilton! Call a doctor, Mildred." Then Dick lost
consciousness.



CHAPTER XIX

A GREAT STRUGGLE


"Don't worry, he'll be all right presently. No, his leg isn't
broken--only a slightly sprained ankle. He lost his senses because of
the collision shock, as much as from the pain. He's coming around all
right."

Dick heard these words as if in a dream. He felt a soft hand on his
head--he knew it was that of some girl, but for the life of him he could
not tell who it was. He was aware of the smell of pungent drugs, and
then he felt some one take hold of his ankle. He uttered a little moan
of pain. Then he heard another voice saying, as he opened his eyes:

"Oh, Mildred, he's conscious now."

"Yes, Mabel," answered another girl, and then Dick knew who she was
without looking up into the face of the young lady who hastily withdrew
her hand from his head.

"Miss Hanford," murmured the young millionaire, as he recognized the
girl over whom he and Dutton had so nearly fought a duel in our hero's
early cadet days.

"Oh, I'm so glad you know me!" she exclaimed. "Mildred Adams and I were
passing along the street just when that dreadful automobile crash came.
It's a mercy you weren't all killed."

"Indeed it is!" chimed in Miss Adams. "But Mabel kept her nerves
splendidly. She lifted your head, and then she sent me for a doctor."

Dick looked around to observe that he was in the rear room of a drug
store, and that a man, evidently a physician, was standing by, regarding
him with a professional air.

"Well, young man, how do you find yourself?" asked the doctor.

"Pretty well, as long as nothing is broken."

"No, you're all right that way. You had a lucky escape."

"How is my uncle?" asked the lad anxiously.

"Only a slight cut. The drug clerk is putting some plaster on it. Shall
I call him in?"

"Will I be able to play football Saturday?" There was a querulous note
in Dick's voice.

"Humph! That's all you lads care about. As soon as you crawl through a
knot hole without getting killed you want to rush off to battle. Play
Saturday? Well----" The doctor paused.

"I've just _got_ to!" cried Dick. "We meet Haskell--it means a lot to my
team. I've got to play!"

"Well, I guess we can fix you up if you wear a leather bandage on that
ankle. It might be a good deal worse. I'll take another look at it."

"We'll tell that elderly gentleman--your uncle--that you are all right,
and ask him to come in here," said Miss Hanford. "Come, Mildred."

They withdrew, and as the physician was tightening the bandages on
Dick's ankle Mr. Larabee entered. His appearance was not improved by a
large piece of sticking plaster over his right eye, and he looked more
aggressive than ever.

"I told you how it would be if we rode in one of them automobiles!" he
exclaimed. "It's all your fault, Nephew Richard, and you'll have to pay
the doctor bills. I shan't, and what's more I shan't pay that driver
either. He ought to be more careful."

"Please don't get excited," begged the doctor, with a regard for Dick's
nerves.

"I'm not excited!" cried Uncle Ezra, "but I know my rights and I want
'em, too! I'm not excited, but I'll have the law on that murdering
villain of an automobile man! I'll sue 'em both. I'll collect damages.
We'll see if there's any justice in this land!" and he smote his
clenched right fist into the open palm of his left hand. "I'll have my
rights. I'm not excited, but I'll have justice."

"All right, Uncle Ezra," spoke Dick calmly. "Is the chauffeur hurt?"

"I don't care whether he is or not. I'll have the law----"

"I'm all right--only some bruises. It was that other fellow's fault, he
was on the wrong side of the street. Are you all right, Mr. Hamilton?"
asked the chauffeur, at that moment entering the room. He knew Dick,
having driven him about many times.

"Glad you're not injured," spoke the lad. "Is your machine in shape to
run? I want to get back to the academy. The fellows may hear about this
and think I'm worse hurt than I am. Can you take me back?"

"Sure. Only my front lights, and some of the glass windows were smashed.
I'll run you back."

"Nephew Richard, do you mean to say you're going to ride back in that
miserable man's machine?" demanded Mr. Larabee.

"Why certainly," replied the young millionaire calmly, as he arose from
the couch on which he had been lying. The doctor assisted him. "Why
shouldn't I go back that way. I don't want to use my ankle more than I
have to before the game."

"Well, all I've got to say is that you're more foolhardy than I thought
you were, and I wash my hands of the whole affair," said Uncle Ezra
bitterly. "I'm going back home and report to your father. I'm sorry I
couldn't do anything with Mr. Duncaster, but he is an obstinate man. And
what's more, I won't pay hire for that automobile, either."

"Yes, you will!" cried the driver.

"That will be all right," spoke Dick quickly, making the driver a
concealed motion, which the man understood.

"I'm going back to Dankville," went on the crabbed old man, "and I hope
I never have to leave it again. My nerves are all shattered by what I've
gone through, and if I'm a physical wreck as I expect to be after this
accident I'll sue you for heavy damages," he threatened, to the auto
driver.

"Go ahead," was the calm reply. Then, after he had bidden Dick a rather
cool good-bye, Uncle Ezra departed. He did not ask for the sandwiches
for his lunch, and Dick wondered at it.

"A strange character--rather strong-willed I should say," observed the
physician, when Uncle Ezra had gone.

"Yes," agreed Dick simply. He rather thought his uncle might have
remained to see that he got to his room safely. But since the attempted
kidnapping affair there had been more coldness than ever between Dick
and his aged relative.

"Are you feeling strong enough to be moved?" asked the doctor.

"Oh, yes, and I'm much obliged to you."

"You also have the young ladies to thank," spoke the medical man with a
smile.

"Oh, of course," assented our hero. He managed by the help of the
chauffeur to limp out to the waiting taxicab. Miss Hanford and Miss
Adams were in the drug store.

"I can't thank you enough for your first-aid-to-the-injured services,"
said Dick with a smile, as he shook hands with the young ladies. "It
was very good of you."

"Oh, you're not done with us yet," said Miss Hanford gaily. "I've
telephoned for my cousin Harold, and he's going to go to the academy
with you. He'll be here in a few minutes. Here he is now," she added, as
a tall, good-looking lad entered the store. Mabel introduced him to
Dick, and though our hero insisted that he could get along well enough
with the help of the chauffeur, Harold Johnson insisted on accompanying
him in the cab.

"Let us know how you are?" called Mabel after them, as they started off,
the crowd that had gathered dispersing, now that the excitement was
over.

"Well old man, you certainly had a time of it!" exclaimed Paul Drew,
when young Johnson had safely delivered his charge and departed. "What
are you trying to do, anyhow?"

"I don't know. It all came so suddenly there was no time to do anything.
I'm sorry about Mr. Duncaster though. I wish Uncle Ezra had not butted
in, for now it will make it all the harder for me when I try again to
get that stock."

"Are you going to try again?"

"Surely. Dad needs it. But I'm not going to worry about that now. We've
got to devote all our attention to the Haskell game."

"Do you think you can play?"

"I'm going to!" declared Dick fiercely.

He received visits from every member of the eleven and most of the
substitutes before taps that night, and they were all relieved when they
found that the young captain's injuries were not as severe as had at
first been reported.

Dick was not able to practice the next day, but the following one he was
on the gridiron, and he was delighted to find that, aside from a little
stiffness, his ankle did not trouble him.

"Fellows, this is your last chance," declared Coach Martin, the day
previous to the great Haskell game. "Make good now and----"

"To-morrow," put in Mr. Spencer with a smile. "And don't forget that
you're going to win!"

In spite of a slight pain in his ankle, Dick never ran the team to
better advantage than he did in practice that day.

"Oh, for to-morrow!" he exclaimed to Paul in their room that night.

What crowds there were! They overflowed the grandstands and surged upon
the space around the Kentfield gridiron. They stood several deep along
the ropes stretched to keep them back, and still they poured through the
entrance gates to the delight of the cadets.

"We'll make some money all right off this game!" exulted Manager
Hatfield. "And we need it, even if we have a millionaire on the team."

"No, we can't expect Dick to do it all," said Paul.

"He's mighty good to hire the coaches," commented George Hall. "Oh,
say, if we can only win! Has the Haskell bunch arrived yet?"

"No, but they'll soon be here. Come on, our fellows are going to get in
practice."

Out on the field trotted the Kentfield eleven, with the score of
substitutes, wrapped, Indian-like in blankets, squatting on the side
lines, until such time as they would be needed to form some opposition
for the Varsity.

This soon came, for the coaches, after putting the boys through some
recently evolved formations, called on the scrub. Then the practice was
harder.

A roar burst from a thousand throats as the Haskell team trotted out,
for they had brought many supporters with them. Then came cheer after
cheer--cheers for Kentfield and for their opponents.

"They're a husky lot all right," observed Dutton grimly, as the
Kentfield cadets ceased their practice to "size-up" their foes.

"And beefy," added John Stiver.

"Oh, say, don't get heart-disease so soon," advised Dick with a laugh.
"Wait until you see us walk through 'em."

The preliminaries were soon arranged, and luck was with Dick for he won
the toss and selected the east goal, with what wind there was in his
favor. This gave the ball to Haskell to be kicked off, and a few minutes
later, the twenty-two sturdy youths took the field. Dick placed his men
with care, and gave an anxious look all about him, as the Haskell centre
"teed" the new yellow ball on a little mound of earth on the middle
line.

Shrilly blew the whistle, and a moment later there was a dull "thump!"
as the toe of the big centre rush found the pigskin, and sent it well
into Kentfield's territory. Ray Dutton caught it, and, tucking the
spheroid under his arm he sprinted down over the chalkmarks, gathering
speed at every stride.

"Cover him, fellows! Cover him!" yelled Dick, and the right half-back's
supporters gathered in front of him as well as they could. But the
opposition streamed through. Dutton ran on until in front of him loomed
Peters, the gigantic right guard of Haskell, and then the plucky cadet
ran no more, for he was heavily thrown. But the ball had been carried
back to Kentfield's forty-yard mark.

"Line up, boys!" yelled Dick. "Go through 'em now."

He stooped down behind Jim Watkins, and began calling the signal for
Stiver to circle Haskell's right wing. Back came the ball, and Stiver
got it on the jump, but so fast did the opponents of Kentfield stream
around to meet him that he did not gain more than three yards.

"They're strong!" murmured Dick with a bit of despondency in his voice,
for he had seen how in vain his men hurled themselves against the
stone-wall-like line of Haskell.

"So much the more credit if we beat them!" whispered Paul.

The captain was half decided on a try around the other end, but a
movement in the line told him this was almost suspected so he called for
a fake kick with Dutton to take the ball.

The spheroid came back true, and John tucked it against his chest as,
with head well down, he hurled himself forward. But the hole was not
there, and once more the enemies of Kentfield got through so that only
two yards were made.

"We've got to punt," thought Dick, as he gave the signal.

Straight and true the ball sailed from the toe of Hal Foster's shoe--far
into the territory of Haskell, so far indeed that their full-back had to
retreat to gather it in. Back he sprinted, protected by his eager mates.

"Get to him, boys! Get to him!" pleaded Dick, and into the knot of
players rushed Beeby, Drew and Hall. Hall was shoved aside and Paul Drew
was put out of business, but Beeby dodged through, and, a moment later,
his powerful arms circled his man--the man with the ball. Down they went
in a heap.

A few seconds later the offensive tactics of Haskell were in operation,
and powerful they were. First came a smashing attack between left guard
and centre that netted five yards. Once more the line was bucked, and
through left guard and tackle came hurtling the man with the ball.
Another gain was netted around right end, and then came a line play on
the other side. Kentfield was being pushed back, and thus far her
opponents had found no necessity for kicking.

"Hold 'em! Hold 'em!" pleaded Dick. "Brace!"

His men tried, and with such power on the next play that only one yard
was made.

"That's it!" cried the captain gleefully.

On the side lines the coaches watched the struggle.

"I'm afraid they're too much for 'em," murmured Mr. Martin regretfully.

"Yes, perhaps, but the game is young yet, and it's full of chances.
Besides, did you note the brace they took?"

"Yes--it's great--we'll have a fine team before the season is over."

Smash and bang went the attack on Dick's line. He did all that mortal
captain could do to infuse some of his own strength and courage into his
men, but it seemed that it was not to be. Down the field the ball was
rushed until it was within thirty yards of the Kentfield goal.

"Touchdown! Touchdown!" demanded the crowd in sympathy with Haskell.

"Hold boys, hold!" yelled the Kentfield adherents and they sang cheering
songs and gave their school war-cries.

"Don't let 'em through!" almost tearfully pleaded Dick, though it seemed
that a score was inevitable. "Brace! Brace!"

Once more a hammer-like attack, and the ball was on Kentfield's
twenty-two yard line. Then it looked as if at the next play either a try
for goal would be made, or that some lucky player on Haskell would smash
through and dodge his way to a touchdown.

But something happened. Through some miscalculation when Haskell's
quarter got ready to pass the ball on the next play he found his man
missing, through inattention to the signal. Thereupon the quarter ran
with it himself, without having covered the necessary five yards to one
side. This carried with it a penalty which sent the ball back to
Kentfield's thirty-seven yard line, and Dick breathed easier. The almost
inevitable was postponed for a little while.

A forward pass was next attempted by Haskell, but the memory of the
recent fizzle must have been on the minds of her players, for the ball
was juggled. Perkins, the left guard fell on it, and then, after a
hurried line-up, Matthews, the full-back, tried for a goal from the
thirty-five yard line.

The ball rose well, for he was amply protected, and a yell of delight
came from a thousand throats as Haskell's supporters thought they saw
their side scoring. But Matthews did not have good aim, and the ball
struck the posts and bounded back where Dick got it.

"Our ball!" cried Dick in delight, as the pigskin was brought out to
the Kentfield twenty-five yard line.

"Are you going to kick?" whispered Paul.

"No, we'll buck the line again. I think they're tired."

The captain's judgment was vindicated, for on a wing shift Ray Dutton
went through for ten yards, and at this unexpected breaking up of the
powerful line of Haskell there were roars of delight from the home
crowd.

Again Dick sent a man smashing through with the ball, and the opponents
were tumbled to one side, for the Kentfield guards and tackle were
fierce now with the desire for revenge, and they tore great gaps in the
ranks of the men before them.

A fake kick gained another substantial distance, and then misfortune
came, for there was holding by some of Dick's men, and they lost the
ball on a penalty. But so far had they advanced it into the territory of
their enemies that the Haskell captain ordered a kick. Dick saw their
game now.

"They think to tire us, for, they think I'll begin smashing their line
again. Then, at the close of the half they'll knock us all apart," he
reasoned as he helped form interference for Foster, who had caught the
ball.

"Instead of that we'll kick!" instantly decided Dick. "That will keep
the ball in their territory, but if they send it back I'll chance some
more smashes."

He called to the full-back to boot the leather forward, and back it came
with unerring aim. It was somewhat of a surprise to Haskell, and they
were a bit demoralized, for they had not expected such fierce playing,
nor such good generalship. Then followed another punt from the Haskell
full-back, and Stiver caught the ball.

"Rush it back!" ordered Dick, his voice scarcely heard above the tumult.

Stiver was shortly downed, but Kentfield had the ball, and once more
began to smash at the line with all the fierceness of which she was
capable. Haskell was plainly taken by surprise, but they held their
opponents to advantage and in two downs only ten yards were gained. A
kick was inevitable, and it came.

This time, after rushing the ball back until downed Haskell tried some
new tactics. They worked a neat forward pass, and an adaptation of the
wing shift so that in a few minutes Kentfield's goal was again menaced.

"Now's the time to hold again!" cried Dick, and hold they did, until
Stiver was injured and had to leave the game. Ford Endton was called in,
and then the smashing went on once more.

Slowly Kentfield was being pushed back, and about all Dick could hope
for was the whistle that would announce the end of the half, for that
would save being scored on.

Once more fate came to his aid. There was off-side play on the part of
Haskell, and one of her men was detected "slugging". As a result
Kentfield got the ball, and her opponent was penalized ten yards. Dick
promptly ordered a kick, and the pigskin was sent whizzing down the
field into Haskell territory.

Haskell at once kicked back, but gained little, and then Dick called for
some more line plays. It was a bad move, as the ball could not be
advanced and Dick had to kick again. Then back at the wearied Kentfield
players came burrowing and boring their enemies, until our friends were
shoved back up the field.

Nearer and nearer to their own goal they were pushed, until the ball was
within five yards of it. Dick begged and pleaded, but it is likely that
not all the urging in the world could have prevented a touchdown, only
that the whistle blew, ending the half, and the tired players rushed
from the field.

"Well, we didn't score," remarked Dick somewhat gloomily to the coaches
who hurried out to him.

"Score? Nobody expected you would against that team!" cried Mr. Martin.
"But look what you did. You equaled them all around, and they couldn't
score on you."

"They feel worse than you do!" exclaimed Mr. Spencer. "You boys did
nobly. I fancy Blue Hill is trembling at this moment."

"I hope so," said Dick. "But I want to score next half."

The rest, and the words of praise showered on them from all sides at the
plucky game they had put up, did much to put heart into our heroes. They
went back into the contest with an eagerness that was a delight to the
coaches and their captain.

An exchange of kicks followed the second half initial send-off, and when
Dick's team got the ball they once more tried their bucking. The first
try, however showed that Haskell's line had been much strengthened, and
this was because several new players had gone in, whereas, with the
exception of two, the Kentfield team was the same.

"They're afraid of us!" Dick whispered in delight to Paul. "They held
out some of their best players--now they have them in. We're up against
the strongest team they have," and this was so.

Wishing to save his men as much as possible, Dick called for some
wing-shift and fake-kick plays that proved to be good ground-gainers.
But there was a fumble in one, and Haskell got the ball.

Her smashing attack proved the virtue of the new players, and in less
than ten minutes of play in the second half the ball had been shoved
over for a touchdown, and the goal was kicked.

"Oh, but that's tough!" sighed Innis.

"It might be worse!" said Dick, as cheerfully as he could. "We're
holding them well, considering the new men they have, but we're going
to score now."

He and his men made a good try for it. They got the ball on a fumble
after some play following the touchdown, and began to rush it back. For
a moment their attack was so irresistible that Haskell crumpled to
pieces. Then, maddened and ashamed at having a smaller-sized team treat
them thus, they braced, and the advance of Kentfield was stopped.

Again Haskell came smashing at Dick's line. He knew what it meant. They
were determined to have another touchdown and the plucky captain was
just as determined not to let them get it. But it seemed as if it must
come.

Smash, bang! Smash, bang! came the heart-breaking attack. Haskell was so
sure of herself now that she did not kick. But she was a little too
sure, for she held in the line again, and the ball came to our friends.
It was promptly punted out of danger, but instead of returning the punt
Haskell once more came back to the banging tactics.

"Another touchdown!" was the demand.

"Never! Never!" thought Dick in desperation.

The ball was within ten yards of his line. He knew there could be but a
few minutes more of play.

"Hold 'em fellows, hold!" he implored. "If we can keep 'em down to one
touchdown it's as good as a victory for us!"

Hold the Kentfield cadets did, though slowly but surely they were being
shoved back. They even dug their hands into the dirt until their nails
bled, but it seemed useless.

"Now boys for a touchdown!" called the Haskell captain with a laugh.
"We're going to get it, too!" he added, looking Dick straight in the
face.

The signal came. Into the line came smashing the man with the
ball--straight through a hole that had been torn with savage energy
between Drew and Watkins. Straight at Dick the man came, Haskell's big
guard. Dick tackled him like a tiger, and felt himself being bowled
over. A sharp pain shot through his injured ankle, and he knew the
bandage had slipped. But he also knew something else, for the ball had
bounced from the grasp of the guard and lay within reach of our hero.

He pulled himself from underneath the husky guard, though the pain in
his foot was excruciating, and like a flash was up. Then, before any one
knew what he was doing, he had booted the ball well down the field,
though the kick cost him unbearable pain. But he had saved another
touchdown against his team, for at that moment the final whistle blew,
and the great game was over.



CHAPTER XX

JOINING THE LEAGUE


They had to carry Dick off the field, but there was a happy smile on his
face in spite of the terrible pain of his injured ankle.

"Only one touchdown and a goal against us, and the best team Haskell
could put in the field, fellows!" exulted the plucky captain. "It's
almost as good as a victory."

"There could be no more honorable defeat," murmured Coach Martin.

"I should say not!" exclaimed his colleague. "Our work hasn't gone for
nothing."

"Let me congratulate you, Captain Hamilton!" cried the captain of
Haskell, as he strode up to shake Dick's hand. "We sure thought we would
wipe up the earth with you, but--well, we were astonished, to put it
mildly."

"We'll beat you next time," said Dick simply.

"I shouldn't be surprised but what you did," he agreed. "You certainly
have improved wonderfully. Where'd you get those coaches?" for the two
had walked on in advance.

"Oh, they were a sort of an experiment," answered the young
millionaire, "but it worked out all right. Kentfield needed some
improvement and----"

"She's more than got it!" cried the other captain. "Boys, three cheers
for the pluckiest team we ever went up against!" he called, and how the
cries rang out; bringing joy and a mist of tears to the eyes of our
injured hero.

"Three cheers for Haskell!" called Dick in return, and the compliment
was given.

"We'd have scored again but for that plucky tackle of yours, and your
kick," said the guard whom Dick had thrown in the nick of time. "Hurt
yourself much?"

"No, it's only where I twisted my ankle before. I'll be all right in a
few days, and ready for more games."

The crowd was thronging from the field, as Dick was carried into the
dressing room. There some hot applications, and skillful bandaging, put
his ankle in such shape that he could manage to get around on a cane
that some one provided.

"It was great! Great, old man!" cried Paul, circling in delight about
his chum. "I never thought we could do it. Did you really think we would
win? I hope you're not disappointed."

"Only a little," admitted Dick. "I hoped we might win up to the time I
saw their team come out on the field. Then I knew they were too much for
us. But we held them down!"

"Indeed we did."

"And the next thing to do is to get into the Military League, and wipe
out the unnecessary insult that Blue Hill handed to us, by giving them
the worst drubbing they ever had."

"Sure," assented Paul.

There was quite a crowd of hero-worshippers outside the dressing rooms,
waiting to get a sight of Dick and his men, and cheer them. Among the
throng our hero espied a pretty face he knew, and straightway he made
for it as well as he was able.

"Congratulations!" called Miss Hanford. "Oh, it was a glorious game! but
I'm so sorry you were hurt."

"It's nothing," murmured Dick gamely, though as he spoke a spasm of pain
shot through him.

There were not a few on the hospital list as a result of the
Haskell-Kentfield game and in view of that, and the great work that had
been done, practice was omitted for a few days. When it was resumed it
was light, for there were several of the best players, besides the
captain, to be considered, and good men were scarce.

On all sides among the various groups of cadets there was heard nothing
but praise for Dick's team. Only one little crowd had anything
unpleasant to say, and this was the faction headed by Porter.

"If Porter had played there wouldn't have been so many gains around left
end," said one of the rich lad's cronies.

"That's right," added Weston. "Porter was our mainstay before he got
put off by Hamilton's influence."

"Who says by Dick's influence?" demanded Paul Drew hotly.

"I do!"

"Then you don't know what you're talking about, and I advise you not to
repeat it," spoke Dick's chum grimly, and Weston slunk away.

But what little feeling there was died away in the memory of the
glorious game that had been played, and even some of the instructors
were enough interested in athletics to congratulate Dick and his chums.

"What's the next move?" asked Paul of his roommate, as they sat in the
precincts of the Sacred Pig one night, talking over matters of the
gridiron.

"Well, we ought to join the Military League, I think. We are practically
out of it through the refusal of Blue Hill to accept our challenge, and
I presume we'll have to join over again," was the opinion of Dutton.

"That's right!" cried Dick.

"Will they let us in?" asked George Hall.

"They'll have to," was what Manager Hatfield said. "I am going to have a
consultation with the coaches to-morrow, and we'll decide on what to do.
If we are admitted, as I have no doubt we will be, we'll challenge Blue
Hill Academy again."

A correspondence was at once begun with the necessary officers of the
league, and it was carried on to such advantage that inside of a week
Kentfield was formally notified of her election to the organization.
This was composed of several military academies, as I have said, and the
winning of the football championship carried with it the possession of a
gold loving cup.

Hard practice was the rule for the next few days, and then came a game
with Mooretown which Kentfield won. The next week she played a small
team, not in the league, and the week following came a contest with
Richmore, one of the tail-enders of the league. This resulted in a big
victory for Kentfield, and further advanced her prestige.

"Have you challenged Blue Hill yet?" asked Dick of the manager one day.

"I'm going to this week. I think we've won our spurs now. How is your
ankle, if we do play?"

"Fine as a fiddle. I've taken the bandage off. Oh, we'll play for our
lives when we meet those fellows!"

Blue Hill could now have no reason for refusing to meet Kentfield, and
though they offered no apology for their former sarcastic letter, they
accepted the challenge.

Dick was with Manager Hatfield when the answering missive was received.

"That's the stuff!" cried the young millionaire. "Now we'll practice
harder than ever."

Toots, the janitor, approached our hero, whistling "In the Prison Cell I
Sit." He saluted and seemed to want to say something.

"What is it?" asked Dick.

"I've just got word, Mr. Hamilton, that your dog Grit has been
arrested--or, that is, taken to the pound for going about without his
license tag on, which is against the law," said the janitor.

"Grit taken to the pound! Who did it?" cried Dick.

"Some fellow by the name of Duncaster," was the unexpected reply. "He
had a policeman take the dog in, and you have to pay ten dollars to get
him out. Half of it goes to that Duncaster man for causing the dog to be
taken in."

"Duncaster!" murmured Dick. "He's fighting us all along the line! I'm
going to town!" he called to a group of his chums who had gathered about
him.

"I'll go with you," and Paul hastened after his friend.



CHAPTER XXI

READY FOR BLUE HILL


Dick was half wrathful over the action of Mr. Duncaster, and half
because of the action of some cadet who must have enticed Grit to town,
for a few students, admiring the bulldog had, in times past, often led
him off with them. Nor was Grit unwilling to go, for he loved action,
and by reason of his lessons and his football practice his master had
little time to take him out.

"What are you going to do?" asked Paul, as his chum swung around toward
the stable.

"I'm going to find out who took my dog to town, and then I'm going after
him," was the answer. "He had nerve, who ever he was."

"Do you think Duncaster did it? Because he knew it was your animal?"

"He may have done so, but I doubt it. He's just naturally mean and
cranky, and when he found Grit wandering about the street he probably
notified a dog-catcher. I didn't think they were so strict when cool
weather set in. Poor Grit! In a pound with a lot of curs! His feelings
will be hurt."

In answer to Dick's inquiries one of the stable men stated that Cadet
Porter had come and gotten Grit, leading him off by a leash attached to
his collar.

"Did he say I said for him to take Grit?" asked the young millionaire.

"No, sir, I can't say as how he did. But he's been real friendly with
the dog, Mr. Porter has, and Grit knows him. Mr. Porter and Mr. Weston
went off together with him. I hope you don't blame me, Mr. Hamilton,"
and the man seemed a bit alarmed.

"No, it wasn't your fault. But, after this, please don't let any one
take Grit without my permission. First thing I know he'll be stolen, and
then Uncle Ezra will be as happy as a lark."

On the way to town Dick and Paul met Porter and Weston returning. The
faces of both were flushed, and they were smoking cigarettes. Porter
seemed ill at ease as he encountered Dick, and the latter resolving to
settle the matter once and for all said:

"What right had you to take my dog, Porter?"

"I'm mighty sorry, Ham," was the contrite answer, and for a change
Porter was not blustering and overbearing as he usually was. "You see I
took him in, as I've done once before, and you didn't mind, but----"

"Yes, but this time I _do_ mind!" exclaimed Dick sharply. "He got away
from you, didn't he?"

"Yes, I tied him to the leg of the billiard table, while I shot a match
with Weston. Beat him, too, and I must have felt so jolly over it that I
forgot about Grit. When I went to look for him he was gone--he'd slipped
out of his collar. I guess he was lonesome for you. He got home all
right, I hope."

"No, he didn't!" replied Dick in no gracious tones.

"He didn't?" Porter was manifestly surprised.

"He's in the pound, and I have to pay ten dollars to get him out."

"Whew! That's tough luck! I'm mighty sorry about it. If I wasn't so
counfoundedly short of funds now I'd give you the money for the fine
right away. As it is I'll owe it to you."

"No, you won't!" cried our hero sharply. "I'll pay it myself, but don't
take Grit away again--please." He added the last as he happened to
remember that he was captain of the football team, and that Weston,
Porter's crony, was a member of the eleven, and that Porter might also
play later. It would not do to be on bad terms with them, for the sake
of the team.

"Oh, well, you needn't be stiff about it," murmured Porter. "I didn't
mean any harm. How did I know the dog would get away."

"You didn't, I presume," agreed Dick, a little mollified. "But don't do
it again. Come on, Paul."

"You cad!" muttered Porter, as Dick swung around. "I'm beginning to
hate you! I'll get even, some day too. You put me off the team!"

"Oh, I wouldn't feel that way," suggested Weston, who was not a half-bad
chap. "You may get a chance yet."

"Not after this blamed dog incident. Why didn't you have an eye on the
brute?"

"Why should I? It was your affair."

"Oh, well, if that's the way you feel about it, don't come with me
again!" snapped Porter, who was in ill humor.

The pound of the town was in a stable back of one of the police
stations, and there Dick found Grit chained up with several other dogs
of much lower degree.

"Hello, old boy!" greeted the lad, and Grit nearly broke the chain to
leap upon his master.

"Be careful," warned the poundkeeper. "He's got an ugly temper."

"Not when he's treated right," was the answer. "I'll take him along.
Here's his collar," for Porter had handed it over before parting from
Dick. "I'll take him home. To whom do I pay the ten dollars?"

"To me. Half goes to the town and the other half to the man who caused
the dog to be taken in. Rumcaster is his name, or something like that.
He's been here several times since the dog was brought in, asking if the
fine was paid. He wants his share, Mr. Rumcaster does."

"Duncaster is my name! Duncaster!" exclaimed a rasping voice, and the
man who had been so unpleasant to Dick made his appearance. "And so the
dog's owner is here, is he? I guess this will be a lesson to him.
Where's my five dollars?"

"Here!" exclaimed Dick suddenly stepping forward.

"Ah, ha! So it's that Hamilton soldier fellow!" exploded Enos Duncaster,
as he saw our hero. "It was your dog; eh? You should know better than to
let unmuzzled and unlicensed dogs run loose in the streets. But it's
what might be expected of a young man who goes to school to learn a
murdering trade. Bah! I'm glad it _was_ your dog!"

"The dog is licensed, and was running loose because the cadet who took
him without my permission did not take care of him," answered Dick
quietly.

"Hum! I can't help that young man! The law is the law and I'm entitled
to my five dollars. It will keep me in groceries for a week. I don't eat
much!" and the old man chuckled grimly as he pocketed the bill, and
tottered off on his cane.

"Come on Grit, old boy!" called Dick, as he paid over the other five
dollars, and led the now rejoicing animal away.

The young millionaire tried not to feel any resentment against Porter,
but it was hard work. Not so much on account of the ten dollars, as
because of what might have happened to Grit. On his part Porter was
cooler than ever toward Dick, but it did not so much matter as our hero
had learned all he could about the financial operations of the rich
lad's father,--and since he knew who held the large number of shares of
electric stock.

"Not that it's doing dad much good to know," mused the young
millionaire, "for Duncaster will be more against me than ever now, I'm
afraid. He won't even listen to me."

Fortunately the necessity for hard work on the gridiron gave Dick so
much to think about that he did not have much time to worry over this
matter, though he made up his mind to aid his father whenever
opportunity presented.

Hard practice was called for, in preparation for the Blue Hill game, and
the young captain and the coaches were glad to see the snappy playing,
and the aggressive spirit manifested.

"I think we can defeat them, after what we did to Haskell," said Dick.

"I do also," agreed Mr. Martin, and Mr. Spencer was no less positive.

It was three days before the game, and the boys were "on edge" and
fit to make the battle of their lives. That night Dick was paying a
visit in the rooms of Innis Beeby, when George Hall came in.

"What's the matter up in your bungalow?" asked Jim Watkins, coming in
during a deep discussion of a new wing shift play.

"Nothing--why?" asked Dick quickly.

"I thought you might be sick. I just saw Dr. Fenwick going in there,"
was the answer. "But you seem healthy enough."

"Dr. Fenwick--going to our room!" cried Dick, starting up. "It must be
Paul. He wasn't feeling well this evening, and wouldn't come out with
me. I'll go see!" and he hastened away.



CHAPTER XXII

THE BLUE HILL GAME


The thoughts of the young captain were rather alarming as he made his
way to the apartment he shared with his chum. He had paid little
attention to the complaint Paul made of not feeling well, thinking it
was only a temporary indisposition. That had been several hours before,
for time had passed quickly in the room of Innis, with the spirited talk
of football.

"And he had to send for a doctor when I wasn't there with him!"
exclaimed Dick to himself regretfully. "That was tough. But I kept
thinking he'd join us every minute or I'd gone back. I hope it isn't
anything serious."

Then he recalled several stories he had read of football players being
secretly "doped" before big games in order that they would go "stale"
and not be in form.

"That may have happened to Paul!" half-gasped the young captain. "Some
of those Blue Hill fellows, fearing we will beat them, may have sent him
some dope. If they have----"

Then Dick laughed at his preposterous fears, and by this time he was at
his room. Behind the closed door he heard the murmur of voices. One he
recognized as that of his chum, and the other was Dr. Fenwick's.

"Well, he's alive at any rate," thought the young millionaire. "He can't
be so bad."

Nevertheless it was rather an alarmed countenance of Dick Hamilton that
gazed in on his chum a moment later. Paul was in bed, and in the room
was one of the academy orderlies, while the physician was bending over a
table, mixing some medicine in a glass.

"Paul!" cried Dick impulsively. "What's the matter? Jim Watkins just
told me Dr. Fenwick was here. How did it happen? What is the matter? I'm
so sorry I left you alone, but I thought every minute that you'd be
over. I'm all cut up about it."

"It's all right, Dick, old man," replied Paul, but in fainter tones than
he was in the habit of using. "I'm just a little under the weather I
guess. I'll be on the active list again soon."

"I hope so," murmured the captain, with the memory of the impending Blue
Hill game. Paul was one of his best players--one who could always be
depended on in an emergency--one who always had some "go" left in him,
when it seemed that mortal flesh and bone could do no more. He could
tear through the line, and break up interference better than any guard
Dick had ever seen, and for nailing the man with the ball Paul was a
star. No wonder the young captain did not want to lose him.

"Is it anything serious, Doctor?" asked Dick.

"I hope not," replied Dr. Fenwick. "I don't like some of his symptoms,
but they may pass away."

"How did it happen--how did it come on?" inquired the young millionaire.

"Oh, I hadn't felt well all day," replied the plucky left guard, "but I
didn't think anything of it. Then a little while ago I suddenly felt
dizzy, and before I knew what was happening I keeled over--fell on the
floor. Brooks, in the next room, heard me, and came rushing in. He got
the doctor--that's all I know."

"And I wasn't here?" exclaimed Dick reproachfully.

"I fancy it is only due to an upset condition of the stomach," put in
the physician. "He has an attack of vertigo, which is not uncommon.
There, Mr. Drew, I'll leave this medicine, and look in on you in the
morning. If you need me in the night don't hesitate to send for me."

"I'll look after him," promised Dick. The physician and orderly were
about to leave when several of the cadets who had been in Beeby's room,
and who wondered at Dick's sudden desertion, came trooping in, to ask
all sorts of questions concerning Paul.

"Now, young gentlemen, this won't do!" insisted the doctor cheerfully
but firmly. "Mr. Drew must be kept quiet. He is in no danger, and
you'll have to leave."

They did, after nodding pleasantly to the sick lad, and then Dick began
a vigil of the night.

"Jove! I hope Drew doesn't go back on us in the Blue Hill game,"
remarked Dutton.

"It would sort of break us up, even though Berkfeld fills in pretty well
at guard," spoke George Hall.

As for the worriment of the young captain, only he himself realized the
depth of it.

Paul was restless all night, and had a slight fever. Dick was a faithful
nurse, administering the medicine regularly. Once his patient was
delirious, and murmured something about matters at home. Again he
fancied himself on the gridiron, and called out:

"Touchdown! Touchdown! We've got to make a touchdown! That's it. Go
through the line now!"

"Poor Paul," murmured Dick. "I'm afraid it will be quite a while before
you play again."

Twice, when the lad's condition seemed worse, Dick was on the point of
sending for Dr. Fenwick, but he refrained and the spell passed over.

Morning came, pale and wan, shining in the room where the electric
lights burned with a sickly glow. Dick turned them out and softly laid
his hands on Paul's cheek.

"He seems cooler," he whispered. "I believe the fever has gone down. I
hope it has. He's sleeping soundly. I--I believe I'll lie down for a
moment."

Dick himself felt weak, for he had been up nearly all night, and the day
before he had practiced strenuously. He stretched out on the lounge, and
before he knew it he was sleeping soundly. He awakened as a voice called
faintly:

"Is there any water handy, Dick?"

"Paul! How are you?" he cried, springing up. "Oh, I must have dozed off!
That was careless of me. Are you all right? I'm a swell nurse, I am."

"Oh, don't worry. I'm much better, and I'm hungry and thirsty."

"That's a good sign. I'll get some fresh water."

Paul drank eagerly, and Dick, taking his temperature with the
thermometer the physician had left, was glad to note that the little
silver column was at ninety-eight and three-fifths, or normal.

"Your fever's gone!" he announced, with a thrill in his tired voice.

Dr. Fenwick came in a little later, and seconded the opinion Dick had
formed. Paul was weak, but the danger had passed, he announced.

"It must have been something he ate," was what the doctor said, and Dick
thought no more about "dope."

"Will I be able to play Saturday?" asked Paul eagerly.

"Humph! Yes, I think so, if you get back your strength. You lost
considerable in a short time. But take it easy at first."

They missed Paul at practice that day, and as Dick was somewhat worn
with his sleepless night, the coaches did not insist on very strenuous
work. What was done, however, showed that the Kentfield eleven was
holding its own.

Paul was out the next day, and did light work. He was a bit "off his
feed" as he expressed it, but he was sure he would be all right when it
came to the big game.

Little was talked of in the academy but the coming contest, which was to
take place on the Kentfield gridiron. Some of the sporting crowd had
what they called "big money" up on the game, but few of the football
contingent indulged in this practice.

"I got odds of two to one from some of the Blue Hill crowd," boasted
Porter, who had a liking for betting. "I could have gotten bigger odds
before the Haskell fight, but the Blue Hill fellows are a bit shy now. I
should think you'd back your own team, Hamilton," he said, with a half
sneer at Dick.

"It isn't in my line," was the answer, "though I've no objections to you
fellows backing us for all you're worth. We'll come in winners, I'm
sure."

"I wish I could play," spoke Porter more earnestly than he was in the
habit of doing. "Is there any chance for me, Hamilton?" He had
effectually put his pride in his pocket to thus appeal to the lad who
for no cause he disliked.

"I wish there was," answered the captain. "Of course you will have the
same chance as the other subs, and if the fight is as rough as I expect
it will be, we may be playing all of you before it's over."

"Then I can't go in at the opening?"

"I don't see how you can very well. Of course I haven't it all to say.
Why don't you go see the coaches?"

"What good would that do. They're in your pay, and----"

"That will do!" cried Dick sharply, and Porter knew enough to stop that
sort of talk. He turned away, a bitter look on his face and a bitter
feeling in his heart.

"I'll get even with you yet," he muttered. "I'll fix you and your
football team, Dick Hamilton!"

Dick was like some anxious mother the night before the game. He went to
the rooms of each of his players and saw that they were in. Inquiries as
to how they felt met with the reply that they were all "fit."

Paul Drew seemed himself again, and assured Dick that he was ready to do
battle with their common foe.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could shut them out altogether?" he asked
exultingly. "After the fuss they made about not wanting to play us, and
the record they've made, if we could bar them from crossing our
line--wouldn't it be immense?"

"'Dreams--idle dreams,'" quoted Dick with a smile. "I shouldn't ask
anything better, but I'm afraid they're too strong for us. Why they came
within an ace of beating Haskell the other day."

"That was on a fumble."

"I know, but fumbles count in football. No, if we beat them by a good
score I'll be satisfied, even if they cross our line."

It was the day of the great game, a great game in the sense that
Kentfield had made a record for herself in a remarkably short time under
the skillful coaching of Mr. Martin and Mr. Spencer, and because she was
to meet a foe who had despised her--meet a team that, hitherto had not
considered our cadet heroes worthy of their steel. In a sense it was a
triumph for Kentfield even before the game was started. As for Dick he
was modestly proud.

There was a record-breaking crowd in attendance, for the word had gone
around among lovers of football that Kentfield was putting up a great
game, and the grandstands that in years past had held only a scattering
throng, now overflowed.

"We'll be able to pay all our debts and close the season with a
balance," exulted the manager and treasurer together.

"I'd rather win this game and lose every dollar!" cried Dick, as he ran
to join his comrades on the gridiron.

Blue Hill was to kick off, and after the preliminary arrangements the
pigskin was "teed" in midfield and there came a hush while each captain
looked to see if his men were all placed.

"Are you ready?" came the call.

"Ready," answered Dick.

"Ready," answered Ford Haskell, the Blue Hill captain.

The whistle blew, and hardly had the echoes died away than there sounded
the soul-stirring "ping" and the toe of Tod Kester's shoe dented the
leather as the big centre sent the ball well into the territory of our
friends.

"Now boys, back with it!" cried Dick. "Shove for all you are worth when
it comes to a line up!"

Jake Weston caught the ball, and the speedy right end was down the field
with it like a shot. He dodged several of the Blue Hill men, but at last
Ned Buchanan, the husky right guard, got his arms around him, and Weston
went down hard.

"Ready boys--come on," cried Dick, and this was the signal for a fake
kick without any other word being given. They lined up and before the
surprised Blue Hill team was aware of what was happening, and when their
startled full-back had begun a retreat ready to catch the ball John
Stiver had the pigskin, had passed it to Hal Foster and the latter
smashed through the line for a ten yard gain.

"That's going some!" cried Innis Beeby when the scrimmage was over.

Indeed it was a good gain for that play, and Dick and his men rejoiced.
Quickly they lined up again, and this time Dutton was sent smashing
through between left guard and tackle. But this was not so successful,
for the Blue Hill lads massed at that point, and blocked the advance
after four yards had been covered.

But the ball had been advanced enough so that Dick felt he need not call
for a punt, and this time he gave the signal for a play around right
end. John Stiver got the ball and got into the play on the jump but to
his own surprise and that of his comrades, he was almost nailed in his
tracks by Lem Gordon, the husky left guard who broke through Innis
Beeby.

Instead of a gain there was a loss of a few feet, and, seeing it, Dick
felt his heart sink. Blue Hill had developed unexpected strength.

A kick was now necessary, and the ball was sent spinning into the
enemy's territory. They ran it back a short distance, and then came
their line up.

"Now, boys, see how we can hold 'em!" cried Dick cheerfully. "We'll have
the pigskin in a couple of downs."

"Not much!" cried Captain Haskell, of the Blues.

Against the Kentfield line came smashing Rud Newton, the left half. He
tried for a hole between Frank Rutley and Paul Drew at left tackle and
guard respectively. Rutley held like a stone fence, but Paul, after a
moment of opposition, gave way and Newton came smashing through. Dick
and Hal Foster managed to nail him, however, but not before five yards
were gained.

"You've got to hold better than that, boys!" called Dick, but they all
knew it was Paul who had given way, and there was not one of them but
what feared he would not hold out through the game. His recent illness
was doubtless responsible.

Again Blue Hill tried a smashing play in the same place, hoping they had
found a weak spot, but Dick and his men were ready, and Paul was
supported to such advantage that not a foot was made.

There came a try for around the left end, but Tom Coleton and his
colleagues were there ready to nab the man, and he actually ran back and
was downed for a loss. Then came the inevitable kick, and Dick's side
had the ball, practically where it had been in the first scrimmage.

"Do or die!" murmured our hero, and he called for some line-smashing
plays. They were given with a will, but there was a defense that was
well-nigh impregnable, and murmurs of astonishment began to go around
among the spectators.

"They're as evenly matched teams as have ever played!" declared Coach
Martin. "There may be no score."

"Oh, our boys have _got_ to score!" cried Mr. Spencer.

Back and forth the game see-sawed, the ball most of the time, save when
there was an exchange of kicks, being in the centre of the field. It was
a kicking game, and Dick rejoiced that he had men who could be depended
on to punt.

Again and again did the opposite sides hurl themselves against each
other in the line, neither team being able to gain. Then a kick would be
called for. This made it interesting for the spectators, but it was
wearing on the players.

At last Dick, in desperation, decided on some sequence plays. These were
three maneuvers to come one after the other at a certain signal, there
being no word given for each individual play. Usually this was not done
until the ball was within about twenty-five yards of the goal, when
desperate work, to disconcert the opponents was necessary, but our hero
thought he might now gain some ground in this way.

"We've got to do it! Pull together now!" called Dick. This meant that
three plays, previously decided on were to come without further word
from the quarter-back.

The plays were right half-back through right tackle, left tackle through
right tackle and left half-back through right tackle, thus directing
three smashing attacks in quick succession against the same place in the
Blue Hill line.

The first attempt did not gain much, but when Frank Rutley came at the
unfortunate Jean Trainor, who had just sustained one tremendous smash,
there was a clean ten yards reeled off. Then, without a word being
uttered, John Stiver jumped for the same breach on the next line up, and
fifteen yards were gained.

Kentfield's supporters nearly went wild, for her boys were now within
striking distance of the enemy's goal. But there was an enraged crowd of
opponents to be reckoned with, for the Blue Hill cadets were half
frenzied with the trick that had been played on them, and Dick knew he
could not hope to work it again.

He called for an end run, and it seemed as if it would result in a good
gain, but George Hall was downed before he had gone far. Then came a
smash at the Blue Hill centre, and to the dismay of Dick, Paul Drew
fumbled the ball. In an instant one of the Blue Hill players fell on it,
and quickly booted it out of danger.

There was a groan, and Dick felt his heart sink. All their brilliant
work in the sequence had gone for naught. The Blue Hill crowd went wild
with delight.

"Line up!" called Dick grimly, and once more he began his line-smashing
tactics. But there was no gain, and a kick was called for. Similarly
the opponents of Kentfield could not advance the ball, and they punted.
Then after some see-sawing work, time was called for the ending of the
first half, with the ball on Blue Hill's forty-yard line. Neither side
had scored.

"Well, what do you think of 'em?" asked Mr. Martin of Dick.

"Hard as nails," was the reply.

"I fancy they have the same opinion of you," said Mr. Spencer. "But I
think you can get one touchdown the next half. They are tiring. Do you
think you can risk another sequence play?"

"I believe so. I'll try it on the other side next time."

"I would, but wait until you're nearer their goal."

The rest period seemed all too short for the tired players, but they
came out on the gridiron again leaping, laughing and shouting, though
some showed the marks of the conflict.

There were shrill cries from many girls and women in the grandstands and
Dick, giving a quick glance up saw Nellie Fordice, Mabel Hanford and
some of their friends.

The second half began with a rush that meant business. Each side tried
the line-smashing, but found it as before, and there was much kicking.

Blue Hill finally had the ball, and there was a moment's consultation
before the signal was given. Then came a terrific smashing play at Paul
Drew. Dick saw one of the Blue Hill players deliberately strike Paul in
the stomach with his elbow. Poor Drew went down in a heap, and over him
climbed the man with the ball, making a six yard gain before he could be
stopped.

"A foul!" cried Dick, and reported to the umpire what he had witnessed.
But that official had seen nothing, or at least said he had not.

"Watch 'em!" warned Dick to his players, while Paul had some wind pumped
back into him.

"Can you play?" asked Mr. Martin.

"Yes--of course!" was the half-fierce reply.

Once more came a smashing attack at the unfortunate left guard. His
opponents had discovered his weakness. Though he was not struck, the
attack was so merciless that he could do nothing, and he had to be
carried off the field, his weak condition being partly responsible, for
his stomach still troubled him.

"Get in the game, Natron," called Dick, to the substitute guard, and
then the Blue Hill attack was directed on the other side of the
Kentfield line. But there Innis Beeby was ready for them, and he tackled
his man with such fierceness that time had to be taken out to restore
his half-scattered senses.

"They won't try any more slugging here," said the right guard grimly.

But Blue Hill was evidently "out for blood," and the slugging went on.
The umpire saw it once, and ordered the offender out of the game.

All this while, however, the ball had been steadily advanced toward the
Kentfield goal, and after Tom Coleton had been knocked out, giving
Porter a chance to get back on his old position of left end, the advance
was even faster.

Then, in one black and disheartening moment, came the fatal play. It was
around Porter's end, in spite of the desperate effort Hal Foster made
to tackle the man, the ball was touched down, and the goal kicked.

There were tears in the eyes of more than one Kentfield player, and Dick
felt his heart sinking. But he grimly called on his men to respond, and
for a time they had the ball in their enemy's territory.

Another of Dick's men was knocked out, and two of the Blue Hill players
had to retire. The time was getting short, and Dick once more decided to
use the sequence work, for with so many new cadets on the other side, he
figured that they would not be prepared for them.

The plays were rattled through, and this time with such relentlessness
that in a short time the ball was within ten yards of the Blue Hill
goal.

"Touchdown! Touchdown!" came the imploring call from the Kentfield
grandstands.

"Touchdown it shall be!" thought Dick fiercely. He sent Innis Beeby
smashing through centre for three yards, and then, hoping Dutton could
make the remaining distance, passed the ball to him.

Right into the line smashed the big right half-back, but someone tackled
him with a fierceness that sent him unconscious to the ground, the ball
rolled from his arms, and a moment later a Blue Hill man had it, and was
racing down the field with all the speed left in him.

There was not a player to stop him, for all of Dick's team had been
drawn close in, hoping for the touchdown, and before they were aware of
what was happening the man with the ball was on the forty-yard line.

"Catch him! We've got to catch him!" yelled Dick. "It's another
touchdown if we don't!"

After him sprinted every man on the Kentfield team, save Dutton who was
still stretched on the ground, and then, straggling after their
opponents, came the Blue Hills in scattered formation.

It was a foregone conclusion, for the Kentfield players were so wearied
with their recent line-smashing attack that they could hardly run, and
with tears in their eyes they saw the ball again touched down back of
their goal posts. They had been so near to scoring, only to see their
hopes dashed from them, and on what was nearly a fumble.

The goal was kicked and the score stood twelve to nothing against our
friends. Dutton was revived, but was unable to resume play, and a
substitute went in. There were only a few moments of the game left.

Desperately Dick called on his men for those last few minutes, and they
did play to fierce advantage. There was some kicking, and when the
Kentfields had the ball they rushed it down the field so fast that they
were soon within striking distance of their opponents' goal.

Then fate, in the shape of the time whistle blew, and the contest was
ended. Blue Hill had won.



CHAPTER XXIII

SORE HEARTS


"Dick, I'm so sorry."

It was Paul Drew who spoke, and he limped around the room where his chum
sat staring gloomily out of the window into a mist of rain. The weather
was in keeping with the hearts of the cadets of Kentfield academy.

"It was tough, wasn't it, Dick?"

"It was--very. I suppose I counted too much on winning that game. Others
didn't seem so much to matter. But Blue Hill----"

"I know, Dick," and Paul spoke softly. "But they didn't play fair."

"That's what lots of the fellows say, and I saw you hit once. I've no
doubt but what there was more slugging--but that doesn't excuse us for
not winning."

"No, of course not, but----"

Paul was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Come in," called Dick, but
there was no welcome in his tones.

"Say, old man, you act as though your best girl had sent back your
letters unopened!" exclaimed Ray Dutton as he came in, wearing a
bandage on his head, where he had been kicked in that last
heart-breaking attack on the Blue Hill goal line. "Don't be so down and
out about it. Kentfield has lost before, and lived through it."

"Yes, I suppose so," and Dick turned aside from the contemplation of the
gloomy weather outside. "But it--hurts."

"Of course it does, but all is not lost yet. We have a chance for the
championship."

"A mighty poor one."

"Well, it's a chance, isn't it? If we hadn't had so many men knocked out
we could have won, even at that. Blue Hill made one touchdown against us
by straight playing. We were about to do the same to her. Then they got
one on a fumble. It was my fault for being so silly as to be knocked
out, but----"

"It wasn't your fault at all!" cried Dick. "No one could have played
better than you did. That whack on the head was enough to bowl anyone
over."

"Yes, I guess it was," admitted Ray, as he gently felt of a lump the
bandage covered.

"And the way they handled Paul was rotten," went on the captain.

"Oh, I'm not kicking," declared the plucky guard. "I'll be ready for 'em
next time."

"I'm glad there is a next time," spoke Dick. "How do we stand, anyhow?"

"There are several games yet," said Dutton, "and we can win most of
them easily. The only hard ones are with Mooretown and the next one with
Blue Hill. That's the last, and we need to win that and the Mooretown
contest to get the championship."

"It's a big contract," said the young millionaire with a sigh.

"Oh, brace up!" cried Dutton as cheerfully as he could. "Here come some
of the fellows. Don't let 'em see you in the dumps, Dick."

Our hero tried to look cheerful, but it was hard work. Several of his
players filed in. It was the day after the defeat by Blue Hill and there
were sore bodies as well as sore hearts, for there had been more men
knocked out in that desperate conflict than in any previous one. And, so
said the senior cadets, there was no game ever played by Kentfield in
all the years of her history that was more fiercely fought.

"Blue Hill has the best team in years," said Innis Beeby.

"So have we!" cried Jim Watkins.

"Granted, and we're going to be the champions," went on the big guard.
"But it sure does make me sore to be licked after we practically made
all our preparations to do Blue Hill."

Dick brightened up when he saw that he was not the only one who took the
defeat to heart, and the talk drifted to the various incidents of the
game. It was agreed that Blue Hill had not played exactly fair in a
number of instances, but it was decided to keep quiet about this.

"They'll say we're soreheads if we kick," said Paul.

"I know one 'sorehead,'" remarked Ray with a grimace as he felt of his
wound. "But wait until next time!"

The two coaches were disappointed but not discouraged. They had hoped,
not only for their own prestige, but for the sake of the team, that Blue
Hill would be defeated.

"But I'm glad there's another chance at them," remarked Mr. Martin
grimly to his colleague.

"Yes, I fancy Blue Hill will have to bring along plenty of substitutes
when we meet them again," and Mr. Spencer smiled.

"Oh, the next game is at their grounds, you know."

"Well, that isn't so good for our chances, but even at that I have no
fear of the result. If we can get our boys into shape, and their
injuries heal, I would be willing to stake a good sum on our side, if I
were a betting man."

Porter was one of the disappointed ones, because he had lost a large sum
of money on the result. He talked much about it, and even seemed
inclined to blame Dick for the defeat.

"If he had let me go in earlier they wouldn't have gained so much on
us," he said boastfully.

"Oh, get out!" cried Dutton in disgust. "Why, one of the biggest gains
they made was around your end, and it resulted in a touchdown.

"Well, my foot slipped."

"And I guess the fellow's did who kicked me," said Ray grimly. "But
don't make any cracks like that Porter. You're no better than the rest
of us."

"I'm not saying I am, but I want to play from the start of the game next
time."

He importuned Dick to this end, as soon as active practice was resumed,
but Tom Coleton was again available and the captain did not feel like
displacing him.

"He'd better look out, or I'll fix him!" threatened Porter to his crony
Weston.

"What do you mean?"

"Dick Hamilton. He ought to let me play. I'll get square somehow."

"Oh, I wouldn't talk that way," said Weston weakly. He wanted to be
loyal to his team, yet he was under obligations to Porter for he owed
him a large sum of money. "You wouldn't do anything mean, would you?" he
asked.

"Why doesn't Hamilton let me play then?" inquired Porter, not answering
the question.

"I don't know. You may have a chance for one half of the Mooretown
game."

"I want to play the whole game--not half, and if I get knocked out it's
my fault. But I'd like to see the fellow try to do any funny business
with me," and Porter shot out his jaw aggressively. He was quite a boxer
in an amateur way.

"Well, don't do anything rash," cautioned his crony, but Porter walked
off, muttering to himself.

Gradually the soreness and stiffness of the players wore off toward the
end of the week and they were practicing with their usual vim. Though
many had been on the hospital list, almost the entire Varsity was
available for a game the next Saturday, when one of the league contests
was played with Ralston Academy. Kentfield won easily, and further
clinched her chances for being the champion. But the hardest
games--those of Blue Hill and Mooretown were yet to come.

Of Mooretown, Dick had no fear as to the result, but Blue Hill was
another matter. Still he strengthened his heart when he saw his men in
vigorous practice.

"They certainly are a great team!" he exulted, "and they are as hard as
nails."

Even in the gloom of defeat and in the preparation for gridiron battles
yet to come, Dick had not forgotten his father's troubles. He kept in
communication with Mr. Hamilton, and learned that matters were
temporarily at a standstill.

"They can't get the controlling lot of stock from Mr. Duncaster, and
neither can I," wrote Dick's father. "So matters stand. But I have a new
plan. I am coming to Kentfield soon, and I'll see that obstinate
gentleman myself."

"Dad coming here!" cried Dick in delight as he read the letter to Paul.
"I hope he's in time for the Mooretown game."



CHAPTER XXIV

TREACHERY


Mr. Hamilton arrived at Kentfield the day before the game with
Mooretown. Dick welcomed his parent enthusiastically, and introduced him
to all his chums, with whom the millionaire was soon on friendly terms.

"You'll have a chance to see us play, dad!" cried the captain. "You'll
go Mooretown with us; won't you?"

"To see you beaten?" asked Mr. Hamilton quizzically.

"Not much! We'll wipe up the gridiron with them!" cried Ray Dutton.
"We've got to, if we want that loving cup," he added with a laugh, "and
Blue Hill, too."

"Well, I guess I'll come," assented Dick's father. "But I have some
business to transact first."

"I'm afraid you won't transact much of it," spoke Dick in a low voice.
"Mr. Duncaster is very obstinate."

"How are you going to Mooretown?" inquired Mr. Hamilton.

"By special train. Our manager has arranged for one. I did think of
autos, but the roads are pretty poor and then we want to take a big
crowd with us to 'root' for a win. So we'll go by train."

"Then I'll come along. Now tell me about this Mr. Duncaster," and Dick
proceeded to do so, detailing his own visit, and that of Mr. Larabee.

"Hum! A hard man to do business with. Still I've got to try, for it
means a lot to me," and Mr. Hamilton sighed. Dick noticed with regret
that his father's face was much more wrinkled than it had been, and the
gray hairs were more numerous.

"The strain is telling on him," mused the lad. "I wonder what would
happen if he lost all his money--and if I lost mine," for of late Dick
had transferred most of his funds to his father, to use in the electric
road deal. In fact most of the Hamilton fortune was now tied up in that
line.

"But I guess dad will make out," concluded our hero. "He has been in
tight places before, and has always pulled through."

Mr. Hamilton set off to see Enos Duncaster, and Dick made his father
promise to take dinner with him that night at the Sacred Pig where an
impromptu spread had been arranged in honor of the visit of the
millionaire. Major Webster Colonel Masterly, and several of the academy
faculty had promised to attend.

"It won't be much on the 'eat' line for you fellows and me," Dick had
warned them, "we can't break training until after we have wiped out the
disgrace of the Blue Hill defeat, and that won't be for two weeks. Then
we'll have a feast that is a feast."

"Good!" cried Innis Beeby for he was fond of feasts, and suffered under
the rigorous football regime.

Dick was waiting for his father's return from Mr. Duncaster's house that
evening, sitting in his room trying to study. He was not making much
headway for he was thinking of many things--of the game on the
morrow--of the one with Blue Hill, and of what success his father would
meet with. Paul Drew was out at a society meeting.

There came a knock on the door, a timid hesitating sort of a knock, and
Dick, wondering who it could be, called out:

"Come in!"

Sam Porter entered, first looking around the apartment to see that
Dick's roommate was not present.

"Are you busy, Hamilton?" he asked, and there was that in his voice that
caused Dick to wonder at him. There was a thickness and a sort of
leering familiarity that was unusual.

"No, I'm not busy. Come in and make yourself comfortable. There's an
easy chair," and Dick knocked a pile of books from one to make room for
his visitor.

"I want to ask a favor of you, Hamilton, and I want you to grant
it--understand?" and Porter looked sharply at the captain. "I want you
to promise."

"I can't promise, until I hear what it is," said the young millionaire
good-naturedly.

"Yes you can--if you want to--un'stand?" Sam Porter leaned forward.

"You want to grant me this favor--un'stand," went on Porter, "or you'll
be sorry. Sorry, see?"

"What is it?" asked Dick, trying not to show the disgust he felt.

"I want to play in that Mooretown game to-morrow--play full
game--un'stand? I don't want to sit on side lines like some poor Indian
wrapped up in a blanket--I want to go in from start an' wallop them
fellers. Un'stand? I want to play. You can put me in as well as not.
Will you? It's favor, Ham, an' if you don't do it, you'll be sorry!"

"Why?" asked Dick, for there was a vague threat in the tones of his
caller.

"Well, nev' min'. Will you let me play?"

Porter was not himself. Dick had never seen him thus, and he feared lest
some of the teachers discover his condition. He thought it best to
temporize with him.

"I'll see what I can do," he promised good-naturedly. "Come and see me
in the morning. You'd better go to bed now."

"Go to bed?" and Porter's voice rose. "Why, wha's matter me? Ain't I
a'right?"

"Yes, but if you are to play to-morrow you'll need a rest. See me in the
morning."

"All right. I'll go. But if I can't play whole game you be sorry, Ham.
You're good feller--you let me play--be sorry if you don't--tha's all,"
and Porter lurched from the room, while Dick shook his head sorrowfully.

Mr. Hamilton came up to Dick's room about an hour later. It needed but a
look at his face to see that his errand had proven a failure.

"Well?" asked Dick, but he knew what the answer would be.

"Mr. Duncaster wouldn't even talk to me when he learned what my object
was," said the millionaire wearily. "I guess we can't do anything with
him, Dick. But never mind," he added more brightly, "I can try another
scheme. They haven't got us beaten yet, Dick, my boy!"

Dick put his father up in an apartment in the Sacred Pig after the
little banquet. It was a gay affair in spite of the millionaire's
disappointment, and the boys voted him a brick.

Porter approached the captain the next morning. He did not seem at all
ashamed of his condition of yesterday.

"Well, Hamilton, am I to play?" was the somewhat sharp question.

"You'll have to take your chances with the other subs," was the young
captain's answer. "I can't make any changes in the Varsity now. I may
after the first half, if we find Mooretown easy enough."

"Yes, that's it!" sneered Porter. "You'll only put me in on the easy
games. I won't stand for it. Either I play the full game, or off comes
my suit for the season."

"You can please yourself about that," and Dick turned aside.

"You'll be sorry for this!" muttered Porter, as he walked away.

The last arrangements had been made, the team and substitutes surrounded
by the crowd of students who could not go to Mooretown, had been cheered
again and again, and Grit had been decorated as a mascot.

The crowd which was to accompany the players on the special train had
all gathered, and the march to the depot was begun. Mr. Hamilton was
with Dick.

"Humph! Our special hasn't pulled in yet," observed Manager Hatfield
when the station was reached, and there were no cars in waiting "That's
funny. The agent said it would be surely here ready for us. I'll ask him
about it."

Dick was standing near the manager when he questioned the station
master. That official seemed greatly surprised at the crowd of players
and spectators.

"Your special train?" he exclaimed. "Why you countermanded the order for
it. The game was off, I understood, so I sent the engine and cars
back."

"Sent them back!" cried Dick. "How was that?'

"Why, I had them all here, and the engineer had steam up, waiting for
you. About an hour ago one of your students came down here and said
Mooretown had cancelled the game, and that you weren't going to play.
So, as I didn't want the special standing here in the way of the regular
trains, I sent it back to the yard."

"Can we get it again?" asked Hatfield, wondering what had happened.

"Not inside of several hours."

"What sort of a student told you we didn't want it?" asked Dick,
excitedly.

"A tall lad, rather stout, and with quite a good color--you know--sort
of beefy."

"Porter!" whispered Dick, involuntarily, and several heard him.

"The special has been sent back, we can't get a train in several hours,
and we're due at Mooretown at two o'clock," spoke the manager. "They'll
claim the game by forfeit if we don't show up, and then----"

"Good-bye to our chances for the championship," put in Beeby gloomily.

"There's been treachery here," murmured Dick, as he gazed at the blank
faces of his companions. "Treachery! This is what Sam Porter meant when
he said I'd be sorry."



CHAPTER XXV

A DESPERATE RACE


For a few moments the surprise of the cadets was such that they could
think of nothing to do. It seemed almost impossible that their plans
should be defeated by such a simple means, yet such was the case. A look
down the empty tracks showed not a sign of their special train, and
further appeals to the agent only confirmed what he had first said.

"It's no use, boys," he declared. "That special has been sent back and
it will take a long time to get it again, even if I could. The train
dispatcher made a certain schedule for it, and once that is busted it's
hard to get it in shape again."

"Isn't there a regular train they can take?" asked Mr. Hamilton.

"Not for three hours."

"And that will be too late," said Paul dismally.

"Whew!" whistled George Hall. "This is tough! Let's wire Mooretown and
tell them what happened. They'll call the game off I'm sure, and not
make it a forfeit for us."

"What good would it do if they did?" asked Jim Watkins. "There are only
two more games for us to play in the championship series. This one with
Mooretown and the one next Saturday with Blue Hill. This is our only
chance, and if we can't take it we won't get another one at Mooretown,
as they break training to-day, after this contest. No boys, it's all up
with Kentfield's chance at the trophy, I reckon."

There was silence for a moment, but the cadets were doing some hard
thinking.

"That cad Porter!" exclaimed Innis Beeby. "What could have induced him
to play such a contemptible trick?"

"I suppose because I wouldn't promise to let him go in for the full game
to-day," replied Dick reluctantly.

"Are you sure it was Porter?" inquired Paul.

"He's about the only one who is capable of such a thing as this," said
Innis, looking at Weston.

"I'm going to make sure," spoke Dick, and he inquired particularly of
the agent as to the appearance of the cadet who had given the false
information about there being no need of the special train. The detailed
description left no room for doubt. It was Porter.

"And, now I come to think of it, the young man laughed as he was going
away, after he heard me give the engineer of the special the orders that
he wouldn't be needed," said the station agent.

"He laughed; eh?" repeated Dick.

"Yes, and I think he said something about a joke, but I can't be sure.
Anyhow I thought it was sort of funny to hear him chuckle when he was
walking away, for I know how set you boys are on football, and I
reckoned you'd be sorry if a game was cancelled. But I had other things
to think of, getting the trains on their regular schedule after the
special was out of the way, so I didn't pay much attention."

"Well, Porter has put us in bad," declared Ray Dutton. "The sneak! I
wish I had him here now."

Several glances were turned in the direction of the crony of Porter, as
if he might know something of him. Weston flushed uneasily, but he rose
to the situation.

"Fellows," he said earnestly, "I hope you don't think that I had any
hand in this. Porter and I have been thick, I know, but of late he
hasn't had so much to do with me. But, on my honor, I never knew a thing
about this. He never hinted it to me, or if he had I hope you will
believe me when I say that I wouldn't have stood for it, and that I'd
have told Hamilton right away, so his mean plan could have been stopped.
I hope you believe me."

"Of course we do, Weston," said Dick. "I'm afraid Porter hasn't been
himself lately. But let's forget about that now. The thing to do is to
consider how we are going to get to Mooretown."

"How can we, without a train available?" asked Beeby.

"I don't know--I'm going to think," declared the captain with a brave
effort to keep cheerful against heavy odds.

"Suppose you let me try," suggested Mr. Hamilton. "I know some of the
higher railroad officials, and if I telegraph them they may be able to
get a special back here in time for you to play."

The boys brightened up at this, and the millionaire wrote several
messages which the agent clicked off to headquarters. There was barely
time, if a special arrived inside of half an hour, for the cadets to get
to Mooretown in season to play the game, but it was a small margin.

"If we had carriages enough we could drive," said Hal Foster. "The wagon
road to Mooretown is shorter than the railroad line."

"We never could do it in time," objected Frank Rutley.

At this moment the agent came out from the office with several telegrams
in his hand.

"I'm sorry," he announced, "but they say at headquarters, Mr. Hamilton,
that they'd like to oblige you and the boys, but two hours is the
shortest time in which they can get the special in shape again. No
engineer is available."

Once more dull hopelessness fell upon the boys. Dick was almost in
despair. He saw all his plans of being captain of a championship
football team being dashed to the ground. It was a bitter blow.

The two coaches, likewise, were much disappointed, for it would be not a
little to their credit to have whipped into first class shape a team
that, the season before, was the tail-ender of the military colleges.

The young captain was pacing up and down the depot platform. His
companions left him alone for a space for they knew how he felt.

"Well," began Dick after a pause, "I guess----"

He did not finish the sentence, but stood in a listening attitude. From
down the road there came a steady hum and roar that told of some
approaching vehicles.

"Automobiles," remarked Paul Drew. "If we had enough of them----"

An instant later there swung into view around the bend in the road four
big auto trucks, new ones, each in charge of a man. The trucks were
powerful ones, designed to carry heavy loads a long distance and they
glistened with new paint, while in gold letters on their sides was the
name of a business firm in a large city just beyond Mooretown.

At the sight of these--of their ample capacity--large enough to take the
team and the crowd with them, Dick's heart gave a bound. He made up his
mind instantly.

"Fellows!" he cried, "if those men will hire me those trucks we'll play
Mooretown yet. I'm going to see!"

"Hurray!" cried George Hall, and Mr. Hamilton smiled in a gratified way
at the quick wit of his son.

"I say!" cried the young millionaire, stepping out in front of the first
truck and holding up his hand, "will you do us a favor?"

"What's this--a--hold up?" asked the man good-naturedly, as he jammed on
the brakes.

"Yes, we're held up--our special has gone--we've got to get to Mooretown
soon or we forfeit the championship game. Will you take us in those
trucks? I'll pay you well, and stand for all damage. Will you?"

His voice was eager, and the man, who had been a boy himself once, and
fond of sport, was visibly impressed.

"I'd like to oblige you," he said slowly, "but I don't know as I can.
You see I'm in charge of these four trucks. I work for the auto firm
that built them, and the flour company in Denville that purchased them
made an agreement that before they would accept them, the machines must
be run from the factory to their place. That's what I and my men are
doing now. The flour concern wanted to test the running gear, and it
will be a good test all right."

"It will be a better test with a load of us fellows in," said Dick with
ready wit.

"I suppose so," admitted the man, scratching his head, "but I don't know
as the flour firm would like it. There might be some damage, and----"

"I'll stand for it!" put in Mr. Hamilton quickly. "I'm Mortimer
Hamilton, of Hamilton Corners."

Though he spoke quietly his words had an instant effect for the man had
evidently heard of the millionaire.

"Is that so?" asked the chief auto driver quickly. "I know you. I own
two shares of stock in your electric road. Simpson is my name--Ruddy
Simpson. I hope the rumors that the road is going to fail aren't true,
Mr. Hamilton."

"The road will never fail, if I have to sink in it every dollar I own!"
cried Mr. Hamilton. "But we've got other business in hand now. Can you
take these boys to the game?"

"I'll do it!" suddenly cried Mr. Simpson. "I'll take a chance. Hop in
boys, and I'll get you there on time if the gasolene holds out. We've
got to pass through Mooretown to Denville. Hop in!"

"Hurrah!" cried the now hopeful cadets, and they piled into the four big
trucks. They had to stand up, and there was considerable crowding, but
they did not mind this, and there was room for all.

"Now for the game!" cried Dick as the ponderous machines started off,
the station agent waving a farewell.

"I guess this will put a spoke in Porter's wheel," murmured Beeby.
"He'll feel sick to think that we got to the game after his mean
trick."

"We're not there yet," remarked Dick a bit dubiously, for he knew the
eccentricities of autos. "We've got to make pretty good time, and there
are several hills to climb."

"Don't let them hills worry you," said Mr. Simpson. "I helped build
these trucks, and I know what they can do. We'll take any hill you can
give us, with a heavier load than this on. Only, of course, we haven't
an awful lot of speed. But I'll push them to the limit. Turn on all you
can!" he called back to the three men.

"Sure!" they shouted in reply, and the motors hummed and throbbed under
the strain.

For the first few miles the roads were good, and speedy time was made,
so that Dick ceased some of his worry lest they arrive too late. Then a
sandy stretch was encountered, and the motors whined out a protest, but
they kept on.

"Think you can do it?" asked the captain of the man in charge. Dick and
the team and substitutes, together with his father, were in the first
machine.

"Oh, we'll do it," was the reply, and Mr. Simpson's voice had a
confidence he did not altogether feel. It was no small responsibility,
for it was a desperate race against the fleeting minutes and hours.

After the sand, came a good piece of highway, and then a stiff hill, but
the trucks made it safely and at fair speed.

"We'll do it!" announced Mr. Simpson after about two hours. "There's
one long hill now after this one we're climbing and then we can coast
down into Mooretown."

"Good!" cried Dick, and he felt some of the strain of anxiety leaving
him.

A few minutes later, when the foremost auto had reached the crest of the
rise, the driver of the truck containing Dick and the team remarked, as
he pointed ahead:

"There's Mooretown, but you can't see the cadet football field yet."

"Oh, I guess they'll be there expecting us," replied the young captain.

Down the other side of the long slope started the first truck, the
others following in procession.

"Well, we did better than I expected we would," remarked Mr. Simpson.
"These trucks----"

He stopped suddenly, as a sharp jar and crash came from somewhere in the
mechanism of the machinery. The brakes had been set as the descent was
begun, and the car had been traveling slowly, but now a sudden increase
in speed was noticed.

"What's the matter?" asked Mr. Hamilton quickly.

"Aren't we going a bit too fast down hill?" inquired Mr. Martin.

The driver shut his lips with a grim tightening. He yanked back on the
brake handle with all his force. Then a startled look came over his
face.

"The brake rod is broken!" he cried.

Gathering speed the ponderous truck, with its load of humanity--the
cadet football team shot down hill, bumping over stones and hollows,
swerving from side to side, the steering wheel making the firm hands of
the driver tremble.

"Haven't you got two brakes?" gasped Dick.

"Yes--got the foot on one--she won't hold her with this load," was the
panting answer.

"Can't we jump out before it goes any faster?" asked Hal Foster.

"Stay where you are!" fairly shouted the man. "Maybe I can guide her
down."

He was tooting the horn frantically to warn possible approaching
vehicles that his was out of control. Fortunately the hill was straight,
and a level stretch at the bottom gave promise of a long coast that
might check the awful speed the car would have when it reached the foot
of the declivity.

Faster and faster went the runaway truck, and now from behind came the
frantic calls of the other cadets who realized the danger to their
football team. And there was grave danger--danger that could not be
avoided, for Simpson, yanking again and again on the brake lever, only
made more certain that it would not work, and the foot brake was
pitifully inadequate to check the now rushing vehicle.



CHAPTER XXVI

ANOTHER GAME


There was silence for a time among the cadets of the football
team--silence broken only by the whirr and hum of the machinery as it
ran free, for the gasolene had been shut off. Under the big tires
crunched the small stones and gravel of the road.

"Can't you start the motor and hold her back on the reverse?" shouted
Dick above the noise.

Simpson shook his head.

"I'd rip her all to pieces if I did," he answered. "Queer about that
brake rod snapping. That's not in my department, but I'd like to get
hold of the man that inspected and tested it," he added grimly. "I'd
break him!"

Dick looked into the faces of his chums. There was a quiet, strained
look in all of them, but none of them showed craven fear. He glanced at
his father, and Mr. Hamilton smiled at his son.

"I guess we won't be behind hand now," he said.

"No," and Dick shook his head. Then he glanced over the side of the
truck and noted how the trees were slipping by. They were going at
ever-increasing speed.

Luckily they met no other vehicles on the hill, or there might have been
trouble. The auto drivers in the rear, finding they could do nothing
were keeping up as close as they could, to render any assistance if
possible.

It was well that the speeding truck was strongly and ponderously made,
and that it was hung low, otherwise it would have toppled over. As it
was they all swayed from side to side dangerously, tossing the occupants
against one another.

"Good practice for the coming game," remarked Dutton.

"I hope it doesn't take their nerve," said Mr. Martin in a low voice to
his colleague. "This may have a fearful effect."

"Their nerves are good," declared the Princeton coach, "but I wish this
was over. There's a good bit yet to go, and we'll travel faster at the
end, for the hill is steeper there."

Mr. Martin silently nodded, and then looked ahead. As he did so he could
not refrain from a startled cry, for the hill took a sudden, steep dip,
and it seemed impossible for any auto not under control to make it
successfully.

Before any one could do anything, had it been possible, the car was at
the dangerous descent. Simpson drew in his breath sharply and grasped
the steering wheel with firmer grip.

"Whew!" whistled Paul Drew. "This is awful!"

Dick said nothing, but he moved up closer to his father. Fear was
clutching his heart, for he dreaded lest that all be killed.

"This is about the end!" gasped the driver, as the steeper part of the
hill came to an end. "The worst is over."

The cadets could now look ahead, and see a level stretch. They were
beginning to breathe easier.

"Once I'm on that I'll be all right," went on the driver. He reached it
a moment later, but the speed of the ponderous car was not checked much.
It had too great momentum.

Suddenly Dick gave a cry of fear, and pointed forward. They all saw it
at the same time. Three hundred feet away was a narrow bridge and at
that moment there appeared on it, turning in from a side road, a man
driving a team of horses attached to a light carriage. And, as the
cadets looked, the horses seemed possessed with sudden fright at the
view of the oncoming auto. They reared, and the driver had all he could
do to hold them in.

Then one animal, worse than its mate, kicked over the traces and, coming
down, got tangled in the harness. It fell heavily, right in the centre
of the bridge, dragging down its mate. The man leaped out to go to the
heads of the horses, and, as he saw the approaching auto he held up his
hand and shouted a warning.

"Stop! Stop!" he cried.

"I can't!" yelled back Simpson. "Cut the harness! Push the horses off
the bridge!"

The man was working frantically. Simpson gave a last desperate yank on
the brake lever. It was still out of commission, as he knew it would be.
There seemed to be no escape from the impending crash which might mean
death for a number of them.

"I'm going to jump!" cried George Hall, worming his way to the rear of
the truck, which was going almost as fast as when on the hill.

"Don't you do it!" cried Dick, with all the energy he possessed. "Here,
Simpson, turn into that hayfield! Make for the stack! Run the auto into
it! That will stop us without damage!"

"By gasolene! I believe you're right!" yelled the driver. "I'll do it.
It's our only hope."

"But the fence! The fence!" shouted Paul. "We'll smash into it!" for a
rail fence shut off from the road the field at which Dick had pointed.

"That fence!" yelled Simpson in supreme contempt. "I'll smash it into
kindling wood! Hold fast everybody! Here we go!"

A moment later he had swung the car toward the hayfield. Fortunately it
was on a level with the road, or the front part of the auto would never
have sustained the shock. Through the fence the ponderous machine
crashed as if it were paper. The next instant the big car plowed
straight into a big stack of hay.

Like so many rubber balls, the football players were thrown forward
against one another, and Dick and the two coaches were tossed out into
the fragrant timothy.

Then a cheer burst from the other cadets in the three following trucks
which had come to a stop. For they saw that their comrades were safe.
The man on the bridge had succeeded in disentangling his horses and they
were now quiet.

Simpson leaped from his seat, which he had managed to maintain, and
looked under the truck.

"I knew it!" he cried. "Brake rod busted. Oh, if I had the man who made
that!"

"Can we go on?" asked Dick anxiously as he picked himself up from the
hay.

"Wouldn't dare to without this brake rod being fixed" replied the
driver. "There are more hills."

"Here, you football fellows get in one of these other trucks. We'll pile
out and walk to the grounds--it's not far," called Percy Haddon.

"That's the stuff!" shouted Manager Hatfield. "We haven't any too much
time. Are you boys all right?"

"Sure," answered Paul with a laugh. "We're ready to play the game of our
lives."

"That's right!" came in a chorus from the others. Now that the strain
was over there was a bit of hysterical feeling, but it soon passed
away.

Little time was lost in making the transfer. The football team and the
substitutes got in one of the other trucks and were soon being whizzed
off to the grounds. The other two trucks, containing as many of the
remaining cadets as could squeeze into them, pressed on, and only a few
had to walk the remaining distance.

Simpson backed his truck out of the hayfield which had practically saved
a number of lives that day. Then the driver began work at repairing the
brake rod, his companions promising to return for him when they had
taken the cadets to the grounds.

Nor would Simpson accept any pay for the services he had rendered that
day.

"I've got stock in your road, Mr. Hamilton," he said, "though it is only
two shares. This was a good test of the trucks, and I'm glad only a
brake rod busted. It was better to happen now than after I had delivered
'em. I'm satisfied."

The Mooretown cadets were becoming anxious about the non-appearance of
their opponents, for the hour for the game was fast approaching, when
Dick and his players came running out on the gridiron. They were greeted
with a rousing cheer, for, though the rules called for the forfeiting of
a contest to the non-appearing team, the Mooretown cadets were true
sportsmen and hated to take this advantage.

"Jove! But I'm glad you fellows came!" cried the Mooretown captain as he
wrung Dick's hand. "We were horribly afraid you wouldn't show up. What
was the matter? I thought you were coming by special train."

"We were, but there was a mix-up and we had to charter these autos. But
we're here and we're going to beat you!"

"Yes, you are!" and the home captain laughed. "Well, I'll show you the
dressing rooms. We've got a smashing big crowd here to-day and the
weather is just right. It would have been a shame to disappoint 'em."

"Well, it's too bad to have 'em see you defeated, but it can't be
helped," said Dick with mocking seriousness and they both laughed. The
fright of the dangerous ride was fast passing away from all of the
Kentfield team.

They were soon in their suits and out on the gridiron practicing.
Meanwhile the Mooretown lads were at work with the ball, and the
Kentfield coaches were critically sizing them up.

"Not nearly as fast as our lads," declared Mr. Martin.

"That's right. I don't expect a walkover, but there ought to be no
question as to who is going to win--unless this auto affair has got on
the nerves of our lads."

The crowd continued to arrive. The grandstands were like some gorgeous
sunset in appearance, with the hats of the pretty girls, and the waving
of flags and banners. Cheers and songs, made music in keeping with the
day.

"Line-up!" came the cry, and when the whistle blew, and the ball was
kicked off, twenty-two figures clad in earth-stained suits made a mad
dash for each other. The game was on.

From the time of the first scrimmage Dick knew that his team had the
contest safe, for one smashing through the line of Mooretown told the
story. The men had over-trained and had gone "stale." On the other hand
the Kentfield lads were as fresh as the proverbial daisies.

"Take her along for a touchdown, boys!" ordered the captain, and down
the field the ball was worked in a steady succession of rushes. In vain
did Mooretown try to stem the tide against them. Once, when their goal
line was almost reached, they did brace, and Dick began to plan a trick
play. But it was not needed, for the next moment Dutton was shoved over
for the touchdown, and the crowd of Kentfield students went wild with
delight. The goal was kicked easily, and then began the hammer and tongs
work again.

Once again that half Kentfield made a touchdown, not as easily as at
first, for Mooretown had waxed desperate, but it was made. Not that it
was all "pie" to quote Dick, but they had the "measure" of their
opponents, and they began to see the championship looming clearly before
them.

Twelve to nothing was the score in favor of Kentfield at the end of the
first half, which came to a close with the ball once more almost over
the Mooretown line.

There were sore hearts among the players on the home team, and Dick and
his lads knew just how their opponents felt, but it was a fair game,
with no quarter and it was the fortunes of war.

"I'm afraid you're going to make good," said the Mooretown captain to
the young millionaire, as the second half started.

"We've just _got_ to," answered Dick. "We want that gold cup."

Hammering away again, the Kentfield lads advanced the ball. Mooretown
got it on a fumble once, and did some pretty work in punting, but it was
of no avail. Again they had the pigskin because of the penalty inflicted
on a too eager Kentfield player, and they made a desperate try for a
field goal, but it fell short.

After that there was no more danger to our friends, and they kept the
ball advancing by steady rushes, or, to rest his men, Dick would call
for a forward pass. Again and yet again was the Mooretown goal line
crossed, amid the frantic cheers of the Kentfield contingent, and when
the final whistle blew the score was twenty-nine to nothing.

"Victory!" cried Dick in exultation, as he hugged as many of his players
as he could. "Now for Blue Hill next Saturday and we'll have such a
feast as never was at Kentfield before!"



CHAPTER XXVII

DICK IS SUMMONED


The Kentfield cadets accepted the invitation of their late opponents, to
stay and see them break training.

"As long as we didn't have a chance at the championship I'm glad you
fellows have," confided Captain Russell of Mooretown to Dick. "Of course
we'd have liked to have beaten you chaps, but I guess we over-trained.
We haven't any regular coaches, and we did the best we could."

"You sure did," assented Dick heartily. "It's too bad you went back. You
were fine early in the season."

"I know it, and that shows that it pays to have regular coaches who know
their business. How in the world did you fellows manage to get Martin
and Spencer?"

"Oh, we worked it by a forward pass," replied the young millionaire with
a laugh.

There was jolly fun at Mooretown that night, in spite of the defeat. The
team burned their suits at a big bonfire, and danced around the blaze
like Indians, singing college songs and cheering their opponents who,
in turn shouted for their plucky but unfortunate enemies.

Then came a long and rather dreary ride back to Kentfield in a way-train
that stopped at every station. But the boys enlivened the trip by songs
and cheers so that they were not very lonesome.

"Well Dick, I must get back in the morning," said Mr. Hamilton to his
son when they said good-night in Dick's room.

"You won't try to see Duncaster again?"

"No, it would be of little use. He is evidently set in his ways. My only
hope is that he doesn't turn over to the other side. If he does----"

The millionaire paused.

"Well?" asked Dick suggestively.

"The Hamilton fortune will be a thing of the past, son."

"As bad as that?"

Mr. Hamilton nodded.

"But I'm not going to give up," he declared. "I have some other irons in
the fire, and I may be able to forge them to the shape I want. It's
going to be hard work, though, and it would be much easier if I had the
Duncaster stock. By the way, you say that Porter chap, whose father is
working against us, attends here?"

"Yes, but I fancy he won't after to-morrow," said Dick significantly.

He was right. Sam Porter's room was vacant the next day, and he left no
word of where he had gone. He knew his trick had been discovered, and
that it had gone for naught.

Several days later he sent a note to his former crony Weston, asking to
see him, but Weston refused.

"I was his friend once," he said to Dick, "but I'm done with him now.
I'm for the football team first, last and forever!"

"And you're one of our best players!" exclaimed the young captain
heartily, for he appreciated what it meant to break with Porter.

Football matters at Kentfield were now drawing to a close. There was but
one more game to play--that of Blue Hill, but in the eyes of the cadets
it was the most important of the season because of what the outcome
carried with it. There was a tie for the championship between our hero's
football eleven and that of the academy which had sent the insulting
letter that resulted in such a change of policy.

"Get ready for the last week of practice," ordered Coach Martin, on the
Monday following the Mooretown game. "It's going to be hard, too, but I
don't want any one to over-train. Take it a bit easy when you find
yourself tiring."

"Yes, we want you in the pink of perfection Saturday," added Mr.
Spencer.

There followed days of the most careful preparation. It was like getting
ready for the final great battle between two rival armies. Football
suits were looked to, for a rip in a jacket or a sweater might spoil a
play at a critical point. The lads replaced the worn cleats on their
shoes, that they might brace themselves when the Blue Hill players
hurled themselves at the Kentfield line.

As for their physical condition, the cadets were looked over by the
trainers and coaches as if they were race horses. Tender ankles were
carefully treated and bandaged. Sprains were rubbed in the most
scientific manner, and did any one complain of a little indisposition
the coaches were up in alarm.

And the boys were in the "pink of condition." Never had they felt finer
nor more able to do battle for the championship. Never were they more
confident, for, somehow, Dick had talked them into the firm belief that
they were going to win.

As for our hero, he had a worry that he kept to himself, and, now that
his father had returned to Hamilton Corners, the lad let it prey on his
mind even more than he had when the millionaire was at the academy.

"Our fortune in danger," mused Dick. "That sure is tough luck. Not that
money is everything, or really much in this world. But, after you've
gotten used to having it, I guess it's hard to spin along without it.
But perhaps it won't be so bad as dad fears. I would certainly hate to
give up my steam yacht, and I may have to leave Kentfield. Whew! That
would pull a lot!" and he sat staring in moody silence at the walls of
his tastefully decorated room.

There was a movement at Dick's feet and Grit half arose to poke his cold
nose into his master's listless hand. The lad started.

"Grit, old boy!" he murmured and the animal whined in delight. "Whatever
happens they can't take you from me," went on the young millionaire.
"But there's Rex. Maybe I can't afford to keep a horse. Oh, but I'd hate
to part with him!"

He could not keep back just a suspicion of tears from his eyes, as he
stroked the short ears of the bulldog, who seemed to know that something
was amiss.

"Oh, well, what's the use of crying over spilled milk before you come to
the bridge!" Dick exclaimed at length. "I'm not going to worry until
it's time; and that isn't yet. Guess I'll go for a canter on Rex. That
will clear the cobwebs away."

He was soon galloping over the country, glad to be alone for a little
while to think over the problems that were bothering him. As the noble
animal galloped along around the lake path, and Dick felt the cool
November wind on his cheeks, somehow there came to him a feeling of
peace.

"After all, it may come out right," he whispered as he patted the neck
of the horse. "And I'm going to have one more try at Duncaster. I won't
undertake to see him. I'll write him a letter and explain some things
he doesn't understand. Maybe it will just pull him the right way."

The thought was an inspiration to him, and he turned Rex about and
galloped to the stables.

"Well, what's all the correspondence about Dick?" asked Paul that
evening, as his chum was busily scratching away in their room. "I
thought you answered Miss Hanford's last letter yesterday."

"Humph! Seems to me you've been doing something in the way of writing
letters yourself. But this is business. I'm making a last appeal to
Duncaster."

Dick was not very hopeful as he mailed the epistle to Hardvale.

It was the day of the Blue Hill Game, and final practice, save for a
little "warm-up" on the gridiron, just before time should be called, had
been held. The coaches had issued their last instructions, Dick had
given his men a little talk, and all that could be done had been done.

"It's do or die now," grimly remarked the young captain. "We're fit to
the minute."

"Have you heard from Duncaster?" asked Paul.

"No, and I don't expect to. He'll keep the stock I expect, or trade it
to the Porter crowd. It was a slim chance, but it didn't make good."

"Well," remarked Paul, a little later, when Dick had been nervously
pacing about the room. "I suppose we might as well go out on the
gridiron."

"It's a bit early," objected Dick. "The Blue Hill crowd won't be here
for an hour yet."

There came a knock on the door, and Toots stood there saluting between
the strains of "Marching Through Georgia."

"Telegram for you, Mr. Hamilton--it came collect," announced the
janitor.

"Humph. Can't be from dad, he always pays his messages," remarked Dick,
as he handed over the money, and tore open the envelope. When he had
read the few words he gave a gasp of astonishment.

"What's the matter?" asked Paul quickly. "Bad news."

"No. Good!" cried Dick. "Listen. This is from Mr. Duncaster--no wonder
he sent it collect. He says: 'Have your letter. I will grant your
request and sell you the stock. Come and see me at once, as I am leaving
for Europe for my health. I go to-night.'"

"Then you'd better hustle out to Hardvale!" cried Paul. "Hurray! That's
great."

Slowly Dick crushed the telegram in his hand.

"I can't go," he said slowly.

"Why not?"

"I haven't time to go out there and get back to play the game--and--I'm
going to play the game!"



CHAPTER XXVIII

"LINE UP!"


Paul, looked at Dick Hamilton with something a little short of
open-mouthed wonder. He could not understand him. He realized the vital
necessity of the Hamilton forces getting control of the trolley stock
that Mr. Duncaster held. Now, when the opportunity offered, Dick calmly
turned it down.

"Do you know what you're saying, Dick?" asked his roommate. "This is the
only chance you'll have--perhaps to save your father's fortune."

"I know it."

"And you're not going?"

"What? And desert the team in the face of the biggest game of the year?
I guess not. Dad wouldn't want me to."

"Some one can play in your place--perhaps for half the game. You could
go out in an auto and back in a short time."

"Of course I might, but I'm not going to," and the young millionaire,
who might not be a lad of wealth much longer, calmly looked to see if
his canvas jacket needed any last attention. "If I went out there it
would take some time to arrange about the transfer of the stock, and I
never could get back in season to play the game. Besides I want to start
off with the boys from the first kick against Blue Hill."

"I don't blame you--but--it's a big price to pay."

"I know it, but it's worth all it will cost. Why I couldn't leave now,
practically in the face of the enemy. I may not be a whole lot to the
team, and probably there are fellows on the scrub who can play
quarter-back as well, if not better, than I can. But I've trained with
the boys all season. I'm their captain, however unworthy, and I've got
to stick by 'em. It would be treason to go now. I've got to stick."

"But can't you do something? Can't you send Duncaster some word? He says
he leaves to-night. Telegraph him that you'll see him directly after the
game. Explain how things stand, and maybe he'll make allowances."

"I will," decided Dick, "but I haven't much hope. He is very much set
against football, and he has no especial love for me. I can't understand
why he should give in about the stock. Perhaps he feels that he must
close up some of his business matters if he is going away. Then, too,
dad's offer may be better than the one Porter made him. I can't
understand it, but I'll take a chance and send him a wire, asking him to
meet me after the game."

"Have you got the cash to pay for the stock?" asked Paul.

"Oh, I can give him a check to bind the bargain, and dad can settle with
him later. I haven't as much in the bank as I had, for I let dad invest
it in the electric line."

"Then you stand to lose too, if you don't get Duncaster's stock."

"Yes, but what of it? If we win this game, and Kentfield is the champion
of the league, I'd be willing to lose almost all I had. I fancy dad left
an offer with Mr. Duncaster, better than his first one, of an advance of
ten per cent., and instructed the crabbed old chap to let him know when
he was ready to accept it. Instead, he sends me word, and I--well, I'm
not going--that's all. That is not until after the game. It's what dad
would want me to do--he'll understand," said Dick softly.

"Well, you've got nerve--that's all I've got to say," complimented Paul
admiringly.

Dick wrote his telegram, and he took the precaution to give Toots the
money to prepay it.

"Duncaster might refuse it, if it went collect," he remarked with a grim
smile. "I can't take any chances. Then, Toots, arrange to have a speedy
taxicab waiting for me at the end of the game. I'll make a bee-line for
Hardvale as soon as the last whistle blows," he explained to Paul. "Want
to come along?"

"Sure."

It was almost time to go out on the gridiron now. Dick gave one brief
and half-regretful thought to the opportunity he might be missing. Then
he murmured:

"Well, the game--from now on!"

He had no idea of wiring his father the news, but he felt that after all
it would be better to explain it personally.

"If dad was only where he could make a jump to Hardvale he could clinch
the deal," he mused, "but it's impossible."

"Hark! What's that?" cried Paul as they were about to leave their room.
It was the sound of a swelling, boisterous cry--a joyful shout--a
challenge.

"The Blue team has arrived!" exclaimed Dick. "Come on! Now for the
battle!"

Already there was quite a crowd in the grandstands, and more people were
arriving every minute. The ticket takers had their hands full, and the
ushers were as busy as bees. For rumors of the fierce game that was
likely to be played had prevailed for the last two weeks, and there was
every indication of a record-breaking crowd.

"Our treasury will be filled!" cried the manager of Kentfield with
exultation. "This is a great day for us--even if we don't win."

"We're going to!" declared Dick with conviction.

As Dick turned around he saw a tall, well-formed young man approaching
him. Something about the face seemed familiar, and, as the newcomer
smiled, Dick remembered.

"Hello, Larry Dexter!" he exclaimed. "Where in the world did you blow
from? Sent to report the game?"

"No, but I wish I was. I'm up here on a mystery case and, as I had a
little time to spare I thought I'd see you fellows win. I heard about
the game. Go in and beat!"

"Thanks! We're going to try. Say, but I am glad to see you, Larry. Come
on over here and I'll see that you get a good seat. Or would you rather
be on the side lines?"

"On the side lines I think." And Dick soon arranged so that his reporter
friend would have a good place.

"See you later," he called as he went back on the field.

"I'm afraid not," answered Larry. "I'll have to get away in a hurry.
I've got an appointment, but I'll stay long enough to see you pile up a
good score," and though Dick looked for his friend after the game, he
did not see him.

"Who is that?" asked Paul, as Dick joined him.

"That's Larry Dexter. One of the best reporters in New York. I met him
when I was there, right after I got my fortune. He's a fine chap. But
it's about time for the Blue Hill crowd to arrive."

Those of you who have read my Larry Dexter Series need no introduction
to the hero of those books. Larry was a farm boy, who had an ambition to
become a reporter on a big New York paper. In the book "From Office Boy
to Reporter," I told how he did this, and in the other books of the
series I related some of his strange adventures.

The Blue Hill cadets had come on a special train, and the team drove up
from the station in a large carry-all that had been provided for them by
Dick and his chums. A few days before the game the plans had been
changed so as to bring the contest to Kentfield instead of having it on
the Blue Hill gridiron.

"Well, you're on time, I see," said our hero, as he shook hands with
Captain Haskell of Blue Hill. Haskell had been newly elected, to take
the place of a friend who had unexpectedly been called away.

"Yes, and we're got our winning suits on."

"Well, we'll see about that," responded Dick with a quiet smile. "Now if
you'll step over here we can arrange the details, and then both sides
can have some practice."

"Sure," and a little later with the two coaches representing Kentfield,
and two from Blue Hill, the captains conferred.

"I presume Blake will be all right for umpire," said Mr. Norton one of
the visiting coaches.

"You mean George Blake--who umpired in our last game?" asked Mr. Spencer
quickly.

"That's the one."

"We'd prefer some one else," said Mr. Spencer quietly, before Dick could
interpose the objection that was on his lips.

"You don't like him? Why?" asked Captain Haskell quickly, with some
wrath.

"Because he doesn't see all that goes on in the line," was the calm
answer of the Princeton coach. "I don't believe it is necessary to say
more."

"Well, if I----"

"It's all right," broke in Coach Norton for Blue Hill. "If you object to
him, we'll take some one else. How will Jacob Small do?"

"Of Lehigh?"

"Yes."

"We'll accept him gladly," assented Mr. Spencer. "Now as to the other
officials," and they were quickly settled upon.

"Heads or tails?" asked Dick, as he prepared to spin the coin for choice
of goals.

"Um--heads," spoke Captain Haskell quickly, as the quarter went spinning
into the air.

"Heads it is," announced Dick without a tremor in his voice. The first
little indication of fate had gone against him, but it could not be
helped. He hoped to get the choice, as there was no wind blowing, and
naturally no advantage in goals, so that the winner of the toss could
elect to have the other side kick off if he liked. Dick had planned to
let Blue Hill kick if he had won the say of the spinning coin, but it
was not to be. Which would Haskell select?

There was a moment's hesitation as the rival captain tested the wind
with a moistened, up-lifted finger. Then he announced his choice.

"We'll take the north goal. You fellows can kick off!"

"All right," spoke Dick and he tried not to show the little
disappointment in his voice. "Then as it's all settled we can get to
practice."

Dick had hoped to get possession of the ball immediately after the kick
off and by a series of whirlwind rushes demoralize his opponents. Now he
would have to change his plans.

"Well, we'll see how we can hold them," he said to Paul, as they went
over to their side of the field to run through some plays.

There was fast, snappy, preliminary work. Dick paused once or twice to
observe his opponents.

"No sign of them going stale," he reflected.

The hour for play had come. The officials had settled all the details.
The new ball had been blown up, and the cover laced tightly. Carrying it
in his hand the referee advanced to the centre of the field and handed
it to Dick.

"Are you ready?" the official asked.

The young millionaire nodded.

"Line up!" called the referee as Dick handed the ball to Innis Beeby to
kick off.



CHAPTER XXIX

HAMMER AND SMASH


With a graceful curve the pigskin sailed down the field, high over the
heads of the eager, waiting Blue Hill lads, beyond even their full-back
who had not stationed himself far enough in the rear. He had to do a
nimble sprinting act before he was ready to receive the spheroid on his
ten yard line. Then, tucking the leather close to his chest, and with
head well down he ran low back toward the Kentfield goal.

"Get to him, boy, get to him!" cried Dick. "We mustn't let 'em gain an
inch if we can help it."

Like hounds from the leash, the young millionaire and his companions
raced toward their quarry, and an instant later the two eager advancing
lines met, eleven straining lads trying to bore in through ten others
and get at the man with the ball.

Frank Rutley got him--it was Tod Kester, the big centre and Tod went
down, a young mountain of flesh piling on top of him and the plucky left
tackle. Now the real battle was about to begin, and the engagement was
not long in opening.

"All ready. Kansas City--four hundred--six--eleven--twenty-six!"

Thus the sharp tones of Joe Bell the Blue Hill quarter, as he signalled
his men. Then came a rush and there was a terrific impact on that part
of the Kentfield line guarded by Paul Drew and Frank Rutley. It was a
strain, but they stood it, and the wave of struggling humanity, in the
centre of which was the Blue Hill left-half with the ball, was dashed
back.

"No gain! That's good!" muttered Dick. "We're holding 'em!"

Again came the signal, and once more that terrific impact, but this time
on the other side tackle and guard. Evidently Blue Hill was trying to
find the weak spots.

Still again did Kentfield withstand it, and tossed back into their own
territory their aggressive enemies.

"Watch out for a fake kick," Dick warned his chums, and they closed
in--all but Hal Foster the full-back, who would not be drawn in to his
disadvantage.

There was a quick signal, and a forward pass was tried. It came at a
time when Dick and his chums were expecting either a kick or a fake
kick, and showed what chances Blue Hill was willing to take. But they
made good, for they gained several yards, and had the ball this much
nearer Kentfield's goal. Dick felt a little sinking feeling at his
heart, but he smiled bravely.

"We'll stop 'em next time," he said grimly.

Hammering and smashing again became the order of play, and at
Kentfield's line came the Blue Hill lads with bulldog tenacity. But they
had no weaklings to meet, and after a try through Drew and Rutley again,
they endeavored to circle Weston's end. But the former crony of Porter
was on the alert and like a snake he wiggled through the protecting
interference and got his man when only one yard had been gained. Then to
give his men a breathing spell Captain Haskell called for a kick, the
ball being punted to Kentfield's fifteen yard line. Tom Coleton ran it
back five yards before he was downed by a fierce tackle from Ned
Buchanan, and then Dick and his mates had a chance to show what they
could do.

"Smash 'em! Smash 'em!" murmured Paul in memory of his former game.

"Everybody keep cool," counseled Dick. "We don't want any penalties.
Play a clean game. Get ready now."

In snapping tones he called the signal. It indicated that some sequence
plays were to be tried--plays for which no further intimation would be
given.

Between left tackle and guard plunged Ray Dutton, and before he could be
stopped he had planted the ball five yards in advance toward Blue Hill's
goal.

Another line up, and Hal Foster came plunging through a big hole that
had been torn for him between centre and right guard. On and on he
came, wiggling and squirming to gain every inch. In vain did Captain
Haskell call on his men to stop the play. Kentfield seemed irresistible,
and eight yards were reeled off, the grandstand contingent of our
friends going wild with delight.

But Dick and his mates paid little attention to this. They had other
matters to occupy them. There was another play to be made.

In silence, broken only by their panting breaths, the cadets again lined
up, and as Jim Watkins passed the ball back to Dick, the latter shoved
it into the waiting arms of John Stiver. John was on the run and with
the aid of Rutley he sprang eagerly into the hole between the opposing
left tackle and end, being preceded by Dutton who saw that the way was
clear. It was a smashing attack, delivered at the right moment, Tom
Coleton following in to see that no fumble was made. But none was, and
ten clean yards were ripped off, a bigger gain than Blue Hill had yet
made.

"Now, again, boys!" yelled Dick in delight, and now he gave the signal
for an end run, that his panting lads might have some relief. It was
Dutton's cue to take the ball around to the Blue Hill right end. But
this was not so successful, as several of the opposing players were on
the alert and were ready to nail him. He ran to one side and was
actually forced back a yard before he went down.

"It might be worse," said Dick cheerfully. "We'll try it differently
this time."

An on-side kick netted a good gain, and then came a forward pass, which
was not so successful. There was a fumble--just whose fault it was could
not be said--and one of the Blue Hill players fell on the ball while
wild yells from their supporters told of the joy in their camp.

"Watch out now!" warned Dick again. But there was no kicking or trick
play. Blue Hill was evidently going to depend on her slightly superior
weight, and retain her line-smashing tactics. At Kentfield she came with
a rush that carried her opponents off their feet for the time.

"Hold! Hold!" yelled Dick desperately, and his men tried to do so.

"Go on! Go on!" screamed Haskell. "Smash 'em to bits, but get through!"

Dick was watching for any slugging, but his opponents seemed to be
playing a clean game. On came the man with the ball, and twelve yards
had been ripped out through the very centre of the line of our heroes
before they managed to nail Tom Hughes, who was worming his way forward
with the pigskin.

So terrific was the next impact that Paul Drew went down and out and a
pail of water was hastily called for. He was well soaked and massaged,
until his breath came back with a gasp.

"Can you stay in?" asked Dick anxiously.

"Sure!" panted Paul, but his voice was not as strong as his captain
would liked to have heard it.

"Stand by him," whispered the young millionaire to Frank Rutley. "They
may try to put him out again."

Full two minutes were taken out to enable Paul to feel more like
himself, and Dick was not mistaken when the next play was made. It was a
terrific attack at Paul's place in the line. But sturdy Frank Rutley was
ready for them, and John Stiver was also on the alert, so that when the
Blue Hill's right half came plunging forward this time, he was met with
such opposition that he reeled back gasping.

"Don't try here again!" called Frank to him significantly, and Paul
breathed a bit easier. He was rapidly regaining his strength.

But though the attack had thus been hurled back once, the next time was
not so successful and through a wide gap came the man with the ball with
such fierceness and speed, that he reeled off fourteen yards, and now
the pigskin was on Kentfield's thirty yard line.

"Look out for a try for goal," warned the captain, for he heard reports
that Blue Hill had been practicing that for the past week, putting in a
new man who had great abilities in the kicking line.

But the kick did not come, though the visitors made a fake attempt. It
was only partially successful, however, and there was a fumble which
enabled Dick to slip in and get the ball on a bounce. He was in two
minds about what to do, but having sized up the mode of his opponents'
playing, and reckoning the time left in the half, he decided to punt the
ball back instead of keeping it and trying to advance it by rushing
tactics.

"That will tire them if they want to begin smashing at our line again,"
he reasoned, "and will let Paul have a little more time. We're holding
them all right, and maybe we can tire them more than they will us."

Thus in a flash he outlined his policy and sent the leather hurling back
over the heads of the half-maddened Blue Hill lads who were chagrined at
their fumbling.

"Come on!" cried the captain of the Kentfield lads. "We want to down
their man in his tracks if we can."

It was almost done, and in fact the runner only managed to gain a few
yards before he was fiercely thrown by Innis Beeby.

Again came that seemingly wearying, and never-ceasing attack on the
line. But Dick's men were on the alert, and though another attempt was
made through Paul he held firmly.

The pace was beginning to tell though, and panting breaths and
palpitating hearts murmured their story. Dick resolved on more kicking
if he got a chance at the ball. But it seemed that he was not to get
it--at least right away. Once more up the field it was being advanced by
short sharp rushes. Blue Hill seemed content to keep on with her bulldog
playing, perhaps trusting that her men would last longer than would
Dick's.

There was no denying the strength of the opponents of Kentfield. They
were trained to the second, and the two coaches whom Dick's money had
secured began to be a little direful of the result.

"Can they stand it?" asked Mr. Spencer of his colleague.

"Well, if they don't they're not what I think them to be," was the
convincing answer.

The cheers and songs of the Blue Hill contingent seemed to give them
added strength. They still had the ball, in spite of all the efforts of
Dick and his men to hold them, to force a kick, or to get through and
block the plays. Steadily and surely the leather was nearing the fatal
line.

"Look out boys! Look out!" warned Dick. "Play hard."

He himself was working like a Trojan, getting into every opening, taking
all kinds of hard knocks, really doing more than his share. Nor were
there any shirkers in all the eleven. Hal Foster, at full, instead of
staying back to be on the watch for kicks, or to block men who got
through his mates, played well in. There was need of it, for Kentfield
was being shoved back, and every ounce of weight to back her up told.

"Hold boys, hold!" begged and pleaded Dick desperately. He saw his goal
line being menaced and it seemed as if Blue Hill, as she came nearer
striking distance, grew wild with desire to cross it.

The fatal play came with such suddenness that it almost took the heart
from Dick's cadets. After a smash at centre, which was hurled back, and
a try between left tackle and guard, which netted only a yard, there was
a quick shift to one side on the part of the Blue Hill players.

An instant later Dick saw Rud Newton, the stocky left half-back burst
through with the ball under his arm. Like a flash the young millionaire
sprang to tackle him, but he was not quite heavy enough, and Rud broke
away. Full-back Foster was now Dick's only hope, but to his dismay he
saw that Hal had been drawn in, and was now hopelessly entangled in the
mass of his own and the opposing players.

There was not a soul between Newton and the Kentfield goal, and toward
it the left half was now sprinting with all his speed. Dick gave a gasp,
sprang to his feet and was off after him like a flash. But Newton had
too much of a start, and the best the captain could do was to vainly
touch him with outstretched hand a yard from the goal line. In another
second Newton was over and had touched down the ball.

The first score had been made against Kentfield and the heart of Dick
was sore as he slackened his pace and watched his own men and those of
Blue Hill running up to witness the first act of the drama that meant so
much to all of them.



CHAPTER XXX

THE WINNING TOUCHDOWN


Wild cries of delight, victorious shouts, the shrill voices of the
girls, mingling with the hoarser tones of the men and youths, the waving
of flags and banners, the shaking of canes adorned with the Blue Hill
colors, showed the appreciation of the first gain in the battle.

"Yah! I thought your team was such a much!" yelled an ardent Blue Hill
supporter to some Kentfield cadets in the stand next to him.

"So it is," was the cool answer, though there was a sore heart back of
it. "We never play our best until the other team gets a touchdown.
That's the only look-in your fellows will have."

"Oh, it is; eh?" demanded the other with a hoarse laugh. "Well, just
watch our boys rip you all to pieces from now on."

The goal was kicked, making the score six to nothing against our
friends, and Dick saw dubious looks on the faces of his chums.

"This is nothing!" he cried gaily. "It's the only taste of the honey-pot
that we'll let them have. Come on now, we've got time to make a
touchdown this half."

Play was resumed after the kick-off, and an exchange of punts followed,
both sides seeming willing to take this method of regaining their
strength, which had been almost played out.

When Blue Hill got the ball after a series of brilliant kicks that had
delighted the spectators, she once more began her rushing tactics. But
either some of her men were careless, or they were too eager, for they
got off side, and there was some slugging which the alert umpire saw,
and as a penalty the ball went to Dick's side.

"Now rush it up," he called eagerly, and then began such a whirlwind
attack that Blue Hill was fairly carried off her feet. Right up the
field from her own thirty-five yard line did Dick's men carry the
pigskin, until on Blue Hill's twenty yard mark the young millionaire
decided for a try for a field goal. It was a magnificent attempt but
failed, and before any more playing could be started the whistle blew,
ending the half.

Rather dejectedly Dick and his team filed to the dressing rooms. The two
coaches met them.

"It's all right! It's all right!" cried Mr. Spencer. "You boys couldn't
do better. You haven't made any mistakes. Keep on the same way next half
and you'll have them."

"I hope so," murmured Dick.

"I know it!" declared Mr. Martin with conviction. "They can't keep up
their pace, and they haven't any good subs to put in."

"That's right," agreed his colleague. "The way you carried the ball up
the field after their touchdown showed what you could do. If there had
been time you'd have scored. They can't stand that smashing attacking
business, but you can hold them if you try. Then, at the right time, get
the ball and take it up. One touchdown and goal will tie the score, and
another touchdown will win the championship for you."

"Boys, will we do it?" cried Dick, turning to his cadets as they
surrounded him in the dressing rooms under the grandstand.

"Will we?" cried Innis Beeby. "Will a duck eat corn meal, boys?"

"Sure!" came the enthusiastic answer.

Back again on the gridiron trotted the twenty-two sturdy lads to indulge
in a little limbering-up practice before the second half should start.
Then came the warning whistle.

"They'll kick off this time," said Dick to his men, "and that will give
us the ball. We want to rush it right up the field without giving 'em
time to catch their breaths. Try the sequence plays again, they worked
well."

With a resounding "pung" the leather sailed into Kentfield territory.
Beeby caught it and began a rush back that was not destined to last
long, for with great fierceness he was tackled by Lem Gordon, and
heavily thrown. But Beeby was as hard as nails, and arose smiling,
keeping his foot on the ball.

"Now boys, play like mustard," called Dick, as a signal for the
sequence plays, none other being given. The successive rushes that
followed fairly carried the Blue Hill players off their feet, and so
impetuously did Dick and his men smash into the line, going through
centre, between guards and tackles, and around the ends that, inside of
five minutes of play, the ball was on Blue Hill's ten yard line.

"Wow! Wow! Wow!" yelled enthusiastic Kentfield "rooters," and from being
glum they were now wild with delight and eagerness.

"Touchdown! Touchdown!" came the imperative demand.

"Hold! Hold 'em!" pleaded the Blue Hill throng.

"They ought to make it now or never," said a gray-haired man as he half
rose to watch the next play. "They must shove it over if they work as
they have all the way up the field."

Dick paused for a moment. He was deciding on the next play. Blue Hill
was frantic and might take any unfair advantage. The Kentfield men were
like hounds after a stag--it seemed that nothing could keep them back.
Dick sent Ray Dutton through centre for five yards.

He came back into the line gasping, for he had been tackled hard.

"Only a little more now, fellows!" yelled the captain. "Nothing can stop
us now."

"Yes, we can!" cried Haskell in desperation. "Don't let 'em through,
boys!"

His half-wild players managed to stop Stiver with the ball after a three
yard gain. But two more yards were needed--six feet.

Dick gave the signal for big Beeby to take the ball, and the next
instant the sturdy guard had hurled himself into the gap made for him.
For a second or two it seemed that he could not make it, so fiercely did
Blue Hill brace. Then, slowly but surely they began giving way under the
terrific pressure of the eager Kentfield cadets, and then came a wild
yell from Beeby, who was half smothered under a mass of players.

"Down!" he gasped, and with his last strength cried "Touchdown!"

The heap of players slowly dissolved. For a moment the spectators were
in doubt, and then, as the meaning of the joyous dancing about of
Kentfield, and the glum appearance of her opponents was borne to them,
the sympathizers of Dick's team burst into a frenzy of shouts and cheers
while the flags and banners were riotously waved in the maze of color.

The score was tied a moment later as the goal was kicked. Who would make
the next points?

Quickly the ball was put into play again, and there followed an exchange
of punts--a grateful relief from the line-smashing tactics that had
carried the pigskin over the goal mark. It was a rest for both sides for
Blue Hill had been played almost to a standstill and Dick's men were
panting and gasping from their terrific efforts. But it seemed worth all
it cost.

Seldom had there been such a situation in the annals of the Military
League. Two of the best teams that had ever been represented playing
such fast football, and the score tied at such a critical moment meant
something. Add to it that the elevens were not on the most friendly
feeling, because of what had taken place early in the season, and there
was a situation that would make even a blasé football enthusiast "sit up
and take notice," as Innis Beeby said.

The slightest turn of events might send the scale up or down now,
bringing victory or defeat. For a time both sides played warily, taking
no chances for the championship hung on the next few minutes.

Then, as Dick's side got the spheroid, he called for some more of the
terrific playing. Nobly his men responded and eagerly. Almost too
eagerly it seemed for there was a fumble at a critical point and one of
the Blue Hill men seized the ball. Back toward the Kentfield goal he
sprinted with it, and for a moment Dick nearly had "heart disease" as he
said afterward. But this time Teddy Naylor, who had gone in to replace
Hal Foster at full, because Hal's weak ankle went back on him, tackled
the man, and the danger was over. But Blue Hill had the ball, and took
advantage of it by kicking it far enough away so that Kentfield would
have to work hard to regain the lost ground.

"Smash 'em! Smash 'em!" ordered Dick, as his men lined up. So fierce was
the attack and the offense that Paul Drew was knocked out, and could not
come back in time to play. Ford Baker went in.

This was rather a blow to Dick, and when John Stiver keeled over a
little later, from a blow on the head, the chances of Kentfield were not
improved. Sam Wilson went in at left half, and his playing was a
distinct revelation, for he jumped into the line with such energy that
he tore off ten yards on his first play.

"Good!" cried Dick. "A few more like that and we'll have the game."

The half was nearing a close. There had been more kicking, and several
scrimmages. Then Blue Hill had the ball, and Haskell called on his
cadets for a last desperate effort. They responded nobly, and Dick's
team, weakened as they were by the extraordinary hard pace, began to
give way.

Up the field they were shoved until they made a stand on their twenty
yard line.

"We've got to hold if we want the championship," said Dick simply, but
his words meant much.

And then came one of the surprises of football. The people on the stands
were holding their breaths in anxiety, each individual almost praying
for his particular team. It looked bad for Kentfield, as she was being
steadily shoved back, and the time was fast passing. It seemed that she
would either be beaten, or that a tie game would result, necessitating
another conflict.

Haskell gave orders for a fake kick, and so often had he worked that
play during the game that Dick's men at once were aware of what was
going to happen. Around the end of the line came smashing the Blue Hill
full-back who had taken the ball from his left half-back. Right around
he came, but Dick was there to tackle him. With all the fierceness and
energy of which he was capable the young millionaire sprang at his man.
They came down together.

The ball rolled from the full-back's arms at his impact with the earth,
and like a flash Dick saw his chance. He was up in an instant, had
grabbed the leather, tucked it under his arm and was racing down the
field toward the goal of his enemies.

He had a ninety yard run ahead of him, and the Blue Hill full back was
waiting for him with open arms. How he got past Dick never knew, but
those watching saw him fiercely bowl over his opponent like a tenpin.
Then on and on he sprinted, while a wild riot of yells from the
grandstands urged him forward.

On and on he ran--on and on. His breath was rasping through his clenched
teeth--his legs seemed like sticks of wood, that were somehow actuated
by springs which were fast losing their power.

"Can I do it?" he gasped. Then he answered himself. "I'm _going to do
it_!"

He heard the pounding of feet behind him, but he dared not look back. On
he kept. Chalk mark after chalk mark passed beneath his vision. At last
he ceased to see them. He looked for the goal posts. They seemed miles
away, but were gradually coming nearer through a mist.

He felt someone touch him from behind. He heard the panting breath of a
runner--he felt his jacket scraped by eager fingers, but he kept on.

Then, when he had no more breath left; when it was all black before his
eyes, he crossed the last line--fairly staggered over it and fell with
the ball in the final touchdown--the score that won the game--for the
whistle blew as his men and their enemies were running up.

Dick had won the championship.



CHAPTER XXXI

THE TROLLEY STOCK--CONCLUSION


The grandstands were trembling and swaying under the foot-stamping,
yelling crowd that enthusiastically cheered the victorious Kentfield
cadets. Dick felt as if it was all a dream until he found himself half
lifted to his feet and felt his comrades clapping him on the back,
yelling congratulations in his ears, while a dozen or more were trying
to shake his hand at once, for the gridiron had been overwhelmed by a
riotous throng of substitutes and spectators as soon as the final
whistle blew.

"Oh, Dick! Dick!" cried Paul, limping up to his chum.

"We--we did 'em!" gasped the captain.

"_We_ did 'em?" questioned Dutton, also among the cripples. "_You_ did
'em you mean, Dick Hamilton. It's your team from start to finish!"

"Oh, bosh!" cried our hero.

There was a lull in the cheering on the stands, and suddenly, in the
silence, there broke out the shrill voice of an old man--evidently one
unused to football games.

"By heck!" he cried, "That was a great run! I never see a better one!
Golly, but he scooted. This is the first time I ever see one of these
games, but it won't be the last! Who was it made that home run."

So still was it that Dick could hear the question and answer for he was
not far from the stand.

"It wasn't a home run," some one informed the old man, "it was a run for
a touchdown, and Dick Hamilton, the Kentfield captain, made it."

"Dick Hamilton? Where is he now? I want to see him. I've got something
to say to him."

As in a dream Dick wondered where he had heard that voice before. Then
like a flash it came to him--Enos Duncaster! But Mr. Duncaster at a
football game--one between teams of the "tin soldiers" whom he affected
to despise. It seemed impossible. Dick looked to where the old man was
now vigorously applauding though every one else was quiet. There could
be no mistake. It _was_ Mr. Duncaster--the holder of the trolley stock.
Yet how came he at the game?

"I want to see him. I want to see that Dick Hamilton!" Mr. Duncaster was
saying. "I came to see him--I've got important news for him, and I'm in
a hurry."

"You'd better go to him, Dick," advised Paul. "Maybe it isn't too late
about that stock."

Dick felt a thrill of hope. At intervals of the game he had half
regretted his decision to play instead of going to keep the appointment
with the eccentric rich man. He had feared it would be too late, and
that his message to Mr. Duncaster would set that peculiar individual
against him.

Dick turned his steps toward where Mr. Duncaster stood in the
grandstand. As the youth passed along he was congratulated on all sides.

"Great run, Hamilton! Great!" was called again and again.

"I want to shake hands with you, Dick Hamilton!" exclaimed Mr. Duncaster
heartily. "And I want to say I've got a different opinion of you boys
than I had. I guess I was mistaken.

"Just after I sent you that message, saying your father could have the
stock, I picked up a magazine and read an account of a football game. It
was the first I'd ever read, and thinks I to myself I'd like to see it.
Then, when I got your message saying you were going to play, and
couldn't come to see me I made up my mind to come to see you. I did, and
by heck! it was great--great! But your run was the best of all.

"First I was a little put out because you didn't come to see me, and I
half made up my mind to give the stock to Mr. Porter. But I see now why
you wanted to stay and play the game. You couldn't desert, and by heck!
I'm glad you won! Shake hands again!"

Dick did so, in a mist of tears that would not be kept back. The
reaction was almost too much for him. To win the championship, and in
the next breath to be told that his father's plans need not fail, was
almost too much.

He managed to stammer out his thanks to Enos Duncaster, whom many
spectators were regarding curiously.

"You cadets are all right!" the old man was saying. "It takes more spunk
than I imagined to smash into each other that way. I'm coming to all the
football games after this--that is as soon as I get my health back. I'm
off for Europe now. I've just about got time to catch my train.

"Here's the stock your father wants, Dick Hamilton. I've got it all
ready for you in a bundle, and inside is the address of my lawyers. You
can----"

"But the pay----" stammered Dick.

"That's all right--you can send it to my lawyers. I'm in a hurry. Now
good-bye--I'm off to the hot springs!" And once more he wrung Dick's
hand. "That was a great run--great!" cried Mr. Duncaster, as he made his
way off the stand.

"Three cheers for Dick Hamilton!" called Ray Dutton.

And how the people did cheer!

"And three for Mr. Duncaster--a convert to football!" shouted Paul Drew,
and if they were not as loud as the first cheers they must have warmed
the old man's heart.

Dick sent a telegram to his father conveying double good news--about the
football victory and about the possession of the stock.

"I guess your troubles will be over now dad," wired Dick.

They were seemingly for a time, but later other financial matters
involved Dick and his father, and how they turned out, and how Dick met
them will be told in the next volume of this series, to be called "Dick
Hamilton's Touring Car; Or, A Young Millionaire's Race for a Fortune."
In it we shall meet Dick and his friends and some of his enemies, and
learn how he triumphed over the latter.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was great rejoicing in Kentfield that night when the team broke
training and the suits were burned. True to his word, Dick provided the
finest banquet the cadets had ever had spread in their honor. There were
speeches innumerable, and the coaches were given their full share of
praise.

But it was toward Dick that most eyes were turned and he was called on
again and again to respond to a toast.

"Well, which do you feel better over, Dick?" asked Paul that night, as
they went to their room, "winning the championship or getting the stock
from Mr. Duncaster?"

"Both," replied the young millionaire with a smile. "But it certainly
was great to convert Mr. Duncaster into a gridiron rooter; eh, Grit?"

And Grit whined in delight, jumping up on Dick, while the two chums sat
down in the little room and played the great game all over again.


THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *



    THE DICK HAMILTON SERIES
       BY HOWARD R. GARIS

A NEW LINE OF CLEVER TALES FOR BOYS


DICK HAMILTON'S FORTUNE

Or The Stirring Doings of a Millionaire's Son

Dick, the son of a millionaire, has a fortune left to him by his mother.
But before he can touch the bulk of this money it is stipulated in his
mother's will that he must do certain things, in order to prove that he
is worthy of possessing such a fortune. The doings of Dick and his chums
make the liveliest kind of reading.


DICK HAMILTON'S CADET DAYS

Or The Handicap of a Millionaire's Son

The hero, a very rich young man, is sent to a military academy to make
his way without the use of money. A fine picture of life at an
up-to-date military academy is given, with target shooting, broad-sword
exercise, trick riding, sham battles, and all. Dick proves himself a
hero in the best sense of the word.


DICK HAMILTON'S STEAM YACHT

Or A Young Millionaire and the Kidnappers

A series of adventures while yachting in which our hero's wealth plays a
part. Dick is marooned on an island, recovers his yacht and foils the
kidnappers. The wrong young man is spirited away, Dick gives chase and
there is a surprising rescue at sea.


DICK HAMILTON'S AIRSHIP

Or A Young Millionaire in the Clouds

This new book is just brimming over with hair-raising adventures of Dick
Hamilton in his new airship.


DICK HAMILTON'S TOURING CAR

Or A Young Millionaire's Race for Fortune

A series of thrilling adventures. Dick and his friends see the country
in a huge touring car. Their exciting trip across the country, how they
saved a young man's fortune and other exciting incidents are very
cleverly told.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BOY-SCOUTS

BANNER-SERIES

By GEORGE A. WARREN

Author of the "Revolutionary Series"


The Boy Scouts movement has swept over our country like wildfire, and is
endorsed by our greatest men and leading educators. No author is better
qualified to write such a series as this than Professor Warren, who has
watched the movement closely since its inception in England some years
ago.


    THE BANNER BOY SCOUTS
    _or The Struggle for Leadership_

This initial volume tells how the news of the scout movement reached the
boys and how they determined to act on it. They organized the Fox
Patrol, and some rivals organized another patrol. More patrols were
formed in neighboring towns and a prize was put up for the patrol
scoring the most points in a many-sided contest.


    THE BANNER BOY SCOUTS ON A TOUR
    _or The Mystery of Rattlesnake Mountain_

This story begins with a mystery that is most unusual. There is a good
deal of fun and adventure, camping, fishing, and swimming, and the young
heroes more than once prove their worth.


    THE BANNER BOY SCOUTS AFLOAT
    _or The Secret of Cedar Island_

Here is another tale of life in the open, of jolly times on river and
lake and around the camp fire, told by one who has camped out for many
years.


    THE BANNER BOY SCOUTS SNOWBOUND
    or A Tour on Skates and Iceboats

The boys take a trip into the mountains, where they are caught in a big
snowstorm and are snowbound. A series of stirring adventures which will
hold the interest of every reader.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE NAN SHERWOOD SERIES

By Annie Roe Carr


In Annie Roe Carr we have found a young woman of wide experience among
girls--in schoolroom, in camp and while traveling. She knows girls of
to-day thoroughly--their likes and dislikes--and knows that they demand
almost as much action as do the boys. And she knows humor--good, clean
fun and plenty of it.


    NAN SHERWOOD AT PINE CAMP
    or The Old Lumberman's Secret

    NAN SHERWOOD AT LAKEVIEW HALL
    or The Mystery of the Haunted Boathouse

    NAN SHERWOOD'S WINTER HOLIDAYS
    or Rescuing the Runaways

    NAN SHERWOOD AT ROSE RANCH
    or The Old Mexican's Treasure

    NAN SHERWOOD AT PALM BEACH
    or Strange Adventures Among the Orange Groves

       *       *       *       *       *



THE JANICE DAY SERIES

By HELEN BEECHER LONG


A series of books for girls which have been uniformly successful. Janice
Day is a character that will live long in juvenile fiction. Every volume
is full of inspiration. There is an abundance of humor, quaint
situations, and worth-while effort, and likewise plenty of plot and
mystery.

An ideal series for girls from nine to sixteen.

    JANICE DAY, THE YOUNG HOMEMAKER
    JANICE DAY AT POKETOWN
    THE TESTING OF JANICE DAY
    HOW JANICE DAY WON
    THE MISSION OF JANICE DAY





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