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Title: Baseball Joe in the World Series - Or, Pitching for the Championship
Author: Chadwick, Lester
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: HE WAS A GLORIOUS FIGURE OF YOUNG MANHOOD.]



  Baseball Joe in
  the World Series

  OR

  Pitching for the Championship

  _By_ LESTER CHADWICK

  AUTHOR OF

  “BASEBALL JOE OF THE SILVER STARS,” “BASEBALL
  JOE IN THE BIG LEAGUE,” “THE RIVAL
  PITCHERS,” “THE EIGHT-OARED
  VICTORS,” ETC.


  _ILLUSTRATED_


  NEW YORK
  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY



=BOOKS BY LESTER CHADWICK=


=THE BASEBALL JOE SERIES=

  =12mo. Cloth. Illustrated
  Price per volume, 75 Cents, postpaid=

    BASEBALL JOE OF THE SILVER STARS
    BASEBALL JOE ON THE SCHOOL NINE
    BASEBALL JOE AT YALE
    BASEBALL JOE IN THE CENTRAL LEAGUE
    BASEBALL JOE IN THE BIG LEAGUE
    BASEBALL JOE ON THE GIANTS
    BASEBALL JOE IN THE WORLD SERIES

(_Other Volumes in Preparation_)


=THE COLLEGE SPORTS SERIES=

  =12mo. Cloth. Illustrated
  Price per volume, $1.00, postpaid=

    THE RIVAL PITCHERS
    A QUARTERBACK’S PLUCK
    BATTING TO WIN
    THE WINNING TOUCHDOWN
    THE EIGHT-OARED VICTORS

(_Other Volumes in Preparation_)


CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, New York


  Copyright, 1917, by
  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY


=Baseball Joe in the World Series=



CONTENTS


 CHAPTER                                        PAGE
      I  AN INSOLENT INTRUDER                      1
     II  GLOWING HOPES                            12
    III  A POPULAR HERO                           20
     IV  THE SPOILS OF WAR                        30
      V  GETTING READY FOR THE FRAY               37
     VI  JOE GIVES FAIR WARNING                   45
    VII  THE THOUSAND DOLLAR BANKBILL             52
   VIII  RECKLESS DRIVING                         61
     IX  A BRUTAL ACT                             69
      X  THE OPENING GUN                          77
     XI  SNATCHED FROM THE FIRE                   84
    XII  THE TABLES TURNED                        92
   XIII  A GALLANT EFFORT                        106
    XIV  MORE HARD LUCK                          113
     XV  FLEMING TURNS UP AGAIN                  121
    XVI  A CAD’S PUNISHMENT                      128
   XVII  PLANNING FOR REVENGE                    134
  XVIII  THE PLOT                                140
    XIX  WEAVING THE WEB                         147
     XX  A STIRRING BATTLE                       155
    XXI  EVENING UP THE SCORE                    163
   XXII  A HOLE IN THE WEB                       169
  XXIII  TAKING THE LEAD                         176
   XXIV  PLOTTING MISCHIEF                       187
    XXV  A RANDOM CLUE                           193
   XXVI  A BLUFF THAT WORKED                     200
  XXVII  STEALING SIGNALS                        212
 XXVIII  A BLOW IN THE DARK                      217
   XXIX  QUICK WORK                              223
    XXX  A GLORIOUS VICTORY                      232



BASEBALL JOE IN THE WORLD SERIES



CHAPTER I

AN INSOLENT INTRUDER


“Here he comes!”

“Hurrah for Matson!”

“Great game, old man.”

“You stood the Chicagos on their heads that time, Joe.”

“That home run of yours was a dandy.”

“What’s the matter with Matson?”

“_He’s all right!_”

A wild uproar greeted the appearance of Joe Matson, the famous pitcher
of the New York Giants, as he emerged from the clubhouse at the Polo
Grounds after the great game in which he had pitched the Giants to the
head of the National League and put them in line for the World Series
with the champions of the American League.

It was no wonder that the crowd had gone crazy with excitement. All New
York shared the same madness. The race for the pennant had been one of
the closest ever known. In the last few weeks it had narrowed down to a
fight between the Giants and the Chicagos, and the two teams had come
down the stretch, nose to nose, fighting for every inch, each straining
every nerve to win. It had been a slap-dash, ding-dong finish, and the
Giants had won “by a hair.”

Joe Matson--affectionately known as “Baseball Joe”--had pitched the
deciding game, and to him above all others had gone the honors of the
victory. Not only had he twirled a superb game, but it had been his home
run in the ninth inning after two men were out that had brought the
pennant to New York.

And just at this moment his name was on more tongues than that of any
other man in the United States. Telegraph wires had flashed the news of
his triumph to every city and village in the country, and the cables and
wireless had borne it to every American colony in the world.

Joe’s hand had been shaken and his back pounded by exulting enthusiasts
until he was lame and sore all over. It was with a feeling of relief
that he had gained the shelter of the clubhouse with its refreshing
shower and rubdown. Even here his mates had pawed and mauled him
in their delight at the glorious victory, until he had laughingly
threatened to thrash a few of them. And now, as, after getting into his
street clothes, he came out into the side street and viewed the crowd
that waited for him, he saw that he was in for a new ordeal.

“Gee whiz!” he exclaimed to his friend and fellow player, Jim Barclay,
who accompanied him. “Will they never let up on me?”

“It’s one of the penalties of fame, old man,” laughed Jim. “Don’t make
out that you don’t like it, you old hypocrite.”

“Of course I like it,” admitted Joe with a grin. “All the same I don’t
want to have this old wing of mine torn from its socket. I need it in my
business.”

“You bet you do,” agreed Jim. “It’s going to come in mighty handy for
the World Series. But we’ll be out of this in a minute.”

He held up his hand to signal a passing taxicab, and the cab edged its
way to the curb.

The crowd swept in upon the players and they had all they could do to
elbow their way through. They succeeded finally and slammed the door
shut, while the chauffeur threw in the clutch and the taxicab darted
off, pursued by the shouts and plaudits of the crowd.

Joe sank back on the cushions with a sigh of relief.

“The first free breath I’ve drawn since the game ended,” he remarked.

“It’s been a wonderful day for you, Joe,” said Jim, looking at his
chum with ungrudging admiration. “That game will stand out in baseball
history for years to come.”

“I’m mighty glad I won for my own sake,” answered Joe; “but I’m
gladder still on account of the team. The boys backed me up in great
shape--except in that fifth inning--and I’d have felt fearfully sore if
I hadn’t been able to deliver the goods. But those Chicagos certainly
made us fight to win.”

“They’re a great team,” admitted Jim; “and they put up a corking good
game. But it was our day to win.”

“Did you see McRae and Robson after the game?” he went on, referring to
the manager and the coach of the Giant team. “Whatever dignity they had,
they lost it then. They fairly hugged each other and did the tango in
front of the clubhouse.”

Joe grinned as the burly figures came before his mental vision.

“They’ve been under a fearful strain for the last few weeks,” he
commented; “and I guess they had to let themselves go in some fashion or
they’d have burst.”

“Do you realize what that home run of yours meant in money, to say
nothing of the glory?” jubilated Jim.

“I haven’t had time to do much figuring yet,” smiled Joe.

“It meant at least fifty thousand dollars for the team,” pursued Jim.
“We’ll get that much even if we lose the World Series, and a good
deal more if we win. And if the Series goes to six or seven games the
management will scoop in a big pot of money, too--anywhere from fifty to
a hundred thousand dollars.”

“That’s good,” replied Joe, a little absent-mindedly.

“Good?” echoed Jim, sharply. “It’s more than good--it’s great, it’s
glorious! Wake up, man, and stop your dreaming.”

Joe came to himself with a little start.

“You’re--you’re right, Jim,” he stammered somewhat confusedly. “To tell
the truth, I wasn’t thinking just then of money.”

Jim gave him a quick glance, and a sudden look of amused comprehension
came into his eyes. Joe caught his glance and flushed.

“What are you blushing about?” demanded Jim with a grin.

“I wasn’t blushing,” defended Joe, stoutly. “It’s mighty warm in this
cab.”

Jim laughed outright.

“Tell that to the King of Denmark,” he chuckled. “I’m on, old man. You
told me in the clubhouse that you were going to the Marlborough Hotel,
and I know just who it is that’s stopping there.”

“My friend, Reggie Varley, is putting up there,” countered Joe, feebly.

“My friend Reggie Varley,” mimicked Jim, “to say nothing of his charming
sister. Oh, I’m not blind, old fellow. I’ve seen for a long time how the
wind was blowing. Well,” he continued, dropping his light tone for a
more earnest one, “go in and win, Joe. I hope you have all the luck in
the world.”

He reached over and slapped his friend cordially on the shoulder. Then
he signaled for the chauffeur to stop.

“What are you getting out here for?” asked Joe. “We haven’t got to your
street yet.”

“I know it,” answered Jim, preparing to jump out. “I want to give you a
chance to think up what you’re going to say to the lady fair,” he added,
mischievously.

He ducked the friendly thrust that Joe made toward him and went away
laughing, while the cab started on.

Joe knew perfectly well what he intended to say when he should meet
Mabel Varley. He had wanted to say it for a long time, and had
determined that if his team won the pennant he would wait no longer.

He had met her for the first time two years before under unusual
circumstances. At that time he was playing in the Central League, and
his team was training at Montville, North Carolina. He had saved Mabel
from being carried over a cliff by a runaway horse, and the acquaintance
thus formed had soon deepened into friendship. With Joe it had now
become a much stronger feeling, and he had dared to hope that this was
shared by Mabel.

Reggie Varley, Mabel’s brother, was a rather affected young man, who
ran chiefly to clothes and automobiles and had an accent that he
fondly supposed was English. Joe had met him at an earlier date than
that at which he had formed Mabel’s acquaintance and under unpleasant
conditions. Reggie had lost sight of his valise in a railway station,
and had rashly accused Joe of taking it. He apologized later, however,
and the young men had become the best of friends, for Reggie, despite
some foolish little affectations, was at heart a thoroughly good fellow.

The brother and sister had come to New York to see the deciding games
and were quartered at the Marlborough Hotel. Mabel had waved to Joe from
a box at the Polo Grounds that afternoon, and her presence had nerved
him to almost superhuman exertions. And he had won and won gloriously.

Would his good luck continue? He was asking himself this question when
the taxicab drew up at the curb, and he saw that he was at the door of
the Marlborough.

He jumped out and thrust his hand in his pocket to get the money for his
fare, but the chauffeur waved him back with a grin.

“Nuthin’ doin’,” he said. “This ride is on me.”

“What do you mean?” inquired Joe in surprise.

“Jest what I said,” returned the chauffeur. “The fellow that won the
championship for the New Yorks can’t pay me any money. It’s enough
for me to have Baseball Joe ride in my cab. I can crow over the other
fellows that wasn’t so lucky.”

“Nonsense,” laughed Joe, as he took out a bankbill and tried to thrust
it on him.

“No use, boss,” the man persisted. “Your money’s counterfeit with me.”

He started his car with a rush and a backward wave of his hand, and
Joe, warned by a cheer or two that came from people near by who had
recognized him, was forced to retreat into the hotel.

He did not send up a card, as he was a frequent caller and felt sure
of his welcome. Besides, he was too impatient for any formalities. He
wanted to be in the presence of Mabel, and even the elevator seemed
slow, though it shot him with amazing speed to the fifth floor on which
the Varley suite was located.

His heart was beating fast as he knocked at the parlor door, and it beat
still faster when a familiar voice bade him enter.

He burst in with a rush that suddenly stopped short when he saw that
he was not the only visitor. A young man had stepped back quickly from
Mabel’s side and it was evident that he had just withdrawn his hand from
hers.

For a moment Joe’s blood drummed in his ears and the demon of jealousy
took possession of him. He glared at the visitor, who stared back at him
with an air of insolence that to Joe at that moment was maddening.

The stranger was dressed in a degree of fashion that bordered on
foppishness. He wore more jewelry than was dictated by good taste, even
going so far as to carry a tiny wrist watch. His eyes were pale, his
chin slightly retreating, and his face showed unmistakable marks of
dissipation. His air was arrogant and supercilious as he took Joe slowly
in from head to foot.

Mabel rushed forward eagerly as Joe entered.

“Oh, Joe!” she cried. “I’m so glad you’ve come! I never was so glad in
all my life.”

Before the joyous warmth of that greeting, Joe’s jealousy receded. He
could not question her sincerity. All her soul was in her eyes.

He took her hand tenderly in his and felt that it was trembling. Had she
been frightened? He turned her about so that he stood between her and
the visitor.

“Tell me,” he commanded in a low voice. “Has this man offended you?”

“Yes, no, yes!” she whispered. “Oh, Joe, please don’t say anything now!
Please, for my sake, Joe! It’s all right now. I’ll tell you about it
afterward. He’s Reggie’s friend. Don’t make a scene, please, Joe!”

Joe’s muscles stiffened, and had it not been for Mabel’s earnest
pleading, he would have thrown the other fellow out of the room. But
Mabel’s name must not be mixed up in any brawl, and by a mighty effort
he restrained himself.

The visitor during this brief colloquy had been moving about uneasily.
He evidently wished himself anywhere else than where he was. Then, as
the two turned toward him, he put on a mask of carelessness and drawled
lazily:

“Won’t you introduce me to--ah--your friend, Miss Varley?”

Mabel, recalled to her duty as hostess, had no option but to comply.

“This is Mr. Beckworth Fleming, Joe,” she said. “Mr. Fleming, this is
Mr. Matson.”

The two men bowed coldly but neither extended a hand.

“Mr. Fleming is a friend of Reggie’s,” Mabel explained to Joe.

“And of yours also, I hope, Miss Varley,” said Fleming with an
ingratiating smile.

“I said a friend of Reggie’s,” returned Mabel, coldly.

It was a direct cut, and Fleming felt it as he would have felt the lash
of a whip. He turned a dull red and was about to reply, when he caught
the menacing look in Joe’s eyes and stopped. He muttered something about
a pressing engagement, took up his hat and cane, and with a pretence of
haughtiness that failed dismally of its effect, swaggered from the room.



CHAPTER II

GLOWING HOPES


“And now!” exclaimed Joe, as soon as the door had closed on the
unwelcome visitor, “tell me, Mabel, what that fellow said or did, and
I’ll hunt him up and thrash him within an inch of his life. I’ll make
him wish he’d never been born.”

“Don’t do anything like that, Joe,” urged the girl. “He’s probably had
his lesson, and it isn’t likely I’ll ever be troubled by him again. He’s
just an acquaintance that Reggie picked up somewhere, and I’ve only
seen him once before to-day. He called at the hotel to see Reggie, and
when he found he wasn’t in, he stayed to talk with me. He started in by
paying me a lot of compliments and then became familiar and impudent. He
seized my hand, and when I sought to pull it away from him he wouldn’t
let me. I was getting thoroughly frightened and was going to call out
when your knock came at the door. Oh, Joe, I was so glad when I saw who
it was!”

She was perilously near to tears, and her beautiful eyes were dewy as
they looked into his. Joe’s heart beat madly. The words he had been
longing to say leaped to his lips, but he choked them back. He did not
want to catch her off her guard, to take advantage of her emotions and
of her shaken condition. Her acceptance of him at that moment might
be due in part to gratitude and relief. He wanted more than that--the
unconditional, unreserved surrender of her heart and life into his
keeping, based only on affection.

So he held himself under control and recompensed himself for his
selfdenial by an inward promise to make things interesting for Mr.
Beckworth Fleming, if ever that cad’s path and his should cross.

“But come,” said Mabel more brightly, as she sank into a chair and
motioned Joe to another, “let’s talk about something pleasant.”

“About you then,” smiled Joe, his eyes dwelling on her eloquently.

“Not poor little me,” she pouted in mock humility. “Who am I compared
with the great Joseph Matson about whom all the world is talking--the
man who won the championship for the Giants, the hero whose picture
to-morrow will hold the place of honor in every newspaper in the
country?”

“You’re chaffing me now,” laughed Joe.

“Not a bit,” she said demurely, her dimples coming and going in a way
that drove him nearly distracted. “I really feel as though I ought to
salaam or kow-tow or whatever it is the Orientals do when they come
before the Emperor. But, oh, Joe,” and here she dropped her bantering
manner and leaned forward earnestly, “you were simply magnificent this
afternoon. The way you kept your nerve and won that game was just
wonderful. I was so excited at times that I thought my heart would leap
out of my body. I was proud, oh, so proud that you were a friend of
mine!”

Joe had heard many words of praise that day but none half so sweet as
these.

“Will you let me tell you a secret?” he exclaimed, half rising from his
chair. “Do you want to know who really won that game?”

“Why, you did,” she returned in some surprise. “Of course the rest
of the team did, too, but if it hadn’t been for your pitching and
batting----”

“No,” he interrupted, “it was _you_ who won the game.”

He had risen now and had come swiftly to her side.

“Listen, Mabel,” he said, and before the note in his voice she felt
her pulses leap. “You were in my mind from the start to the finish of
that game. I looked up at you every time I went into the box. This
little glove of yours”--he took it from his pocket with a hand that
trembled--“lay close to my heart all through the game. Mabel----”

“Why, hello, Joe, old top!” came a voice from the door that had opened
without their hearing it. “What good wind blew you here? I’m no end glad
to see you, don’t you know. Congratulations, old man, on winning that
game. You were simply rippin’, don’t you know.”

And Reggie Varley ambled in and shook Joe’s hand warmly, blandly
unconscious of the lack of welcome from the two inmates of the room.

“How are you, Reggie?” Joe managed to blurt out, wishing viciously that
at that moment his friend were at the very farthest corner of the world.

It is possible that Mabel’s feelings were most unsisterly, but she
concealed them and rallied more readily than Joe from the shock caused
by her brother’s inopportune coming.

“I was just telling Joe how proud we were of him,” she smiled. “But
he’s so modest that he refuses to take any credit for what he has done.
Insists that somebody else won the game.”

“Of course that’s all bally nonsense, don’t you know,” declared Reggie,
looking puzzled. “The other fellows helped, of course, but Joe was the
king pin. Those Chicagos were out for blood and Joe was the only one who
could tame them.”

Joe listened moodily, and while he is recovering his composure it may
be well, for the sake of those who have not followed the career of the
famous young pitcher, to mention the previous books of this series in
which his exploits are recorded.

His diamond history opened in the first volume of the series, entitled:
“Baseball Joe of the Silver Stars; Or, The Rivals of Riverside.” Here he
had his first experience in pitching. In that restricted circle he soon
became widely known as one of the best of the amateur boxmen, but he had
to earn that position by overcoming many difficulties.

In “Baseball Joe on the School Nine,” we find the same qualities of
grit and determination shown in a different field. The situation here
was complicated by the efforts of the bully of the school, who did
everything in his power to frustrate Joe and bring him to disaster.

A little later on, Joe went to Yale, and his triumphs in the great
university are told in the third volume of the series, entitled:
“Baseball Joe at Yale; Or, Pitching for the College Championship.”

As may be imagined, with such redoubtable rivals as Harvard and
Princeton, a very different class of baseball is required from that
which will “get by” in academies and preparatory schools.

Joe got his chance to pitch against Princeton in an exciting game where
the Yale “Bulldog” “put one over” on the Princeton “Tiger.”

But in spite of his athletic prowess and general popularity, Joe was not
entirely happy at Yale. His mother had set her heart on Joe’s studying
for the ministry. But Joe himself did not feel any special call in that
direction. While always a faithful student he was not a natural scholar,
and outdoor life had a strong appeal for him. His success in athletics
confirmed this natural bent, until at last he came to the conclusion
that he ought to adopt professional baseball as his vocation.

His mother was, naturally, much disappointed, as she had had great
hopes of seeing her only son in the pulpit. Moreover, she had the vague
feeling that there was something almost disreputable in making baseball
a profession. But Joe at last convinced her that whatever might have
been true in the early days of the game did not apply now, when so
many high-class men were turning toward it, and she yielded, though
reluctantly.

Joe’s chance to break into the professional ranks was not long in
coming. That last great game with Princeton had been noted by Jimmie
Mack, manager of the Pittston team in the Central League. He made Joe an
offer which the latter accepted, and the story of his first experience
on the professional diamond is told in the fourth volume of the series
entitled: “Baseball Joe in the Central League; Or, Making Good as a
Professional Pitcher.”

But this was only the first step in his career. He was too ambitious
to be content with the Central League except as a stepping stone to
something higher. His delight can be imagined, therefore, when he
learned that he had been drafted into the St. Louis Club of the National
League. He was no longer a “busher” but the “real thing.” He had to work
hard and had many stirring adventures. How he succeeded in helping his
team into the first division is told in the fifth volume of the series,
entitled: “Baseball Joe in the Big League; Or, A Young Pitcher’s Hardest
Struggles.”

But these hard struggles were at the same time victorious ones and
attracted the attention of the baseball public, who are always on the
lookout for a new star. Among others, McRae, the famous manager of the
New York Giants, thought he saw in Joe a great chance to bolster up his
pitching staff. Joe could hardly believe his eyes when he learned that
he had been bought by New York. It brought a bigger reputation, a larger
salary and a capital chance to get into the World Series. He worked like
a Trojan all through the season, and, as we have already seen, came
through with flying colors, winning from the Chicagos the final game
that made the Giants the champions of the National League and put them
in line for the championship of the world. The details of the stirring
fight are told in the sixth volume of the series, entitled: “Baseball
Joe on the Giants; Or, Making Good as a Ball Twirler in the Metropolis.”

“I say, old top,” remarked Reggie, breaking in on Joe’s rather resentful
musings, “you’re going to stay and have dinner with us to-night, you
know.”

Joe looked at Mabel for confirmation.

“You certainly must, Joe,” she said enthusiastically. “We won’t take no
for an answer.”

As there was nothing else on earth that Joe wanted so much as to be with
Mabel, he did not require much urging.

“And I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” suggested Mabel. “In fact, it’s the
only thing we can do. We’ll have the dinner served right in here for
the three of us. If you should go down in the public dining-room of the
hotel to-night, Joe, you’d have a crowd around the table ten lines deep.”

“By Jove, you’re right,” chimed in Reggie. “They’d have to send out a
call for reserves. I’ll go down and have a little talk with the head
waiter, and I’ll have him send up a dinner fit for a king.”

“Fit for a queen,” corrected Joe, as he glanced at Mabel.



CHAPTER III

A POPULAR HERO


Reggie hurried away to order the meal that was to put the chef on his
mettle, leaving Mabel and Joe once more in possession of the room.

Good-natured, blundering Reggie! Why had he not waited five minutes
longer before breaking in on that momentous conversation?

To be sure they could have resumed it now, but Joe felt instinctively
that it was not the time. Cupid is sensitive as to time and place, and
the little blind god is only at his best when assured of leisure and
privacy. His motto is that “two is company” while three or more are
undeniably “a crowd.”

Reggie might be back at any moment, and then, too, the waiters would be
coming in to spread the table. So Joe, though sorely against his will,
was forced to wait till fate should be more kind.

But he was in the presence of his divinity anyway and could feast his
eyes upon her as she chatted gaily, her color heightened by the scene
through which they had just passed.

And Mabel was a very delightful object for the eyes to rest upon. Joe
himself, of course, was not a competent witness. If any one had asked
him to describe her, he would have answered that she was a combination
of Cleopatra and Madame Recamier and all the other famous beauties of
history. What the unbiased observer would have seen was a very charming
girl, sweet and womanly, with lustrous brown eyes, wavy hair whose
tendrils persisted in playing hide and seek about her ears, dimples that
came and went in a maddening fashion and a flower-like mouth, revealing
two rows of pearly teeth when she smiled, which was often.

Even Reggie was moved to compliment her when he came in again after his
interview with the head waiter.

“My word, Sis, but you’re blooming to-night, don’t you know,” he
remarked, as he went across the room and put his hand caressingly on her
shoulder. “This little trip must be doing you good. You’ve got such a
splendid color, don’t you know.”

“Just think of it! A compliment from a brother! Wonder of wonders!” she
laughed merrily.

Perhaps if she had cared to, she might have enlightened the obtuse
Reggie as to the cause of the heightened color that enhanced her
loveliness. Joe, too, could have made a shrewd guess at it.

But now the waiters came bustling in and they talked of indifferent
things until the table was spread. A sumptuous meal was brought in, and
the three sat down to as merry a little dinner party as there was that
night in the city of New York.

“How honored we are, Reggie,” exclaimed Mabel, “to have the great Mr.
Matson as our guest! There are hundreds of people who would give their
eyes for such a chance.”

She flashed a mocking glance at Joe who grew red, as she knew he would.
The little witch delighted in making him blush. It made his bronzed face
still more handsome, she thought.

“You’d better make the most of it,” Joe grinned in reply. “I may fall
down in the World Series and be batted out of the box. Then you’ll be
pretending that you don’t know me.”

“I’m not afraid of that,” returned Mabel. “After the way you pitched
this afternoon, I’m sure there’s nothing in the American League you need
to be afraid of.”

“That’s loyal, anyway,” laughed Joe. “Still you never can tell. It’s
happened to me before and it may happen again. Then, too, you must
remember that it’s a different proposition I’ll be up against.

“Take, for instance, the Chicagos to-day. I’ve pitched against them
before and I knew their weak points. I knew the fellows who can’t hit a
high ball but are death on the low ones. I knew the ones who would try
to wait me out and those who would lash out at any ball that came within
reach. I knew the ones who would crowd the plate and those who would
inch in to meet the ball. The whole problem was to feed them what they
didn’t want.

“But it will be different when I come up against the American Leaguers.
It will be some time before I catch on to their weak points. And while
I’m learning, one of them may line out a three bagger or a home run that
will win the game.”

“You speak of their weak points as though they all had them,” put in
Reggie.

“They do,” replied Joe, promptly. “All of them have some weakness, and
sooner or later you find it out. If there’s any exception to that rule
at all, it’s Ty Cobb of Detroit. If he has any weakness, no one knows
what it is. For the last seven years he’s led the American League in
batting, base stealing and everything else worth while. All pitchers
look alike to him. He’s a perfect terror to the twirlers.”

“Well, you won’t have to worry about him, anyway,” smiled Mabel. “It’s
lucky that he’s on the Detroits instead of the Bostons. For I suppose
it’s the Bostons you’ll have to face in the World Series.”

“I guess it will be,” answered Joe. “Their season doesn’t end until
Friday. They’ve had almost as tight a race in their league as we’ve
had in ours, for the Athletics have been close on their heels. But
the Bostons have to take only one game to clinch the flag while the
Athletics will have to win every game. So it’s pretty nearly a sure
thing for the Red Sox.”

“Which team would you rather have to fight against?” asked Reggie.

“Well, it’s pretty near a toss-up,” answered Joe, thoughtfully. “Either
one will be a hard nut to crack. That one hundred thousand dollar
infield of the Athletics is a stone wall, but I think the Boston
outfield is stronger. That manager of the Athletics is in a class by
himself, and what he doesn’t know about the game isn’t worth knowing.
He’s liable to spring something on you at any time. Still the Boston
manager is mighty foxy, too, and you have to keep your eyes open to
circumvent him. Take it all in all, I’d just about as lief face one team
as the other.”

“It will be a little shorter trip for you between the two cities, if you
happen to have the Athletics for your opponents,” suggested Mabel.

“Yes,” assented Joe. “In that case we’d have a good long sleep in
regular beds every night, while on the Boston trip we’d have to put up
with sleeping cars. Still the jumps wouldn’t be big in either case,
and it’s a mighty sight better than if we had to go out West for the
Chicagos or Detroits.

“From a money point of view the boys are rooting for Boston to win,” he
went on.

“Why, what difference would that make?” asked Mabel in surprise.

“Because the Boston grounds hold more people than the Athletics’ park,”
was the answer.

“That’s something new to me,” put in Reggie. “I’ve attended games at
both grounds, and it didn’t seem to me there was much difference between
them.”

“The answer is,” replied Joe, “that we’re not going to play at Fenway
Park, the regular American League grounds in Boston, in case Boston is
our opponent.”

“How is that?”

“Because Braves Field, the National League grounds there, will hold over
forty-three thousand people, and the owners have put it at the disposal
of the American League Club,” Joe answered.

“That’s a sportsmanlike thing to do,” commented Mabel, warmly.

“It certainly is,” echoed her brother.

“Oh, the days of the old cutthroat policy have gone by,” said Joe. “The
National and American Leagues used to fight each other like a pair of
Kilkenny cats, but they’ve found that there is nothing in such a game.
This act of the Boston people shows the new spirit. We saw it, too,
when the grandstand was burned at the Polo Grounds. The ruins hadn’t
got through smoking before the Yankee management offered the use of its
grounds to McRae as long as he needed them. And then a little later when
the Yankees lost their grounds because streets were going to be cut
through them, McRae returned the favor by giving them the use of the
Polo Grounds. It’s the right spirit. Fight like tigers to win games, but
outside of that, let live and wish the other luck.”

“Tell me honestly, Joe, what you think the New York’s chances are, in
case they have to stack up against Boston,” said Reggie.

“Well,” answered Joe, thoughtfully, toying with his spoon, “if you’d
asked me that question a week ago, I’d have said that New York would win
in a walk. But just now I wouldn’t be anywhere near so sure of that.”

“You mean the accident to Hughson?” put in Mabel.

“Exactly that. He was going like a house afire just before that. You saw
what he did to Chicago in the first game. He had those fellows eating
out of his hand. He was simply unhittable. That fadeaway of his was
zipping along six inches under their bats. They didn’t have a Chinaman’s
chance.

“Then, too, in addition to that splendid pitching his reputation helps
a lot. The minute it is announced that Hughson is going to pitch, the
other fellows begin to curl up. They’re half whipped before they start,
because they feel that he has the Indian sign on them, and it’s of no
use to try.”

“That’s so,” assented Reggie. “Besides, when he’s in the box his own
team feel they’re in for a victory and they play like demons behind him.”

“It’s going to take away a lot of confidence from our boys,” said Joe,
“and in a critical series like that, confidence is half the battle. We
could have lost two or three other men and yet have a better chance than
we will have with Hughson out of the game.”

“Isn’t there any chance of his recovering in time to take part in some
of the games?” asked Mabel.

“A bare chance only,” Joe replied. “I saw the old boy yesterday, and
he’s getting along surprisingly fast. You see, he always keeps himself
in such splendid physical condition that he recovers more quickly than
an ordinary man would. We’ve got over a week yet before the Series
starts, and he may possibly be able to go in before the games are over.
If he does, that will be an immense help. But McRae had figured on
having him pitch the first game, so as to get the jump on the other
fellows at the very start. Then he could have gone in at least twice
more, perhaps three times, and it would have been all over but the
shouting.”

“It’s lucky that McRae has you at hand to step into Hughson’s shoes,”
declared Reggie.

“Step into them!” exclaimed Joe. “Yes, and rattle around in them. Nobody
can fill them.”

“I don’t believe a word of it,” cried Mabel warmly--so warmly in fact
that her brother looked at her in some surprise.

“Yes,” she repeated, holding her ground valiantly, “I mean just what I
say. It’s awfully generous of you, Joe, to praise Hughson to the skies,
but there’s no use in underrating yourself. I don’t think Hughson can
pitch one bit better than you can. Look at that game this afternoon. I
heard lots of people around me say that they never saw such pitching
in all their lives. And what you did to-day you can do again. So
there!”--she caught herself up, smiling a little confusedly, as though
she had betrayed herself, but finished defiantly--“if that be treason,
make the most of it.”

Joe’s heart gave a great leap, not only at the tribute but at the tone
and look that had gone with it. So this was what Mabel thought of him!
This was how she believed in him!

His head was whirling, but in his happy confusion one thought kept
pounding away at his consciousness, a thought that never left him
through all the tremendous test that lay before him:

“I’ve _got_ to make good! I’ve _got_ to make good!”



CHAPTER IV

THE SPOILS OF WAR


The rest of the evening flew by as though on wings, and Joe was startled
when he looked at his watch and found that it was nearly eleven o’clock.

“I’ll have to go,” he said reluctantly. “I had no idea it was so late.”

“Why should you hurry?” asked Reggie. “The season’s over now in the
National League, and the World Series won’t begin for a week or more. I
should think you might have a little leeway in the matter of sitting up
late.”

“I’ll have plenty of leeway before long,” laughed Joe. “But just now I
want to keep in the very pink of condition. I’ll need every ounce of
strength and vitality I’ve got before I get through the Series.”

He would have dearly loved a chance for a few words with Mabel in
private before he went away, but Reggie failed to appreciate that fact,
and he accompanied the pair even when they went out to the elevator.
But Joe avenged himself by holding Mabel’s hand much longer and more
closely than he had ever dared do before, and the girl did not dream of
calling for help.

But although Joe had been balked in saying what he had wanted to that
night, he felt much surer of Mabel’s feelings toward him, and his heart
was a tumult of joyous emotions as he made his way home to the rooms he
shared with Jim.

He found Barclay sound asleep, at which he rejoiced. He was in no mood
for chaff and banter. He wanted to go over in his mind every incident of
that memorable evening--to recall the tones of Mabel’s voice, the look
in Mabel’s eyes. It was a delightful occupation and took a good while,
so that it was late when he dropped off to sleep.

He was awakened at a much later hour than usual the next morning by a
vigorous tugging at the shoulder of his pajamas; and, opening one sleepy
eye, saw Jim fully dressed standing at the side of his bed.

“Go away and let me sleep,” grumbled Joe, turning over on his pillow for
another forty winks.

“For the love of Pete, man! how much sleep do you want?” snorted Jim.
“What are you trying to do, forget your sorrows? Here it is after nine
o’clock, and I’ve already had my breakfast and a shave. Get a wiggle on
and see what it is to be a popular hero.”

“Stop your joshing,” muttered Joe, sleepily.

“Josh nothing,” Jim came back at him. “If you’ll just open those liquid
orbs of yours and give this room the once over, you’ll see whether I’m
joshing or not.”

This stirred Joe’s curiosity and he sat up in bed with a jerk.

“Great Scott!” he exclaimed, as he saw the room littered with a mass
of boxes and packages that covered every available spot on chairs and
tables and overflowed to the floor. “Where did you get all this junk?
Going to open a department store?”

“I guess you’ll be able to if they keep on coming,” returned Jim. “I’ve
been signing receipts for express packages until I’ve got the writer’s
cramp. And there’s a pile of letters and telegrams, and there’s a bunch
of reporters down in the lobby waiting for an interview with your Royal
Highness, and--but what’s the use? Get up, you lazy hulk, and get busy.”

“It surely looks as though it were going to be my busy day,” grinned
Joe, as he jumped out of bed and rushed to the shower.

He shaved and dressed in a hurry and then ate a hasty breakfast, after
which he saw the reporters.

Those clever and wideawake young men greeted him with enthusiasm and
overwhelmed him with questions that ranged from the date of his birth to
his opinion on the outcome of the World Series. They knew that their
papers would give them a free hand in the matter of space, and they were
in search not of paragraphs but of columns from the idol of the hour.

“You look limp and wilted, Joe,” laughed Jim, as they went back to their
rooms.

“It’s no wonder,” growled Joe. “Those fellows got the whole sad story
of my life. They hunted out every fact and shook it as a terrier shakes
a rat. They turned me inside out. The only thing they forgot to ask was
when I got my first tooth and whether I’d ever had the measles. And, oh,
yes, they didn’t find out what was my favorite breakfast food. But now
let’s get busy on these parcels and see what’s in them.”

“What’s in them is plenty,” prophesied Jim, “and these are only the few
drops before the shower.”

It was a varied collection of objects that they took from the packages.
There were boxes of cigars galore, enough to keep the chums in “smokes”
for a year to come. There were canes and silk shirts and neckties
accompanied by requests from dealers to be permitted to call their
product the “Matson.” There were bottles of wine and whiskey, which met
with short welcome from these clean young athletes, who took them over
to the bathroom, cracked their necks and poured the contents down the
drain of the washbasin, until, as Jim declared, the place smelled for
all the world like a “booze parlor.”

“No merry mucilage for ours,” declared Joe, grimly. “We’ve seen what it
did for Hartley, as clever a pitcher as ever twirled a ball.”

“Right you are,” affirmed Jim. “There’s none of us strong enough to down
old John Barleycorn, and the only way to be safe is never to touch it.”

After they had gone through the lot and rung for a porter to carry away
the litter of paper and boxes, they attacked the formidable pile of
letters and telegrams.

Among the former were two offers from vaudeville managers, urging Joe
to go on the stage the coming winter. They offered him a guarantee of
five hundred dollars a week. They would prepare a monologue for him,
or, if he preferred to pair up with a partner, they would have a sketch
arranged for him.

“That sounds awfully tempting, Joe,” said Jim, as they looked up from
the letters they had been reading together.

“It’s a heap of money,” agreed Joe, “and I do hate to pass it up. But
I won’t accept. I’m not an actor and I know it and they know it. I’d
simply be capitalizing my popularity. I’d feel like a freak in a dime
museum.”

“How do you know you’re not an actor?” asked Jim. “You might have it in
you. You never know till you try.”

But Joe shook his head.

“No,” he said, “there’s no use kidding myself. And even if I could
make good, I wouldn’t do it. You know what it did for Markwith the
season after he made his record of nineteen straight. He never was the
same pitcher after that. The late hours, the feverish atmosphere, the
irregular life don’t do a ball player any good. They take all the vim
and sand out of him. No vaudeville for yours truly.”

“Well,” said Jim, “you’re the doctor. And I guess you’re right. But it
certainly seems hard to let that good money get away when it’s fairly
begging you to take it.”

The telegrams came from all over the country. A lot were from Joe’s old
team-mates on the St. Louis club, including Rad Chase and Campbell.
Others were from newspaper publishers offering fancy prices if Joe would
write some articles for them, describing the games in the forthcoming
World Series. Joe knew perfectly well that this would entail no time
or labor on his part. Some bright reporter would actually write the
articles, and all Joe needed to do was to let his name be signed to them
as the author. But the practice was beginning to be frowned upon by
the baseball magnates, and it was in a certain sense a fraud upon the
public, so that Joe mentally decided in the negative.

One telegram was far more precious to Joe than all the others put
together. It came from Clara, his only sister, to whom he was devotedly
attached, and was sent in the name of all the little family at
Riverside. Joe’s eyes were a little moist as he read:

     “Dearest love from all of us, Joe. We are proud of you.”

For a long time Joe sat staring at the telegram, while Jim considerately
buried himself in the newspaper descriptions of yesterday’s great game.

How dear the home folks were! How their hearts were wrapped up in
him and his success! What a splendid, wholesome influence that cozy
little village home had been in his life. He thought of his patient,
hard-working father, his loving mother, his winsome sister. He thought
of their quiet, circumscribed life, shut out from the great currents of
the world with which he had become so familiar.

They were proud of him! Yet all they could do was to read of his
triumphs. They had never seen him pitch.

He took a sudden resolution.

The home folks were in for one great, big, glorious fling!



CHAPTER V

GETTING READY FOR THE FRAY


“Come along, Jim!” cried Joe, jumping to his feet. “Put down that old
paper and let’s go up to the Polo Grounds. You know we’ve got to meet
McRae and the rest of the gang there at two o’clock, and it’s almost one
now. We’ll just have time to get a bite of lunch before we go.”

“I’m with you,” responded Jim.

They hurried through their lunch and took the train at the nearest
elevated station.

“Some difference to-day from the way we felt when we were going
up yesterday, eh, Joe,” grinned Jim, as he stretched out his legs
luxuriously and settled back in his seat.

“About a million miles,” assented Joe. “Then my heart was beating like a
triphammer. Then the work was all to do. Now it’s done.”

“And well done, too, thanks to you,” returned Jim. “Say, Joe, suppose
for a minute--just _suppose_ that the Chicagos had copped that game
yesterday.”

“Don’t,” protested Joe. “It gives me the cold shivers just to think of
it.”

When they entered the clubhouse, a roar of welcome greeted them from the
members of the team who were already there. They crowded round Baseball
Joe in jubilation, and the air was filled with a hubbub of exclamations.

“Here’s the man to whom the team owes fifty thousand dollars!” shouted
the irrepressible Larry Barrett, the second baseman, who had led the
league that year in batting.

“All right,” laughed Joe. “If you owe it to me, hand it over and I’ll
put it in the bank.”

In the laugh that ensued, McRae and Robson, the inseparable manager and
trainer of the Giants, came hurrying up to Joe. Their faces were beaming
and they looked years younger, now that the tremendous strain of the
last few weeks of the league race had been taken from their shoulders.

They shook hands warmly.

“You’re the real thing, Joe,” cried Robson.

“You won the flag for us,” declared McRae. “That home run of yours was a
life saver. It brought home the bacon.”

Joe flushed with pleasure. Praise from these veterans meant something.

“It took the whole nine to win for us,” he said modestly.

“Sure it did,” agreed McRae. “The boys put up a corking good game. But
your pitching held Brennan’s men down, and it was that scorching hit
that put on the finishing touch.”

“It was the trump that took the trick,” supplemented Robson.

Denton, the third baseman and wag of the team, stepped up and gravely
put his hands around Joe’s head as though measuring it.

“Not swelled a bit, boys,” he announced to his grinning mates. “He can
wear the same size hat that he did yesterday.”

They were all so full of hilarity that it was hard to get down to
serious business, and McRae, who was as happy as a boy, made no attempt
at his usual rigid discipline.

But when they had at last quieted down a little, he gathered them about
him for a talk about the forthcoming World Series.

“You’ve done well, boys,” he told them, “and I’m proud of you. You’ve
played the game to the limit and made a splendid fight. I don’t believe
there’s another team in the league that wouldn’t have gone to pieces
if the same thing had happened to their crack pitcher that happened
to Hughson. It was a knockout blow, and I don’t mind admitting to you
now that for a time my own heart was in my boots. But you stood the
gaff, and I want to thank you, both for the owners of the club and for
myself.”

There was a gratified murmur among the players, and then Larry shouted:

“Three cheers for McRae, the best manager in the league!”

The cheers were given with a will and the veteran’s face grew red with
pleasure.

“And three more for Robson, the king of trainers!” cried Jim.

They were given with equal heartiness, and Robson waved his hand to them
with a grin.

“I’m glad we all feel that way,” resumed McRae, when the tumult had
subsided. “If at times I’ve been a bit hasty with you lads and given you
the rough side of my tongue, it’s been simply because I was wild with
excitement and crazy to win. And now for the big fight that lies before
us. It’s a great thing to be champions of the National League. But it’s
a greater thing to be champions of the world.”

A rousing shout rose from the eager group.

“Sure, we’ve got it copped already,” cried Larry.

McRae smiled.

“That’s the right spirit to tackle the job with,” he replied, “but don’t
let the idea run away with you that it’s going to be an easy thing to
do. It isn’t. Those American Leaguers are tough birds, and any one who
beats them will know he’s been in a fight.

“There used to be a time,” he went on, “when the bulk of the talent was
in the National League. But it isn’t so any longer. They have just as
good batting, just as good pitching and just as good fielding as we have.

“Of course, we don’t know yet just which team we’ll have to face, but we
may know before night. If the Bostons win to-day that will settle it.
Even if they lose, provided the Athletics lose, too, the Red Sox will be
the champions. Of course, there’s nothing sure in baseball, but all the
chances are in favor of the Bostons.

“In any case, it will be an Eastern club, and that cuts out the matter
of the long jumps. But whichever one it happens to be, it’ll prove a
hard nut to crack.”

“Nut-crackers is our middle name,” murmured Denton.

“You proved that yesterday,” laughed McRae, “and you’re going to have a
good chance to prove it again.

“Just as soon as the American race is decided,” he continued, “and it’s
known in what city we are to play, the National Commission will have
a meeting to fix all the details of the World Series. If they follow
precedent, as they probably will, the first game will be appointed for
a week from this Friday. They’ll toss a coin to see whether it shall be
here or in the other city. I’m rooting for it to be here. It’ll give us
a better chance to win the first game if we play it on the home grounds,
and you know what it means to get the jump on the other fellows.”

“You bet we do!” went up in a chorus.

“Just as soon as it is decided who our opponents are to be,” the manager
resumed, “I’m going to send some of you fellows out as scouts to see
some of the practice games of the other fellows and get a line on their
style of play. You can pick up a lot of useful information that way, and
we’ve got so much at stake that we can’t afford to overlook a single
point of the game.”

“How about our own practice?” asked Larry.

“I was coming to that,” replied McRae. “I’m going to get together
just as husky a bunch of sluggers and fielders as can be found in the
National League.”

He took a sheaf of telegrams from his pocket.

“I’ve got a lot of wires here from every club in the league, offering
the services of any of their players I want,” he said. “We’ve had our
own fight, and now that it’s over they’re all eager to help the National
League to down the American. It means a good deal to each of them to
have us come out winner. Even Brennan has offered to let me have some
of the Chicagos to practise against. I saw him at the hotel last night,
and, although of course he was sore that he didn’t win yesterday, he
told me I could call upon him for any men I wanted.”

“He’s a good sport,” ejaculated Jim.

“Sure he is,” confirmed McRae, heartily. “He’s a hard fighter but he’s
as white as they make ’em.”

He consulted a list on which he had jotted down a few names in pencil.

“How will this do for an All National team to practise against,” he
asked.

    “Konetchky, First base.
     Niehoff, Second base.
     Wagner, Shortstop.
     Zimmermann, Third base.
     Wheat, Left field.
     Carey, Center field.
     Schulte, Right field.
     Pfeffer, Alexander, Pitchers.
     Archer, Gibson, Catchers.”

A murmur went up from the players.

“Some sweet hitters!” exclaimed Markwith.

“A bunch of fence breakers,” echoed Jim.

“They’ll give you mighty good practice,” grinned McRae. “If they can’t
straighten out the curves of you twirlers, nobody can. I’ll have them
all on here in a day or two, and then we’ll start in training.”

The conference lasted till late in the afternoon, and just as it was
breaking up, a telegraphic report was handed to McRae. He scanned it
hastily.

“That settles it!” he exclaimed. “Boston won to-day, three to two. We’re
up against the Red Sox in the World Series!”



CHAPTER VI

JOE GIVES FAIR WARNING


Although the news only confirmed what had been all along expected, it
was worth a great deal to the Giants to know certainly just whom they
would have to fight. Their enemy now was detached from the crowd and out
in the open. They could study him carefully and arrange a clear plan of
campaign.

Joe and Jim were discussing the matter earnestly, as they passed out of
the Polo Grounds to go downtown.

“Don’t let’s take the elevated,” suggested Joe. “We haven’t had much
exercise, and I want to stretch my legs a little.”

“I’m agreeable,” replied Jim. “There’s a cool breeze and it’s a nice
night for walking. We can go part of the way on foot, anyway, and if we
feel like it we’ll hoof it for the whole distance.”

They soon got below the Harlem River and before long found themselves
in the vicinity of Columbus Circle. They were passing one of the
fashionable cafés that abound in that quarter when the door opened and
a man came out. Joe caught a good look at his face, and a grim look came
into his eyes as he recognized Beckworth Fleming.

Fleming saw him at the same time, and the eyes of the two men met in a
look of undisguised hostility. Then with an ugly sneer, Fleming remarked:

“Ah, Mr. Matson, I believe. Or was it Mr. Buttinski? I’m not very good
at remembering names.”

“You’ll remember mine if I have to write it on you with my knuckles,”
returned Joe, brought to a white heat by the insult and the remembrance
of the occurrence of the day before.

“Now, my good fellow----” began Fleming, a look of alarm replacing his
insolent expression.

“Don’t ‘good fellow’ me,” replied Joe. “I owe you a thrashing and I’m
perfectly able to pay my debts. You’d have gotten it yesterday if we’d
been alone.”

“I--I don’t understand you,” stammered Fleming, looking about him for
some way of escape from the sinewy figure that confronted him.

“Well, I’m going to make myself so clear that even your limited
intelligence can understand me,” said Joe, grimly. “You keep away from
the Marlborough Hotel. Is that perfectly plain?”

Before the glow in Joe’s eyes, Fleming retreated a pace or two, but as
he caught sight of a policeman sauntering up toward them, his courage
revived.

“I’ll do nothing of the kind,” he snarled.

“You will if you value that precious skin of yours. I’ve given you fair
warning, and you’ll find that I keep my word.”

By this time the officer had come up close to them, and Fleming,
immensely relieved, turned to him as an ally.

“Officer, this man has been threatening me with personal violence,” he
complained.

The policeman sized him up quizzically. Then he looked at Joe and his
face lighted up.

“Good evening, Mr. Matson. That was a great game you pitched yesterday,”
he ejaculated in warm admiration.

“I tell you he threatened me,” repeated Fleming, loudly.

The officer smiled inquiringly at Joe.

“Just a trifling personal matter,” Joe explained quietly. “He insulted
me and I called him down.”

The policeman turned to Fleming.

“Beat it,” he commanded briefly. “You’re blocking up the sidewalk.”

Fleming bristled up like a turkey cock.

“I’ll have your number,” he said importantly. “I’ll----”

“G’wan,” broke in the officer, “or I’ll fan you. Don’t make me tell you
twice.”

He emphasized the command by a poke in the back with his club that took
away the last shred of Fleming’s dignity, and he retreated, with one
last malignant look at Joe.

“I know his kind,” said the officer, complacently. “One of them rich
papa’s boys with more money than brains. Sorry he bothered you, Mr.
Matson. Are youse boys goin’ to lick them Bostons?”

“We’re going to make a try at it,” laughed Joe.

“You will if you can pitch all the games,” rejoined the policeman,
admiringly. “It cert’nly was a sin an’ a shame the way you trimmed them
Chicagos. You own New York to-day, Mr. Matson.”

The chums bade him a laughing good-night and resumed their interrupted
stroll.

“Who was that fellow, anyway?” asked Jim in curiosity.

“His name is Fleming,” answered Joe. “That’s about all I know of him.”

“How long have you known him?”

“Since yesterday.”

“What was the row all about, anyway?”

“Oh, nothing much,” evaded Joe. “I guess we just don’t like the color of
each other’s eyes.”

Jim laughed and did not press the question. But he had heard the warning
to keep away from the Marlborough Hotel, and could hazard a vague guess
as to the cause of the quarrel.

At their hotel both Joe and Jim found a letter from the owners of the
New York Club waiting for them. In addition to the informal thanks
conveyed to the team in general by McRae, they had taken this means of
thanking each player personally. It was a gracious and earnest letter,
and wound up by inviting them to a big banquet and theatre party that
was to be given by the management to the players in celebration of their
great feat in winning the National League championship for New York.

But Joe’s letter also contained a little slip from the Treasurer, to
which a crisp, blue, oblong paper was attached. Joe unfolded it in some
wonderment and ran his eyes over it hastily.

It was a check for a thousand dollars, and on the accompanying slip was
written:

     “In payment of bonus as per contract for winning twenty
     games during the season.”

Joe grabbed Jim and waltzed him about the room, much to Barclay’s
bewilderment.

“What are you trying to do?” he gasped. “Is it a new tango step or what?”

“Glory, hallelujah!” ejaculated Joe. “Yesterday and to-day are sure my
lucky days.”

He thrust the check before his friend’s eyes.

“Great Scott!” exclaimed Jim. “It never rains but it pours. If you fell
overboard, you’d come up with a fish in your mouth.”

“It sure is like finding money,” chortled Joe. “Everything seems to be
coming my way.”

“You’ll be lending money to Rockefeller if this sort of thing keeps on,”
Jim grinned. “But after all it can’t be such a surprise. You must have
known that you had won twenty games.”

“That’s just it,” explained Joe. “I wasn’t sure of it at all. I figured
that with yesterday’s game I had nineteen. But there was that game in
August, you remember, when I relieved Markwith in the sixth inning.
We won the game, but there were some fine points in it which made it
doubtful whether it should be credited to Markwith or me. I had a tip
that the official scorers were inclined to give it to Markwith, and so I
had kissed the game good-bye. But it must be that they’ve decided in my
favor after all and notified the New York Club to that effect.”

“That’s bully, old man,” cried Jim, enthusiastically. “And you can’t say
that they’ve lost any time in getting it to you.”

“No,” replied Joe. “Ordinarily, they’d settle with me on the regular
salary day. But I suppose they feel so good over getting the pennant
that they take this means of showing it.”

“They can well afford to do it,” said Jim. “Your pitching has brought
it into the box office twenty times over. Still it’s nice and white
of them just the same to be so prompt. That’s one thing that you have
to hand to the Giant management. There isn’t a club in the league that
treats its players better.”

“You’re just right,” assented Joe, warmly, “and it makes me feel as
though I’d pitch my head off to win, not only for my own sake but for
theirs.”

“You certainly have had a dandy year,” mused Jim. “With your regular
salary of forty-five hundred and this check in addition you’ve grabbed
fifty-five hundred so far. And you’ll get anywhere from two to four
thousand more in the World Series.”

“I haven’t any kick coming,” agreed Joe. “It was a lucky day for me when
I joined the Giants.”

“I suppose you’ll soak that away in the bank to-morrow, you bloated
plutocrat,” laughed Jim.

“Not a bit of it,” Joe answered promptly. “To-morrow night that money
will be on its way to Riverside as fast as the train can carry it.”



CHAPTER VII

THE THOUSAND DOLLAR BANKBILL


The little town of Riverside had been buzzing with excitement ever
since the news had flashed over the wires that the Giants had won the
championship of the National League. On a miniature scale, it was as
much stirred up as New York itself had been at the glorious victory.

For was not Joe Matson, who had twirled that last thrilling game, a son
of Riverside? Had he not grown up among the friends and neighbors who
took such pride and interest in his career? Had he not, as Sol Cramer,
the village oracle and the owner of the hotel, declared, “put Riverside
on the map?”

There had been a big crowd at the telegraph office in the little town on
the day that the final game had been played, and cheer after cheer had
gone up as each inning showed that Joe was holding the Chicagos down.
And when in that fateful ninth his home run had “sewed up” the victory,
the enthusiasm had broken all bounds.

An impromptu procession had been formed, the village band had been
pressed into service, the stores had been cleared out of all the
fireworks left over after the Fourth of July, and practically the whole
population of the town had gathered on the street in front of the Matson
house where they held a hilarious celebration.

The quiet little family found itself suddenly in the limelight, and were
almost as much embarrassed as they were delighted by the glory that
Joe’s achievement had brought to them.

The crowd dispersed at a late hour, promising that this was not a
circumstance to what would happen when Joe himself should come home
after the end of the World Series.

Had any one suggested that possibly the Giants would lose out in that
Series, he would have stood a good chance of being mobbed. To that crowd
of shouting enthusiasts, the games were already stowed in the New York
bat bag. How could they lose when Joe Matson was on their team?

In the Matson household joy reigned supreme. Joe had always been their
pride and idol. He had been a good son and brother, and his weekly
letters home had kept them in touch with every step of his career. They
had followed with breathless interest his upward march in his profession
during this year with the Giants, but had hardly dared to hope that his
season would wind up in such a blaze of glory.

Now they were happy beyond all words. They fairly devoured the papers
that for the next day or two were full of Joe’s exploits. They could not
stir out of the house without being overwhelmed with congratulations
and questions. Clara, Joe’s sister, a pretty, winsome girl, declared
laughingly that there could hardly have been more fuss made if Joe had
been elected President of the United States.

“I’m sure he’d make a very good one if he had,” said Mrs. Matson,
complacently, as she bit off a thread of her sewing.

“You dear, conceited Momsey,” said Clara, kissing her.

Mr. Matson smiled over his pipe. He was a quiet, undemonstrative man,
but in his heart he was intensely proud of this stalwart son of his.

“How I wish we could have seen that game!” remarked Clara, wistfully.
“Just think, Momsey, of sitting in a box at the Polo Grounds and seeing
that enormous crowd go crazy over Joe, _our_ Joe.”

“I’m afraid my heart would almost break with pride and happiness,”
replied her mother, taking off her glasses and wiping her eyes.

“Of course it’s great, reading all about it in the papers and seeing the
pictures,” continued Clara, “but that isn’t like actually being there
and hearing the shouts and all that. But I’m a very wicked girl to
want anything more than I’ve got,” she went on brightly. “Now I’m going
to run down to the post-office. The mail must be in by this time and I
shouldn’t wonder if I’d find a letter from Joe.”

She put on her hat and left the house. Mrs. Matson looked inquiringly at
her husband.

“You heard what Clara said, dear,” she observed. “I don’t suppose
there’s any way in the world we could manage it, is there?”

“I’m afraid not,” returned Mr. Matson. “I’ve had to spend more money
than I expected in perfecting that invention of mine. But there’s
nothing in the world that I would like more than to see Joe pitch, if it
were only a single game.”

Clara soon reached the little post-office and asked for the Matson mail.
There were several letters in their box, but none from Joe.

She was much disappointed, as in Joe’s last telegram he had told her
that a letter was on the way and to look out for it.

She had turned away and was going out of the office, when the postmaster
called her back.

“Just wait a minute,” he said. “I see I’ve got something for you here in
the registered mail.”

He handed her a letter which Clara joyfully saw was addressed in Joe’s
handwriting.

“It’s directed to your mother,” the postmaster went on, “but of course
it will be all right if you sign for it.”

Clara eagerly signed the official receipt and hurried home with her
precious letter.

“Did you get one from Joe?” asked her mother, eagerly.

“There wasn’t anything from him in the box,” said Clara, trying to look
glum. Then as she saw her mother’s face fall, she added gaily: “But
here’s one that the postmaster handed me. It came in the registered
mail.”

She handed it over to her mother, who took it eagerly.

“Hurry up and open it, Momsey!” cried Clara, fairly dancing with
eagerness. “I’m just dying to know what Joe has to say.”

Mr. Matson laid aside his pipe and came over to his wife. She tore open
the letter with fingers that trembled.

Something crisp and yellow fluttered out and fell on the table. Clara’s
nimble fingers swooped down upon it.

“Why, it’s a bankbill!” she exclaimed as she unfolded it. “A ten dollar
bill it looks like. No,” as her eyes grew larger, “it’s more than that.
It’s a hundred--Why, why,” she stammered, “it’s _a thousand dollar
bill_!”

[Illustration: “WHY, WHY,” SHE STAMMERED, “IT’S A THOUSAND DOLLAR BILL!”]

“Goodness sakes!” exclaimed her mother. “It can’t be. There aren’t any
bills as big as that.”

Mr. Matson took it and scrutinized it closely.

“That’s what it is,” he pronounced in a voice that trembled a little.
“It’s a thousand dollar bill.”

The members of the little family stared at each other. None of them had
ever seen a bill like that before. They could hardly believe their eyes.
They thought that they were dreaming.

Mrs. Matson began to cry.

“That blessed, blessed boy!” she sobbed. “That blessed, darling boy!”

Clara’s eyes, too, were full of tears, and Mr. Matson blew his nose with
astonishing vigor.

But they were happy tears that did not scald or sting, and in a few
minutes they had recovered their equanimity to some degree.

“What on earth can it all mean?” asked Mrs. Matson, as she put on her
glasses again.

“Let’s read the letter and find out,” urged Clara.

“You read it, Clara,” said her mother. “I’m such a big baby to-day that
I couldn’t get through with it.”

Clara obeyed.

The letter was not very long, for Joe had had to dash it off hurriedly,
but they read a good deal more between the lines than was written.

     “Dearest Momsey,” the communication ran, “I am writing this
     letter in a rush, as I’m fearfully busy just now, getting
     ready for the World Series. Of course, you’ve read by this time
     all about the last game that won us the pennant. I had good
     luck and the boys supported me well so that I pulled through
     all right.

     “Now don’t think, Momsey, when you see the enclosed bill
     that I’ve been cracking a bank or making counterfeit money.
     I send the money in a single bill so that it won’t make the
     registered letter too bulky. Dad can get it changed into small
     bills at the bank.

     “You remember the clause in my contract by which I was to
     get a thousand dollars extra if I won twenty games during the
     season? Well, that last game just made the twentieth, and the
     club handed the money over in a hurry. And in just as much of a
     hurry I’m handing it over to the dearest mother any fellow ever
     had.

     “Now, Momsey, I want you and Dad and Clara to shut up the
     house, jump into some good clothes and hustle on here to New
     York just as fast as steam will bring you. You’re going to see
     the World Series, take in the sights of New York and Boston,
     and have the time of your life. You’re going to have one big
     _ga-lorious spree_!

     “Now notice what I’ve said, Momsey--_spree_. Don’t begin
     to figure on how little money you can do it with. You’ve been
     trying to save money all your life. This one time I want you
     to _spend_ it. Doll yourself up without thinking of expense,
     and see that that pretty sister of mine has the best clothes
     that money can buy. Don’t put up lunches to eat on the way.
     Live on the fat of the land in the dining cars. Don’t come in
     day coaches, but get lower berths in the Pullmans. Make the
     Queen of Sheba look like thirty cents. I want you, Momsey dear,
     to have an experience that you can look back upon for all your
     life.

     “I’ve engaged a suite of rooms for you in the Marlborough
     Hotel--a living room, two bedrooms and a private bath. Reggie
     Varley and Mabel are stopping there now, and they’ll be
     delighted to see you. They often speak of the good times they
     had with you when they were at Riverside. And you know how fond
     Clara and Mabel are of each other.

     “Tell Sis that Jim Barclay, my chum, has seen her picture and
     is crazy to meet her. He’s a Princeton man, a splendid fellow,
     and I wouldn’t mind a bit having him for a brother-in-law.”

“The idea!” exclaimed Clara, tossing her pretty head and blushing like a
rose, but looking not a bit displeased, nevertheless.

     “Now don’t lose a minute, Momsey, for the time is short and
     the Series begins next week. You’ll have to do some tall
     hustling. Wire me what train you’ll take, and I’ll be there
     with bells on to meet you and take you to the hotel.

     “Am feeling fine. Best love to Dad and Sis and lots for
     yourself from

                       “Your loving son,

                                                          “JOE.”

There was silence in the room for a moment after Clara finished reading.
They looked at each other with hearts beating fast and eyes shining.

“New York, Boston, the World Series!” Clara gasped in delight. “Pinch
me, Dad, to see if I’m dreaming! Oh, Momsey!” she exclaimed as she
danced around the room, “Joe put it just right. It’s going to be a
‘_ga-lorious spree_!’”



CHAPTER VIII

RECKLESS DRIVING


In New York, the preparation for the World Series was rapidly taking
form. Little else was thought or spoken of. Pictures of the teams and
players usurped the front pages of the newspapers, crowding all other
news into the background. For the time being the ballplayer was king.

It was generally agreed by the experts that the contest would be close.
Neither side could look for a walkover. The fight would be for blood
from the very start.

On paper the teams seemed pretty evenly matched. If the Red Sox were
a little quicker in fielding, the Giants seemed to have “the edge” on
their opponents in batting. It was felt that the final decision would be
made in the pitcher’s box.

And here the “dope” favored the Red Sox. This was due chiefly to the
accident that had befallen Hughson. Had that splendid veteran been
in his usual shape, it was conceded that New York ought to win and
win handsomely. For Boston could not show a pair to equal Hughson and
Matson, although the general excellence of their staff was very high.

But with Hughson out of the Series, it looked as though Joe’s shoulders
would have to bear the major part of the pitching burden; and though
those shoulders were sturdy, no one man could carry so heavy a load as
that would be.

Thus the problem of New York’s success seemed to resolve itself into
this: Would Hughson have so far recovered as to take part in the games?
And behind this was still another question: Even if he should take part,
would he be up to his usual form after the severe ordeal through which
he had passed?

So great was the anxiety on this score that almost every new edition
of the afternoon papers made a point of publishing the very latest
news of the great pitcher’s condition. Most of these were reassuring,
for Hughson really was making remarkable progress, and it goes without
saying that, regardless of cost, he was receiving the very best
attention from the most skilful specialists that could be secured.

In the meantime the National Commission--the supreme court in
baseball--had met in conclave at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
They really had little to do, except to reaffirm the rules which had
governed previous Series and had been found to work well in practice.

The Series was to consist of seven games, to be played alternately on
succeeding days in the two cities. The place where the games were to
start would be decided by the toss of a coin. If rain interfered with
any of the games, the game was to be played in the same city on the
first fair day.

The Series was to finish when either of the teams had won four games.
Only in the first four games played were the players to share in the
money paid to see them. This provision was made so that there should be
no temptation for the players to “spin out” the Series in order to share
additional receipts. It was up to each team to win four straight games
if it could.

Of the money taken in at these first four games, ten per cent. was to go
to the National Commission and ten per cent. into the clubs’ treasuries.
The balance was to be divided between the two teams in the proportion of
sixty per cent. to the winner and forty per cent. to the loser.

The players had no financial interest whatever in any money taken in at
other games, which went to the clubs themselves, less the percentage of
the National Commission.

“Hurrah!” cried Jim Barclay in delight, as he broke into the rooms
occupied by Joe and himself.

“What’s the matter?” asked Joe, looking up. “Dropped into a fortune? Got
money from home?”

“We’ve won the toss of the coin!” ejaculated Jim. “New York gets the
first game.”

“Bully!” cried Joe. “That’s all to the good. That’s the first break in
the game and it’s come our way. Let’s hope that luck will stay with us
all through.”

“And just as we supposed, the first game will start on Friday,”
continued Jim. “So that we’ll have about a week for practice before we
have to buckle to the real work.”

“McRae told me this morning that he had almost all the practice team
together now, and that we’d start to playing against them on Monday,”
said Joe.

“It’s up to us to make the most of this little breathing spell, then,”
returned Jim. “I think I’ll take a little run down to the beach
to-morrow. Care to come along?”

“I’ve got an engagement myself to-morrow,” Joe replied. “I’m going for
an automobile ride with Reggie Varley and Miss Varley. By the way, Jim,
why don’t you come along with us? Reggie told me to bring along a friend
if I cared to. There’s plenty of room, and he has a dandy auto. Flies
like a bird. Come along.”

“Where are you going?”

“Out on Long Island somewhere. Probably stop at Long Beach for dinner.”

“Sure, I’ll come,” said Jim readily. “But don’t think I’m not on to your
curves, you old rascal. You want me to engage Reggie in conversation so
that you can have Miss Varley all to yourself.”

“Nonsense!” disclaimed Joe, flushing a trifle.

“Well, then,” said the astute Jim, “I’ll let you have the front seat
with Reggie, while I sit back in the tonneau.”

“Not on your life you won’t!” said Joe, driven out into the open.

“All right,” grinned Jim resignedly. “I’ll be the goat. When do we
start?”

“Reggie will have the car up in front of the Marlborough at about ten,
he said. We’ll have a good early start and make a day of it.”

“All right,” said Jim. “Let’s root for good weather.”

They could not have hoped for a finer day than that which greeted them
on the following morning. The sun shone brightly, but there was just
enough fall crispness to make the air fresh and delicious.

Reggie was on time, nor did Mabel avail herself of the privilege of her
sex and keep them waiting. The girl looked bewitching in her new fall
costume and the latest thing in auto toggery, and her rosy cheeks and
sparkling eyes drew Joe more deeply than ever into the toils. Jim’s
mischievous glance at them as they settled back in the tonneau while he
took his seat beside Reggie, left no doubt in his own mind how matters
stood between them.

Whatever else Reggie lacked, he was a master hand at the wheel, and he
wound his way in and out of the thronging traffic with the eye and hand
of an expert. They soon reached and crossed the Queensboro Bridge, and
then Reggie put on increased speed and the swift machine darted like a
swallow along one of the magnificent roads in which the island abounds.
Beautiful Long Island lay before them, dotted with charming homes and
rich estates, fertile beyond description, swept by ocean breezes,
redolent of the balsam of the pines, “fair as a garden of the Lord.”

Jim, like the good fellow and true friend that he was, absorbed Reggie’s
attention--that is, as much of it as could be taken from the road that
unrolled like a ribbon beneath the flying car--and Joe and Mabel were
almost as much alone as though they had had the car to themselves. And
it was very evident that neither was bored with the other’s society.
Joe’s hand may have brushed against Mabel’s occasionally, but that was
doubtless due to the swaying of the car. At any rate, Mabel did not seem
to mind.

At the rate at which they were going, it was only a little while before
they heard the sound of the breakers, and the great hotel at Long Beach
loomed up before them.

Reggie put up his car and they spent a glorious hour on the beach,
watching the white-capped waves as they rushed in like race horses with
crested manes and thundered on the sands. Then they had a choice and
carefully selected dinner served in full view of the sea.

“Some hotel, this,” remarked Reggie as he gazed about him. “Make a dent
in a man’s pocketbook to live here right along.”

“Yes,” agreed Jim. “They give you the best there is, but you have to pay
the price. Reminds me of a story that used to be told of a famous hotel
in Washington. The proprietor was known among statesmen all over the
country for the way he served beefsteak smothered in onions. One man who
had tried the dish advised his friend to do the same the next time he
went to Washington.”

“But onions!” exclaimed his friend with a shudder. “Think of one’s
breath.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” replied the other. “When you get the bill it
will take your breath away.”

Reggie laughed, and, as the afternoon was getting on, ordered the car to
be brought around. They had thought to go out along the south shore as
far as Patchogue, before turning about for home.

They were bowling along on the Merrick Road in the vicinity of Bay
Shore, when an automobile behind them came rushing past at a reckless
rate of speed. It almost grazed Reggie’s car, and the quick turn he was
obliged to make came within an ace of sending the car into a ditch.

“My word!” cried the indignant Reggie. “Those bally beggars ought to be
pinched. A little more and they’d have smashed us.”

“Half drunk, most likely,” commented Jim. “They’ll kill somebody yet if
they keep that up. By Jove, I believe they’ve done it now!”

From up the road came a chorus of yells and shouts. They saw the flying
automobile hesitate for a moment and then plunge on, leaving a limp and
motionless form sprawled out in the road behind it.



CHAPTER IX

A BRUTAL ACT


There was a shout from the men and a scream of terror from Mabel.

“Oh, hurry, hurry!” she urged. “Perhaps they’ve killed him!”

Reggie needed no urging, and in a moment more they had come within a few
feet of the figure that still lay without motion or any sign of life.

Joe and Jim were out of the car like a flash and ran to the side of the
victim.

Reggie turned the car into a piece of open woodland at the side of the
road, and then he and Mabel descended and joined the others.

The man who had been hit seemed to be nearly seventy years old. His hair
was silvery white, except where it was dabbled with blood that flowed
from a wound in his head near the left temple. His clothing was shabby
and covered with dust. A G. A. R. button was on the lapel of his coat.

As Joe knelt down and lifted the man’s head to his knee, the latter
opened his eyes and gave utterance to a groan.

Jim, who had a rough knowledge of surgery from his experience with the
accidents that are constantly happening on the ball field, ran his hands
deftly over the prostrate form.

“Don’t seem to be any bones broken,” he announced after a moment. “And
that cut on the head seems to have come when he struck the road. But
let’s carry him over to this patch of grass and bind up his head to stop
that bleeding.”

The handkerchiefs of the party were called into requisition and torn
into strips from which a bandage was improvised. There was a small brook
near by, and Mabel hurried to this for water, with which she bathed the
man’s head and face.

“We’d better get him into the car and carry him on to Bay Shore,” said
Joe, when they had done all they could. “I don’t imagine he’s fatally
hurt, although at his age the shock may make it serious.”

Just then the man stirred feebly and his eyes opened. There was a
puzzled expression as he gazed into the faces surrounding him, and then
a look of comprehension as he recalled the fact of the accident.

“Was it your car that hit me?” he asked. “But no, I know it wasn’t,”
he added, as he caught sight of Mabel. “There wasn’t any woman in that
machine.”

“Don’t try to talk,” admonished Joe gently. “You’ve had a bad shake-up,
but there are no bones broken and you’ll be as good as ever in a little
while.”

“They didn’t give me a dog’s chance,” the old man murmured wearily.
“They must have seen me coming, but they didn’t honk their horn or
give me any warning. They were fooling and laughing, and the car was
zigzagging as though the driver was half drunk. An old man like me
doesn’t count, I guess, with a bunch of joy riders. Did they stop
afterwards?”

“Not a second,” declared Jim angrily. “They rushed on without even
looking behind. They’re not much better than a bunch of murderers.”

“I wish we’d got their number,” Joe gritted savagely between his teeth.
“I tried to, but they were raising such a cloud of dust that I only
caught the numbers seven and four as part of their license number. And
that isn’t enough to go by.”

“They ought to be made to pay handsomely for the outrage,” declared
Mabel indignantly.

“We’ll telephone to the towns ahead when we get to Bay Shore, describing
them as well as we can, and try to have them arrested,” said Joe. “But
now we must get to a doctor or a hospital. This man ought to be attended
to at once.”

Joe and Jim lifted the old man carefully and placed him, half sitting,
half lying, in the tonneau of the car. The others crowded in as they
were able, and Reggie threw in his clutch and started on the way to Bay
Shore.

Here on making inquiries they found that there was a large hospital at
Islip, not far away, and in a few minutes they were at the doors of the
big institution.

A preliminary examination showed that the wound on the head was a
superficial one and that the old man was suffering chiefly from
shock. He was put to bed in a cool private room that Joe made himself
responsible for, and the doctor predicted that in a few days he would be
on his feet again and able to return to his home.

This, they had learned from him, was Boston. His name was Louis
Anderson. He was in poor circumstances and his visit to Long Island
had been for the purpose of disposing of a tiny bit of property which
represented his last earthly possession.

“I can’t thank you boys enough,” he said, as they at last prepared to
leave. “I only wish there was something I could do for you in return. I
don’t suppose you often get to Boston.”

“We expect to get there several times within the next week or two,”
remarked Joe, as he looked at Jim with an amused twinkle in his eye.

“Then you must be traveling men,” suggested Anderson. “What line are you
in?”

“The baseball line,” grinned Jim.

“And you’re going to Boston?” repeated Anderson. “Why, then you must be
members of the Giants and going to play in the World Series.”

“Guessed it right,” Jim responded.

“If I didn’t hate to root against Boston, I’d almost wish you’d win,
after all you’ve done for me,” Louis Anderson smiled feebly.

“We’re going to try mighty hard,” Joe assured him.

“They say that fellow Matson of yours is the king of them all,” the old
man went on.

“Oh, I don’t know,” responded Joe gravely. “I’ve known him to pitch some
rotten ball.”

They shook hands and went away, promising to keep in touch with him and
do all they could to find the reckless automobilists who had caused his
injuries.

But although they gave the facts to the village authorities and had a
notice sent out to other towns in the car’s path, they had little hope
that anything would come of it.

“I guess they’ve made a clean getaway of it,” judged Jim, as they once
more headed toward the city.

“It’s a burning shame,” commented Mabel. “He seems to be such a nice old
man, too. The idea of those men not even stopping to see what they could
do for him.”

“He might have died in the road for all they cared,” declared Reggie
indignantly. “A good long jail sentence would teach those bounders a
little decency, by Jove!”

“I’d like to have them soaked heavily for damages,” observed Joe. “I
don’t think the old man would have much trouble in getting a heavy
verdict in his favor from a jury. And I guess the poor old fellow needs
all he can get.”

The knowledge, however, that the accident would not prove fatal and
the consciousness that they had done all they could to help, served to
dissipate the shock caused by the affair, and before long they were
chatting as merrily as ever. So that when at last they parted at the
doors of the Marlborough their only feeling of regret was that the day
was ended. As for Joe and Mabel, snugly ensconced in the tonneau, they
would have been willing to ride on forever. Joe said as much, and Mabel
had acquiesced with her eyes if not in words.

It was a discordant note, therefore, when as the chums were going toward
their rooms they almost ran into “Bugs” Hartley, the former pitcher of
the Giants, who had been released earlier in the season for dissipation.

That erratic individual, whose venom against Joe had once led him to
drug his coffee so that our hero might be unable to pitch, had rapidly
gone from bad to worse. He had exceptional ability when he kept sober,
and even after his release by McRae he could have found some other
manager willing to give him a chance if he had kept away from drink.
But he had gone steadily downhill until he was now a saloon lounger and
hanger-on.

He had been drinking heavily now, as was evident by a glance at his
bleared face, and had reached the ugly stage of intoxication. His former
team mates stepped back as he lurched against them.

“Hello, Hartley,” said Joe not unkindly, for despite his just cause for
resentment, he was shocked and sorry to see how low “Bugs” had fallen.

“Don’t you talk to me!” snarled Hartley viciously. “You got me off the
team and knocked me out of my chance of World Series money.”

“You’re wrong there, Bugs,” returned Joe, keeping his temper. “I did
everything I could to help you. When you were drunk in St. Louis, Jim
and I smuggled you off to bed so that McRae wouldn’t find it out. You’re
your own worst enemy, Bugs.”

“Why don’t you brace up, Bugs, and cut out the booze?” broke in Jim.
“You’ve got lots of good pitching left in you yet.”

“Quit your preaching, you guys,” growled Hartley thickly. “It doesn’t
work with me. You’ve done me dirt and I’m going to get even with you yet
and don’t you forget it.”

He moved away unsteadily, and the chums watched him with a sentiment of
pity.

“Poor old Bugs,” remarked Jim. “He can’t bat successfully against the
Demon Rum.”

“No,” assented Joe. “I’m afraid he’ll be struck out.”



CHAPTER X

THE OPENING GUN


The practice games of the next few days were by no means tame affairs,
even though there was nothing especially at stake.

The All-National team was, as has been seen, chosen from among the stars
of the profession, and though they lacked, of course, the team work of
the Giants, they gave the latter all they could do to hold their own.
They had been ordered to “tear things wide open” and play the game for
all it was worth.

This they proceeded to do with such effect that when the time for the
great Series arrived the Giants had been put on their mettle and were at
the very top of their form.

It had been an especially busy week for Joe. He had spent one day in
Boston, to which city he had run over on the midnight train at the
direction of McRae, in order that he might observe the practice of the
Red Sox and get a line on their batters. He had been impressed but not
dismayed by their show of strength, and had come back knowing that his
work was cut out for him.

He had taken advantage, too, of his presence in Boston to arrange for
rooms for his family, as well as for Reggie and Mabel, as they expected
to go back and forth during the fateful week the Series lasted on the
same trains taken by the two teams.

Thursday was made memorable to the New Yorks by the appearance of
Hughson. There was an affectionate roar and rush for the veteran as he
came into the clubhouse among his adoring mates.

To the torrent of questions poured out on him as to his condition, he
responded that he was feeling fine physically, but was not yet sure of
his arm. His shoulder was still somewhat lame and tender, but he hoped
to get into some of the games later on. He tossed the ball about for a
little while, but made no attempt to cut loose with any curves or fast
ones. But the very sight of their crack pitcher once more in uniform was
a tonic and inspiration to his mates, and they put an amount of “ginger”
into their practice game that afternoon that was full of promise to
McRae and Robson, as they watched their men from the side lines.

“I think we’re going to cop the Series, Robbie,” declared the former
when the practice was over. “The men are as full of pep as so many
colts.”

“They certainly look good to-day, John,” was the response. “But I’d give
a thousand dollars out of my pocket at this minute if Hughson was in
shape.”

That evening Joe’s parents and sister reached New York. Joe had received
a wire telling him on what train they were coming and was at the station
to meet them, full of affection and impatience.

He scanned eagerly the long train as it rolled into the station. Then he
detected the familiar figures descending the steps of a Pullman coach,
and in a moment more there was a joyful family reunion.

“Momsey--Dad!” he cried, grasping his father’s hand and kissing his
mother, who had all she could do to keep from throwing her arms around
his neck then and there. “And Sis, you darling! Sweet and pretty as a
picture!” he exclaimed, holding her out at arms’ length so that he could
look at her sparkling face. “Poor, poor Jim!” he teased. “I see his
finish!”

Clara’s color deepened, but before she could retort, Joe was hurrying
the little party through the crowd to the street, where he hailed a
taxicab and had them whirled away to their rooms at the Marlborough.

He had arranged to have a nice supper served in their suite that night,
as he knew that they would be tired and excited after their long
journey. So they dined cosily and happily, and the hour or two of dear
familiar talk that followed marked one of the happiest experiences the
united little family had ever known.

But Joe could not stay nearly as long as he wanted to, for to-morrow
was the day of the first game and he had to retire early so as to be in
perfect condition.

McRae had told Joe that afternoon that he was slated to pitch the
opening game.

“I’m banking on you, Joe,” the manager told him. “You’ve never failed me
yet, and I don’t think you’ll do it now. If you fall down, we’re dead
ones.”

“I’ll do my very best,” declared Joe earnestly.

“Your best is good enough for any one,” replied McRae. “Just show them
the same stuff you did the Chicagos in that last game and I won’t ask
for anything more.”

The next morning dawned bright and clear, and the city was agog with
expectation. New York, usually so indifferent to most things, had gone
wild over the Series. The morning papers bore the flaring headlines:
“_Matson Pitches the First Game._” Crowds gathered early about the
bulletin boards. Long before the time set for the game, cars and trains
disgorged their living loads at the gates of the Polo Grounds, and
before the teams came out for practice the grandstands and bleachers
were black with swarming, jostling humanity. The metropolis was simply
baseball mad.

Within the gates, hundreds of special officers lined the field to keep
order and prevent the overflow back of centerfield from encroaching on
the playing space. The Seventh Regiment Band played popular airs. Movie
men were here, there and everywhere, getting snapshots of the scene.
The diamond lay like so much green velvet under the bright sun, and the
freshly marked white base lines stood out in dazzling contrast. It was a
scene to stir to the depths any lover of the great national game.

There was a thunderous roar as the teams marched down from the
clubhouse, and there were bursts of applause for the sparkling plays
that marked the preliminary practice. Then the field was cleared, the
gong rang and the umpire, taking off his hat and facing the stands,
bellowed in stentorian tones:

“Ladies and gentlemen: The batteries for to-day’s game are Fraser and
Thompson for Boston, Matson and Mylert for New York.”

Loud applause followed, and this grew into a cyclone when Joe took the
ball tossed to him and walked toward the pitcher’s box.

“Matson! Matson! Matson!” yelled the crowd.

Joe cast a swift look at the box where his family were seated with Mabel
and Reggie. Then he touched a little glove that rested in a pocket of
his uniform.

The head of the Red Sox batting order had taken up his position at the
plate.

“Play ball!” called the umpire.

Joe straightened up to his full height, wound up deliberately, and the
ball shot over the corner of the plate like a bullet. The batter lunged
at it savagely, but only hit the air.

The crowd yelled its delight at the auspicious beginning.

“That’s the way, Joe!”

“He can’t touch you!”

“Missed it by a mile!”

A ball followed, then a foul, then another ball, and a final strike that
sent the batter discomfited to the bench.

The next man up raised a towering skyscraper, which Larry gathered in
without moving from his tracks, and the third man died, as had the
first, on strikes.

The half inning had been short and sharp, and Joe met a tempest of
encouraging cheers as he walked in to the bench.

“You’ve got their number, old man!”

“They’ll break their backs trying to hit you!”

“Some bad pitching, I don’t think!”

But Joe had had too much experience to be betrayed into any undue
elation. There were eight innings more to come and in that time many
things might happen.



CHAPTER XI

SNATCHED FROM THE FIRE


Not a bit dismayed by their unpromising beginning, the Red Sox took
the field, and speedily showed that they too could uncork a brand of
pitching that was not to be despised.

The best that Burkett could do was to raise a “Texas Leaguer” that Berry
gobbled in without any trouble. Larry chopped an easy one to Girdner,
who got him at first with plenty to spare. Denton dribbled a slow roller
that Fraser gathered in on the first base line, tagging the runner as he
passed.

And now it was the turn of the Boston enthusiasts, of whom thousands had
made the trip to see their favorites play, to yell frantically for the
Red Sox.

Joe realized at once that he had a foeman in Fraser who was worthy of
his steel, and knew that all his skill and cunning would be required to
win.

For the next two innings the sides were mowed down with unfailing
regularity, and not a man on either side reached first base. It looked
as though the game were going to resolve itself into a pitchers’ duel,
and the crowds were breathless with excitement as batter after batter
was sent to the bench.

The Giants broke the ice in the fourth. Burkett scorched a single to
right, and by daring base-running stretched it to a double, as Cooper
was slow in making the return. Barrett sacrificed him to third. Fraser
put on steam and fanned Denton on strikes. Then Willis came to the
rescue with a sizzling hit just inside the third base line, and Burkett
came galloping over the plate with the first run of the game.

The crowd rose and cheered wildly, and the Giants from their dugout
threw their caps in the air and gathered around Burkett in jubilation.
It was only one run, but the way the game was going that run looked as
big as a mountain.

Willis was caught napping off first by a snap throw from Thompson to
Hobbs, and the inning ended.

The fifth was devoid of scoring, but in the sixth the Bostons not only
tied the Giants but passed them.

Loomis, the crack left fielder of the visitors, started the trouble
with a sharp hit to Larry, who “booted” the ball, letting Loomis get
to first. Hobbs lay down a bunt on which Joe had no time to get Loomis
at second, though he tossed out Hobbs at first. Walters lined out the
first clean hit that the Red Sox had made so far in the game. If it had
been properly played and taken on the bound, it could have been held to
a single. But Becker made a mistake in thinking that he could make a
fly catch. The ball struck the ground in front of him, bounded over his
head and rolled to the further corner of the field. Before it could be
recovered, Walters had made the circuit of the bases, following Loomis
over the plate, and the Red Sox were in the lead by two runs to one.

The Boston rooters started their marching song of “Tessie,” while the
New Yorkers sat glum and silent.

Joe tightened up and struck out the two following batters in jig time,
but it looked as though the mischief had been done.

“Don’t let that worry you, Joe,” counseled McRae, as he came in to the
bench. “You’re pitching like a Gatling gun. That’s the first hit they’ve
got off you in six innings and it ought to have been a single only.
We’ll beat ’em yet.”

“Sure we will,” answered Joe, cheerfully. “We’ve only begun to fight.”

At the beginning of the “lucky seventh,” the crowd rose and stretched in
the fond hope that it would bring the necessary luck for their favorites.

The omen might have worked, had it not been for a dazzling bit of play
on the part of the Bostons.

Their own half had been fruitless. Joe was pitching now like a man
inspired, and his bewildering curves and slants had made the Boston
sluggers look like “bushers.”

In the Giants’ half, Joe was the first man up and he laced out a hot
liner between second and short that carried him easily to first. Mylert
hit to short and Joe was forced at second, though Berry relayed the
ball to Hobbs too late for a double play. A wild pitch, the only one of
the game, advanced Mylert a base. Burkett received a pass. Now there
was a man on first, another on second, and rousing cheers came from the
stands. There was only one man out, Fraser was evidently getting wild,
and it looked as though New York might score.

The Boston infield moved in for a double play. And it looked for a
moment as though they would make it. Larry hit to short, and a groan
went up. But the hit was so sharp that Stock could not handle it
cleanly, and, though he succeeded in getting Burkett at second Larry
reached first safely while Mylert raced to third.

It was a time for desperate measures, and McRae gave the signal for a
double steal. The moment Fraser wound up, Larry started for second,
not with a design of reaching it, but hoping to draw a throw from the
catcher, under cover of which Mylert might scamper home from third. If
he could touch the plate before Larry was put out, the run would count
and the score be tied.

Thompson threw like a shot to Berry at second. But instead of chasing
Larry, who had stopped midway between first and second, he kept
threatening to throw to third and catch Mylert, who was taking as big a
lead toward home as he dared. After playing hide and seek for a moment,
Berry thought he saw a chance to nip Mylert and threw to Girdner at
third. But the ball touched the tips of his fingers and got past him,
and Mylert started for home.

A howl of exultation went up from the throng. Then it died away as
suddenly as it had risen.

Girdner, chasing the ball, slipped as he went to pick it up. Lying on
the grass, he made a desperate throw in the direction of the plate.
It went high, but Thompson made a tremendous jump, pulled it down and
clapped it on Mylert just as he slid into the rubber.

“Out,” yelled the umpire.

It was as classy a play as any of the spectators had ever seen, and even
the New Yorkers, sore as they were at losing the run, joined generously
in the applause that greeted it.

“That fellow Girdner must have a rabbit’s foot about him somewhere,”
remarked Robson to McRae with a twisted smile. “He couldn’t do that
thing again in a thousand years.”

“A few more things like that and the crowd will die of heart disease
or nervous prostration,” answered McRae. “But they can’t have all the
breaks. Just watch. Our turn will be coming next.”

But nothing happened in the eighth to change the score, and the ninth
opened with the Red Sox still in the lead.

That the Red Sox would not score again was as nearly certain as anything
can be in baseball. Joe, as cool as an icicle, was going at top speed.
They simply could not touch his offerings.

But as the visitors went back in one, two, three order, they consoled
themselves with the thought that they did not have to do any more
scoring. They were already ahead, and if Fraser could hold their
opponents down for one more inning, the game was theirs.

But Fraser had about reached his limit. He could not stand the gaff
as sturdily as Joe. With the exception of that one wild spell, he had
pitched superbly, but the terrific strain was beginning to tell.

His first two pitches went as balls, and McRae, whose eagle eyes saw
signs of wavering, signaled Becker, who was at the bat, to “wait him
out.”

The advice proved good, and Becker trotted down to first where he
immediately began to dance about and yell, hoping to draw a throw which
in the pitcher’s nervous condition might go wild.

The Red Sox players shouted encouragement to their pitcher, and the
catcher walked down to the box on the pretense of advice but really to
give him time to recover himself.

No doubt this helped, for Fraser braced up and made Iredell put up a
towering foul, which Thompson caught after a long run.

Joe came next and cracked out a pretty single between short and second.
Becker tried to make third on it, but a magnificent throw by Walters
nipped him at the bag. But in the mix-up, Joe, by daring running, got to
second.

With two out, a long hit would tie the game, anyway, and carry it into
extra innings.

Fraser seemed to waver again and gave Mylert his base on balls. Then big
Burkett, the head of the batting order, strode to the plate.

Amid frantic adjurations from the crowd to “kill the ball,” he caught
the second one pitched and sent a screaming liner far out toward the
right field wall.

Cooper, the fleet Red Sox right fielder, had started for it at the crack
of the bat. On, on he went, running like a deer.

Thirty-five thousand people were on their feet, yelling like maniacs,
while Joe, Mylert and Burkett raced round the bases.

Ball and man reached the wall at the same instant. The gallant player
leaped high in the air. But the ball just touched the tips of his
fingers and rolled away, while Joe and Mylert dented the rubber, Burkett
halting when he reached second.

Then the crowd went crazy.

The game was over. It had been a battle royal, but the Giants had
vanquished the Red Sox, and had taken their first stride toward the
championship of the world.



CHAPTER XII

THE TABLES TURNED


Baseball Joe waited just long enough to wave his cap at the box in which
his party sat, and then raced with his companions to the clubhouse
before the crowd that was rushing down over the field should overwhelm
them.

Mabel turned towards Mrs. Matson, who had been watching the game with
the most intense interest and yet with a sense of complete bewilderment.
The intricacies of the game were new to her, but she knew that her boy
had won, and at the applause showered upon him her fond heart swelled
with motherly pride.

“What do you think of that son of yours now?” Mabel asked gaily. “Didn’t
I tell you he was going to win?”

“It was j-just wonderful,” replied Mrs. Matson, reaching for her
handkerchief to stay the happy tears that had not been far from her eyes
all through the game.

Mr. Matson had renewed his youth, and his eyes were shining like a
boy’s. Clara clapped her hands and laughed almost hysterically.

“Oh, oh, oh!” she cried. “And he’s my brother!”

Mabel laughed and gave her a little affectionate pat.

“I don’t wonder that you’re proud of him,” she said. Joe would have been
glad to hear the slight tremble in her voice.

In the clubhouse there was, of course, a mighty celebration. A lead
of one game in such a series as that promised to be was, as “Robbie”
exultantly said, “not to be sneezed at.” Now they would have to win only
three more to be sure of the flag, while the Red Sox needed to take four.

And yet, despite the victory, there was no undue boasting or elation.
They had not won by any such margin as to justify too rosy a view of
the future. The Red Sox had fought for the game tooth and nail, and
at various stages a hair would have turned the balance one way or the
other. The Bostons were an enemy to be dreaded, and a profound respect
for their opponents had been implanted in the Giants’ breasts.

Besides, McRae knew that he had “played his ace” in putting Joe into
the box. He had no pitcher of equal rank to bring out on the morrow,
while at least two of the Red Sox boxmen were quite as high as Fraser in
quality.

“You did splendidly to-day, Matson,” said McRae to Joe, clapping him
jovially on the shoulder.

“I’m glad we won,” responded Joe. “But that Fraser is no slouch when it
comes to putting them over.”

“He’s a crackerjack,” the manager admitted. “But you topped him all the
way through. We raked him for seven hits, though he kept them pretty
well scattered. But they only got to you for three, and one of them was
a scratch. And he was wobbly twice, while you only gave one pass.”

“That crack of Burkett’s was a dandy,” observed Joe. “And it came just
in the nick of time.”

“It was a lulu,” chuckled McRae. “My heart was in my mouth when I saw
Cooper making for it. Mighty few hits get away from that bird, but it
was just a bit too high for him.”

Both teams were to leave for Boston that night. A special train made up
entirely of Pullman cars had been prepared to carry them, together with
hundreds of enthusiasts who had planned to go with them back and forth
and see each game of the Series. They would reach the city a little
after midnight, and in order that the athletes might not be disturbed,
they would be shunted into a remote part of the railroad yards where
they could slumber peacefully until morning.

But several hours were to elapse before the train started. Joe hurried
into his street clothes, and, accompanied by Jim Barclay, was whirled
away in a taxicab to the Marlborough, where they had arranged to have a
jolly dinner with his family and the Varleys.

The baseball players found everything ready for them, and the welcome
that greeted them warmed their hearts.

“What a pity that we haven’t a band here ready to strike up: ‘Hail the
conquering heroes come,’” said Mabel, mischievously.

“‘Hero,’ you mean,” corrected Jim. “I’m shining with only reflected
glory. Here’s the real hero of the piece,” indicating Joe. “I’m only one
of the Roman populace.”

“And who’s the villain?” smiled Mr. Matson.

“Oh, Fraser was the villain,” responded Jim. “But Joe foiled him just as
he was about to carry away the che-ild.”

Barclay had not yet met Joe’s family, but now Joe introduced him to his
parents and Clara. They greeted him cordially, and Clara’s eyes fell
before the admiration that leaped into Jim’s merry blue ones.

It is barely possible that that young lady had thought more than once
of what Joe had said of Barclay in the letter that had enclosed the
thousand dollar bill. And now as she studied him shyly from time to
time while he chatted away gaily, she had no difficulty in understanding
why Joe had spoken so enthusiastically of his friend. And she was not
sorry that Mabel had arranged that she and Jim should sit next each
other at the table.

They were soon talking with freedom and animation.

“You ought to be awfully proud of that brother of yours,” Jim declared.

“I should say so!” Clara exclaimed. “He’s the dearest brother that ever
lived.”

“He’s a prince,” assented Jim. “A finer fellow never trod in shoe
leather. I owe an awful lot to him, Miss Matson. I was feeling as
forlorn as only a ‘rookie’ can feel when I broke into the big league,
but he took me up at once and we’ve been like brothers ever since.”

“He’s often spoken of you in his letters home,” replied Clara. “I’d tell
you what he said of you, only it would make you too conceited.”

“And he’s raved to me about that sister of his,” said Jim. “He’s done
more than that. He’s shown me your picture. I’ve been tempted more than
once to steal it from him.”

“What a desperate criminal,” laughed Clara, her cheeks growing pink.

“I think any jury would justify me if they once saw the picture,”
replied Jim, gallantly, “and they certainly would if they caught sight
of the original.”

From this it can be seen that these young folks were fast becoming very
friendly.

“It has been the dream of my life to see New York and Boston,” observed
Clara.

“Is that so?” said Jim, eagerly. “I know both of them like a book. You
must let me show you around.”

“That’s very nice of you,” said Clara, demurely. “But I suppose Joe will
want----”

“Oh, of course,” said Jim. “But Joe will be so busy you know with the
games. He’ll be under a big strain, while I’ll probably have plenty of
time. I’m only a sort of fifth wheel to the coach, while Joe’s the whole
thing. And then, too, Joe’s already got Mabel, and it isn’t fair that he
should have two lovely girls while I’m left out in the cold. You really
must take pity on me.”

Few girls would have been so hard-hearted as to let such a handsome
young fellow as Jim die of grief, and Clara had no intention of
hastening his demise by excessive cruelty on her part. So she assented,
though with the proper degree of maidenly hesitation, and they began
merrily to map out plans for the coming week.

Joe, seated with Mabel on one side and his mother on the other, had also
been enjoying himself hugely through the dinner, while Reggie and Mr.
Matson found plenty to talk about in discussing the events of the day.
The time passed all too swiftly and before they knew it they had to
begin preparations for the journey.

“Let’s look at the weather probabilities for to-morrow,” said Joe,
buying an evening paper at the newsstand as they passed through the
Grand Central Terminal.

“Um--cloudy and unsettled,” he read.

“That means that we’ll have to get busy and win in the first five
innings before the rain comes,” laughed Jim.

“It ought to be a good day to pitch Markwith,” returned Joe. “With a
cloudy day and that blinding speed of his they won’t be able to see the
ball.”

The two young athletes saw their party to their car, and after a few
moments of pleasant chat bade them good-night and repaired to the
Pullmans that had been reserved for the Giant team.

All were in a most jovial mood and filled with highest hopes for the
morrow. Joke and banter flew back and forth, until the watchful McRae
asserted the claims of discipline and sent them all to their berths.

The next morning when they drew the curtains, they found that the
weather man’s prognostications had been correct. Dull, leaden-colored
clouds chased each other across the sky and a bleak wind came from the
east.

“Looks like soggy weather, sure enough,” commented Jim, as he met Joe in
the lavatory.

“It certainly does,” assented Joe. “Hope it holds off till after the
game. It may cut down the attendance.”

“No danger of that unless it rains cats and dogs,” rejoined Jim. “Boston
is the best baseball city in the country, and it’ll take more than a few
clouds or even a drizzle to keep the crowds away.”

They breakfasted in the dining car, and then Joe’s party adjourned to
the hotel where rooms had been reserved. There was not much time for
sight seeing, but they all had a pleasant little stroll on the Common
and in the wonderful Botanical Gardens, before their duties called the
young men away to the baseball grounds.

The weather still continued threatening, but as Jim had prophesied, this
did not affect the attendance. Boston was as wild over the Series as
New York, and long before noon Commonwealth Avenue and Gaffney Street
were packed with the oncoming throngs. By the time the game started the
enormous Braves Field was packed to its utmost capacity.

Personally, McRae welcomed the overcast sky. It was a pitcher’s day, a
day that called for speed, and speed as everybody knew was Markwith’s
“long suit.”

“Smoke ’em over, Red,” was McRae’s admonition, when he told Markwith he
was slated to pitch. “If we can only put this game on the right side of
the ledger, the world’s flag is as good as won. Give us a lead of two
games and it will take the spine out of those birds. They’ll never catch
up.”

“I get you, Mac,” grinned the pitcher. “I’ll zip ’em over so fast
they’ll have to use glasses to see ’em.”

For four innings it looked as though his prophecy would be fulfilled.
His companions played like fiends behind him, and although the Bostons
got to him for three bingles, they were scattered ones, and not a man
got as far as third base.

“Looks as though Red had their goat, John,” Robson remarked to McRae.

“He’s doing fine,” McRae returned, “and our boys seem to be getting to
Banks pretty freely.”

The Giants had, in fact, got a pretty good line on Banks, the port
flinger of the Red Sox, and had accumulated three runs, which, with
Markwith going as he was, seemed a very comfortable lead.

But the glorious uncertainty of the national game was demonstrated in
the next inning. The Giants had been disposed of in their half with a
goose egg, and the Red Sox came in to bat.

The first man up was given a base on balls. The next hit a sharp bounder
to Denton, who ought to have made an easy out either at first or
second, but he juggled the ball and both men were safe.

The error seemed to unnerve Markwith, and he gave another pass, filling
the bases.

“Get to him, boys!” screamed the Boston coacher on the side lines near
first base. “He’s got nothing on the ball but his glove and a prayer.”

Walters, the slugging center fielder, caught the second ball pitched
right on the seam and sent it on a line between left and center for the
cleanest of home runs, clearing the bases and denting the rubber himself
for the fourth run. In jig time, the Red Sox had wiped out the Giants’
advantage and taken the lead.

The crowd went wild and the “Tessie” song swelled up from the stands.

McRae, with his brow like a thunder cloud, beckoned Red from the box and
called in Jim, who, as a matter of precaution but with little idea of
being called upon, had been warming up in a corner of the grounds.

“It’s up to you, Barclay,” he said as he handed him the ball. “Let’s see
now what stuff you’re made of.”

Joe gave Jim an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

“Steady does it, old man,” he said. “They’re only one run ahead and the
bases are empty. Hold them down and our boys will hand you enough runs
to win out.”

It was a trying position for a young and comparatively new pitcher, but
Jim was a “comer” and had already proved in other games that he had both
skill and nerve.

“Knock this one out of the box, too,” came from the stands.

“Sew up the game right now!”

“Eat him up!”

“He’ll be easy!”

“Oh, you Red Sox!”

Jim wound up and shot one over for a strike.

“Easy, is he?” came back from the Giant supporters. “Just watch that
boy’s smoke.”

Another strike followed, and the stands sobered down a little.

“You’re out,” called the umpire, as a third strike split the plate.

Shouts of delight and encouragement came from the Giants’ bench, and
McRae’s face lightened somewhat.

The next man went out on a high foul, and the inning ended when Stock
popped an easy fly to the box.

“Bully for you, old man!” came from his mates, as Jim walked in from the
mound.

“Knock out some runs now, you fellows,” admonished McRae. “Barclay can’t
do it all. And do it in a hurry, too. I don’t like the way those clouds
are coming up.”

The sky was blackening rapidly, and the wind, coming from the east in
strong gusts, told that a storm was on the way.

The Giants knew the need of haste, and they went at their work fiercely.
Larry started proceedings with a rattling two bagger. Denton sacrificed
him to third. Willis lined out a single, bringing in Larry and reaching
second himself a moment later on a passed ball. Becker sent one to right
that scored Willis and netted two bags for himself. Iredell went out
on an infield catch, but Mylert came to the rescue with a sizzling hit
that brought Becker to the plate amid frantic shouts from the New York
rooters.

Three runs had been scored and New York was again in the lead by six to
four. Two men were out. But now rain began to fall, although at first it
was only a drizzle, and McRae, frenzied with anxiety, ordered Burkett to
strike out.

Now, of course, it was the Bostons’ cue to delay the game. If they could
prevent the sixth inning from being fully played out before the rain
stopped proceedings, the score would revert to what it was at the end of
the fifth inning and Boston would be declared the winner.

They came in slowly from the field, stopping frequently to talk to each
other. Then when at last they were at their bench, the first batter
took unusual pains in selecting his bat. And all the time the rain was
falling more heavily.

McRae rushed at the umpire.

“Can’t you see what they’re doing?” he demanded. “Make them play ball.”

The umpire turned sternly to the batter.

“Hurry up there,” he commanded. “None of your monkey tricks or I’ll
forfeit the game to the New Yorks.”

Thus adjured, the batter sauntered as slowly as he dared to the plate.

Jim put over a strike.

“That wasn’t a strike,” argued the Boston captain. “It didn’t come
within six inches of the plate.”

“No argument,” snapped the umpire, who saw through the tactics. “Go
ahead there,” he called to Jim.

Jim put over two more. The batter did not even offer at them. He had
figured that with an occasional ball switched in it would take more time
to put him out on strikes than if he gave a fielder’s chance. But there
were no balls and he was declared out.

The second man crawled like a snail to the plate. It was pouring now and
the bleachers were black with umbrellas. The Giants were fairly dancing
up and down with impatience and apprehension.

Jim pitched like lightning, not waiting to wind up. But before he could
dispose of the batsmen, the heavens opened and the rain came down in
torrents.

[Illustration: THE HEAVENS OPENED AND THE RAIN CAME DOWN IN TORRENTS.]

Play was impossible. The umpire called the game and everybody scurried
for shelter.

Old Jupiter Pluvius had taken a hand in the game.



CHAPTER XIII

A GALLANT EFFORT


It is needless to paint the exasperation on the faces of McRae and
Robson and the rest of the Giant team, as they saw victory taken from
them just as they were tightening their grip upon it.

“Talk about luck,” growled McRae. “Those fellows have got hogsheads of
it.”

“Why couldn’t that rain have held off for ten minutes more?” groaned the
rotund Robson.

“It may let up even yet enough to let the game go on,” remarked Larry,
though without much conviction.

“Such a chance,” grunted Willis. “Why, you could take a swim at second
base already.”

There was, indeed, little hope of resuming the game, although in
accordance with the rules, if the rain ceased in half an hour and the
grounds were in condition for play, the umpires could call the teams
back to the field. But the rain was blinding, and to wait around any
longer was only a matter of form.

Joe and Jim had worked their way through the crowds to the box in
which their party sat. In the neat, gray, traveling uniforms that set
their athletic figures off to perfection, the girls thought they looked
handsomer than ever.

All gave them a hearty welcome and gladly made room for them. It was, of
course, only by a coincidence that Joe found himself next to Mabel while
Jim sat close to Clara.

“I’m so glad your side won, Joe,” said motherly Mrs. Matson, beaming
lovingly on her son and heir.

“But we didn’t, Momsey,” Joe laughed a little ruefully.

“Why, I kept count of the runs,” said his mother in surprise, “and your
side made six while the others had only four.”

“That’s right, but our last three don’t count,” explained Joe. “If we
could only have finished out this last inning, we’d have won. But it
wasn’t finished, and so the score went back to the end of the fifth
inning when the Bostons were ahead four to three.”

“I think that’s a shame!” exclaimed his mother, with as near an approach
to indignation as her kindly nature was capable of feeling.

“Those old Bostons were just horrid to try to delay the game that way,”
declared Clara.

“It wasn’t a bit sportsmanlike,” declared Mabel, warmly.

Joe favored Jim with a solemn wink. Both knew that the Giants would have
done precisely the same thing if positions had been reversed. It was a
legitimate enough part of the game if one could “get away with it.”

“Yes,” assented Joe, keeping his face straight. “It didn’t seem exactly
the thing.”

“I don’t wonder Mr. McRae was angry,” said Mabel. “I’m sure he wouldn’t
have done a thing like that.”

Joe had a sudden choking fit.

“Well,” he said, “there’s no use crying over spilt milk. We ought to
have made those runs earlier in the game, that’s all.”

“I felt so sorry for poor Mr. Markwith,” said Mrs. Matson. “It must have
been very mortifying to have to give up before so many people.”

“Poor Red,” said Joe. “It was too bad, especially when he got away to
such a splendid start. But every pitcher has to take his medicine some
time. Pitchers are very much like race horses. One day no one can beat
them and another day any one can beat them.”

“I think you did splendidly, Mr. Barclay,” said Clara, shyly.

“Oh, I didn’t have much to do,” said Jim. “Just the same,” he added,
dropping his voice a trifle, “I’d rather hear you say that than any one
else I know.”

The flush that made Clara look like a wild rose deepened in her cheeks
not only from the words but the quick look that accompanied them.

“Don’t you think it might clear up yet?” she asked, changing the subject.

Jim followed her gaze reluctantly. He had something better to look at
than the weather.

“The clouds do seem to be breaking away a little,” he assented. “But the
base paths are a sea of mud, and the outfield is a perfect quagmire.
There go the umpires now to look at it.”

Those dignitaries (there were four of them that officiated at each game,
one behind the plate, one at the bases and the two others at the foul
lines in right and left field, respectively) were, as a matter of fact,
solemnly stalking out on the field.

From the stands went up a thunderous roar: “Call the game! Call the
game!”

The Boston rooters were taking no chances and were perfectly willing to
go without further baseball that afternoon, now that their favorites had
the game won.

But their exhortations were unnecessary. Even McRae, clinging
desperately to the last chance, could not in justice to his common sense
urge that play should be continued. It was clearly impossible, and would
have degenerated into a farce that would have risked the limbs of his
athletes, to say nothing of the harm it would work to the game.

So there was no protest when the game was formally and finally declared
off, and the disgruntled New Yorks gathered up their bats and strode
from the field.

“Never mind, boys,” comforted McRae. “We can beat the Red Sox but we
can’t beat them and the rain together. Better luck next time.”

“That listens good,” grumbled “Robbie,” who refused to be consoled. “But
now we’ve lost the jump on them and it’s all to be done over again.”

“Well, we’re no worse off than they are, anyway,” returned the Giant
manager.

“If we could only pitch Matson every day, the Series would be a cinch,”
mused Robson.

“A copper-riveted cinch,” agreed McRae. “But I was mightily encouraged
at the way young Barclay mowed them down. The ball didn’t look any
bigger than a pea as it came over the plate.”

“He certainly had lots of stuff on the ball,” admitted Robson. “I wonder
if he can stand the gaff for a full game.”

“I don’t know whether he’s seasoned enough for that yet,” said McRae,
thoughtfully. “But it’ll stand a lot of thinking about. We’ll see first
though how Hughson’s feeling when we get back to New York.”

The return journey to New York was not by any means so joyful as the
trip out had been. Still, there was no discouragement in the Giants’
camp. They had played good ball and with the lead they had and the way
Jim was pitching would probably have won if it had not been for the
rain. And on the theory that the good and bad luck of the game usually
struck an average, they felt that they were due to have the break in
their favor the next time.

As for Joe and Jim, although, of course, they shared the chagrin
of their mates, their cloud had plenty of silver lining. They had
played their own parts well so far in the Series, and had no painful
recollections to grow moody about. And then, too, were they not in the
company of the two girls whom they devoutly believed to be the most
charming in the world?

They made the most of that company in the quiet Sunday that followed.
Mr. and Mrs. Matson smilingly declined Reggie’s cordial invitation, on
the ground that they were feeling the need of rest after the excitement.
The young people bundled into the car and they had a delightful ride
through the woods of Westchester, whose trees were putting on their
autumn tints of scarlet and russet and gold. A supper at the Claremont
put the finish to a day in which the blind god with his bow and arrows
had been extremely busy, and the drive home through the twilight was
something none of them ever forgot.

The next morning, Joe, scanning the paper, gave a delighted exclamation.

“What’s the matter?” asked Jim, disturbed in a pleasing reverie that had
nothing to do with baseball.

“Matter enough,” returned Joe, handing him the paper. “Hughson’s going
to pitch. McRae must have fixed it up with him yesterday.”

“Gallant old scout!” cried Jim, his eyes kindling. “I was sure he’d get
into the scrap somewhere. The only way you could keep that old war horse
out of the World Series would be to hit him with an axe!”



CHAPTER XIV

MORE HARD LUCK


“Won’t this make Boston feel sore!” Baseball Joe exulted.

“You bet it will,” chuckled Jim. “That’s the one thing they were banking
on more than anything else. With Hughson out, they thought we didn’t
have a chance.”

“Let’s get through breakfast in a hurry and run up and see the old boy,”
cried Joe.

Jim needed no urging and they were soon in a taxicab and on their way to
Hughson’s home.

They were met at the door by Mrs. Hughson, who greeted them with a
pleasant smile and ushered them into the living room, where they found
the great pitcher stretched out at his ease and running over the columns
of the morning paper.

He jumped to his feet when he saw who his visitors were, and there was a
hearty interchange of handshakes.

“So Richard is himself again,” beamed Joe.

“Best news we’ve had in a dog’s age,” added Jim.

“Yes, I guess the old salary wing is on the job again,” laughed Hughson.

“How’s it feeling?” asked Joe, eagerly.

“Fine as silk,” Hughson responded. “I’ve been trying it out gradually,
and I don’t see but what I can put them over as well as ever I did. It
hurts me a little on the high, fast ones, but everything else I’ve got
in stock seems to go as well as I could ask.”

“What does the doctor say about your pitching?” asked Jim.

“Oh, he’s dead set against it,” was the answer. “Tells me it isn’t well
yet by any means, and that it may go back on me any minute. But you know
how those doctors are. They always want to make a sure thing of it. But
McRae and I have been talking it over, and we’ve concluded that in the
present condition of things it might be well to take a chance.”

“That head of yours is all right, anyway, you old fox,” laughed Joe.
“You’ve always pitched with that as much as with your arm. You’ll
outguess those fellows, even if you have to favor your arm a little.”

“We’ll hope so, anyway,” was the reply. “That was hard luck the boys had
in Boston on Saturday, wasn’t it? Pity we couldn’t have had it played
here that day. It didn’t rain a drop in New York.”

“We were surely up against it,” replied Joe. “But to-day’s another day
and we’ll hope it tells a different story.”

“By the way,” grinned Hughson, “an old friend of yours was up here
yesterday.”

“Is that so?” asked Joe. “Who was it?”

“‘Bugs’ Hartley.”

The two young men gave vent to an exclamation of surprise.

“He’s a great friend of mine,” said Joe, dryly. “He met me on the street
the other night and showed me that I was as popular with him as a
rattlesnake at a picnic party.”

“He certainly is sore at you,” Hughson laughed. “He started in to pan
you but I shut him up in a hurry. I told him that you’d always done
everything you could to help him, and I hinted to him that we knew
pretty well who drugged your coffee that day you pitched against the
Phillies. He swore, of course, that he didn’t do it.”

“I know that he did,” Joe replied. “But still I’ve never felt so sore
against poor old Bugs as I would have felt against any one else who did
such a thing, because I knew that he was a little queer in the head.
Even now I’d gladly do him a favor if I could. What did he come here
for?”

“He wanted to get on to Boston but didn’t have the price,” answered
Hughson. “He thought that if he could see Rawlings he might get a
chance with the Braves for next season. And he might, at that. You know
what Rawlings has done with a lot of cast-offs from other teams, and if
he could keep Bugs from kicking over the traces he might get something
out of him next year. You know as well as I do what Bugs can do in the
pitching line if he’ll only brace up and cut out drink. So I coughed up
enough to send him on and I hope he’ll get another chance.”

“I hope so,” rejoined Joe, heartily. “There are mighty few teams that
can beat him when he’s right.”

“But keep your eyes open, Joe, just the same,” counseled Hughson. “He’s
holding a grudge against you in that old twisted brain of his, and you’d
be as safe with him as if you were on a battlefield.”

“I guess he’s done his worst already,” Joe laughed carelessly.

They talked a few minutes longer, and then, as the rubber came in to
give Hughson’s arm its daily massage, they took their way downtown.

The whole city was alive with excitement at the news that the famous
standby of the Giants was to be in the box that afternoon. Yet mingled
with this was an under current of anxiety. Was he in shape to pitch?
Would that mighty arm of his hold out, so soon after his injury?

If wild and long-continued cheering could have won the game, it would
have been won right at the start when Hughson came out on the field a
little while before the gong sounded.

It was a tribute of which any man might have been proud. For more than a
dozen years he had been the mainstay of the team. His record had never
been approached in baseball history.

Year in and year out he had pitched his team to victory. Several times
they had won the pennant of the National League, and even when they
failed they had always been up among the contenders. And more than to
any single man, this had been due to Hughson’s stout heart and mighty
arm.

And the affection showered upon him was due not only to his prowess as
a twirler, but to his character as a man. He was a credit to the game.
The fines and discipline, so necessary in the case of many brilliant
players, had never been visited upon him. He had steered clear of
dissipation in any form. He was sportsmanlike and generous. Players on
opposing teams liked him, the umpires respected him, his mates idolized
him, and the great baseball public hailed him with acclamations whenever
he appeared on the field.

And to-day the applause was heartier than ever because of the importance
of the game and also in recognition of his gameness in coming to the
help of his team so soon after a serious accident.

“They’re all with you, Hughson,” smiled McRae, as the bronzed pitcher
lifted his cap in response to the cheers that rose from every quarter of
the field.

“They seem to be, John,” replied Hughson. “Let’s hope they won’t be
disappointed.”

As the game went on, it seemed as though the hopes of the spectators
were to be gratified.

The veteran pitched superbly for seven innings. His twirling was up to
the standard of his best games. He mowed the opposing batsman down one
after the other, and as inning after inning passed with only two scratch
hits as the Bostons’ total, it began to look as though it would be a
shutout for the visitors.

“They’ve got holes in their bats,” cried McRae, gleefully, as he brought
his hand down on Robson’s knee with a thump.

“It sure looks like it!” ejaculated Robbie. “But for the love of Mike,
John, go easy. That ham of yours weighs a hundred pounds.”

But the Boston pitcher, stirred up by the fact that he was pitted
against the great Hughson, was also “going great guns.” Larry and
Burkett had been the only Giants so far to solve his delivery. Each had
hammered out a brace of hits, but their comrades had been unable to
bring them in from the bags on which they were roosting.

“Get after him, boys,” raged McRae. “You’re hitting like a bunch from
the old ladies’ home. Split the game wide open.”

They promised vehemently to knock the cover off the ball, but the Red
Sox pitcher, Landers, was not a party to the bargain and he obstinately
refused to “crack.”

In the first half of the eighth, Cooper, of the Bostons, knocked up an
infield fly that either Larry or Denton could have got easily. But they
collided in running for it and the ball fell to the ground and rolled
out toward center. Iredell, who was backing up the play, retrieved it,
but in the mix-up, Cooper, by fast running, reached second.

Though both men had been shaken up by the collision they were not
seriously injured, and after a few minutes play was resumed.

But in the strained condition of the players’ nerves, the accident had
to some degree unstrung them. So that when Berry chopped an easy roller
to Denton that the latter ordinarily would have “eaten up,” he juggled
it for a moment. Then, in his haste to make the put-out at first, he
threw wild and the ball went over Burkett’s head. Before he could get it
back, Cooper had scored and Berry was on third.

The Boston rooters howled like wild men, and their hats went sailing
into the air.

Hughson, cool as an iceberg, brought his fadeaway into play and whiffed
the next man up. Then Hobbs rolled one to the left of the box. Hughson
made a great reach for it and got it, though he slipped and fell as he
did so. He snapped the ball, however, to Mylert, nipping Berry at the
plate.

Mylert returned the ball to Hughson who took his position in the box and
began to wind up. But almost instantly his hand dropped to his side.

He tried again but fruitlessly.

McRae ran out to him in consternation.



CHAPTER XV

FLEMING TURNS UP AGAIN


“What’s the matter, Hughson?” McRae cried.

“The old arm won’t work,” replied the pitcher. “Guess I hurt it in the
same old place when I fell.”

His fellow players crowded around him, and the umpire, who had called
time, came up to ascertain the damage.

The club doctor also ran out from his seat in the stands near the press
box and made a hurried examination.

“You’ve strained those ligaments again,” he remarked, “and as far as I
can tell now one of them is broken. I told you that they weren’t healed
enough for you to pitch.”

McRae groaned in sympathy with Hughson and in dismay for himself and his
team. He had been congratulating himself that with Hughson in the fine
form he had showed that afternoon the world’s pennant was as good as won.

“It’s too bad, old man,” he said to Hughson. “You never pitched better.
You were just burning them over.”

“I’m fearfully sorry,” Hughson answered. “I did want to be in the thick
of the fight with the rest of the boys. But I guess all I can do from
now on is to root for them.”

He took off his glove and walked over to the bench, amid a chorus of
commiserating shouts from the stands.

McRae beckoned to Joe.

“Jump in, Joe,” he directed briefly, “and hold them down. They’ve only
got one run. I’m depending on you to see that they don’t get any more.”

Joe went into the box and tossed two or three to Mylert to get the range
of the plate. He had a greeting from the fans that warmed the cockles of
his heart.

There were two men out and Hobbs was dancing around first. Joe saw out
of the corner of his eye that he was taking too big a lead, and snapped
the ball like a bullet to Burkett. Hobbs tried desperately to get back
but was nipped by a foot.

Joe had finished putting out the side without pitching a ball.

“Some speed that,” came from the stands.

“I guess Matson’s slow.”

“We don’t have to pitch to beat you fellows,” piped a fan and the crowd
roared.

But nothing could hide the fact that the Red Sox were ahead. McRae
brought all his resources into play and sent two pinch hitters to
the plate. But though one of them, Browning, knocked out a corking
three-bagger, the inning ended without results.

In the ninth, Joe had no trouble in disposing of the men who faced him.
His slants and cross fire had them “buffaloed.” One went out on a foul,
another was an easy victim at first, and he put on the finishing touch
by striking the third man out.

McRae tore round among his men like an elephant on a rampage as they
came in for their half of the ninth. They, however, needed no urging.
They were as wild to win as he was himself, and they were almost frantic
as they saw victory slipping from them.

They did do something, but not enough. By the time two men were out,
there was a Giant on first and another on second. Larry, the slugger of
the team, was at the bat. He picked out a fast one and sent it hurtling
on a line to left. It looked like a sure hit, but Stock, the shortstop,
leaped high into the air and speared it with his gloved hand, and the
shout that had gone up from the stands ended in a groan.

Three games of the Series had been played and the Red Sox had won two of
them!

It was a disgruntled band of athletes who went under the shower in the
Giant clubhouse that afternoon, and when Joe and Jim joined their party
at the Marlborough in the early evening, the air of jubilation they had
worn on the day of the first game was conspicuous by its absence.

“If you had that band here you were talking about Friday, what do you
suppose they would play?” Joe asked of Mabel, after the first greetings
were over.

“They ought to play the ‘Dead March in Saul,’” Jim volunteered.

“Not a bit of it,” denied Mabel, cheerily.

    “There’s a better day coming and dinna’ ye doubt it,
     So just be canty wi’ thinking about it,”

she quoted, flashing a sunny smile at Joe that made him feel more
cheerful at once.

“It was too bad,” comforted Mrs. Matson. “But, anyway, Joe, it wasn’t
your fault,” she added, beaming fondly on her son.

“Call it misfortune then, Momsey,” Joe smiled back at her. “But it
surely was that. We lost the game, we lost it on our own grounds, we
were whitewashed, and worst of all Hughson is out for the rest of the
Series.”

“That’s enough for one day,” acquiesced Jim.

“Stop your grouching, you fellows,” admonished Reggie. “You’ll have
plenty of chances to even things up.”

“Oh, we’ll fight all the harder,” agreed Joe. “There isn’t a streak of
yellow in the whole Giant team. The boys will fight like wildcats and
never give up until the last man is out in the deciding game. We’re
looking for revenge to-morrow.”

“And maybe revenge won’t be sweet!” chimed in Jim.

“Who is going to pitch for your side to-morrow?” asked Mr. Matson.

“McRae gave me a tip that I was to go in,” Joe answered.

“Then we might as well count the game as good as won,” declared Mabel.

“That certainly sounds good,” laughed Joe. “But suppose I should be
batted out of the box? I wouldn’t dare show my diminished head among you
folks then.”

“We’re not worrying a bit about that,” put in Clara, looking proudly at
her idolized brother.

But the question was not to be settled on the morrow, for when the
day dawned in Boston the rain was falling steadily, and the weather
predictions were that the rain would continue for the greater part of
the day.

For once, at least, the much maligned weather prophet was right, for at
noon the rain had not abated, and, much to the disgust of the expectant
public, the game was declared off.

By the rules that had been made to cover such an event, the teams were
to stay in Boston until the first fair day should permit the game to be
played.

The different members of Joe’s party were rather widely scattered,
when the sun finally peeped out in the course of the afternoon. Reggie
had taken his sister out to a country club where he had a number of
acquaintances. Mrs. Matson and Clara were doing some shopping in the
Boston stores and Mr. Matson had gone out for a stroll.

Joe and Jim had been downtown with the rest of the team having a
heart-to-heart talk with McRae and Robson about the strategy to be
adopted in the forthcoming games.

By four o’clock the sun was shining gloriously and the roads were
beginning to dry out. Just the day, Joe thought, to hire a runabout just
big enough for two and take Mabel out for a spin.

He conjectured that by the time he got the car and reached the hotel
Mabel would have returned from her trip with Reggie and be ready for him.

“Come along, Jim, and help me to pick out the car,” he said.

They went to a neighboring garage and selected one which both agreed was
a good one.

“Jump in, Jim,” said Joe, “and I’ll give you a ride as far as the hotel.”

They were bowling rapidly along, when an automobile passed them, moving
at a rate of speed that was almost reckless. Joe saw that a man and a
woman were the only occupants.

He glanced carelessly at the man and was startled when he saw that it
was Beckworth Fleming.

But he was still more startled when his eyes passed to the face of
Fleming’s companion.

It was Mabel!

Jim, too, was staring as though he could not believe his eyes.

For a moment Joe saw red and his blood boiled with rage. He stopped the
car and looked back.

Then his rage turned to alarm, for Mabel was looking back and waving to
him frantically, while her companion seemed to be trying to draw her
back.

She was in peril!

Instantly, Joe turned his car and tore away in pursuit.



CHAPTER XVI

A CAD’S PUNISHMENT


The hotel at which Mabel had been stopping with the rest of the party
was in a quiet residential section not far from the suburbs, and Joe
had almost reached it at the time of the encounter. There was little
traffic here to interfere with the chase, and in a few minutes pursuer
and pursued had cleared the outskirts and were in the open country.

Joe caught a glimpse of Fleming looking back and saw that the latter
knew he was being followed, a knowledge which was followed by a sudden
quickening in the pace of Fleming’s car.

It was, evidently, a powerful machine, and despite Joe’s utmost efforts
the gap between the two cars kept constantly widening.

Joe had had a good deal of experience in handling automobiles during his
big league career, and was a cool and skilful driver. But the utmost
exertion of his skill could avail little when he had an inferior car
pitted against one which greatly exceeded it in horse power.

His heart was in his mouth as he saw how recklessly Fleming was
speeding. His car seemed to be on two wheels only as he took the curves
in the road.

How Mabel came to be in that car was a question that could wait for an
answer till later. The only thing that mattered now was that she was
there with a man she dreaded and despised, and her frenzied waving told
Joe that she was in mortal fear and looked for him to help her.

Jim sat perfectly still without saying a word. Nothing must distract Joe
for a second from that car and the view of the road ahead. He knew what
nerves of steel were back of the sinewy hand that clutched the wheel. He
had grasped the meaning of the chase, and he shared with his friend the
determination that the cad in the car ahead should pay dearly for this
escapade.

Suddenly Joe gave an exultant cry.

As they turned a curve, he saw that a railroad crossing lay ahead and
that the gates were down, while a long freight train was lumbering
leisurely by.

Fleming could not get past till the gates were raised, and by that time
Joe would be upon him.

There was no cross road between him and the track into which Fleming’s
car could escape. His enemy was trapped.

“You’ve got him, Joe!” exclaimed Jim, with a thrill of exultation in his
voice.

“Yes,” Joe gritted between his teeth. “I’ve got him.”

And his tone would not have reassured Beckworth Fleming.

Fleming’s car had halted and Fleming himself had jumped out and run
wildly to the gate, looking up the track to see if the train was nearly
by. He saw at a glance that it would not have passed before Joe would be
upon him.

From the other side of the car, Mabel had leaped as soon as it had
stopped. She came running back up the road, and Joe, who had stopped,
rushed forward and took her in his arms. She was sobbing with fright and
excitement, and Joe held her close as he tried to soothe her.

Fleming saw that the game was up and promptly darted off into the wood
at the side of the road.

“After him, Jim!” cried Joe. “Don’t let him get away!”

Jim darted after the fugitive. Fleming put on all possible speed, but he
was no match for the seasoned athlete, and a moment later Jim’s muscular
hand had him by the collar.

“Let me go,” snarled the wretch, struggling desperately.

“Come along,” growled Jim, dragging him to the spot in the road where
Joe was comforting Mabel, who was gradually getting back some of her
self-control.

The tender look in Joe’s eyes was replaced by one of a different
character as he looked at the flushed, dissipated face of the man who
stood before him, still held by Jim.

“Now, Mr. Beckworth Fleming, I have an account to settle with you.”

Fleming shrank back as far as Jim’s grip would let him before the steely
look in Joe’s eyes.

“Don’t be afraid,” said Joe, contemptuously. “I’m not going to thrash
you in the presence of a lady.”

Relief came into Fleming’s face.

“It was only a lark,” he began, but Joe cut him short.

“I don’t care for any explanations,” he said. “I want you to go down on
your knees in the road and beg Miss Varley’s pardon.”

Fleming looked around for some means of escape but found none. His
furtive glance at Mabel fell before the scorn in her eyes.

“I apologize,” he jerked out sullenly.

“Down on your knees, I said,” remarked Joe with dangerous calmness.

Fleming hesitated before this last humiliation, but Jim’s knuckles in
his neck decided him.

“I beg your pardon,” he muttered, getting down on his knees and
scrambling again to his feet as hastily as possible.

“And now, Jim,” Joe continued, “if you’ll just take Mabel up the road a
little way around that curve, I’ll finish this little account with Mr.
Fleming.”

Fear sprang into Fleming’s eyes.

“You said you wouldn’t,” he began.

“I said I wouldn’t thrash you in the presence of a lady, and I’m going
to keep my word,” said Joe, imperturbably. “Please, Jim.”

He relinquished Mabel to his friend, and Jim assumed the responsibility
with a cheerful grin.

“Don’t hurt him, Joe,” Mabel urged, hesitatingly.

“I won’t kill him, Mabel,” Joe answered. “I only want to impress a few
things on his memory so firmly that he’ll never forget them.”

Jim gently urged Mabel out of sight beyond a curve two hundred feet away.

When they had vanished, Joe turned to Fleming.

“Take off your coat,” he ordered curtly.

“What are you going to do?” asked Fleming, fearfully. “I warn you that
if you hit me----”

“Take off your coat,” repeated Joe, setting him the example.

As Fleming still hesitated, Joe reached over and slapped his face
lightly.

“You seem to need a stimulant to get you going,” he taunted.

Even a rat will fight when cornered, and Fleming, with an exclamation of
rage, threw off his coat and rushed furiously at Joe.

The latter met him with an uppercut that shook him from head to foot.
Then he sailed into Fleming and gave him a most thorough thrashing. Nor
did he let up until Fleming with a highly decorated face lay helpless in
the road, sobbing with shame and rage and whining for mercy.

“I guess that’s enough for the present,” said Joe, who had not a mark on
him, as he resumed his coat. “You’d better get into that car of yours
and drive home before your eyes are entirely closed. And remember that
this isn’t a circumstance to what you’ll get if you ever dare to speak
to Miss Varley again.”

He turned his back upon the discomfited cad, and, jumping into the
runabout, drove around the curve where he rejoined Mabel and Jim.

“Did you impress those things on his memory?” asked Jim with a grin.

“I don’t think he’ll forget them in a hurry,” Joe laughed, though rather
grimly. “And this time, luckily, there was no policeman handy.”



CHAPTER XVII

PLANNING FOR REVENGE


“I hope you didn’t injure him too much, Joe,” said Mabel, snuggling
close to him in the crowded little runabout.

“Do I look like a murderer?” chaffed Joe.

“But really, Joe, what did you do to him?” asked Mabel.

“Less than the rascal deserved,” Joe answered. “He got a good thrashing;
and it was surely coming to him. I don’t think he’ll ever trouble you
again.”

“I was so relieved when I caught sight of you in this car,” sighed Mabel.

“How did it happen that you were riding with him?” asked Joe, as he
threw on a little extra speed.

“He was out at the Country Club when Reggie and I reached there,” Mabel
replied. “I hadn’t told Reggie how he had acted the last time he called
at the Marlborough, because I didn’t want to make trouble, and I thought
after the way I cut him then he’d never bother me again. But he was
dining at the Country Club with a party of friends that we both knew,
and I couldn’t make a scene without being conspicuous. I avoided him,
however, as much as I could.

“You know, of course, Reggie’s car is in New York and we were using
a hired machine. When we were getting ready to come away, I had just
stepped into the car when Reggie was called to the telephone. This man,
Fleming, was standing by, and before I knew it he jumped in, took the
wheel, and started the auto going.

“I ordered him to stop, but he only kept going faster. He had been
drinking, and he was loud and boisterous. I begged and threatened, but
he only laughed and went on at a greater speed. Said he was going to get
even with me for the cut I had given him the other night, and was going
to take me on a long ride whether I wanted to go or not.

“I never was so frightened in all my life. I told him that my friends
and my brother would punish him for what he was doing, but he only
laughed and said they would have to catch him first. I hoped a policeman
would stop us, for he was going at a furious rate. Then I thought of
jumping, though I knew I would probably be killed if I did. I screamed,
but we were going at such a rate and making so much noise that no one
heard me. Then I caught sight of you, and when I looked back and waved
and saw that you were coming after us, I knew that everything would be
all right. Oh, Joe, it seems as though you are always on hand when I
need you most.”

Her nerves had been so badly shaken that she was on the verge of tears
again, and she fumbled for her absurdly little handkerchief in the cuff
of her sleeve.

Joe’s heart thrilled, and if Jim had not been there and he could have
taken his hands from the wheel, he would have comforted her again as he
had on the road.

“I’d have followed you to the end of the world,” he said rather huskily.

“How lucky it was that that freight train just happened to be passing at
the time,” chuckled Jim. “Can’t you imagine how desperate Fleming must
have been when he saw the way barred?”

“It was a friend in need for us, all right,” grinned Joe. “Fleming
wasn’t quite tipsy enough to try to butt the train off the tracks.”

“He ought to sue the railroad for damages,” Jim suggested.

“He might get them, too,” laughed Joe. “If a jury saw his face as it is
just now, they’d know that he’d been in a mix-up of some kind.”

They found Reggie in a state of great bewilderment and agitation at the
hotel. They had told him at the club that Fleming had driven off with
Mabel, and though he had not known of the latter’s offensive behavior
toward his sister previously, he knew that Fleming had been drinking
that afternoon and was in no condition to handle a car.

He was enormously relieved, therefore, when he saw Mabel return safely,
though he wondered to see her escorted by Joe and Jim.

They told him all the circumstances and he was furious. He was for
starting out at once to hunt up Fleming, but Joe dissuaded him.

“He’s had a good trimming already,” Joe assured him. “We don’t want
anything that may bring notoriety to Mabel’s name. I don’t imagine we’ll
ever be bothered by him again.”

In the meantime, Fleming, left battered and disheveled on the country
road, was wild with pain and rage. His heart was a tumult of seething
emotions. He had undergone that afternoon more humiliation than comes to
most men in a lifetime. He had been thwarted in his impudent venture.
He had been taken by the collar and shaken as a rat by a terrier. He
had had to get down on his knees in the dirt of the road and humbly
apologize. And then he had been bruised and beaten until he had begged
for mercy.

He ground his teeth in unavailing fury. He had been accustomed all his
life to have his way. Money had made his path easy. He was not used to
the sensation of being the “under dog.”

He took out his handkerchief and wiped the blood and dust from his face,
brushed and adjusted his disarranged clothing as well as he could, then
climbed into the car and by a roundabout route made his way back to town.

His first visit was to a Turkish bath where he attempted to have some
of the soreness rubbed from his battered frame. Then he visited one of
the facial artists who make a specialty of painting black eyes into some
semblance of flesh color.

In this way he managed to efface the worst traces of the afternoon’s
encounter, though his face still remained somewhat swelled and puffy.
Then he set out to make a night of it and drown his troubles in the way
with which he was the most familiar.

He was seated at a table in a crowded café patronized chiefly by
gamblers, when he was accosted by a friend whose dissipated face showed
that he was of the same type as Fleming.

“Hello, old man,” said the former. “Drinking here all by your lonesome?”

“How are you, Bixby,” responded Fleming. “Sit down here and have
something with me.”

His friend did so and Fleming motioned to the waiter and ordered a
couple of drinks.

“Why, what’s the matter with your face, Fleming?” asked Bixby, as he
looked at his friend curiously. “Been in a scrap?”

“Nothing like that,” lied Fleming in a surly tone. “Ran a car into a
ditch and had an upset.”

“Doesn’t improve your beauty any,” laughed his friend lightly. “Still,
you can’t kick if you’ve come out of a smash with nothing worse than
that. What are you doing here in Boston, anyway? Come over to see the
game?”

Fleming growled a moody assent.

“They say Matson is going to pitch to-morrow,” Bixby continued.

Fleming greeted the mention of the name with a lurid outburst that left
no doubt as to his feelings.

His friend looked at him with surprise.

“You seem to be horribly sore,” he ventured. “I thought that like most
New Yorkers you’d be rooting for him to win.”

“I hope they knock him out of the box,” Fleming hissed, with the venom
of a snake.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE PLOT


“There are lots of people in Boston hoping the same thing,” replied
Bixby. “But I think they’re due to be disappointed. It isn’t often they
send that boy back to the shower.”

“He can be beaten like any one else,” snarled Fleming, his gorge rising
as he heard Joe praised.

“Sure,” conceded Bixby. “The best of them have an off day at times. But
they say he’s in splendid shape just now. That arm of his is certainly a
dandy.”

Fleming could have told him better than any one else just how good that
stalwart arm was. Not four hours had passed since he had tested its
strength. And he knew that it was good for something besides baseball.

But not for the world would he have had that beating come to light. It
would make him the laughing stock of the clubs. He was sure that Joe
himself would not tell of it nor would Reggie, because of their desire
to prevent Mabel’s name being dragged into the affair. So that his
secret was safe, unless he himself should reveal it while he was in his
cups.

“He’s a false alarm,” he growled. “Lots of these fellows start out as
though they were going to set the league afire, but after a year or two
you find them back again in the minors. They go up like a rocket and
come down like the stick.”

“Well, if he’s a false alarm, he’s deceived a good many people,”
answered Bixby with a diminished respect for his friend’s judgment. “All
the dope is that he’s going to be another Hughson.”

They drained their glasses and ordered more liquor. While they were
waiting for it to come, Bixby glanced around the café. His eye rested on
a table in the further corner of the room where three men were sitting.

“Do you see that big fellow over there with the other two?” he asked
Fleming.

“I see him,” replied Fleming, shortly.

“Well, that’s Big Connelly the notorious Chicago sporting man,” returned
Bixby.

“Well, what if it is?” said Fleming, indifferently.

“Oh, nothing special, except that he seems to feel a good deal the same
way about Matson that you do. I was sitting near him just before I came
over here to join you and he was grouching to beat the band.”

“Is that so!” ejaculated Fleming with a quickening of interest. “What
does he seem to have against him?”

“Oh, that’s more than I know,” was the reply. “But he seems to have a
bitter grudge from the way he talks.”

“Do you know Connelly personally?” demanded Fleming.

“In a way I do,” replied Bixby. “I met him at a prize fight once in
Chicago and was introduced to him. I don’t know whether he’d remember me
or not. But why do you ask?”

“I’d like to meet him if you don’t mind,” answered Fleming.

Bixby was somewhat surprised but did not object, and the two wended
their way among the tables till they came to the one in question.

“How are you, Mr. Connelly?” said Bixby. “I don’t know whether you
recall me, but I met you at that Welsh-Leonard bout in Chicago last
year. Bixby is my name.”

It was Connelly’s business to recollect faces, or to pretend to even if
he did not.

“Sure, I remember you,” he replied with the real or assumed heartiness
of his class. “Glad to see you again, Mr. Bixby.”

“This is my friend, Mr. Fleming,” introduced Bixby.

Connelly’s shrewd eyes appraised Fleming as one of the “idle rich,” the
plucking of whom had often feathered his nest, and his greeting was
cordial.

“Won’t you sit down and have something with us?” he inquired,
introducing the two men who were with him and making room at the table.

“We’d be glad to if we’re not intruding,” replied Bixby.

“Not at all,” said Connelly, and to seal the acquaintance he ordered a
bottle of champagne.

It was not long before they were talking freely, and it goes without
saying that in the one engrossing thought that prevailed everywhere they
fell to discussing the World Series.

Connelly--“Big” Connelly, to give him the name by which he was usually
referred to--was, as his name implied, a ponderous man with a hard,
smooth-shaven face and cold, calculating eyes. He was a hardened “sport”
and a shrewd politician, with strings out everywhere in the underworld
that he could pull when he felt so inclined. He was wholly unscrupulous
and stopped at nothing to achieve his ends.

“I hear you’re expecting Boston to win the Series, Mr. Connelly,”
remarked Bixby.

“I’ve picked ’em to win,” agreed Connelly, “and I think they would to a
dead certainty if it weren’t for one thing, or perhaps I ought to say
one man.”

“And that one man is Matson, I suppose?” put in Fleming.

“Exactly,” frowned Connelly. “With him out of the way it would be a
walk-over for the Sox.”

“You’d go into mourning if he broke a leg or anything like that,”
grinned Bixby.

“No such luck,” grunted Connelly. “Nothing ever happens to that bird. He
must carry a horseshoe around with him. I came all the way from Chicago
to see Brennan’s team win, only to see Matson smear a defeat on them.
But it isn’t that I’m sore about especially.”

“Some little personal feeling, eh?” ventured Fleming, tentatively.

“He turned me down on a little deal once,” Connelly spat out viciously,
“and I’ve vowed to get even with him some time.”

He refrained from explaining that the “deal” referred to had been a
crooked bit of work that he had dared to suggest to Joe at the time the
latter was with St. Louis and the club was struggling to get to the head
of the second division. Not only had Joe rejected the proposition hard
and instantly, but Connelly had only saved his face from disfigurement
by beating a hasty and undignified retreat. From that moment he had
cherished a bitter grudge against the man who had humiliated him, and
this was intensified at the present by the young pitcher’s popularity.

“Yes, sir-ee,” he grunted vindictively, “I’d give ten thousand dollars
to have Matson put on the shelf.”

“You could have him put out of the way for a good deal less than that,”
suggested one of his companions, an evil-faced man named Moriarity.
“There are fellows in New York or Boston who would do it for a thousand.”

“Nix on that stuff,” growled Connelly. “You could get away with a good
many things, but you couldn’t get away with that. You might as well try
to do away with the President. Any one who puts the extinguisher on
Matson would go to the electric chair sure, and nothing could save him.
Even if he got off, the public would tear him to pieces. Forget it.”

Moriarity was squelched and shrank back before the big man’s disapproval.

“Just the same,” ruminated Connelly, “I wish I could think of something
that didn’t have any come-back.”

A thought suddenly came into Fleming’s mind, but he hesitated to express
it in the presence of Bixby, who was an ardent partisan of the New
Yorks. He sat toying with his glass and turning the idea over in his
mind.

It was a relief to him when Bixby rose a few minutes later and left
them on the ground of an engagement. Fleming hitched his chair a little
closer to Connelly’s.

“I’ve just thought of something that may help you out a little, Mr.
Connelly,” he began.

Connelly looked at him in curiosity.

“Let’s hear it,” he said eagerly.



CHAPTER XIX

WEAVING THE WEB


The four at the table put their heads together, and Fleming lowered his
voice so that he might not be overheard by those in the adjacent chairs.

“Of course, I don’t know whether we can make the thing work,” commenced
Fleming a little diffidently, “but it won’t do any harm to figure it out
and see what there is in it.”

“Sure thing,” said Connelly, encouragingly.

“As you say, it won’t do to injure Matson physically,” Fleming went on.
“Though nothing would suit me better,” he added with sudden savageness,
as the stinging recollection of that afternoon’s events came back to him.

“I see that he isn’t exactly popular with you,” grinned Connelly. He
reflected that this man might be a valuable aid to him, if he nourished
a personal grudge.

But it was not in Fleming’s mind to betray himself, and he pulled up
short.

“As I was saying,” he continued, without replying to Connelly’s
suggestion, “the public wouldn’t stand for a minute for any rough work
with Matson. But we can injure him in other ways.”

“Just how?” asked Connelly.

“Well,” asked Fleming in turn, “what do you think is the most important
thing in the world to him just now?”

“The World Series,” replied Connelly, promptly.

“Exactly,” assented Fleming. “It means more to him just now than
anything else on earth. It means money and reputation and a big future
if he wins. Now if we could knock him out of winning, we could hit him
in his pride, his prestige and his pocketbook all at the same time, and
hit him hard.”

“No doubt of that,” admitted Connelly, “but I don’t see just yet what
you’re driving at.”

“What I’m driving at is this,” explained Fleming. “We’ve got, in some
way, to keep Matson from playing. You know as well as I do that he is
the mainstay of the Giant team. That’s especially the case since Hughson
was hurt. Matson’s the only reliable pitcher they have left. Markwith is
as wild as a hawk and may go up in the air at any time. Barclay has the
stuff, but he’s green and inexperienced.

“The Red Sox now have won two games to the Giants’ one. The New Yorks
must take three more to win the Series. They’re counting on Matson to
pull out two of them at least, perhaps all three. I tell you he’s the
king pin in the Giant machine just now, and without him the whole team
would go to pieces.”

“I see your point all right,” said Connelly, “but with the rough
stuff barred I don’t exactly see how we are going to keep Matson from
playing.” He pondered the problem for a moment with knitted brows. Then
suddenly an idea came to him, and he brought his fist down on the table
with a resounding thump. “Great Scott!” he cried. “I believe I’ve got
the very thing!”

“Let’s have it,” demanded Fleming, eagerly.

“There’s a pal of mine in this burg,” explained Connelly, “that’s having
all sorts of trouble with a nephew of his that’s going to the dogs as
fast as he can. The boy has put over one or two phony checks already
that my friend has had to settle for to keep the kid out of jail.

“My pal has the idea that if the boy could be shipped out of the country
for a long voyage it would get him away from the gang he’s running with
and might put him in the way of keeping straight. He was talking to me
about it only yesterday and I promised to help him carry it through.

“You see, I happen to know an old sea captain who’s loading up now at
a Boston wharf for a trip to South America. He’s a tough old nut, and
he’ll do almost anything for me, especially if a little money is slipped
to him to sweeten the job. I was going to propose to him to have this
kid I’m telling you about bundled on board and carried away with him.
But that matter can wait. Now suppose we’re able to get Matson on board
in place of the other fellow.”

“Great!” cried Fleming excitedly.

“It’s too hot and crowded in here,” declared Connelly, rising. “Let’s
get out somewhere and fix up the details.”

He dismissed his henchmen, and he and Fleming strolled down the street
till they came to the Common. They chose a seat in a remote part, and
began to figure out how they could carry their plan to success.

“It’s too bad that it’s too late to put the thing through to-night,”
regretted Connelly. “I’d like to put him on the blink for to-morrow’s
game.”

“We can’t do that of course,” replied Fleming. “But even if he wins
to-morrow’s game, that will only even up the Series. There’ll have to be
at least two more games played and maybe three. We’ll get him then.”

“I’ll go down and see the captain the first thing in the morning,” said
Connelly. “I’m sure he’ll fall in with it all right. Then the only thing
that remains to be done is to get Matson within his reach without
rousing suspicion.”

“But that’s a mighty big thing,” returned Fleming doubtfully.

“What time does their train for New York leave to-morrow night?” asked
Connelly.

“Somewhere between eleven and twelve, I believe,” answered Fleming.

“That’ll give us all the time we want,” declared Connelly confidently.
“Now listen to me.”

“Not quite so loud,” admonished Fleming, looking around him nervously.

The conspirators lowered their voices and talked earnestly. It was
nearly midnight when they parted.

The next morning dawned brightly and there was every promise of a
glorious day.

“How are you feeling, Joe?” asked Jim, as the chums were getting ready
to go down to breakfast.

“Fine and dandy and full of pitching,” replied Joe blithely.

“That sounds good,” rejoiced Jim. “Didn’t sprain your arm on Fleming
yesterday?” he inquired with a grin.

“Not so that you could notice it,” laughed Joe. “In fact it was just the
exercise I needed. It made up for having no other practice, kept me from
going stale, as it were.”

“It took real friendship to stay around that curve when I was fairly
aching to see you do that fellow up,” declared Jim.

“I’ll do as much for you some time,” Joe consoled him.

They had barely finished their meal when word was brought to Joe that
there was somebody waiting in the lobby to see him.

He went out promptly and was surprised and pleased to find Mr. Anderson,
the old G. A. R. man who had been knocked down by the automobile on the
Long Island road.

They shook hands heartily.

“I’m mighty glad to see you!” exclaimed Joe. “I didn’t expect you’d be
able to get back to Boston so soon. Those Islip doctors must have been
right on the job.”

“They fixed me up fine,” agreed Louis Anderson. “Everybody’s been mighty
good and kind to me since I was hurt. You especially, Mr. Matson. I want
to thank you for the money you left for me with the doctors, and which
they handed to me when I was coming away.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” said Joe, “and half of that was from Mr.
Barclay, the young man who was with me. Here he comes now,” he added, as
Jim sauntered out of the dining room and joined them.

He greeted the old man heartily, who thanked him also for his kindness.
Jim waved it away as a trifle.

“Found out anything yet as to who those fellows were that ran you down?”
he inquired.

“Not a thing,” said the old man sadly. “I only wish I could. I’d make
them pay for what they did to me.”

“And we’d be witnesses for you,” declared Joe warmly. “It was one of the
most brutal things I ever saw.”

“They ought to be made to pay up handsomely,” added Jim, “and they’d be
mighty lucky to get off with that.”

“I’m afraid there isn’t much chance of ever finding them,” the old
man said. “But it wasn’t that I came to see you especially about this
morning, Mr. Matson. I heard something last night that I think you ought
to know.”

“Is that so?” asked Joe pleasantly. “What is it?”

“I was on the Common last night,” Anderson replied. “It was so close and
hot that I couldn’t sleep, and I thought it might do me good to get the
air. I sat down at the foot of a big tree and I guess I must have gone
to sleep. I was waked up by hearing voices and found that two men were
sitting on a bench the other side of the tree.

“I didn’t pay much attention till I heard one of them mention your name.
Even then I thought they were talking about baseball. But then I heard
one of them say mean things about you. I perked up then and I heard
enough to know that they were planning to harm you in some way.”

Both ball players were listening now with the utmost attention.

“Did you hear them call each other by name?” asked Joe.

“One of them spoke to the other as Mr. Fleming----”

“Fleming!” interrupted Jim, as he shot a quick glance at Joe.



CHAPTER XX

A STIRRING BATTLE


“Fleming’s got busy in a hurry!” exclaimed Joe. “But just what was it
they were planning to do?”

“That’s just the trouble,” answered Anderson. “I don’t rightly know
just what mischief they were cooking up. They kept their voices pretty
low most of the time, and then, too, my hearing isn’t any too good,
especially since I had that accident. Once I heard one of them say:
‘It’ll put him on the toboggan all right.’

“I didn’t dare to stir for fear they’d see me, or I’d have tried to edge
around the tree so as to get closer to them. But from the number of
times they spoke your name and the ugly way they did it, I was sure they
had it in for you.

“I stayed there until they went away and the last thing one of them said
was: ‘I’ll set the thing going the first thing in the morning.’ And the
other one said: ‘It can’t start too quick for me.’”

“Did you see what kind of looking men they were?” asked Joe.

“I peeked out at them as they were leaving, but all I could see was that
one of them was a big, heavy man and the other was slimmer and seemed to
have something the matter with his face. It was puffed up as though he
had the toothache.”

“Fleming, sure enough!” ejaculated Jim, grimly.

“I guess I know how he got that toothache,” Joe remarked grimly.

“Why, is he any one you know?” inquired Anderson.

“I’m pretty sure I do,” replied Joe. “There aren’t likely to be two men
named Fleming who want to do me up.”

“Do be careful now, Mr. Matson,” the old man urged. “I can’t bear to
think of anything happening to you after all that you have done for me.”

“I’ll keep my eyes open,” answered Joe. “And I can’t thank you enough,
Mr. Anderson, for the trouble you’ve taken to come and tell me about
this.”

“It’s little enough,” answered Anderson. “I only wish I could do more.
But I know you must be pretty busy just now, with the big game coming
on, so I’ll just jog along. Hope you have luck to-day, Mr. Matson.”

He said good-bye and went away. After he had gone the two friends
looked at each other very long and thoughtfully.

“What do you make of it, Joe?” asked Jim at length.

“Why, I hardly know,” replied Baseball Joe, slowly. “I wish the old man
had been able to get something a little more definite. The only thing
that seems clear is that that snake is trying to make trouble for me.
But, pshaw! ‘Threatened men live long,’ you know, and I’m not going to
worry about it.”

But Jim was not inclined to dismiss the matter so lightly.

“Do you think they might try anything like the drugged coffee game?” he
inquired. “Hartley got away with that once on you, and it might be done
again.”

“Not likely,” answered Joe. “But what’s the use of worrying? I’m going
to put it right out of my mind for the present. I’ve got to pitch this
afternoon and I’m not going to think of anything else.”

True to his nefarious promise, Connelly, at just about the same time
that morning, was having a private conversation with the captain of a
tramp ship that was lying at a wharf far down on the Boston harbor front.

The tramp was a battered, rusty-looking old hooker that seemed to
be about as tough and disreputable looking as the skipper, who was
shouting orders to his crew when Connelly came on board.

There was a mutual recognition.

“How are you, Mr. Connelly?” the captain said, as he came forward to
greet the newcomer. “And what is it that’s bringing you so far from
Chicago?”

“How are you, Captain Hennessy?” returned Connelly, cordially grasping
the gnarled hand that was extended to him. “I happened to be in town on
business and I heard you were loading up here. How’s the carrying trade
just now?”

“None too good,” replied the skipper. “What with freights ’way down and
the competition of the big liners, it’s all we can do to make a living
these days. But come down to the cabin and wet your whistle. Talking’s
dry business.”

Connelly needed no urging, and they were soon seated at a table in the
cramped cabin, with a bottle and glasses between them.

They talked of indifferent matters for a time, and then Connelly
broached the object of his visit.

“Where are you going this trip?” he asked.

“Down the South American coast as far as Rio Janeiro,” was the answer.
“Porto Rico will be my first stop.”

“And when do you expect to start?”

“I may finish up loading to-day if I have luck,” replied the skipper.
“If so, I’ll get my clearance papers and slip out early to-morrow
morning.”

“I suppose you’ve done a bit of shanghaiing in your day, eh, Hennessy?”
remarked Connelly, jocularly.

“Many’s the time, especially in the old sailing days,” grinned Hennessy,
a light of evil reminiscence in his little eyes. “But there’s little
call for it nowadays.”

“I was just wondering,” went on Connelly, “if you’d do me a favor and
take a fellow along with you on this trip that doesn’t want to go.”

“It might be managed,” returned the skipper a little doubtfully.

“There’d be a nice little slice of money in it for you,” Connelly
explained. “You see it’s a young fellow that’s got in with a wild gang
ashore, and his folks think a sea voyage wouldn’t do him any harm.”

Hennessy’s hesitation vanished at the mention of money and his eyes had
an avaricious gleam.

“Sure I’ll do it!” he exclaimed. And then, with voices slightly lowered,
the pair perfected their scheme.

A little later Connelly left the ship and walked rapidly away with a
triumphant glint in his vulture-like eyes.

He found his confederate waiting for him in the same café where they had
met the night before. Fleming jumped up from the table at which he had
been sitting and came rapidly forward to meet him.

“Well?” he said eagerly.

“It’s all right,” responded Connelly. “It didn’t take much urging to
turn the trick. I told you he’d be only too glad to oblige me.”

He went over the events of the morning rapidly, and Fleming exulted.

“So far, so good,” he gloated.

“But the hardest part is yet to come,” Connelly reminded him. “We’ve
got the stage set for the play, and the next thing is to have the chief
actor on hand when the curtain rings up.” And then the two talked the
matter over in detail.

The enthusiasm at Braves Field that afternoon was at fever heat. The
Boston rooters turned out in the biggest crowd of the Series so far. The
last game their favorites had won filled them with confidence, and they
were out to cheer their pets on to another victory.

Even the knowledge that Matson was to pitch for the Giants, which had
been featured in the morning papers, was not sufficient to daunt them.
They felt that luck was with the Red Sox, as had already been shown in
the accident to Hughson and the rain that had snatched the second game
from the New Yorks. And that luck, they felt sure, would persist. The
wish may have been father to the thought, but there was no doubt as to
the optimism that existed in the home town of the Red Sox.

The Giants faced the test with quiet confidence. The odd game was
against them, but they looked forward serenely to evening up the score
that afternoon with Baseball Joe in the box.

McRae had a little talk with his team in the clubhouse before they went
out for practice.

“Go right in, boys, and eat them up,” he exhorted them. “Those fellows
never saw the day they could beat you if you were doing your best.

“They’ll probably put in Roth against you. He’s a good southpaw, but
southpaws are just your meat. Look out for that ‘bean’ ball of his. He’s
sure to use it in trying to drive you away from the plate. But don’t let
it rattle you for a minute. Be quick to dodge, though, for I don’t want
to have any of you hurt at this stage of the Series.

“And don’t let Matson do it all. He can’t carry the whole team on his
shoulders. No matter how well he pitches, he can’t win unless you bat in
some runs. Hand him a few right from the start.

“Little old New York is rooting for you to win, boys. Don’t fall down
on the job. You’ll own the city if you come back with a row of Boston
scalps at your belt. And I know you can do it if you try. Go in and
wallop the life out of ’em.”

There was a cheer which told McRae that his words had gotten “under the
skin,” and the Giants dashed briskly out on the field.



CHAPTER XXI

EVENING UP THE SCORE


When the gong rang, the Giants started out as though they were going to
sew up the game then and there.

Burkett set the ball rolling with a wicked drive through the box that
got past Roth before he could gauge it. Larry followed suit with a
smoking hit to left. A prettily placed sacrifice bunt by Denton advanced
both men a base. Roth struck out Willis on three pitched balls, but
Becker came to the rescue with a line drive over second that scored
Burkett easily, though Larry was put out as he made a great slide for
the rubber.

The net result was only one run, but the most encouraging feature of the
inning was the exhibition of free hitting.

“Three clean hits in one time at bat is going some,” Robson exulted.

“The boys seem to have their batting clothes on for fair,” responded
McRae, vastly pleased.

“I doubt if that bird will come again for more,” judged “Robbie.”
“They’ll probably take him out and put Fraser in.”

Joe was in fine fettle, and he showed his appreciation of the lead his
mates had given him by retiring the Red Sox without a man seeing first
base.

Contrary to Robson’s prediction, the Boston manager elected still to pin
his faith to Roth, who tightened up after his bad start and for the next
three innings held the Giants scoreless.

He was helped in this by the superb support given him. Both the outfield
and infield were on their toes all the time, and drives that ordinarily
would have gone for hits were turned into outs in dazzling fashion.

One magnificent catch by Thompson, the Red Sox catcher, was the feature
of the fourth inning. Iredell, who was at bat, sent up a sky-piercing
foul. Thompson, Hobbs and Roth started for it.

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” yelled Thompson.

The others stopped and Thompson kept on.

The ball swerved toward the Boston dugout, where the substitutes and
extra pitchers of the team were sitting.

A shout of warning went up, but Thompson did not falter. With his eye on
the ball and his hands outstretched, he plunged ahead.

He grabbed the ball in a terrific forward lunge and went head over heels
into the dugout, where his comrades caught him and saved him from
injury. But he still clutched the ball as he was put on his feet, and a
tempest of applause went up in which even the Giants and their partisans
could not help joining.

“Suffering cats!” exclaimed McRae. “That was a miracle catch.”

“Never saw a better one in all my years on the ball field,” Robson
conceded generously.

Thompson was forced to remove his cap again and again before the crowds
would stop their cheering, and the play put still greater stiffness into
the Boston’s defence.

But they needed something more than a stone wall defence. They had a
lead of one run to overcome, and at the rate Joe was mowing them down,
this seemed a tremendous obstacle.

Joe had never felt in better form. He had superb control and had not yet
issued a pass. His mastery of the ball seemed almost uncanny. It seemed
to understand him and obeyed his slightest wish.

His speed was dazzling, and the ball zipped over the plate as though
propelled by a gun.

“Why don’t you line it out?” growled the Boston manager, as one of his
players came back discomfited to the bench.

“How can I hit ’em if I can’t see ’em,” the player grunted in excuse.

But Joe did not rely wholly upon speed. Every once in a while he mixed
in a slow one that looked as big as a balloon as it sailed lazily toward
the plate. But when the batter almost broke his back in reaching for
it, the ball would drop suddenly beneath the bat and go plunk into the
catcher’s mitt.

“If I only dared to pitch that boy in all the remaining games of the
Series!” thought McRae to himself. “He’s just making monkeys of those
fellows.”

For six full innings the score remained unchanged.

Then the storm broke, and a perfect deluge of hits rained from the
Giants’ bats.

Becker began it by whaling out a terrific drive to center that netted
three bases. Iredell followed with a one cushion jolt between second and
short that scored Becker. Joe pumped one to center that was good for a
base; and on the futile throw made to third to catch Iredell, Joe by
fast running got as far as second. Mylert went out on an infield fly,
but the burly Burkett clouted a screaming triple to right, scoring both
of his mates while he rested, grinning, at third.

Pandemonium broke loose among the Giant rooters. Roth, at a signal from
his manager, drew off his glove, and Landers took his place.

But the Giants were on a batting spree and would not be denied. Larry
and Denton cracked out singles. Willis went out on a long fly to right,
but Curry pounded out a two-bagger that cleared the bases. A moment
later he was caught stealing third and the inning ended.

It had netted the Giants six runs, and they were now in the lead by
seven to nothing.

“Talk about a Waterloo!” shouted Jim, as he fairly hugged Joe in his
delight.

“What do you think they’re doing around the bulletin boards in New York
just now?” Joe laughed happily.

He was about to pull on his glove to go into the box when McRae stopped
him.

“I guess you’ve done enough for to-day, Joe,” he said. “I want to save
that arm of yours all I can, and with the lead we’ve got now the game
seems to be cinched. I’m going to put Markwith in for the rest of it.”

Markwith had few superiors when it came to working for a few innings.
His arm was fresh, and his terrific speed carried him through, although
he was scored on once in the ninth.

The Giants, “just for luck,” added two more runs in the remaining
innings, and when they gathered up their bats at the end of the game the
score was nine to one in the Giants’ favor.

“This is the end of a perfect day,” chanted Jim as the hilarious team
hurried from the field.

“Not quite perfect,” objected Larry with a grin.

“Why, what more do you want, you old glutton?” put in Willis.

“I’d like to have made it a goose egg for the Sox,” responded Larry.

“Some folks never know when they have enough,” remarked Joe. “I’m
not kicking a single bit. That was mighty sweet hitting the boys did
to-day,” he added.

“And mighty sweet pitching, too,” returned Larry. “Don’t forget that.”

The train did not leave until 11:30 P. M.; so that they had ample time
for leisurely preparation. Joe and Jim dined with their party, who
were quite as joyous over the result of the game as themselves. After
dinner the young men took a quiet little stroll with Mabel and Clara and
returned about nine.

The girls had left them to make ready for their trip, when Joe was
summoned to the telephone.

“Hello, Joe,” came over the wire. “This is McRae talking.”

“Why, hello, Mac,” Joe answered. “I didn’t recognize your voice at
first.”

“The connection isn’t very good, I guess,” was the answer. “But listen,
Joe. I want you to do me a favor.”

“Sure thing,” replied Joe promptly. “What is it?”



CHAPTER XXII

A HOLE IN THE WEB


“It’s like this,” came the response. “I’m making a call on an old
yachting friend of mine whom I always drop in to see when I’m in Boston.
He’s a thirty-third degree fan, but he’s laid up with rheumatism and
can’t get to the games. I’ve been bragging to him what a pitcher you
are, and he wants to meet you. Would you mind running down just for a
few minutes? It won’t take you long.”

“Of course I will,” answered Joe. “Where are you and just how can I get
to you?”

“His yacht is lying off Spring Street wharf. He’ll have a motor boat
there to meet you and bring you over. A taxi will bring you to the wharf
in ten minutes.”

“I’ll be there,” said Joe.

“That’s bully. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye.”

Joe hung up the receiver and looked around for Jim to leave a message
with him explaining his short absence. But Barclay was not in sight
at the moment, and Joe hastily put on his hat, dashed out, hailed a
taxicab, and a moment later was being whizzed uptown.

Not more than ten minutes had passed before the cab drew up at the end
of the pier, which at that time was almost deserted.

“Here you are, sir,” announced the driver.

Joe stepped out and paid him.

A large motor boat lay at the pier. As Joe looked around, a man stepped
forward.

“This Mr. Matson, sir?” he questioned respectfully.

“Yes,” answered Joe.

“Mr. McRae told us to wait for you here, sir. The yacht’s lying a little
way out. Will you step on board, sir?”

Joe stepped into the boat, the moorings were cast off, and to the “chug
chug” of the engine the boat darted out on the dark waters of the bay.

Joe took his seat on a padded cushion at the stern, noticing as he did
so that there were several husky figures sprawling up near the bow.

The cool night air was very grateful after the heat of the day, and Joe
took off his straw hat, so as to get the full benefit of the breeze.

Several minutes passed, and Joe began to wonder that they had not
reached the yacht where McRae was waiting for him.

“How far out did you say the yacht was?” he asked casually of the man
who was steering.

The man grunted, but made no intelligible reply.

“I asked you how far out the yacht was,” Joe repeated, a vague
uneasiness beginning to take possession of him.

At this, a huge figure detached itself from the group forward and
came toward him. It was Hennessy, a sour and evil smile upon his
weather-beaten face.

“I never heard the old hooker called a yacht before,” he grinned, “but
if you must know, it’s quite a tidy way down the bay before we come to
it.”

“Why, Mr. McRae said it was lying just off the wharf!” exclaimed Joe.

“Perhaps Mr. McRae says more than his prayers,” was Hennessy’s surly
reply.

The words, with all they implied, struck Joe with the force of a blow.
Like a flash, the warning of Louis Anderson that morning came to his
mind.

“Look here!” he cried, starting to his feet. “What does this mean? What
game are you up to?”

“You’ll find out soon enough, my bucko,” answered Hennessy. “In the
meantime you’d better take my tip and keep a civil tongue in your head.
My temper’s rather short, as those who have sailed with me can tell you.”

“Don’t threaten me!” warned Joe, all his fighting blood coming to the
surface.

At his menacing attitude, the men in front rose to their feet and moved
forward. There were three of them, which made the combined force five in
number, counting Hennessy and the man at the wheel.

Joe cast a swift glance around. There were no boats near at hand which
could be reached by a shout. Nor did he have a ghost of a chance against
the husky figures standing about him. For the moment the advantage was
with the enemy.

An agony of self-reproach overwhelmed him. Why had he so lightly taken
it for granted that it was McRae at the telephone? Why had he let the
warning of Anderson slip from his mind?

He had fallen into a trap! Where were they taking him? What was their
object? He thought of Mabel and his family. Into what dread and
consternation they would be plunged by his disappearance! And his
comrades on the team! What would they think of him?

Hennessy had been watching him keenly.

“Easy does it,” he remarked. “If you want a rough house you can have it,
but take a fool’s advice and don’t go to starting it. We’re too many for
you.”

There was sound sense in the advice, unpalatable as it was, and Joe
recognized it. He must temporize. He wanted to dash his fist into the
ugly face before him, and he promised himself that luxury later on. But
just now he must depend on that nimble wit of his that had so often
helped him to outguess an opponent.

He sank back in his seat with an affected resignation that was
calculated to put his enemy off guard. It did so in the present case,
as Hennessy chose to consider the action as a surrender.

“Now you’re acting sensible,” he grunted. “There ain’t no use butting
your head against a stone wall.”

“Where are you taking me?” asked Joe in a lifeless tone.

“I don’t know as there’s any harm in telling you, now that we’ve got so
far,” Hennessy answered. “I’m taking you on board my ship, the _Walrus_.”

“What for?”

“Just to give you a little sea air,” grinned Hennessy. “Your folks
thought it would do you good to take a short v’yage down the coast.”

“Down the coast?”

“South American coast,” replied the captain shortly. “You’re on your way
to Rio Janeiro.”

Rio Janeiro! Joe’s heart thumped violently.

“You say my folks are in on this,” he said, trying to keep his voice
calm. “Just what do you mean by that?”

“Oh, I’ve heard all about that gang you’re running with and those phony
checks, and the like of that,” answered Hennessy.

“Phony checks?” gasped Joe.

“Don’t be playing innocent,” growled Hennessy roughly. “You know well
enough what I mean.”

“But you’ve got the wrong man,” persisted Joe. “I don’t know what you’re
talking about. I never ran with a gang or handled bad checks. You’ve
picked me up, thinking I was somebody else. I’m a baseball player, a
member of the New York Giants.”

“They told me you’d probably say something like that,” retorted Hennessy
placidly. “But you can’t pull any wool over my eyes. I’m too old a hand
for that.”

The man was obdurate, and Joe ceased his useless efforts to convince
him. But he knew now that his case was desperate, and he summoned all
his coolness to cope with the situation. One project after another raced
through his brain, to be dismissed as useless.

While they had been talking, the motor boat had made rapid progress. But
now a heavy haze was settling over the water and the engine slowed down
a little.

“Look out, you swab!” shouted Hennessy angrily to the steersman as the
end of a pier loomed up before them. “Do you want to smash the boat?”

The man veered off. But in that instant Joe had acted.

His fist shot out, knocking Hennessy off his seat. Like lightning, Joe
jumped on the rail and leaped for the pier, six feet distant.

[Illustration: JOE JUMPED ON THE RAIL AND LEAPED FOR THE PIER, SIX FEET
DISTANT.]

It was a long jump from an unstable footing, but Joe made it and
clutched one of the spiles. It was slimy and slippery, but he held on
with all the strength of his trained muscles. His feet, swinging wildly
about, touched the rung of a ladder. In another moment he swarmed up it,
and stood panting and breathless on the wharf.

“Back her! Back her!” screamed Hennessy from the fog. “Don’t let him get
away!”

Joe chuckled, as he heard the wild splashing of the water and the
pounding of the screw.

“Good-bye, Captain!” he sang out. “Hope I didn’t spoil your beauty. Give
my regards to Rio Janeiro.”



CHAPTER XXIII

TAKING THE LEAD


Baseball Joe wasted little time in reaching the end of the pier. He
hailed a cab at the first thoroughfare he came to and was soon once more
at the hotel.

He found his party ready to start and wondering where he had gone.

“Where on earth have you been, Joe?” asked Mabel. “We were beginning to
get worried about you.”

“Oh, I was just called away by a telephone message,” Joe parried.

He had no desire to let the women of the little group know that he was
being made the victim of any hostile machinations. They would have
magnified the danger and worried without ceasing.

“Well, it’s all right as long as you are here now,” Mabel said brightly,
flashing Joe one of the dazzling smiles that always made his heart beat
more quickly.

There had been a tenderer note in her voice ever since he had rescued
her from the reckless ride on which Fleming had taken her. She blushed
when she remembered how she had taken refuge in his arms in her first
paroxysms of relief. It had been instinctive, and she had fled to them
as naturally as she would have gone to those of her brother in similar
circumstances. How strongly those arms had held her and how absolutely
safe they had made her feel!

Barclay had been looking curiously at Joe ever since the latter had
returned. He had been more alarmed than he would have cared to confess
by his unexplained absence. Knowing his chum so well, he could see that
even now he was laboring under repressed excitement. But his chance
for an explanation did not come until some time later. It was only
after they had bestowed their charges in their Pullman car and had said
good-night and had gone forward to the car in which the Giants were
quartered, that Jim was able to relieve his impatience.

“Come on now, old man, and tell me all about it,” he demanded.

“All about what?”

“You know well enough. Quit your stalling and come across with the
story. Where did you go? Who called you up? Get it off your chest.”

Joe readily complied. There was very little he ever kept from Jim, and
just now he felt especially the need of a confidant.

Jim listened with growing excitement and indignation.

“The hounds!” he exclaimed hotly.

“That doesn’t begin to express it,” said Joe. “It was about as dirty
a piece of business as I ever heard of. It’s worthy of a reptile like
Fleming.”

“I’d like to have him here this minute,” cried Jim. “I’d repeat the dose
you gave him yesterday.”

“What puzzles me is as to who was in cahoots with him,” mused Joe. “He
couldn’t have put a thing like that through alone. Think of the wires
that had to be pulled to carry out the plan.”

“I suppose the big fellow that Anderson heard talking with Fleming was
at the bottom of that,” conjectured Jim. “It surely was smooth work.”

“Oh, it was all prearranged carefully enough,” agreed Joe. “There wasn’t
anything left to chance.”

“It was pretty slick, using McRae’s name to get you there, too,”
commented Jim. “They knew you’d do anything he asked that was
reasonable. What beats me is how they could counterfeit his voice so
that you were taken in by it.”

“Well, you know how it is,” Joe replied. “When any one at the telephone
gives you his name you take it for granted. It sounded a little strange,
but it was a pretty good imitation at that. Probably they’ve rung in
some actor who’s accustomed to mimic voices. He could easily have hung
around the hotel and listened to Mac talking, till he got a pretty good
line on his voice. Where I blame myself is that I hadn’t kept Anderson’s
warning in mind. But I was thinking of other things----”

“Yes,” interrupted Jim dryly. “You’d just been walking with a charming
young lady. I understand.”

He grinned quizzically, and Joe made a friendly thrust toward him which
he adroitly ducked.

“Well, ‘all’s well that ends well,’” Joe quoted.

“If it _is_ ended,” said Jim seriously. “They may cook up something
else, now that this has failed.”

“I guess they’ve shot their bolt,” replied Joe lightly. “This will
probably discourage them, and they’ll give it up. But it gives me the
cold shivers to think how nearly they put this scheme of theirs across.”

“It was just touch and go,” agreed Jim. “You did some mighty quick
thinking, old man,” he added admiringly.

“It was a case of must,” answered Joe. “I just had to think quickly, or
it would have been all up.”

“By the way, are you going to say anything to McRae about this?”

“What’s the use?” returned Joe. “There’s nothing he could do. It would
only worry him and make him hopping mad, and he’s got enough on his mind
as it is. Besides, I couldn’t tell him the whole story without bringing
Mabel’s name into it, and I’d rather cut off my hand than do that.”

Just at that moment McRae came through the car. He was in high spirits,
and greeted them cordially as he sat down by them.

“Wouldn’t you boys better have your berths made up?” he inquired. “It’s
getting pretty late and I want you to be in good shape for to-morrow.
We’ll want that game badly, too. It isn’t enough to have evened up. We
want to jump right out into the lead.”

“I suppose you’re going to pitch Markwith to-morrow,” said Joe, after
having signaled the porter and told him to prepare the berths.

“I’m not sure yet,” answered McRae thoughtfully. “He certainly pitched
pretty good ball in those last three innings to-day, and I’ll see how he
warms up to-morrow before the game. But just at this present moment I’m
inclined to pitch Barclay.”

Jim’s heart began to thump. He had not expected to figure in the Series,
except perhaps as a relief pitcher. It was his first year in the big
league and though he had shown some “crackerjack stuff,” he was not
supposed to be seasoned enough to work a full game at such a critical
time.

To tell the truth, he would not have had a chance of taking part if
it had not been for the accident to Hughson. McRae was famous for the
way he stuck to his veterans, and though he believed in “young blood,”
he always took a long time in developing his new pitchers before he
would trust them in a game on which a great deal depended. Sometimes
he kept them on the bench for a year or two, absorbing “inside stuff”
and watching the older players before he considered them ripe for “a
killing.”

But he was hard put to it now to handle his crippled staff to the best
advantage. He did not dare to use Joe too often for fear of hurting
his effectiveness by overwork. Markwith was brilliant but unreliable.
Sometimes he would pitch superbly for the better part of a game. Then
all too often there would be a fatal inning when he would lose his
“stuff” entirely, and before he could be replaced the game would have
gone to pieces.

“I may pitch Jim to-morrow,” McRae went on reflectively. “If he wins,
we will have the edge on the Sox, and I can take a chance on Red for
Friday’s game. Then I’ll have you, Joe, to put the kibosh on them in the
final game on Saturday.

“But if Jim loses to-morrow the Sox will have three games tucked away
and only need one more. In that case, Joe, I’m going to pitch you
Friday to even up and Saturday to win. Think you can stand two games in
succession and win out?”

“I’d work my head off to do it,” replied Joe earnestly.

“It’ll put a big strain on your head and arm too,” said the manager,
“but you’ll have all winter to rest up in afterwards, and we may have to
chance it.”

He chatted with them a minute or two longer, and then, as the berth had
been made up, he left them.

“Gee whiz, Joe!” ejaculated Jim, as he crept into the upper berth, his
teeth chattering in his excitement. “To think of me pitching a game in
the World Series before that whale of a crowd at the Polo Grounds!”

“It’s the chance of your life, Jim,” responded Joe. “You’re made as a
pitcher if you win. And you will win, too. I’m sure of it. You had those
fellows right on your staff in that inning or two you pitched at Boston.”

“Well, here’s hoping,” murmured Jim, getting in between the sheets. “If
I don’t, it won’t be for lack of trying.”

It was, indeed, a “whale of a crowd” that greeted the Giants on their
victorious return. All New York was jubilant, and comments were rife
everywhere on the gameness of their pets in the fight they were making
against accident and hard luck.

The team was cheered singly and collectively as they came on the field
and scattered for preliminary practice. McRae and Robson paid especial
attention to the warming up of the pitchers, for up to the last minute
the manager was undecided as to whom he should play.

Both Jim and Markwith seemed to have plenty of “smoke” as they sent
their slants and benders over. But the older pitcher was inclined to
be wild, while Jim’s control was all that could be asked. So with many
inner quakings McRae finally decided that Jim should do the twirling.

The crowd was somewhat startled when they saw the young “second string”
pitcher going on the mound. They were well aware of McRae’s predilection
for his old players, and they wondered at his willingness to-day to take
a chance.

But whatever may have been their misgivings, there was nothing but the
heartiest applause for the youngster. If generous rooting and backing
would help him to win, he should have them.

There was a host of Princeton men there, too, and they gave the old
college yell that Jim had heard so often when as an undergraduate he had
twirled for the Orange and Black.

But, perhaps, if the truth were told, Jim’s greatest incentive came from
the fact that Clara was watching him from a box in the upper stand, her
pretty face flushed and her bright eyes sparkling. It was astonishing
how much that young woman’s approbation had come to mean to Jim in the
short time he had known her.

He was a little nervous at the start, and Cooper, the first man up, drew
a base on balls. He was nipped a moment later, however, in an attempt to
steal, and with the bases again empty Jim fanned Berry and made Loomis
chop a grounder to Larry that resulted in an easy out at first.

“Bully for you, old man!” cried Joe, encouragingly. “You got through
that inning finely. The first is usually the hardest because you’re
finding your bearings. Besides, you’ve got rid of the head of their
batting order.”

Fraser was in the box for the Red Sox, and it looked at the start as
though he were going to prove fully as good as in the first game. For
four innings he turned back the New Yorks, who seemed to have lost all
the hitting ability they had shown the day before.

“What’s the matter with the boys?” growled McRae, uneasily. “It would
help Barclay a lot if they handed him something to go on.”

The New Yorks gave him that lead in the fifth. Denton and Willis
singled, and Denton scored when Cooper, the right fielder, lost Becker’s
fly in the sun and it went for a double. Becker was forced at third on
Iredell’s bouncer to Girdner, and both Willis and Iredell scored when
Berry made a wild throw of a sharp hit by Curry.

This ended the scoring for the inning, but those three runs, in the
words of Robson, looked very “juicy.”

The lead, of course, was very gratifying to Jim. It seemed to put
him on “easy street.” But at the same time it was dangerous, because
it was calculated to give him, perhaps, too much confidence. And
over-confidence was a perilous thing to indulge in when the Bostons
happened to be one’s opponents.

Jim waked up to this fact in the very next inning, when Walters
straightened out one of his incurves with a mighty wallop to the fence
on which he easily circled the bases. Two more hits sandwiched in with
a pass yielded one more run, and McRae began to look uneasy. A rattling
double play got Jim out of what had begun to look like a bad hole, and
the rally was choked off then and there.

It had been a bad inning for him, but Jim was a thoroughbred, and he
braced.

In the next three innings they only garnered four more hits, and of
these only two were “Simon pure.” Loomis got a hit past Denton when the
latter was running to cover the base. Then Stock chopped one to the box
that took a puzzling bound and went for a single. Girdner lined out a
scorcher to center in the eighth and Walters sent one to the same place
in the final frame. But this was the sum total of their endeavors and
the Giants had no need of playing out their half of the ninth.

It was a very creditable victory for the “kid” pitcher of the Giants.
Once more the New Yorks had the upper hand in the desperate fight for
the Series. Jim had won his spurs and could count hereafter on taking
his regular turn in the box.

The roars of the crowd were like music in Jim’s ears. Still more
grateful were the praise and congratulations from his comrades on the
team. But, perhaps, he treasured more than all the shy tribute that came
that evening from the lips of a remarkably pretty girl.

“You were just splendid to-day, Mr. Barclay,” said Clara, her eyes
shining brightly. “Just splendid!”



CHAPTER XXIV

PLOTTING MISCHIEF


The feeling in Boston was in marked contrast to that in the metropolis,
when the news was flashed over the wires that for the second day in
succession the Red Sox had lost.

To be sure they were by no means out of it, and a victory the next day
would leave the clubs even up. But the odds now were on the New York
side, especially as it was certain that Baseball Joe would pitch in one
of the games.

The Red Sox stood in no particular fear of Markwith, although his
ability was freely recognized. Still he could be handled. But they had
the profoundest respect for Joe, not to say dread, and they had begun
to share the feeling that he had the game won when he appeared upon the
mound.

Perhaps by none was this conviction felt more keenly than by two men
who sat at a table in a café. A groan had just arisen from a throng
surrounding the ticker and in that groan the two men read defeat.

“That makes three games the Giants have won,” growled Connelly. “One
more and the Series is theirs.”

“But they haven’t won that other one yet,” suggested Fleming, whose face
by this time had renewed more nearly its usual appearance, “and it’s up
to us to see that they don’t.”

“That sounds good,” growled Connelly. “But so did our other plan sound
good. But you see what came of it.”

“It not only sounded good but it was good,” replied Fleming. “You know
as well as I do that we only missed putting it over by an eyelash.”

“I haven’t got over wondering yet how Matson slipped out of that net,”
Connelly ruminated. “It seemed a dead open and shut certainty that we
had him.”

“He’s a slippery customer,” said Fleming, “but because we didn’t get him
once doesn’t say that we won’t the next time. But whatever we do, we’ll
have to do in a hurry. He’s to be in Boston only one more day.”

“What was it you were telling me about that Hartley?” asked Connelly.

“I don’t know how much there may be in that,” answered Fleming,
thoughtfully. “The fellow’s fearfully sore on Matson for some reason
or other that I can’t just make out. He’d like well enough to do him a
personal injury, too, if he could.

“I got him away from the gang he was ranting to and had a little talk
with him. But I wouldn’t dare trust him to do any rough work. He’s half
full all the time; and then, too, I think he’s a little crazy. He’d be
apt to spill the beans in anything he might undertake.

“There’s only one thing, though, in which he may be of some help to us.
He’s on to the signals used by the Giant pitchers and he offered to give
them away. That might help some in a close game.”

“It might,” reflected Connelly. “But it isn’t sure enough. The pitchers
might tumble to the game and change their signals. Still, we’ll use him,
on the off chance that it may help if we don’t think of anything better.”

“The only sure way of beating Matson,” observed Fleming, “is to see that
he doesn’t go on the field at all.”

Connelly looked up quickly.

“Nothing like that,” he grunted. “I’ve told you already that I wouldn’t
stand for any rough stuff. America wouldn’t be big enough to hold a man
who’d do that.”

“Hold your horses,” retorted Fleming. “Who’s talking about injuring or
killing him? I’m no more anxious to go to the electric chair than you
are.”

“Well, what’s the game then?” asked Connelly.

“Here’s the dope,” answered Fleming. “You see by the score that Barclay
pitched for the New Yorks to-day?”

“Yes,” agreed Connelly.

“That gives McRae a little margin to go on,” continued Fleming. “He
could afford to lose to-morrow’s game and still be even on the Series.
Then he’d still have Matson as his ace for Saturday’s game in New York.

“Now suppose it works out that way. Markwith pitches, we’ll say, and
loses.”

“I’m listening,” said Connelly.

“Then the deciding game will be played on Saturday at the Polo Grounds.
The Giants will be before their home crowd. Matson goes in to pitch.
What’s the answer?”

“A victory for New York,” replied Connelly, grinding his teeth.

“Probably,” agreed Fleming. “Now there’s just one thing to be done.
When the Giant team leaves Boston to-morrow night for New York, _Matson
mustn’t go with them_.”

He almost hissed the last words, all the venom he felt toward Joe
showing in his eyes.

Connelly thumped the table with his ponderous fist.

“You mean that he must be kidnapped?” he exclaimed. “You think we may
put it over better on land than we did on the water?”

“That’s rather an ugly word,” warned Fleming, looking around to see that
they were not overheard, “and perhaps it would be better not to use it.
What I mean is that in some way he must be kept from taking the train
late Friday night or the early train Saturday morning. After that it
doesn’t matter what he does.

“You see,” he went on, “there wouldn’t be any come-back in a thing like
that. There’d be no need to hurt him. The whole thing would only cover
about twelve hours. After nine o’clock on Saturday morning he could be
set at liberty and be free as air. But he’d be in Boston and he couldn’t
possibly get a train then that would land him in New York in time for
the game.”

“It might work,” reflected Connelly. “It’s worth trying, anyhow, unless
we think of something better. But it’s going to take a good deal of neat
work to carry it through.”

“It will,” admitted Fleming. “And it’s going to be all the harder
because he’ll probably be on his guard after what nearly happened to him
the other night. But I think it can be done. The first thing is to get
the services of half a dozen men that can be trusted to do just as they
are told. Do you know of such a bunch that you can lay your hands on?”

“Moriarity does,” replied Connelly, referring to the henchman whom
Fleming had been introduced to on the occasion of his first meeting
with Connelly. “He knows the tough side of Boston like a book. He could
get us just the gang we need in less than no time.”

“That’s good,” commented Fleming. “I’d get him busy at once.”

“Sure thing,” confirmed Connelly. “And now let’s get down to the fine
points. We don’t want to have any slip up this time.”

What followed was almost in whispers.



CHAPTER XXV

A RANDOM CLUE


Mr. Beckworth Fleming would, no doubt, have been interested in knowing
that while he was speaking of Joe in Boston the latter was discussing
him in New York.

It was Reggie who had first brought in his name, as he stood with Joe
and Jim in the lobby of the Marlborough, waiting for the others of the
party to come down on the way to the train.

“Funny thing happened to-day, don’t you know,” he remarked. “Fellow
sitting in the box next to me at the grounds got to talking about an
auto accident that happened on Long Island a little while ago.”

Joe and Jim pricked up their ears.

“What did he say about it?” Joe asked eagerly.

“Why, I heard him say that it was the wildest ride he had ever had, and
that he’d been wondering ever since how they got through it without
getting pinched. Said that half the time the car was going on two
wheels. Once they knocked down a man on the Merrick road, and they had
come near to smashing up a car they passed just before that.”

“That describes the accident to Anderson,” broke in Jim.

“Yes, and don’t you remember how near they came to running into us just
before that?” added Joe. “But did you get any clue as to who the fellows
were?”

“I didn’t hear any full names,” replied Reggie, “but several times the
man who was telling the story referred to the reckless driving of ‘old
Beck,’ whoever that might have been.”

“Beck, Beck,” mused Jim. “That isn’t much of a hint. The directory is
full of Becks.”

A thought suddenly came to Joe.

“Fleming’s first name is Beckworth, isn’t it?” he asked Reggie.

“Yes,” replied Reggie.

“And wouldn’t it be natural for his cronies to speak of him as Beck?”
Joe went on.

“Sure,” said Reggie. “As a matter of fact, I’ve often heard them refer
to him in that way.”

“And he’s known as a reckless driver, isn’t he?” asked Joe, going back
in memory to the way in which Fleming had handled the car on that
memorable afternoon when he had rescued Mabel from his clutches.

“Yes,” Reggie responded. “In fact, he seems to take a sort of pride
in it. I’ve often heard him tell how often he had been arrested for
speeding.”

“It begins to look as though he might have been mixed up in that
Anderson affair,” mused Jim.

“Yes, but that’s a mighty slender basis to go on,” answered Joe. “Of
course he’d deny it, and we couldn’t prove it if we had nothing to back
it up with.”

“By Jove!” exclaimed Reggie. “Now that you come to speak of it, I
remember catching sight of Fleming at the Long Beach Hotel when we were
dining there. He was sitting at a table in the further corner of the
room. I thought of going over to speak to him, but I noticed that he was
with a pretty noisy party, and as the girls were with us I passed it up.”

“Well, now, that’s something more like proof!” exclaimed Joe, with
animation. “That brings him near the scene of the accident on the day it
happened. He’s a reckless driver and his pals often spoke of him as ‘old
Beck.’ I believe he was the fellow that knocked the old man down.”

“It looks like it,” agreed Jim, “and from what we’ve learned of the
fellow since, I think he’s just the kind that would go on without trying
to help or stopping to see what he had done. But even now we haven’t
anything that would convince a jury.”

“No,” agreed Reggie. “Moral proof isn’t legal proof by a long shot. The
one thing we need to clinch the matter is the number of the car that
held the party.”

“What a pity we didn’t get it,” fumed Joe.

“We weren’t to blame for that,” replied Reggie. “They were going so
fast and raising such a cloud of dust that we couldn’t see it. That is,
we didn’t get it in full. Seems to me, though, that I heard you say
something, Joe, about some numbers that you caught sight of.”

“That’s so,” confirmed Jim. “What were they, Joe? Do you remember?”

“There was a seven and a four,” answered Joe. “But I couldn’t be sure
that they were next to each other. There may have been another figure in
between. And anyway, as there were probably five or six figures in the
whole number, that isn’t very much to go on.”

“I tell you what,” cried Jim, eagerly. “Every car is registered in the
State Registry Bureau, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” answered Reggie. “Mine is, I know. They put down the name of the
man when they give him his number.”

“Exactly!” returned Jim. “What’s the matter then with our making
inquiries at the proper department and finding the number of the car
that is registered as owned by Beckworth Fleming?”

“The very thing,” assented Reggie. “But when we find it, what then?”

“Nothing, perhaps,” Jim admitted. “And then, on the other hand, it may
mean a great deal. Suppose, for instance, the number has a seven and a
four in it?”

“That would certainly bring it much closer to Fleming,” observed Joe,
thoughtfully, “and it would make us that much surer in our own minds
that he’s the man in question. But it would still fall far short of
legal proof.”

“Bother legal proof!” snapped Jim. “The one point is that all these
things taken together would make us feel so sure that we were on the
right track that we’d feel justified in accusing Fleming to his face of
having done it.”

“I see!” exclaimed Joe, his eyes kindling. “You mean to put up a great
big bluff and try to catch him off his guard.”

“That’s what,” agreed Jim. “Trust to his guilty conscience. He knows
whether he did it or not, and he won’t be sure how much we know. If we
act as if we were sure we have him dead to rights, he may give himself
away. Try to explain or excuse it and in that way admit it. At any rate,
it seems to me it might be worth trying. We can’t lose and we may win.”

“By Jove!” exclaimed Reggie. “I believe it might work.”

“It’s a dandy idea,” approved Joe, warmly.

“It would do me a whole lot of good to make him come across handsomely
to Anderson,” said Jim. “The old man needs money badly, and Fleming
has a good deal more than is good for him. And he can consider himself
mighty lucky if he gets off with only a money payment.”

“Well, whatever we do in that line, we’ll have to do right away,”
remarked Joe. “To-morrow’s the last day we’ll be in Boston, and I’d like
to fix up the matter at once. Anderson we know is there and Fleming
probably will be, too.”

“I wish we’d known of this earlier,” remarked Jim. “Of course all the
official departments are closed by this time.”

“Yes,” said Joe, “but I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll ask Belden
here at the desk to look up the matter for us the first thing to-morrow
morning. He can find out the number and call me up on the long distance
’phone to Boston. We ought to know all about it as early as ten o’clock.”

“The very thing,” said Jim.

Joe went over to the hotel desk, where Belden, the night clerk, had just
come on duty. He was a warm admirer of Baseball Joe, and, like everybody
in New York just then, was happy to do anything he could for the famous
pitcher of the Giants.

“Mr. Belden,” Joe began, “I want to ask a favor of you.”

“Only too glad, Mr. Matson,” replied the clerk, his face wreathed in
smiles. “What is it?”

“I’d like you to call up the city office of the State Registry Bureau,
Broadway and Seventy-fourth Street, early in the morning,” said Joe,
“and find out the number of the car owned by a Mr. Beckworth Fleming.
Then I’d like to have you call me up on the long distance ’phone, of
course at my expense, and let me know what it is. If you’ll do this for
me I’ll be greatly obliged.”

The clerk made a note of the name and also of the hotel where Joe would
stay in Boston.

“I’ll do it without fail, Mr. Matson. You can depend upon me.”

Joe thanked him and returned to his party, which had now been joined by
Mr. and Mrs. Matson and the girls. A couple of taxicabs were pressed
into service, and they were carried to the Grand Central Terminal where
they embarked on the last trip that was to be made to Boston during the
Series.

“What with the game to-morrow and perhaps this Fleming matter on our
program, I imagine we’re going to have our hands full,” Jim remarked in
an aside to his friend.

“Yes,” laughed Joe, “it looks like a busy day.”

But just how busy a day it was destined to be it would have startled him
to learn.



CHAPTER XXVI

A BLUFF THAT WORKED


Every member of Baseball Joe’s little party had by this time become
thoroughly acquainted with every other, and they formed a very congenial
group.

Mr. and Mrs. Matson, as Joe had predicted when he had sent on for them
to come, were having the time of their lives. The great world had opened
up its treasures for them after the long years they had spent in their
quiet village, and they were enjoying it to the full. And their delight
in the new vista opened up was, of course, immeasurably increased by
their pride in Joe and his achievements so far in the World Series.

Mabel, too, had taken them right into her heart and had won their
affection from the start. They could easily see how things stood with
her and Joe and were eagerly ready to welcome her into a closer relation.

Reggie was full of life and good-nature, and his knowledge of city life
made him invaluable as a guide and companion. As for Clara, she was in
a perpetual flutter of happiness. Was she not with her idolized brother?
Was she not tasting the delights of a broader life that she had often
read of and longed for but scarcely dreamed of seeing? And had not that
handsome Mr. Barclay shown himself a devoted and perfect cavalier? Could
any girl barely out of her teens possibly ask for more?

So it was a happy party that laughed and chatted as the train sped
through the night toward Boston.

“Our last trip to Boston, for a while at least,” smiled Mabel.

“I wonder whether the Series will be settled there or at the Polo
Grounds,” remarked Clara. “It would be glorious if when we come back
to-morrow night the Giants should have won the Series.”

“Well, we have two chances to the Bostons’ one, anyway,” observed Jim.
“They _must_ win to-morrow or they’re goners. We can lose to-morrow and
still have a chance.”

“A chance!” objected Clara. “You ought to say a certainty.”

“I’ve learned already that there’s nothing certain in baseball,” laughed
Jim.

“But Joe will be pitching that last game,” returned Clara, as though
that settled the question.

Joe laughed.

“I wish I could make the Red Sox feel as sure of that as you do, Sis. If
they did, they’d quit right at the start.”

“Well, they might as well, anyway,” declared Clara, with assured
conviction.

“What is this I see in the paper about a tour of the world after the
Series is over?” asked Mr. Matson.

“Why, there’s nothing very definite as yet,” answered Joe. “McRae has
been giving some thought to the matter, I believe. If we win the Series,
we could go with the prestige of being the champions of the world, which
would be a big advertisement. Mac could easily get up another team
composed of crack players which could be called the All National or the
All America Nine. Then the two teams could travel together and give
exhibition games in most of the big cities of the world.”

“Would there be much money in it?” asked Reggie.

“Oh, probably not so much, after all the expenses were taken out,” Joe
answered. “Possibly there might be a thousand dollars for each player.
Some of the trips have panned out as much as that.”

“Then this isn’t entirely a new idea,” remarked Joe’s father.

“Oh, no,” replied his son. “It’s been done before. The boys have always
drawn big crowds and aroused a good deal of interest.”

“And they’d do that to-day more than ever,” put in Jim. “Baseball is no
longer simply an American game but a world game. You’ll find crack teams
even in Japan and China.”

“It would be a wonderful experience,” remarked Reggie.

“You bet it would!” exclaimed Joe, enthusiastically. “Think of playing
ball in sight of the Pyramids! We’d take in all the great cities of Asia
and Europe and some in Africa. It would be a liberal education. And
instead of spending money in making a tour of the world, we’d be paid
for taking it.”

“Rather soft, I call it,” laughed Jim.

“How long would the party be gone?” asked gentle Mrs. Matson, who was
somewhat alarmed by the prospect of her boy being separated from her by
the width of the globe.

“Oh, not more than five months or so,” Joe replied. “The boys couldn’t
very well get started much before the first of November, and they’d have
to be back for spring training.”

“They won’t need much training, I imagine,” remarked Jim. “They’ll have
been playing while the other fellows have been loafing. They ought to be
in first class shape to begin the season.”

“Of course,” observed Joe; “it isn’t a dead sure thing that we’ll go,
even if we win the Series. And if we lose, it’s dollars to doughnuts
that Mac will call the whole thing off.”

It was getting rather late, and Joe and Jim said good-night to the
others and sought their berths.

They were up and abroad earlier than usual the next morning, for the
matter of the automobile accident promised to engross all the time they
could spare from the game.

Reggie was able to find out for them the place at which Fleming was
putting up in Boston. Having ascertained from the clerk that he was
still staying there, the next thing was to get hold of Louis Anderson.

Jim hurried up to the address the old man had given them. It was in a
humble neighborhood, but the three rooms in which Anderson and his wife
were living were neat and clean.

Jim did not want to raise false hopes, in the light of the imperfect
information he had. So he told Anderson that he thought he had a clue,
though he was not at all sure, as to the men who had run him down.

“Do you think you would be able to recognize the man who was driving, if
you should see him?” Jim inquired.

“I’m sure I could,” answered Anderson. “He was on the side nearest me
and I got a good look at his face just as the car bore down on me.”

“That’s good,” replied Jim. “Now if you’ll get ready and jump in with
me, we’ll go down to where Mr. Matson is.”

The old man complied eagerly, and they were soon on their way down town.

Joe, in the meantime, had hovered in the vicinity of the telephone,
waiting impatiently for the long distance call.

Shortly after nine o’clock it came.

“Is this Mr. Matson?” the voice inquired. “Good morning, Mr. Matson.
This is Belden talking. I called up just now at the registry office
and found that the number of Mr. Beckworth Fleming’s car is 36754. Did
you get that? 3-6-7-5-4. Yes, that’s it. Not at all, Mr. Matson. Don’t
mention it. Glad to be of service. Hope you win to-day. Good-bye.”

Joe stared at the number that he had jotted down as Belden had called it
off. 36754. There were the two figures, 7 and 4, the 7 coming first as
he remembered.

It was not proof. But it was corroboration, enough, anyway, to justify
the audacious bluff that he had in mind.

Jim returned shortly afterward with Louis Anderson, who greeted Joe,
gratefully.

“It’s an awful lot of trouble you two young men are putting yourselves
to for me,” he declared in a grateful voice.

“That’s all right,” returned Joe. “It was a dastardly thing that was
done to you, and the man who did it has got to pay for it if we can make
him. But you mustn’t build your hopes too high. We’ve only probabilities
to go on instead of certainties.”

They stepped into the taxicab which Jim had retained, and were soon at
the Albemarle where Fleming was stopping.

“Suppose he refuses to receive us when the clerk sends up your card,”
asked Jim. “You can’t very well force your way into his rooms.”

“There isn’t going to be any card,” replied Joe. “Reggie gave me the
number of his suite and we’ll just go up in the elevator without being
announced.”

“But he may slam the door in your face when he sees who it is,” Jim
remarked.

“I’ve got a pretty capable foot,” grinned Joe, “and I guess I can keep
the door from being shut.”

They got off at the fourth floor and walked along the corridor till they
reached the number for which they were looking.

Fleming was already engaged with a visitor. He and Big Connelly were in
earnest conversation when Joe rapped on the door. Fleming looked up with
some irritation at being interrupted.

“What does that clerk mean by not announcing a caller?” he growled.

“I’ll just step into the bedroom while you see who it is,” said
Connelly, tiptoeing into the adjoining room.

Fleming went to the door and opened it. He started back in surprise
and alarm when he saw Joe’s face. Then with a snarl he started to slam
the door, but Joe thrust his foot between the door and the jamb. Then
he gave a push with his brawny shoulder and the next moment he and his
companions were in the room. Jim coolly shut the door and stood with his
back to it.

“What does this mean?” shouted Fleming, almost stuttering with rage.
“Get out of here this minute or I’ll have you thrown out.”

“No, you won’t,” replied Joe, coolly. “I’ve got a little business with
you, Fleming, and I don’t go out till it’s finished.”

Before the cold gleam in his eye, Fleming shrank back.

“If you attempt any violence----” he began in a voice that trembled.

“There isn’t going to be any violence unless you make it necessary,” Joe
interrupted. “Though I ought to give you another thrashing for that trap
you laid for me the other night.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” growled Fleming, sullenly.

“Oh, yes you do. But we’ll let that go. I came here this morning to tell
you that we’ve identified you as the driver of the car that ran this
man down on the Merrick Road and then went on without stopping to see
how badly he was hurt.”

The accusation was so sudden, so positive, so direct, that, as Joe had
hoped, it took Fleming fairly off his feet. He stood staring wildly at
the group, his face an image of guilt. Then he tried to rally.

“It’s false!” he shouted. “I didn’t do anything of the kind.”

“No use of lying, Fleming,” said Joe, coldly. “We’ve got the goods on
you.”

“He’s the man!” cried Louis Anderson, excitedly. “He had a cap on then,
and his face was red, as though he was drunk, but he’s the same man. I
could swear to him.”

“You’re crazy,” snarled Fleming. “I wasn’t on Long Island that day.”

“Didn’t you have dinner at the Long Beach Hotel that day, eh?” asked Joe.

“N-no,” Fleming denied, avoiding Joe’s eyes.

“Yes, you did,” declared Joe, sternly. “And afterward you nearly crashed
into the machine I was in. I saw you hit this man. I looked for the
number on your car. The number of that car is 36754. Ever heard those
figures before, Fleming?”

His eyes were like cold steel now and seemed to be boring Fleming
through and through. He seemed so sure of his facts, so unwavering and
relentless, that Fleming crumpled up. The arrow shot at a venture had
reached its mark.

“It was the old fool’s own fault,” he growled, casting aside all further
pretence of denial. “If he hadn’t run in front of the machine he
wouldn’t have got hurt.”

“It wasn’t so,” cried Anderson. “You were swerving all over the road.
Your crowd was shouting and singing. You didn’t blow your horn. You were
half drunk. And after you hit me you didn’t stop.”

“We’re his witnesses,” said Joe. “And I don’t think he’d have any
trouble in getting heavy damages from a jury.”

“Let him try it,” snarled Fleming. “I’ve got more money than he has and
I’ll fight the case through every court. He’ll die of old age before he
ever gets a cent from me.”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” remarked Joe, carelessly. “I don’t suppose you’d
care to go to jail now, would you, Fleming?”

“It isn’t a question of jail,” replied Fleming.

“Oh, yes it is,” rejoined Joe. “You may not know that a law has been
passed making it a prison offense in New York State to run away after
knocking a man down with an auto and not stop to see what you can do for
him.”

“I don’t believe it,” said Fleming, going white.

“I know what I’m talking about,” answered Joe, in a voice that carried
conviction. “You’d better come to your senses, Fleming. We’ve got you
dead to rights. You ran this man down. You’ve admitted it. You ran away
without stopping. Half a dozen of us saw you do it. Nothing can save you
from going behind the bars if the matter is pressed. You’ll do the right
thing by this man, or I’ll see that you’re arrested the minute you set
foot in New York.”

“What do you mean by the square thing?” asked Fleming, who now was
thoroughly wilted.

“We’re not unreasonable,” said Joe. “You came within an ace of killing
this man. He had to go to a hospital. At his age he’ll feel the effect
of the shock as long as he lives. It will probably shorten his life. A
jury under those circumstances would certainly give him several thousand
dollars. I think you ought to give him at least two thousand. Will that
be satisfactory, Mr. Anderson?”

The old man nodded.

Fleming reflected a moment. Then he nodded surlily.

“I’ll do it,” he muttered.

“And do it to-day, if you please,” Joe went on smoothly. “I want to know
that this thing is settled before I go back to New York. Write down your
address, Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Fleming or his lawyer will be up to see
you before night. And I’ll run up myself before I leave, to see whether
it has been done.”

There was a threat in the last words that warned Fleming against any
attempt at evasion or delay. The latter agreed with a nod of his head.

There was no pretence of a farewell that would have been mere hypocrisy
under the circumstances, and without a word Baseball Joe’s party left
the room, while Fleming stared after them with baffled rage and hate in
his eyes.

Once more in the taxicab, Anderson broke out with a flood of thanks that
Joe waved aside lightly.

They drove around by way of his humble home and left him there, and then
went hurriedly down to their hotel.

Left to themselves in the car, Jim and Joe looked for a long time
steadily at each other. Then Jim burst out into a roar.

Joe grinned happily.

“Joe,” cried Jim when his paroxysms had subsided, “as a bluffer you’re a
wonder, a real wonder!”



CHAPTER XXVII

STEALING SIGNALS


Fleming sat in his chair, limp and sprawling, after the departure of the
trio who had burst in on him so unexpectedly. So swept and exhausted was
he by the tide of emotions aroused by their visit that he had forgotten
all about the presence of Connelly in the adjoining room, and only
became conscious of it when the fellow plumped himself down in the chair
beside him.

“Some stormy session,” he remarked, as he lighted a fat, black cigar.

Fleming only growled in reply.

“Don’t wonder that you feel sore,” Connelly commented. “They certainly
put the skids under you in great shape. That Matson is a bird and no
mistake.”

“I’ll get even with him yet,” Fleming broke out stormily. “I won’t let
him crow over me. I won’t pay that money.”

“Oh, yes, you will,” returned Connelly, calmly. “He’s got you where
the hair is short in that matter of the jail. It mightn’t have been so
bad if you’d kept your nerve and denied everything. But he got you so
rattled that you admitted knocking that fellow down and then the gravy
was spilled.”

“What was the use of keeping it up?” queried Fleming. “He had the facts.”

“Maybe he did,” admitted Connelly, doubtfully, “and then again he may
have had only some half facts and made a bluff at the rest. He’s got
nerve enough to do it. I have to hand it to him. But now you have
admitted it, you’ll have to pony up. What’s a couple of thousand to you,
anyway?”

“It isn’t so much the money,” Fleming muttered gloomily. “It’s knowing
that he got it out of me and is probably laughing at me this minute.”

“Let him laugh,” said Connelly, with the philosophy that it is so easy
to use where others are concerned. “We’ll have our laugh later on. But
you want to get that money paid right away, because if we put over on
Matson what we’re planning, he’ll be so furious that he’ll send you to
jail sure. But if the thing is settled, he’ll be helpless.

“Another thing, unless I’m very much mistaken, Matson himself has given
us a mighty valuable tip. He’s put a spoke in his own wheel.”

“What do you mean?” asked Fleming.

“Didn’t you hear him say that he was going to run up to-night to that
old man’s house to see whether you’d come across or not?”

“Yes.”

“Well, where could we have a better chance for pulling off our little
game? It’s probably a poor neighborhood with the lights none too good
and where a scrap wouldn’t attract much attention because it’s a common
thing. Moriarity and his bunch could be on hand and the rest would be as
easy as taking a dead mouse from a blind kitten.”

“By Jove, the very thing!” ejaculated Fleming, a look of malevolent
delight coming into his face.

“Sure it is,” chuckled Connelly. “I’ll get word to Moriarity at once.
In the meantime, you’d better settle. Take in all you can of the
neighborhood while you’re doing it.”

“Even if Markwith wins this afternoon and so ends the Series, I’d like
to put this through on Matson just the same,” snarled Fleming, viciously.

“No we won’t,” declared Connelly, decidedly. “I’m out to keep him from
winning the Series and nothing else. If Markwith wins, the game’s up,
anyway, and the thing ends for me right there. But if he loses I’ve got
a chance, and I’ll see that Matson doesn’t pitch the last game.”

All Boston seemed to have turned out that afternoon at Braves Field. The
enormous seating accommodations were taxed to capacity. It was the last
chance the loyal Bostonians would have to see their favorites in action.
And the fact that if they lost to-day their chance for the world’s
pennant was gone brought the excitement to a delirious pitch.

Landers was in the box for the Bostons while Markwith twirled for the
Giants. Before the game had gone three innings it was seen that both
these gladiators were out to do or die. There was an unusual number of
strike outs and the bases were occupied only at infrequent intervals.
Up to the fifth it was little more than a pitcher’s duel. But after
that, though Landers kept his effectiveness, the Red Sox began to get to
Markwith more frequently. It was not that the latter seemed to have let
down a particle. His speed and his curves were working beautifully, but
in a way almost uncanny the Bostons seemed to know what kind of ball was
coming next and set themselves for it accordingly.

In the sixth they gathered two runs. Burkett had clouted out a home run
for the Giants in their half, but that left them still one short of a
tie.

Boston started the seventh with a rattling two-bagger to center.

“I don’t understand it,” muttered McRae, uneasily. “Markwith never
seemed to be in better shape. He’s got a world of smoke.”

“They seem to know just what he’s going to feed them,” commented Robson.
“It almost looks----”

He was interrupted by a sharp exclamation from Joe.

“Look over there by the Boston dugout!” he exclaimed excitedly. “There’s
Hartley just behind the screen whispering to Banks. I’ll bet that skunk
is giving away Markwith’s signals!”

They looked in the direction indicated. Banks, the Boston second string
pitcher, was lolling carelessly against the railing of the grandstand,
idly chewing on a wisp of straw. Hartley’s face behind the screen was
not two feet away from Banks’ ear.

As Markwith prepared to wind up for the next pitch, Hartley leaned
forward a trifle and his lips moved. A glance and an almost imperceptible
sign passed between Banks and the man at the plate. Then as a low
incurve came sweeping up, the batsman caught it square on the seam for
a line single to left.

“Great Scott!” cried McRae, leaping up from the bench. “They’re stealing
our signals!”



CHAPTER XXVIII

A BLOW IN THE DARK


McRae rushed over to the umpire.

“There’s a fellow over there in the grandstand giving away our signs,”
he stormed.

Cries of derision came from the stands.

“Hire a hall!”

“Write him a letter!”

“Play ball!”

The umpire called time and walked over with McRae to where Banks was
standing.

“Get away from there,” he ordered.

“Why?” asked Banks, impudently.

“Never mind why. Get away I tell you.”

There was nothing left but to obey and Banks sauntered off.

“And as for you,” said the umpire, addressing Hartley, “if I see you
talking to any of the players I’ll have you put out of the park.”

“You’re a disgrace to the National League,” cried McRae, glaring at
Hartley, “and I’ll see that you get all that’s coming to you for this
bit of work.”

“Aw, what’s eating you?” retorted “Bugs” sullenly. “I wasn’t doing
anything.” But he seemed to shrivel up before the rage in his former
manager’s eyes, and for the rest of the game obeyed the umpire’s
injunction.

Markwith and Mylert, who was catching him, instantly changed their signs
and the Bostons scored no more. But the damage was already done, for
Landers was doing some demon pitching, and the game ended with the score
two to one in favor of the Red Sox.

It was a hard game to lose, and Markwith received nothing but condolence
and sympathy from his mates. He had pitched superbly and though beaten
was not disgraced.

“I wonder how much that traitor got for giving away his own league,”
said Joe, bitterly.

“Probably just enough to fill up his wretched skin with booze,” returned
Jim. “Fellows like him come cheap.”

“He won’t get another chance,” put in McRae, angrily. “I’ll have the
stands searched to-morrow, and if he’s there he’ll be bundled out neck
and heels.”

Once more the hard-won lead of the Giants had vanished into thin air.
But they took heart of hope and braced up for the struggle on the
morrow. They were to play on their own grounds and Joe would be in the
box.

All the members of Joe’s party were boiling over with indignation. If
anything they took the defeat harder than the players themselves, who
had learned in a hard school to take what was coming to them and brace
up for revenge.

“Well, to-morrow’s a new day and what we’ll do to those fellows then
will be a caution,” Jim declared philosophically.

Perhaps his cheerful view of things was increased by the fact that Clara
had promised to let him take her for a cozy little spin to see Bunker
Hill Monument by moonlight. The moon just then was in high favor with
these two young people.

It was arranged that the pair need not come back to the hotel, but that
Jim could bring Clara directly to the train. Mr. Matson and Reggie would
escort the others.

Joe grudged every minute spent away from Mabel and stayed with her as
long as he could that evening. But he had promised to drop in on Louis
Anderson to see that the arrangement with Fleming had been carried out,
and at last he left her reluctantly, promising to see her again on the
train if only long enough to say good-night.

But though he was deprived of her physical presence, his thoughts were
full of her as he was whisked away in the car he had summoned, and the
time passed so quickly that he was surprised when the driver drew up in
front of Anderson’s house.

“Wait for me here,” he directed as he stepped out. “I’ll only be a few
minutes.”

“Very well, sir,” was the response.

Hardly had Joe gone inside when a man stepped up to the curb.

“I want you to take me to the North Station,” he said, preparing to step
inside.

“Sorry, sir,” was the answer, “but I’m waiting for the fare I brought
here.”

“But I must get that train, I tell you,” persisted the other. “I’ll pay
you anything you want. Ten dollars, fifteen even.”

The driver was tempted.

“Make it twenty and I’ll go,” he said. “I suppose the gentleman can pick
up another car.”

“Sure he can,” replied the other. “Twenty it is. Get a move on, now.”

He got inside and the car whizzed away.

Joe found Anderson and his wife radiant.

“He did it, Mr. Matson!” the old man cried. “He grumbled a lot about
having had to telegraph on to New York to have his bank wire the cash
to him, but he did it. And I signed a paper giving him a release of all
claims against him. Oh, Mr. Matson, we can never thank you enough for
what you have done for us.”

His wife joined in his expressions of gratitude.

“Don’t mention it,” smiled Joe. “I only did what any decent man would
do to right a great wrong. And you squared the account when you gave me
that warning the other day. I was just on the point of stepping into a
trap when I thought of the warning and it saved me.”

“Is that so?” cried Anderson, delightedly. “I’m mighty glad if it helped
you.”

They chatted happily for a few minutes and then, as his time was getting
short, Joe took his leave with their repeated thanks ringing in his ears.

He was dumbfounded when he saw that the taxicab was not there.

“Where in thunder is that fellow?” he asked himself. “I suppose he’s
getting a nip in the nearest saloon.”

But when, after a minute or two spent in waiting, no car appeared, Joe
started for the nearest thoroughfare, three short blocks away.

He was just passing the second corner when a man stepped out of the
shadows with something in his hand.

“Hi, there, stop!”

“What do you want?” demanded Joe, trying to make out the face in the
darkness.

“I want you!” hissed the man.

He took a step closer and raised the object he carried in his hand.

Joe tried to dodge, but it was too late.

There was a quick blow. Joe felt no sense of pain. Rather it was a
gradual sinking, sinking, ten thousand fathoms deep!

Then the famous young baseball player became unconscious.



CHAPTER XXIX

QUICK WORK


Joe’s father and mother, together with Mabel and Reggie, had reached the
station a few minutes before train time, and Clara and Jim, who might be
excused for tarrying, had joined them a little later. They were somewhat
puzzled at not finding Joe on the platform.

“You folks get on anyway,” suggested Jim. “Probably Joe is up in the car
with the team. McRae may have nabbed him to have a talk with him.”

After they were safely in their coach, Jim hurried forward to the
Giants’ cars. He went through both of them, but before he had finished
his search the gong rang and the train started.

“Seen anything of Joe?” he asked McRae.

“No,” was the answer. “I suppose he’s in the car behind with his folks.”

“But he isn’t,” replied Jim. “I thought I’d find him here.”

“What?” fairly yelled McRae, springing to his feet. “You don’t mean to
say he’s missed the train?”

In an instant all was agitation.

The smoker was first searched, then every car in the train from end to
end, but, of course, Joe was not to be found.

McRae and Robson were wild and the rest of the team were glum.

“Of course, he can get that eight o’clock train in the morning,” was
the only comfort McRae would allow himself. “That will get him to the
grounds in time, but he won’t be in good shape to pitch right after the
trip.”

But Jim had reasons of his own for fear, and a cold sweat broke out on
him as he thought of Fleming. But he put on as good a face as possible
in order to reassure the girls and the rest of Joe’s party, who were
torn with anxiety and apprehension.

It was broad daylight when Joe woke to a sense of his surroundings. His
head swam and it was some time before he could recall the events of the
preceding night.

He was in a shabby room, sitting on the floor against the wall with his
hands tied behind him. As his brain cleared he was conscious of a face
looking at him curiously. There was a sweet sickly odor in the room.

“Waking up, eh?” asked Moriarty with a grin.

“You’ll pay for this,” said Joe, thickly.

Moriarty laughed.

“Now don’t get sore,” he counseled. “Nobody’s going to hurt you. You’ll
be out of this in a little while now. We’re going to let you go just as
soon as the New York train has gone.”

Joe tried to digest this. Why should they keep him from getting the
train for New York. Then in a blinding flash his brain woke from its
daze.

It was the day of the last game! And he was in Boston! And if he missed
the morning train he could not get to New York before the game was over!

His heart turned sick. What would McRae and the rest of the boys say?
What would Mabel and the folks think?

He pictured the consternation when he should fail to turn up in time.
The team would be demoralized. Whom would they pitch? Only Jim was
available and he had pitched two days before. And he would be so full of
worry over his friend that he could not be at his best.

Was the World Series then to be lost? Was the splendid fight the boys
had put up to go for nothing?

“You only got a little tap on the head,” Moriarty was saying. “It was
just enough to make you quiet, and chloroform did the rest. We didn’t
figure to be any rougher than we had to be.”

Joe made no reply but he was thinking hard and fast.

He tested the bonds that held his hands behind him. They seemed tight
but not excessively so. Probably his captors had put most of their faith
in the chloroform.

With as little apparent exertion as possible, he began to stretch and
strain at them. His powerful wrists and hands seemed endowed with double
their ordinary strength and to his delight he could feel the cords give.

Moriarty was alone with him, but Joe could hear low voices in an
adjoining room. One of them he thought he recognized as Fleming’s, and
his teeth gritted with rage.

At last he wriggled one hand free, although he had rasped his wrist till
he felt it was bleeding. A moment more and he had freed his other hand,
though he still kept both behind him.

Moriarty was yawning after his night’s vigil.

“What time is it now?” Joe muttered sleepily.

“Just a little after eight,” Moriarty answered. “The train’s just about
started now, but we’ll let you cool your heels here for another hour or
so. Then you can walk the ties if you want to.”

“You’ve got me pretty well trussed up here,” said Joe. “The fellow who
tied these knots knew his business.”

“Yes,” said Moriarty, complacently, strolling over to look at them.
“He’s a dandy when it comes to doing----”

But he got no further.

As he bent down, Joe’s muscular hands darted out and clutched him by
the throat. The yell he started to give was stifled at its birth. In a
moment Joe was on top of him with his knee on his chest.

Moriarty struggled as hard as he could, but his liquor-soaked frame
speedily collapsed before Joe’s onslaught, and in a moment he lay limp
and senseless. Then Joe flung him aside and rose to his feet.

He rubbed his legs vigorously to restore the circulation until he felt
the strength coming back into them.

There was but one door leading from the room. Joe went to it on tiptoe.
He could still hear the murmur of voices. He flung the door open
suddenly and burst into the adjoining room.

Fleming and Connelly sprang to their feet in consternation. With a
powerful uppercut, Joe sent Fleming crashing to the floor. Connelly
retreated and Joe had no time to bother with him.

He flung himself down the stairs and out into the street. Half a block
away he saw a taxicab coming toward him. He rushed toward it.

“To the South Station!” he gasped. “Quick! Quick! Quick!”

In an amazingly short time, the taxicab, running at high speed, landed
him at the depot. Joe saw by the station clock that it was a quarter to
nine.

Frantically, he sought out the traffic manager and ordered a special.

“I must be in New York by one o’clock,” he cried. “I must, I tell you.
Never mind the price. Get me a special.”

The official hummed and hawed. “It would take a little time to make it
up, to get a car. It would----”

“Don’t wait for a car,” interrupted Joe, in frenzy. “I’ll ride on the
locomotive.”

In ten minutes the train despatcher had arranged for the right of way,
and one of the road’s fastest locomotives puffed up. Joe sprang into the
cab, the engineer flung the throttle open and they were off.

“Can you make it?” questioned our hero, anxiously.

“We’ll make it or bust,” was the grim response of the engineer.

He was one of the oldest and most reliable men on the road and as Joe
looked at him he felt his confidence rising.

Yet a good many miles lay between our hero and New York City.

And a hundred things might happen to delay the special.

On and on they went, humming over the steel rails at such a rate of
speed that Joe could scarcely see the telegraph poles.

Suddenly the engineer pulled on a lever and the big locomotive slackened
speed so quickly that our hero was all but thrown to the floor of the
cab.

“Wh--what’s the matter?” he gasped, when he could catch his breath.

“Signal against us,” was the short reply. “It’s O. K. now;” and once
more the locomotive sped on its way.

“Phew! you have to have your eyes open, don’t you?”

“That’s it--just like you do, when you are pitching,” answered the old
engineer.

“Some work, running a locomotive,” mused the young baseball player. “I
guess an engineer earns all the money he gets.”

Half an hour later came another scare. Again the locomotive pulled up,
this time to allow an automobile full of people to pass over the tracks.
An instant sooner and the big engine would have ground the “joy riders”
to death.

“Meet such fools almost every trip,” said the engineer. “Seems as if
they wanted to be killed.”

“Why don’t you have gates at such crossings?”

“It would cost too much money to have a gate at every crossing,” was the
explanation. “We do have ’em on the main roads. That was only a little
dirt road--I don’t know why the auto was on it. I wasn’t looking for
anything faster than a farm wagon or a buggy.”

“You must have some accidents?”

“Oh, yes, but not many, considering the risks we run. But we wouldn’t
have hardly any accidents if the folks were a bit more careful. But some
of ’em don’t heed the warnings. They will read a ‘Safety First’ sign and
then run right into danger, just as if they were blind,” went on the old
engineer, with a grimace.

They were now on an upgrade, but presently they gained the top of the
rise and down they streaked on the other side, at a rate of speed that
fairly took Joe’s breath away.

“Some running, and no mistake!” he gasped. “You must be making a mile a
minute, or better!”

“Running at the rate of seventy-five miles an hour. But we can’t keep
it up. Here is where we slow down,” and they did so, as a long curve
appeared in the tracks.

“I don’t know as I want to be a locomotive engineer. You run too fast.”

“And I don’t want to be a baseball player--you pitch too fast,” chuckled
the old engineer.

“Well, everyone to his own calling, I suppose.”

On they plunged in the wildest ride Baseball Joe had ever known. Under
arches and over bridges, thundering through towns with scarcely a
lessening of speed, past waiting trains drawn up on side tracks to give
the special the right of way, on, on, lurching, swaying, tearing along,
until at ten minutes before one the panting engine drew up in the yards
at New York City.

The game was to begin at two.

Baseball Joe leaped into a taxicab with orders to scorch up the
pavements in a mad dash to the Polo Grounds. Then the clubhouse, into
which Joe tumbled, covered with grime and cinders, amid the frantic
exclamations of the rubbers and attendants. Then the cooling shower
and a quick shift into his uniform, after which Joe, cool, collected,
thoroughly master of himself, strolled out on the field where the whole
Giant team forgot their practice and made a wild rush for him.

He had fought a good fight. He had kept the faith.



CHAPTER XXX

A GLORIOUS VICTORY


There was a mad scramble and Joe was almost pulled to pieces by his
relieved and exulting mates. Then came a torrent of questions which Joe
good-naturedly parried.

“After the game, boys, I’ll tell you all about it,” he said, “but just
now I want to get a little practice in tossing them over.”

“Didn’t I tell you that nothing could stop that boy from getting here?”
crowed Robson, gleefully.

“I thought so myself,” answered McRae, “but when they ’phoned up to me
that he hadn’t come in on that regular morning train, I thought our
goose was cooked.”

In some mysterious way, though McRae had tried to keep it a profound
secret, the news had got abroad that something had occurred that would
keep Matson out of the game, and the crowds that had put their chief
reliance on that mighty arm of his had been restless and fearful. So
when they recognized him the stands rocked and thundered with applause,
and the general relief was not much less than that felt by the Giants
themselves at the return of their crack pitcher.

But it was toward an upper box that Joe’s eyes first turned. There was
a wild flutter of handkerchiefs and clapping of hands. Mabel and Clara
were leaning far out and waving to him. But Mrs. Matson’s face was
hidden by her handkerchief, and Joe saw his father quietly slip his arm
around her. Joe did not dare to look any longer for he suddenly felt a
dimness come over his own eyes, and he hastily turned to the tremendous
task that confronted him.

For that afternoon he was fighting against odds. His head was still
aching from the effects of the blow and the chloroform. The rocking of
the engine had made his legs unsteady. And the only food he had had
since the night before was a sandwich he had sent for while he was
slipping into his uniform.

But it is just such circumstances that bring out the thoroughbred strain
in a man, and as Baseball Joe took his place in the box and looked
around at the enormous crowd and realized the immense responsibility
that rested on him, he rose magnificently to the occasion. Gone was
weariness and pain and weakness. His nerves stiffened to the strain, and
the game he pitched that afternoon was destined to become a classic in
baseball history.

The first ball he whipped over the plate went for a strike. A second
and a third followed. And from that time on Joe knew that he held the
Bostons in the hollow of his hand.

There are times when to feel invincible is to be invincible. Joe was
in that mood. He was a glorious figure of athletic young manhood as
he stood there with forty thousand pairs of eyes riveted upon him. He
had discarded his cap because the band hurt his head where he had been
struck, and his brown hair gleamed in the bright sun as he hurled the
ball with deadly precision toward the batter. Like a piston rod his arm
shot out untiringly and the ball whistled as it cut the plate.

“Gee whiz, see that ball come over!” muttered McRae.

“He’ll wear himself out,” said Robson, anxiously. “It isn’t in flesh and
blood to keep up that gait for nine innings.”

Fraser was in the box for the Bostons, and he, too, was pitching
first-class ball. But the Giants by the end of the fourth inning were
beginning to solve his delivery. The hits were getting a sharper ring
to them and going out more on a line. But superb fielding helped the
Bostonian out of several tight places and he “got by” until the fifth.

Then the Giants broke the ice. Larry sent a corking single out to
center. Denton whaled out a tremendous hit that had all the earmarks of
a home run. But Walters, by a wonderful sprint, got under it and Larry,
who had rounded second, had all he could do to get back to first before
the throw in.

“Highway robbery,” growled Denton, as he went disconsolately back to the
bench.

Willis went out on strikes, but Becker poled out a crashing three-bagger
that brought Larry over the rubber for the first run of the game and
sent the stands into hysterics.

Becker was caught napping a moment later and the inning ended. The New
Yorkers were hilarious while the Boston rooters were correspondingly
depressed.

“You’re getting to him, boys!” yelled McRae. “We’ll drive him to the
tall timber before long.”

But Fraser had views of his own on that subject and refused to be
driven. He had no ambition to be slaughtered to make a New York holiday.

Still, though he uncorked a dazzling assortment of shoots and slants,
the Giants scored another run in the sixth though it took two singles,
two passes and a wild pitch before it was finally recorded.

Iredell beat out a slow roller to Hobbs and took second on a single by
Curry to right field. Both of them were advanced a base on a wild pitch
that just touched the tips of Thompson’s fingers as he leaped for it,
and rolled all the way to the Bostons’ dugout before it was regained.
Joe was purposely passed, Fraser thinking that with the bases full a
double play might pull him out of danger.

Mylert hit to Hobbs, forcing Iredell at the plate, although he made a
great slide. Another pass given to Burkett forced Curry home for the
second run of the game, leaving the bases still full. Larry was at the
bat and there was a great chance to “clean up,” as he was frantically
urged to do by the excited spectators. But the best he could do was to
tap weakly to Fraser who fired it back to the plate making a force out.
Thompson, in turn, shot it to Hobbs in plenty of time to get the runner,
making a sharp and snappy double play.

“We ought to have made more out of that than we did,” growled McRae.
“That’s what I call bush league work. To have the bases full twice and
as the result of it all one little measly run!”

“Never mind, John,” chuckled Robson. “It’s one more to the good, anyway,
and even if it is measly I’ll bet that Boston would be mighty glad to
have one like it.”

In the seventh inning, Walters, the first man up, sent up a high foul
that Burkett and Mylert started for at once. Larry, who was field
captain, shouted to Burkett to take the ball. But Mylert either did not
hear or trusted to his own judgment and collided forcibly with the first
baseman, both going to the ground with a crash, while the ball dropped
between them.

The other players rushed to the spot and lifted the players to their
feet. Luckily, they were not unconscious although badly shaken, but it
was fully five minutes before the game was resumed.

Walters’ second effort was a sharp grounder straight at Denton, which
the latter shot to first in plenty of time. But the ball went high and
rolled almost to the right field wall. By the time it was retrieved,
Walters had got around to third amid the frantic acclamations of the
Boston rooters who thought they saw at last a chance to score.

With a man on third, no man out and some of the heaviest sluggers coming
up, it looked as though the Red Sox would break their string of zeros.

A long fly to the outfield, even though caught, would in all probability
bring in Walters from third.

But Joe tightened up and struck out the next man up in three pitched
balls. He made Hobbs chop a bounder to the box on which Walters did not
dare to try for the plate. Then with two out he beguiled Girdner into
sending up a towering foul which Mylert caught almost without stirring
from his position. Poor Walters, left at third, hurled his cap to the
ground in a movement of despair, and the gloom about the Boston section
of the stands could be fairly felt.

The Bostons now were growing desperate. They bunted. They tried to wait
Joe out. They sought to rattle him by finding fault with his position in
the box. They put in pinch hitters. They pulled all the “inside stuff”
they knew.

But Joe obstinately refused to “crack.” He “had everything” on the ball.
His change of pace was perfect. His curves worked beautifully. His drop
ball broke sharply, inches below their bats.

“All over but the shouting,” chuckled McRae, as the Red Sox came in for
their last inning.

But two minutes later he was pale as chalk while the Boston partisans
were in delirium.

Girdner sent an easy grasser to Larry, who booted it, and the batter
reached first. Stock followed with a bunt that Denton slipped down on
as he ran in for it. These mishaps must have got on Burkett’s nerves,
for he squarely muffed Thompson’s pop fly that any “busher” could have
caught.

There were three men on bases, though none had made a hit. No man was
out, and Cooper, the slugger of the Boston team, was coming to the plate.

A hit of any kind would bring in two men and tie the game. A two-bagger
would clear the bases and put Boston in the lead. The Red Sox rooters
were on their feet and screaming like mad.

Joe shot over a ball at which Cooper refused to “bite.” The next one,
however, suited him better, and he sent it hurtling toward the box like
a bullet.

Joe saw it coming two feet over his head. Like a flash he leaped up and
caught it in his ungloved hand. He turned and shot it over to Denton at
third. Denton touched the bag putting out Girdner who had turned to go
back and then got the ball down to Larry before Stock could get back to
second.

It was a triple play! The game was over, the Series was won and the
Giants had become the champions of the world!

For a moment the crowd was fairly stunned. Then wild howls and yells
arose and an uproar ensued that was deafening. Staid citizens forgot
their dignity and danced up and down like madmen, utter strangers hugged
each other, straw hats were tossed into the air or smashed on their
owners’ heads. Then the crowd hurdled over the stands and swooped down
on the players who were making tracks as fast as they could for the
clubhouse to escape the deluge.

“A no-hit game! A triple play!” gasped McRae, as he almost wrenched
Joe’s arm from its socket. “Joe, you’re a wonder. And now for that tour
around the world. You’ve got to go with me, Joe. I won’t take No for an
answer. You’ll be our greatest drawing card.”

How Joe accepted the invitation and the startling events that followed
will be told in the next volume of the series, to be entitled: “Baseball
Joe Around the World; Or, Pitching on a Grand Tour.”

It was a long time before Joe could tear himself away from his hilarious
team-mates and reach his party at the Marlborough. How his mother cried
over him in her joy and pride, how Mr. Matson wrung his hand and patted
his shoulder hardly trusting himself to speak, how Clara hugged and
kissed him, how Mabel would have liked to do the same but did not dare
to, how Jim and Reggie mauled and pounded him--all this can be easily
guessed. They were happy beyond all words.

But there was an impalpable something in the air that gradually thinned
out the party. Mrs. Matson motioned her husband to come with her. Jim
and Clara, only too glad of the excuse, slipped away, casting a roguish
glance behind them, and even the obtuse Reggie remembered a letter he
had to write and vanished.

Joe and Mabel, left alone, looked at each other, but Mabel’s eyes fell
instantly before what they read in Joe’s. Her cheeks flushed, her breath
came faster and she began to tremble.

“Mabel,” Joe began, a trifle huskily.

“Yes, Joe,” she faltered.

He took her little glove from his pocket and bent toward her tenderly.

“This little glove of yours has done wonders for me,” he said. “It has
helped me to win two championships. But these victories are nothing to
me unless I win you, too. Will you be my wife, Mabel--will you? You know
I love you.”

He read his answer in the beautiful eyes full of love and trust that she
turned up to his. The next instant she was in his arms.

Decidedly, it was Joe’s winning day.

And that good right arm of his had made it a winning day also for hosts
of others. The whole National League was aflame with exultation. The
city of New York was wild with joy. And every member of the Giant team
was tasting the delights of victory to the full.

They had all played their parts well and ably. But they knew perfectly
well that more credit belonged to Joe than to any one else and they were
loud in their praises of his skill and courage.

“I’ve seen some dandy pitching in my life,” Robson declared to the group
of Giant players who had gathered round for an impromptu jollification,
“but that performance of Matson’s this afternoon was far and away the
best of all. He was as cool as a cucumber and it was impossible to
rattle him. He couldn’t have done better. He’s the greatest pitcher in
the League to-day, barring none!”

“Right you are!” exclaimed McRae, clapping him on the shoulder. “I tell
you, Robbie, it was a great day for New York when I signed Baseball Joe
for the Giant team!”


THE END



THE BASEBALL JOE SERIES

BY LESTER CHADWICK

_12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 80 cents, postpaid._


[Illustration]

  BASEBALL JOE OF THE SILVER STARS
  _or The Rivals of Riverside_

Joe is an everyday country boy who loves to play baseball and
particularly to pitch.


  BASEBALL JOE ON THE SCHOOL NINE
  _or Pitching for the Blue Banner_

Joe’s great ambition was to go to boarding school and play on the school
team.


  BASEBALL JOE AT YALE
  _or Pitching for the College Championship_

Joe goes to Yale University. In his second year he becomes a varsity
pitcher and pitches in several big games.


  BASEBALL JOE IN THE CENTRAL LEAGUE
  _or Making Good as a Professional Pitcher_

In this volume the scene of action is shifted from Yale college to a
baseball league of our central states.


  BASEBALL JOE IN THE BIG LEAGUE
  _or A Young Pitcher’s Hardest Struggles_

From the Central League Joe is drafted into the St. Louis Nationals. A
corking baseball story all fans will enjoy.


  BASEBALL JOE ON THE GIANTS
  _or Making Good as a Twirler in the Metropolis_

How Joe was traded to the Giants and became their mainstay in the box
makes an interesting baseball story.


  BASEBALL JOE IN THE WORLD SERIES
  _or Pitching for the Championship_

The rivalry was of course of the keenest, and what Joe did to win the
series is told in a manner to thrill the most jaded reader.


  BASEBALL JOE AROUND THE WORLD
  _or Pitching on a Grand Tour_

The Giants and the All-Americans tour the world, playing in many foreign
countries.


_Send For Our Free Illustrated Catalogue._


  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers    New York



Alive, Patriotic, Elevating

BANNER BOY SCOUTS SERIES

By GEORGE A. WARREN

Author of the “Revolutionary Series”

12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 80 cents, Net.


[Illustration]

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 (_New_)
  _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.


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  CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers,    NEW YORK



THE WEBSTER SERIES

By FRANK V. WEBSTER


[Illustration]

Mr. Webster’s style is very much like that of the boys’ favorite author,
the late lamented Horatio Alger, Jr., but his tales are thoroughly
up-to-date.

Cloth. 12mo. Over 200 pages each. Illustrated. Stamped in various colors.

Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.

    Only A Farm Boy
    _or Dan Hardy’s Rise in Life_

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    _or Nat Morton’s Perils_

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    _or The Mystery of a Message_

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    _or The Wreck of the Eagle_

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    _or Who Was Dick Box?_

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    _or Lost in the Mountains_

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    _or The Luck of a Brave Boy_

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    _or Fred Markham’s Struggles_

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    _or The Heroes of the Coast_

    Dick The Bank Boy
    _or A Missing Fortune_

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    _or Making a Record for Himself_

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    _or The Rivals of Rivertown_

    Comrades of the Saddle
    _or The Young Rough Riders of the Plains_

    Tom Taylor at West Point
    _or The Old Army Officer’s Secret_

    The Boy Scouts of Lennox
    _or Hiking Over Big Bear Mountain_

    The Boys of the Wireless
    _or a Stirring Rescue from the Deep_

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    _or The Round-up at Rolling River_

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    _or The Young Rider of the Mountain Trail_

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    or For the Honor of Uncle Sam

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THE BOYS’ OUTING LIBRARY

  _12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Jacket in full color.
  Price, per volume, 60 cents, postpaid._


[Illustration]

=THE SADDLE BOYS SERIES=

BY CAPT. JAMES CARSON

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=THE DAVE DASHAWAY SERIES=

BY ROY ROCKWOOD

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    Dave Dashaway: Air Champion


=THE SPEEDWELL BOYS SERIES=

BY ROY ROCKWOOD

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=THE TOM FAIRFIELD SERIES=

BY ALLEN CHAPMAN

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=THE FRED FENTON ATHLETIC SERIES=

BY ALLEN CHAPMAN

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12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.

Tom Fairfield is a typical American lad, full of life and energy, a boy
who believes in doing things. To know Tom is to love him.


[Illustration]

  TOM FAIRFIELD’S SCHOOLDAYS
  _or The Chums of Elmwood Hall_

Tells of how Tom started for school, of the mystery surrounding one of
the Hall seniors, and of how the hero went to the rescue. The first book
in a line that is bound to become decidedly popular.


  TOM FAIRFIELD AT SEA
  _or The Wreck of the Silver Star_

Tom’s parents had gone to Australia and then been cast away somewhere
in the Pacific. Tom set out to find them and was himself cast away. A
thrilling picture of the perils of the deep.


  TOM FAIRFIELD IN CAMP
  _or The Secret of the Old Mill_

The boys decided to go camping, and located near an old mill. A wild man
resided there and he made it decidedly lively for Tom and his chums. The
secret of the old mill adds to the interest of the volume.


  TOM FAIRFIELD’S PLUCK AND LUCK
  _or Working to Clear His Name_

While Tom was back at school some of his enemies tried to get him into
trouble. Something unusual occurred and Tom was suspected of a crime.
How he set to work to clear his name is told in a manner to interest all
young readers.


  TOM FAIRFIELD’S HUNTING TRIP
  _or Lost in the Wilderness_

Tom was only a schoolboy, but he loved to use a shotgun or a rifle. In
this volume we meet him on a hunting trip full of outdoor life and good
times around the camp-fire.


  CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers,    NEW YORK



THE KHAKI BOYS SERIES

BY CAPT. GORDON BATES

_12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Jacket in full color._

_=Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.=_


[Illustration]

_All who love the experiences and adventures of our American boys,
fighting for the freedom of democracy in the world, will be delighted
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great war._


  THE KHAKI BOYS AT CAMP STERLING
  _or Training for the Big Fight in France_

Two zealous young patriots volunteer and begin their military training.
On the train going to camp they meet two rookies with whom they become
chums. Together they get into a baffling camp mystery that develops into
an extraordinary spy-plot. They defeat the enemies of their country
and incidentally help one another to promotion both in friendship and
service.


  THE KHAKI BOYS ON THE WAY
  _or Doing Their Bit on Sea and Land_

Our soldier boys having completed their training at Camp Sterling are
transferred to a Southern cantonment from which they are finally sent
aboard a troop-ship for France. On the trip their ship is sunk by a
U-boat and their adventures are realistic descriptions of the tragedies
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  THE KHAKI BOYS AT THE FRONT
  _or Shoulder to Shoulder in the Trenches_

The Khaki Boys reach France, and, after some intensive training in sound
of the battle front, are sent into the trenches. In the raids across
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work is being performed by our soldiers. It shows what makes heroes.

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[Illustration]

Since the enormous success of our “Motor Boys Series,” by Clarence
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one is better equipped to furnish these tales than Mrs. Penrose, who,
besides being an able writer, is an expert automobilist.

    THE MOTOR GIRLS
    _or A Mystery of the Road_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS ON A TOUR
    _or Keeping a Strange Promise_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS AT LOOKOUT BEACH
    _or In Quest of the Runaways_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS THROUGH NEW ENGLAND
    _or Held by the Gypsies_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS ON CEDAR LAKE
    _or The Hermit of Fern Island_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS ON THE COAST
    _or The Waif from the Sea_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS ON CRYSTAL BAY
    _or The Secret of the Red Oar_

    THE MOTOR GIRLS ON WATERS BLUE
    _or The Strange Cruise of the Tartar_

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    _or The Cave in the Mountain_

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    _or The Gypsy Girl’s Secret_


  CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers,    NEW YORK



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[Illustration]

Dorothy Dale is the daughter of an old Civil War veteran who is running
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    DOROTHY DALE’S GREAT SECRET
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    DOROTHY DALE’S QUEER HOLIDAYS
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    DOROTHY DALE IN THE CITY
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  CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers,    NEW YORK



THE KHAKI GIRLS SERIES

BY EDNA BROOKS

_12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Jacket in full colors._

_=Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.=_


[Illustration]

_When Uncle Sam sent forth the ringing call, “I need you!” it was not
alone his strong young sons who responded. All over the United States
capable American girls stood ready to offer their services to their
country. How two young girls donned the khaki and made good in the Motor
Corps, an organization for women developed by the Great War, forms a
series of stories of signal novelty and vivid interest and action._


  THE KHAKI GIRLS OF THE MOTOR CORPS
  _or Finding Their Place in the Big War_

Joan Mason, an enthusiastic motor girl, and Valerie Warde, a society
debutante, meet at an automobile show. Next day they go together to the
Motor Corps headquarters and in due time are accepted and become members
of the Corps, in the service of the United States. The two girl drivers
find motoring for Uncle Sam a most exciting business. Incidentally they
are instrumental in rendering valuable service to the United States
government by discovering and running down a secret organization of its
enemies.


  THE KHAKI GIRLS BEHIND THE LINES
  _or Driving with the Ambulance Corps_

As a result of their splendid work in the Motor Corps, the Khaki Girls
receive the honor of an opportunity to drive with the Ambulance Corps in
France. After a most eventful and hazardous crossing of the Atlantic,
they arrive in France and are assigned to a station behind the lines.
Constantly within range of enemy shrapnel, out in all kinds of weather,
tearing over shell-torn roads and dodging Boche patrols, all go to make
up the day’s work, and bring them many exciting adventures.

_Send For Our Free Illustrated Catalogue._


  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers    New York



THE RUTH FIELDING SERIES

BY ALICE B. EMERSON

_12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid._


[Illustration]

Ruth Fielding was an orphan and came to live with her miserly uncle. Her
adventures and travels make stories that will hold the interest of every
reader.

    RUTH FIELDING OF THE RED MILL
    _or Jasper Parloe’s Secret_

    RUTH FIELDING AT BRIARWOOD HALL
    _or Solving the Campus Mystery_

    RUTH FIELDING AT SNOW CAMP
    _or Lost in the Backwoods_

    RUTH FIELDING AT LIGHTHOUSE POINT
    _or Nita, the Girl Castaway_

    RUTH FIELDING AT SILVER RANCH
    _or Schoolgirls Among the Cowboys_

    RUTH FIELDING ON CLIFF ISLAND
    _or The Old Hunter’s Treasure Box_

    RUTH FIELDING AT SUNRISE FARM
    _or What Became of the Raby Orphans_

    RUTH FIELDING AND THE GYPSIES
    _or The Missing Pearl Necklace_

    RUTH FIELDING IN MOVING PICTURES
    _or Helping the Dormitory Fund_

    RUTH FIELDING DOWN IN DIXIE
    _or Great Days in the Land of Cotton_

    RUTH FIELDING AT COLLEGE
    _or The Missing Examination Papers_

    RUTH FIELDING IN THE SADDLE
    _or College Girls in the Land of Gold_

    RUTH FIELDING IN THE RED CROSS (_New_)
    _or Doing Her Bit for Uncle Sam_

    RUTH FIELDING AT THE WAR FRONT (_New_)
    _or The Hunt for a Lost Soldier_

_Send For Our Free Illustrated Catalogue._


  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers    New York



 Transcriber’s Notes:

 --Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_); text in
   bold by “equal” signs (=bold=).

 --Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected,
   except as noted below.

 --Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

 --Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

 --Inconsistencies in formatting and punctuation of individual
   advertisements have been retained.

 --Variations in the name of the evil-faced man, Moriarity and Moriarty,
   have been retained.

 --Page numbers in the Table of Contents for Chapters XXIX and XXX have
   been changed to reflect the actual beginning page number in the text.





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operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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