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Title: Ned, Bob and Jerry at Boxwood Hall - Or The Motor Boys as Freshmen
Author: Young, Clarence
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ned, Bob and Jerry at Boxwood Hall - Or The Motor Boys as Freshmen" ***

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[Illustration: AS BOB CROSSED HOME PLATE WITH HIS RUN, JERRY WAS NOT
FAR BEHIND HIM.]



                       ----_The Motor Boys_----


                          NED, BOB AND JERRY
                            AT BOXWOOD HALL

                      The Motor Boys as Freshmen


                                  BY

                            CLARENCE YOUNG

                   AUTHOR OF “THE MOTOR BOYS SERIES”
                     “THE RACER BOYS SERIES” “THE
                       JACK RANGER SERIES,” ETC.


                              ILLUSTRATED


                               NEW YORK
                        CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY



BOOKS BY CLARENCE YOUNG

12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.

=Price, per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.=


=THE MOTOR BOYS SERIES=

  THE MOTOR BOYS
  THE MOTOR BOYS OVERLAND
  THE MOTOR BOYS IN MEXICO
  THE MOTOR BOYS ACROSS THE PLAINS
  THE MOTOR BOYS AFLOAT
  THE MOTOR BOYS ON THE ATLANTIC
  THE MOTOR BOYS IN STRANGE WATERS
  THE MOTOR BOYS ON THE PACIFIC
  THE MOTOR BOYS IN THE CLOUDS
  THE MOTOR BOYS OVER THE ROCKIES
  THE MOTOR BOYS OVER THE OCEAN
  THE MOTOR BOYS ON THE WING
  THE MOTOR BOYS AFTER A FORTUNE
  THE MOTOR BOYS ON THE BORDER
  THE MOTOR BOYS UNDER THE SEA
  THE MOTOR BOYS ON ROAD AND RIVER


=THE MOTOR BOYS--SECOND SERIES=

  NED, BOB AND JERRY AT BOXWOOD HALL;
    Or, The Motor Boys as Freshmen


=THE JACK RANGER SERIES=

  JACK RANGER’S SCHOOLDAYS
  JACK RANGER’S WESTERN TRIP
  JACK RANGER’S SCHOOL VICTORIES
  JACK RANGER’S OCEAN CRUISE
  JACK RANGER’S GUN CLUB
  JACK RANGER’S TREASURE BOX


=THE RACER BOYS SERIES=

  THE RACER BOYS
  THE RACER BOYS AT BOARDING SCHOOL
  THE RACER BOYS TO THE RESCUE
  THE RACER BOYS ON THE PRAIRIES
  THE RACER BOYS ON GUARD
  THE RACER BOYS FORGING AHEAD


  COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY
  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY


=Ned, Bob and Jerry at Boxwood Hall=



CONTENTS


 CHAPTER                               PAGE
      I. THE OVERTURNED AUTO              1
     II. A FAMILY CONFERENCE             10
    III. THE RACE                        20
     IV. THE DECISION                    29
      V. GOOD NEWS                       37
     VI. BOXWOOD HALL                    46
    VII. OFF TO COLLEGE                  53
   VIII. PROFESSOR SNODGRASS             61
     IX. THE PROFESSOR’S SHOES           70
      X. A COOL RECEPTION                79
     XI. THE PROFESSOR’S DILEMMA         87
    XII. IN THE GYMNASIUM                97
   XIII. THE BANG-UPS                   105
    XIV. THE INITIATION                 113
     XV. CAUGHT                         124
    XVI. A COLLISION                    132
   XVII. THE AEROPLANE                  140
  XVIII. THE POSTPONED EXAMINATION      148
    XIX. THE BOXWOOD PICTURE            160
     XX. “WHO TOLD?”                    167
    XXI. THE COASTING RACE              175
   XXII. THE ICE BOAT                   183
  XXIII. SPRING PRACTICE                191
   XXIV. A SCRUB GAME                   199
    XXV. A VARSITY LOSS                 207
   XXVI. DISSENSIONS                    214
  XXVII. THE ROOTERS INSIST             220
 XXVIII. IN THE TENTH                   228
   XXIX. MR. HOBSON                     235
    XXX. THE WINNING GAME               240



INTRODUCTION


MY DEAR BOYS:

With this volume begins a new series of adventures for the “Motor
Boys.” Under the title “Ned, Bob and Jerry at Boxwood Hall; Or, The
Motor Boys as Freshmen,” I have had the pleasure of writing for you
the various happenings that took place when the three young men, whose
activities you have followed for some time, entered a new field.

The fathers of Ned Slade and Bob Baker, and the mother of Jerry
Hopkins, in consultation one day, decided that the young men were
getting a bit too wild and frivolous.

“It is time they settled down,” said their parents, “and began to think
of growing up. Let’s send them to college!”

And to the college of Boxwood Hall our heroes were sent. It was a
surprise to them, but it turned out to be a delightful surprise, and
one of the reasons was that their old friend, Professor Snodgrass, now
an enthusiastic collector of butterflies, was an instructor at Boxwood.

Of what took place at the college, of the hazing, the initiation, the
queer developments following an automobile rescue, of how the motor
boys gradually overcame an unfair prejudice, and how they helped to
win a baseball victory--for all this I refer you to the following
pages. The titles of the second series will include the names Ned, Bob
and Jerry, in various activities, and while they will still use their
motors, in auto, boat or airship, those machines will be of secondary
consideration.

And with this explanation, and with the hope that you will accord this
book the same welcome you have given my other writings, I remain,

                           Sincerely yours,

                                                        CLARENCE YOUNG.



NED, BOB AND JERRY AT BOXWOOD HALL



CHAPTER I

THE OVERTURNED AUTO


“What do you reckon it’s all about, Jerry?”

“Well, Bob, you’re as good a guesser as I am,” came the answer from
the young man who was at the wheel of a touring car that was swinging
down a pleasant country road, under arching trees. “What do you say it
means?”

“I haven’t the least idea, unless it’s some business deal. Ned, why
don’t you say something, instead of sitting there like a goldfish being
admired by a tom-cat?” and Bob Baker, who sat beside Jerry Hopkins, the
lad at the wheel, turned to his chum in the rear seat of the car.

“Say something!” exclaimed Ned Slade. “I’m as much up in the air about
it as you fellows are. All I know is that my dad, and yours, and
Jerry’s mother, are having a confab.”

“And a sort of serious confab at that,” added Bob. “Look out there,
Jerry!” he cried suddenly. “You nearly ran over that chicken,” and
he involuntarily raised his hand toward the steering wheel as a
frightened, squawking and cackling hen fluttered from under the front
wheels of the automobile, shedding feathers on the way. Then Bob
remembered one of the first ethics of automobiling, which is never to
interfere with the steersman, and he drew back his hand.

“A miss is as good as a mile,” remarked Jerry coolly, as he brought the
car back to a straight course, for he had swerved it to one side when
he saw the chicken in the path. “But I agree with you, Bob, that the
conference going on at my house, among our respected, and I might as
well say respectable, parents does seem to be a serious one. However,
as long as we can’t guess what it’s about there’s no use in worrying.
We may as well have a good time this afternoon. Where shall we go?”

“Let’s go to Wallace’s and have a bite to eat,” put in Bob.

“Why, we only just had lunch!” exclaimed Ned, with a laugh.

“Maybe you fellows did, but I wouldn’t call it a lunch that I got
outside of--not by a long shot! Mother isn’t at home, it was the girl’s
day out and I had to forage for myself.”

“Heaven help the pantry, then!” exclaimed Jerry. “I’ve seen Bob
‘forage,’ as he calls it, before; eh, Ned?”

“That’s right. He did it at our house once, and say! what mother said
when she came home--whew!” and Ned whistled at the memory.

“I wasn’t a bit worse than you were!” cried Bob, trying to lean back
and punch his chum, but the latter kept out of reach in the roomy
tonneau. “Anyhow, what has that got to do with going to Wallace’s now?
I’m hungry and I don’t care who knows it.”

“Well, don’t let that fat waiter at Wallace’s hear you say that, or
he’ll double charge us in the bill,” cautioned Jerry. “They sure do
stick on the prices at that joint.”

“Then you’ll go there?” asked Bob eagerly.

“Oh, I s’pose we might as well go there as anywhere. Does it suit you,
Ned?”

“Sure. Only I can’t imagine where Bob puts it all. Tell us, Chunky,
that’s a good chap,” and he patted the shoulder of the stout lad who
sat in front of him.

“Tell you what?” asked Bob, responding to the nickname that had been
bestowed on him because of his stoutness.

“Where you put all you eat,” went on Ned with a laugh. “You know it is
impossible to make two objects occupy the same space at the same time.
And if you’ve eaten one lunch to-day, and not two hours ago, where are
you going to put another?”

“You watch and see,” was all the answer Bob made. “Hit her up a bit,
Jerry. There’s a stiff hill just ahead.”

“That’s right. I forgot we were on this road. Well, then it’s settled.
We’ll go to Wallace’s and let Bob eat,” and having ascended the hill,
he turned off on a road that led to a summer resort not many miles from
Cresville, the home town of the three lads.

“Aren’t you fellows going to have anything?” asked Bob. “You’ll eat;
won’t you?”

“Oh, for cats’ sake, cut out the grub-talk for a while!” begged Ned.
“Say, what about that conference, anyhow? Does any one know anything
about it?”

“All I know,” said Jerry, “is that I asked mother to come out for an
auto ride this afternoon, and she said she couldn’t because your dad,
Ned, and Bob’s too, were coming over to call.”

“Did you ask her what for?”

“No, but I took it for granted it was something about business. You
know mother owns some stock in your father’s department store, Ned.”

“Yes, and she deposits at dad’s bank,” added Bob, whose father, Andrew
Baker, was the president of the most important bank in Cresville. “I
guess it must be about some business affairs.”

“I don’t agree with you,” declared Ned.

“Why not?” Jerry demanded. “When mother said she couldn’t come out I
hustled over and got you fellows, and here we are. But what’s your
reason for thinking it isn’t business, Ned, that has brought our folks
together at my house?”

“Because of some questions my father asked me this morning.”

“Serious questions?” Bob interrogated.

“Well, in a way, yes. He asked me what I’d been doing lately, what you
fellows had been doing, and he wanted to know what my plans were for
this winter.”

“What did you tell him?” inquired Jerry, slowing down as he came to the
crest of another hill.

“Oh, I said we hadn’t decided yet. I didn’t tell him we had talked over
making a tour of the South, for we hadn’t quite decided on it; had we?”

“Not exactly,” responded Jerry. “And yet the South is the place when
winter comes. I guess we might do worse.”

“Well, I didn’t say anything about that,” went on Ned, “because, if I
had, dad would have wanted to know all the particulars, and I wasn’t in
a position to tell him.”

“Is that all he asked you that makes you think the conference may be
about us, instead of business?” Bob inquired.

“No, that wasn’t quite all. He asked me about that trouble we got into
last week.”

“Oh, do you mean about the time we were pulled in for speeding?” asked
Jerry with a laugh.

“That’s it,” assented Ned. “Only it isn’t going to be anything to grin
at if dad finds out all about it--that we nearly collided with the hay
wagon while trying to pass that roadster. Say, but it was some going!
We fractured the speed limits in half a dozen places.”

“But we beat the roadster!” exclaimed Jerry. “That fellow didn’t know
how to drive a car.”

“You’re right there. And, for a second or two, I thought you were
going to make a mess of it,” said Ned, referring to an incident that
had happened about a week previously when the boys, out on the road in
their car, had accepted an impromptu challenge to race, with what might
have been disastrous results.

“It was a narrow squeak,” admitted Jerry.

“And the nerve of that farmer, setting the constable after us!” cried
Bob. “Just because we wouldn’t let him rob us of ten dollars to make up
for a scratch one of his horses got from our mud guard.”

“I sometimes think we might have come out of it better if we had given
the hayseeder his ten,” said Jerry, reflectively. “It cost us fifteen
for the speed-fine as it was. We’d have saved five.”

“And is that what your father was asking about?” asked Bob.

“Words to that effect--yes,” replied Ned.

“Wonder how he heard about it?”

“It wasn’t in the paper,” reflected Jerry. “I looked all over for an
account of it, but didn’t see any.”

“No, it wasn’t in the paper,” said Ned, “but dad hears of more things
than I think he does, I guess.”

“We have been speeding it up a bit lately,” observed Jerry in a
reflective tone.

“Just a little,” admitted Ned, with a half smile.

The three chums were clean-cut, healthy-looking lads, and it needed but
a glance into their clear faces to tell one that whatever “speeding”
they had been doing was in a literal sense only, and was not in the way
of dissipation. They were fun-loving youths, and, like all such, the
excitement of the moment sometimes got the better of them.

“And so you think the conference may have something to do with us; is
that it, Ned?” asked Jerry, after a moment or two of silence.

“I have an idea that way--yes, from what dad said, and from what he
wanted to know about our future plans. We’re mixed up in it somehow,
that’s as sure as turkey and cranberry sauce.”

“That sounds like Chunky!” laughed Jerry.

“Well, what’s the idea?” demanded the stout youth. “I mean--what do
you think will happen, Ned?”

“Well, you know we have been going a pretty lively gait lately, nothing
wrong, of course, but a sort of butterfly existence, so to speak.”

“Butterfly is good!” exclaimed Jerry. “You’d think we were a trio of
society girls.”

“Well, I mean we haven’t really done anything worth while,” went on
Ned. “And it’s my idea that my dad, and yours, Bob, and Jerry’s mother,
who is as good a dad as any fellow could want--I think they are going
to put the brakes on us.”

“How do you mean?” Jerry demanded.

“Oh, make us cut out some of the gay and carefree life we’ve been
living. Settle down and----”

“Get married?” laughed Jerry.

“Not much!” cried Bob. “Not if I can help it!”

“Of course not,” put in Ned. “I mean just settle down a bit, that’s
all.”

They swung around a curve in the road, and as they did so they saw a
powerful roadster coming toward them, driven by a man who was the sole
occupant. He was speeding forward at a fast clip.

“That fellow had better settle down!” exclaimed Jerry. “He’s going too
fast to make this turn, and this bank is one of the most dangerous
around here.”

The boys themselves had safely taken the turn, and come past the steep
embankment on which it bordered, but the man in the roadster was
approaching it.

“He isn’t slowing down,” said Ned.

“Better yell at him,” suggested Bob. “Maybe he doesn’t know the road.”

“Look out for that turn!” cried Jerry, as the man passed them.

It is doubtful if he heard them. Certainly he did not heed, for he
swung around the turn at full speed. A moment later the boys, who had
drawn to one side of the road, in order to give the man plenty of room
to pass, looked back.

They saw the speeding roadster leave the highway and plunge down the
bank, turning over and pinning the driver underneath.

“There he goes!” cried Jerry, jamming on the brakes.



CHAPTER II

A FAMILY CONFERENCE


Jerry had put on the brakes so hard that the rear wheels were locked,
and they slid along a foot or more, skidding until the automobile came
to a stop on one side of the road. Then the three lads leaped out, and
started back toward the scene of the accident.

“She’s on fire!” cried Bob, as he pointed to curling smoke arising from
the overturned roadster.

“And the man’s under it!” yelled Ned.

“Keep moving!” shouted Jerry. “We’ve got to do something!”

Fortunately, the car was a light one, and it was tilted at such an
angle that the combined strength of the three lads on the higher side
served to turn it upright once more. The fire was under the bonnet, the
covers of which were jammed and bent.

The boys had expected to find a very seriously injured man beneath
the car, but, to their surprise, when they righted the machine, the
driver, somewhat dusty and dirty, crawled out and stood up, a few
scratches on his hands and face alone showing where he was injured,
though it was evident from the manner in which he rubbed one arm that
it had been at least bruised.

There came a larger puff of smoke from beneath the car’s bonnet, and a
flash of flame showed.

“Carburetor’s on fire!” cried Ned.

“Got an extinguisher?” asked Jerry of the man.

He shook his head, being either too much out of breath or too excited
over his narrow escape to talk.

“I’ll get ours!” shouted Ned, as he raced back toward their machine,
climbing up the bank, down which the boys had rushed to the rescue.

Jerry and Bob forced up the bent and jammed covers of the engine, and
disclosed the fact that the fire, so far, was only in the carburetor,
which had become flooded with gasoline when the car turned over.

In a few seconds Ned was back with the extinguisher, and when a
generous supply of the chemicals it contained had been squirted on the
blazing gasoline, the fire went out with a smudge of smoke.

“That was a narrow escape for me, boys,” said the man, and his voice
shook a little. “I thought sure I was done for when I felt the car
leaving the road. I tried to bring it back, but the turn was too much
for me, and over I went.”

“This is a dangerous turn,” commented Jerry. “There ought to be a
warning sign put up here.”

“We called to you,” Bob told him.

“I didn’t hear you,” the man said. “Boys, I want to thank you!”

He seemed overcome for a moment. Then he went on.

“Mere thanks, of course, do not express what I mean. You saved my life.
I don’t believe I could have gotten out of the car alone. My legs were
held down, and so was one arm. I’d have burned to death if you hadn’t
been here.”

“Well, we’re glad we were here,” Jerry said. “Are you much hurt?”

“Nothing worth speaking about. Some bruises and scratches. I certainly
did have a lucky escape. My name is Hobson--Samuel Hobson,” and he drew
a card from his pocket, handing it to Jerry. “I was driving a bit too
fast, I guess, but I was in a hurry to get the express at Wrightville.
I’m on my way West, on important business, and the only way to make
connections is to go to Wrightville to get the fast train. So I started
in my car, intending to leave it at the garage in Wrightville. I’m
afraid I’ll miss the train now.”

“Oh, I guess you’ve got time to make it,” said Jerry, with a look at
his watch. “Wrightville is only three miles from here. But I’m afraid
you can’t make it in your car.”

“I guess you’ve said it,” admitted Mr. Hobson, after a quick
inspection. “I can’t run my car until it’s been in the repair shop.
It’ll be hard to get it back on the road, too,” he went on, as he
looked at the steep bank down which he had rolled in the machine. “And
I _must_ get that train!” he exclaimed anxiously.

“I reckon we can get you to the train all right in our car,” said Bob.
“We’re not in any special hurry--only out for a little ride. We’ll take
you to the station.”

“Surely!” added Jerry. “If you feel well enough to take the ride.”

“Oh, I’m all right!” protested Mr. Hobson. “I had presence of mind
enough to get out of the way of the steering wheel as I felt myself
going over. I’ll be very much obliged if you will take me to the depot.
It is extremely important that I get my train for the West. But about
my car--I’ll have to leave it here, I guess.”

“Nobody can run it, that’s sure,” Ned remarked. “And if you were going
to leave it at the garage in Wrightville you could tell the man there
to come out here and get it, and tow it in for repairs.”

“That’s so, I could do that,” admitted Mr. Hobson. “I don’t know that
I’ll have time, if I make my train, to tell the garage people, though.”

“We can do that for you,” offered Jerry. “We’ll tell the garage man
after we leave you at the depot.”

“Will you, boys? I’ll be a thousand times obliged to you if you will!
I wouldn’t miss that train for a good deal. Just tell the garage man
to come and get my car. I’ll settle all expenses with him when I come
back, which will be in a couple of weeks.

“And now, if you don’t mind, I’ll get in your car and let you take me
to Wrightville. It’s very kind of you. I thought I was in for a streak
of bad luck when my machine went over with me, but this seems to be a
turn for the better.”

Leaving the wrecked car where it was, Jerry and his chums went back to
their machine with Mr. Hobson, giving their names on the way. It was a
short run to Wrightville, but Mr. Hobson, who did not have any too much
time to begin with, only just made the train as it was.

“Good-bye, boys!” he called, as he swung aboard the express, waving his
hand to them. “See you again some time, I hope.”

And it was under rather strange circumstances when Mr. Hobson once more
confronted our heroes.

“Well, now to tell the garage man, and then for the eats!” exclaimed
Bob as they rode away from the railroad station. “I’ve got more of an
appetite than ever. That little excitement seemed to make me hungry.”

“It doesn’t take much to make _you_ hungry,” commented Jerry. “But we
might as well eat here as to go on to Wallace’s. That would take half
an hour.”

“Yes, let’s eat here,” acquiesced Chunky, and Ned assenting, that plan
was agreed upon.

“Mr. Hobson? Oh, yes, I know him,” the garage man said when the story
of the wrecked car had been told. “He often passes through here. Just
leave it to me. I’ll go out and get his machine, tow it in and fix it
up. I know the place all right. That sure is a bad turn. I guess he
never had been on that road before. But I’ll get his car right away.”

“Then we can eat,” said Bob, with a sigh of relief.

While the three boys were making for a restaurant, there was taking
place back in Jerry’s home the family conference, the knowledge of
which had, in a measure, rather disturbed the three chums. For though
they knew that it was going on, they could only guess at the object,
which seemed to be rather important.

And, in a sense, it was.

That morning Mr. Aaron Slade, the head of the largest department store
in Cresville, a town not far from Boston, had called on Mr. Andrew
Baker, the banker.

“Andrew,” Mr. Slade had said (for he and the banker were old friends),
“what are we going to do with our boys?”

“That’s just the question which has been puzzling me,” said Mr. Baker.

“They are the finest fellows in the world,” went on Mr. Slade, “and so
is their chum, Jerry Hopkins. But, to tell you the truth, Andrew, I’m a
bit worried about Ned.”

“And I am about Bob. Not that he’s done anything wrong, but he is
getting too wild. I’m afraid they’ve been allowed too much freedom,
what with their auto, their motor boat, and airship. I thought, at the
time, it was good for them to go off by themselves, and learn to depend
on their own efforts, as they certainly did many times. But now I’m
beginning to think differently.”

“So am I,” admitted his friend. “Take that little incident last week--I
was telling you about it, I guess--how they raced with some fellow on
the road, and nearly collided with a hay wagon.”

“Yes, I heard about it. Well, boys will be boys, I suppose, but I’ve
made up my mind that mine will have to settle down a little more.”

“The same here. But how can we do it?”

For a moment the two business men remained in thought. Then Mr. Slade
said:

“I’ll tell you what we’d better do, Andrew. Let’s go and have a talk
with Mrs. Hopkins. She’s one of the most capable, efficient and
level-headed women I know. That’s one reason why I sold her some stock
in my store. Her son Jerry is such a chum of our boys that I’ve no
doubt she feels about as we do, for Jerry is into the same scrapes and
fun that our boys get into. Let’s go and have a talk with Mrs. Hopkins.”

“I’m with you!” the banker exclaimed. “I’ll call her on the ’phone and
see if it’s convenient for us to run out there.”

A few moments’ talk over the wire apprised Mrs. Hopkins of what was in
the air, and she invited the two gentlemen to call.

That is the reason Mrs. Hopkins did not go motoring with Jerry. So
Jerry took his two chums, who were made aware of the family conference
in that fashion.

“Well, gentlemen,” said Mrs. Hopkins, when the matter had been fully
explained to her, and Mr. Slade and Mr. Baker had each expressed the
idea that their sons were in need of a little taming down, “I feel
about it as you do. I wish Jerry were not quite so lively and fond of
such exciting adventures. But now we have arrived at that decision,
what’s to be done?”

“The very question I asked!” exclaimed Mr. Slade.

“Send ’em to college!” proposed Mr. Baker, after a moment’s thought. “A
good, strict, up-to-date college is the place for them. They’d have to
buckle down to hard work, but there would be enough of athletic sport
to give them an outlet for their energies. Send the boys to college!
How does that idea strike you?”

“It might be the very thing,” answered Mrs. Hopkins thoughtfully.
“The boys have a pretty good education as it is from the Academy and
from their private studies, but of late they have been allowed to run
a little too freely. I should say college would be the best thing in
the world for them. Some difficult studies would give their too active
brains something more than adventures to feed on, and I have faith
enough in the boys to be sure they would strive to do well--to excel in
their studies as they have excelled in quests, races and other things
in which they have taken part.”

“I am glad you agree with me,” said Mr. Baker. “How about you, Aaron?”
and he looked across at Ned’s father.

“I’m of the same opinion,” was the answer.

“Good!” exclaimed Mr. Baker. “Well, now that is settled, which college
shall it be? There are several good ones in this section of New
England, but the question is whether they are just those best fitted
for our boys.”

“How about a military academy?” asked Mr. Slade. “They’d get good
discipline there.”

Mrs. Hopkins shook her head.

“I haven’t a word to say against militarism, except that I think war
a terrible thing,” she said. “I believe in preparedness, too, but I
don’t fancy a military school for Jerry. I’m afraid there would be a
little too much discipline at first, when the boys have been used to so
little.”

“Perhaps you are right,” said Mr. Slade. “I am not very much in favor
of it myself.”

Several colleges were mentioned at the family conference, but nothing
definite was decided on, and it was agreed to meet again in a day or
so. Meanwhile the catalogues of several institutions could be sent for
to judge which college would be best suited to the boys.

“A very capable woman,” commented Mr. Slade, as he and his friend left
Mrs. Hopkins’s house.

“Very. And I am glad we have come to this decision about our boys.”

“So am I. I wonder how the boys will take it.”

“It’s hard to tell. We won’t say anything to them about it for a while.”

“No,” agreed Mr. Slade.



CHAPTER III

THE RACE


“Well, I feel better,” announced Bob Baker, with a satisfied sigh as he
arose from the restaurant table.

“I should think you would!” commented Jerry. “You ate as much as the
two of us,” and he nodded at Ned.

“I did not!” cried the indignant Chunky. “I’ll leave it to the waiter.”

“Oh, don’t call public attention to a thing like that,” put in Ned.
“Let it go. Come on out and finish our ride. It’s too nice to be
staying inside, even in a restaurant.”

It was a beautiful fall day. The fierceness of the summer heat had
gone, but the tang of late fall had not yet come, and it was perfect
weather for automobile riding.

Jerry and his chums were soon in the car once more, this time Ned
taking the wheel. They drove out past the place where Mr. Hobson had
met with his accident--an accident with a most fortunate outcome--and
there the boys saw some men from the garage engaged in pulling the
disabled car up the bank.

“That was some tumble!” called one of the men, as the boys paused to
look on.

“You’d have thought so if you’d seen it,” agreed Jerry.

It was just getting dusk when the three lads reached Jerry’s home.

“I’ll drive you chaps home, and put up the car,” he said, for the
automobile, though owned jointly by the lads, was kept in a garage
owned by Mrs. Hopkins.

“What are you going to do to-night?” asked Ned, as he was set down at
his residence.

“Nothing special,” Jerry replied.

“Let’s go to the movies,” suggested Bob. “They’ve got some Southern
travel scenes, according to the bills outside, and if we go down South
this winter we may see some of the places where we expect to be thrown
on the screen.”

“I’d just as soon,” agreed Jerry, and Ned nodded his assent.

“I’ll come over to your house, Ned, after supper,” Bob went on, “and
Jerry can call there for us.”

“All right,” Jerry assented, and then he swung the car in the direction
of his home.

“Did you have a nice ride?” his mother asked him.

“Fine!” he exclaimed. “Saved a man’s life, too!”

“More adventures!” Mrs. Hopkins exclaimed, thinking of the conference
that afternoon.

“No, it was the other way around,” Jerry explained. “Mr. Hobson had the
adventure, we just rescued him from it,” and he told of the overturned
automobile.

“Such reckless driving!” his mother murmured. “I hope you boys don’t
run your car so fast.”

“Oh, no!” exclaimed Jerry virtuously. “I wonder if she could have meant
anything by that?” he asked himself as his mother went out of the
room. “But I don’t believe she heard about that hay wagon. I hope not,
anyhow.”

“Jerry! there’s a letter for you on the mantel,” his mother called back
to him as she went upstairs.

“Wonder who it’s from,” mused the tall lad. It was in a long envelope,
without any return designation, and Jerry’s name and address were
typewritten, so he could not guess the sender, as he might have done
had it been in script.

“Some advertisement,” the lad went on, somewhat disappointed, as he
drew out a booklet. With it was a letter, and when Jerry had glanced at
the signature, before reading the epistle, he cried in delight.

“Why, it’s from Professor Snodgrass! What in the world is he up to
now?”

Readers of the former books of this series concerning Ned, Bob and
Jerry (volumes which will be mentioned more at length later) will
remember Professor Uriah Snodgrass, a most earnest scientist. His quest
after rare bugs and queer animals furnished our heroes with more than
one adventure, and took them into various queer places.

“Professor Snodgrass!” went on Jerry. “I haven’t heard from him in a
long while. I wonder where he is now?”

A glance at the top of the letter showed him.

The epistle was dated from Fordham, a New England city, and at the top
of the page, in embossed letters, was the name “Boxwood Hall.”

    “Dear Jerry,” the letter read, “no doubt you will be surprised
    to hear that I have been appointed instructor of zoology, among
    other subjects, at Boxwood Hall.”

“Surprised is no name for it!” murmured Jerry, reading on.

    “For some time the faculty has been trying to induce me to
    settle down here, but I have preferred to roam about, completing
    my collection of beetles. As that is about finished, I have
    decided to accept the chair here. It is an excellent college,
    and there are a number of fine students here, but I shall miss
    the trips I used to take with you boys. Perhaps, though, during
    the vacations, I may be able to be with you for a time. I am
    making a collection of butterflies that are to be found in this
    section of New England. I have a number of fine specimens
    mounted, but as winter is approaching there will be little
    further chance to add to my collection until the spring.

    “I am sending you one of the Boxwood Hall catalogues, thinking you
    may be interested in it. If you are ever in this neighborhood,
    please come to see me. I am sure you will like it here. I
    understand there are good football and baseball teams here, and
    if you get here this fall, on one of the many trips you take,
    you may see a good game. I don’t know much about such things
    myself. Please give my regards to your mother, and remember me
    to Ned and Bob.”

“Well, what do you know about that!” exclaimed Jerry. “Professor
Snodgrass at Boxwood Hall! I’ve heard of that college, and it’s a good
one. Well, I guess he’ll miss chasing around the country after bugs,
but the college certainly has one good instructor! I must tell the
boys.”

“Any news in your letter, Jerry?” asked Mrs. Hopkins at the supper
table that evening.

“Professor Snodgrass has taken the chair of zoology at Boxwood Hall,”
he replied. And then Mrs. Hopkins was called to the telephone, so Jerry
had no chance to mention the catalogue he had received.

A little later he went with his chums to the moving picture show,
telling them the news of the professor. At Ned’s house, after the show,
the boys looked at the catalogue, which contained many half-tone cuts
of the college buildings and grounds.

“Seems to be a nice place all right,” commented Bob.

“Where is it?” asked Ned.

“It’s about a mile outside of Fordham,” said Jerry, who had glanced
through the prospectus. “I didn’t know, before, what a large place
Boxwood Hall was. See, it’s located right on Lake Carmona, and they
have a boathouse on the college grounds. Lake Carmona is one of the
prettiest in New England, they say, though I’ve never seen it.”

“I was at the upper end of it once,” Ned stated, “but I didn’t get near
Boxwood. And so the dear old professor has settled down. Well, we sure
did have good times with him!”

“That’s right!” agreed Jerry. “Maybe we’ll get a chance to run up and
see him.”

“I hope so,” remarked Bob. “Look! Here’s the professor’s name in the
list of the faculty,” and he pointed it out in the catalogue. “He’s
got half the letters of the alphabet after it, too.”

This was not strictly true, though Professor Snodgrass had received
many degrees from prominent colleges for his scientific work. He
had written several books, too, on various subjects connected with
“bugology,” as the boys called it.

After some discussion of the new position which had been accepted by
their friend, the professor, and some reminiscent talk of the times
they had spent with him, Jerry and Bob went to their respective homes,
agreeing to go for another automobile ride on the morrow.

“Well, what shall we do now?” asked Jerry of his chums one afternoon,
several days after the receipt of the letter from Professor Snodgrass.
“I don’t just fancy any more autoing for the present.”

“What’s the matter with a ride in the motor boat?” asked Bob, for the
boys owned one. It was kept in the boathouse near the residence of Mrs.
Hopkins.

“Suits me,” agreed Ned, while Bob began:

“We can drop down the river to Anderson’s place and----”

“Get something to eat,” cut in Jerry.

“I didn’t say so!” Bob cried.

“No, but you thought it all right. Come on.”

The boys started for Jerry’s home, and at the foot of the long, green
lawn that led up to the front porch Ned cried:

“I’ll race you to the front steps to see who pays for the ice cream
sodas. Last man there pays!”

“All right!” assented Jerry.

“Give me a start,” begged Bob.

“Go on!” yelled Jerry. “You’re not so fat as all that. We start even.”

“I’m entitled to a handicap,” insisted Bob.

The boys were laughing and shouting, and making considerable noise.

Bob insisted that he would not race unless he was given the advantage
he claimed because of his stoutness, and finally Ned and Jerry agreed,
letting Bob have his “head start.”

“Are you ready?” yelled Jerry.

“Let her go!” shouted Ned.

“Go!” cried Bob, and the three lads raced toward the piazza.

Ned and Jerry cut down Bob’s lead in a short time, and Jerry, by reason
of slightly longer legs, soon passed Ned. They all three approached the
porch, Jerry and Bob reaching it at the same moment. They were both
going so fast they could not stop, and a moment later Bob tripped and
would have fallen had he not given a jump up in the air, and landed on
the porch. Then he slipped, and fell with a bang, spinning along the
piazza floor, while Jerry and Ned, laughing and shouting, jumped up
after him. Then, seizing him, one by each foot, they pulled him the
length of the smooth porch, which had no railing.

[Illustration: THEY PULLED BOB THE LENGTH OF THE SMOOTH PORCH.]

“Whoop! That was some race!” yelled Ned.

“And I beat!” declared Bob.

“Go on! You did not! You were disqualified by falling!” declared Jerry.
“I’m the champion!” and he executed a clog dance on the veranda.

At that moment the front door opened, and there stood Mrs. Hopkins,
while behind her were Mr. Slade and Mr. Baker. Mrs. Hopkins did not
smile, and there were rather serious expressions on the faces of the
two gentlemen.

“Oh, was it you making all the noise, Jerry?” his mother asked.

“I guess we did our share,” admitted Ned, a little sheepishly.

“Come in, boys,” said Mr. Baker. “We have an announcement to make to
you.”



CHAPTER IV

THE DECISION


“Looks as if something was up,” whispered Bob to Ned, as the three
chums slid into the house.

“That’s what it does,” agreed Ned. “I guess Mrs. Hopkins thought we
were making too much of a racket on her front stoop.”

“We did raise a sort of row,” commented Jerry, tossing his hat on a peg
of the rack. “But mother doesn’t care an awful lot about that. She’s
heard noise before. There’s something else in the wind, believe me!”

Mrs. Hopkins, with the fathers of Bob and Ned, had withdrawn from
the hall into the library, where they could be heard in low-voiced
conversation.

“I wonder what the game is,” came from Ned. “Another family conference!
Did you know they were going to have it, Jerry?”

The tall lad shook his head.

“Unless it’s about us I can’t imagine what it’s for,” he said. “But I
reckon it does concern us. Well, we’ll have to take our medicine, I
suppose.”

“Come in, boys,” called Mrs. Hopkins. “What we have to say concerns you
as much as it does us.”

Rather sheepishly Ned, Bob and Jerry filed into the library, and took
seats. Mrs. Hopkins was seated at a table with her two guests, and on
this there appeared to be a pile of books, over which a newspaper was
thrown, as though to conceal them from view, temporarily at least.

“Seems to me you young men might be a little more quiet in approaching
a lady’s house,” remarked Mr. Slade, looking at his son; and his voice
was not as good-natured as usual.

“Oh, well, Dad,” came the response, “you see we just had a little race,
to decide who’d buy the ice cream sodas, and we did make rather a
strenuous finish of it, I guess.”

“I should say so!” exclaimed Mr. Baker, looking at his son. “I thought
it was a mad-dog chase at least, banging up on the steps that way. But
it only goes to show that it’s high time we took some action in your
cases.”

“That’s right,” put in Mr. Slade, with a vigorous nod.

The three chums looked wonderingly at one another.

“Surely they can’t be going to punish us just for a little prank like
that,” thought Jerry. His mother looked at him and smiled.

“Well, I don’t mind a little noise,” she said. “But I really think
it is time something was done to subdue the lads a little. They are
getting a bit too much out of hand.”

“We haven’t acted a bit too soon,” murmured Mr. Slade.

“I only hope it isn’t too late,” added the banker.

Once more the chums looked wonderingly at one another, and then Ned,
addressing his father, burst out with:

“Say, Dad, what’s it all about, anyhow? What’s up? Are we on trial just
because we made a racket over a foot race?”

“We’ll apologize to Mrs. Hopkins, if you want us to,” Bob said.

“Oh, no, my dear boy, no apology is required!” Jerry’s mother made
haste to say. “While you did make considerable noise, that isn’t the
reason we called you in to hear our decision about a certain matter.
Of course the way you all acted just now bears out what we have
been fearful of for some time back, and that is--perhaps one of you
gentlemen can explain better than I,” she finished with a nod toward
Mr. Baker and Mr. Slade.

There was a momentary hesitation on the part of each of them, while the
looks of wonder, not unmixed with apprehension, deepened on the faces
of the chums. Then Mr. Slade said:

“Well, boys, it amounts to this. For some time we have been noticing
your conduct. Not that you have done anything wrong or improper, but
you haven’t done exactly what is right, either. You are getting on in
years, in fact you are young men now, and boys no longer, so it is time
you acted like young men.”

“If that race just now----” broke in Ned.

“Oh, it isn’t altogether that!” his father made haste to say. “That
is only one straw that shows which way the wind is blowing. You are
entirely too frivolous, and when I say that I include you, Jerry, and
you, Bob, with the permission of your parents.”

“Yes, I agreed with Mr. Slade,” murmured Mrs. Hopkins.

“And I,” added the banker.

“So we have called you in to acquaint you with our decision,” the
department store proprietor went on. “And I want to say that we did not
arrive at it hastily. We have had several conferences on the matter, as
we wanted to be fair and just to all of you, and we wanted to do our
duty. Now perhaps you have something to say, Mr. Baker, before we tell
the boys what is in store for them.”

“Looks serious,” Jerry formed the words with his lips to Ned, but did
not emit a whisper.

Ned nodded gloomily.

“Well, Aaron, you’ve said about all there is to say on the subject,”
began the banker slowly. “I might add that I think our boys have
had plenty of good times and strenuous adventures. There can be no
complaint on their part about that. And, boys, I want to say that you
must now settle down and prepare to make real men of yourselves. You
are boys no longer--you must prepare to accept the responsibilities of
life. Have you anything to add, Mrs. Hopkins?”

“Nothing except that I fully agree with you gentlemen. And I think
what we are about to do will be for the best interests of all of us,
especially of our boys. We are proud of them in spite of the fact that
they are sometimes a little too careless, and we want to continue to be
proud of you, boys. Tell them what we have decided to do, Mr. Slade.”

“It is this,” said the department store keeper, as he removed the
newspaper from the pile of books, or rather, pamphlets. “We are going
to send you boys to some college or military academy, where, under
stricter discipline than any to which you have hitherto been subjected,
you will be able to develop your characters.”

“Sent away to college!” exclaimed Jerry.

“Military academy!” echoed Bob.

“Strict discipline!” murmured Ned.

There was silence for a moment, and then Mr. Baker went on:

“That is the conclusion we have arrived at after giving the matter
serious thought. It will be the best thing in the world for you young
men--boys no longer--to go away to some college. You will have regular
hours and regular studies, which you have not had in the past two
years. Not that you are backward, for you have kept yourselves well
informed, and your travels have been helpful, in a measure. But you
need regularity, and you are going to get it.

“Now we have here,” he went on, “catalogues from several institutions
of learning. They are all good, as far as we can tell, and any one of
them would suit me as a place for my boy. We have not quite made up our
minds which one to choose. We want you all to go to the same one.”

“I should say, yes!” cried Jerry.

“We don’t want to be impertinent,” added Ned, “but we couldn’t think of
going to separate colleges. We must be together.”

“Sure!” echoed Bob.

“Well, we are very glad we can give in to you on that point,” said Mr.
Slade, smiling.

“Now we will proceed to the further discussion, which you interrupted
with your strenuous foot race,” said Mr. Baker, “and we will let you
help us decide which college you will attend. Now here is a catalogue
that interests me,” and he held up one of a well-known college.

There was quite a lengthy discussion, in which the boys joined, telling
what they knew, or had heard, of certain institutions. Some they flatly
refused to consider at all. Toward others they were more favorably
inclined.

“Now here is one I should like to see you attend,” said Mr. Slade,
holding up another prospectus. “It is----”

He was interrupted by an exclamation from Jerry, who rushed from the
room.

“Why! what in the world is the matter with him?” asked Mrs. Hopkins in
surprise.

No one answered, and before they could indulge in any speculation Jerry
was back again, waving over his head a catalogue similar to those on
the table.

“If we have to go to college,” he said, “and I guess we do, this is
the one we’d like you to pick out--Boxwood Hall! Let us go there! It’s
a dandy place, according to the catalogue, and it has a good standing
from a scholastic and athletic standpoint. Let us go to Boxwood Hall,
where our old friend, Professor Snodgrass, is a teacher.”

“Boxwood Hall?” murmured Mr. Slade, questioningly.

“Professor Snodgrass,” said Mr. Baker, reflectively.

“He sent me this catalogue,” Jerry went on, “though when I got it I
hadn’t the least notion in the world that I would go there. Let me
read you the professor’s letter”; and this he did.

Mr. Slade picked up the Boxwood Hall catalogue and glanced at the
illustrations of the various buildings.

“It looks like a nice place,” he said.

“It sure does!” exclaimed his son, looking over his father’s shoulder.
“We would like it there.”

“And there are some well known names on the faculty, aside from that of
Professor Snodgrass,” went on Mr. Slade.

“Professor Snodgrass,” murmured Mr. Baker. “He’s the scientist who so
often went with you boys on your trips, gathering queer bugs and so on.”

“He’s the one!” Jerry remarked. “Say, fellows, will you ever forget
the time he saw a bug on the railroad track, and almost got under the
locomotive to capture the insect.”

“That’s right,” chorused Ned and Bob.

“That’s the one objection to Boxwood Hall,” resumed Mr. Baker. “I’m
afraid instead of studying, you boys will be going off on bug-hunting
trips with Professor Snodgrass. I guess we’d better decide on some
other college.”



CHAPTER V

GOOD NEWS


Blank looks replaced those of pleasant anticipation on the faces of
Ned, Bob and Jerry. Slowly they glanced at one another, then Ned burst
out with:

“Say, Dad, that’s all wrong! Don’t be so hard on us. If we have to
go to college the best one in the world for us will be Boxwood Hall,
because we’ll have such a good friend in Professor Snodgrass.”

“And we won’t go off bug hunting with him--at least not very often,”
said Jerry. “We won’t have time, nor will he. And you can see by
his letter that he’s done with bugs. He’s making a collection of
butterflies now.”

“That’s just as bad,” said Mrs. Hopkins, with a smile at her son.
“Butterflies will lead you farther afield.”

“There won’t be many more butterflies this year,” Ned remarked. “Though
I suppose there may be a few late ones up around Fordham that the
professor will bag in his net. But, really, we won’t waste any time on
them. Let us go to Boxwood Hall, and we’ll buckle down to hard study.”

“We can go in for athletics though; can’t we?” asked Bob. “They have a
swell football eleven and a dandy baseball nine at Boxwood Hall.”

“Oh, we haven’t any objections to sports, if you don’t go in for them
too heavily,” said Mr. Baker. “What do you say?” and he glanced at the
department store proprietor and at Mrs. Hopkins. “Shall we let the boys
have their way?”

“Let’s consider it farther,” suggested Mr. Slade. “We’ll write to--let
me see--Dr. Anderson Cole is the college president,” he went on,
referring to the catalogue. “We’ll write to him and see what sort of
arrangements can be made.”

“We could start in with the fall term,” observed Jerry. “Boxwood
doesn’t open as early as some of the other colleges.”

“We’ll see about it,” said his mother.

“I’ll write the letters,” offered the banker. “My stenographer isn’t
overworked, and I will get her at them the first thing in the morning.
And I guess that ends the conference, for the time being,” he concluded.

“Then may we go?” asked his son. “We are going out in the motor boat.”

“Yes, run along,” said Mrs. Hopkins. “Jerry, let Mr. Baker have the
catalogue the professor sent. He’ll need to refer to it for his
letters.”

A little later the three chums were hastening toward the house where
their motor boat was kept.

“Say! won’t it be great if we can go to Boxwood?” exclaimed Bob.

“The finest thing ever!” declared Jerry. “It will do us good to see the
professor again.”

“So that’s what all this confabbing business on the part of our
respected parents was about,” commented Ned. “I hadn’t any idea it
would turn out this way.”

“Nor I,” admitted Jerry. “I thought something was in the wind along the
line of making us settle down, but I was afraid mother might be going
to make me go to work. Not that I would mind work,” he made haste to
add, “but I’m not quite ready for it.”

“I thought maybe they were going to take the car, the boat and the
airship away from us,” observed Bob, for our heroes, as their friends
who have read about them in previous books know, did have a fine
airship, in which they had gone through many adventures.

“That would be a hardship,” said Jerry. “But going to college isn’t
half bad. I’m glad they decided on it. I guess a little discipline and
settling down will be good for all of us. It’s a lucky thing Professor
Snodgrass sent me that catalogue. If I hadn’t had that to spring on ’em
they might have packed us off to some place where we wouldn’t have a
friend to our names.”

“They may yet,” suggested Bob half gloomily. “They may decide against
Boxwood Hall.”

“I don’t believe so,” remarked Jerry. “I sort of think they’re
favorably disposed toward it, for it is a first-class place. And
say! why, we can take our motor boat there!” he cried. “There’s Lake
Carmona--a dandy place for a boat.”

“But it will soon be winter,” objected Ned, “and the lake will freeze
over.”

“That’s all right,” declared Jerry. “It will be some time before
freezing weather sets in, and there’ll be lots of time to take trips
on the lake. We’ll have to store the boat over winter, of course, but
she’ll be there in the spring. We’ll take the _Neboje_ with us.”

The _Neboje_ (the name being made up of the first two letters of Ned,
Bob and Jerry) was a new craft. It was smaller than the last boat the
boys had bought, and they often preferred it, as it was easier to
handle. It was so arranged that they could sleep and cook on board, and
make short cruises on lake or river.

“Sure, take the boat!” exclaimed Bob. “And why can’t we take the auto
too?”

“We could, I guess,” conceded Jerry. “The only thing is, though, that
the fellows at Boxwood may think we’re putting it on rather thick.”

“I guess not,” said Ned. “If we took our airship they might. But some
of them are sure to have cars themselves, and with the lake so near it
would be a wonder if there wasn’t one or two motor boats owned by the
students. We’ll take her along.”

“That is, if we go,” observed Jerry with a smile.

“Oh, we’ll go!” declared Bob, as they reached the boathouse.

“Got enough gasoline?” asked Jerry, as he took the tarpaulin cover off
the _Neboje_.

“Plenty,” announced Bob, looking at the gauge. “We’ll only go for a
little run, as I want to get back in time for----”

“Grub!” broke in Ned with a laugh, and then he had to dodge the bailing
sponge which the stout youth threw at his head.

Ned caught the sponge and threw it back at Bob, but with such poor aim
that it struck Jerry in the face, and, being wet, it was not the most
desirable object in the world to receive in that fashion.

“Here! What are you doing?” roared Jerry, wiping his dripping face.
“I’ve had my bath this week. Cut out the rough stuff!”

“I didn’t mean that,” came from Ned. “It was Bob’s fault.”

“It was not! You threw it!”

“You chucked it first.”

“Well, I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t ragged me about my eating. And I
wasn’t going to say anything about grub, either. I meant I wanted to
get home early so I could talk more to dad about Boxwood Hall.”

“Go on! You’re going to see a girl!” scoffed Jerry.

Bob flared up again, but quiet was finally restored and, the boathouse
doors having been thrown open, Ned pressed the button of the
self-starter and the _Neboje_ swung out into the river which ran near
the Hopkins’ house.

As the chums, comfortably seated in their craft, were getting under
way, they heard a hail.

“Hold on, boys--wait a minute--got something to tell you--don’t go away
without me--it’s great news--come on back--slow down--turn off the
gasoline--shut off the spark--swing her around--whoop!”

“No need to look to tell who that is,” Jerry remarked.

“Yes, it’s Andy Rush,” said Bob, as he glanced at a small and very much
excited boy who was dancing about on the dock.

“Come back and get me!” he begged.

“Shall we?” asked Ned, who was steering.

“Oh, yes, I guess so,” assented Jerry. “Andy’s all right if he does
talk like a gasoline motor.”

“I wonder what news he has,” ventured Bob.

Ned swung the boat about, and Andy, whom my older readers will
remember, got aboard. He was panting from his rapid-fire talk.

“What’s the news?” asked Bob.

“It’s about Noddy Nixon,” said Andy Rush, when he had gotten back his
breath.

“Then it isn’t good news,” averred Jerry, for in the past Noddy had
made much trouble for the three chums.

“No, it isn’t good news,” said Andy. “He’s hurt somewhere out West. He
ran his automobile into another one, and now he’s in a hospital.”

“Well, I don’t wish Noddy any bad luck, for all he did us several mean
turns,” remarked Jerry. “But he never did know how to handle a car--he
was too reckless. Is he badly hurt, Andy?”

“Well, he won’t die, but it will be a good while before he’ll be well.
A friend of my mother’s, who lives out West, wrote her about Noddy,
knowing he used to live here.”

“I hope he never comes back here to live,” Ned remarked. “We can easily
get along without him.”

“So say we all of us!” chimed in Bob.

The boys enjoyed the little motor boat trip, though Andy Rush, as
usual, talked so much and so fast that Jerry said he gave him a
headache.

“Here, earn your passage,” the tall youth finally cried. “Polish
some of the brass rail. That will give you a safety-valve,” and Andy,
perforce, had to obey.

It was several days after this that Bob Baker came hurrying over to the
Hopkins house.

“Good news!” cried the stout youth.

“What about?” asked Jerry.

“Dad has had a letter from President Cole, of Boxwood Hall, and
everything is so satisfactory that dad has decided I am to go there.
Hurrah!”

“Hurrah yourself!” retorted Jerry. “What about Ned and me?”

“It’s all right. I just left Ned, and his father says if Mr. Baker is
satisfied he’ll be, so Ned can go. It rests with your mother whether
you can, Jerry.”

“Oh, I’m sure mother will say yes! I’ll tell her! Say! this is
great--all three of us to go to Boxwood Hall! Wow!” and Jerry did a
clog dance that brought his mother to the door of her room to learn the
cause of the excitement.

She readily gave her consent to the Boxwood Hall project for Jerry, and
later that day there was another conference of the parents. There had
been considerable correspondence between Mr. Baker and President Cole,
and the banker was more than satisfied with the showing made by the
college.

“I think it will be just the place for the boys,” he declared, “and I
will write to President Cole, informing him they will be on hand soon
after, if not at, the opening of the fall term. We shall have to get
them ready, I suppose.”

“That won’t take long,” Jerry said. “Now I’ll write to Professor
Snodgrass, and tell him we’ll soon be with him.”

Thus the matter was decided. The names of Ned, Bob and Jerry were
formally entered for admission to Boxwood Hall, and their standing in
their studies was such that they had to take but few examinations.

In the letter to Professor Snodgrass Jerry explained how it had all
come about, and he thanked the little scientist for having sent the
catalogue.

“Only for that,” Jerry wrote, “we might have been packed off to some
place where we wouldn’t have liked it at all. I’m afraid we won’t get a
chance to go hunting butterflies with you, much as we would like it.”

In reply Jerry had another letter from the bug-collector. Professor
Snodgrass wrote that there would be plenty of chance for him to have
outings with the boys.

“That’s fine!” cried Jerry. “Hurrah for Boxwood Hall!”

And his chums echoed the exultant cry.



CHAPTER VI

BOXWOOD HALL


Imagine a great, green, grassy bowl, nestled snugly amid a succession
of green hills, set, more or less regularly, in a circle. And at the
bottom of the great, green, grassy bowl, which is miles across, imagine
further a silvery sheet, irregular in outline and sparkling in the sun.

Up on one of the sides of the green, grassy bowl, where it leveled out
into a sort of plateau, is a group of dull, red buildings, their maroon
color contrasting pleasingly with the emerald tint of the surroundings.
Across the tip of another hill lay a country town, and from a vantage
point one could see a railroad, like a shiny snake, winding its way up
to the town, stopping there, in the shape of a station, and then going
on across the valley.

The town is that of Fordham--a city some called it. It was in New
England, about half way between Boston and New York. The green bowl
was Fordham valley, and the shining, glittering bottom of it was Lake
Carmona, a beautiful sheet of water, some miles in extent.

The group of red buildings was Boxwood Hall with which we shall soon
concern ourselves, and which was very much in the minds of Ned, Bob
and Jerry at this moment, as it had been for some time. The college
buildings were about a mile, or, say a mile and a half to be exact,
from the Fordham railroad station, and were practically on the shore of
Lake Carmona, for the college owned the land running down to the lake,
and had on it a boathouse and a dock. But the buildings themselves lay
back a quarter of a mile from the water, and this quarter of a mile,
somewhat less in width, formed the college campus--one not surpassed
anywhere.

Upon this campus, strolling about here and there this fine fall day,
was a group of lads attired in the more or less exaggerated costumes
effected by college youth the world over.

“Say, fellows, I’ve got news for you!” cried Frank Watson, who, as one
could tell by the manner he used toward some of the other students, was
a sophomore. “Great news! Come here, Bill Hamilton--Bart Haley--you
too, Sid Lenton and Jim Blake. Come here and listen to me.”

“What’s the matter now?” asked Bill Hamilton, a flashily dressed lad.
“Has some one left you money?”

“I wish some one had,” remarked Frank.

“Same here,” drawled Bart Haley. “I never knew how much a fellow could
spend until I came here. I’m up against it hard!”

“No, it isn’t money,” remarked Frank. “It’s worse than that. What do
you know about this. There’s a bunch of new fellows coming here in a
week or so, and they’re about the limit--or at least I think they’ll be
that.”

“What do you mean?” asked Bart, slightly interested.

“This. There are three fellows coming into the freshman class. And from
what I hear they have been around pretty much, so they’ll probably be
fresher than usual and will try to run things here to suit themselves.
The know-it-all class, so to speak.”

“Who are they?” asked Bart.

“How’d you hear about this?” demanded Sid Lenton.

“They are--let me see. I jotted down their names so’s we’d have ’em
handy to use in case we had to. Here they are--Jerry Hopkins, Bob Baker
and Ned Slade. They’re from Cresville, and they’re going to bring their
auto with them. Fawncy now!” and Frank assumed a mocking air and tone.

“I asked you how you heard it,” came from Sid again.

“Professor Snodgrass told me. He’s a friend of theirs, it seems, and he
sent one of them a college catalogue. That’s how they came to be wished
on to us. It seems that Professor Snodgrass, who isn’t a bad sort by
the way, used to travel about with the Motor Boys, as their friends at
home call them,” said Frank, sarcastically.

“Motor boys?” repeated Bart Haley.

“Yes, that’s what they used to call themselves. Think of that--motor
boys!”

“Why was that?” asked Sid.

“Oh, because they did a lot of motoring. Had motor cycles first, it
appears, then they got an auto, then a motor boat, and then they even
had a submarine!”

“Get out! You’re stringing us!” cried several.

“No, it’s straight!” declared Frank. He sat down on the grass and
continued: “Why, some fellow even wrote a book--two or three of them I
guess--about these same motor boys. When Professor Snodgrass told me
they were coming here I pumped him for all he was worth. Thinks I to
myself, if we’re going to have fellows like that here, who sure will
try to walk over us, the more I know about them the better.

“So he told me all he knew, which was a lot. It seems he used to go
off on bug-hunting expeditions with them in the auto, the boat or the
airship.”

“Airship!” cried Jim Blake. “You don’t mean to say they had an airship,
do you?”

“That’s what the professor said.”

“Oh, he’s daffy! I’ll never believe that. They may have had an auto and
a motor boat--I’ve got one of them myself,” said Bill Hamilton. “But an
airship--never!”

“Well, we’ll find out about that later,” declared Frank. “Anyhow, some
fellow did write about the motor boys. He made up a story of how they
went overland, and even down into Mexico.”

“Mexico!” exclaimed Harry French.

“Yes, Mexico. And there they discovered a buried city, or something
like that. The professor made a big find there--some new kind of bug I
guess. And then there’s a book telling how these motor boys went across
the plains, and how they first went cruising in their motor boat. They
were on the Atlantic, on the Pacific, and in the strange waters of the
Florida Everglades. Some trip, believe me!”

“Do you s’pose it’s all true?” some one asked.

“The professor says so, and you know what a stickler he is,” responded
Frank.

“Well, if that’s the case, these fellows sure will try to put it all
over us,” declared Sid.

“They may try, but they won’t succeed,” declared Frank, and there was
a vindictive ring to his voice. “But this isn’t all. Ned, Bob and
Jerry--the motor boys--did go above the clouds in some sort of motor
ship, according to the professor. They went across the Rockies, and out
over the ocean. Then they went after some kind of a fortune, and even
helped capture some Canadian smugglers up on the border. And it’s all
in books, too.

“And, as I said, according to Mr. Snodgrass, these lads went down in a
submarine. I didn’t believe that at first, but he told me of the things
he saw and the specimens he caught, so I guess it’s true enough.

“Now they’re coming here. They got back from a long trip on road and
river just before Professor Snodgrass came here to teach, and they had
such lively times that their folks packed them here for us to look
after,” and Frank grinned.

“Oh, we’ll look after ’em all right!” cried Sid.

“That’s what we will,” added Bart Haley.

“If they try to run things here they’ll find that they’re running
themselves into the ground,” declared Jake Porter.

The group of students around Frank nodded assent. The boys were, as has
been said, sophomores, and most of them were on the baseball nine.

“I wonder if they’ll go out for football?” asked Ted Newton, captain of
the eleven. “We need some good material.”

“You wouldn’t have new fellows--butters-in like these three--on the
team; would you?” asked Frank.

“Well, they’d be eligible for the varsity under the rules here, which
are different from those of most colleges. I wouldn’t turn any fellow
down just because he’d had some adventures. Cracky! I’d like a taste of
them myself!”

“I tell you these motor boys will be impossible!” cried Frank. “You’ll
see! They’ll think they’re the whole show, and that we don’t amount to
anything. We can haze them and then we can sit on ’em good and proper,
and that’s what I say let’s do!”

“I’m with you,” drawled Bill Hamilton.

“Are they rich?” asked Sid.

“I s’pose they are,” admitted Frank, “or they couldn’t afford to do all
they have done. But that won’t make any difference to me. I’m going to
snub ’em and sit on ’em, for they’ll be sure to try to run things.”

“That’s right!” agreed some of his cronies. “We’ll show these motor
boys a thing or two at Boxwood!”

Thus, without having seen our heroes, the coterie led by Frank Watson
decided on a verdict against them--a verdict that was destined to cause
no end of trouble.



CHAPTER VII

OFF TO COLLEGE


Ned, Bob and Jerry were not able to enter Boxwood Hall the first week
of the fall term. They had expected to, and had begun to prepare
for that. But some minor difficulties cropped up in regard to their
entrance examinations, and they were obliged to pass certain tests
which were arranged for by President Cole with the principal of the
Cresville Academy, where the boys had been in attendance.

Finally, their previous work in their studies was found to be
satisfactory, and, as Frank Watson informed his chums, the three chums
were to enter the freshman class.

While the boys were busy with their examinations, their parents--the
mothers especially--were busy preparing their sons’ outfits.

“It’s worse than when we went overland,” complained Ned, when he had
been obliged to pass judgment on suits, caps, underwear and other
wearing apparel--the outfit he was to take to college with him.

“Oh, well, it’ll soon be over,” was Jerry’s consoling suggestion.

“The worst of it is,” said Bob, “we may be all out of date with our
clothes when we get to Boxwood and see what the fellows there are
wearing. We may have to get a lot of new things.”

“Nothing more than a cap or two, I guess,” Jerry said. “We’ll wait
about them until we get there, and find out what kind the fellows are
sporting. We’ll wear our auto caps until then.”

“Auto caps!” cried Bob. “They won’t look good in the train.”

“Who said anything about a train?” asked Jerry.

“Why, aren’t we going to Fordham by train?”

“Didn’t you tell him about it?” asked the tall lad of Ned.

“No, Jerry, I forgot.”

“What’s the game?” inquired Bob.

“Why, Ned and I talked it over,” said Jerry, “and we decided it would
be a good stunt, as long as we’re going to take our car to college with
us, to motor down in it instead of going by train. I supposed he had
told you, but I guess there was so much going on that he forgot about
it.”

“That’s right,” affirmed Ned.

“Motor down!” Bob exclaimed. “That will be swell! We can do it easily
in a day, and we can take along our----”

“Lunch!” cut in Ned, taking care to have Jerry between him and Bob.

“Oh, you make me tired!” exclaimed the stout lad. “I was going to say
take our trunks along, and save a lot of bother with the expressman.”

“That’s so,” Jerry said. “Let Chunky alone, Ned. He’s all right, even
if he does eat five times a day.”

“Now you’re picking on me!” laughed Bob. “Well, go as far as you like,
I can stand it if you can.”

“Say, I’ll tell you what we might do,” cried Ned, as he and his chums
got into their car for a spin out into the country, as it was a day or
so yet before they would depart for Boxwood Hall.

“What?” asked Jerry.

“We might write to Professor Snodgrass, and ask him what sort of duds
the fellows wear there. Then we’d know what to get and save doubling
up.”

“Do you mean that?” asked Jerry, with a queer look at his chum.

“Of course I do. Why not?”

“You ought to know the professor by this time,” remarked the tall lad
with a laugh. “He doesn’t know any more about clothes than a bat!”

“I should say not!” chimed in Bob, who was, as his friends said, “some
nifty little dresser.” “The professor would get styles all mixed up
with his bugs and butterflies,” went on the stout lad. “He’d tell us
that the fellows were wearing sweaters with double-jointed legs, and
trousers with stripes running around them like that queer beetle he got
when we were down in Mexico. He’d have just about that much idea of
what we wanted to know.”

“I guess you’re right,” assented Ned. “I didn’t think about that. We’ll
just settle the clothes question when we get there.”

They motored along a pleasant country road, talking of many things, but
chiefly of their coming stay at Boxwood Hall, and what they would do
when they got there.

“I hope we can room together,” said Ned.

“We’ll have connecting rooms,” Jerry said. “Mother wrote to the matron,
a Mrs. Eastman, and she wrote back that there were three nice rooms in
the main dormitory of Borton we could have. So mother clinched them for
us. Mother’s a bit fussy about rooms, and I guess I’m glad she is.”

“Say, that will be swell all right!” exclaimed Bob.

“All to the merry!” chimed in Ned.

A little farther along they passed the place where they had put out the
automobile fire some time previously.

“I wonder what ever became of Mr. Hobson--was that his name, the
fellow we saved?” asked Ned, musingly.

“That was it--Samuel Hobson,” affirmed Jerry. “Didn’t I tell you I had
a card from him?”

“No,” replied his chums.

“Well, I had. A souvenir card from San Francisco. He’s out there on
business, but expects to come East again. He said he’d write a letter
when he had time. Sent his regards to all of you.”

“It’s a wonder he wouldn’t drop us a line,” grumbled Bob.

“He apologized for that,” explained Jerry. “Said he’d lost your
addresses, and asked me to send them on.”

“Well, make mine Boxwood Hall,” said Ned.

“Same here,” came from Bob.

Several busy days followed in which last preparations were made. The
boys’ plan to motor to Boxwood Hall was agreed to by the parents. As
the car was a roomy one there was space in it for their trunks, as well
as for themselves, and, thus taking their baggage, they would save
themselves considerable trouble.

The boys had looked up the best route to take, and though the trip was
something over a hundred and fifty miles, they figured that by making
an early start they could reach the college in the late afternoon.

“And it’ll be a whole lot better than traveling in a stuffy train,
fellows,” said Bob.

Professor Snodgrass had been written to again by the boys, who told of
their automobile trip, and they mentioned the time they expected to
arrive. In reply the little scientist said he would be on the lookout
for them, and he again expressed his pleasure that they were going to
be near him.

“He’s as jolly as a young fellow himself,” declared Jerry.

The morning for the start came, and after a substantial breakfast,
at least on the part of Bob, our heroes took their places in the big
touring car.

“Now boys,” said Mr. Slade, who, with Mr. Baker, had come to the home
of Mrs. Hopkins to see the three off, “remember that you are not going
to college for fun.”

“But we can have a little; can’t we, Dad?” asked Ned.

“Yes, of course. I want you all to have a good time within reason. But
you must all buckle down to hard work too. As we said before, you’ve
had more than your share of strenuous adventures. Leave some for the
other fellows. You must prepare to take your places as men in the world
soon, and a good education is the best preparation.”

“I agree with what Mr. Slade says,” added the banker. “We don’t want to
be too preachy, but, boys, dig in hard now, and let us all be proud of
you.”

“I’m sure we shall be,” said Mrs. Hopkins, and there was a smile on her
face, though she found it rather hard to let Jerry go for such a long
time. Still he was used to being away from home, and his mother knew he
could take care of himself, as could his chums.

Good-byes echoed and re-echoed as Jerry started the motor and, throwing
in the gears, let the clutch slip into place. Hands were waved, and
then our three heroes swung down the road on their way to college. It
was a momentous occasion for them.

“Good-bye, fellows--wish I were going--don’t forget to write--send me
tickets--football game--maybe I can come--it’ll be great--hope you play
and win every game--good-bye!”

It was Andy Rush, of course, and the little chap ran alongside the
automobile for a few feet as he delivered his rapid-fire remarks.

“I wonder what will happen to him when he goes to college,” mused Bob.

“He’ll have to dictate his recitations into a phonograph,” said Jerry,
“and when the prof wants to listen he’ll have to run it at half speed,
or he wouldn’t catch a word.”

“Oh well, Andy’s all right. He’s done us lots of good turns,” declared
Ned.

“That’s right,” agreed his chums.

Little of incident marked their morning trip, save that Ned and Bob
had a discussion as to which was the best place to eat, a dispute that
ended when Jerry picked out an altogether different restaurant, and
stopped the car in front of it.

After a brief rest they were on their way again. Now they were in
unfamiliar country, and several times they had to stop to ask which
road to take, as the road map seemed faulty.

“We’re not going to get there before dark at this rate,” said Bob,
as he looked at his watch, and noted a sign-board which stated that
Fordham was still many miles away.

“Oh, well, we’ve got good headlights,” Jerry said.

It clouded up about four o’clock, and at five was so dark that the
headlights had to be set aglow. At a cross-road Jerry stopped the car.

“Hop out, Ned, and see which turn to take,” he said.

Ned, with a pocket flashlight, examined the board.

“Say, this is queer!” he exclaimed.

“What is?” asked Bob.

“Why, one of these roads goes to Lawrenceville and the other to
Ogdenburg. We’ve come the wrong way, fellows. Fordham isn’t anywhere
around here!”



CHAPTER VIII

PROFESSOR SNODGRASS


Momentary silence followed the rather disconcerting remark made by Ned
after his discovery. Then Jerry asked:

“Are you sure about that? Look around. Maybe there’s another sign-board
somewhere else that gives information about Fordham.”

“This is the only one there is,” declared Ned, flashing his light
about, “and it doesn’t intimate that such a place as Fordham even
exists.”

“Then we must have come the wrong road!” exclaimed Bob.

“Oh, fine! How’d you guess it? That’s a brilliant head you have!” said
Ned, rather sarcastically.

“Well, it isn’t my fault,” observed Bob. “I wasn’t guiding the car.”

“No, I s’pose it’s up to me,” admitted Jerry. “Though I’m sure I took
the turn that last fellow we asked told us to take.”

“Yes, you did all right,” agreed Ned. “It was that farmer who
misdirected us. I beg your pardon, Bob, for jumping at you that way.
But it makes me mad to think we’ve gotten on the wrong road, and we
won’t get to Boxwood until after supper.”

“Getting hungry?” asked Jerry. “That’s Chunky’s role, you know.”

“Roll or bread--I’d be glad of either,” said Ned. “Yes, I am hungry. I
didn’t eat as much lunch as you fellows did. Now go ahead, Bob, and lay
it into me. I deserve it.”

Bob reached under the rear seat and held up a package.

“I’ll lay this into you, Ned,” he laughed.

“What is it?” asked the complaining one.

“Grub! Sandwiches, cake and so on.”

“Grub!” Jerry exclaimed. “Where’d you get it?”

“Oh, I had the waiter in the restaurant put it up for me. I thought we
might get hungry before supper, but I didn’t think we would get lost.
It’ll come in handy, won’t it?”

“It’ll come in stomachicly, to coin a new word,” declared Ned. “Chunky,
if ever I say anything again about your eats, just you remind me of
this occasion.”

“All right,” agreed the stout youth.

“Well, we won’t starve, that’s sure,” Jerry said. “But the question is
which road are we to take?”

“Neither one of these, I vote,” said Bob. “They don’t go where we want
to go. I say, let’s go back until we get to another cross highway, and
that may have a sign on that we didn’t notice before which will direct
us to Fordham.”

“I guess Bob’s right,” conceded Jerry. “Back we go.”

“And we can eat on the way,” Bob went on; and neither of his chums
joked him this time.

Somewhat disappointed and chagrined at the outcome of their automobile
trip, or rather, at the prospective outcome, the boys put back. They
had counted on arriving at Boxwood Hall in some “style” with their big
car. Not that the three chums cared so much about showing off, but they
felt they had a right to make a certain impression, since, according to
present plans, they were to remain at the college for some time.

But now they would arrive after dark, and they would be met by strange
professors and college officials (all save Professor Snodgrass), they
would be late for supper, and would have no chance to view the college
until morning.

“Hang that farmer, anyhow!” murmured Jerry.

“I wish he had to go without his suppers for a week,” added Ned.

“Oh, we’re not so badly off,” declared Bob, as he was munching a
sandwich.

“Bob wouldn’t want any one condemned to go without food,” said Jerry.
“Well, I suppose it was my own fault in a way. I should have consulted
the map after that fellow told us which turn to take. We’ll know better
next time.”

“There’s a house,” remarked Ned. “Suppose we inquire there.”

“No!” decided Jerry. “That’s a farmer’s house, and I won’t trust any
more farmers. I’ll go on back to the last turn we made. There’s a
garage not far from there, and they’ll know the road, that’s sure.”

It was not a long ride back to the place where Jerry felt they had made
the wrong turn, and a few minutes more took them to the garage. But it
was now quite dark.

“Fordham--um, yes,” said the garage man, reflectively. “I should say
you _did_ take the wrong turn!”

“Well, please tell us how to take the right one,” begged Jerry.

“The right one happens to be a left one,” said the man with a laugh.
Then he gave them the proper directions, and said they ought to be at
Boxwood Hall in about an hour.

“Come on!” cried Ned, as they started away once more. “On with the
dance!”

“Speaking of dances, I wonder if they ever have any at the college?”
asked Bob, reflectively.

“Sure they do!” exclaimed Ned, who of late had taken up fox-trotting.
“Didn’t the catalogue say that all proper facilities were given for the
best social life. And what is social life, I’d like to know, without a
dance now and then?”

“I guess you’ll get your share of it,” remarked Jerry, his eyes on
the road ahead, for it was an unfamiliar one to him, and, though the
garage man had said it was a fine, straight highway, Jerry was taking
no chances. The powerful electric lights made a fine illumination far
ahead.

Now it might have been reasonably expected that Fate, if you choose
to call it such, having dealt our heroes one blow, would refrain from
giving them another, at least for a while. But it was not to be.

About a half hour after having left the garage they came to an
obstruction across the road. It was in the form of a big sawhorse such
as is used in cities to block streets when repair work is being done.
From the barrier hung a red lantern.

“Hello! What does this mean?” asked Jerry, bringing the car up with a
screeching of brakes.

“Looks like danger,” observed Bob.

“There’s some kind of a sign,” said Ned. “I’ll get out and read it.”

With his pocket flashlight he inspected a placard that was tacked on
the big sawhorse.

“It says the bridge just ahead is being repaired, and can’t be used,”
Ned called back to his chums. “And it says to go back half a mile, and
take the road to the left.”

“Well, if this isn’t luck!” cried Jerry. “Will we ever get to Boxwood
Hall?”

“There’s no help for it,” remarked Ned. “We can’t go over a dangerous
bridge, that’s sure. The only thing to do is to go back. It won’t delay
us much, as the road the sign mentions isn’t a five minutes’ ride back.”

“No, but it may take us on a roundabout way,” objected Jerry. “That’s
what I’m thinking of. But I guess it’s the only thing we can do. I
reckon the garage man didn’t know about the bridge.”

So back they turned for the second time, and, following the directions,
they took the road to the left, speeding along as fast as they dared.

“Who proposed this auto trip, anyhow?” grumbled Ned.

“I did,” confessed Jerry. “But I guess it would have been better to
have come by train, and have had a chauffeur bring our car on later.
I’m sorry, fellows, that----”

“Oh, it’s all right,” Ned hastened to say. “I was only joking. I don’t
know what’s the matter with me to-night. I seem to be on the outs all
around.”

“It’s your liver,” said Jerry with a laugh. “I don’t hold it against
you.”

“Fox-trotting is good for it,” observed Bob.

“Good for what?” demanded Ned.

“Sluggish and torpid livers. I guess that’s what you’ve got.”

“Get out!” laughed Ned. “I only have one liver.”

They sped along, and presently a new moon showed above the horizon,
shining now and then through the masses of scudding clouds. The road
was good, and Jerry had turned the wheel over to Ned, as the latter had
not driven much that day, and Jerry was rather tired from the strain.

They came to the top of a little hill, and saw, not far away, a group
of buildings revealed in the moonlight.

“There she is!” exclaimed Bob. “There’s Boxwood Hall!”

Jerry and Ned peered at the structures.

“It doesn’t look like the pictures,” declared Ned, dubiously.

“Just what I was going to say,” remarked Jerry. “It doesn’t look a bit
like Boxwood Hall.”

“What else could it be?” asked Bob.

“I don’t know, unless some of the buildings have been destroyed since
that catalogue came out. But if that had happened Professor Snodgrass
would have told us,” Ned declared.

“Well, we’ll see in a few minutes,” observed Jerry.

They motored on until they came to where a gateway at the roadside led
up to the group of buildings they had noticed, and then, in the glare
of their headlights they read over the arch:

    KENWELL MILITARY ACADEMY

For a moment no one spoke. Then Jerry burst out with:

“Well, what in the world is happening to us?”

“We’re jinxed!” cried Ned.

Bob said nothing.

“Why don’t you add to the general hilarity?” asked Jerry.

“Well, I--I’m--stumped!” murmured the stout lad.

“If that’s all you can think of to say you might better have kept
still,” laughed Ned. “We sure have been up against it to-day!”

“About as bad luck as we ever had,” admitted Jerry. “Still it might be
worse.”

“The worst is yet to come,” quoted Bob, with a laugh. They all joined
in, for, after all, there was a funny side to the whole thing.

“Did that sign where the red lantern was say the left road went to
Fordham?” asked Jerry.

“No, it didn’t say that,” admitted Ned. “But it didn’t say anything
about any other road. There wasn’t any choice.”

“Well, I’m going to get this straight now,” said Jerry, in a determined
tone. “I’m going up to that academy and get them to draw us a plan of
the right road to take. No more mistakes for me!”

“Here’s some one coming now,” remarked Bob. Into the glare of the
headlights came a man. He stepped to one side, to get out of the too
brilliant illumination.

“Excuse me, sir,” said Jerry, “but we are trying to find Boxwood Hall,
near Fordham. Can you direct us to it?”

“Boxwood Hall! Of course I can. I am an instructor there, but I have
had the misfortune to----”

Something in the voice caused the boys to give a simultaneous shout of:

“Professor Snodgrass! It’s Professor Snodgrass!”



CHAPTER IX

THE PROFESSOR’S SHOES


Ned, Bob and Jerry tumbled out of the automobile in such haste that it
might have been called a “dead heat,” to use a sporting term. They made
a rush for the little man standing at the side of the road near the
path of light from the automobile lamps.

“Professor Snodgrass!” cried Jerry.

“Is it really you?” demanded Ned.

“Our good luck has started!” was Bob’s contribution to the general fund.

As for the little man in the road, he did not seem to know what to do
or say.

“I beg your pardons, young gentlemen,” he said. “Are you students from
Boxwood Hall, or from the military academy here? I see you have a
machine, and if you are from Boxwood Hall I would ask that----”

“We’re not _from_ Boxwood, but we want to _go_ there!” cried Jerry.
“Don’t you know us, Professor Snodgrass? Take a look!”

He whirled the little man around into the light so he could look at
the three chums. Then a great change came over the professor’s face.

“Why--why--why, it’s the motor boys!” he cried. “Ned, Bob and Jerry!
Bless my soul! But I _am_ glad to see you! What are you doing here? I
thought you were coming to Boxwood Hall, and I find you at the gates of
the military academy.”

“It’s all a mistake, Professor! It’s all a mistake! It’s all wrong!”
laughed Jerry. “It’s too long a story to tell now, but we’ll give it to
you by degrees. We’ve been ever since the early morning traveling from
Cresville here, and more things have happened than you could shake a
stick at. But how comes it you are over here?”

“You may well ask that,” returned Professor Snodgrass. “I have had my
troubles too. I set off this afternoon to gather a few specimens of
_lepidoptera_----”

“Leopards!” exclaimed Bob. “I didn’t know there were any around here.
Did they break out of a circus?”

“Oh, my dear boy!” exclaimed Professor Snodgrass. “You must brush up
on your Greek if you are to be one of my pupils. _Lepidoptera_ is
formed of two Greek words, meaning a scale, or husk, and a wing, and by
_lepidoptera_ we mean butterflies and moths.”

“Now will you be good?” murmured Jerry.

“I had heard of a certain rather rare variety of moth which had been
seen in this vicinity,” went on the professor, “and though it was
rather late in the year to hope to get a specimen, I set off this
afternoon with my specimen box and net, having finished my class work.
I came over from Fordham to the town of Bundton by train. Bundton is
the nearest station to the military academy, and about fifteen miles
from Fordham.

“But though I tramped all over the fields, and even ventured into
a swamp, where this moth is said to be sometimes seen, I was
unsuccessful. Not a one did I see. And I stayed so late that I missed
the last train back to Fordham, since the summer schedule has been
withdrawn. So I started to walk, hoping I might find a garage on my way
where I could hire a car. I had no idea of meeting you boys, though
I remember now this is the day you said you would arrive. It is most
unfortunate!

“I mean it is unfortunate that I did not get the moth I was after, but
I am very glad I met you boys. If you will kindly take me into your car
I can put you on the shortest and most direct road to Fordham, which
I am as anxious to reach as are you, for I have some work to do in
preparation for to-morrow’s lessons.”

“Say! this is the best yet!” cried Bob. “To think of meeting you this
way! We’d about given up, and were going to ask the direction from
some one in Kenwell Academy. Sort of asking aid and comfort of the
enemy. I suppose they are the enemies of Boxwood Hall, when it comes to
sports; aren’t they, Professor?”

“Rivals, not enemies,” answered the little scientist. “Yes, they
play against our boys. I believe their football nine is to meet our
basketball eleven soon.”

The boys laughed.

“What is the matter?” asked the professor.

“Nothing,” answered Jerry. “How are you, anyhow, Professor Snodgrass?”

“My health has been excellent, thank you. I like it very much at
Boxwood, and I think you will also. I am very glad you came. And now, I
think, we had better start. I should have been back hours ago, but it
could not be helped. I had forgotten about the change in the trains,
and I counted on getting for the return trip one that I have often
taken.”

“What’s that you have in your hand, Professor?” asked Ned, observing
that the little scientist carried a pair of overshoes in one hand
in addition to his specimen box which was slung on a strap over his
shoulder, and his butterfly net, which he carried in the other hand.

“In my hand? Oh, my overshoes, of course. Why, how careless of me! And
my feet are soaking wet! I brought my rubbers with me in my specimen
box, thinking I might need them in the swamp. And it was very wet!

“I took them out, to put them on, and, just then, I saw what I thought
was a new kind of butterfly. I rushed for it, but it was only a leaf.”

“And you have been carrying your rubbers in your hand ever since?”
asked Bob.

“I--I fear I have,” answered the collector, looking down at his wet and
soggy shoes. “It is very careless of me. But I dare say they will dry
out on the ride to Boxwood Hall. How fortunate that I should have met
you!”

“Best piece of luck in the world!” cried Jerry. “Now, come on,
Professor, and we’ll make short work of the distance. Fifteen miles I
think you said it was to Fordham?”

“That is by railroad,” was the reply. “It’s a little longer by road, as
we have to skirt Lake Carmona. But if I know anything about you motor
boys I know you won’t be long.”

“Indeed not!” cried Ned.

“Do you think we’ll be too late for supper?” asked Bob, and neither of
his chums rebuked him.

“Well, I’m afraid it is a little late for the usual meal,” said the
professor. “But I can invite you into my own residence and we will dine
together. I shall like that above all things. Don’t worry about eating,
Bob.”

“I won’t now, Professor,” and the stout youth sighed in relief.

They went back to the automobile, the boys looking with some curiosity
at the lighted buildings of the military academy.

“That’s some place!” exclaimed Ned.

“Yes, it is considered a very good school,” the professor said, “but
they are absolutely _nil_ when it comes to zoology. They do not
give half the proper attention to it. At Boxwood Hall it is made a
specialty, though I have also to lecture on other subjects. And now
boys, tell me all about yourselves and your adventures.”

“First take off your wet shoes,” directed Jerry, as Professor Snodgrass
entered the tonneau of the automobile. “You can wrap your feet in some
blankets. It’s quite chilly to-night.”

“Thank you,” answered the professor. “I might, that is very true. I
will do as you say.”

He removed his sodden foot gear and then, as Jerry turned the
automobile around, and set off on the road, directed by the professor,
the boys took turns in telling of the happenings of the day, which were
many and varied.

On his side, Professor Snodgrass mentioned many points about Boxwood
Hall, and answered, as best he could, questions regarding the nine, the
eleven, the basket ball five and other lines of sport, for which the
college was noted.

“What sort of fellows shall we meet?” Ned demanded.

“Oh, a very fine class,” the professor replied. “We have many sons
of wealthy parents here, as well as others, less well off in worldly
goods, but who are fine students. You’ll like it here.”

“I’m sure we shall!” exclaimed Jerry, and his chums murmured their
assent.

The boys could gather little idea of the nature of the country round
Boxwood Hall, as the darkness had fallen. But Professor Snodgrass knew
the roads well, as he said. All summer he had tramped them in search of
butterflies and moths, which was his latest “fad,” if what to him was a
serious matter may be so termed.

“Here we are!” exclaimed the little scientist, as he told Ned to make a
certain turn. “Up this road, and then to the left, and you’ll be near
my house. I have a whole cottage to myself, and a most excellent cook.”

“Good!” murmured Bob.

“So you had better come in to supper with me,” went on the professor.
“Afterward, I will take you in and introduce you to Dr. Cole, and Mr.
Wallace Thornton, the proctor, with whom you will register. Then you
will be shown to your rooms, and can meet some of the boys.”

“Maybe we’d better put that off until morning,” suggested Jerry.

“Just as you like,” agreed the scientist.

As the automobile rolled on the three chums had a glimpse of many
buildings scattered over the green campus, which sloped down to the
shores of Lake Carmona. It was too dark for the boys to see much, but
what they had a glimpse of made them, more than ever, inclined to like
the place.

“It’s going to be great!” murmured Ned.

“That’s what!” agreed Bob.

“And when we get our motor boat here,” added Jerry, as he looked toward
the lake, “we will have _some_ times--believe me!”

“This is my residence,” put in the professor, indicating a small, red,
brick building covered with ivy, as the boys could see in the glare of
the automobile lamps. “Not all of the faculty have separate dwellings,
but my zoological collections are so large that I needed plenty of
room, so I was assigned to this house. It is very comfortable.”

“Where can we leave the auto?” asked Jerry.

“Oh, there is a garage on the premises, though I have no car. You may
keep yours there if you like.”

“Fine!” said Jerry.

For the time being they left the machine in the road, and proceeded up
the gravel walk. Jerry noticed that the professor seemed to be hobbling
in a peculiar manner.

“Did you hurt your feet in the swamp?” the tall lad asked.

“Hurt my feet? No, not that I know of. Ah--I see! Bless my soul! I’ve
forgotten to put on my shoes that I took off to dry. I was wondering
what hurt me.”

Jerry had hard work to keep from roaring with laughter. For the
professor, in his socks, was walking over the sharp gravel, carrying
his shoes and overshoes in one hand, and his butterfly net in the
other. His face was a picture as he looked down at his feet in the
illumination of the incandescent lamp on his front porch.

“Bless my soul!” he murmured again. “I am getting very forgetful, I’m
afraid.”

“He’s not getting it--he’s _got_ it!” murmured Bob.

“Come in, boys, come in!” went on the professor, as he stepped off the
gravel to the softer grass. “We’ll have a nice supper and a long talk.”

“Ah!” murmured Bob.

“It’s the supper he’s thinking of, not the talk,” said Ned to Jerry.



CHAPTER X

A COOL RECEPTION


Professor Snodgrass had said his was a roomy house, and so it was as
regards the house itself. But there was not much room in it, as the
boys soon saw, for even the hall was filled with boxes, cases and other
receptacles for holding what Ned, Bob and Jerry rightly guessed to be
specimens of bugs, butterflies and other objects dear to the heart of
the enthusiastic scientist.

“Make yourselves right at home, boys,” urged the professor, as they
went in. He put away his butterfly net and the specimen box he carried
over his shoulder, and then called:

“Mrs. Gilcuddy! Mrs. Gilcuddy!”

“Yes, yes! What is it?” asked a voice from the kitchen.

“We will have company to supper, Mrs. Gilcuddy,” went on the professor.
“Put on three extra plates.”

A pleasant-faced woman came into the dining room.

“And you might take these,” the professor went on, holding out his wet
shoes to her. “They’ll need drying.”

“Oh, if you haven’t been and done it again!” she cried, raising her
hands in dismay. “You’ll catch cold, Professor.”

“Oh, I think not,” he said mildly. “These young gentlemen, friends of
mine, made me take off my shoes and wrap my feet in a blanket. They are
really quite warm now. Sit down, boys. Mrs. Gilcuddy will soon have
supper ready. Sit down.”

“I’d like to know where they’re going to sit!” exclaimed the
housekeeper. “Every chair in the place holds some of your specimens,
Mr. Snodgrass.”

“We’ll clear some of them away,” offered Jerry. “We’ve been with the
professor before.”

He started to lift an accumulation of boxes off one of the chairs, but
the little scientist, dropping the shoes, which Mrs. Gilcuddy had not
taken, cried:

“Look out, Jerry! Handle that gently. That contains some of my choicest
specimens of _Argynnis atalantis_.”

“What’s that?” asked Jerry. “A new kind of fish?”

“It is the mountain silverspot butterfly,” the professor explained. “I
was all day getting two specimens. I wouldn’t lose them for the world.
Bring me my slippers, Mrs. Gilcuddy, and I’ll clear off the chairs
myself,” and this he did after some confusion.

“Well, boys, now you’re here, let me say how glad I am to see you all,”
said Professor Snodgrass, when the three chums had made themselves
ready for the supper which could be smelled cooking in the kitchen. “I
am very glad you came.”

“So are we,” echoed Bob, his eyes on the door leading to the kitchen.

During the meal there was much talk. The professor told what he had
been doing since he had last seen the boys; while, on their part, they
related their experiences and the doings which had led to their being
sent to Boxwood Hall.

“You’ll like it here,” declared the scientist. “We have some of the
most scholarly minds of the country at this college. You will gain
knowledge that will be of unsurpassed value to you.”

“That’s all very well,” replied Ned, “but we came here to have a little
fun, too, Professor. Are there any lively students here?”

“Why, yes, I believe so,” was the answer, given somewhat doubtfully
though. “Some were too lively, I believe, for we had a faculty meeting
yesterday to decide what had best be done about some of the young
gentlemen who screwed shut the door of one of the instructor’s rooms so
he could not get out in time to attend his classes.”

“That sounds encouraging.”

“That’s right,” echoed Ned.

“And speaking of lively students,” put in Mrs. Gilcuddy, who seemed
to be more than an ordinary servant, “you might mention, Professor,
that the boys put a cow up on your front porch where the poor creature
couldn’t get down until part of the railing was cut away.”

“Did they do that?” asked Jerry eagerly.

“I--I believe they did,” admitted the scientist.

“Better and better!” murmured Ned. “I can see we are going to like it
here. There are some live ones.”

“There’s one thing about it,” observed Bob in a low voice to his chums,
after the meal, while the professor had gone to put on a dry pair of
shoes, “she sure is some cook!”

“Who?” asked Jerry.

“The professor’s housekeeper, Mrs. Gilcuddy. I hope he invites us over
often, in case we don’t find the commons good.”

“Oh, I guess the college food will be all right,” said Ned.

At Boxwood Hall, as at other colleges, some of the students ate in
“commons,” or in the college dining rooms, the expense being added to
their tuition bills. Others preferred to board in private families,
while some formed “eating clubs.” Our friends had decided, for the time
being at least, to dine at the college table.

“Now, if you’ll come with me,” the professor said as he came down
stairs, “I’ll take you over to the proctor, Mr. Thornton, and introduce
you, so that you may register and be shown to your rooms. Are you
ready?”

“Yes, but--er--do you think you had better go that way?” asked Jerry,
smiling at the instructor.

“What way? Why, is anything wrong?”

The professor looked at his hands. He was carrying his collar and
necktie.

“Bless my soul!” he exclaimed. “I did forget to put them on; didn’t I?
I was wondering where I had put my specimen of _Neonympha eurytus_, or
little wood-satyr butterfly. I wanted to show it to Professor Axton. I
must have mislaid it. But never mind now. I’ll look for it later.”

He put on his collar and tie and accompanied the boys out of doors. The
clouds had somewhat cleared away now and the new moon illumined the
campus and silvered the surface of Lake Carmona. The boys looked about
them at the groups of college buildings.

“It is a dandy place!” murmured Jerry softly.

“It sure is,” agreed his chums.

The boys found Proctor Thornton to be a rather stern-looking gentleman,
who seemed to be on the alert and with an air as if he were constantly
saying, or thinking:

“Now it doesn’t make any difference how innocent you look, I know you
have either been up to some mischief or are going to make some. I won’t
accept any excuses. I know boys and you can’t deceive me.”

“But maybe he’s all right for all that,” said Bob to his chums, as they
came away after registering.

“He doesn’t _look_ very promising,” declared Ned.

“But I guess we can make out as well as the rest of the boys,” came
from Jerry.

Professor Snodgrass had left them in Mr. Thornton’s office, the
scientist stating he had some work to prepare for the morrow, and would
see the boys in the morning. The proctor had gone out to look for Mrs.
Eastman, who was the matron in charge of the dormitory where the boys
would sleep. Mr. Thornton wanted her to take Ned, Bob and Jerry to
their rooms, and the discussion about him took place during his absence.

“This way, if you please, young gentlemen,” he called a little later.
“You will be assigned to classes to-morrow.”

Mrs. Eastman proved to be a motherly-looking woman, and the boys took a
liking to her at once.

“New students, eh?” she remarked pleasantly.

“Just arrived, after an all day try at getting here,” said Jerry.

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “Have you had supper?”

They told her of the professor’s hospitality.

“Here are your rooms,” she informed them, as she stopped in a corridor
on the second floor. “You’ll find the rules on cards tacked to each
door. The rooms connect.”

“Say, these are all right!”

“Couldn’t be better!”

“We’ll have good times here all right!”

Thus exclaimed Ned, Bob and Jerry as they were ushered into their new
quarters. The rooms, though small, were tastefully furnished, and our
heroes had materials in their trunks to decorate them as college rooms
should be decorated, according to the accepted usage.

Mrs. Eastman had hurried away, after promising to have the boys’
baggage brought from their automobile by one of the porters, and while
waiting for their trunks the trio walked through the three connecting
rooms, making their selection. Jerry took the middle apartment, with
Bob on the left and Ned on the right.

As the porter left, having deposited the trunks, Jerry saw a door on
the opposite side of the corridor open, and a lad’s head was thrust
out. His room was well lighted, and two other students could be seen in
with him. He looked curiously across at the newcomers.

“Hello you over there!” he exclaimed. “What’re your names?”

Jerry informed him. There was a moment of silence, while the youth in
the door seemed to be reporting to his friends. Jerry heard the words
“motor boys.”

“Let’s go over and make friends with them,” suggested Ned. “They may be
sophomores, but I guess they won’t haze us the first night.”

“All right,” Jerry agreed, while Bob nodded his assent.

The head of the lad looking out from the room across the hall was drawn
in, and the door closed. Our heroes walked across the corridor, noting
that on the portal was a card bearing the names Frank Watson, Bart
Haley and William Hamilton. Jerry tapped on the door.

“Who’s there?”

“We just came in,” Jerry said. “We’re from across the hall. We were
speaking to you a moment ago. We’d like to have a talk.”

Sounds of whispering could be heard, and then the voice that had first
spoken said in no friendly tones:

“We’re too busy to talk now. You’ll have to wait. Come around some
other time.”

Our three heroes looked at one another.

“Well, if this isn’t a cool reception I’d like to know what is,” said
Ned in a low voice.



CHAPTER XI

THE PROFESSOR’S DILEMMA


Slowly Ned, Bob and Jerry returned to their rooms. They did not speak
for a moment, but sat down and looked at one another. Then Ned burst
out with:

“Well, what do you know about that?”

“I hope all the fellows at Boxwood won’t be like those in there,” added
Bob.

“I can’t understand it,” remarked Jerry. “We didn’t do or say anything
out of the way; did we?”

“I can’t see how we did,” returned Ned. “I guess they’re plain snobs,
that’s all, and the less we have to do with them the better.”

“They don’t seem to _want_ us to have anything to do with them,” came
from Bob.

“The idea of not even opening the door,” went on Jerry. “I should think
the older students ought to make the new ones feel at home.”

“Let’s go out for a walk,” proposed Bob. “It’s early yet and the rules
say we don’t have to be in until eleven,” and he glanced at the card
on the back of the door.

“Yes, let’s take a walk,” agreed Jerry. “We can fix up our rooms
to-morrow.”

They strolled across the campus, noting the various groups of college
buildings, where the other dormitories were located, the different
“schools” where various specialties were taught, the gymnasium, and the
president’s house, which was rather a pretentious one.

“Yes, it sure is a nice place--but I don’t like the only specimens of
students we’ve yet come in contact with,” remarked Ned.

“There’s the diamond over there,” said Bob, after a pause, as he
indicated the baseball field. “Let’s go and take a look at it.”

“The football gridiron would be more in keeping now,” suggested Jerry.

As they were walking along a path that led between two of the
buildings, a voice hailed them:

“Hello there, freshies! What do you mean by trespassing on the sophs’
walk. Get off there!”

The three chums stopped, and looked around. In the light of a lamp, one
of many that glowed on the college grounds, they saw a lad hastening
toward them.

“What’s the matter with you fellows?” he demanded. “Don’t you know no
freshies are allowed here?”

“No, we didn’t know it,” said Jerry. “We’ve just arrived, and we’re not
on to all the rules yet.”

“We tried to get some one to put us wise,” put in Ned, “but we got
snubbed for our pains.”

“Is that so?” asked the other, in some surprise. “That doesn’t sound
like the Boxwood Hall spirit.”

“It’s so all the same,” added Bob.

“Who was it?” asked the lad who had hailed the three.

Our heroes paused for a moment.

“Excuse me,” the other continued quickly. “I shouldn’t have asked you
that. But I’m telling you no freshmen are allowed on this walk. College
custom, you know.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” Jerry said, good-naturedly. “We’ll move on.”

“My name’s Newton,” said the lad who had made the objection. “Edward
Newton--but they all call me Ted. Shake!”

He extended his hand and while this form of welcome was being gone
through with Ned, Bob and Jerry introduced themselves.

“Oh, I know your names all right,” declared Ted. “We’ve heard about
you.”

“Nothing out of the way, I hope?” came from Bob.

“No,” was the rather hesitating answer. “You’ve been pretty well
discussed by a certain crowd on account of some of the things the
professor said you fellows had done. Did you really do all that?”

“We’d have to know what Professor Snodgrass said about us,” remarked
Jerry.

“I’ll tell you some time. But this is what I want to know. I’m captain
of the eleven, and I want to know if you play football?”

“We haven’t in some time,” admitted Ned.

Ted Newton shook his head.

“Then there’s no use putting you in at this stage,” he said. “I’m
sorry, too, for you look husky. I need some experienced players. I’ve
got enough candidates in the beginner’s class. Well, it can’t be
helped. You know here we let freshmen play on the varsity.”

“So we’ve heard,” replied Jerry.

“We play baseball,” said Bob.

“That’s out of my line,” Ted replied. “I play a little, but Frank
Watson is captain of the nine.”

“Frank Watson!” exclaimed Jerry. “He rooms across the hall from us in
Borton.”

“Then you have good rooms, for that dormitory is the newest and best at
Boxwood Hall.”

“What sort of fellow is this Watson?” asked Ned, who, in common with
his chums, had taken a sudden liking to genial Ted Newton. “The reason
I ask is,” went on Ned, “that a little while ago we went across to his
room to ask him to put us wise to the ropes, but he didn’t even open
his door. Told us to call later, though he, or some of the fellows with
him called to us when our trunks were being put in. What sort of boy is
he?”

“Well, he’s a queer sort of chap at times,” was the slow answer from
the football captain. “He’s quite an athlete, and a good baseball
player. Only he’s rather headstrong, and I’m not telling tales out of
school, for he admits it himself. Yes, Frank has a will of his own, and
it isn’t altogether his fault, either.”

“How’s that?” inquired Bob.

“Well, Frank’s father died when he was a small chap, and his mother
was too indulgent with him. I know his folks. His family and mine are
distantly related, and we come from the same town. Frank’s mother let
him have his own way too much, and as he got older and found out he
could have what he wanted by insisting on it, why he insisted, and it
wasn’t altogether good for him.

“He got into bad company and was on the road that doesn’t lead to any
particular good, though I won’t say that Frank was actually bad. Then
his mother married again, and it made all the difference in the world
to Frank.”

“How was that?” Jerry inquired.

“Well, Frank’s stepfather proved to be just the right kind of man to
take Frank in charge. And he did it, too, just in time. The best part
of it is that Frank really loves his new parent.

“When his stepfather saw which way Frank was drifting, he took him
away from his companions, and sent him here. It has been the making of
Frank, headstrong as he is. He’s getting some of it taken out of him
here, but he can stand the loss of more,” went on Ted. “He came here
as a freshman and was well hazed. Now he’s a soph, and he has a lot of
friends.”

“But is that any reason why he should turn the cold shoulder to us?”
asked Ned. “Just because we’re freshmen?”

“No,” admitted Ted slowly. “It isn’t. Frank ought to have had the
decency to put you wise to what you wanted to know, even if he didn’t
care to make friends.”

“Is there any reason why he shouldn’t care to make friends?” asked Bob.
“Not that we want to force ourselves on him,” he added.

“Well, I did hear a little talk about him and his crowd saying they
were afraid you fellows might come here with--well, if you’ll excuse me
for mentioning it--with swelled heads, is about the best way I can put
it.”

“Swelled heads!” cried Jerry. “What in the world have we to puff out
our chests over?”

“Well, it’s those things you did--having so many adventures you know.
Did you really go up in an airship and down in a submarine, the way
Professor Snodgrass tells?”

“Why, yes, we did,” said Ned. “But that’s nothing. Any one could have
done the same things we did.”

“Say, you sure have seen life!” exclaimed Ted admiringly. “But I guess
that’s all that ails Frank. He thought you might try to lord it over us
here, I guess.”

“He’s away off!” declared Jerry.

“I can see he is,” admitted Ted. “But, as I told you, Frank is
headstrong. Once he gets a notion it’s hard to get it out of him.”

“I don’t know that we shall take the trouble to make him change his
mind,” remarked Jerry. “If he wants to think that way about us, let
him. We can get along without him.”

“Sure you can!” agreed Ted. “Don’t let it worry you any. There are
plenty of other fellows in Boxwood Hall. Are you all settled?”

“No, we haven’t put up any of our stuff,” said Ned.

“Are you in our dormitory?” Bob inquired.

“No, I live at the Bull--that’s the junior frat house you know. Drop
over and see me some time.”

“We will,” promised the three, and then, as Ted hurried on, explaining
that he was due at a class meeting, Ned remarked:

“Well, _he’s_ some sort of a chap, _he_ is! I like _him_!”

“So do I!” added Bob.

“Quite a contrast to Frank Watson,” added Jerry.

After strolling about the college grounds a little longer our friends
went back to their rooms. The door of the apartment across the hall,
which had the three names on it, was closed, but from within came the
sounds of talk and laughter.

“They seem to be having a good time,” observed Bob, rather wistfully.

“Yes,” agreed Ned. “I meant to ask Newton about those other two--Bart
Haley and Will Hamilton. I wonder if they’re like Frank Watson?”

“Most likely,” argued Jerry. “They’re roommates all right, and they
must be congenial or they wouldn’t be together. Well, we don’t need to
worry.”

They sat down to talk matters over, but soon the talk was punctuated
with yawns, for the day had been a wearying one with the long
automobile trip.

“I vote for bed!” suddenly cried Jerry, and his motion was seconded
twice.

Coming out of their rooms the next morning to go to chapel, Ned, Bob
and Jerry saw Frank Watson and his two chums leaving their apartment
across the hall. Our three heroes bowed, having agreed to give the
others every chance to make advances. But only by the merest of cold
nods did Frank and his friends acknowledge the salute.

“I guess he doesn’t want to be friends,” said Jerry, a little later.
“Well, I guess we can make out all right without him.”

Being assigned to classes, making out their lecture schedules and
attending to other details, pretty well occupied the time of the three
chums until late afternoon. And then, having nothing else to do, they
walked down to the lake. Several of the students were out on it in
rowboats, and there was one motor craft.

“We’ll certainly have to send for the _Neboje_,” said Bob.

“That’s right,” agreed Jerry. “I’ll write to-day.”

“What do you say to a row,” asked Ned. “There’s a place where we can
hire a boat.”

A man had a concession from the college to let out boats, though many
of the students owned their own craft, and Ned, Bob and Jerry were
soon sculling over the lake. In one boat they saw Ted Newton and some
friends, and the football captain nodded in a friendly way.

“Football practice in an hour,” he called. “Come over and watch.”

“We will,” promised Jerry.

They rowed some distance down the lake and went ashore in a wooded
tract.

“I wish we’d bought some candy back there at the boathouse,” remarked
Bob.

“Oh, chew on some bark,” advised Jerry with a laugh.

The three boys strolled on through the woods, until, coming to a little
clearing, they heard cries.

“What’s that?” asked Ned.

“Sounds like some one shouting for help,” remarked Jerry.

“That’s what it is!” declared Bob. “It’s over this way. Come on!”

They ran in the direction of the sound, and a moment later came upon a
queer sight.

Professor Snodgrass was partly on one side and partly on the other of
a heavy barbed-wire fence. His clothing was caught in several places
on the sharp points, and it was he who was calling, while he waved his
butterfly net at the boys to attract their attention.

“Come and get me loose!” he cried.



CHAPTER XII

IN THE GYMNASIUM


Professor Snodgrass was so entangled between two strands of the barbed
wire that it took the united efforts of Ned, Bob and Jerry to extricate
him. Even then they did not do it without tearing his clothes.

“How did it happen, Professor?” asked Jerry. “Did a bull chase you?”

“No,” was the answer. “I was after a particularly choice specimen of
the _Vanessa milberti_, a butterfly the larva of which feeds upon the
nettle plant. I wished to make some experiments, and I needed this
butterfly. I have never seen it in this vicinity so late in the season.”

“Did you get it?” asked Bob.

“I am sorry to say I did not.”

“What happened?” Ned interrogated.

“The fence,” replied the professor rather grimly. “The butterfly, and
a beauty it was, was just beyond the fence. There was no time to climb
it, had I considered myself able to do so. I reached my arm, with the
net, through between two wires, and, just as I was going to make the
capture, my foot slipped and I came down on the barbs. Then, when
I tried to get up, those above me caught in my coat and I was held
there. The butterfly got away, and I was obliged to call for help. It
is fortunate you happened along, for few students come to these woods,
though there are several interesting plants and trees growing here,
that well repay study.”

“We only happened here by chance,” remarked Ned.

“Well, I am very glad you did,” replied the professor. “I am very sorry
to have lost that butterfly,” and he looked around in vain for the
beautiful creature, which is sometimes called Milbert’s tortoise shell.

“You ought to be sorry you tore your clothes,” observed Ned.

“Why, so I have!” the professor exclaimed, as though that had just
occurred to him. “Mrs. Gilcuddy will be sure to say something to me
about it too,” he added. “Well, it can’t be helped,” and he shrugged
his shoulders resignedly.

For a little while the professor roamed about in the little clearing,
looking in vain for more specimens of butterflies. He found none, but
he captured some bugs which he seemed to prize highly, though the boys
were not much interested.

“You’d better come back in our boat, Professor,” was Ned’s invitation.
“It’s a long walk back to the college around the shore.”

“Thank you, I shall be glad of the water trip. I can then pin up some
of these tears, perhaps, so Mrs. Gilcuddy will not notice them.”

And that is what Professor Snodgrass tried to do on the way back in the
boat. Using some of the pins which he carried with him to impale his
butterfly specimens on the stretching boards, as he sometimes did when
afield without waiting to get back to his laboratory, he endeavored to
so conceal the rents in his garments that the sharp-eyed, but lovable,
housekeeper would not notice them.

Ned, Bob and Jerry helped by turns, though it cannot be said that the
combined result was very satisfactory from a sartorial standpoint.

“You can’t notice them very much now; can you?” asked the professor,
turning slowly about on the dock so the boys could observe him.

“Well, a few show,” said Ned, truthfully enough.

“I--I think I’ll stay out until it gets dark,” said the little
scientist, who seemed to stand in some awe of his housekeeper. “Then
she won’t see them, and I can send the suit to the tailor in the
morning.”

“That might be a good idea,” agreed Jerry, trying not to laugh.

What the outcome of the professor’s accident was the boys did not
learn, as they plunged into a series of busy times that afternoon
and did not see the little scientist for several days except at the
lectures they had with him in one period.

“Let’s go and watch the football practice,” suggested Jerry after they
had left Mr. Snodgrass at the dock, repeating his determination to
stay out until darkness had fallen so he might escape the eyes of his
housekeeper.

“That’s a go,” agreed Bob. Ned nodded assent.

The varsity and the scrubs were hard at work on the gridiron when
the three chums reached the grounds. Ted Newton was working his men
strenuously, while the coaches were first begging the scrubs to hold
the varsity in order to develop a good offense, and alternating
that with fierce demands for the varsity to rip up the unfortunate
substitutes.

“I sort of wish I was in there,” remarked Jerry, as he saw the snappy
playing. “It’s great.”

“We can go in for it next year,” suggested Bob. “It’s better to start
on baseball in the spring and get worked up to football.”

“Look at that fellow go!” cried Ned, as one of the scrubs intercepted
a forward pass, and dashed down the line fifty yards for a touchdown
against the varsity.

“He is a good one,” commented Jerry. “Wonder what his name is.”

“That’s Chet Randell,” volunteered a lad standing near our three
friends. “He’ll make the varsity if he does that trick many times.”

“He deserves to,” said Ned.

“Randell,” murmured Bob. “Say, that’s the fellow who has the room next
to mine. I saw his name on the door.”

“Oh, are you fellows from Borton?” asked their informant, naming the
dormitory in which Ned, Bob and Jerry roomed.

“That’s us,” said Bob.

“Randell’s a beaut drop kicker,” went on the other, who said his name
was Tom Bacon. “Trouble is though, we’ve got too many kickers on the
varsity. We want more men who can hit the line, and Chet is a little
too light for that. But if he can smear up many of the varsity’s
forward passes that way he may make the team. Kenwell Military has the
forward pass down fine.”

“Do we play them?” asked Jerry.

“Yes, baseball and football,” answered Tom. “You’re the new fellows--the
motor boys--aren’t you?”

“Yes, but we don’t use that name much any more,” returned Bob.

“We’ve heard about you,” went on Tom, but he smiled and did not seem to
hold what Jerry and his chums had done against them, as Frank Watson
did.

When the practice ended and the team and scrubs came off the field
Bob found himself near the lad who had made the touchdown with the
intercepted forward pass.

“Excuse me,” began the stout lad, “but that was a beaut play of yours.”

“Glad you liked it,” was the cordial retort. “Oh, say, I guess I’ve
seen you before!” went on Chet. “You room next to me?” he questioned.

“Yes, and these are my friends. We only got here last night.”

“Glad to meet you,” said the player genially. “We’ve got a good crowd
in Borton, and we’ll have some swell times when we get going. A good
crowd, yes!”

“All but that Frank Watson and his bunch,” thought Bob.

They had a glimpse of Frank and his chums on the football field, but
were not near them.

“Can’t you drop in and see us this evening?” was Jerry’s invitation. “I
suppose we can do here what’s done at other colleges--sneak in a little
feed now and then?”

“Oh, yes, it can be did!” laughed Chet. “But Proc Thornton sure is
strict, and he turns up when least expected. But I’ll have to decline.
I’m on training table you know.”

“That’s so,” admitted Jerry. “I’d forgotten about that.”

“Come around to the gym to-night,” suggested the football player.
“We’re going to have a little practice at the dummy. You fellows look
as though you liked athletics.”

“We do,” admitted Bob. “We’ll be there.”

They had brought their gymnasium suits with them, as a certain amount
of physical culture was obligatory at Boxwood Hall; and that evening,
when they went to the gymnasium, Bob, Ned and Jerry were assigned to a
certain division, and after watching the football squad at work, they
went in for their turns.

The strenuous adventures our heroes had gone through with in the past
had given them good muscles and bodies particularly well adapted for
athletic work. They were not finished performers in gymnasium work,
though, as they very soon discovered, though they did not lack the
nerve, which is needed in many of the exhibitions on the parallel bars,
the rings, the rope, or the trapeze.

The instructor was showing the boys how to slide down a rope head first
without the use of the hands, by passing the cable between the thighs
and over the shoulder, under the chin.

“Now you try it,” said the instructor to Frank Watson, who was in the
class with our friends.

“I’d rather not,” said the headstrong youth. “I strained my leg a
little in the pole vault yesterday, and I don’t want to lame myself.”

“I’ll do it!” eagerly exclaimed Jerry, who was next to Frank in line,
though the latter had not even taken the trouble to bow, much less to
speak.

“Very well, Hopkins. Try what you can do.”

Jerry seemed to have caught the knack of it at once. He came down the
rope in fine style, and was complimented by the director.

“That’s what I like to see!” the coach exclaimed. “See if any of you
can equal that,” and he glanced in the direction of Frank.

“Trying to show off; aren’t you?” sneered Frank, as Jerry took his
place in line again. “I thought you fellows would be up to something
like that when I heard about you. We haven’t much use for such as you
motor boys at Boxwood Hall,” and his voice trailed off into a sneer.



CHAPTER XIII

THE BANG-UPS


Jerry shot a glance at the lad who seemed deliberately trying to
antagonize him. A hot reply was on the lips of the tall lad, but he
held it back.

“No, I’ll give him another chance,” thought Jerry. “There’s no use in
stirring up a row just because he wants to be nasty.”

Bob and Ned heard what Frank had said, but no one else appeared to have
caught the words, and Jerry’s two chums wondered why he did not retort
to the unnecessary and unfair remark. But Jerry explained later.

“Now then, young gentlemen, try the horse,” ordered the director. “It
will be good practice for you in football and baseball. Lively now!”

The “horse” is a leather-covered affair, resembling a horse in that it
has four legs but not otherwise. It is a sort of padded sawhorse more
than anything else.

By means of a handle, fixed in about the place where the saddle would
be on a real horse, the athlete jumps on, over and astride the horse.
This the boys in the Boxwood Hall gymnasium proceeded to do, lining up
and taking turns.

In this Frank showed considerable ability, while Jerry was not so good
at it, making, in fact, a rather awkward appearance. And when it came
Bob’s turn there was a real disaster, though a harmless one.

[Illustration: FRANK SHOWED CONSIDERABLE ABILITY.]

The stout lad made a rush for the horse, but missed getting hold of the
handle. He shot over the horse, slid on the smooth leather padding and
went down on the floor with a bang. He looked about him with such a
comical look on his face that the instructor and the other boys burst
into laughter.

“Well, Baker, you’re not training for clown-work in a circus,” remarked
the instructor. “Try it again.”

Bob joined in the laugh, and when he took his place in the line for
another attempt he heard Frank say sneeringly:

“Well, there are some things the fresh motor boys can’t do, it seems.”

“Oh, cut it out,” advised Bob with a forced grin. “We don’t claim to be
anything like what you seem to think we are.”

“Don’t get into a row,” advised Jerry in a low voice.

“If he insults me I--I’ll punch him!” declared Ned in a whisper.

“No you won’t,” contradicted Jerry.

“If he wants to--let him try it!” said Frank, quickly. “That’s a game I
like to play.”

“Silence over there!” called the director, sharply, while Ned and Frank
glared at one another.

Ned made no awkward breaks, so there was no excuse for Frank’s making
any of his slurring remarks, and the remainder of the gymnasium
practice went off without further incident.

“Say, I wonder what’s got into him?” asked Bob, as he and his chums
were proceeding toward the dormitory after the practice. “He seems just
to hate us--he and those fellows he goes with. I wonder why?”

“He hasn’t any real excuse,” said Jerry, “but I imagine it is just as
he says. Frank and his chums are afraid we’ll try to show off, because
Professor Snodgrass told them about our various adventures. I never
thought they’d be held against us.”

“Nor I,” added Ned. “But this Watson is going to make trouble, I can
see that. And the sooner the better.”

“Why?” asked Bob.

“To have it over with. We’ll have to fight him.”

“Oh, I guess not,” said Jerry. “We’ll try and not roil him.”

“But why should we go out of our way to take insults, just because
this fellow doesn’t like us?” asked Ned.

“Remember we’re freshmen,” said Bob.

“That’s all right. The other sophs don’t pick on us the way he and his
bunch do. I’m not going to stand it!”

“Go slow,” advised Jerry.

For a week or more after this there were no open clashes between Frank
and his cronies and our three chums. On occasions, as they passed in
the hall, Frank, Bart and Bill would laugh sneeringly or pass some
slurring remark, but that was the extent of it. On the other hand
Jerry, Bob and Ned made friends among the other lads in the various
classes.

And right here the point might be emphasized once more that at Boxwood
Hall there was not the sharp line drawn against freshmen in athletics
and other matters that there is in some of the other colleges.

It is true that the freshmen were hazed and not allowed to appear on
certain parts of the campus sacred to the sophomores, juniors and
seniors. And there were some strictly class societies in which the
membership was limited. But there were also secret organizations which
were made up indiscriminately of members of all four classes.

In athletics, as has been said, there was also no tight line drawn. In
big colleges, of course, freshmen are not eligible for the varsity,
but at Boxwood Hall, where there was a limited number of students, in
order to increase the available supply of players the freshmen were
drawn upon. Thus it was that the nine and eleven had freshmen on, as
well as sophomores, juniors and seniors. Nor were the freshmen obliged
to refrain from residence in dormitories where their “betters” were
housed, though there were some fraternity houses sacred to certain
classes alone.

Football practice went on, and the more our three friends watched it,
the more they wished they had made themselves fit to be candidates for
the eleven. But it was too late now.

“I’m going to get into it next season though!” declared Jerry, while
Ned and Bob echoed his words. “It’s great!”

This was on one of the occasions when Boxwood Hall played an old-time
rival and won in a hard-fought battle. Another time she was not so
successful, and lost to a college she had always beaten.

“But if we win from the military academy, I won’t have any regrets,”
declared Ted Newton. “That’s the bunch I want to beat!”

“You’re going to get yours all right to-night,” was the word passed to
Ned, Bob and Jerry one afternoon, following a lecture on zoology.

“Our what?” asked Ned.

“Hazing,” was the answer.

“Well, we’ll take all that’s coming,” said Bob. “We’ve got to expect
it, I suppose.”

“And you may get more than you expect,” the informer went on.

It was rather a rough hazing, for our heroes were hauled out of their
rooms by a crowd of the sophomores, headed by Frank Watson, and made
to do all sorts of ridiculous things, one of which was to stand in the
public square in Fordham and eat cream puffs and chocolate eclaires
with their hands tied behind their backs.

Then, in this state, with smeared faces, they were obliged to appear at
a moving picture show, marching up and down the aisles while the lights
were turned up.

As a climax they were ducked in the campus fountain basin and then
pelted with more or less over-ripe fruits and vegetables as they were
allowed to return to their rooms.

“Whew!” gasped Bob, “we are some sights.”

They were indeed, their suits being ruined. But they had taken the
precaution to wear old ones, thanks to the tip.

“Well, I’m glad it’s over,” remarked Jerry.

“Same here,” added Ned. “And when our boat comes we’ll have some good
times to make up for this hazing.”

The _Neboje_ arrived and was launched on Lake Carmona. The possession
of the motor boat brought new friends to our heroes, and they took many
of their college chums on short cruises, once remaining out all night
because of engine trouble when they reached the upper end of the lake.

Proctor Thornton had it in mind to punish severely the luckless ones,
but when Jerry explained matters, and when Professor Snodgrass had put
in a good word for the boys they were excused, but warned not to take
such chances again.

“Say, fellows, don’t you want to join the Bang-Ups?” asked George Fitch
one day of Ned, Bob and Jerry. This was when George had been taken out
for a motor boat ride.

“The Bang-Ups?” asked Ned. “Is that something good to eat?”

“It’s a secret fraternal society,” answered George, looking carefully
about to make sure he was not overheard. “It’s the most exclusive in
the college, but freshmen are eligible when voted in. I’ll propose you
if you like.”

“Sure, we’d like it!” declared Bob.

“There’s one thing, though,” went on George. “The initiation is a
pretty stiff one. Lots of the fellows get hurt--not badly, of course,
but some.”

“You can’t scare us that way,” laughed Jerry. “We’ve been in some
pretty tight places ourselves.”

“We’ll take a chance,” added Bob.

“Does Frank Watson and his crowd belong?” Ned demanded.

“Oh, yes,” was the reply.

“They’ll never vote to let us in.”

“It’ll take more than their votes to keep you out, though, as a rule,
the elections have been unanimous. But it takes ten black ballots to
turn a candidate down, and at best Frank and his crowd number nine.”

At the next meeting of the Bang-Ups the names of our friends were
proposed. And Frank Watson, Bart Haley, Bill Hamilton and several
others opposed them.

But George Fitch, Chet Randell, Lem Ferguson and, best of all, Ted
Newton, the football captain, championed the cause of our friends
to such advantage that they were elected, only seven votes against
them--not the necessary number.

“Of course, I’d like to have had it unanimous,” said George, in telling
Jerry about the matter afterward. “But don’t let that worry you, and
perhaps Frank will change his tactics toward you.”

“I don’t care much whether he does or not,” Jerry remarked. “I wish
there weren’t any feeling against us, especially as I know there is no
cause for it, but the Bang-Ups is worth getting into, even if we didn’t
make it unanimously.”

“Glad you think so,” remarked George. “And now comes the initiation.”



CHAPTER XIV

THE INITIATION


Made up, as it was, of members of all four classes in Boxwood Hall, the
Bang-Ups was the largest secret society in the institution. It had a
fraternity house of its own, not as elaborate as that of the Bull, the
junior society, nor as large as the Ivy Vine, the exclusive house of
the lordly senior society, but it was a very fine place for all that.

“I’m glad we’re going to be members,” said Jerry, talking over their
election as they strolled past the fraternity house one afternoon.

“So am I,” added Bob. “We’ll have a nice place to spend our evenings.”

“I’m glad, too,” remarked Ned, “even though Frank and his cronies
aren’t friendly with us.”

“I wonder what they’ll do at the initiation?” ventured Bob.

“Oh, don’t get nervous,” replied Jerry. “We’ll live through it.”

“Well, I wish it were over,” the stout lad went on.

“It will be, to-night,” said Ned.

Attendance at one of Professor Snodgrass’s lectures later that
afternoon brought the work of our three friends to a close for the day,
but when they were leaving the room the little scientist beckoned to
Jerry.

“Have you anything special to do from now until supper time?” he asked.

“No,” was the answer.

“Then could you take me in your auto to Fox Swamp, near the town of
Fairview? It is only about twenty miles, and if I know anything about
the speed of you boys you can easily do it.”

“Of course we’ll take you!” exclaimed Jerry. “Are you going after a
fox?”

“No, that is only a local name for a tract of land, which isn’t at
all swampy, though it used to be. One of my students, an enthusiastic
collector of butterflies, reported to me that he saw some _Vanessa
antiopa_, sometimes called the Mourning Cloak, or Camberwell Beauty,
over there the other day. They are the butterflies that have brown
wings, with spots of blue and an outer band of yellow, but there is a
rare variety in which the yellow band broadens out, and reaches almost
to the middle of the wings. Only two or three such sports, as they are
called, are known; but I hope I may find one. I have plenty of the
ordinary variety of this butterfly, but I would like to get a sport
or, as some collectors call them, ‘freaks’ or ‘aberrations.’”

“We’ll be glad to go with you,” Bob told him. “But I wouldn’t know one
butterfly from another.”

“You should take more interest in zoology,” chided Professor Snodgrass.
“Still I cannot complain of you boys, for you have often helped me to
get some very rare specimens.”

The automobile was brought out of the professor’s garage, where it was
kept, and in it the four were soon speeding toward Fairview. Fox Swamp
lay beyond the town, and on the way, after passing through the town,
stopping on Bob’s request for some ice cream, the boys saw a large
tract, with buildings which looked as though it might be a place where
fairs were held.

“That’s what it is,” Professor Snodgrass informed the boys. “There is
a big fair held there every year, generally toward the end of October.
This year, I understand, there is to be an exhibition of aeroplanes.”

“We’ll have to take that in,” declared Jerry.

“Here’s the place,” announced the scientist, as they passed along a
road, on either side of which was a patch of woodland. “Here is where I
hope to find one of the freak _Vanessa antiopa_.”

“We’ll come with you and help look for it, but you’ll have to tell us
what to look for,” suggested Jerry.

“Well, call to me whenever you see any kind of butterfly,” the
professor said, “and I can tell if it is one that I want.”

Leaving the automobile at the edge of the road, they went into the
swamp, though, as Professor Snodgrass had said, it was not at all wet.
They scattered, yet keeping within sight of one another, and then began
the search for the butterfly.

At first none was seen, though the professor managed to get a green bug
which he designated by some long Latin name, and said it was a great
find.

Then Bob, who had gone deeper into the woods than the others, suddenly
called:

“Here you are! Here, Professor! Here’s a butterfly with big yellow
bands on its wings!”

“Watch him! Don’t let him get away! I’ll be there in a minute!” eagerly
cried the little scientist.

“Shall I catch him under my hat?” asked Bob.

“No! Oh no! Never do that! You would crush the wings. I must get him in
the net. I’m coming!”

Professor Snodgrass ran toward Bob, who stood near a bush, intently
gazing at some object on it. With his long-handled net the professor
raced forward. And then something happened.

His foot slipped, the handle of the net caught on a tree branch, and
then went between his legs. The result may be imagined. The professor
fell down full length, and there was a cracking sound when the handle
of the net broke.

Ned and Jerry rushed forward to pick up the unfortunate little
scientist, and Bob also turned away from the bush to lend his aid. But
Professor Snodgrass saw Bob’s action, and raising himself to his knees,
he cried:

“Don’t move, Bob! Don’t stir! Don’t take your eyes off that butterfly.
It’s just what I’ve been seeking for many years. Watch him! I’m not
hurt. I can get up myself.”

This he did, springing to his feet with the nimbleness of a boy, and
without any aid from Ned or Jerry.

“Are you hurt?” asked the tall lad.

“Not a bit. The ground was soft.”

“Your net’s broken,” Ned informed him.

“That’s nothing!” cried Professor Snodgrass eagerly, as he again ran
forward. “It’s only the handle, and I can fit a new one on. It is long
enough as it is now. Is the Camberwell beauty there yet, Bob?”

“Yes, Professor, but I don’t call it much of a beauty. There it is--on
that branch,” and he pointed out some object to the scientist.

The latter made a quick movement with his net, and brought it back to
him with a sweeping motion. Then he eagerly peered within the folds of
the mesh. A disappointed look came over his face, and he sighed deeply.

“Isn’t that the kind you want?” asked Bob. “It’s yellow.”

“It’s only a yellow leaf,” said the professor, showing it in his hand.

“All that work for nothing!” cried Jerry. “Breaking the professor’s net
handle, tripping him up and all, for a yellow leaf. What’s the matter
with your eyes, Bob?”

“Why--er--it looked like a butterfly!” insisted the stout lad.

“Never mind,” said the professor soothingly. “You meant all right, and,
for the moment, I myself was deceived.”

Bob expressed his contrition, and redoubled his efforts to find what
the professor sought, but to no end. The _Vanessa antiopa_ seemed to
have deserted Fox Swamp.

“Ah, here’s a butterfly. Sure, this time!” cried Bob a little later.
“I’m not sure it’s the kind you want, but I know it isn’t a leaf,
Professor.”

The scientist hurried to the spot where Bob stood, and this time there
was no accident. But again came a look of disappointment to the face of
Professor Snodgrass.

“Isn’t that a butterfly?” asked Bob. “See, it’s moving away. Why don’t
you get it?” for the professor did not move his net.

“It’s a moth, not a butterfly,” said the scientist, “and I have enough
of that variety.”

“A moth!” exclaimed Ned. “It looked just like a butterfly.”

“Some moths are hard to distinguish from butterflies,” the professor
went on. “They are quite different in their habits, however.
Butterflies fly by day, and like the sunshine. Moths, on the other
hand, are night-flying insects, though there are exceptions to both
rules.”

“How can you tell a butterfly from a moth?” Jerry asked with interest.

“The best way, for an amateur, is to tell by the antennæ, or feelers.
In a butterfly the feelers are thread-like, and have a small knob, or
club, on the end, and naturalists give them the name _rhopalocera_,
formed of two Greek nouns, one meaning a ‘club’ and the other a ‘horn.’

“Moths have all sorts of antennæ, or feelers, and we naturalists
call them _heterocera_, which is made up of two Greek words, one
meaning ‘all sorts,’ and the other (keras) a horn, as in the case of
butterflies. So then we have these definitions: Moths are _lepidoptera_
having _all sorts_ of feelers, except those that are knob-shaped on
the end, while butterflies are _lepidoptera_ which have _only_ feelers
which end in knobs. Though in some tropical countries there are moths
with feelers just like those of a butterfly. But I forgot I was not in
the class room,” and Professor Snodgrass ended his little lecture.

“Go on, we like it!” exclaimed Ned, so while they were hunting for the
rare specimen of the butterfly, Mr. Snodgrass told the boys more about
the beautiful insects.

“I’ve a good notion to make a collection myself,” said Jerry.

“I wish you would,” returned the professor. “Though it is a little late
to start this season. Begin with me next spring.”

“I will,” declared the tall lad.

They had to give up the unavailing search and return to Boxwood Hall,
reaching there just in time for supper.

“Where have you fellows been?” demanded George Fitch. “Don’t you know
this is the night you are to be initiated into the Bang-Ups?”

“Sure we know it!” said Bob.

“I thought you had skipped out--afraid of the ordeal,” said Tom Bacon.

“Nothing like that,” came from Jerry, as he told the boys where they
had been.

“Got your nerve with you?” George demanded.

“Why?” inquired Ned.

“Oh, you’ll need it all right,” was the laughing response. “The word
has gone around and there’ll be a gladsome crowd to assist you through
the portals and into the inner sanctum.”

“Go as far as you like,” said Jerry, with a laugh. “I think they’re
trying to bluff us,” he confided later to Ned and Bob.

George Fitch escorted Ned, Bob and Jerry to the fraternity house of the
Bang-Ups. They were admitted to a room, beyond the door of which could
be heard talking and laughter.

“You’ll soon be one of us,” George said. “I’ll leave you now. Better
take off your clothes--that is, all except your underwear, and put on
these,” and he handed the boys bath robes. “There’s some rough work,
and there’s no use spoiling a good suit.”

“That’s right,” agreed Jerry, and they proceeded to invest themselves
in the robes.

“Well, I wonder what’s next,” remarked Ned, as they waited in the room
which George had left. “How long do we stay here?”

The question was answered a moment later, for the door opened, showing
nothing but a vast black expanse beyond. Then a figure, which seemed
to be a living skeleton, advanced. The three chums saw at once that
the effect was produced by a black cloak on which had been drawn the
outlines of a skeleton in phosphorous paint.

“Are ye the fearsome candidates?” asked the figure, in a deep voice.

“Candidates, but not fearsome,” answered Jerry.

“Silence!” came the sharp order. “Answer yea and nay, but no more.”

“Aye,” responded Jerry.

“Then follow me and we shall see if ye are able to stand the test of
fire, of water, and of death. If so be ye may prove worthy members
of our ancient and secret order. If not ye shall be cast into outer
darkness. Advance!”

The skeleton figure turned and walked into the black void. Ned, Bob and
Jerry followed, being able to see only a little way into the room by
the light in the one where they had donned the bath robes. But, even as
they turned, this light went out, and they were left in total darkness,
with only the phosphorus glow to guide them.

“Follow me!” came in solemn tones from the skeleton one.

The three walked onward, but there were obstructions in the way, and
though the glowing figure in front avoided them, our heroes were not so
fortunate. In turn Jerry, Ned and Bob stumbled over something and went
down heavily.

“Hang it all!” muttered Ned, rubbing his shins.

“Silence!” came the sharp command. “The path to the Olympian heights is
rough, but ye are not worthy if ye fall discouraged. Follow on!”

Those had been no gentle falls that had come to the three chums, but
with repressed groans over aching bones and skinned knuckles and knees
they went on. The glow in front of them was their only guide, and, for
all they really knew, the skeleton was their only companion in that
dark room. But Jerry fancied he could hear the breathing of many, and
did not doubt that the room was filled with students who were taking
part in the initiation.

“Be careful, we may fall again,” whispered Ned. He hoped his voice was
not heard, but the glowing figure again commanded:

“Silence!”

Hardly had he spoken than the three initiates, who were walking
together, arm in arm, suddenly became aware of a void beneath their
feet, and a moment later they felt themselves falling. Then they
plunged into a tank of icy water, sinking down until it closed over
their heads.



CHAPTER XV

CAUGHT


Ned, Bob and Jerry were each good swimmers, and instinctively they held
their breath as they fell into the water and struck out--but for where
they knew not, for all about them was still as black as night, and even
the phosphorous glow had vanished.

“Cæsar’s aunt!” spluttered Bob, when he could get his head above water.
“What happened?”

“It’s part of the initiation,” said Jerry.

“Say, but this water’s cold!” came from Ned shiveringly.

“Silence!” was shouted, and with the word the lights flashed up and
the boys found themselves in a tank, from which the water was rapidly
running, as they could see by the lowering level. They looked about
them. Standing up on the edge of the tank stood a figure in pure white,
with head and body covered with a long cloak.

“Come up from the tank and put on these,” the figure said, indicating
some dry underwear, towels and other robes on chairs at the edge of
the tank.

The lights went out for an instant, and when they went up again there
was no one in the room but the three chums, and the tank was almost
empty. They were standing on the bottom of it. They saw some steps
which led up out of the tank, and going up these they changed to dry
garments.

Once more the lights went out, and when they glowed again there stood a
figure in red.

“Ye are to be blindfolded, candidates,” came in deep tones, “and now
for the test by blood. Ye have well withstood the test by water. That
by fire is yet to come.”

Ned, Bob and Jerry allowed themselves to be blindfolded and were once
more led forward. They could tell that lights were glowing in the room
now, for faint gleams came under the blinding cloths. And there were
subdued whisperings, denoting that there were many in the apartment.

“Hold out your right arms,” came the command. The boys obeyed. They
could feel their sleeves being pulled up, and a moment later there was
a sharp pain. They could feel that their skin had been pricked, though
only enough to permit a drop of blood to flow.

“Ouch!” cried Bob involuntarily.

“Silence!” came the command. “And for that _you_ must be punctured
again.”

This time Bob grimly tightened his lips and said nothing.

The initiates suddenly felt a sensation as though a sharp knife had
been drawn across their arms, and a voice said:

“Hold a basin. They are flowing well.”

The three chums might have imagined that they really had been cut, but
they knew something of initiations, and they realized that a piece of
ice drawn over the skin may feel like a knife, while water dripping
into a basin has the same sound as blood. So they were not at all
alarmed.

“They are standing the blood-test well,” said a solemn voice. “And now
for the test by fire.”

“That may not be so nice,” mused Jerry. “I hope they don’t scorch us
too much.”

Blindfolded they were led onward. They could feel an increase of
temperature, and they heard the roaring of flames.

“Are the irons hot, Keeper of the Sacred Fire?” a voice asked.

“They are, Most Noble President.”

“’Tis well. Seal the candidates that we may always know them!”

For an instant Bob, Ned and Jerry shrank back as they felt hot irons
brought near their faces. There was a tingling sensation, and then a
burning and itching. Jerry knew what had happened.

A warm iron had been brought near them that they might feel the heat.
Then they were touched with a piece of ice, and some cow-itch rubbed on
them. Cow-itch is a powder which stings like nettles, and is painful
while it lasts. The more one rubs it the worse it burns.

“Keep your hands away from it,” advised Jerry in a low voice to his
chums.

“Silence!” came the command.

There was a pause, and then a voice went on:

“They have been tested by fire, by water and by blood. So far all is
well. Now for the merriment!”

Before the three candidates could move they were seized and their hands
bound behind them.

“Run the course!” came the command, and they were pushed forward. The
chums started off.

“Faster! Faster! Run, don’t crawl!” was shouted at them, and run they
did.

All sorts of things happened to them. They fell down, and got up. They
stumbled and were buffeted on all sides. Nor were the blows gentle,
some in fact being staggering ones.

That the buffetings were too rough was evidenced when one of the unseen
initiators called out sharply:

“Here, cut some of that out! We don’t want to lame ’em.”

“I’ll do as I please!” was the retort, and Jerry was sure the last
speaker was Frank Watson.

“He’s taking advantage of us now and making his blows as hard as
possible,” thought Jerry, “but we won’t squeal.”

Nor did he, while Bob and Ned also bore it all bravely.

The initiation, while rough, was not unduly so for a secret society,
and the three chums had been through worse experiences.

Finally, after they had rolled down some sort of inclined way
plentifully sprinkled with bumps, and had been tossed up in a blanket,
they were led together to some spot, and a voice said:

“’Tis well! Are ye now ready to subscribe to the sacred rolls, and
swear forever to hold inviolate the secret of our noble order of
Bang-Ups? Answer!”

“We are!” chorused Ned, Bob and Jerry.

“’Tis well. Loose their bonds and let them sign the sacred scrolls in
their own blood.”

The bonds were loosed, the cloths taken from their eyes, and the three
candidates found themselves in a big, brilliantly lighted room, while
about them stood their laughing fellow students.

That is, all were smiling save Frank Watson, Bart Haley and Bill
Hamilton, and they looked sneeringly at our heroes.

“Take the oath and sign in blood,” went on Harry French, a senior, who
was the president of the society.

A drastic oath was administered, and then pens were handed the three
chums, first having been dipped in some red fluid, whether blood or not
was not certain. Probably it was not.

“Well, how did you like it?” asked George Fitch, grinning as he came up
to shake hands with the initiates.

“Oh, it might have been worse,” said Jerry, philosophically.

“That ducking surprised me,” admitted Bob.

“It generally does,” chuckled the president. “But get on your clothes,
and we’ll have a little feed.”

A jolly time followed; jolly to Jerry and his chums from the fact that
Frank and his two particular cronies went away. Afterward our heroes
learned that the initiation had been made unusually severe, especially
the pummeling to which they were subjected by Frank, Bart and Bill.

“Oh, well, we stood it, so what’s the use of kicking?” remarked Jerry
resignedly.

Now full-fledged members of the Bang-Ups, a name which was well in
keeping with the initiatory process, Bob and his companions found that
they had many more friends, and they began to enjoy life more fully at
Boxwood Hall.

The football season was now in full swing, and several games had
been played. Our friends attended, and “rooted” to the best of their
ability.

On many occasions they invited their new friends to go out in their
automobile or in the motor boat, occasionally taking Professor
Snodgrass, who still kept up a search for bugs, though butterflies had
vanished until the spring.

“Do you know what I think we ought to do?” said Bob one day, as he
stretched out on a couch in Jerry’s room.

“I can pretty near guess,” ventured Ned, who was helping Jerry hang
up a set of boxing gloves in artistic fashion, over a pair of crossed
foils. “Hasn’t it something to do with eats, Bob?”

“Yes, but not for me alone, so don’t get fresh. But lots of the other
fellows have feeds in their rooms, even if it is against the rules, so
I don’t see why we can’t.”

“There’s no good reason,” admitted Jerry. “What are rules against eats
for if not to be broken? I’m in with you, Bob.”

“So am I,” agreed Ned. “We could have a swell feed here, as we can use
the three rooms as one.”

“Then let’s do it,” Jerry said. “We’ll leave it to Bob to buy the grub,
and we’ll all chip in. Go as far as you like, Chunky.”

“And we’ll ask some of the crowd in,” added Ned.

“Sure,” assented Jerry.

Now midnight lunches, or any other sort, in the students’ rooms were
strictly prohibited at Boxwood Hall, which made it all the more joyful
to elude “Thorny,” the proctor, and the other college officials, and
have them. Bob smuggled in the eatables, and the invitations were
given, and one evening several forms might have been observed quietly
making their way to Borton, and up to the rooms of Bob, Ned and Jerry.

There is no need to describe what took place. If a boy has never taken
part in one he has imagined them. There were sandwiches galore, pies,
cake, bottles of olives and various tinned dainties.

“Say, this is all to the mustard!” exclaimed Ted Newton, who had
accepted an invitation, in spite of his football training.

The feasting began. Keyholes had been stuffed with paper, the windows
had been darkened and every precaution taken. Nevertheless, just as the
feast was about over, there came a knock on the door.

Ned stood up to switch off the lights. But it was too late. A key
grated in the lock, the door was suddenly thrown open, and there stood
Proctor Thornton, a grim smile on his face.

“Well, young gentlemen, you seem to be having a good time,” he said.
“You will kindly give me your names and go to your own rooms. Hopkins,
Baker, Slade--report to me to-morrow morning, and we will visit Dr.
Cole together!”



CHAPTER XVI

A COLLISION


Astonishment and chagrin were plainly written on the faces of the
midnight revelers. The proctor stood looking at them with a mocking
smile. It had been some time since he had made such a “haul” as
this--captured so many violaters at once.

For themselves the boys said nothing. There was nothing they could say.
They had been “caught with the goods,” and there had been so little
warning that none of the food could be slid under beds or desks--gotten
out of the way in the fashion best adapted to the circumstances.

“Remember, Slade, Baker, Hopkins--report to me directly after chapel in
the morning,” the proctor went on. “I have the names of the others, and
their cases will be considered separately. Leave now!”

Ingloriously the guests slunk away, the proctor watching them go. Then,
with a curt nod to Bob, Ned and Jerry, he left them to clear away the
remains of the feast--though there was not much uneaten, as may well be
imagined.

As the echoes of the proctor’s feet died away down the corridor, Jerry
shut the door and turned to face his companions.

“Well, what do you think of that?” he asked.

“I think mighty little of it,” Ned remarked, sarcastically. “Mighty
little.”

“How’d he get in on us so quickly?” Bob demanded, as he stood with
spoon in hand over the chafing dish containing the second smoking Welsh
rarebit, almost ready to be spread on the toast. “Wasn’t the door
locked?”

“Sure it was!” Jerry answered. “But he opened it with a key as soon as
he knocked. Only for that we might have had time to get the lights out
and some of the stuff hid.”

“That’s right,” agreed Ned. “It was tough luck, all right.”

Puzzling over how their natural enemy had thus been able to steal
such a silent march upon them, wondering what the outcome would be,
and not a little abashed at the inglorious outcome of their first
entertainment, the three boys cleared away the remains of the feast and
tumbled into bed.

But with all their troubles their sleep was not interfered with, and
they awoke as usual in the morning with just a few minutes left in
which to slip, somehow, into their clothes and rush to chapel, getting
in with a number of other latecomers, just as the doors were closing.

It is to be feared that the minds of Bob, Ned and Jerry were very
little on the devotional exercises and singing, this state of feeling
being shared by the other culprits, who did not have a very pleasant
prospect before them.

“Wonder what proxy will do to us,” mused Bob, as, with his two chums,
he walked toward the office of the proctor.

“He’s pretty fierce, I hear,” remarked Ned.

“I like the looks of him,” declared Jerry. “He’s got a good eye, and he
must remember that he was young once himself.”

“It doesn’t take some of ’em long to forget it,” said Bob. “Well, I
guess we can take our medicine.”

The proctor received them gravely, grimly and with a half smile at
their predicament. Beyond a cool “good-morning!” he said nothing as he
accompanied them to the office of Dr. Cole, a white-haired, scholarly
looking gentleman, the ideal college president.

Jerry fancied there was a commiserating look on Dr. Cole’s face as he
glanced at the boys. He must have known what they were there for, and
if he did not the proctor was not slow in giving the information.

“Hum, yes. More midnight lunches, eh?” said Dr. Cole musingly. “Yes,
you are right, Mr. Thornton, the practice must be stopped. I am sorry,
young gentlemen, but you know the rules. You will be deprived of
liberty for a week, and do the usual number of extra lines of Virgil.
And don’t let it happen again.”

Jerry fancied there was a smile under the beard of the president, but
perhaps he was mistaken.

Being deprived of liberty meant that the luckless ones would not be
allowed off the college grounds, not allowed to go to the village, to
go boating--in short to be prisoners of a sort. And the writing of the
extra Latin lessons was a task in itself. It was “stiff” punishment,
and the boys realized it. The proctor smiled grimly at them.

“What did you fellows get?” asked Bob of some of their guests, when
they were comparing notes later in the day.

“Just lines,” answered Chet Randell, meaning that they had only to
write out some extra Latin. The givers of the feast were thus punished
more than the guests, which perhaps was worked out on the theory that
those who provided the entertainment had put temptation in the way of
others.

“Say, I wonder how he happened to hear about what we were doing?” asked
Bob. “I’m sure no one saw me smuggle the eats in.”

“And we had everything dark,” added Ned.

“Oh, I guess Thorny has his own ways of finding out,” contributed
Jerry. “What gets me, though, is how he happened to have the key to my
room. I thought I had the only one there was, and it’s a patent lock.
An ordinary key wouldn’t open it. Did he ever do that before when he
busted up a spread--open the door and walk in?”

“I never heard of it,” said Newt Ackerson, a senior. “He always knocked
and demanded admission. Then there was time to slip the stuff away and
jump into bed.”

“I have an idea how he _might_ have got hold of a key,” said George
Fitch, “and also how he happened to know all about what was going on.”

“How?” inquired Jerry.

“Well, you know Frank Watson used to have the room where you are,
Jerry. He chummed with Bart Haley and they each had a key.”

“What’s that got to do with the proctor?” asked Jerry.

“Well, Frank doesn’t like you fellows any too well, though why I can’t
see for the love of sour apples. Anyhow, he’s got a grudge against you.
Now what was to hinder him from dropping a hint to the proctor that
there was something doing in your rooms last night? And, also, what was
to stop Frank from slipping the proc the extra key so he could get in
and catch you with the goods?”

Silence followed the pronouncement of this ingenious theory, and then
Ned burst out with:

“That’s it! That’s how it happened! The sneak!”

“Now go a bit easy,” advised Jerry. “I’d want pretty good proof before
I’d believe any fellow would squeal on another in that way--and slip a
key to the proctor.”

“Well, I believe Frank did it,” declared Ned.

“So do I,” concurred George. And while some expressed their belief to
that effect, others were doubtful. Ned, however, was firm in his belief
that Frank was guilty.

“And I’m going to tell him so to his face, and offer to punch it for
him,” he declared.

“Better be careful,” advised Jerry.

“So had he,” murmured Ned.

The more the three chums thought of what George had told them, the more
they became convinced (Jerry and Bob, for Ned was already satisfied)
that Frank must have reported them.

“It was a mean trick!” declared Ned. “Keeping us in bounds for a week!”
he continued.

“Well, a week will soon pass, and we did have a good feed,” returned
Bob philosophically.

The idea spread through the college, as such ideas will, that Frank was
the informer, and he did not take the trouble to deny it. The three
Cresville chums learned more about him than they had known before.
For one thing, they found out that Frank was studying zoology under
Professor Snodgrass, though the student confided to his friends that he
fairly hated the study.

“Then what makes him take it?” asked Jerry.

“Well, it seems his stepfather wanted him to. Frank is very fond of his
stepfather, and does everything he asks, even to that. He’s quite a
different boy since his mother married again. It was a good thing for
Frank.”

“Well, I’m glad he likes somebody, even if it’s a stepfather,” said Ned.

The punishment week passed, though it was the longest our three heroes
had ever known, and finally they were restored to liberty.

“And now for a trip on the lake!” exclaimed Ned. “We’ll make the old
_Neboje_ hum!”

“Let’s go down to Simpson’s and have a good feed!” proposed Bob.
“Thorny can’t molest us there.”

And once again Bob’s chums found no fault with his proposal to eat. The
boys hurried down to the boathouse, and soon had their craft out on the
sparkling lake, inviting a few of their friends to go with them.

Simpson’s was another boathouse some miles from the college, and a
recognized students’ rendezvous. Ned, Bob, Jerry and their guests found
several gay parties gathered at the resort, and one of the parties was
made up of Frank Watson, Bart Haley and Bill Hamilton.

“There’s the sneak now,” murmured Ned. “I’ve a good notion to tell him
what I think of him.”

“No, you won’t,” said Jerry calmly. “Don’t make a scene.”

As the _Neboje_ was approaching the college boathouse after the spread
Ned, who was steering, saw the _Avis_, which was Frank’s boat, also
heading toward the landing place.

“Look out you don’t run into him,” cautioned Jerry.

“It’s his place to look out,” returned Ned. “I’m on the right course.”

The motor boats came closer together, and it was seen that the _Avis_
was headed directly for the _Neboje_.

“Look out where you’re going!” cried Bob.

Frank, who was steering, gave no sign that he heard. He kept on his
course.

“Steer out, Ned,” ordered Jerry. “He’s too headstrong to give in.”

Ned was angry, but not foolish, and he swung the wheel over. But it was
too late. The _Avis_, which had not swerved, came swiftly on, and her
sharp bow struck the _Neboje_ squarely amidships, cutting a deep gash
and dangerously careening the craft of our heroes.



CHAPTER XVII

THE AEROPLANE


“Look out!” yelled Bob, though why, he could not have told. It was too
late for that advice.

“What do you mean--running us down?” fiercely demanded Ned.

The _Neboje_, after heeling well over, swung back, and slowly came to
an even keel, while the _Avis_, under a reversed engine, backed away.

“You did that on purpose!” cried Ned, shaking his fist at Frank, who
did not seem at all put out by the accident. “You don’t know any
more about steering a boat than a cow!” went on Ned. “You did this
deliberately, and you’ll pay for it, too.”

“You got in my way,” said Frank coolly. “You saw the course I was
steering. I had a right to it. You should have gone to port.”

“That’s how little you know about boating,” said Jerry as calmly as
he could under the circumstances. “It was you who should have steered
over.”

Frank did not reply to this, but again started his boat for the landing
place. Ned, who had shut off the engine when he saw that a collision
was inevitable, started it again, and went on to the place where the
_Neboje_ was usually moored.

“You’d better take some steering lessons,” shouted Ned after Frank.
“But then it’s what I’d expect of a fellow who would squeal on others
about a feed, and hand the proc the key to the room.”

“Who says I did that?” cried Frank, leaping out of his boat and running
to where Ned stood on the dock.

“I do!” answered Ned truculently, “and I’m ready to back it up!” He
began taking off his coat, an example followed by Frank.

“You can’t fight here,” said Ted Newton, stepping in between the angry
youths. “If you want to have it out, do it regularly.”

“Oh, I’ll do it!” cried Ned.

“And you’ll find me there!” added Frank with a sneer. “I’ll make you
take back what you said.”

“And I’ll make you pay for damaging our boat!” retorted Ned.

The details of the fight that followed in the secluded place appointed
by college custom for such affairs may be passed over. Suffice it to
say that Ned and Frank were evenly matched, and each received about the
same amount of punishment--black eyes being administered to both, with
various cuts and bruises.

And the fight did not settle either point. Ned refused to take back
what he had said to Frank about the key. Nor would Frank pay for the
damage to the _Neboje_, though the damage was not as great as had
originally been feared.

So matters stood about where they were at first, with this exception,
that there was more bad blood between our heroes and Frank and his
chums.

But in spite of this Ned, Bob and Jerry were finding life at Boxwood
Hall very much to their liking. It is true they had enemies,
principally those of Frank’s set, and they had rivals, as might be
expected. But they also made many friends. What boys would not who were
as manly and as jolly as the Cresville chums, and who had, moreover,
a fine car and a motor boat? The latter had been repaired and many a
jolly trip our friends had in her.

They also went on outings in the machine, Professor Snodgrass going
along occasionally, to look for late fall insects. One day the little
scientist, learning that Bob, Ned, Jerry and Tom Bacon were going in
the direction of Fox Swamp, mentioned the fact that he wanted to go
there also, to see if he could not find a certain species of very large
beetle, which, at this time of the year, burrowed into the ground,
there to remain until warm weather came again.

“Come along,” said Jerry, who was at the wheel; and they were soon
speeding in the direction of Fairview.

“This is some way to come to college!” exclaimed Tom, enthusiastically.
“A motor boat and a car would make college worth while to anyone.”

“And Boxwood Hall is a dandy place!” exclaimed Ned.

As they passed the fair grounds, scenes of activity were noted.

“Looks as though something was going on,” remarked Bob.

“There is,” said Tom. “The fair opens to-morrow, and there’s going to
be an aeroplane flight. I’m coming over.”

The other boys expressed their intention of doing the same. On their
arrival at the swamp Professor Snodgrass enlisted the aid of the lads
in looking for the large beetle.

“If you see some round holes in the ground, with a little heap of earth
on two sides of it, you may know the beetle is there,” he said.

“Why _two_ heaps of earth?” asked Ned. “There is only one when ants dig
out their chambers under ground.”

“That is one of the peculiarities of this beetle,” said the little
scientist, as he mentioned the Latin name. “It burrows into the ground,
and brings up the excavated earth, putting it in two almost exactly
even piles. Just why, we have never been able to learn.”

The boys scattered, to look for beetle holes, for they liked the
professor and were always glad to help him in his scientific work,
especially when it was of an odd turn, such as this.

“Here’s a hole--I’ve found one!” cried Ned, and Professor Snodgrass,
hurrying over, confirmed the discovery.

“The beetle is working down there now,” he said. “You can tell that by
the freshness of the piles of earth.” The boys saw that there were two
little earth-piles, just as the scientist had said. Professor Snodgrass
knelt down over the hole.

“What are you going to do?” Jerry asked.

“Get the beetle,” was the answer.

The professor inserted his two fingers in the opening, and began
feeling about. Suddenly a queer look came over his face, and he uttered
an exclamation.

“Did you get the beetle?” asked Bob.

“Er--yes, I--I think so,” was the hesitating answer. “Or perhaps it
would be more correct to say that the beetle has _me_. My! how he
pinches!”

The professor pulled up his fingers, and clinging to one of them was a
large, black beetle, which had drawn blood.

“Look at that, would you!” cried Bob. “I wouldn’t want one of them to
get on me.”

“They _have_ rather powerful mandibles,” admitted the professor. “If
one of you will hand me my cyanide bottle I’ll get rid of this fellow.”

Jerry handed over a large-mouthed bottle which the scientist had placed
with his specimen box a little distance from him. The bottom of the
flask was filled with plaster of Paris, in which was mixed cyanide
of potassium. This gives off a very poisonous gas. Insects dropped
into the bottle die painlessly. The professor held the beetle, still
clinging to his finger, down inside the bottle, and in a few seconds
the queer, burrowing insect dropped to the bottom of the bottle, which
the professor corked.

“A very successful capture,” he remarked. “Now for another.”

“Do you mean to say you are going to put your fingers down another hole
and run the chance of getting bitten?” asked Jerry.

“Oh, I don’t mind a little bite like this,” said Professor Snodgrass,
putting some peroxide on the punctures. “I must have another beetle.”

“And he got it, too!” said Jerry, telling about the incident afterward,
“or rather, the beetle got him again, on another finger.”

The professor was enthusiastic over his specimens, even though the
bites poisoned him so that his fingers swelled up, and he could not
write for a week. But he said it was worth all the pain.

“Well, shall we take in the fair?” asked Jerry of his chums the next
day after lunch.

“Sure thing!” cried Ned. “I want to see if they have anything new in
aeroplanes.”

“They’ll have to go some to beat the motor ship we had,” observed Bob.
“But we’ll have some fun, anyhow. Let’s make up a crowd and go in the
machine.”

This was agreed to, and with Tom Bacon, George Fitch, Ted Newton and
Chet Randell, the boys set off for Fairview that afternoon, “cutting”
some lectures in order to make the trip.

The fair grounds were a lively place, for tents and booths had been
put up over night, and, gaily decorated with flags and bunting, made a
pleasing picture that bright October day.

“There’s the aeroplane over there!” cried Ned, as they went to the
parking place with their automobile.

“Two of ’em!” added Bob. “They’re just the ordinary type, though.
Nothing like what we had.”

“Did you fellows really have an aeroplane?” asked Tom.

“Sure we did!” answered Jerry.

“These have self-starters,” remarked Ned, as he and the others
inspected the aeroplanes.

“And they carry double,” added Bob.

There was a big crowd around the air craft, for it had been announced
that a race was about to take place. Jerry and his chums saw Frank
Watson and his crowd near the biplanes, and Frank, looking at our
heroes, said sneeringly, and loudly enough to be heard by them:

“This is the kind of machine the motor boys said they had. Humph! I
don’t believe they’d dare go up in a balloon!”

“The cad!” muttered Ned. “I’ll show him!”

“Now quiet down,” ordered Jerry. “If you don’t----”

At that moment one of the aviators stepped forward and addressed the
throng.

“Is there any one here who has been up in an aeroplane, and who is
willing to go up again?” the man asked. “My partner has failed to
arrive, and we can’t have the race unless I take some one up with me.
Will any one volunteer?”

Ned Slade stepped forward.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE POSTPONED EXAMINATION


The aviator looked over the crowd, at first not appearing to have seen
Ned. Then the lad spoke.

“I’ll go up with you,” he said, “if you think I’m the right weight to
balance properly. If not my two friends here----” and he motioned to
Jerry and Bob.

“Do you know anything about aeroplanes?” asked the man.

“A little,” admitted Ned, modestly.

“Have you ever been up in one?”

“More than once.”

“It’s all a bluff!” sneered Frank from where he stood. “He daren’t go
up in that machine.”

“You--you----” began Ned angrily, and then his better sense made him
keep silent.

“I’ll take you up in a minute if you’ve had any experience at all, and
aren’t afraid,” said the aviator.

“Afraid!” laughed Ned. Then he mentioned some of the meets he and his
chums had attended and taken part in, winning some races. Bob and
Jerry confirmed this.

“Oh, if you were at _those_ meets you sure are an old hand at the
game!” said Mr. Perdy, the aviator. “I was at one myself, but I don’t
recall you. Yes indeed, Slade, I’ll take you up and glad to do it.
Without a partner I can’t pull off this race, as one of the conditions
is that each machine shall carry two persons. In fact, they won’t
balance well without a double load, though I have gone up with a bag of
sand.”

“Are you going high?” asked Ned. “Will I need a heavier coat?” for as
all know, it is very cold in the upper air currents.

“We’re not going high, not more than a mile or two,” was the reply.
“But I can get you my partner’s big ulster. I can’t imagine why he
isn’t on hand. His train must be late. However, you’ll do very nicely.
Do you know how to steer, and manage the engine--well, if anything
happens?” he asked in a low voice.

Ned nodded, and a helper ran off to get the overcoat and a cap for the
young aviator.

“I wish I’d volunteered,” said Bob.

“Same here,” murmured Jerry. “It would be like old times to be in the
clouds. Next year we’ll bring our aeroplane here.”

The other students, as well as the crowd in general, were looking
curiously at Ned.

“He sure has got nerve,” declared Ted Newton.

“He’ll back out at the last minute,” sneered Frank.

Ned heard but did not answer.

The two aviators who were to go up in the other machine had been
getting it ready. It was now wheeled to the starting line with the one
in which Ned and Mr. Perdy were to make the ascent. Ned got into the
big ulster and drew the cap down over his head. He took his place in
the seat beside Mr. Perdy and waved his hand to his chums.

“See you later, boys,” he called, as though starting off in an
automobile.

“He’s really going up!”

“Say, that’s nerve all right!”

“I didn’t think he’d do it!”

“I wonder what Frank Watson thinks now.”

These were some of the remarks from the crowd.

“So, it wasn’t a bluff after all; was it, Jerry?” asked Ted Newton.

“Of course not. I told you we’d gone up many times before. I’ll bring
our motor ship here next season, and prove that we have one.”

“That will be great! It’s almost as good as football.”

“All ready?” asked Mr. Perdy of Ned.

“Sure. Any time you are. Let her go!”

“I thought you said he’d back out, Frank,” observed Bart Haley to his
chum.

“Well, he may yet. I don’t count much on the spunk of those fellows who
call themselves motor boys,” and there was a sneer in Frank’s voice.

The other aviator and his partner announced that they were ready. They
took their places, and a moment later, when the judges gave the signal,
the switches of the self-starters were thrown over and with a rattle
and bang the motors began to revolve the propellers.

Rapidly the big wooden blades spun around until they had speed enough
to move the aeroplanes over the smooth ground. Then, like two big
birds, the craft left the earth together, sailing upward on a long
slant.

“Ever do the spiral?” yelled Mr. Perdy into Ned’s ear.

He nodded in affirmation.

“I’ll try it going up,” went on the aviator and he began climbing
toward the clouds in corkscrew fashion.

Down below the crowd was shouting and cheering, for some of them
had never seen an aeroplane before. But to many of the students of
Boxwood Hall the machines were not new, though to have one of their
fellow-members ascend in one was something out of the ordinary.

“I wish I had nerve enough to do that!” exclaimed Tom Bacon.

“Same here,” murmured Chet Randell. “It must be great.”

“I was a bit scared at first,” confessed Bob. “But I soon got used to
it.”

“And he had as good an appetite up in the air as he did on the ground!”
cried Jerry.

“Oh, quit!” begged the stout lad.

“Did you really eat on your aeroplane, Chunky?” asked George Fitch.

“Eat? Say, we couldn’t live on _air_ you know,” answered Chunky.

“Our biggest craft was a combined dirigible balloon and aeroplane,”
Jerry explained. “We went on long trips in it, and were off the earth
for days at a time.”

“Say, that sure was great!” cried Tom.

Meanwhile, all eyes were on the two aeroplanes, which were becoming
smaller and smaller the higher up they went towards the clouds.

“Well, he didn’t back out; did he?” asked some one of Frank.

“Oh, dry up!” was the snarled answer.

“He took to it like a duck to water,” observed Tom Bacon, speaking of
Ned. “I wonder if he’ll win the race.”

“He’s won ’em before,” put in Jerry, “but he’s not running the machine
now.”

The race was going on in the air, but as previous books concerning the
motor boys have so fully gone into the subject of aeronautics, the
details of the race will not be set down here, for it was an ordinary
one as compared to some in which Ned, Bob and Jerry had taken part.
Suffice it to say, that after circling around several times over the
fair grounds, keeping outside the pylons, as the upright posts marking
the course were called, the two air craft made ready for the finish.

So far, it had been a pretty even contest, but when the time came for
the last round and the descent, Mr. Perdy yelled to Ned:

“I’m going to try to beat him. I think I can strike a better current of
air down below, where there is less resistance.”

“Go ahead,” Ned assented.

Instantly the aeroplane shot downward, and then, checking it, the pilot
sent it forward. A glance upward showed that he had gained a little on
his rivals.

“Take the wheel and bring her down,” suggested Mr. Perdy; and Ned did,
the guiding apparatus being made so that it could be shifted from one
side to the other.

Swift as a bird Ned sent the craft downward. He was approaching the
finish line.

“We’re going to beat!” he told himself.

He was now near the earth, and to check his sudden descent he threw
up the rudder a little, to cause the down-shooting craft to rise. This
acted as a brake.

A moment later Ned let his craft down, and it ran along on the wheels
over the finish line, several lengths in advance of the other.

“Ned Slade wins!”

“Hurrah for him!”

“Hurrah for Boxwood Hall!”

“Ned did it!”

Of course Mr. Perdy would have won had he been steering, but he chose
to let the honor come to Ned, and the lad appreciated it.

“Great work, old man!”

“That was clever!”

“You sure have nerve!”

Thus cried Ned’s chums as they crowded around him, clapping him
on the back and seeking to shake hands. He was overwhelmed with
congratulations.

“That was fine!” said Mr. Perdy. “You sure do know aeroplanes! You’re
not open for an engagement, are you? I have several dates booked
for the South this winter, and if my partner isn’t going to attend
to business any better than he did to-day, I’d like to make some
arrangements with you.”

“Thank you, but I’m going to stay at Boxwood Hall,” answered Ned.

Jerry and Bob, joining Ned, looked over to where Frank Watson had been
standing. But he was gone.

“I guess he had enough,” observed Tom Bacon.

The other attractions at the fair did not interest the college lads
very much, and as there were to be no more flights that day the crowd
of boys, including our friends and those who had come in the automobile
with them, made their way back, stopping in Fordham at the “Band-Box”
for some soda-water and other like refreshments. Little else was talked
of but Ned’s flight.

“I never knew it could be so easy,” said Lem Ferguson.

“You’ve got to get used to it, of course,” Ned remarked. “Otherwise,
there’s nothing to it.”

“I guess Frank will keep his mouth closed after this,” observed Tom
Bacon.

“He doesn’t worry me,” announced Ned.

Cold weather was approaching. The mornings were chilly and the nights
chillier. It was November, and football had the call. The Boxwood Hall
team was doing well, and preparing for the annual contest with the
military academy.

“And we’re going to win, too!” declared Ted Newton.

“I hope so,” cried Jerry.

Bart Haley was one of the star halfbacks on the eleven, but there was
a danger that he would fall below the standard in studies, and not
be allowed by the faculty to take part in the annual Thanksgiving day
contest with Kenwell. This would be a big loss to Boxwood Hall.

As the time for the big contest approached, the standing of Bart became
so uncertain that his companions, and especially Ted Newton, were
worried.

“I can make it all right,” announced Bart one night to a group of boys,
our three heroes being among the crowd. “I can make it all right if I
don’t flunk in chemistry to-morrow.”

“Then you’re not going to flunk!” cried the football captain. “We’ll
coach you now, and coach you good and hard.”

Thereupon those who were well up in that subject began to try to
hammer into Bart’s brains the needful knowledge that would insure him
a passing mark in the chemistry tests which would take place the next
day. It was a rather important examination, and if Bart failed to make
the required average in it he would not be eligible for the eleven, and
could not play against Kenwell.

“And we need him,” said Ted.

But Bart’s worst study was chemistry. He simply could not remember the
different symbols, try as his friends did to drill them into his head.
They worked far into the night with him, but in the morning, Bart met
Jerry, with whom, of late, he had become much more friendly than was
Frank with any of our three heroes.

“It’s no use, Jerry,” said Bart, perhaps more chummy because of his
trouble than otherwise he would have been. “I know I’m going to flunk
in chemistry.”

“You mustn’t!” Jerry insisted.

“I can’t help it. I can’t tell now whether H₂SO₄ is oxylic acid
or oxygen.”

“It’s neither,” said the tall lad. “It’s sulphuric.”

Bart groaned.

“That’s the way it is,” he said.

“Look here!” cried Jerry, suddenly. “We want to win that game, and the
team depends on you. If the examination could be postponed you wouldn’t
have to take it until after Thanksgiving.”

“And then I wouldn’t care half as much if I flunked,” said Bart, “for
this is the last and most important game of the year. But they won’t
put off the exam.”

“Maybe they’ll have to,” said Jerry, mysteriously. “I might persuade
them.”

“How can you do it?”

“I’ll tell you,” and Jerry and Bart went off to a secluded place
together, much to the wonderment of Frank, who could not imagine why
his crony had suddenly become so chummy with one of the boys whom
Frank and his chums had voted to snub.

But if poverty makes strange bedfellows, the desire to win a football
game may make a fellow forget a contract he has entered into,
especially when such an agreement is not altogether in good taste.
Bart was beginning to like Jerry in spite of the efforts Frank made to
prevent this. And when Jerry made his proposition, Bart cried:

“Say, if you can do that I’ll be your friend for life! If we can
postpone the examination I’ll be all right, for I’m just at passing
mark now. But if I flunked in chemistry I wouldn’t be.”

“Leave it to me,” said Jerry. “What time is the exam?”

“Two this afternoon, and I’m going to spend every second from now to
then boning away.”

“You needn’t,” Jerry assured him. “There won’t be a chemistry test
to-day.”

And there was not. When the class assembled in the room to wait for
Professor Baldwin to come in to give the examination, they waited a
long time. No professor appeared, though usually he was very prompt.
Some of the boys looked wonderingly at one another, but they were on
an honor system, and had promised not to speak after entering the
examination room. They kept their word.

An hour passed, and no chemistry professor appeared to conduct the
test. As it was partly oral, his presence was needed.

Finally, Proctor Thornton, who made it his business to visit each
class room, some time during the progress of an examination, entered
the room. He looked in surprise at the seated students in the
semi-darkness, and he noted the absence of Professor Baldwin.

“Where is the dean?” asked the proctor.

“He hasn’t been here, sir,” answered Jake Porter.

“This is very strange. Wait here a moment, and I will inquire.”

The proctor was gone a short time, during which the hopes of Bart and
his friends rose high. There was hardly time for an examination now,
and to-morrow would be a holiday.

The proctor came back.

“I am very sorry, young gentlemen,” he said, “but Professor Baldwin is
not to be found. The examination is postponed. You may go.”

And not even the proctor’s presence could restrain the cheer that
echoed through the room.

“Hurrah, Bart!” cried his friends, as they hurried out. “You play
against Kenwell to-morrow.”

“I guess I do,” admitted Bart with a grin.

“But what happened to Baldy?” asked several.

Bart slowly winked his eye.

“Ask Jerry Hopkins,” he replied.



CHAPTER XIX

THE BOXWOOD PICTURE


But there was no need to ask Jerry what had happened to the chemistry
professor. Soon after the relieved youths poured out of the examination
room they observed, coming along the street and stopping in front of
the house of Professor Snodgrass, an automobile containing that little
scientist, Professor Baldwin and Jerry himself.

“Dear me!” exclaimed Professor Snodgrass, looking at his watch, “we
have been gone a long time. I had no idea it was so late, and I had
some research work I wanted to do.”

Something seemed to strike Professor Baldwin suddenly.

“Late!” he exclaimed, also looking at his watch. “So it is late. I
had--let me see--I had something special on for this afternoon. Where
is my memorandum book?”

He consulted it, and a look of consternation came over his face.

“Well, well!” he cried. “I was to have conducted a chemistry
examination this afternoon, but I forgot all about it. Pshaw! How
forgetful I am becoming! It is too late, now, though,” he added with a
sigh. “Too late!”

Jerry Hopkins smiled, and had it not been so near dusk Bart and some of
the others would have seen him winking at them.

“How ever did you manage it?” asked Bart, becoming exceedingly friendly
with Jerry all of a sudden. “Did you kidnap Baldy?”

“Well, you _might_ call it that,” admitted Jerry. “But he himself
helped some. This is the way it was. I knew you had to play on the
team, and you told me you would surely flunk in chemistry. So I argued
that the only way to do was to have the exam postponed.

“Now, if there is one professor here that is as absent-minded and
forgetful as Professor Snodgrass, it is the dean. And I happened to
know something else about them. They hold radically different views on
fossil shell formations. In fact, they come about as near to quarreling
on that subject as two such delightful old gentlemen ever do come. So
I knew if I could get them started on a discussion about fossils they
might keep it up and the dean forget all about the passage of time. I
also knew that I had to get the dean away from the college, or, even in
the midst of a hot discussion, something might break in on it to remind
him of the exam.

“Now I happened to know where there was a bed of fossils over near Fox
Swamp. So I got a few specimens, and took them to Professor Snodgrass,
pretending to be puzzled on a point concerning them. I mildly differed
with him in some of his statements, and said that Professor Baldwin
held different views, which, by the way, he did. He wouldn’t agree with
Professor Snodgrass in a thousand years, so I knew I was safe.

“I pretended to be very much interested and puzzled, and I suggested
that it would be a good thing if Professor Snodgrass and Professor
Baldwin would accompany me to Fox Swamp, where we could go into the
matter more thoroughly.”

Jerry paused to chuckle.

“Go on,” urged Bart. “What happened?”

“Well, they fell into the trap as easily as Chunky here can eat pie.
I brought around the machine, got them in and off we went for the
swamp. When I got them to the fossil bed, wild horses couldn’t have
pulled them away, for I’d unearthed some new specimens. And then the
fun began. The two professors went at each other with pet theories for
weapons, and pointed out minute indications in geology that I had never
dreamed of. I was completely out of it, so I wandered off in the woods
and waited for them to finish.

“I guess they would have been at it yet, only they dug up a queer kind
of rock that stumped them both to tell what it was, and they yelled for
me to hurry with them back to the college so they could look it up in
the dictionary--or whatever book they use for such things.

“And there you are, boys. We just got back, and it’s up to you chaps to
provide some amusement for me in return for listening to a lot of dry
rock-talk all afternoon, besides losing my fun.”

“Oh, we’ll take care of you all right!” laughed Bart. “That sure was
one dandy little trick! It worked like a charm. Shake!”

Bart and Jerry clasped hands in a most friendly fashion, to the no
small disgust of Frank.

“Great work, Jerry!”

“This will go down in college history!”

“The best ever!”

Thus Jerry’s chums congratulated him.

“Say, don’t let it get out--I mean my part in it!” begged Jerry. “I’d
be jugged if it were known.”

“Oh, we’ll keep it dark,” promised Bart. “The faculty will never know.”

It is hard to say whether this state of affairs existed long, but
one is inclined to think that some, at least the proctor, must have
suspected. But he could do nothing, for Professor Baldwin had remained
away of his own accord. And he was the dean.

“Say, why do you want to get so thick with that Jerry Hopkins?” asked
Frank of Bart that evening.

“Because he did me a big favor. I’d never have been able to play in the
game to-morrow if he hadn’t held that exam off the way he did.”

“Um,” was all Frank said.

That Thanksgiving Day game with Kenwell was a good one, though at
first, when the military lads rolled up two touchdowns and a goal
against Boxwood Hall, it looked black for the latter. And then Bart
cut loose, and in each of the second, third and fourth quarters made a
touchdown, while another was scored on a forward pass, and thus Boxwood
Hall humbled her ancient enemy.

“That’s the way!”

“Whoop her up!”

“We’ve beat ’em, boys!”

“Three cheers for Bart Haley!”

They were given riotously.

“Three cheers for Jerry Hopkins!”

There was no apparent reason why they should be given, for Jerry was
not on the team.

But they were given with resounding echoes, for the story of how Jerry
had saved Bart to the team was all over the school by then. Only one
lad refrained from joining in the cheers for Jerry, and he was Frank
Watson.

“Oh, forget your grouch,” suggested Bill Hamilton. “Jerry and his
chums aren’t such bad fellows, Frank.”

“I’ve got my own opinion,” was the answer of the headstrong lad.

There was a great celebration that night over the football victory, and
if there were midnight lunches, Proctor Thornton did not surprise any
of the feasters. Perhaps he purposely kept away.

Life went on at Boxwood Hall. It became too cold for motor boating, and
the _Neboje_ was hauled out, for the lake would soon be frozen over.
But the automobile was kept in use.

The Christmas holidays came, bringing a vacation which enabled the
motor boys to go home, where they had glorious times.

It was a week after their return to Boxwood Hall, and the new year’s
schedule of lessons was under way. President Cole, on the reassembling
of the college classes, had made a plea for harder mental work, and
most of the boys were buckling down to their lessons, at least for a
time.

Bob, Ned and Jerry were sitting in their rooms, or rather, in Jerry’s
room, one evening, studying. Finally Jerry flung his book away from
him, upsetting a tumbler of water over Bob, who yelled out:

“What does that mean?”

“It means I’ve just thought of something,” said Jerry.

“Well, I wish you’d keep such thoughts to yourself,” grumbled the stout
lad, as he sopped up the water.

“What’s the idea?” asked Ned.

“This,” replied Jerry. “Things have been too slow around here of late.
Everything has a flat taste. We are getting into a rut. No one has
brought a cow, or even a goat, into a class room.”

“I was a goat in French to-day,” declared Ned. “I couldn’t get a single
verb right. But go on.”

“Merely this,” said Jerry. “Let’s do something.”

“What?” asked Bob.

“You know the Boxwood picture that hangs in chapel; don’t you?”

“That big oil portrait of Ebenezer Boxwood, founder of the college?”
Ned inquired.

“Yes,” nodded Jerry. “That’s the sacred cow I refer to. Now what is the
reason we can’t take that picture and hang it where all who wish may
admire it? Say hoist it up on the flagpole, where it can be seen. It
hangs in such a dark corner in chapel that the full beauties of it are
not brought out. On the flagpole they could be seen.”

“You mean to hang the sacred Boxwood Hall picture on the pole?” asked
Ned.

“I do,” said Jerry.

“Who’ll do it?” asked Bob.

“We will,” said Jerry, calmly.



CHAPTER XX

“WHO TOLD?”


For a moment Bob and Ned gazed silently at their tall chum. Then they
spoke.

“Take the Boxwood picture?” gasped Ned.

“And put it on the flagpole?” added Bob.

“Why not?” asked Jerry. “Worse, or better, jokes, as you choose to call
them, have been perpetrated here. It beats taking a goat up to a class
room, or taking the knob off a prof’s door so he can’t get out to make
you flunk.”

“But it doesn’t beat taking two of the highbrows off and making them
forget to come back,” chuckled Ned.

“Maybe not,” admitted Jerry, with a smile. “That was some little trick,
if I do say it myself.”

“It sure was!” agreed Bob.

“But about this picture,” went on the tall lad. “Are you going to help
me get it, or not?”

“Just us three?” asked Ned.

“That’s enough,” said Jerry. “The more you have in a game like that,
the more danger there is in getting found out. We three can do it
alone.”

“All right,” said Bob, smiling. “I’m with you.”

“Same here,” added Ned. “But how are we going to do it?”

“Oh, I have it all planned,” Jerry told his chums. “We’ll wait until it
gets a little later, and then we’ll go into chapel by the little side
door near Martin’s house.” (Martin was the janitor who looked after
chapel.) “He hardly ever locks the door,” went on Jerry, “but if he
does I have some extra keys that I think will work. We can sneak in
there, take the picture off the wall, slip around back of the gym and
up to the flagpole. No one goes there at night. The flag will be down,
and the halyards will be in the little box on the pole. That isn’t
locked. All we’ll have to do will be to fasten the picture to the ropes
and hoist it up, fasten the ropes and get back to our own little beds.
Of course, we’re taking a chance in being out of the dormitory after
hours, but that’s done every night, and at worst it means only some
extra lines.”

“But if we’re caught out, and they find the picture up on the pole in
the morning, won’t they suspect us?” asked Ned.

“You don’t suppose we’ll be the _only_ ones out to-night; do you?”
asked Jerry. “They won’t suspect us any more than they will any one
else.”

“It’s taking a risk,” objected Bob.

“Of course it is!” admitted his tall chum. “What would be the fun if
there were no risk?”

“We shan’t damage the picture any; shall we?” Ned demanded.

“Not a scratch, if we can help it,” promised Jerry. “We’ll just hoist
it up and leave it where a good view can be had of it. Are you game?”

Again Bob and Ned said they were. They were mildly excited, too. As
Jerry had stated, matters had been a bit dull at Boxwood Hall of late.
Nothing of interest had been done, save that a few of the old-time
jokes--“standardized plays”--Jerry called them, had been executed. The
boys welcomed any sort of change.

Jerry went carefully over all the details with his chums.

“We’ll have to work quickly,” he told them. “And I’ll lay out the work
so each one of us will have just certain things to do. And do ’em
fast--that’s the word--fast!”

The boys waited until it was near the hour when lights must be
extinguished and every student, who had not permission to remain out,
must be in his room. Then, with a final word of instruction, Jerry
led his chums forth. As he left his room he took up a black robe they
sometimes used in the automobile when it was chilly.

“What’s that for?” asked Ned.

“To throw over the picture. The gold frame might shine when we passed
some lamp and give the game away. I’ll cover it with this robe.”

“Good idea,” said Bob.

Carefully and cautiously the three chums made their way to the chapel.
It stood well away from the other college buildings. The only structure
near it was the cottage of Martin, the janitor, an elderly man fond of
a pipe and a book after supper, so there was little danger of his being
abroad. At this hour it was dark and deserted.

“Got your keys?” whispered Bob.

“Yes,” answered Jerry, in the same low voice. “But maybe I won’t need
’em.”

As they neared the chapel, and swung around to the side where the door
leading to the vestry was, a black form rushed out of the bushes toward
them.

“What’s that?” exclaimed Ned, nervously.

“Martin’s dog. Keep still!” commanded Jerry. “Here, Jack, lie down! Go
back!” he ordered.

The dog, which had not barked, was a friend of every lad in the
college. He fawned upon the three plotters and then, satisfied that
they did not want to romp with him, Jack went back to his kennel.

“Got out of that easy,” commented Jerry.

Cautiously they ascended the steps and tried the door.

“Open,” announced Jerry. “I won’t have to use the keys. Come on in, and
don’t stumble over a chair or any of the kneeling benches.”

They entered the dark vestry and closed the door behind them.

“Bear cats and little kittens!” muttered Ned. “It’s as black as a
bottle of ink.”

“I’ve got a flashlight,” announced Jerry, producing a pocket electric
lamp. By its light the boys made their way out of the vestry, up on the
platform and over to where the picture hung.

“Got to have a ladder to reach it,” announced Bob.

“Put one of the big pulpit chairs on top of another and we can reach
it,” said Jerry. “I figured that out when I was here this morning.”

“Big head!” ejaculated Ned.

Jerry was right about the chairs, and on this rather shaky pyramid,
while Ned and Bob steadied it, Jerry reached up and lifted down the
picture, no easy task, for it was in a heavy gold frame.

The Boxwood picture was one of the treasures of the institution; not
because of its intrinsic worth, but because of the associations.

The Reverend Doctor Ebenezer Boxwood, to give him his proper title,
had founded the college as a religious school, and the chapel was one
of the first buildings erected. He had been a clergyman of great
scholarly attainments, and a natural instructor.

Gradually, like many others of its kind, Boxwood Hall broadened,
and became a college in which the divinity side was less and less
emphasized each year, though the institution still conferred the degree
of Doctor of Divinity upon those who wished it, and who passed the
necessary tests.

So it was that the faculty of the college revered the picture of the
founder, even though the boys did not. For, of course, none of the
present undergraduates had known the Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Boxwood.

“Now hustle!” advised Jerry, when the picture was safely down. “Put
back the chairs, and we’ll cut out of here.”

This was soon done, and, with the picture covered with the black
robe, the conspirators, first looking about to make sure they were
unobserved, sneaked out the side door, and made their way toward the
flagpole.

Here was where the greatest danger of detection lay, for they were out
in the open, and though the flagpole was not near any of the buildings
it was in a conspicuous place on the campus, and the boys might be
observed by some passing professor.

However, luck seemed to be with them, and they quickly made the flag
halyards fast to the picture and hoisted it up to the top of the pole,
making sure the fastenings were secure so the portrait would not fall.

[Illustration: THEY MADE THE FLAG HALYARDS FAST TO THE PICTURE AND
HOISTED IT UP.]

“Well, I guess that’s some nifty little trick,” chuckled Jerry, as they
hurried back to their rooms.

“It’ll make ’em sit up and have gravy on their eggs all right,” added
Ned.

Chuckling over the success of their plot, the three chums prepared to
go to bed, for it was a little past the hour for lights to be out, and
they did not want any suspicion to attach to them.

So sound and healthful was the sleep of Ned, Bob and Jerry that it
seemed but a few minutes from the time they crawled into their beds
until their alarm clocks rattled in the morning, and they sprang up.
For they “cut things pretty fine,” to quote Jerry, and only gave
themselves just enough time to jump into their clothes and run for
chapel.

As they scudded across the campus, arranging ties on the route, they
looked across to the flagpole, where they saw a group of students
gathered about, gazing up at the suspended portrait.

“It’s working!” chuckled Jerry.

The final bell rang, and the students about the pole rushed to chapel.

“Some little trick--that of yours!” exclaimed Tom Bacon, with a laugh.

There was no time for further talk as they had to go to their seats,
and there an air of subdued excitement testified to the success of the
trick.

The doors were closed, Dr. Cole arose as usual, but the usual
announcement, that of an invitation to all present to take part in the
morning prayer, was wanting.

“Young gentlemen, I regret to mention to you, what the most of you
probably know, that the portrait of our revered founder is not in its
usual place,” Dr. Cole said in his deep voice.

“And before we go on with the devotional exercises this morning I will
request Hopkins, Baker and Slade to proceed to the flagpole, where they
shamelessly hung the portrait, and bring it back!”

There was a gasp of astonishment, and the three chums looked guiltily
at one another.

“Go at once!” sternly ordered Dr. Cole.

Amid the smiles of their fellow students Jerry, Ned and Bob filed out
of chapel.

And when they reached the pole they saw a card tacked on it, just below
where the halyards were made fast, and the card read:

    “This picture was placed here by

                     “Jerry Hopkins,

                     “Ned Slade,

                     “Bob Baker.”



CHAPTER XXI

THE COASTING RACE


Astonishment, surprise, chagrin and anger are some of the words that
might be used to describe the feelings of Ned, Bob and Jerry as they
looked at the accusing card.

“Who put it there?”

“How did they find it out?”

“Somebody must have seen us!”

Thus spoke the three.

The card was typewritten, so there was no ready clue to its author.

“Which of the fellows have typewriting machines?” asked Ned.

“Oh, a dozen. You can’t tell that way,” answered Bob.

“I’m going to make a try,” declared Ned, vindictively. “I’ve heard that
each typewriting machine has some peculiarity, and I may be able to
trace this one.

“If I do find out the sneak who gave us away what I won’t do to him
won’t be worth doing,” Ned went on. “The idea of spoiling a perfectly
good joke this way! It’s a shame, and I’ll wager a lot it was that
Frank Watson!”

“There you go again!” cried Jerry. “Jumping at conclusions.”

“I’ll jump on his head if I get a chance,” muttered Ned.

Then they lowered the picture and carried it back to the chapel, amid
the grins of their companions and the stern looks of the members of
faculty. Such a sacrilege had rarely, if ever before, been committed.
Each professor seemed grave and angry, save Professor Snodgrass, and
he looked at the boys with sympathy. He would have helped them if he
could, but it was beyond his power.

“You may set the portrait down against the wall where it belongs,”
announced Dr. Cole. “I will have the janitor hang it later.”

In the prayer that followed, Dr. Cole made reference to the “misguided
and rash spirit of youth,” from which he asked that all might be
delivered.

“He means us!” whispered Bob.

“Shut up!” retorted Ned, fiercely. “Don’t I know it!”

It is feared that our heroes--shall I call them that now, I
wonder?--did not fully enter into the devotional spirit that morning.
Nor, for that matter, did many of the others.

When the chapel exercises were over, Dr. Cole again arose.

“Hopkins, Slade and Baker will be excused from classes to-day,” the
president announced, “and they will report at my office in half an
hour.”

He gave the signal of dismissal.

“Say, you fellows sure have nerve all right!” exclaimed George Fitch,
as a group of students gathered about Ned, Bob and Jerry when they came
out of chapel.

“That’s what!” added Tom Bacon.

“But why you wanted to give yourselves away is more than I can figure
out,” came from Harry French.

“Getting the picture was sure some nifty little stunt,” commented Chet
Randell, “but sticking that card on was only inviting trouble. Did you
think they wouldn’t believe it?”

“Say, when you fellows get through talking, I’ll have something to
say!” Ned broke in, rather sarcastically. “We did get the picture, I
may as well admit that, for I suppose we gave ourselves away in chapel
when Proxy made the crack. But we weren’t foolish enough to go and
advertise the fact. Some fellow squealed on us, just as some one did at
the time of our feed. And when I find out who it was I’m going to make
it so hot for him he’ll leave college.”

Frank Watson was passing at the time, but neither by look nor word did
he show that he was concerned, though Ned had gazed in his direction,
and had made his voice purposely loud.

“Do you mean him?” asked Newt Ackerson, nodding toward Frank.

“I’m not saying all I mean,” retorted Ned.

“No, you’d better not,” cautioned Jerry. “Never mind, we’ve got to take
our medicine.”

“More leave-stopping, I suppose,” groaned Bob.

“If you’re not suspended, you’ll be getting off lucky,” commented Ted
Newton.

While the other students hurried, more or less willingly, to their
different lectures and classrooms, Ned, Bob and Jerry strolled over
toward the office of the president.

They were admitted by Dr. Cole’s secretary, a young man studying for
the ministry, who ushered them into the office, and gave them chairs.
The three chums did not feel much like talking, so they sat in glum
silence, waiting for Dr. Cole to come in. They were beginning to think
their offence was graver than they had imagined it. Suspension had not
occurred to them. But, on the other hand, they had not figured on being
found out. Something was wrong.

“Frank might have heard us talking about it from his room,” said Ned in
a low voice. “His transom is right opposite yours, Jerry, and voices
carry easily in that corridor, I’ve noticed. It’s a regular sound-box.”

“I don’t know what to think,” Jerry said. “We’re found out, that’s
sure.”

“And I’ll find out who squealed,” declared Ned, taking the card out of
his pocket to gaze at it. Then Dr. Cole came in, and Ned quickly put
away the bit of evidence.

“Young gentlemen, before I say what I intend to, I wish to be perfectly
fair and just to you,” began the president. “Did you, or did you not
put the picture on the flagpole. Answer me on your honor as gentlemen
and students at Boxwood Hall.”

There was a moment of silence, and then Jerry spoke in a low voice.

“We did it, Dr. Cole,” he said.

“So I was informed.”

Ned just ached to ask who had been the informant, but he knew he did
not dare.

Dr. Cole seemed to be thinking deeply, and then he began to speak.

He gave the boys a straight-from-the-shoulder talk--a good, manly
lecture, in which he explained to them why he regarded their offense
seriously. They might have played other pranks that would not have
had such a possible effect as the irreparable damage of the founder’s
picture. If that had been torn it would have been a grave loss.

And from that Dr. Cole went into a general exposition of boyish pranks
in general. It was a talk along the same lines as had been given to the
boys by their parents before they were sent to Boxwood Hall. They were
reminded that they were now growing up, and should give some evidences
of it.

Ned, Bob and Jerry, rather angry at first that they had been caught,
and filled with perhaps righteous indignation against the informer,
began to see matters in a different light. They were rather ashamed of
themselves, and Jerry frankly admitted that the entire idea was his,
and that he had persuaded Bob and Ned to join him. In view of that fact
he asked that he alone be punished.

“No,” said Dr. Cole. “I can’t do that. But I will make yours the
heaviest, for I think you deserve it. You are older than your chums,
not much it is true, but a little, and they look to you as to a natural
leader. You should lead them along different lines.”

And then came the punishment. It was heavy, but justly so. There was
to be a period of confinement to the college grounds, longest in the
case of Jerry, and there was also prohibition to take part in any games
or amusements, or to attend their fraternity meetings for a certain
period.

“Whew!” exclaimed Ned as they emerged from the president’s office,
“that was bitter medicine all right.”

“Well, I guess we deserve it,” observed Jerry.

“But we _did_ stir things up,” Bob said, with a smile.

“Yes, we stirred up a hornet’s nest,” remarked Ned. “And I’d like to
get it around the ears of the fellow who told--Frank it was, to my way
of thinking.”

“You’ll have your own troubles proving it,” remarked Jerry.

The three chums spent a miserable time when they were on probation, so
to speak, unable to join in the fun the others had. And though the time
of Bob and Ned was up before that of Jerry, the two refused to accept
their restored privileges, and stuck to their chum, not going anywhere
he could not go.

Perhaps it was this that led Dr. Cole to shorten Jerry’s term of
punishment, for on the night following a big snow storm, when half the
college was out on the hill on big bobsleds, coasting, word was sent to
Jerry that he was given back his full privileges.

Just outside the college grounds was a long hill, most excellent for
coasting, and it was the custom at Boxwood Hall to have impromptu
bobsled races for class and school championships. Ned, Bob and Jerry
had bought a big bobsled from a former student, and they had done some
coasting earlier in the season.

“But this is the best yet!” cried Ned. “The hill is in prime shape.
We’ll get up a race.”

Laughing, shouting, calling to one another, the three chums, now
restored to full rights of collegeship, hastened out with their
companions to the coasting place.

It was a bright moonlight night, and many of the boys and girls from
Fordham were on the hill.

“Get up a party and we’ll see if we can’t have a race,” suggested Jerry
to his chums.

Getting up a party for the fine, big bobsled was easy. There were soon
more than enough to fill it. As the three chums were getting the sled
to the top of the hill ready for a start, Frank Watson came along
dragging his bobsled, which was slightly larger than that Jerry was
going to steer. Frank had his party made up, in it being Bart Haley and
Bill Hamilton.

“Want a race, Jerry?” asked Bart, good-naturedly.

Without thinking, for the minute, of the feeling against Frank, Jerry
answered:

“Yes!”

“Come on then!” cried Bart. “The losers buy the hot chocolates!”

Frank nodded his assent.



CHAPTER XXII

THE ICE BOAT


Fordham Hill was over a mile long, and it was so wide that several big
bobsleds could go down abreast. Thus a race could be going on, and
independent coasting could be indulged in at the same time.

“Let me steer, Jerry,” begged Ned, for the tall lad had taken his place
at the wheel.

“Why do you want to steer?”

“I want to beat that sneak, that’s why! He thinks he’s all there is,
with his bunch of girls from town. I’m going to beat him!”

“All right,” Jerry assented. “Only look out for yourself, that’s all.
I’ve heard of Frank’s bob. It’s a fast one, and he knows how to handle
it. Ours is a bit stiff.”

“Oh, I’ll beat him all right. You get the crowd aboard.”

It was perhaps but natural that Ned should wish to win against his
enemy, and Frank was Ned’s enemy rather than that of either Bob or
Jerry.

“Pile on! Get your places!” yelled Bart. “Here’s where we win the hot
chocolates!”

“Get ready, boys!” called Jerry, who went to the rear of the bobsled,
there to handle the brake lever. For the big bobsleds had brakes--a
sort of spike that dug down in the snow and retarded the progress of
the sled. Frank’s bobsled was similarly equipped, and Bill Hamilton was
to be the brakesman.

A number of girls from Fordham, whom Jerry, Ned and Bob had met at
dances, took their places on the sled of our heroes. There were about
the same number of boys as girls on Frank’s coaster also.

Several lads volunteered to push off, and for a time there was more
interest in the race than in the other coasting.

“All ready?” asked Bart of Jerry, from the rear where he sat.

“All ready,” Jerry answered.

“Push!” cried Bart.

“Push!” echoed Jerry.

The boys behind the two bobsleds exerted their strength, and the long
coasters, with their loads of laughing, shouting and merry boys and
girls, began to move slowly. Once over the crest of the hill they
gathered momentum, until they were shooting down the moonlit streak of
ice and snow at ever increasing speed.

In places water had been poured over the snow, and this in freezing had
added a glair that increased the speed of the sleds.

A coasting race is a peculiar one. Given two sleds of exactly the same
size, with equally polished runners, and with weights nearly the same,
start them at the same time, and one will get to the bottom of the hill
ahead of the other.

Try it again, and the results may be reversed. Just why this is so it
is hard to say, unless it is that the winning sled may, without the
knowledge of the rider, strike more slippery places than the other. Of
course, weight has something to do with it, once the sleds are started,
the more heavily laden one acquiring greater momentum. But sometimes
even that may not count.

The bobsled of our heroes and that of Frank Watson were about evenly
weighted, but, as Jerry had said, the steering gear of theirs was a
little stiff, while their rival had a new sled in excellent condition.

“But we’ll beat him,” said Ned to Bob, who sat behind him.

“I hope so,” agreed Chunky.

So far the sleds were on even terms, almost in a straight line with one
another. Then, as the slope of the hill became steeper, Frank gradually
forged ahead.

“He’s going to win,” said Bob.

“The race isn’t over yet,” muttered Ned, yet he was a bit doubtful now
as to the outcome.

“Come on there! Come on!” shouted those on Frank’s sled to those on the
other. “Come on, we’re leaving you behind!”

“We’re coming!” shrilly cried the girls on the second bobsled.

“We’ll tell them that when we reach the bottom of the hill,” answered
their rivals.

Farther and farther ahead forged Frank’s sled. It was half a length
in the lead now, and though Ned tried to pick out the smoothest and
slipperiest places, he could not gain anything.

Then, suddenly, without any apparent reason for it, unless it was that
it came to a glair in the ice, Frank’s bobsled shot swiftly ahead,
until, in a few seconds, it was leading by two lengths.

“Oh you hot chocolates!” taunted the leaders, laughingly.

And then, still apparently for no reason, Frank sent his sled, which
was on the right of Ned’s, diagonally across the course, in front of
the sled behind, a rather dangerous proceeding.

“What’s he doing that for?” cried Ned. “Brakes there, Jerry, or we’ll
run into him!”

Jerry jammed down the brakes, and only just in time, for their bobsled
seemed suddenly to acquire new speed, and it almost crashed into the
one ahead.

There was a scraping in the hard snow, which flew up in a shower
behind, and several of the girls screamed. Then Ned cried:

“All right! Off brakes! Now we’ll beat him!”

For Ned saw on the course Frank had chosen to abandon, a long stretch
of hard, icy snow, and he knew that his vehicle could acquire speed and
momentum over there.

In a moment he steered for it, so that the positions of the sleds were
reversed, Ned’s being on the right hand side going down.

On and on raced the sleds. That of the three chums was rapidly
overtaking the rival coaster.

“Frank thought he’d get on an icier place by cutting across that way,”
said Ned to Bob. “But he missed his guess. We’re going to win now.”

“I wish I could think so.”

“We are; you watch!”

And as Bob and the others behind him looked, they saw Ned skillfully
hold to the icy course. It gave them more speed, which seemed to be
constantly on the increase. They were now so close to Frank’s bob that
he dared not cut across again, had he so desired.

“Here we go!” cried Ned, as, having passed over a place where loose
snow retarded them a bit, they shot out on to a spot that was solid
ice. “Here’s where we win!”

And win they did. For a moment later the bottom of the slope was
reached with Ned’s bobsled well in advance, and as there was only a
straight course left on which to bring up, there was no chance for
Frank to acquire further speed.

“We win! We win!” cried the boys on Ned’s vehicle, as they got off when
the sled came to a stop. “We win!”

“Oh you hot chocolates!” shrilled the girls at their less lucky
companions.

“Does whipped cream go with it, Bart?” asked one of the winning girls.

“Well, seeing that you whipped us, so to speak, I guess it does,”
admitted Frank’s chum. The latter said nothing, but there was a glum
look on his face as he got up from the steering wheel. He was a poor
loser.

“As headstrong as ever,” thought Jerry. “I wish something would happen
to change him. If he keeps on holding a grudge against us this way we
won’t stand any chance on the baseball nine, for, as captain, Frank has
nearly all the say there.”

With shouts and laughter the victors chaffed the vanquished, and then
they made their way to the Band Box, the most popular confectionery
and ice cream store in Fordham, and there hot chocolates and cake were
provided by the losers for their more fortunate rivals.

It was a good-natured, jolly crowd, all save Frank, and he was
pleasant enough with every one but the three Cresville chums.

“Why don’t you fellows mix in with them a bit?” asked Jake Porter of
Frank, Bart and Bill a little later.

“Because I don’t want to,” said Frank. “We agreed that they’d try to
run things here, and they have. They’re too fresh. And you were one of
those, Jake, to agree to snub ’em. Now you’re sticking up for ’em.”

“I know; but I’ve found out they aren’t half bad. They’re real jolly.”

“I like Jerry all right,” confessed Bart. “He did me a good turn. Maybe
it’s time to make better friends with them, Frank.”

“Not for me! You fellows can do what you like!” exclaimed the
headstrong youth.

“Ned and Bob are all right, too,” said Bill Hamilton. “I was broke the
other day and Bob lent me some money.”

“And you took it?” asked Frank, sharply.

“Of course. Why not?”

“Why didn’t you come to me?”

“You weren’t around, and I wasn’t going to cut off my nose to spite my
face. I think maybe we made a mistake, Frank.”

“Well, I don’t. I’ll not make friends with ’em!”

The coasting was over, and as the boys returned to college with their
sled, Jerry remarked:

“Well, you did beat him, Ned. It was a clever piece of work.”

“I’d like to beat him more ways than one, the cad!”

“You’ll never get anywhere feeling that way about Frank.”

“I don’t want to get anywhere with _him_. I want to be in a position to
prove he gave away the picture game and then I’ll go for him.”

There came a thaw. The snow disappeared, and there followed a period of
warmer weather and rain. Then it became cold again, so cold that Lake
Carmona was frozen over solidly, and there was the best skating that
had been enjoyed in years, so some of the older students declared.

Ned, Bob and Jerry were on the ice one afternoon enjoying the sport,
when Jerry, who had been quiet for some time, burst out with:

“I think I’ll do it if you fellows will go in with me.”

“What’s he talking about now?” asked Bob.

“Oh, this is all right,” Jerry went on. “I was thinking aloud, I guess.
I heard of a fellow who has an ice-boat for sale up the lake. What do
you say to our buying it, or hiring it, and having some fun? It’s lots
of sport.”

“Let’s go and see the ice-boat first,” suggested Ned practically.

“Come on,” cried Jerry.



CHAPTER XXIII

SPRING PRACTICE


“Well, what do you think of her?”

Jerry asked the question of his two chums a little later as they stood
looking at the odd craft.

“She’s big enough,” commented Ned, gazing up at the tall mast.

“Can she go?” asked Bob.

“You ought to see her! She’s won more races than any boat of her class
on this lake,” said the owner, a Mr. Brown, who was going to move away
and wanted to sell the craft.

“May we give it a trial?” asked Jerry.

“Certainly. I’ll take you out in it to-morrow and show you how to run
it.”

“I’ll be glad of that,” Jerry said. “I’ve handled one a few times, but
I’m not an expert.”

Satisfactory terms for the purchase of the _Petrel_ were made should
she prove satisfactory on trial, and the next day Ned, Bob and Jerry
went to Mr. Brown’s place. There was a good wind blowing, not enough,
the owner of the _Petrel_ explained, to get any real speed out of her,
but enough to show of what she was capable.

“And if I’m going to learn I’d rather do it in a wind that isn’t a
gale,” Jerry remarked.

The ice-boat had a sort of open cockpit, in which five or six might
sit, or sprawl over the side if necessary, when it was desired to keep
the weight well out on one runner, to prevent the boat from capsizing.

“Say, this is great!” cried Bob, as they went skimming over the ice.

“Do you like it?” asked Jerry.

“I sure do!”

“I’m in for it, too,” added Ned. “Show me how to steer and manage the
sail.”

Mr. Brown proved to be an adept instructor, and the boys soon caught on
to the knack of handling the swift craft, though they needed practice.

“Here comes the _Jack Frost_,” said Mr. Brown, nodding toward another
ice-boat down the lake. “We’ll have a little race with her. Mr. Carson
owns her, and he beat me the last time, though I think I can win now,
for my boat is better in a light wind than his.”

A friendly challenge was at once accepted by Mr. Carson, and the two
graceful craft lined up for a race. They were on a part of the lake
where there were no skaters and no other boats.

Then came a pretty exhibition. Even at first with her rival, the
_Petrel_ soon forged ahead, and then Mr. Brown let the boys take turns
at the tiller.

They did well, too, and at the finish line the _Petrel_ was several
lengths in advance.

“Well, you had the edge on me this time!” called Mr. Carson
good-naturedly, as he came up in the wind. “But I’ll beat you next.”

“We’ll take you up!” called Jerry. “It’s going to be our boat from now
on.”

“Then you’ll take her?” asked Mr. Brown.

“Sure!” Jerry answered, his chums echoing an assent.

The arrangements were completed the following day, and the motor boys
became possessed of a new craft. Though once, years before, they had
made an ice-boat for use on the river at home, which was not much of a
success, however.

In the days that followed Ned, Bob and Jerry spent as much time as they
could on the ice, either in the boat or on skates. But the ease of
gliding along without any exertion, the swiftness of the motion and the
sport of it caused them to use the _Petrel_ oftener than they did their
skates.

And so the winter wore on.

There had been a thaw, a rain and a freeze, and there were indications
that an early spring was on the way.

“Which, being the case,” remarked Ned, as he and his chums sat in
Jerry’s room one day, “I think I will get out my baseball glove, and
see if it needs sewing.”

“It’s too soon to do that,” remarked Jerry. “Come on down to the ice.
Let’s take out the _Petrel_. We may not have another chance.”

“I’m with you,” agreed Ned.

“Same here,” echoed Bob.

On the way to the lake the three chums met Frank, Bart and Bill.

“Where are you going?” asked Bart, who, with Bill, was becoming more
and more friendly with our heroes.

“Out in the ice-boat,” answered Jerry, and then, seeing an eager look
on Bart’s face, the tall lad added: “Come along. It may be the last
ride of the winter.”

“I’m with you!” Bart exclaimed. “Do you mean all of us?”

Jerry did not hesitate a moment in answering:

“Yes, sure!”

“I’ll come,” said Bill.

Frank, with a sneer on his face, turned aside.

“You freshmen with your boats and things make me tired!” he complained
as he walked away.

“Don’t be a chump,” advised Bart in a low voice.

“You mind your own business!” snapped Frank.

His two friends paused a moment, as though undecided, and then walked
along with Jerry and the others.

“He’s as pig-headed as they make ’em,” commented Bart. “I never saw his
beat!”

“Um!” grunted Ned, but what he thought he did not say.

Up and down the lake sailed the _Petrel_, and as the sun was declining,
Bob called to Jerry:

“Head her down to Simpson’s and we’ll have something to eat.”

“That listens good,” laughed Bart.

“Oh, eating is my strong point!” Chunky confessed.

The ice-boat was skimming down the lake, when there suddenly sounded a
boom like the report of a cannon.

“What was that?” called Ned.

“The ice cracked,” Jerry answered. “It often does that after a thaw. I
guess----”

“Look out!” yelled Bill. “There’s open water just ahead!”

A big crack had opened in the ice, just in front of the ice-boat, and
before Jerry could steer to one side the _Petrel_ plunged in.

“Jump!” yelled Jerry, casting aside the mainsheet.

As the boat splashed into the cold water the boys, leaping free of
her, went in also, but on either side.

Jerry saw his two chums and Bill strike out as they hit the water, but
he also had a glimpse of Bart throwing up his hands with a gesture of
despair, and in a flash it came to Jerry.

“Bart can’t swim!”

The lad had so confessed some time ago, admitting he had a terror of
being in the water, though not afraid to go out in a boat.

Jerry launched himself through the ice-cold element and grasped Bart by
the collar. Holding him up with one hand, he swam toward the ice-boat,
which had turned over on one side. It was floating and would support
them all for a time.

Ned, Bob and Bill had already reached the craft, but Bart was
struggling frantically.

“I--I can’t swim!” he gasped, spluttering the words as water got in his
mouth.

“Keep still!” cried Jerry. “I’ll save you!”

This he did. By dint of hard work he managed to get Bart to the
ice-boat and put his arms over it.

“Hold on!” panted Jerry. “Help’s coming.”

Another ice-boat and several skaters who had seen the accident were
hurrying to the rescue. Help was given promptly, fence rails and ropes
from the other boat being secured to assist the boys out of the water.

Then, dripping wet, and shivering with cold, they were hurried to
Simpson’s, where hot blankets and hot drinks promptly administered were
used to prevent pneumonia.

“You--you saved my life, Jerry,” said Bart, earnestly, when they were
sitting before a warm fire, waiting for a conveyance to take them back
to Boxwood Hall. “I--I won’t forget it.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” said Jerry, sincerely. “I’m glad I saw you in
time, and I remembered you said you couldn’t swim. You’d better learn
this summer.”

“I’m going to!” was the fervent response.

No ill effects, save slight colds for Ned and Bart, followed the
immersion. The ice-boat was recovered and put away for the season, as
the ice broke up the next day and a long spring thaw set in.

Ned, Bob and Jerry buckled down to hard work, or at least fancied they
did, and occasionally they played some trick or joke, but were not
caught again.

Ned kept on the “typewriter trail,” as he called it, but with no
success, and he was not able to fasten any guilt on Frank. After the
ice-boat accident Bart and Bill were more than ever friendly with the
three chums, Bart especially, and when Frank remonstrated, Bart said:

“What would you do to the fellow who saved your life, or the life of
some one you cared for?”

Frank could not answer, and turned aside. But he did not make friends.

The winter, not necessarily of discontent, passed and spring came.
There had been practice of a sort in the indoor baseball cage when one
day a notice was posted on the gymnasium bulletin board to this effect:

    _Candidates for the varsity nine will report on the field this
    afternoon for spring practice._

“Hurrah! That’s the ticket!” cried Jerry.

“That means us all right,” added Bob.

“It’ll feel good to get a bat in your hands out in the open,” commented
Ned.

There were days of hard practice, and Ned, Bob and Jerry were assured
by several of their chums that they stood a good chance to make the
first team.

“How about it, Frank?” asked Jerry one day, after sharp work, in which
the team on which our heroes played won from the tentative varsity,
mainly by the skillful playing of the three motor chums. Jerry resolved
to take the bull by the horns. “How about it? Have we a chance on the
varsity?”

“Not in a hundred years while I’m captain!” was the cutting reply.



CHAPTER XXIV

A SCRUB GAME


Ned Slade, who stood near Jerry, heard what was said. He took a step
forward, but the tall lad put out a restraining hand. And, as Ned
looked at his chum, Jerry shook his head in negation.

“What’s the matter with you?” demanded Ned, when Frank had walked out
of hearing distance. “Why don’t you let me soak him a good one?”

“Because it would have been a bad one,” answered Jerry. “It would only
have made matters worse. I want to play on the varsity nine and so do
you and Bob, and----”

“Yes, and if we let this sneak Frank have his way we’ll never get on,”
interrupted Ned. “If you’d let me mix it up with him it would take some
of the starch and pig-headedness out of him, and he’d have to let us
play.”

“No,” and Jerry shook his head, “that would only make matters worse.
He’d be more set in his ways than ever. You leave it to me.”

“What are you going to do?” Bob wanted to know. “It doesn’t seem that
there’s anything to do.”

“All we can do for a while is to wait,” Jerry said. “You see Bart and
Bill, who used to be as much against us as Frank is, are friendly with
us now. And we’ve won over a good many others of Frank’s cronies. Not
that we ever did anything that they shouldn’t be friendly with us, but
it just happened so. It was all because Professor Snodgrass made the
mistake of telling too much about us in advance. I can see that. He
didn’t exactly boast of what we’d done, but it sounded so to some of
the boys, and we’ve got to live down that reputation.

“We’re doing it, too, and I wouldn’t have the dear old professor know,
for the world, what a pickle he innocently got us into. We’ll just
wait, and it will come around all right, I’m sure.”

“Well, I’m not!” exclaimed Ned, who was in an angry mood. “I’m for
giving Frank a good walloping, and bringing him to his senses.”

“How is it he has such a control where the varsity nine is concerned?”
asked Bob.

“Well, as I get the story,” said Jerry, “Frank put the nine on its
feet. When he came here Boxwood Hall wasn’t much of anywhere as regards
baseball. Now Frank is a good player--a crackerjack! I’ll give him
credit for that, pig-headed as he is. He’s a natural born player and
manager, and he took hold of the nine and pulled it out of the mud. He
helped with money, too, bought new uniforms and all that. Naturally, he
was made captain and manager, and, in a way, coach too.”

“Why didn’t they make him the whole team while they were about it?”
asked Ned, sarcastically.

“Well, I guess it did come pretty near amounting to that,” laughed
Jerry. “Anyhow, he demanded, so I heard, and was given the right to
say who should and should not play on the varsity. In his capacity as
captain and manager he retains that right. If he doesn’t want a fellow
to play, that fellow keeps on the scrub or sits on the bench.”

“And he doesn’t want us to play,” remarked Ned, bitterly.

“It doesn’t seem so,” agreed Jerry. “But we’ll wait.”

“It’s a funny state of affairs,” remarked Bob, “where one fellow can
run the whole varsity nine and say who shall and who sha’n’t play.”

“Yes, it is,” admitted the tall chum. “But in this case it has worked
out well, for Boxwood Hall won the championship last year, which it
never did before, and defeated the military academy two out of the
three games which are an annual feature. So that’s why the fellows let
Frank have his way. They knew he made the nine, and he’s making good
with it yet. It isn’t that we can play better than the fellows on it,
it’s just that I want to be on the varsity.”

“So do I!” chimed in Ned and Bob.

“And we’ve just got to wait until Frank either changes his mind, or
until we can show that we can play so much better than some of the
regulars that there’ll be a demand that we go in,” finished Jerry. “Now
let’s go for a ride and forget our troubles.”

Ned was still bitter against Frank, though, and did not see why the
three chums could not be put on the varsity.

As the three were riding off, Professor Snodgrass, equipped with his
net and specimen box, hailed them.

“My first butterfly hunt of the season!” he called to the boys. “I’m
after some _Argynnis cybele_ specimens, which appear with the first
violets.”

“Come with us,” said Jerry. “Do you want to go to any particular place?”

“No, only to the nearest patch of woods where violets may be found.
I haven’t any good specimens of the _Argynnis_, and I am anxious
to secure some,” the little scientist explained as he entered the
automobile.

“What does it look like?” asked Jerry. “We don’t want you to be making
stabs at colored leaves, which you’ll do if we let Bob do the looking.”

“I can tell a butterfly as well as you!” retorted the stout youth.

“The _Argynnis cybele_,” said Professor Snodgrass, “is sometimes called
the great spangled Fritillary. In color it is a sort of light brownish
yellow, with brown and yellow spots, and the under sides of the wings
are heavily silvered. The caterpillars hibernate as soon as hatched,
and live that way all winter. In the spring they feed up, and turn into
butterflies about the time the first violets appear. I hope we shall
get some to-day.”

“We’ll help you look,” Ned promised.

Arriving at the patch of woods, they all got out of the automobile and
began searching.

“Here are some violets,” called Jerry after a while.

“Then perhaps there may be a butterfly near them,” the professor
answered, hastening over toward the tall lad. “Yes, there’s one!” he
cried, his trained eyes seeing it before any of the others. “Wait now
until he lights, and I’ll have him!”

The professor stood with poised net. One foot went into a puddle of
water, but he did not seem to mind that. Then, with a sweep of his net
he captured the beautiful specimen, and soon transferred it to his
cyanide bottle.

“Excellent! Excellent!” murmured Professor Snodgrass. “I would not have
missed this for anything. But I--er--something seems to be the matter,”
he went on in puzzled tones.

“The matter? Where?” asked Ned.

“With one of my feet. It seems so cold. Can it be frost bitten?” and he
looked down at the ground. The boys did too, and broke out into peals
of laughter. For the professor was still standing with one foot in
the puddle of cold water, a fact to which he had been oblivious while
engaged in capturing and putting away the butterfly.

“You ought to wear rubber boots,” Jerry said. “Shall we take you back
to get a dry shoe?”

“No, it isn’t as cold as it was at first, and I want to get another
specimen.”

He had good luck, for he secured two more, and then consented to be
driven back to the cottage.

“Same old professor,” remarked Jerry.

“That’s what,” agreed Bob.

Baseball practice went on for several days, and the varsity was getting
in good shape, while the scrub, or second team, under the captaincy of
Tom Bacon, was making shifts and changes, trying to get the best lads
fitted to the right positions.

There was no trouble about Ned, Bob and Jerry making the scrub. They
played good ball, and Ned was picked for pitcher, while Jerry was on
first and Bob at shortstop.

“First varsity-scrub game of the season to-morrow,” was the announcement
on the gymnasium board one afternoon.

“And we’ll see if we can’t do ’em up!” exclaimed Ned. “We’ll show Frank
Watson that he isn’t such a much.”

“We’ll beat ’em if we can,” agreed Jerry.

The two nines ran out on the diamond which had been put in fine shape.
A crowd of students swarmed out to watch the first practice game of the
season and to get a line on the work of the varsity.

“Play hard now, fellows!”

“Soak ’em in, Ned!”

“Don’t fan out varsity!”

“Watch for double steals, Jerry!”

Thus called the student spectators.

“Play ball!” called the umpire, after the warm-up practice. The scrubs
were to bat first, and Gene Flarity was up.

The game commenced. It was not remarkable for brilliant playing on
either side, but Ned, Bob and Jerry, determined to show their mettle,
worked so hard, and Ned and Jerry teamed it to such good advantage that
the score was soon tied, which had not happened to the varsity in a
long while.

“And here’s where we beat ’em!” exclaimed Ned, when the ninth inning
came, and he was at bat. Ned made a good hit. It was safe for two bags,
and when Chet Randell duplicated, after one man fanned out, Ned came in
with the winning run. That is, it would be if he could hold the varsity
hitless.

And he did. He struck out the first man, while the second singled and
was caught napping at first.

“Come on now, boys, we want to get this game!” cried Frank. He was at
bat, and with two out, there was but a slim chance. But Frank was a
pinch hitter, and he faced Ned with a sneer.

“You won’t win the game!” thought Ned, bitterly.

He sent in a swift ball, and it looked as though it was going to hit
Frank, who moved back just a trifle.

“Strike!” howled the umpire.

“I’ve got your number all right,” exulted Ned.

Frank hit the next one, but it was a foul which the catcher made
desperate efforts to get.

“And you’re out!” Ned whispered to himself, as he sent in a beautiful
curve, which completely fooled the batter.

“You’re out!” echoed the umpire.



CHAPTER XXV

A VARSITY LOSS


“What do you know about that?”

“Varsity beaten the first game!”

“The scrubs win!”

“Say, that Ned Slade sure can pitch!”

“And did you see Bob scoop up that hot grounder and get it to first?”

“Well, the varsity didn’t really get warmed up.”

“That home run of Sid Lenton’s was a peach, though!”

These were some of the comments that could be heard as the students
filed off the diamond after the sensational finish of the practice game.

“Well, you did us,” said Bart Haley, with a smile at Jerry.

“But we’ll do you next time,” added Bill Hamilton.

“Well, I hope you do,” admitted Jerry. “We want the varsity to beat its
other college opponents, and we scrubs are willing to be beaten if that
comes about.”

Frank did not join in the talk, but there was a sullen look on his
face. Clearly he did not fancy being beaten, especially when it was
due to the work of Ned primarily, and to his own failure to hit,
secondarily.

“Great work, boys! Great!” ejaculated Tom Bacon, captain of the scrubs.
“That was a peach of a pick-up of yours, Bob.”

“Thanks.”

“And you certainly pulled down that high one I threw you, Jerry,” added
George Fitch, who, at third, had caught a bouncing ball and heaved it
over to first, but so high that Jerry had to jump for it, narrowly
missing the spheroid. But he put out his man.

“Some little curve you’ve got, to fool Frank,” said Lem Ferguson to Ned.

“Oh, he’s not such a hitter.”

“He’s considered pretty good, and his average is the best on the team,”
declared George. “Oh, Frank is a good player, even if there are some
things about him some fellows don’t like.”

The first practice game, in which the varsity went down to defeat even
by so small a margin, was the talk of the college that night. Still, it
was not so important as the fact would have been later in the season.
The boys had not quite settled into their stride.

Frank called a meeting of the team, and he “laid down the law,” as
Bart said afterward. Frank insisted that there must be more snappy
playing, nor did he excuse himself for missing Ned’s curve.

“I played rotten, fellows, I admit that,” he said, “but so did you, and
we’ve got to do better or Kenwell will walk all over us.”

“They’ve got a dandy team, I hear,” said Bill Hamilton. “Some new
fellows have come on, and they’ve got a pitcher----”

“So have we,” interrupted Frank. “I’ll back Jim Blake against any man
they have when Jim gets warmed up.”

“Thank you!” laughed Jim, making a bow.

“But we’ve all got to play harder,” declared Frank. “If the scrub beats
us again--well, they mustn’t, that’s all, if we have to ‘bean’ some of
their best men.”

“Meaning those motor boy fellows, as you call them?” asked Jake Porter.

“I’m not mentioning any names,” retorted Frank. “Only play hard, that’s
all.”

There was another practice game two days later, and though the scrub
did its best to beat the varsity, the second nine was beaten six to
ten. Ned, Bob and Jerry were a trio of strength, but they lacked
support at critical moments, and though Ned did not allow many hits,
those that were made off him were well placed.

“This is more like it,” said Frank to his lads, as they walked off the
field. “They only beat us the other time by a fluke.”

“A fluke! Huh!” exclaimed Ned. “We’ll have a few more of those same
flukes served up to you soon.”

“Don’t start anything,” begged Jerry, in a low voice.

The varsity was playing good ball, though there was room for
improvement, and Frank realized it. He was a good captain and manager,
though his stubbornness was not of any benefit to him nor the team.

The time was approaching for the first game of the three with Kenwell.
This would take place on the grounds of the military academy. The
second game would be played at Boxwood Hall, and the third, if it were
needed, would be played at either place, to be decided by lot.

Meanwhile, the varsity team played other nines, winning some games
and losing a few, on the whole maintaining its reputation. But the
other games did not count in the opinion of the lads as much as did
the annual contests with Kenwell. That was the event looked forward to
almost as much as was a world series. The two institutions had long
been rivals.

The scrub nine, compared to the number of games played against other
scrubs, won more than the varsity. For there were several small
colleges and preparatory schools in the neighborhood of Fordham, and,
as these had second nines, contests were arranged with them running
through the spring.

The day before the first of the Kenwell-Boxwood games Ned, Bob, Jerry
and the other members of the scrub nine, played the Kenwell scrub, and
beat them ten to five on the military academy grounds.

“Now let the varsity duplicate and we’ll say we’ve got a good team,”
declared Tom Bacon.

“Oh, we’ll win; don’t worry!” prophesied Frank.

A big crowd of Boxwood Hall rooters went to Kenwell to see the first
of the three contests. A big auto-stage conveyed the team, and in the
automobile of our heroes as many of the scrubs as could find room went
along to cheer for their team.

It was a perfect day, and there was a large crowd on hand. The rival
cheer leaders got their cohorts going early, and songs and battle cries
were wafted back and forth across the field. The boys from the academy,
in their natty uniforms, made a pretty picture, and there were a number
of girls and women present, so the grounds, with the vari-colored hats
and dresses of the feminine contingent, held a brilliant assemblage.

Frank and Captain Oscar Durand, the latter of Kenwell, held a
consultation, submitted batting lists, and flipped the coin. Frank won
and chose to bat last, naturally.

“Play ball!” directed the umpire, as there came a hush in the singing
and cheering.

“Don’t I wish I were in the game!” exclaimed Ned, who with his two
chums and others sat among the loyal rooters.

“So do I,” echoed Bob.

“Well, we may yet. The season isn’t half over,” remarked Jerry.

The play started. There was nothing remarkable about it at first. For
a few innings there was a sort of pitchers’ battle, and some pop flies
were knocked by both sides.

“The boys are beginning to get on to each other’s curves,” said Bob.

Then came a break. Jim Blake served up a slow ball to Ford Tatum, the
Kenwell catcher, who banged it out for a three bagger. And Durand, the
captain, with a two sack beauty, brought the man in with a run that
put the military lads ahead. That started things going. Several other
players got hits off Jim, and the inning ended finally with the Kenwell
lads four runs ahead.

“It’s all over but the shouting,” commented Ned.

“We may have a chance,” Jerry returned.

“Sock” Burchell, the Kenwell pitcher, had good curves and a fast ball.
For the next two innings he held the Boxwood Hall lads to a single
hit. Not a run came in. Then Frank knocked a homer which brought the
crowd to its feet and sent new hope thrilling through the veins of the
college team and its coherents.

Whether Frank’s sensational run made him lose his head, or whether he
tried desperate measures, was not disclosed. At any rate, he directed
the game wrongly from then on. He gave signals for hits and runs when
he should not have done so, and while at first base, coaching, gave a
wrong direction to a runner which caused him to be thrown out at second.

Then the fielders began muffing balls, the first baseman dropped one he
should have held, and when the Boxwood Hall boys came up to bat for the
last time they had a margin of six runs to overcome.

“The fat’s in the fire now,” sighed Bob.

And so it was. One man singled, but that was all. The next went out on
a foul tip, and “Sock” struck out the two following.

Boxwood Hall had lost.



CHAPTER XXVI

DISSENSIONS


Dejected and discouraged, but still bravely giving a cheer for their
victorious rivals, the Boxwood Hall team left the field. The military
rooters were singing their songs, but the blue and yellow pennants of
the defeated ones drooped sadly.

“They didn’t do a thing to us, did they?” said Bart, somewhat
cheerfully under the circumstances.

“Well, they mightn’t have done so much if you hadn’t muffed that long
fly,” snapped Frank, for Bart had done that.

“The sun----” he began.

“Same old excuse,” sneered the captain. “You’d better get a pair of
green goggles.”

“I didn’t think you were going to tell me to try for that steal,”
observed the lad who had been caught at second.

“You should have had your wits about you!” complained Frank, though
really it was his fault that the misplay had been made.

“We’ve got to do a whole lot better if we want the championship,” said
Jake Porter.

“Guess you’d better get another pitcher,” remarked Jim. “I couldn’t
seem to get ’em over to-day.”

“Well, I’ve seen you do better,” admitted Frank, with less bitterness
in his voice than he had used toward the others. “But you sure have got
to perk up, and so have the rest of us. We want the next two games, and
we’ve got to get ’em!”

“So say we all of us!” chanted Bart. “Say, Frank, why don’t you give
Jerry, Ned or Bob a show in the next game?” he asked. “They have been
doing some swell playing against the other scrub nines, and you know
what a tussle they gave us.”

“It might be a good idea to put them in a couple of games,” added Bill.
“I’m not saying anything against Jim,” he went on, “but Ned sure has a
swift ball.”

“Those fellows don’t play on the varsity while I’m captain,” said Frank
sullenly. “They’ve got too good an opinion of themselves now, and if
they played on the first team they’d think they owned the college. They
can’t come in!”

“That’s right!” cried some of Frank’s closest friends. “With their auto
and their boat they’ll think they’re too good for Boxwood after a bit.”

“They can play ball all right, and better than some of us,” declared a
centre fielder who had muffed a ball, letting in a run. “And when I say
that I include myself,” he admitted frankly. “I did rotten work to-day.”

“You’re right, you did!” snapped Frank. “And don’t let it happen again.”

“If I do, will you put in one of the three inseparables?” was the
question, for so Ned, Bob and Jerry were called at times.

“Not in a hundred years!” cried Frank.

“Oh, give ’em a chance!” pleaded some, including Bart and Bill.

“Don’t you do it! Too much swelled head!” insisted others.

From this discussion there came a dissension among some members of the
nine, as well as among the supporters of the team. The three chums were
made the subject of a not very pleasant discussion, and they begged
those who favored their playing to desist. But Bart and Bill led a
faction which insisted that our heroes be allowed to play.

But Frank was stubborn and refused to consider the matter.

“Our nine is all right as it is,” he said. “Just because we lost one
game to Kenwell doesn’t mean we’ll lose more. I’m not going to change
my mind. Those fellows can’t play on the varsity, and that settles
it,” and he banged his bat down hard on the floor of the auto-truck in
which the defeated team was returning.

The subject was dropped for the time being, and was not mentioned to
Frank again for several days by those favoring Jerry and his chums. But
those opposed to them, on no good grounds whatsoever, nagged Frank into
keeping firm in his determination.

The baseball season waxed. Because of the playing of Jerry, Ned and Bob
the scrub nine won game after game, succumbing only to teams much their
superior. They were doing much better than the varsity, which lost
a number of games to institutions it had beaten easily the previous
years. But there were still the two games with Kenwell, and by getting
both of these the reputation of Boxwood could be maintained.

“But the team is in a slump,” said Bart. “It’s in a slump, and Frank
knows it.”

“Only he’s too pig-headed to admit it,” agreed Bill Hamilton. “If he
would let those motor boys in even for a couple of easy games, it would
show what they can do and inspire confidence.”

“Yes, and it would give the regulars a rest,” went on Bart. “That is
what some of us need--a rest. We’re overtrained, and it’s showing.
Kenwell will walk away with us next time, you see.”

“I hope not, but I’m afraid so,” agreed Bill.

But when once more Frank’s closest friends ventured to plead with him
for the three chums he got so angry that they decided it was no use.

Thus matters stood about a week before the second game with the
military academy.

“Fellows, I’ve a feeling in my bones that something is going to
happen,” remarked Bob one afternoon, as he tossed aside the book he had
been trying to study, while Ned was plunking away at a banjo on which
he announced he was going to become an expert player.

“What is going to happen?” asked Jerry. “Are you going to bang Ned over
the head or put your foot through that perfectly rotten instrument he’s
torturing?”

“I’d like to see him try it!” exclaimed Ned, but he took the precaution
to retreat to his own room, for they were in Jerry’s, as usual.

“No, I rather like that music,” Bob said. “It is so soothing.”

“Soothing!” howled Jerry. “I’d rather live next to a boiler factory!
But if it isn’t that, Bob, what is it? Tell us, Mr. Endman, what am
gwine t’ happen?” and Jerry imitated a negro minstrel.

“Let’s have another feed happen,” suggested the stout lad. “It’s been
a long while since we’ve done anything but play ball. Let’s have a
spread.”

“And get caught again?” asked Ned. “Not for mine!”

“We won’t get caught,” said Bob. “We’ve been so noble and upright
lately that the proc won’t suspect us. And I don’t believe any one will
squeal now. We haven’t done anything worth mentioning since the picture
racket. By the way, Ned, have you found out who wrote the card that
gave us away?”

“No, but I’m on the track. I’ve eliminated all but two typewriters now.
It was written on either one of them. I’ve had specimens of writing
from every machine in the building but two.”

“And whose are those?” asked Jerry.

“Frank Watson’s and Proxy’s--or the one his clerk uses.”

“Great fish-cakes!” cried Bob. “You don’t suspect Proxy; do you?”

“Of course not. It may have been his clerk, but I don’t guess so. The
only other one is Frank, and I’ll get the goods on him yet!”

“Well, about the feed,” resumed Bob, “shall we have it?”

“Sure! Go ahead!” assented Jerry. “Things have been a bit dull of late.”

“Count me in,” added Ned.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE ROOTERS INSIST


Word was quietly passed around that another feast was to be given by
the three chums, and invitations to it were eagerly looked for.

“That Chunky sure does know how to get up an eat-fest,” said Gene
Flarity. “Too bad the last one was spoiled.”

“Oh, it wasn’t exactly spoiled,” observed George Fitch. “We had most of
the stuff put away inside us when the proc came in. But I don’t think
any one will squeal this time.”

“If they do, and it proves to be Frank, he ought to be run out of
college,” declared Gene. “It’s a shame the way he snubs those fellows.”

“So it is,” agreed George. “Well, we’ll hope for the best.”

“And we’ll get it, if Chunky has the ordering of the eats,” chuckled
Gene. “He was telling me he was going to make a chicken pie in that
electric chafing dish.”

“Good!” exclaimed George. “Chunky is sure some little cook!”

To the surprise of Ned, Bob and Jerry, who quietly passed word around
about the prospective surreptitious lunch, members of the varsity nine
whom they asked, refused.

“I’d like to come, first-rate,” said Jake Porter, “but you see Frank
has forbidden us.”

“You mean he won’t let you come just because we’re giving it?” asked
Ned. “Solidified scuttle-butts! but that is carrying it a long way.”

“No, it isn’t because it’s _you_,” Jake hastened to add. “I’m not even
sure he knows you’re going to give it, unless you asked him.”

“There wouldn’t be any use asking him,” Bob said.

“Well then, it’s because it’s the night before the second Kenwell
game,” Jake explained. “Frank says any of the varsity who feed up and
stay out late the night before the game can’t play. So I’m not going to
take a chance.”

“Oh, well, that’s all right,” Jerry said. “We don’t want to spoil the
team’s chances. We haven’t any ourselves, so we’re going to feed up.”

“Oh, I don’t suppose it makes an awful lot of difference,” said Jake.
“I can play just as well after a supper as before. But you know what
Frank is. Once he gets a notion in his head it’s hard to get it out. So
I’m taking no chances.”

“Can’t blame you for that,” remarked Ned. “And we sure do know what
Frank is!”

Somewhat to the surprise of the hosts Bart and Bill agreed to come to
the feast.

“We don’t care what Frank says,” declared Bart. “I want to have some
fun, and we’ll get it in your rooms. It won’t make a bit of difference
about the game. But don’t let Frank know we’re coming, or he might be
pig-headed enough to keep us out.”

“We won’t say a word,” promised Bob.

“But how are you going to get in without his knowing it, seeing that
you’re bunking with him?” asked Jerry.

“Oh, we can slip out on some excuse or other,” Bill said. “I’m not
going to let him slave-drive me much longer.”

“You can’t get into our rooms without his seeing you,” went on Jerry.
“He’s likely to come out in the hall any minute.”

“Hush! Whisper!” exclaimed Bart, with a wink. “The fire escape! There’s
one outside Ned’s window; isn’t there?”

“Sure!” Ned cried. “I never thought of that.”

“We’ll crawl up the fire escape from the outside,” went on Bart, “and
you be ready to let us in your window.”

“But it may be risky going back that way,” cautioned Bob. “The moon
won’t be up when you come in, but it will be shining directly on the
ladder when the party breaks up.”

“Oh, going out will be easy,” declared Bill. “You can let us slip
out of your rooms into the corridor. We can go down it a way on our
tiptoes and come back flat-footed so Frank will hear us. He’ll think
we’re coming back from a trip to town, where we can intimate that we’re
going.”

“Any way you like,” said Jerry.

The night of the feast came. It was the night before the second big
game with Kenwell.

To the rooms of our friends came those invited to the feast. All but
Bart and Bill arrived in the usual way, stepping softly along the
corridor. If Frank, in his den across the hall, knew that a feast was
going on he gave no sign. Not a light showed over the transom.

“He went out before we did,” said Bart when he and Bill arrived by way
of the fire escape. “I guess we’ve got him fooled all right.”

“I hope so,” returned Jerry.

“And now for the chicken pie!” said Bob, when some of the other things
had been passed around and the fun was under way.

“‘Hurrah for the fun, is the pudding done? Hurrah for the pumpkin
pie!’” quoted Bart.

“Not so loud!” cautioned Bob, turning the electric current on in the
chafing dish.

“Circulate the olives, somebody!”

“Who’s holding those cocoanut macaroons?”

“Somebody’s got a mortgage on the chocolate cake!”

“Say, but this is a good feed, Chunky!”

Thus came the comments, mostly in whispers, though now and then a laugh
would break out which would be quickly hushed.

“Smells good, Chunky,” said Bill, when the stout lad took the cover off
the chafing dish.

“I hope it is,” Bob remarked, carefully inspecting his concoction. “I
guess it’s done.”

“Then hurry up and dish it out and we’ll beat it,” Bart said. “I don’t
want Frank to get suspicious.”

Bart and Bill were served with the chicken pie and were about to begin
eating, when there came a knock on Jerry’s door.

“Caught again!” exclaimed Ned.

“Who--who’s there?” faltered Bob, while Jerry reached up and switched
off the lights.

“It’s Frank Watson,” was the unexpected answer. “Open the door.”

Wondering what was in the wind Jerry turned on the incandescents, while
Ned swung open the portal which he unlocked.

“Are Bart and Bill here?” demanded Frank, haughtily, not coming in. “I
thought so,” he went on, as he caught sight of the two members of the
varsity. “I told you fellows to cut this out,” he went on. “I don’t
object to a little fun, but you know it’s the night before a big game,
and I don’t want you trying to play with stomach-aches. Come on out
now!” he ordered, harshly.

It was, perhaps, within his right as captain and manager, and Bart and
Bill realized it.

“Can’t we finish this pie?” asked Bart.

“No! You’re in training, the same as the rest of us. I’m not breaking
mine, and you shouldn’t yours. It isn’t fair.”

“Will you come in?” asked Jerry.

“No!” Frank fairly snapped. “And you fellows come out!”

Bob wanted to ask how Frank knew of the presence of the two varsity men
in the room, but did not think it wise. After all, it was not hard for
Frank to guess, since he could not have been unaware of the fact that a
supper was in progress across the hall.

Bart and Bill went out.

“I don’t suppose you have any objections to the rest of our guests
remaining, have you?” asked Jerry, slightly sarcastically.

“No!” Frank answered shortly. He went into his own room, followed by
Bart and Bill.

“I guess he won’t squeal,” said Ned. “We’ll finish the feed.”

It was the day of the second game with Kenwell. A big crowd surged in
the stands around the diamond at Boxwood Hall. The rival rooters sang,
yelled and cheered, and there was a riot of college and academy colors.

“Is Frank going to let Bart and Bill play?” asked Jerry.

“I haven’t heard,” replied Ned. He, as well as Jerry, Bob and other
members of the scrub, were in baseball suits, for a game with the
Kenwell scrub would follow the main contest.

But a little later when the Boxwood Hall varsity ran out of the
dressing room it was seen that Bart and Bill had not been penalized.

“Play ball!”

Again sounded that thrilling and inspiring call.

At first it seemed that the Boxwood Hall team had a good chance. But
Kenwell was more on edge, and slipped over two runs the first inning,
while the college lads had only a goose egg.

“Oh, it’s early yet,” said Jerry, who sat with the other scrubs.

But when it came Boxwood Hall’s turn they could do little against
“Sock” Burchell’s pitching, finding him only for fouls.

It was in the fourth inning that the real break came. The score was
three to one in favor of the academy. And then it was that the military
lads cut loose.

They literally pounded Jim Blake out of the box, and though Frank raged
around, and did his best, it was too much for him. The man on first
missed two easy balls, and as for the short stop he let three easy
grounders get past him. The academy brought in five runs that inning
and it looked to be all up with Boxwood Hall.

And then the rooters took a hand.

“Get a pitcher!”

“Put somebody in without a glass arm!”

“Get a new man on first!”

“Where’d that short stop learn to play ball?”

“Frank, you’ve got to do something!” cried Bart to his chum when
Kenwell was finally put out.

“What can I do? The team’s playing rotten.”

“I know. But put in some fellows who can play. There’s Hopkins, Slade
and Baker. You know they can play. They may pull us out of the hole and
we might win with Ned’s pitching. Put ’em in!”

“No!”

From the crowd of rooters came the demands.

“What’s the matter with Jerry Hopkins?”

“Can’t Ned Slade curve ’em over?”

The crowd was becoming unruly. Several shouted unpleasant names at
Frank.

“You’re a peach of a captain!”

“Better put the three in,” advised Bill Hamilton. “They’ll put some pep
in the team.”

Frank’s face showed his anger. He hesitated, while the roar from the
crowd increased.



CHAPTER XXVIII

IN THE TENTH


“Play ball!”

“Go on with the game!”

“We can’t stay here all day!”

These and other calls were coming not only from the mere spectators of
the game, but from the students of the military academy who had come to
root for their side. Some of the Boxwood Hall boys, especially those
who liked Jerry and his chums, and who did not have much use for the
high-handed methods of Frank Watson, added their voices to the din.

“Better put ’em in,” suggested Bart, nodding toward our heroes, who, in
their uniforms, sat on the scrub bench, not a little embarrassed by the
attention they were attracting.

“You mind your own----” began Frank angrily, when Oscar Durand, the
captain of the Kenwell team, stepped forward.

“Say,” he remarked in his slow, good-natured drawl, “go on and put in
all the new men you want to. We don’t care. We’ll play a whole new
team if you say so. Only do something, and don’t delay the game.”

Frank still hesitated. It was clear that he hated to give in to the
boys whom he so disliked, but still he was enough of a ball player to
realize that unless something were done Boxwood Hall would go down to
defeat.

“Play ball!” came the insistent cries from the stands.

Ted Newton, the football hero of the school, hastened out to the sullen
baseball captain.

“Put the three in, Frank,” he said. “It’s your only chance.”

Ted was chairman of the athletic advisory board, and he had much
influence. Frank felt that his position was a shaky one.

“All right,” he said, sullenly. “I’ll let ’em play. Come on,
Hopkins--Slade--Baker!” he called. “Get in the game.”

“Am I to pitch?” asked Ned.

“I suppose so.”

“And I hope you do better than I did,” remarked Jim Blake
good-naturedly. He was enough of a real sport to put the team ahead of
himself.

“I ought to have a little warm-up practice before I go in,” Ned
suggested.

“Get over there and practice,” said Frank. “We’re at bat now, and Jake
Porter can catch for you. No, I’d better do it myself, as I’m going to
be behind the plate.”

Frank was a good catcher, and it must be admitted that he had not been
at fault so far in the contest. It was the other players. And once
he had made up his mind to play our three heroes, he did not do it
half-heartedly.

He did not act in a friendly manner toward Ned, but in practice he put
forth his best efforts, and urged the new pitcher to do his best to
“sting them in,” which Ned did.

“Now, boys, we’re out to win!” exclaimed Frank, when Charlie Moore went
up to bat to open the fifth inning, Kenwell having won the toss, and,
as usual, chosen to go up last.

The mere fact that Ned, Bob and Jerry had been put in the game seemed
to have inspired confidence at once, for Charlie, who was a notoriously
poor hitter, singled for the first time in a long while, and went to
first amid cheers. And when Jerry knocked a three bagger, bringing
Charlie in, and adding to the slender score of Boxwood Hall, there was
a riot of cheers on the stands opposite those occupied by the military
lads. Then another single by Sid Lenton brought in Jerry, and made the
score eight to three, in favor of Kenwell.

“Oh, I guess we’ll pull up all right,” said Jim Blake, from his
position in retirement.

“There’s a lot to do yet,” Ted Newton reminded him. “The game is a good
way from being in the ice-box, as far as Boxwood Hall is concerned. But
those three fellows are going to help a lot.”

Two runs that inning was all the rivals of the academy could bring in,
the succeeding batters being pitched out by “Sock.” But when Boxwood
took the field for the last half of the fifth there was a different
atmosphere. Boxwood Hall’s team had “tightened up,” and the same might
be said of the military academy players, for they realized they had to
meet some snappy players.

“Hold ’em down, Ned,” begged Bob, as he went to his position at
shortstop.

“I will,” promised Ned.

“And don’t you make any wild throws, Chunky,” cautioned the tall lad on
first.

“You watch me,” Bob remarked.

However, for all his promise, he nearly brought disaster in the next
few minutes of play. For a bounding ball came his way, and though he
scooped it up in a clever catch that earned him applause, he threw it
so high to Jerry that the tall lad had to leap in the air, and spear it
down with one hand.

That he got it was due not only to luck, but to efficient playing, and
as he came down on the bag with one foot just in time to catch the
runner out, a yell of approval arose from the crowd.

Everything did not go as well as that, though, for one of the fielders
missed an easy fly, thereby being indirectly responsible for letting in
a run, making Kenwell nine. But that was all they got that inning--Ned
pitching some wonderful ball, and retiring two men in succession
without letting them even foul.

“Well, at that rate, we won’t beat ’em,” said Bob, gloomily, as his
side came in to bat. “We’ve got four more innings to play, and if we
get two runs each inning that will make eight for us, or a total of
eleven. They’ve got nine now, and one run in each of the four left will
make them thirteen----”

“Which is unlucky,” broke in Jerry.

“I’d like to be unlucky that way,” said Ned. “Well, we’ll hope for the
best.”

It did look a little more hopeful when, instead of two, Boxwood Hall
got three runs that inning, making their tally six, as against nine.

“We’ve got a chance!” exclaimed Frank, and he seemed to smile at Jerry
and his chums. But he did not offer them a friendly word.

There was much excitement now. Both teams were “playing their heads
off,” and the rooters, the cheerers and the coherents on either side
were sending out song after song, and yell after yell. If Boxwood Hall
could win the game it meant that she would have an even chance for the
local championship, for a third game with Kenwell would have to be
played.

It was in the ninth inning that Boxwood Hall tied the score. For by
dint of wonderful playing on the part of the whole team, and by a
thrilling exhibition of pitching on the part of Ned, Kenwell had been
allowed only two more runs, making their score eleven, and now, in
their half of the ninth, Jerry and his chums had tied it.

“If we can hold ’em down the remainder of this inning, it will mean
another chance,” cried Bob. “We’ll have to play ten innings.”

And a ten inning game it proved to be. For not a Kenwell lad got
farther than second base.

Up to the plate in the tenth inning came Bob. He was not a sure hitter,
but he got his base on balls, and the crowd started gibing the academy
pitcher. But he tightened up and struck out the next man. Then came
Jerry.

“Another three bagger!” begged the Boxwood lads. Jerry smiled
confidently and let the first ball go by.

“Strike!” snapped out the umpire.

“Oh you robber!” howled the crowd.

The next was a ball, and the next--well, they talk about it yet at
Boxwood Hall. For Jerry with all his might and main smote the horsehide
spheroid squarely on the “nose” and then he ran. And Bob spun around
the bases too.

“Home run! Home run! Home run!” yelled the wild lads.

The ball Jerry knocked went deep into centre field, and the frantic
fieldsman raced back after it. On and on ran Jerry. Ahead of him sped
Bob. And as Bob crossed home plate with his run, Jerry was not far
behind him. Nor was the ball a great way off, for it thumped into the
hands of Ford Tatum, the catcher, with a vicious thump. But the umpire
cried “Safe!” and Boxwood Hall had two more runs.

The score was thirteen to eleven, and only one man was out. But that
was the best Boxwood Hall could do. “Sock” disposed of his next two
rivals in short order.

“And now if we can hold ’em down--hold ’em down!” murmured Jerry as
they went to the field, and Kenwell came up for its last raps.

It looked like another break when Ned gave two men their base on balls,
but then his nerve asserted itself. Amid a riot of calls, designed to
disconcert him, he stood his ground, and he and Frank put up a game
that made a new record for efficiency. For not a man got a hit in the
last half of the tenth, and a goose egg went up in that frame for
Kenwell, while the score stood

    Boxwood Hall, 13.
    Kenwell, 11.



CHAPTER XXIX

MR. HOBSON


Boxwood Hall had won the second game of the important series in the
tenth inning. It was game and game--a third one would be necessary to
decide the championship. And as the rooters of the victorious side
realized this, and as they thought of what snap and ginger Ned, Bob
and Jerry had put into the team at the crucial moment, there came glad
shouts and cries.

The winning team had cheered its losing rivals, and in turn, to show
their sporting spirit, the military lads had responded. Then out on the
diamond swarmed the Boxwood Hall rooters.

“Oh you Jerry Hopkins!”

“Oh you Bob Baker!”

“Three cheers for Ned Slade, our peerless pitcher!” called one
enthusiast.

The cheers were given with a will, and the boys thronged around our
three heroes, patting them on the back, hugging them, trying to shake
hands with them and lead them about in a wild snake dance.

Ted Newton saw a dark and scowling look on Frank Watson’s face. He did
some quick thinking.

“Three cheers for our captain!” he called. “The pluckiest baseball
captain Boxwood Hall ever had.”

And the cheer that followed brought a smile even to Frank’s dour
face. Ted had guessed rightly--that Frank was getting jealous of the
popularity of the three chums, and Ted did not desire this, for he
wanted to see all enmity wiped out.

“Great work, old man!” exclaimed Jim Blake, the deposed pitcher, as he
shook hands with Ned. “I was certainly off form to-day.”

“Well, maybe you’ll be all right next time,” said Ned.

The celebration over the victory proceeded, yells, cheers and songs
being intermingled. The vanquished hastened away, not a little
down-hearted, for after their decisive victory in the first game they
had looked for a walkover in the second one. And they would have found
it only for the timely playing of Ned, Bob and Jerry.

One might have thought that he would have given credit where it was
due, but Frank did not. He did not approach the three lads he had
publicly said he would make eat humble pie.

“Say, old man, don’t you think it’s about time you made up?” asked
Bart, linking his arm in that of Frank as he walked with him off the
diamond.

“Make up with whom?”

“With Jerry and his friends. They pulled us out of a hole to-day,
and----”

“I’m willing to admit that,” broke in Frank. “I’ll give them all the
credit in the world for playing ball, but, personally, I don’t care to
have anything to do with them.”

“That’s no way to feel,” added Bill Hamilton.

“What is it to you how I feel?” snapped Frank. “You let me alone! I’m
willing to have them play on the team, because they can put up a good
game. But beyond that I won’t go!”

Frank was as obstinate as ever. Bart and Bill were about to give up,
for the time being, the attempt to reconcile Frank to the three chums,
when Ted Newton, having overheard what was going on, took a hand.

“Frank, you’re all wrong in this,” said the football hero, as he and
Bart and Bill, with the baseball captain walked off to one side.
“You’re making a big mistake!”

“Well then, let me make it!” exclaimed Frank, angrily. “I wish you’d
let me alone! I know my own business. I know what I’m going to do. I
say I won’t be friends with those fellows, and I won’t. That’s all
there is to it.”

Ted shrugged his shoulders, and did not know what to answer. At this
moment, off among a little group of lads, a voice was heard saying:

“There he is--right over there!”

A hand pointed to where Frank stood disputing with Bart, Bill and Ted,
and a man, detaching himself from those who had evidently been giving
him directions, approached the baseball captain.

“Hello, Frank!” he cried in jolly tones, holding out his hand. “I hear
you just won a big game.”

“Oh, hello, Dad!” Frank cried, his face lighting up with surprised
pleasure, in strange contrast to the former looks that disfigured it.
“Say, I wish you could have been here. It was great! We’ve tied Kenwell
now. When’d you arrive?”

“Just a little while ago. I had a blowout and it delayed me, otherwise
I’d have been here, as I wrote you.”

The two linked arms and walked away, showing mutual affection more like
two brothers or chums than any other relationship.

“That’s Frank’s stepfather,” said Bart. “They surely are fond of each
other.”

“Frank would do anything for him, so I’ve heard him say,” remarked
Bill. “But there’s no use trying to get Frank to do anything about
Jerry and his chums.”

“No, I guess not,” agreed Ted.

Frank and his stepfather, walking toward college, saw three lads
approaching them. It was Ned, Bob and Jerry, and just now Frank would
have preferred not to encounter them.

Frank made as if to turn to one side, but his stepfather, taking a
second look at our heroes, exclaimed:

“Hold on a moment, son. I know those lads!”

“Know them?” gasped Frank.

“Yes. Hello there!” he cried. “Aren’t you Jerry Hopkins, Ned Slade and
Bob Baker?”

For a moment neither of the three chums answered. Then looks of
recognition came over their faces.

“Mr. Hobson!” Jerry fairly shouted. “Mr. Hobson!”

“I thought so,” went on Frank’s stepfather, laughing. “I’ve got a
pretty good memory for faces. I never expected to see you at Boxwood
Hall. Frank, you know these lads, of course?”

“I--er--I--that is--Oh, yes, of course.”

Frank was ill at ease. But his stepfather, Mr. Hobson, went on, not
seeming to notice.

“Frank,” he said, “I want you to shake hands with three of the
pluckiest lads in the world. When I had an accident some time ago--when
my auto left the road, rolled down a bank, pinned me under it and then
got on fire--these lads raised it off me and got me out in time to save
my life. Shake hands with Ned, Bob and Jerry, Frank, and thank ’em for
your dad’s life.”



CHAPTER XXX

THE WINNING GAME


Frank Watson’s face was a study in emotions as he stood beside his
stepfather, confronting Ned, Bob and Jerry. He tried to speak, but, for
a moment, could not.

“You boys must have shaken hands a lot of times already,” went on Mr.
Hobson, “but shake again, Frank, and I will too, for it isn’t every day
I have my life saved, you know,” and he laughed, though there was deep
feeling in his words.

“They saved your life?” asked Frank hesitatingly.

“That’s what they did--from my burning auto. And they put out the fire,
too, and saved the machine. I got it back from the garage all right,
Jerry,” he went on. “Much obliged to you.”

Frank held out his hand toward the tall lad.

“Fellows, I--I--er--I guess I’ve been just a plain cad,” Frank
confessed with a shame-faced air. “Will you shake?”

“Of course!” cried Jerry heartily, and their hands met in a firm
clasp. In turn Ned and Bob shook hands with the baseball captain.

“What does it mean?” asked Mr. Hobson. “Weren’t you boys--Didn’t you
know one another--and playing on the college nine?” he cried.

“It’s a long story, Dad,” broke in Frank. “Come up to my room--you too,
Jerry, Ned and Bob,” he went on, “and we’ll talk it out. I’ve been a
big fool, I guess, but I’m done now. Come on.”

He linked one arm with Jerry, the other with Mr. Hobson, while the
latter held on to Ned and Ned to Bob, and in this fashion they marched
off the baseball field.

“Well, what do you know about that?” cried Bart, seeing what had
happened.

“Frank has made up with the three inseparables!” exclaimed Bill.

“It’s the best thing that could have happened, but I don’t know how it
came about,” added Ted Newton.

The story of the reconciliation was soon known all through the college.

Meanwhile, up in Frank’s room, a scene was taking place that brought
out many feelings and emotions. Mr. Hobson told Frank all about the
rescue, and then Frank, brushing aside his stubborn will and pride,
told of the wrong impression he had conceived regarding our heroes and
of his holding aloof from them.

“Well, well!” exclaimed Mr. Hobson. “I guess it’s a good thing I came
along. I wrote you, Frank, about three lads getting me out of a bad
predicament, but I didn’t give you all the particulars, for I was too
busy to write much, traveling all over the West.”

“And you never mentioned their names,” said Frank.

“No, I guess I didn’t.”

“And we never knew Mr. Hobson was your stepfather,” added Jerry. “In
fact, we never heard that your stepfather’s name was Hobson.”

“No, I guess I was too uppish to let you hear much of me,” returned
Frank, with a laugh. “But it will be different from now on. We’ll be
friends; won’t we?”

“Sure!” chorused Jerry and Bob, as they shook hands all around.

“But you won’t squeal on us any more when we have a midnight spread, or
hoist the sacred picture on the flagpole; will you?” Ned demanded.

Frank’s face flushed.

“I did squeal on you about that first spread, and I gave the proctor
the key,” he confessed, “and I’m mighty sorry I did it. I was just mad.
But I didn’t squeal about the picture!”

“You didn’t?” cried Ned. “Then who did?”

“I don’t know,” Frank replied, “but I don’t believe it was any of the
fellows.”

“I’ll find out,” Ned declared.

There was an impromptu celebration of the victorious nine that evening,
and Proctor Thornton was conveniently absent. Mr. Hobson was a guest of
honor, and Frank, in a graceful speech, admitted his error in regard to
the three chums, and announced that hereafter they would be his closest
friends.

“And will they play in the last game against Kenwell?” some one asked.

“That’s what they will!” Frank answered, heartily.

“Then we’ll cinch the championship!”

Nothing outside the college routine happened in the following week at
Boxwood Hall; but Frank and the three chums let their friendship grow,
and the reconciliation meant much to both sides. Never before had the
spirit of the college so manifested itself.

Mr. Hobson announced that he would stay to see the deciding game
between Boxwood and Kenwell, which would take place on the Boxwood Hall
grounds, they having won the toss.

“Luck sure is with us,” said Frank to Jerry when this matter had been
settled. “Now we’ve got a week to do some hard practicing, and we must
work hard, for we want to beat ’em bad.”

“We’ll do our best,” Jerry answered.

Seldom before had there been such a baseball team at Boxwood. Ned,
Bob and Jerry seemed to fit right in the places of the lads who were
deposed, at least temporarily, to make room for them. And the best of
it was that there was no ill feeling. The lads who were not allowed to
play rooted just as hard for the team as before.

Kenwell, it was said, was strengthening her nine, and the final
game was likely to prove an exciting and hard one. Meanwhile, the
talk of the college, when it was not about baseball, was about the
reconciliation between Frank Watson and the chums.

It was the day of the great game. The stands on the Boxwood Hall
diamond were filled with students, girls, men and women, for it was a
big attraction, this championship contest, and drew from all over the
neighborhood.

Song after song welled from the rival factions. Cheer followed cheer.
There were cheers for the clashing teams, and for the individual
players. There were cheers for the rival captains, and “skyrockets,”
and “locomotives” without number.

Out on the field ran the Boxwood Hall nine and the substitutes, to be
received with yells of gladness. Then came the Kenwell lads, and they,
too, were riotously welcomed.

There was some batting and pitching practice, and it was noted that
Kenwell was “warming” up a new twirler.

“They’re out to do us,” murmured Frank. “Do your best, Ned!”

“I sure will, Cap!”

“Play ball!” called the umpire.

Only for a few minutes did it look bad for Boxwood Hall. This was in
the third inning. Up to this time neither side had scored. Then two
pinch hitters were sent in, who found Ned to the extent of two runs,
putting the military lads that much ahead of scoreless Boxwood Hall.

“Things aren’t breaking right,” murmured the Boxwood Hall rooters.

“Just you wait,” advised Ted Newton.

The break came when “Sock” Burchell was replaced by the new man. Either
he was not a good pitcher, or his rivals were on to his curves, for
Boxwood Hall saw her opportunity and grasped it, and she tallied seven
runs in that inning.

From then on it was a walkover for Frank’s team. Kenwell fought
staunchly every inch of the way, but when the first half of the ninth
inning ended, with the military lads at the bat and the score fourteen
to four against them, the struggle was over. Boxwood Hall had won the
championship, and in the main it was due to the sensational work of
Ned, Bob and Jerry. For at a critical moment Jerry had pulled off a
double play that seemed to take the heart out of his opponents.

“’Rah for Boxwood Hall!”

“Boxwood Hall wins!”

“The championship is ours!”

Out on the field swarmed the rooters to surround and cheer the team.
Frank clasped the hand of Jerry Hopkins.

“Great work, old man!” he cried.

“It was great work all around!” declared Ted Newton.

And so it was.

Once more cheer followed cheer, yell succeeded yell, and song
echoed song, as the victorious ones paraded about the field, while
the vanquished silently withdrew. Never before had Boxwood Hall so
decisively beaten its ancient rival.

It marked the practical end of the baseball season, for spring was
merging into summer, and the long vacation was at hand.

There was a feast that night, given by Frank to the team, for training
was over, and among the first names proposed for a toast by the captain
were those of Ned, Bob and Jerry.

“Three good cheers for the motor boys!” cried Frank, and the room
echoed with the sound that followed.

It was a week after the big game when Ned, his face showing his
excitement, came mysteriously to his two chums.

“I’ve found it! I’ve found it!” he cried.

“Found what?” asked Jerry.

“The typewriter on which the note that gave us away about the picture
stunt was printed.”

“You have? Whose was it?” asked Bob.

“The proctor’s! Look, there’s a specimen of work from his machine and
here’s the card with our names on it.”

Ned laid them down side by side, and, as he told how he had secured
the sample by the use of a little subterfuge, his two chums noted the
similarity of slight marks in letters that seemed to prove the point.
And, a little later, it was proved positively.

For the proctor sent for our heroes one day.

“I understand you think that a certain student here gave information
to the faculty to the effect that you three took down the founder’s
picture. Never mind how I found it out, but do you hold that belief?”
he asked.

“We did,” answered Ned, “but we don’t now.”

“I am glad of it,” the proctor said, “for it was I who saw you. As I
was too late to prevent your carrying your prank to completion to save
Dr. Boxwood’s portrait from desecration, I wrote the note and put it on
the flagpole.”

“We know that, too,” said Ned.

“How did you find it out?” asked the proctor.

“We respectfully decline to tell,” and Ned bowed, smiling.

The proctor hesitated a moment.

“Very well. But don’t try such tricks again.”

“And so that mystery is solved,” observed Jerry, as they came out of
the office. “I wonder what will happen next?”

And what did will be related in our next volume, to be called, “Ned,
Bob and Jerry on a Ranch; Or, The Motor Boys Among the Cowboys.”

“Boys, I want to congratulate you on your basketball victory,” said
Professor Snodgrass, some days after the diamond championship had been
decided. “I understand that the eleven did well.”

“Yes,” answered Jerry, trying not to laugh, “we did.”

“Well,” remarked Bob a few days after this, as he lay sprawling on a
couch in his room, “this is no fun, fellows. Let’s do something.”

“What?” asked Jerry from his apartment where he and Ned were playing
checkers.

“Let’s go eat!” broke in Ned.

“Exactly!” agreed Bob, and Ned had to dodge the book the stout lad
heaved at him.

But they presently went off to the dining hall, and there we will take
leave of Ned, Bob and Jerry.


THE END



THE BASEBALL JOE SERIES

By LESTER CHADWICK

_12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 80 cents, postpaid._

[Illustration]

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  CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers      New York



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By ROY ROCKWOOD

    Author of the “Speedwell Boys Series” and the “Great Marvel
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12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.

Never was there a more clever young aviator than Dave Dashaway. All
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[Illustration]

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  CUPPLES & LEON CO., 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.

 --Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

 --Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.





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