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Title: Ward Hill the Senior
Author: Tomlinson, Everett T. (Everett Titsworth)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                               *Ward Hill
                           *_*the*_* Senior*


                          EVERETT T. TOMLINSON

                              _Author of_
                          The Ward Hill Series
                        The Blue and Buff Series
                           The Winner Series

                           Publishing Company
                            Cleveland, Ohio

                             Made in U.S.A.

                           Copyright 1897 by
                             A. J. ROWLAND

                                1928 by
                      The Goldsmith Publishing Co.


A school has been very correctly termed a little world of itself.
Within it the temptations and struggles and triumphs are as real as
those in the larger world outside.  They differ in form, not in
character, and become for many a man the foundation upon which later
success or failure has been built.

It is perhaps wise for me to explain that the boys whose lives in the
Weston school have been outlined in this book are "real" boys, and that
every fact recorded actually occurred much as it has been described.  If
the results of the struggles and successes shall prove to be a stimulus
to other boys who may be facing similar problems, and if the failures
shall serve the purpose of a warning word and teach the younger readers
what things are to be avoided and how they are to be overcome, the
author will certainly feel well repaid for his labor.

Unfolding life is ever a marvelous sight, and the interest with which we
follow those who are trending now the paths once familiar to us never
fails those still young in heart while old in years.

The recently developed interest in the work and lives of the younger
people, is one of the marvels of this closing century.  Greater than any
of the discoveries of science, nobler than any of the great movements of
the times is that renewed interest in the possibilities of the young
life all about us, undeveloped it is true, but filled with the promise
of power.

So many times our eyes are opened when it is too late to behold the
vision.  We may preach, and warn, and urge, and exhort, and scold, but
nothing will take the place of actual experience.  It is natural for
each young heart to wish to learn and test life for itself.

However, I am not without hope, that the friendship and sympathy for
Ward Hill and his friends may not be entirely without their unspoken
lessons, and that before my readers there may arise for each one the
vision of the man who is yet to be.

When all our platitudes are ignored or forgotten it is still true that
youth is the seed-sowing time, and what a man sows, as well as the
measure of his sowing, determines the character and the abundance of the
harvest he will reap.  We do well, then, to strive at least to scatter
the seed at the time when the seed can be sown.  The soils may vary, the
seed is the same.

I trust that the interest, the pride, the sorrow, and pleasure which the
writer has felt, as he has followed the courses of these boys, may in a
degree, at least, be shared by his readers, and also may not be entirely
without their effects in inspiring a desire to profit by their examples.

Elizabeth, N. J.




      I. Waiting
     II. Ward Hill’s Decision
    III. Mr. Crane’s Examination
     IV. A Call for Help
      V. A Warning
     VI. The Beginning of the Struggle
    VII. The Troubles are Increased
   VIII. Perplexity
     IX. An Interview with Jack
      X. The Scene in Ripley’s Room
     XI. Jack Hobart’s Project
    XII. Mr. Crane’s Words
   XIII. A Faithful Friend
    XIV. Ward Humbles Himself
     XV. Outside Lessons
    XVI. The Beginning of the Great Game
   XVII. The End of the Great Game
  XVIII. A Puzzling Question
    XIX. Jack’s Sermon
     XX. Down West Hill
    XXI. The Arrow and the Swallow
   XXII. The Mishap of the Arrow
  XXIII. The Investigation
   XXIV. Unexpected Visitors
    XXV. Jack Hobart’s Proposition
   XXVI. Conclusion

                         *WARD HILL THE SENIOR*

                              *CHAPTER I*


The little station at Rockford was the scene of the customary bustle and
stir which appear in most country villages just before the arrival of
the "afternoon train."  The village idlers were assembled for the little
break which came in the dull routine of the day.  The shrill whistle of
the approaching locomotive always brought a slight thrill in the hearts
of these stolid watchers, as if something in the stir of the great
region beyond their horizon was coming, if but for a moment; and when
the train departed, so long as the cloud of smoke and dust remained
behind it, it served to quicken the dull minds by the suggestions of the
possibilities that lay in that unknown world so far away.

Doubtless the village idlers (the busy people of the little town had
another term by which they called them) never realized that it was their
imaginations to which the arrival of the morning and afternoon trains
appealed, and yet it was that very faculty which was daily stirred, and
for the arousing of which they waited with all the eagerness with which
a toper is said to long for his morning dram. There was the excitement
of waiting for the locomotive’s shriek and the first puff of smoke that
marked the approach of the cars in the distance, and this was followed
by the departure, which left them in a state of curiosity and suspense,
not entirely unlike that which the old Greek dramas imparted to the
breathless audiences that followed them in their vast theatres.  Then
too there were the few passengers who were soon to leave Rockford, as
well as the people who were waiting for the arrival of friends; and as a
matter of course the ever-present small boy was very much in evidence,
and as he "walked the rails" or leaped across the track, his delight
seemed to be increased by the warning word which some one of the
assembly occasionally gave him. At frequent intervals some farmer would
drive up to the pen which joined the freight house, and with ungentle
hands roughly push out the calves he had brought in his great wagon-box,
and compel them to join the bleating herd soon to be carried away to the
great city.  Their piteous cries could be constantly heard by the
waiting people, but they attracted little attention, although some
occasionally expressed their disgust and anger at the brutal methods,
which are all too common, of supplying the toiling people of the great
cities with their meat. The thoughts of the coming train however, which
now as usual was twenty minutes behind time, did not apparently permit
any one long to dwell upon the sufferings, present or prospective, of
the brute creation.  They were all too eager for the "afternoon train"
to come.

Among those who were waiting was Ward Hill. Apparently he was taking but
little interest in what was going on about him.  He nodded or quietly
responded to the greetings he received from the waiting people, but that
was all.  Back and forth along the gravel path which led across the
country road to the station, he walked, but he seldom took his eyes from
the distant bend in the road where the smoke of the coming locomotive,
he was well aware, would first appear.  For Ward was expecting a friend
to arrive by that same "afternoon train." Early that morning he had
received a telegram, a most unusual experience in his life.  Even now he
could feel the thrill as he tore open the yellow envelope and read the

Am coming on afternoon train.  Meet me at the station.  SPECK.

Once more he took the message from his pocket and re-read it.  He smiled
as he placed it again in his coat and a softer expression came over his
face. However the other boys in that far-away Weston school might feel
toward him, Speck, or John Hobart, as his name had appeared in the
catalogue, at least was true to him.

"Dear old Speck," thought Ward, as a vision of the school and his
experiences there in the preceding year rose before his mind.  And yet
it was evident that the recollection was not entirely pleasing.  To Ward
it had largely been a year of failure.  He thought of his own high hopes
when he had entered, and then the picture of his gradual but sure
descent could not be forgotten.  How he had neglected his work and been
drawn into the company of those who were no credit to the school, to
their parents, or to themselves!  How he had failed at the very time
when he had been most eager to show what he could do!  He had won no
prize, had failed in the final examinations, and by his one attempt to
do right, had incurred the anger of "the fellows," and at last had
departed from Weston feeling very like an outcast.  The bright spots had
been the friendship of Jack Hobart, and the strong confidence which Mr.
Crane, the teacher of Latin, had expressed in his ability to recover
himself and in a measure make good the time he had lost.  All summer
long that final interview with Mr. Crane had been his inspiration, and
Ward had worked faithfully in his endeavor to make up the work he had

There had been times when he had felt that he must give it all up.  The
days when his friend Henry Boyd and some of his companions had come for
him to go with them sailing down the bay and out along the shore of the
ocean, which he could see every morning from the window of his room in
his father’s house, had been the most difficult for him, but somehow he
had roused himself and kept steadily at his task.  Then too, there had
been days when the sun had been almost like a ball of fire, and the very
air he breathed had seemed almost like the hot breath of a furnace, and
it had required the exertion of all his will power to continue at his
studies.  And will power had never been Ward Hill’s strongest point.

His father had not spoken to him all summer long concerning his work,
for he had gently informed Ward, at the close of his disastrous year at
Weston, that the future lay entirely with him.  He was willing to do his
utmost for the boy whom he loved, but he never should insist now upon
his return.  If he made up his work and desired to go on, he would
sacrifice and do his utmost for him, but as for sending him when he
himself had no desire to go--that was an impossibility.

Ward had felt the justice of his father’s words, but his heart had been
none the less hungry for the words of encouragement which were not
spoken. He little realized how difficult it had been for his father to
remain silent, and with what tender solicitude he had watched the course
of his only boy; but Mr. Hill had been governed largely by the advice of
his friend, Dr. Gray, the head of the Weston school, who had keenly
realized the crisis which had come in the lad’s life.  The issues of
life have always to be settled by us alone, and all the advice and
sympathy of the very best of our friends can never take the place of
that decision and exertion which must come, if ever success is to be
won, from the individual soul itself.

And Ward had done his best.  All summer long he had kept steadily at his
task.  An occasional letter from Mr. Crane had given him some
encouragement at the time when he had needed it most; for there was no
man whom he respected more and none, with the single exception of his
own father--whom Ward, in spite of his failures, dearly loved--for whom
he cherished a stronger feeling of affection.  After all, perhaps Ward
Hill was learning what we all come to know sooner or later, that there
is no such thing as a genuine love which does not have a feeling of deep
respect as its basis.

And yet what a summer it had been!  It had brought almost no pleasure to
him.  The other boys had been free to come and go as they chose, but for
Ward there was only the steady grind of work--work which was all
unnecessary he knew, for if he had only been reasonably faithful to his
duties in the school, he too might have had the summer to spend as every
vacation ought to be spent.  For him there had been no sailing parties,
no fishing trips, nothing but the hard and steady work.  Even his friend
Henry Boyd had soon let him alone when he saw that Ward was not inclined
to join with his companions in the sports of the summer days.

Ward had been almost inclined to blame his friend for his neglect,
although he well knew he was himself the only one at fault; but then
that is a tendency which seems to be in the hearts of us all.  It is
almost always some one else who is at fault, we fondly believe, for our
own shortcomings and failures.  Few of us have the moral courage to look
squarely at ourselves and to call everything by its proper name.
However, Ward had not cherished any ill will, and perhaps smarting under
the sense of his failures, had preferred to be let alone.

He glanced up at the pastures that stretched away beyond the station at
Rockford.  How the grass had withered and curled beneath the influence
of the hot August sun!  A fitting picture, he thought, of his own summer
vacation.  All his plans had been thwarted and every hope blasted by the
failure he had made at Weston.  The fields all parched and sere seemed
something like his own life.  And Ward felt quite like a youthful
misanthrope, only it is likely he had never heard that word used, or
never had thought of its meaning.

But July had gone and the most of August had now passed.  The time when
he must return to Weston, if he returned at all, would soon be at hand.
And Ward Hill had not yet fully decided that question.  There were times
when he thought he certainly would go back and redeem himself, but when
he thought of the unpopularity which had overtaken him near the close of
the year, and of what he must face if he should return, his heart almost
failed him, and it seemed to the troubled boy as if he never could enter
Weston again.  The only source of comfort he had was the knowledge that
the work at last had been completed and he felt reasonably sure of his
ability to pass the examination in which he had failed, and now could go
on with his class in case he decided to enter the school again.

His thoughts were interrupted by the distant whistle of the engine, and
the far-away cloud of smoke and dust proclaimed the approach of the

In a moment signs of life began to appear about the little station.  The
man who for years had carried the mails picked up the mail pouch and
approached the place where he knew by long experience the mail car would
stop.  The station-master put on his cap, his sole badge of office, the
small boys ceased from their antics, those who were to leave Rockford
gathered up their bags and bundles, and all came out from the station
and stood waiting for the approaching train.

Ward too was thoroughly interested now, and took his stand a little
apart from the crowd.  On came the rumbling cars, gradually slackening
their speed, and at last directly in front of him they came to a rest,
the locomotive still puffing as though to add its part to the little
station’s excitement.

And there was Jack, standing upon the platform and gazing eagerly about
him for his friend.  In a moment he spied him, and flinging his
traveling bag before him upon the ground, he leaped lightly from the
platform and made a dash for Ward.

In a moment he had flung his arm about the neck of his friend and was
shaking him eagerly by the hand.  Ward, who was a somewhat reserved lad
and never very demonstrative in his displays of affection, instead of
feeling somewhat abashed by the exuberance of his friend, was greatly
touched, and for a moment his eyes were filled with tears.  Jack was so
different from all the boys he had ever known.  No matter what he might
say or do, no one could take any exception to him.

"I say, Ward," said Jack eagerly, "this is the best sight my poor old
eyes have looked upon all summer.  You don’t know how I have looked
forward to this day and how glad I am to see you."

"And I am just as glad to see you," said Ward, returning the pressure of
his friend’s hand.

"Glad?  Well, I should say!  That’s a fine word to use in welcoming your
long-lost friend and brother after he’s taken the dirtiest ride he ever
took in his life, and all just to look into your eyes again.  Glad?  Why
don’t you say you’re teetotally overcome, so to speak.  Say you’re wild
with joy and you ’would that your tongue could utter the thoughts that
arise in you.’  Isn’t that what the doctor used to say was the proper
thing in our English class?"

"I believe so," replied Ward, laughing more heartily than he had all

"Well, say it then!  It seems to me you’re trying to put it that you
would that your tongue could stammer the thoughts that surge up in your
massive brain.  Why the very calves of Rockford are glad I’ve come," he
added, as there came a louder blast of lamenting from the pen.  "I say,
Ward, what are they there for?  Are they calves which you have specially
fattened up for the return of the prodigal?"

"They’re fatter now than they will ever be again, I’m afraid," said Ward

"It was mighty kind of you to have a whole yard full waiting for me.  I
didn’t expect to have but one.  But, then, that’s always the way with
Ward Hill.  He’s capable of doing a heap more than he ever lets on.  But
I say, old fellow, you don’t know how glad I am to see you.  It’s driven
every freckle on my face out of sight."

And the impulsive Speck again held his friend out at arm’s length and
gave him a look in which all his boyish love seemed to find expression.

Ward picked up his friend’s traveling bag and together the boys started
up the quaint winding street of the old village, on their way to his
home, Jack meanwhile chattering on of all his summer experiences, and of
what he had heard from the other boys.

"Here we are!" he shouted as they came in sight of Ward’s home.  "It’s
just the same, only better than it was.  Hold on a minute, Ward," he
added as they stopped by the gate.  "I’ve got one thing to say to you,
and I want to say it right now.  You’re going back to Weston, aren’t
you?  Your letters haven’t been very satisfactory, and I must know. Tell
me.  Tell me, quick!"

"I don’t know," replied Ward evasively.  "We’ll talk about that later.
Here’s mother waiting for you."

The boys turned quickly and walking rapidly up the flower-bordered path
were warmly welcomed by Mrs. Hill, and then at once entered the house.

                              *CHAPTER II*

                         *WARD HILL’S DECISION*

After dinner that same evening Henry Boyd came over and joined them, and
for a long time the three boys sat on the vine-shielded piazza and
talked about the experiences of the preceding year at Weston. At times
their laughter could have been heard far up the street, for Jack Hobart
was not one to permit quiet long to reign where he was.

Ward’s father and mother, who had not remained with the boys after they
saw that the conversation had turned to school topics, were none the
less rejoiced at the change which the coming of Jack wrought in their
boy.  His laugh was the merriest of the three, and for a time it seemed
as if the gloom which had rested over Ward all summer long had

"I’ve heard from lots of the fellows," Jack was saying, "and I can tell
you we’re going to have the best year at Weston we have ever seen.  Why,
even Tim Pickard is coming back."

"Tim?" said Henry quickly, "Why, I thought he had been expelled and
never could come back again."

"Oh, Tim’s made it all up with Dr. Gray.  He’s seen the error of his
ways and wants to turn over a new leaf.  He’s promised all sorts of
things and has been studying hard with a tutor.  I really think Tim
means what he says too.  He’s not such a bad fellow, you know, after
all.  He’s had too much money and his mother’s dead, you know, and so
there was no one to look after him besides his father, and he was too
much interested in stocks and things to give any attention to his own
flesh and blood. I believe he has written some such stuff to the doctor
and promises to do his part too in looking after Tim.  He’s even said
he’d see to it that Tim shall have only a dollar a week for spending
money. Poor Tim!" added Jack with a laugh.

"If he’ll only keep it up," said Henry soberly.

"Yes, if he’ll only keep it up," repeated Jack. "That’s the rub, I know.
Tim means what he says now; no doubt about that.  He’s even going to
take a room alone down at Ma Perrins’, so that he’ll be out of the way
of temptation and me."  And Jack’s merry laugh rang out at the words.
"Honestly, I don’t know about his holding out though.  I have my own
opinion about that, but I don’t mean to prophesy evil of any fellow.
And then Tim’s going to have some things in his favor you must remember.
For example, he’ll be out from under the influence of your humble
servant, and that’s no small thing, I’d have you know."

A silence for a brief time followed Jack’s words. Ward felt that Jack in
his words about Tim Pickard was really taking that means to inform him
of some of the problems which would face him upon his return to Weston.
That is, if he should return, for Ward was not yet decided as to what he
would do.

Tim Pickard had been his most bitter enemy.  Even now he could see his
coarse face and hear his brutal laugh.  Could he ever go back and face
him?  The very peacefulness of Rockford came out just then the stronger
by way of contrast with the difficulties he would have to face in the
school.  The croaking of the distant frogs rose on the air, the
fireflies were flitting about in the yard, and the soft mellow light of
the moon was beginning to appear.  It was the very perfection of quiet
and peace.  Here there were no "Tangs," no Tim Pickards, no enmities and
jealousies; while the presence of his father and mother seemed to him
like a shield from everything that was evil.  It was so much more easy
to keep out of trouble in Rockford than it was in Weston. And yet Ward
knew that both his father and mother were intensely eager for him to
return to the school and redeem himself.  Which was better for him, to
go back and face all the possible temptations and difficulties of the
school life, or to remain where he was and be free from them all?  In
his heart Ward knew the answer.  To remain in Rockford would be
virtually playing the part of a coward.  He would not have to meet and
struggle with certain forms of evil there, but it would be a confession
that he was afraid.  He would lose more than he would gain, there could
be no doubt as to that, but the struggle to decide was no easy matter.

Ward Hill had not yet learned the lesson that whether we do right or
wrong depends far more upon ourselves than upon our surroundings.  He
might remain away from all his troubles, and yet he would also stay away
from all that would aid him also.  At first Ward had pleaded that he
might be permitted to go to some other school, but his father had been
firm upon that point.  He had told Ward that he would do his utmost and
his best for him, but if the lad wished to go on with his studies it
must be at Weston and no other place for the coming year.  And Ward had
realized the justice and truth of his father’s demand, and had hot again
urged his request.

"I say, fellows," said Jack, breaking in upon the silence, "whom do you
suppose I saw this summer?"

"I can’t imagine," said Henry.  "Perhaps it was Big Smith."

"Good guess, Henry.  It was that same and no other.  Yes, sir; I was
with my family up in the country, and it seems it was right where Big
Smith lived, but I’d forgotten all about it, if I ever knew. Well, one
day I was walking down the street of the city--it’s a place about the
size of Rockford, you know--and there I came upon his majesty as big as
life, yes, as big as Big Smith.  He made a great time over me, beat
Ward’s reception all to pieces, if he did have all the fatted calves in
the country out to greet me upon my arrival."

"Was he the same at home that he was in Western?" inquired Ward.

"Yes, just the same, only different.  He had the same pompous way with
him, but I tell you, fellows, Big Smith isn’t so bad after all.  He’s
just one of those chaps that’s been spoiled by living in a little place,
where everybody thought he was a great man because he’d once been away
to school.  He’d never had a fair chance to size himself up, so to
speak, and when he got with a crowd of fellows he didn’t know just what
to make of it when they didn’t all fall down before him."

Jack suddenly stopped, realizing then for the first time what he had
said.  Both of his companions were from a little place too, which he had
just declared was not unlike Big Smith’s home.  Perhaps they too had
suffered somewhat from the same cause which had brought about Big
Smith’s unpopularity. Ward, at least, realized in a measure the truth of
Jack’s words as applied to himself, and he felt his cheeks burn.  But
the dusk hid him from the sight of his companions and he said nothing.

"You know, of course, you fellows," said Jack, striving to break a part
of the force of his own words, as he felt rather than saw that an
unfortunate turn in the conversation had arisen, "that I don’t mean that
Big Smith’s ever had any such homes as you have.  He’s had all the
disadvantages without the advantages you have here, and you have all the
advantages without his disadvantages.  I don’t think you fellows half
appreciate what you’ve got here.  But Big Smith’s a horse of another
color. And yet I never saw such a change come over a fellow in my life
as there has in him.  I couldn’t hardly believe my own ears when I heard
him talk."

"Why, what did he say?" said Ward quietly.

"Well, he told me about a talk he had with Mr. Crane before he left
Weston, or it may have been a talk Mr. Crane had with him--I’m not sure
which it was.  It seems that Mr. Crane sent for him and they had a long
confab.  Mr. Crane got him to talking about himself, and finally led him
on until he had expressed his opinion about some of the other fellows
too.  Finally, after he’d told of some things one of the other boys had
done, Mr. Crane turned to him and said in that abrupt way of his,
’Smith, that fellow is making a fool of himself, isn’t he?’ Big Smith
fell into the trap and I can hear his graveyard voice as he said, ’Yes,
he is, and a big one too.’  Upon that Mr. Crane jumped up out of his
chair and looking Big Smith squarely in the face said, ’Well, Smith,
that’s just what you are doing too!’  And then he turned and walked
straight out of the room.  Big Smith laughed while he was telling me all
about it, and said he was never cut up about anything so in all his
life, but he’d been thinking of it all summer, and had about made up his
mind that Mr. Crane had the right of it.  Why, fellows, I almost gasped
for breath.  Think of Big Smith getting off anything like that.  It
doesn’t seem possible to me even now.  Why, if Big Smith can reform
there’s a chance for Tim Pickard, and there must be for me."

"Then he’s going back to Weston, is he?" inquired Henry.

"Yes, sir, and he says he’s going to make Ward and you just bestir
yourselves or he will come up to you."

"That won’t be very much of a task, so far as I’m concerned," said
Henry; "but if he overtakes Ward, he’ll have to rise somewhat earlier in
the morning than he has been accustomed to do."

Ward said nothing.  He was thinking of that conversation Jack had
reported as having taken place between Big Smith and Mr. Crane.  Perhaps
he himself was the very one of whom Big Smith had made the remark that
he had ’been making a fool of himself.’  And it was true; that was the
worst thing about it.  He had played the fool, for a lad of any brains
at all would never have done as he had, he thought bitterly.

"Did you see Pond?  You know he lives in the same place in which Big
Smith does," said Henry.

"No, I didn’t see him," replied Jack; "but I hear he’s off working
somewhere.  At least that’s what Big Smith said.  I hope he’ll come
back; he’s one of the very best fellows in the Weston school."

"That he is," said Ward eagerly; "but he’s not coming back before
Christmas, if he does then."

"Why not?  Have you heard from him?" inquired Jack.

"Yes, he’s written me two or three times.  He’s the only fellow I’ve
heard from, except Jack here and Mr. Crane, though he isn’t exactly a

"Oh, yes he is.  Mr. Crane’s one of the best fellows I ever met, if he
does call me up and set me down hard in the Latin room," said Jack with
a laugh.  "What did Pond write you?"

"He wrote me that he’d have to stay out for the first term and try to
earn some money.  His younger brother is coming though."

"That will be Big Pond and Little Pond then," said Jack.  "I wonder
whether the fresh Pond is as good a ball player as Big Pond is?  We want
to fix the Burrs this fall."

"I don’t believe he’s as much good as that," said Ward, "because his
brother has written me that he’s a slight, delicate little chap, and he
wants me to take him under my wing till he himself comes back."

"Couldn’t be under better, my boy, couldn’t be under better," said Jack.
"But I don’t want his coming to interfere with one of the plans I’ve

"What’s that?" inquired Ward.

"Why, I want you to room with me.  You see, I’ll be left all alone now
that Tim’s going down to Ma Perrins.  I need your feathers to cover me a
good deal more than Little Pond ever could."

Jack spoke eagerly and his strong desire was clearly apparent in his
words.  Ward was deeply touched, but after a brief hesitation, he said
slowly: "No, Jack, I can’t do it.  I hope you don’t feel hurt, or think
it’s because I don’t want to.  But I’ve been thinking it all over, as
we’ve been sitting here. At first I didn’t see how I could go back to
Weston, anyhow.  I thought I’d go up just to pass my examinations and
clear up last year’s work, but since you’ve been talking here I’ve
decided to go back, and pitch into the work and do my level best."

"Good for you, Ward Hill!" said Jack eagerly, springing up from the
steps of the piazza upon which he had been seated, and slapping his
friend delightedly upon the back.  "Good for you!  Why, do you know
that’s just what I came up here for?  I was so afraid you weren’t going
to come that I just couldn’t stand it, so I put straight for Rockford.
Of course I’m sorry you aren’t willing to room with your humble servant,
though I don’t know as I can find it in my heart to blame you for that.
The other thing’s so good though, that I’m not going to shed a tear.
We’ll do up the Burrs in fine style now."

"Hear me out," said Ward quietly.  "I think I’d better go straight back
just as I was, and if Henry here doesn’t mind, I’d like to go in with
him and take the same old room in West Hall and make a fresh start.  If
Henry doesn’t feel like doing that, that will change matters a bit."

"I’m only too glad to do it," said Henry warmly. He said nothing about
Ward’s declining Jack’s offer for he thought he understood exactly how
he felt about it.  He was so rejoiced over Ward’s decision to return
that he was eager to do all in his power to aid him now.

"That fixes it, then," said Jack enthusiastically. "Come, fellows, let’s
let off one of the school yells!"  The three arose and gave the Weston
cheer together.

The noise brought Ward’s father and mother to the door, and as they
appeared Jack shouted: "Ward’s going back with us, Mrs. Hill!  He’s
going to room with Henry and we’ll whip the Burrs and lead the class and
do all sorts of things!"

The Hill household was a happy one that night. Ward’s decision had
wonderfully pleased his father and mother, and he himself was surprised
at the relief which had come to him.  Better than ever before he
realized that it meant a severe struggle for him, but the present weight
at least was lifted from his heart, and in the joy which comes from
facing and overcoming a difficult problem, Ward Hill was happier than he
had been for many weeks past.

On the following day the three boys had a sail on the bay, and then the
"afternoon train" carried Jack out of Rockford.

"Never mind fattening up any more calves for me!" he called from his
place on the rear platform of the last car.  "It’s all right and I’ll
see you in a few days at Weston!"

Two weeks later, just as the sun disappeared behind the western hills,
Ward and Henry alighted from the coach in Weston as it stopped before
the entrance to West Hall, and running lightly up the stairway, soon
entered "seventeen," the same room in which they had begun their
experiences of the preceding year.

                             *CHAPTER III*

                       *MR. CRANE’S EXAMINATION*

Along with all the excitement attending the return of the boys to the
school there was a feeling of depression in Ward’s heart which he could
not entirely shake off.  The walls of the room seemed more bare than
they did in the preceding year, and the undefined dread of meeting his
former companions pressed heavily upon him, now that he found himself
once more in the old familiar place and under the necessity of facing
not only them but himself as well.

The cloud which had rested upon him when he left Weston, while it had
never disappeared, had nevertheless been somewhat dim and hazy when he
had been away from it all, and had had the presence of his father and
mother to strengthen him; but now he was alone, and all his former
feelings returned.  How long it would be before he would see Rockford
again!  And what experiences were likely to be his before the fall term
was ended.

Heavy as his heart was, however, Ward did not refer to his feelings, but
busied himself in arranging the few articles of furniture which
comprised their possessions, and soon the room took on its old and
familiar appearance.  Up the stairs and through the halls the other boys
were rushing, and the sound of the heavy trunks as they were deposited
in the rooms could be continually heard.  Their own door was closed and
no one entered to disturb them, a fact over which Ward secretly
rejoiced, for he was dreading far more than he cared to express, his
first meeting with his fellows.

"There," said Henry at last, "I don’t see that we can do anything more
to-night.  I think we’d better go over and report to the doctor now,
don’t you?"

"Yes," said Ward gloomily.  "It’s got to be done, and the sooner it’s
over the better."

Henry glanced keenly at his friend, but made no further response, and in
a few moments the boys left West Hall and went over to Dr. Gray’s house.
The reception room seemed to be almost filled with boys and their
parents, and Ward was surprised as he noted that many were evidently

As he took his seat he busied himself for a time in carefully observing
his companions and it was not long before he had satisfied himself that
among the new arrivals he would find some who would be congenial to
himself.  His thoughts and observations were both interrupted by the
entrance of the principal, who at once advanced and shook the hands of
Ward and Henry, and after they had delivered the letter they had
brought, they quickly departed.

As they came out again into the broad, shaded street, Ward determined to
carry out a plan he had formed, which was nothing less than to seek out
Mr. Crane at once, and ascertain when his examination upon the work in
which he had failed was to take place.  He said nothing concerning it to
Henry, however, and merely remarking that he would soon be back in the
room, turned and abruptly left his chum.

As he walked slowly over toward East Hall, the building over which Mr.
Crane had charge and in which he had his room, his feeling of anxiety
increased.  Perhaps after all he would be unable to pass his
examination.  He had worked faithfully all summer long and had felt
confident when he left home that he could easily make up the lost work,
but now that the testing time had come all his fears returned.  There
was one thing certain any way, he thought, and that was if he should
succeed in passing Mr. Crane’s tests now, never again would he be found
in such a predicament.  He thought again of the teacher’s words about
its being so much more easy to keep up than to catch up.

"He’s right," said Ward aloud.  "He’s right.  He always is.  I almost
wish Mr. Crane would let me room with him.  I think I could do right
there so much more easily."

He smiled as he thought of the suggestion and realized how absurd it
was.  After all, if he could room with the man whom he so highly
respected and loved, would he be any better for it?  It would be Mr.
Crane’s "right" and not his.  No, he must brace himself to meet his
problems himself.  Ward Hill’s future lay in Ward Hill’s hands.

Just then he came around the bend in the path and East Hall was right
before him.  From every window a light was streaming, and it was evident
that there was to be no lack of boys at Weston this year.  Now and then
a burst of laughter could be heard, and occasionally the words of a song
rose on the still air.  The building seemed to be teeming with life and
spirits, and somehow in the presence of it all Ward felt a wave of
lonesomeness sweeping over him.  The East Hall boys all had good rooms,
plenty of money, and no lack of friends.  His own room seemed to him
bare and chill; money he knew he must use sparingly; and as for friends,
he did not know whether any besides Jack and Henry were left for him
among the boys of the Weston school.

He was now by the stone steps which led up to the first hall, and Mr.
Crane’s room was the first one on the left.  Summoning all his courage,
Ward resolutely approached the door and rapped.

It was opened by Mr. Crane himself, and as he quickly recognized the lad
standing before him, he held forth his hand and said cordially: "Why,
Hill, I’m delighted to see you.  Come in."

Ward entered and seated himself in the chair indicated by his teacher.
He was in almost the very same place where he had been ten weeks before,
and all the memories of that scene came pressing back upon him.  The
recollection was not over-pleasing, and the troubled boy was hardly able
to speak.  He had thought many times of the very words he would use when
he first saw Mr. Crane again, but they were gone from him now.

Mr. Crane, apparently not noticing Ward’s embarrassment, began to speak
of the experiences of the summer.

"I took a long tramp among the Northern hills," he said.  "It was a
thoroughly enjoyable experience to me.  I was alone the most of the
time, and more than once I wished that you were with me. I think you
would have enjoyed it, and I knew that I did."

Ward listened as Mr. Crane went on with his descriptions, and for a
moment almost forgot the purpose of his visit.  Soon it all came back,
however, and unable to restrain himself longer, he broke out with the

"I know I should have enjoyed it, Mr. Crane, but I didn’t have just that
kind of a summer.  I spent every forenoon in going over my work.  I only
had two days off all summer long, and yet I’ve not felt so bad as I
thought I should.  At least I don’t now, for I think I can pass up on my
examinations; that is, if they’re no harder than those you gave at the
end of the year."

"They’ll be no harder," replied Mr. Crane, with a smile.  "Now tell me
about the work you’ve done."

And Ward entered into a detailed account of all the studying he had done
during the summer vacation.

Mr. Crane listened attentively, occasionally interrupting to ask some
question that occurred to him, and at last when the troubled lad had
finished his story, he quietly said:

"And now you think that you can pass any examination I can give you on
the work?"

"Hardly that," said Ward quickly; "but I do think, Mr. Crane, that I can
pass any examination which isn’t any tougher--I mean harder--than the
one you gave the class last June."

"Very well, Hill, I shall take your word for it. You ought to know as
much about it as any one, and if you think you understand the work, I’m

"I don’t understand you," faltered Ward.  "What do you mean?"

"Just what I said, Hill.  All I want of an examination is to satisfy
myself that a boy can go on with his class.  From what you have told me
of your studying, and from what I know of you, I am satisfied you can do
that, and that is all I want.  Of course I shall expect good work from
you, Hill, and you’ll not disappoint me."

"Why, Mr. Crane," said Ward starting up from his seat.  "And I’m not to
take an examination?  Is that what you mean?"


"I never expected anything like that," said Ward much moved.  "I can’t
tell you how much I thank you, Mr. Crane.  It’s not that I’m afraid of
the examination," he added hastily, "but I never even dreamed of your
doing any such thing."

"I trust you are not too much disappointed.  If you are, I can very
readily arrange to meet your wishes," replied Mr. Crane smilingly.
"I’ve told you, however, just how I feel about it, and if I’m content,
why, it seems to me you ought to be."

"I am!  I am!" said Ward hastily, as he bade Mr. Crane good-night and
departed for his room in West Hall.

How different everything appeared now!  The very stars in the heavens
seemed to share in his joy. The songs and laughter that came through the
open windows of the great dormitory behind him now seemed to voice his
own feelings.  In his eagerness he began to run and as he entered West
Hall he mounted the steps two at a time and burst into his room.

"Oh, Henry----"

He suddenly stopped as he saw that there were three boys besides Henry
in the room.  One was Jack, and in a moment that impulsive lad was
welcoming him.

"I say, Ward," said Jack, "I’m just in.  I didn’t stop over in East Hall
longer than to leave my grip before I put straight for your room.
Behold, I looked for you and you were not.  You’ve been looking me up, I
know.  That’s just what you’ve been doing.  I don’t believe I’d have
come back to Weston if you hadn’t come!"

"I’ve been over to see Mr. Crane and fix up my conditions," said Ward.

"Got ’em all fixed?"

"Yes, every one."

"Good for you, Ward!  Good for you!  Oh, I say, I haven’t introduced the
new fellows to, you.  This," he added turning to a well-grown lad,
evidently of about their own age, "this is Lucius Berry.  He’s going to
enter our class, and from what I hear he’s going to make you hustle to
get the valedic."

Ward greeted the new member of the class cordially, and then Jack said,
"This is Pond’s baby brother."

The lad flushed at Jack’s words, and Ward hastened to take him by the
hand and assure him of a warm welcome.  He was a slight, delicate boy,
and while he bore a striking resemblance to his older brother, of whom
almost every boy in the Weston school was very fond, it was also evident
that he was not nearly so strong and well as he.  Ward wondered that he
should ever have been permitted to leave home, and as he thought of the
experiences through which the sensitive lad was bound to pass if he
remained through the year, his own heart went out to him and he resolved
that so far as it lay within his power he would do his utmost for him.

For a half-hour the boys sat and talked together. The prospects of the
nine, the new members of the school, the rooms they were to have, were
all gone over, and Ward in the new joy which had come to him at Mr.
Crane’s words was thoroughly happy.

"Little Pond," as Pond’s younger brother was at once dubbed, explained
that his brother expected to return at the opening of the following term
and that meanwhile he was working in the home village store to secure
the means.

"He’s got the best kind of stuff in him!" said Jack enthusiastically.
"Talk about money giving a fellow his place in the Weston school!  Why,
Pond’s the most popular boy that’s been here in years.  I think I’d be
glad to change places with him myself, that is, if he’d give me his
brains in the bargain. Just imagine me if you can, calling out, ’Yes,
this calico is five cents a yard.  Those eggs are fresh, for Mrs. Green
brought them, and she never has any but the best, you know.
Clothespins?  Yes, I think we have a few, and I’ll measure you off a few
yards of this cotton cloth if you say the word.’"

The boys all laughed as Jack went through the motions as if he were a
clerk in a country store and were measuring off the goods some good
woman had decided to purchase.  "But I say, fellows, it’s hard for the
nine, though, with Pond gone.  But Berry here is a good player.  He was
the captain of the nine in the school he came from before he learned of
the advantages of the Weston school.  There only can you find such
fellows as Jack Hobart and Ward Hill, and such teachers as Blake and Big
Smith, for I’m of the opinion that Dr. Gray will call Big Smith into the
faculty this fall.  He’ll have to do it, or Big Smith will fire the

Jack thrust his thumbs into his hip pockets and strutted about the room
as he talked, and to Ward his manner and bearing seemed irresistibly
droll. But then, Ward Hill was in a mood to enjoy almost anything that

"I say, Berry," said Jack stopping suddenly before the new boy, "your
name’s Lucius, isn’t it?"

"Yes," replied Berry.  "I’ve told you so once or twice already."

"So you have.  So you have," said Jack.  "But somehow, I forget so
easily.  Why, I’ve actually been known to forget the case and gender of
a noun in Mr. Crane’s class, haven’t I, Ward?  Lucius, Lucius," he added
as if he were puzzled by the name. "I have it now.  You shall be no more
Lucius. From this time forth your name shall be Luscious.  Luscious
Berry!  Oh, what a name!"

All the boys laughed heartily at Berry’s new name, Berry himself joined
good-naturedly in the laugh as he said: "I thought I’d shaken that name
off when I came to Weston.  It’s the very same name they gave me in the
other school."

"Jack," said Ward suddenly, "has Tim Pickard come back?"

"Yes," said Jack, sobered in a moment.  "Yes, Tim’s here.  He’s going to
room alone at Ma Perrins’, you know, this year."

Ward’s face clouded and he knew from the change in Jack’s manner that
something was wrong, though he could not determine just what it was.
The fun, however, was gone, and in a few minutes Jack rose and said:
"Come on, Luscious, we’ll have to go over to our room.  He’s to room
with me, you know," he added turning to Ward.  "He’s come all properly
recommended and all that sort of thing, so I’ve agreed to take him in.
Good-night, Henry. Good-night, Puddle--a little Pond’s a puddle, isn’t
it?  Good-night, Ward.  Your vertebrae are in their proper tension I
hope, and your upper lip is sufficiently rigid, my dear young friend, I

The boys were gone, but Jack’s last words were not lost upon Ward.  He
understood his friend so well that he was satisfied Jack knew of some
coming trial for him.  And Ward tried to prepare himself for the trouble
which he feared was soon coming, although he had slight conception that
night of how soon it was to come.

                              *CHAPTER IV*

                           *A CALL FOR HELP*

"I’m going down to Mr. Blake’s room a minute," said Henry when Jack and
his new room-mate had departed.  "I sha’n’t be gone long."

"All right," replied Ward, as he turned to talk with the younger Pond,
who had remained as if he had something he wished to speak about.
"Well, Pond," he added, after he had seated himself near him, "how do
you like Weston?"

"I think I shall like it after I’ve become better acquainted.  Of
course, I’ve heard my brother tell so many things about it, that it
doesn’t seem exactly like a new place to me.  And he’s told so many
things too about the boys, that it almost seems to me as if I had always
known them."

"I’m afraid you haven’t always heard good things then, if he’s told you
about the boys.  I’m sure the list of good things wouldn’t be very long
in my case."

"He told me he liked you better than any boy in the school," said young
Pond eagerly.  "I never heard him say one word against you, except that
you didn’t work very hard.  He declared he never would have been able to
lead the class if you had put in half the time he did, on your studies."

"That’s kind of him," said Ward laughingly, although he was touched by
the evident earnestness of the boy before him.  "Is this the first time
you’ve ever been away from home?"

"Yes.  And I fear I’m going to be homesick too."

"Oh, you mustn’t mind that!" said Ward as philosophically as if such
feelings were an every-day matter in his life.  "You’ll get over that
all right."

"That’s what my brother said.  And he told me too, that I should need
some one to look after me a bit and help to keep me out of the clutches
of the ’Tangs,’ or some such things.  I don’t know just what he meant,
only he said if I would come to you, that you would help me till he came
back next term."

For a moment Ward was silent.  The "Tangs" had not once been mentioned
during the summer, and both Henry and Jack had been silent concerning
them.  But Ward, although he did not know what course Jack would follow,
had decided that for himself safety lay only in breaking with them.  But
his heart was not entirely free from fears or misgivings when he thought
of the possible consequences for himself.  And here was Pond’s younger
brother coming to him with the utmost confidence for protection against
the very boys whom he most feared himself.  He glanced again at the lad
before him.  What a slight, delicate little fellow he was. And yet what
a bright, eager expression he had. He would have no difficulty in his
classes; Ward felt certain of that; but what would he do if the boys
began to trouble him?

"You come to me, Pond, whenever you’re in trouble, and I’ll do my best
for you," he finally said, unable to resist the unspoken as well as the
spoken appeal of the slight boy before him.

"Thank you!  Thank you!" replied Pond, rising from his chair and
departing just as Henry returned.

It was late on the following morning when Ward and Henry started to go
to the dining hall, and they met many of the boys who already had eaten
their breakfast.  Ward secretly felt relieved at the fact, for the
meeting with the boys was what troubled him most.  He had been in
trouble when the preceding year had closed, and unpopularity was
something of which Ward Hill stood in greater fear than of anything
else.  How he would be received now was the constantly pressing
question, but its solution would soon come, for "chapel" would bring all
the boys together, and he would not long be left in doubt as to his
position among his fellows then.

The chapel bell was ringing when Ward and Henry hastily left the Hall,
or "hash house" as the building was commonly known, and they hastened
back to their rooms to secure their books before they ran swiftly up the
walk which led to the chapel. Even then there was the usual delay on the
part of some of the students, and Jack Hobart was leading a band of
delinquents as the bell began to give out the sharp short strokes that
indicated the end of its summons.

"String out there!  String out, you fellows!" called Jack, as he caught
sight of Ward and Henry, meanwhile striving hard to button his collar
and adjust his tie.

This time Ward understood the meaning of the hail far better than when
he had first heard it in the preceding year, and ceasing to run, he
approached the building more slowly, thus giving Jack and the other
delinquents an opportunity to overtake them and secure their seats
before the bell ceased to be rung and the doors were closed.

Their seats now were in the section which belonged to the seniors.  Last
year how he had looked up to the boys who occupied these seats.  Ned
Butler was there then, and others whom Ward had deeply respected.  Was
any one looking up to him as he had looked up to that marvelous class
which had been graduated in the preceding June?  Just then he caught a
glimpse of young Pond, who was evidently far from feeling at his ease in
the midst of the strange scene.

But Dr. Gray then arose and the low murmur which had filled the chapel
became hushed as the exercises were begun.  Then followed a talk from
the doctor concerning the work of the year which lay before them, and
Ward could not repress a smile as Jack Hobart looked solemnly at him and
held up four fingers of one hand, thereby indicating that this was the
fourth occasion on which he had listened to the same "lecture" from the
good old man. However, the words were well worthy of repetition and Ward
was soon interested and listened attentively.  Directions were given the
new boys concerning the rooms and places in which they were to report,
and then each class was told what was to be expected of it on that day,
and the boys arose and started toward the doors.  Ward now knew that the
testing time had come, and he would soon understand just what he had to
expect from his old companions.  Summoning all his resolution as he
passed out, he saw Tim Pickard standing with a group of boys, and at
once turned and approached him holding out his hand and endeavoring to
appear calm and indifferent.

"Hello, Tim.  Glad to see you back again."

Tim Pickard turned and looked insolently at Ward.  There was not a gleam
of recognition or pleasure expressed upon his face.  He looked at Ward
just a moment and then, ignoring the outstretched hand and the
salutation alike, he turned again to the boys before him and resumed his
conversation with them.

Ward’s face flushed crimson, and at first he felt as if he could not
control the feeling of anger which surged up in his heart.  Who was Tim
Pickard, that he should treat him in such a manner?  Had he not been
expelled from the school?  Did not every fellow in the school know just
what he was? Had any one forgotten the escapades of the coarse-fibred
boy?  Ward’s heart sank quickly, however, when he thought of his own
record in the preceding year.  If Dr..  Gray was willing to receive Tim
Pickard back into the school for another trial, who was he to complain?
And how much better after all was he than Tim?

Ward caught the words "sneak" and "bootlick," which Tim had uttered as
he had turned again to his companions, and realized then just what he
would have to face.  Tim Pickard’s anger, the enmity of the "Tangs," and
a series of petty annoyances which would be bound to follow him now
perhaps all through the school year, must be met.

It seemed to the troubled boy as if every one in his class was against
him, for he received but a friendly nod or a slight recognition as he
hurried into the Latin room and took his old familiar place. Jack
already was in the chair next to his and Ward at once perceived from the
expression on his face that he was aware of the state of the feeling in
the school.

"Never mind, Ward," he whispered, as his classmate took his seat; "just
you keep in mind what I told you about the condition of your vertebrae,
and the region of your upper lip.  It’ll all come out right."

To do Ward Hill justice we must say that there was a feeling in his
heart which did not promise to be altogether bad.  It is true he was
hurt and angry as he recognized what lay before him, perhaps more angry
than hurt, but he was determined now not to be crushed, or "downed," as
he termed it. Mr. Crane kept the class but a few moments, only long
enough to assign lessons and to make a few general suggestions, and then
dismissed them.

As they filed out of the room, Jack said: "Ward, will you come over to
my room now?"

"No," replied Ward quietly.  "I think I’ll go over to West and get a
little start in my work.  If I’m to be valedic, you know, I must begin
early."  Ward smiled slightly as he spoke, but he could not entirely
conceal the depression which now swept over him.  "Never mind, Speck,
don’t worry about me," he quickly added as he saw the sympathy expressed
upon his friend’s face; "I’m going to come through it all right.  I’m
not for giving up yet, anyway. I’ll come over to see you after a bit;
but just now I think I’ll go to my room."

"All right," said Jack heartily, evidently appreciating Ward’s desire to
be alone.

Ward walked slowly over toward West Hall.  He felt as if nearly all his
companions would be against him now.  Tim Pickard, in spite of his
well-known character, was still a good deal of a leader, and his wealth
and success as an athlete added greatly to his power over the boys.  He
could not repress the wish that Doctor Gray had not permitted Tim to
return, for he must have known what every boy in the Weston school
thought of him, and must also have known that there was very slight
prospect of Tim’s ever advancing.  But here he was, and Ward must face
the conditions which were before him.  There was to be no escape now.

He entered his room and at once began to study. It was difficult for him
to hold himself to his work, but he succeeded in a measure, and when two
hours later Henry entered, Ward had much of his work done.  So far as
his class work was concerned he could look forward with confidence to
what was to come on the morrow.

Throughout the day Ward found that his only consolation was in busying
himself in some work.  When he went down to the boarding hall he had but
little to say to his companions, and returned at once to his room.

The day somehow passed and after the evening meal, when he had seated
himself before his study table to write his first letter home, Big Smith
suddenly entered the room, and said:

"Why, Ward, I haven’t seen you to speak to you before.  Where have you
kept yourself?"

"I haven’t been very far away," replied Ward with a smile.

His heart had never been drawn to the boy before him, but in times like
the present even the friendship of Big Smith was not to be lightly cast
aside.  Ward Hill could endure anything better than the ill-will of his

"Well, I’m glad to see you," said Big Smith solemnly.  "I sincerely
trust you are going to do better this year than you did last."

"I hope so too," said Ward; "and I’m not without hope," he added
solemnly, and striving to imitate exactly the tones Big Smith had used,
"that you too will be able to improve."

"Let us hope so.  Let us hope so.  Doubtless there is room for us all.
But, Ward, I’m not so much afraid of you as I am of Tim Pickard.  I
don’t see why the doctor ever permitted him to return.  I shouldn’t, I’m
sure of that."

Ward’s face flushed and an angry retort rose upon his lips, but he
restrained himself, and Big Smith continued:

"Yes, I confess, I’m not overmuch rejoiced over Tim’s return.  He’s a
good man for the nine, we all know that; but I fear he may be a
disturbing element in the school.  Not with me," he hastily added, "but
I fear for you, Ward, I do, indeed."

Still Ward managed in some way to keep silent, though, as he afterward
explained it, he never understood just how it was done.

"Even now," continued Big Smith, "I hear that Timothy is at work again.
My brother informs me that he and some of his cronies have beguiled
young Pond down on the ball ground and are tormenting him there."

"What?  What’s that, you say?" said Ward quickly, leaping from his seat
as he spoke, and without waiting for his question to be answered he
seized his hat and ran swiftly out of the room. Down the stairs he
rushed, three steps at a jump, and out along the pathway that led to the
ball ground.

One thought possessed him now--Little Pond was in trouble.  Ward
recalled his own promise to aid him, and now that the lad was suffering
at the hands of Tim Pickard two feelings drove him on. One was his
compassion for Pond and the other was his anger at Tim.

It was dusk, the sun having disappeared, but the darkness not as yet
having settled over all.  He ran swiftly forward and as he came near the
ball ground he stopped as he heard a shout of laughter coming from that
direction.  It seemed to him he could hear Tim Pickard’s voice above the
others, but he did not stop to question as he again ran swiftly forward.

He soon came to the brow of the low hill that looked down upon the
field.  There he stopped for a moment and looked before him.  He could
see that four or five boys were there and there was something in the
midst which at first he could not make out.  Soon, however, he could see
what it was.  It was a baby carriage and some one was lying strapped
upon it.

"Look out now, gentlemen," he heard some one of the boys call.  "We have
here the finest specimen of the infant terrible ever yet seen.  _Genus
homo_, order----"

"Don’t!  Please don’t!" Ward heard some one pleadingly say.  The voice
was that of young Pond and the other speaker he now knew was Tim

The pleadings were not heeded, however, and with a rush the boys started
with the baby carriage over the rough ground.

Again Ward could hear the pleadings of the frightened lad and the sound
was more than he could bear.  In an instant he started down the hillside
at his highest speed and ran swiftly on toward the noisy group.

                              *CHAPTER V*

                              *A WARNING*

Ward had drawn near the group before his presence was discovered.  The
deepening dusk and the sheltered position of the ball ground had made
the boys who were tormenting Little Pond almost reckless, so secure did
they feel from detection.  As a consequence he was close upon them
before any one perceived him.

"Now shake the infant up!  Bye, baby, bye!  That’s a good little boy.
We’ll give him a good ride, so we will!"

There was no mistaking that voice, it could be none other than Tim
Pickard’s, and Ward could see that he was holding the handle of the
carriage and was preparing to make another rush with the unfortunate lad
who lay stretched upon it.

"Look out!  Look out!" called one of the boys suddenly, as he caught
sight of the approaching form.  "Some one’s coming.  Let’s get out of

In an instant Tim’s companions scattered and fled in the darkness, while
Tim himself looked about him in surprise, as if he were not yet able to
account for the sudden departure of his friends.

Ward was close upon him now, and without hesitating an instant he rushed
upon the tormentor of Little Pond with such force that he was sent
headlong and rolled over and over upon the ground before he could regain
his foothold.

Ward had not fully realized what he would have to meet in the struggle,
for he had thought that he would be set upon by all the assembled
mischief-makers together; but the cry of Little Pond had banished all
other thoughts from his mind, and he had gone recklessly to the aid of
the lad.  He had not counted at all upon the results which quickly

As soon as Tim could recover himself he ran swiftly off in the darkness
in the direction in which his companions had disappeared, and in a
moment no one was left upon the scene except Ward and the lad, who still
was lying fast bound and in an exceedingly uncomfortable position upon
the top of the baby carriage.

Doubtless the fears in the heart of Tim and his companions had either
exaggerated the number of those who were approaching, or they had
thought some of the teachers were making a descent upon them, and in the
latter event Tim most of all would have found a very serious problem to

At any rate, they had all disappeared so quickly that Ward could hardly
believe at first that he was left alone.  He waited a moment to see if
any would return, his blood boiling, and the feeling of anger in his
heart making him almost reckless of any consequences that might befall
him for his hasty but generous action.

As soon as he was satisfied that no one was coming back he turned to
young Pond, and as he unbound the straps by which he had been held fast,
he said:

"What’s the meaning of this?  How came you to be here?"

"I don’t know.  I was walking along the path over by the chapel when
three fellows rushed at me, and before I knew what they were about they
were rushing me down here upon the ball ground.  One of them tied his
handkerchief over my mouth, but I tore it off.  I didn’t want to cry
out, but I couldn’t help it.  They didn’t seem to think any one could
hear me and so left it off."

"Are you hurt?"

"Not much, though my back pains me.  You see, they picked me up and tied
me in the carriage so that my head and shoulders hung over the back, and
every time they made a rush it seemed to me as if they would break me
straight in two."

"How long have you been here?"

"I don’t know; it seems as if it must have been days, but I don’t
suppose it was more than half an hour.  I thought they’d never stop."

"Do you know who the fellows were?"


"Who were they?"

"I don’t think I’ll tell, Ward.  It wouldn’t do any good; and besides, I
may be mistaken, you know. No, I’d rather not tell you if you don’t

"You don’t need to," said Ward quietly.  "I know who they were.  At
least I know who one was, and I rather think he’ll not forget his tumble
very soon, either.  But come on now, it’s time we were in our rooms.
There goes the study bell now, and we’ll be marked late if we don’t look
out.  Come on."

Both boys started quickly toward West Hall, and on their way they met a
group of five boys, one of whom was Tim Pickard.  They too were heading
for their rooms, but the recognition was mutual, and Ward instantly
realized that his own troubles were likely to be multiplied by that
fact.  However, he said nothing to his companion.  In a few moments they
entered West Hall; but the bell had ceased ringing several minutes
before, and as they went up the stairway they met Mr. Blake face to

"Late are you, Hill?" said the teacher.  "I’m sorry to see that so early
in the term.  And you have one of the younger boys with you too!" he
added as he saw who Ward’s companion was.  "That’s too bad, Hill, that’s
too bad.  You ought not to get the little fellows into trouble too.
It’s quite enough for you to get into it yourself.  If this happens
again, Hill, I shall report it to Dr. Gray."

It had been in Ward’s heart to explain the cause of his tardiness, or at
least to try to shield his companion, but as Mr. Blake talked on, he
resolutely shut his lips together and without a word of explanation went
on up to his room, while Little Pond also departed to his.

As Ward entered the room Henry looked up in surprise, and Ward felt that
there was an implied rebuke in his glance.  Repressing the feeling of
anger which at first arose, he soon explained to his chum the exciting
scene he had just witnessed, and as he finished, Henry said:

"That was a mean trick!  They might have broken the little fellow’s
back.  It was Tim Pickard at the bottom of it, I suppose."

"Yes," said Ward quietly.

"Well, never mind, Ward," said Henry quickly. "Probably he’ll turn his
attention to you now; but I think you’ll be able to stand it."

"I shall try to," said Ward with a smile, as he seated himself at his
study table, and taking up his books began his preparation of the
lessons for the following day.  And he studied hard all that evening.
His heart was still hot and his feelings were bitter whenever he thought
of the brutal treatment of Little Pond, and yet he did not once pause to
consider that a year before this time he might have been one of the very
boys to be foremost in such a scrape, and call it good fun.  Now,
however, it seemed to him like a very cowardly act.  He had felt a very
strong personal liking for the elder Pond, and the letters he had
received from him, as well as the appeal of the little fellow himself,
had worked strongly upon his own heart.  Besides all that, it was such
an entirely unusual experience for him to be approached for aid that it
was a new motive in his heart which was stirred now.  Hitherto, he had
been the one to seek help.  Now he was a senior, and the feeling of
respect with which he had looked to the older boys when he had entered
the Weston school must be very like that which Pond’s brother now felt
toward him.

Ward enjoyed the feeling too.  The cry of Little Pond for aid came back
to him frequently and he had fully resolved before the evening passed
that he would "see the little fellow through," which was the way in
which he expressed his determination to see that the lad was not put
upon or tormented by Tim Pickard or any of his boon companions.

Still, when the morning came Ward was hardly prepared for the
consequences which soon followed his action.

When he entered the post office he found a letter awaiting him there,
which evidently had been written by some boy, for the handwriting
plainly showed that, and the postmark was Weston.

He hastily tore open the envelope and then read the enclosed letter,
which was as follows:

WESTON SCHOOL, September 18, 19--


You are hereby notified that you have been expelled from the ancient and
venerable order of "Orang-outangs."  You have promised never to betray
any of the secrets of the order, but probably you will not keep your
word any better in this case than you do in others.  We want to warn you
though, that your best plan is to leave the school at once.  Don’t
delay, for delays are dangerous.  Your life will not be safe.  You will
be snubbed by the fellows and you will find that everybody, except a few
sneaks, in the whole school is down on you.  If you stay it will be at
your own peril.  Take the advice and follow the warning of the


As Ward looked up after finishing the reading of the letter he saw Tim
Pickard standing in the doorway and regarding him with ill-concealed
hatred. Ward laughed aloud as he saw the boy, and approaching him and
holding out the letter which he had just read, he said:

"There, Tim, you’d better take your letter; I don’t want it.  You may be
able to scare the little fellows in the dark as you did Little Pond last
night, but you can’t scare me.  As for you and the ’Tangs,’ you know I
don’t care that for them," and he snapped his fingers derisively as he
spoke.  "You know as well as I do that I had made up my mind never to
have anything more to do with such fellows.  Perhaps, if you don’t want
the letter, Dr. Gray might care for it," he added as Tim made no
movement to receive it.

Ward was sorry for the words the moment he had uttered them, but they
were gone beyond recall now. He had not the slightest inclination to
give the letter to the principal, and he knew that Tim Pickard was aware
of that fact too; but Tim instantly snatched the letter from his hand
and giving Ward a look of intense hatred turned quickly on his heel and

Ward was inclined to laugh at the entire matter. As for the "Tangs," he
was glad that the break had come.  He had known that his only safety lay
in cutting loose from them, but just how it was to be done he had not
been able to decide.  It had been a topic of conversation to which
neither he nor Jack had referred since the vacation had begun, and now
that the break at last had really come, Ward felt relieved.

As for their threats, he cared little for them.  The most they could do
would be a series of petty annoyances, and in the present state of his
feelings that seemed a very small matter.

Of Tim Pickard’s hatred for him he had no doubt, but that the brutal
leader would be able to annoy him seriously he had no fear.  He had all
those lessons yet to learn, along with some others that were not
indicated in the "course of study" as mapped out in the catalogue of the
Weston school.

When he entered the Latin room that morning and took his seat beside
Jack, he felt rather than perceived that a change of some kind had come
over his companion.  It was nothing that Jack said, nor was it clearly
apparent in his manner, and yet there was an indefinable something about
him that led Ward to think that a change of some kind had come.  For the
first time Ward’s heart misgave him.  Perhaps he had been too bold after
all.  Could he afford to incur the loss of Jack’s friendship for the
sake of a little fellow whom he had never met until a few days before
this time?

His thoughts, however, were soon recalled, and he was giving his entire
attention to the work of the class.  His own lesson had been thoroughly
prepared and when he took his seat after Mr. Crane had called upon him
to recite he felt that he had done well.

Mr. Crane, however, made no comment, and there was no change in the
quiet manner with which he conducted his recitation.  Ward was a trifle
disappointed, as he felt that such work as he was doing was entitled to
a little more recognition than he had received.  However, he gave his
attention to the lesson, and when the class rose to leave the room he
turned to Jack and said:

"It’s this afternoon the nine practises, isn’t it?"

"Yes," replied Jack evasively.

The conversation ceased abruptly, and as Ward passed with the class out
to Dr. Gray’s recitation room, he several times perceived that he
himself was the subject of conversation among the boys.

Striving hard not to appear to notice it, and yet with a sinking heart
realizing that somehow the boys appeared to avoid him, he apparently was
taking his last glimpse at his lesson before entering the recitation
room.  And yet his thoughts were not of the lesson.  Even Jack he
noticed was walking by the side of Berry--Luscious Berry--and if one
might judge from his manner the conversation was highly interesting.
With a heavy heart Ward entered the room, and as soon as the recitation
was ended departed alone for his room in West Hall. Once there, he
seated himself and in a kind of dull misery began to think over his
situation.  The fellows were "cutting" him, there was no doubt of that,
he thought, and even the new boys were looking at him with suspicion.
And yet it was possible for him even now to win back all he had lost;
all he would have to do would be to go in with the "Tangs" again and
enter heartily into their sports and pranks and he would soon have his
position restored.

But what would that position be?  One which would prevent him from doing
good work, first of all, and that was something he was eager to do, at
least for the present.  Soon he would forfeit the good opinion of Mr.
Crane and Dr. Gray, and his steps would begin to slide.  He might win a
certain amount of popularity from such fellows as Tim, but what would it
all amount to?

Then why should he feel called upon to defend Little Pond?  He had been
compelled to fight his own battles when he had entered the school and it
had done him good, or at least so Ward thought. Little Pond would soon
learn to take his own part, and meanwhile a little attention from Tim
might not do him any real harm.

Ward Hill was seriously troubled.  He did not fully realize it, but the
greatest pain in his own heart was over the loss of his popularity among
his fellows.

For this his heart hungered, and as his struggle went on, more than once
his decision wavered.  He was now at the dividing of the ways.  He had
been traveling along a road thus far which, while uneven, had been for
the most part unbroken.  Now the road forked, and if he went on he must
choose either the one branch or the other.

That afternoon was to be the first day of practice for the school nine.
A notice to that effect had been posted upon the bulletin board, and
while no personal invitation had been given him to come, Ward decided to
go.  He must learn the exact condition of affairs, both for his own sake
and to know how to meet the boys, and there would be no better place
than on the ballground.

Accordingly, when the study hour was over, he closed his books and
started for the place, from which as he approached he could hear already
the shouts of the fellows in the game.

                              *CHAPTER VI*

                    *THE BEGINNING OF THE STRUGGLE*

A single glance as he came within sight of the field at once showed Ward
that the nine were already in their places, and were playing against a
scrub team.  Henry was guarding first base, Jack was on second, and his
own position in left field was held by the new boy, Ripley.

Ward understood it all now; it was the intention of Tim Pickard and his
friends to "freeze him out."

He thought for a moment bitterly of the success he had had in the game
with the Burrs in the preceding year, and how in their enthusiasm after
the game was ended, his mates had carried him about on their shoulders,
and the cheers for Ward Hill had been given with a will.

And it had all been sweet to Ward too.  Vanity seemed to have been
intended as a part of the original make-up of every son of Adam, and
while many times it becomes a source of weakness, more frequently it is
an element of power.  Almost every boy is prone to look upon his own
father, for example, with a confidence and admiration he gives no other
man, and rightly too.  The belief in one’s own ability to do things is
no slight element in the possible success which he may achieve.  But out
of proportion, or not in its proper place, or when permitted to become a
controlling power, vanity never fails to become a source of weakness.

This had been as true with Ward Hill as it had been with Big Smith,
although the manner in which it became manifest was so different.  To
measure one’s self justly, to decide honestly what can be done and what
cannot, is ever an element of power, and one of the very best lessons,
as it is almost the first of the necessary ones, to be gained as a boy
goes out from his own home, where his good qualities have frequently
been exaggerated and his poorer ones ignored; and to learn that there
are other boys as bright as he, is a difficult but necessary process. A
school is the most thoroughly and the most honestly democratic place in
all this world, and if a boy finds that there he is not popular with his
mates, instead of blaming them he needs very carefully and honestly to
look within himself to discover the causes.  It is frequently said that
the source of Caesar’s success was his ability to discover what he could
not do and to govern himself accordingly; while the cause of Napoleon’s
downfall is said to have been his inability to perceive what Caesar saw.
But Ward Hill that afternoon was not thinking either of Caesar or
Napoleon.  He was troubled most of all about Ward Hill and the fact that
he had been left off the Weston nine.

His mortification was not diminished when he discovered that both Henry
and Jack were in their regular positions.  Now he understood the meaning
of the change in Jack’s manner.  While he was angry he was not inclined
to blame him, for he understood clearly the disposition of the
light-hearted lad, and knew that he was never one to stand long against
an appeal of almost any kind.

But Henry’s action troubled him.  He had professed so warm a friendship,
and apparently had been so eager to have their former relations
restored, that he could not understand now why he should not have spoken
to him before of the change in the nine.  Perhaps Ward’s bitterness was
a little more intense from the consciousness he had that there was no
better player in the Weston school than he knew himself to be.  That,
however, did not alter the fact that he had been left out, and doubtless
intentionally too.

Ward’s first impulse was to turn quickly and leave, before his presence
had been discovered. Suddenly changing his decision, he quietly turned
about and striving to appear unconcerned advanced and joined the line of
boys who were watching the game. He tried desperately to ignore the
glances which were cast at him from the boys in the line, but he could
not entirely succeed.  Nor could he fail to hear some of the words which
were spoken to some of the new boys concerning himself.

Just then the side was out, and as the members of the nine came slowly
in from the field Tim Pickard spied him.  His face lighted up with a
malicious smile as he turned to his companions and said: "Here’s Ward
Hill, fellows.  He used to be a decent sort of a player.  Can’t we find
a place for him on the scrubs?  The nine needs all the practice it can
get, and he’ll help us out."

"I don’t care to play to-day," said Ward quietly, although he felt his
cheeks flush as he spoke.

His mortification was not diminished when he saw a sardonic grin appear
upon Tim’s face and the brutal boy turn and wink meaningly at his

Ward stood his ground boldly, however, although in his heart he felt
that he was something of a martyr.  It was not just clear to him what
the cause of his suffering was, but his disappointment and
mortification, with which was mingled a feeling of anger, were
uppermost.  Not yet did he clearly see that he was reaping the harvest
of the seed he had sown in the preceding year.  All that came to him now
was the consciousness that he was being treated unjustly, and his whole
soul rebelled, although he felt entirely powerless to change the
condition of affairs.

"Never you mind, Ward," said Jack consolingly, as he sought his friend’s
side as soon as the game was resumed, "it’s all going to come out right
in the end."

Ward smiled a little bitterly, but made no other reply.

"Tim’s got backing enough to keep you off from the nine now, but it
won’t last long.  We’ve just got to have you when it comes to the game
with the Burrs, and that’s all there is about it.  Tim knows that as
well as any one, and if he wants to he can’t keep the fellows back

"Perhaps he can’t, but it takes two to make a bargain.  Maybe I sha’n’t
be so eager as you seem to think I will.  I can’t do as some of the
fellows do, be just the same to everybody, no matter how they act toward

"I know it," said Jack quietly as he picked up a bat, having heard his
name called, and advanced to face the pitcher.

"It’s a shame, Ward!" said Henry who now came up to him.  "It’s a shame,
that’s what it is!  I didn’t know anything about it till I came down on
the field.  I supposed of course you were to have your regular place on
the nine.  If there’s no place for you, there’s no place for me either.
Tim Pickard might as well understand that now as at any other time."

Ward’s feelings were somewhat soothed by Henry’s words, and he deeply
regretted the manner in which he had just spoken to Jack.

It was too late then to recall his words, and he turned to his chum and
said: "No, old fellow, you’re not going to leave the nine on my account.
That would make it all the worse for me, don’t you see? You keep on for
a while, anyway.  I’m going up to see Mr. Crane now.  I think I’ve had
all the exercise I want, at least for to-day."

Henry said nothing more, though he was strongly inclined to leave with
Ward.  He understood thoroughly the sensitive nature of his friend and
appreciated fully the suffering which he must be undergoing now.  But
somehow he felt powerless to aid him, and after watching him until he
disappeared from sight he turned with a sigh and waited for his turn to
bat to come.

Ward walked proudly away from the field.  He was determined to permit no
one to witness his shame, for he felt humiliated and angry.  How was it,
he thought, that such fellows as Tim Pickard could hold and wield such
an influence on the boys? He was not liked, of that he was certain, and
yet in spite of that fact no one in the school apparently had more
followers.  Why had Dr. Gray permitted such a fellow to re-enter the
school?  He had been expelled once; why should he not have been kept
away entirely?  The school certainly would be the better for his

Ward Hill had yet to learn that "Tim Pickards" were not confined to the
Weston school, but that in every place and condition some one stands who
apparently blocks our way and prevents us from being our best and truest

However, Ward was honest enough to feel the force of the thought which
immediately followed. Perhaps if Dr. Gray had been only just, more boys
than Tim Pickard might have been prevented from coming back to the
Weston school.  Where would he himself be but for Dr. Gray’s kindness?

The thought did not tend to lessen his own bitterness, however, and when
at last he entered East Hall and rapped upon the door of Mr. Crane’s
room the lad felt utterly wretched.  It did seem as if all things were
working together for bad, as far as he was concerned.

Mr. Crane quickly opened the door, and if he read the expression of
misery upon Ward’s face he was too wise to mention it.  He greeted him
cordially, and as Ward took the proffered seat, he at once began to talk
cheerfully of the life and work of the school.

He spoke quietly--for Mr. Crane was never one to bestow praise
cheaply--concerning the work which Ward was doing, and succeeded in
drawing from the troubled lad so many of his opinions on matters
pertaining to his home life and experiences in Rockford, that in spite
of himself Ward felt his anger and mortification disappearing for the
time, and was soon feeling quite at his ease.

As soon as he perceived that the cloud had passed, Mr. Crane led the
conversation on to the subjects which he knew were in Ward’s mind, and
although he did not speak one word directly of them, Ward found himself
wondering how much and what the teacher really knew of his troubles.  He
seemed to understand boys almost instinctively, and as Ward listened,
his admiration for the quiet, self-possessed man increased each moment.

"In school life," said Mr. Crane, "there are always two forces which
mostly aid a fellow when he is in trouble, or is trying to build himself
up after a fall. One of these is to feel that there is some one looking
up to him and perhaps depending upon him in many ways.  Dr. Arnold was
accustomed to say that the tone of the school life at Rugby was always
largely determined by the older boys themselves.  What they were and
what they did became the standards for the younger fellows.  I think the
great teacher was exactly right.  I have seen many a fellow here who was
careless, and perhaps worse, when he was in the lower classes,
completely changed when he became a senior.  The very fact that he knew
the younger boys were looking up to him, as he himself had looked up to
those who had been above him when he first entered the school, has
served to draw out his very best qualities.  Yes, I am convinced that
there is nothing which so helps a boy to become a man as to feel that he
is responsible for some one besides himself."

Ward sat silent as Mr. Crane talked, wondering all the while whether he
had learned anything directly concerning him.  Certainly he was
describing the very condition which had appealed very strongly to Ward
after Little Pond’s conversation with him a few nights before this time.

"What was the other thing which helped a fellow, Mr. Crane?" said Ward
at last, looking up at his teacher as he spoke.  "You said there were

"Yes, there’s another great help, and that is his anger."

"His anger?  I don’t think I understand you, Mr. Crane."

"What I mean is this.  At times the only force which will rouse one and
compel him to do his level best is to be aroused by some strong feeling
of anger."

"But I thought that was something which was wrong," replied Ward.  "I
never heard any one speak like that before."

"Perhaps not," said Mr. Crane quietly, yet smiling as he spoke.  "And
yet I firmly believe no boy, or man either for that matter, ever yet did
a great thing without having a feeling of strong anger at the time.  I’m
not talking of your irritable men, nor of bad-tempered men.  But there
are some things which thoroughly arouse a good man, and the better he is
the more will he be aroused.  One who evidently knew of what he was
speaking boldly encouraged us all to ’abhor that which is evil.’  The
picture of the peaceful Man of Nazareth in the temple with a scourge in
his hands often comes up before me.  Do you know, Hill, I have never
cared much for the faces some men have painted as being that of that
wonderful Man.  For myself, I should like to see just how he looked,
that quiet, dignified, gentle soul, when he was aroused as he was in the
temple.  It would be an inspiration to me, I know, in some of the
conflicts that go on within me at times."

As Ward still sat silent, Mr. Crane after glancing quietly and keenly at
him, went on.  "Yes, Hill, that’s exactly what I mean.  No man does his
level best until he is thoroughly aroused, and nothing rouses him like a
just anger.  Why, think of Washington at Monmouth, when he first
discovered the cowardice or treachery of Lee.  His anger must have been
as terrible as it was sublime, and what a wonderful effort he made then
and there.  Or you can think of Martin Luther in his anger.  What would
he ever have accomplished if he had not been roused almost to madness by
the sight and knowledge of what was going on about him?  It is true of
every great man and of every good man too, for when you sum it all up no
one ever becomes a good man--I don’t mean ’goody-goody,’ but I do mean a
good man--without being at the same time a great man too."

"Do you mean a fellow is to be angry at what he sees inside of himself
or what he sees going on around him?" asked Ward quickly.

"In a sense I mean both," replied Mr. Crane. "There isn’t one of us who
doesn’t do things, or is tempted at least to do them, for which he
despises himself, and in my opinion he never rises much above them till
he comes to have this feeling of anger of which I’ve just been

"I think I understand what you mean, Mr. Crane," said Ward rising from
his chair.  "I never looked at it so before, but you’ve helped me,
helped me more than I can tell you.  I think it was just to hear you say
what you have been saying to me that I must have come here, Mr. Crane."

"Come again then, Hill.  Come whenever you wish.  I shall always be
pleased to see you."

Ward, as he walked slowly on toward West Hall, of course could not see
the smile on Mr. Crane’s face as he stood by the window in his room and
watched the departing lad, nor perhaps would he have understood it if he
had seen it.  But Mr. Crane apparently was not displeased at the effect
of his words on his pupil, and soon resumed the work which had been
interrupted by his entrance.

Ward was thinking deeply as he walked along the path.  A new and unusual
expression was upon his face, and as he ran up the stairs and stopped
before his door, he took the key from his pocket, and said aloud to
himself, "Ward Hill--the senior."  Just what he meant by the expression
he did not explain, perhaps he did not know.

He unlocked the door and started to open it.  There was a slight
resistance, and leaning against it he pushed the harder.

The door then flew open, but the opening was followed by a crash which
might have been heard throughout the building.  Chairs, tables,
pitchers, lamps, and all the various belongings of the room, had been
piled against the door and fallen in a confused mass all about.  The
room was in complete disorder.  The carpet had been torn up, and even
the curtains taken from the windows.  The bedding was in the middle of
the room, and the water from the pitchers had been poured over it.  Even
the beds had been taken apart and the pieces were scattered about over
the floor.

                             *CHAPTER VII*

                      *THE TROUBLES ARE INCREASED*

For a moment Ward was speechless as he gazed at the scene of confusion
before him.  Whoever had done the work had done it thoroughly, for not
an article of furniture nor a picture on the wall had been left in its
proper place.  It was confusion worse confounded upon which he gazed.

Quickly recovering himself, Ward pushed his way into the room and closed
the door behind him.  As he examined the heaps and piles before him more
carefully, he became more and more angry.  It was such a senseless,
malicious trick to play on him, that Ward felt the indignity the more.
It was true he had known of such things having been done before in the
rooms of other boys, and he had not thought much about it at the time,
or had only laughed good-naturedly when he had heard of the deed; but it
was an entirely different affair when it came home to himself.

"I think even Mr. Crane would be satisfied that I am angry enough now,"
Ward thought, smiling bitterly; "but I don’t see that it is going to
help me very much.  If the fellow who did it was here, why then I might
turn my anger to advantage."

But even then Mr. Crane’s lesson came home to him.  "I’ll do as he
suggested," thought Ward, "and I’ll just turn in and set these things
aright before I have time to get over it."

Angry as Ward was he realized that the mischief must be repaired, and
that he must be the one to repair it.

But first of all he began to investigate the manner in which the
mischief-maker had entered the room. The outside windows were fastened
on the inner side, and no one could have entered through them, even if
he had had the hardihood to make the attempt.  The door had been locked
when he had returned, but he soon satisfied himself that some one must
have had a key and used it in his absence.

Naturally his first thought was of Tim Pickard, but Tim was down on the
ballground and must have been there long before Ward had gone.  Tim
himself then could not have done it.  Who was it? Ward thought over the
boys who would have been most likely to be the guilty ones, but he could
not arrive at any satisfactory conclusion.  So many of the boys now were
against him that it might have been any one of twenty whom he could

It was impossible for Ward to banish the thought of Tim Pickard as
having been the prime instigator, however.  He would be too shrewd to be
directly implicated in the matter, Ward was well aware of that, but Tim
could work indirectly.  There were too many of the boys who were willing
to curry favor with him by any means for him not to be able to find some
one to "pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him," as Ward expressed

Satisfied that he must wait for a solution of the mystery, Ward took off
his coat and resolutely set to work to restore the room to something
like its former state.  He quickly moved the furniture, and then after
spreading out the carpet began to tack it to the floor.

He worked on steadily and as quietly as possible, for he had no desire
to be disturbed in his labors or enter into any explanations which a
visitor might desire to have made.  Several times some one rapped upon
his door, but Ward did not heed the interruption. He paused in his work
long enough to satisfy himself that the visitor had departed, and then
resumed his labor.

Never before had he worked so hard or so rapidly. He grimly thought of
what Mr. Crane had said concerning anger as a motive for exerting one’s
self, and certainly, he thought, in the present case it was working
remarkably well.  In much less time than he had deemed it possible the
carpet had been tacked to the floor, and then Ward at once began to
restore the furniture to its proper place.  This last was an easy task,
and as Ward glanced at his watch he was surprised to see that he had
been working but little more than an hour.  No one would suspect now
from the appearance of the room that it had been "stacked," to use the
Weston term for the upsetting of a boy’s room.  He then spread out the
bedding in such a manner as to permit it to become dry, and just as he
turned to enter the study room again, some one knocked on the door.

Satisfied that no one would suspect what had occurred, but with his
anger not one whit abated, Ward advanced to the door and slipping back
the bolt, opened it.

"Oh, it’s you, Little Pond, is it?" he said as Pond’s brother entered
the room.  "What’s up?" he hastily inquired, as he detected the trace of
tears in the lad’s eyes.

"Some one’s been in my room and upset everything in it.  They’ve even
poured water all over my bed, and I don’t know what I’ll do.  I’ve been
working hard for an hour to straighten things out, but I don’t think
I’ve succeeded very well," and the lad’s voice almost broke as he spoke.

"Never mind, Pond," said Ward quickly, forgetting for a moment his own
experience and anger at the sight of the trembling lad before him.
"I’ll go up and help you, and we’ll have it all straightened out before
you know it.  You mustn’t mind such a little thing as having your room
stacked.  It’s what every new boy has to expect."

Ward spoke quite bravely.  His new role as "Ward Hill the senior" was
already beginning to have its effect upon him, and in the impulse to
help another, he almost forgot his own anger over what a little while
before he had considered an outrage.

"You haven’t told any one about it, have you?" inquired Ward.

"No; that is, I haven’t to any one except Big Smith."

"And what did Big Smith say?"

"Oh, he said just what you did, not to mind it."

"That was kind of him," remarked Ward drily. "He didn’t speak about
being willing to come up and help you set the room up again, did he?"

"Why, no; is he the one who does that?"

"Not exactly.  It’s strange how many duties he has to do just when any
one else happens to want anything of him.  Why, there he is now," he
quickly added as they came out of the room and Ward carefully locked the
door behind him.  "I say, Big Smith, I want you.  Come up into Little
Pond’s room and help set it up.  The poor little homesick chap has had
it stacked, and can’t fix it alone."

"I should like to, Ward, I really should, but I’ve some work to do, and
I feel it to be my duty to attend to that first.  I’ll come up as soon
as I can."

"No, you won’t, you’ll come now," said Ward angrily.  "You’re not going
to leave the little chap in any such way."

"But, Ward, I can’t," protested Big Smith, "I really can’t.  I must do
my work first."

"You’d better come.  Such fellows as you sometimes have to neglect their
’duties’ to set their own rooms up.  You’ll have your own room stacked
the first thing you know."

"Do you think so?" said Big Smith hastily.  "I don’t see why any one
should want to bother me in that way.  But I’ll come up.  Perhaps I
ought to, though I do not wish to."

"Come along, then," said Ward; and the three boys at once proceeded to
Pond’s room, and by their combined efforts the few belongings were soon
restored to their former places.

"I hope this stacking business isn’t going to become the fashion," said
Big Smith solemnly.  "It will be a very serious inconvenience to me if I
should have to rearrange my room very often.  It would interfere with my
plans very sadly.  Do you know, Ward, I heard some one in your room this
afternoon? I thought it was you at first, but when I saw you a little
later coming up the path, of course I knew it wasn’t.  Since I’ve been
up here I’ve been thinking that your room might have been stacked too.
You’ve been there, of course, and it must be all right, or you’d have
spoken of it."

"My room’s all right," replied Ward evasively, though his face flushed
slightly as he spoke.  He had no desire that Big Smith should learn of
his misfortune. It was bad enough as it was, without having the report
of it spread broadcast, as would be the case if Big Smith learned of it.
"Have any of the East Hall fellows been over here this afternoon?" he

"No," said Big Smith slowly, "I haven’t seen any. Let me see, though, I
did see Jack Hobart talking with Professor Mike a minute, but that was
out in front of West.  I don’t think he came in.  Why?"

"Oh, nothing," replied Ward slowly.  He was thinking of that interview
between Jack and the janitor, or Professor Mike, as he was familiarly
known by the boys.  Evidently he was troubled by the thought too, for he
was silent for a time, and apparently not aware of the presence of his

"You’re all right now, Little Pond," he said at last.  "You can go and
attend to that ’duty’ of yours, Big Smith, and I’ll go to my room, for
I’ve a little work that ought to be done.  Now don’t forget," he added
turning to Pond, "to keep your door locked. Yes, lock it every time you
go out; it’s the only safe way."

"It was locked this afternoon," said Pond.  "That’s what I can’t
understand.  I don’t see how any one could get in."

"It is strange," said Ward thoughtfully, as he departed.  "Well, we’ll
hope for better things next time.  I shouldn’t say much about it to any
one, though."

Ward started down the stairs, and in the lower hall, the one into which
his own room opened, he saw the janitor.

"Mike, come in here a minute," he said, opening the door into his room
as he spoke.

The good-natured old Irishman followed him, and as Ward closed the door
said: "I’ll be after havin’ yez know that me name’s not Moike, but
Perfessor. Oi’m the perfessor of dust and ashes, I’d be havin’ ye
understand.  Oi’m nixt to the principal, Oi am, and indade and Oi’ve
been here longer nor the doctor has."

"Yes, yes, I know," said Ward quickly, in no mood to enter into the
standing joke of "Professor Mike."  "What I want to know is this, has
any one had your keys this afternoon?"

"Me keys, is it?  What for should I be after givin’ up the badge of me
own office, I’d loike to know? Me and me keys are foriver togither.
We’re one and the same, now and foriver.  What for should you be after
axin’ me such a question as that?"

Ward thought he perceived from the janitor’s manner that he was rendered
somewhat uneasy by the question, and resolving to chance all upon one
question, he said:

"Mike, what did you let Jack Hobart have your keys for?"

"Jack Hobart have me keys?  Is he that b’y they call ’Speck,’ what has a
room over in East Hall? Is he that same?"

"He is that same.  Now tell me about your letting him have your keys."

"Indade, and Oi did not let him have me keys."

"All right then, Mike.  That’s all I wanted to know," and Ward made as
if he were about to shut the door.

"Hold on a bit, will yez?" said Mike, evidently somewhat disturbed.  "Oi
did not let Speck have me keys, as Oi’m tellin’ yez.  But that’s not
sayin’ as how I might not have lint them to the lad a bit of a minute is

"You know what I meant, Mike," said Ward, his trouble all returning
instantly.  "When did you let him have them?  How long did he keep them?
Who was with him?"

"Listin to the lad, will yez.  Jist listin to the quistions he can ask,
faster nor any man can count ’em, and he the perfessor of dust and ashes
at that.  Now thin, I’ll be after tellin’ yez all about it," said the
janitor more soberly and evidently troubled more than he cared to show.
"Jack Hobart came to me and he sez, sez he, ’Me room’s locked Mike and I
can’t git in,’ which same is true.  Sez I, ’Why don’t yez take yer key
then, and unlock the door, me bye.’  ’That same’s what I’d loike to do,’
sez Jack, ’but I’ve lost me key and Jacob’s gone to his dinner.’  Ah,
that’s what comes of having a haything for a perfessor of dust and ashes
instid of a white man loike mesilf.  So whin the lad asked me to lind
him the loan of me keys, I did that same.  He didn’t be after havin’ ’em
more nor tin minutes, and I shouldn’t be surprised at all, at all, if he
didn’t have ’em a speck over nine.  There’s bin no harm done, Oi’m

Mike could not conceal his anxiety.  He had violated a strict rule of
the school in lending his bunch of keys to any one.  He himself ought to
have gone and tried the keys himself if any one used them, and this Ward
knew as well as Mike.

"Mike," he said solemnly, "you’ve got yourself into trouble.  There have
been some rooms stacked in West Hall this afternoon, and you’re the one
to blame for it too.  You had no right to let any fellow in this school
have your keys."

"Indade and that same is true," said the troubled Michael.  "Now, Mr.
Ward, you’ll not be after reportin’ it to the doctor, Oi’m thinkin’?
The principal has enough to think of without addin’ to his cares and
burdens.  Yez will not be after doin’ that, I know, Mr. Ward?"

The janitor could not entirely conceal his fears, and Ward quickly
resolving to make use of them for his own advantage, said, "Not yet,
Mike, anyway.  But those East Hall fellows must not come over here and
stack our rooms.  Now if you’ll promise to keep quiet and help me find
out who does the mischief, it’ll be all right.  But you’ll have to keep
a careful watch.  If the thing happens again, Dr. Gray ought to know of

"Oi’ll trap ’em, me lad.  Oi’ll help yez to fix ’em! I will that."

"All right then, Mike.  But mind, now, you’ll have to keep both eyes

Michael departed troubled and yet elated over Ward’s words, just as
Henry entered the room. Ward at first had thought he would not tell his
room-mate of what had occurred, but changing his mind, he soon told
Henry all about it.

His room-mate’s anger was great when he had listened to the story, and
many were his expressions of sympathy.  He too realized that Ward was
likely to have a long and bitter struggle in the school now, and to the
boy’s credit be it said, he did not once think of the trouble it might
bring upon him as Ward’s chum.

His words were comforting to the troubled Ward, who could bear the ill
will of his fellows least of all. Indeed, the heaviness in Ward’s heart
arose most of all from his loss of popularity, and how he would bear it
not even he himself could tell.

He soon went with Henry to the dining hall, but was silent most of the
time.  The slight on the ball-field, the loss of his position on the
nine, and the "stacking" of his room, had all combined to render him
somewhat heavy-hearted and disinclined to enter into conversation with
any one.

Henry understood his friend’s mood and neither of them spoke on their
way back to their room when supper was over.  They climbed the stairs
together, and then Ward took his key from his pocket to open the door.

As he pushed it back an exclamation of anger burst from his lips.  The
room had again been "stacked" in their absence, and a scene of
indescribable confusion, very similar to that which Ward had faced in
the afternoon, again lay before them.

                             *CHAPTER VIII*


An exclamation of anger burst forth from Ward’s lips, and even Henry’s
ordinary calm was somewhat disturbed by the sight.  Chairs, tables,
bedding, and carpets were all piled in one indiscriminate mass in the
center of the room.  The dim light from the hall only served to increase
the impression of confusion.

"Well, Henry," said Ward ruefully, when they entered the room and had
carefully shut the door, "it’s too bad that you have to be punished too
for my sins.  Whoever did this, evidently intended to make a thorough
piece of work of it.  Isn’t it a sight to behold!"

"Never mind me, Ward," said Henry quietly. "I’m ready to take my share;
all I’m sorry about is that somebody has such a mean spirit.  What fun
there can be in tearing everything to pieces like this I cannot see for
my part."

"It hasn’t been done for the fun of it; you can rest easy about that,"
replied Ward.  "I wish the one who did it was here now.  I’d make him
take a hand in fixing up the room again.  Hello, the lamp’s broken!" he
added angrily as he found the broken lamp in the midst of the heap on
the floor.  "Yes, and they’ve poured the oil all over everything too.
It’s a good deal worse than it was this afternoon and that was bad
enough.  We’ll have to borrow a lamp, I’m thinking."

"No, mine’s all right," said Henry quickly, as he drew forth his own
lamp from the border of the confused mass.

In a moment he had lighted it, and both boys stood for a moment and
gazed ruefully at the wreck before them.  Ward was almost too angry to
speak now.  All his quiet labor in the afternoon had been useless, and
now a task even worse than the one which he had faced then was before

"We might as well go at it now as any time," said Henry quietly,
removing his coat as he spoke, and preparing to begin the work.  "It’s
got to be done, Ward, and the sooner we do it the better.  Come on, old
fellow, we’ll soon have it all straightened out."

Ward made no reply, but he at once prepared to follow his room-mate’s
example, and soon both boys were busily at work.  Several times there
came a rap on their door, but they did not heed it, for neither was in a
mood to welcome callers.

They continued eagerly at the task, working rapidly, and it was not long
before the room began to take on once more something of its former
appearance.  The study bell had rung, however, before their labors were
ended, and the rap on the door which soon came they recognized at once
as Mr. Blake’s.

Ward himself opened the door in response to the summons, and as he stood
facing the tall teacher the flush on his face caused by his anger and
his exertions had not entirely disappeared.

"I’m surprised, Hill, not to find you at your studies.  A senior ought
not to set an example like this.  I shall wait to see that you begin
your work promptly and properly."

Ward was too angry to offer any explanation.  He bade Mr. Blake enter,
and as he offered him a chair, he saw that Henry had at last succeeded
in partially adjusting the last remaining belongings of the room.

"We’re all right now, Mr. Blake," said Henry quietly.  "There were some
things which had to be attended to before we could begin to study."

"You ought not to take the study hours for such work," responded Mr.
Blake, rising as he spoke. "I’ve heard you pounding up here for some
time, and hoped you’d settle down so as not to disturb the others.  You
ought to bear in mind that there are other boys as well as yourselves in
West Hall, and some of them I’m glad to say manifest a disposition to

As Mr. Blake went out of the room Ward could restrain himself no longer.
"That’s always the way with that man!" he said angrily.  "No matter what
you do, or how hard you try, it’s all the same.  He has to put in his
word and it’s always the wrong word at the right time too.  I wish he
didn’t have charge of West Hall."

"Oh, well, never mind, Ward.  He doesn’t understand us very well, that’s
a fact; but so long as we know he doesn’t, we know about what to expect.
We’ll get to work now and forget all about Mr. Blake, and that the room
ever was stacked.  It doesn’t look how as if it had been troubled.  You
can’t see anything wrong about it, can you?"

"No, but I can smell it," said Ward half-laughingly, for the odor of the
kerosene which had been spilled was only too apparent in the room.

However, the boys soon seated themselves by Henry’s table and began
their work for the evening. It was some time before Ward could bring his
thoughts to bear upon the work in hand, but at last he succeeded and
studied hard all the evening.

"There, I haven’t my work all done," he said when at last the bell was
rung indicating that the end of the study hour had come.  "I must have
more time. I’m going down to ask Mr. Blake for permission to sit up a
little longer."

"Let me go," said Henry quickly, but Ward was out of the room by this
time and made no reply.

In response to his request Mr. Blake shook his head and refused
permission.  Ward went slowly back to his room thoroughly angry.  The
teacher’s manner betrayed his suspicion of the boy, and Ward did not
take time to consider that Mr. Blake did not know anything of the new
resolution he had formed, or of the struggle which was going on in his
own mind.

He closed the door with a slam as he came back and expressed his opinion
in no mild terms of the man who was in charge of West Hall.  Henry
strove to soothe the angry feelings of his room-mate, but without avail,
and when at last the boys retired for the night, Ward’s anger had
steadily increased.

"Even Mr. Crane would be satisfied now," he thought as he drew the
bedclothes up around him. "I’ve got enough anger, as he called it, to
supply every boy in West Hall."

But he was too tired to cherish his feelings for any length of time and
was soon asleep.

He was awake long before the breakfast hour, and hastily arising resumed
his studying.  By the time Henry had joined him he had his work all
done, and felt that he was thoroughly ready for the tasks of the day.
The fact gave him much satisfaction, and when they started toward the
dining hall much of his anger had disappeared, so far as any outward
manifestation of it was concerned; but deep down in his heart Ward was
thinking of his own troubles.  Perhaps he even tried to cherish the
feeling of anger a trifle, for it was so much more easy to work and face
the school when he was aroused, than it was when only the fact of his
own unpopularity was most apparent.

However, he had decided upon one course of action, at least, and that
was what he would have to say to Jack Hobart.  A fine friend he was!
After all his protestations of friendship, to go over to West Hall and
get the keys to his room!  For Ward had not a doubt in his mind that
Jack had been the one to carry out the scheme which he believed Tim
Pickard had concocted.  Not that Jack had "stacked" the room himself.
Ward did not for a moment believe that.  But he knew Jack Hobart so well
that he was certain he would strive to keep in the good graces of all
the school, and if he saw the tide setting too strongly against him Ward
somehow felt that Jack would desert him.  Had he not done that very
thing in the preceding year?  It was true he had professed to be sorry,
but what did "feeling sorry" amount to, since he failed to stand beside
him when troubles came?

Jack had expected trouble to come too, and Ward thought somewhat
bitterly of his friend’s words, and how he had declared that his
vertebræ and upper lip should manifest their power in the time of trial.
And the trying time had come.

Ward thought of the scene a few days before this time at the Rockford
Station, when Jack had come on the afternoon train.  How eager he had
been then for him to come back to the Weston school!  And what strong
words concerning his own friendship he had used too!  And Ward had
believed him; that was the worst of it all.

But the "Tangs" had declared against him, and the troubled boy could not
entirely shake off the feeling that Jack had not broken with them, and
that his own troubles were mainly to be traced to that body.  Doubtless
they were compelling Jack to bear his share now, and were hoping to
increase his own troubles by that very fact.

Ward’s heart was filled with these somewhat bitter reflections as he
entered the Latin room.  How cool all the boys were to him!  Scarcely
any one had a word for him now, and only a few months before they had
been free enough with their applause and words of praise.

Jack was already in his seat when Ward entered and his beaming face
showed that he evidently was waiting for him to come.

"I say, valedic," said Jack, as Ward took his seat, "just translate a
bit of this stuff for me, will you? It’s too much for me.  My massive
brain is not equal for the task."

"There won’t be time," said Ward coldly.  "Here’s Mr. Crane now."

Jack looked at him a moment in surprise and Ward noticed somewhat
bitterly that he was evidently pained too.  What a hypocrite he must be!
or else Ward must have been mistaken in supposing Jack was concerned in
the upsetting of his room. But that was hardly possible.  Had not Mike
himself said he had loaned his bunch of keys to him? Surely no other one
then could be at fault.

The recitation now began and as Ward was soon called upon to recite, all
other thoughts were immediately banished from his mind.  He did his work
well and noted the quiet smile upon Mr. Crane’s face as he took his
seat.  It was the mark of approval which he always gave when the work
was done to his complete satisfaction.

Ward’s troubles, however, soon returned.  Of what advantage was it all
for him to do well in his classes when apparently the hand of every
fellow in the school seemed to be turned against him?  Outside of Henry
and Little Pond it did not seem as if he had a friend left.  He wished
he had not come back to the school.  But he had come, there was no
escape from that fact, and all that remained now was to be as brave as
possible and not be overcome by his enemies.

And yet how easy it would be to put an end to all his annoyances and
once more be at peace with the boys.  There was his place on the nine
too; he knew he could have it again.  All he would have to do to regain
that and also to have the popularity which once was his, was to go in
with the "Tangs" once more.

Ward glanced up at Mr. Crane.  How he did respect the man!  How kind he
had been during the summer, and how sincere his interest was now! Then
too, there was Little Pond, who placed such implicit confidence in him.
He was almost irritated by the dependence of the lad, and yet he liked
the little fellow in spite of it all.  No, he could not yield now, Ward
thought.  He had begun, and he must carry the struggle through to the

When the hour came to a close, Ward realized that although he had made a
good recitation himself, he had not heard much of what had been said by
either Mr. Crane or the boys.  He had been busied with his own thoughts
and fighting again the battle which seemed as if it never was to cease.

"I say, Jack," he said as the boys rose to pass out of the room, "I want
to see you."

"I’m glad of it, Ward," replied Jack as he joined Ward, and they walked
together across the campus toward Dr. Gray’s room.  "I’d begun to think
you never wanted to see me again.  I’ve been racking my brains to see
what the difficulty was."

"Jack," said Ward, apparently ignoring his declaration, "what did you
get Professor Mike’s keys for yesterday?"

"What did I get Mike’s keys for?" repeated Jack, a look of astonishment
creeping over his face as he spoke.  "I don’t know what you mean.  I
haven’t had his keys."

His astonishment apparently was sincere and for the first time Ward’s
heart misgave him.  Could it be that he had been mistaken?  But there
was the janitor’s own declaration.  He himself had said he had loaned
the keys to Jack, and certainly he could have no motive in saying so if
it had not been true. He had implicated himself by the statement as it
was, and had openly confessed to violating one of the strictest of Dr.
Gray’s rules by doing so.  No, Mike must have told the truth; there
could be no other explanation.

"You haven’t had Mike’s keys?" said Ward, slowly turning and looking
Jack full in the face.

"No; honor bright, I haven’t had ’em, Ward.  No, hold on!  Let me see!
Come to think of it, I did ask him for them yesterday, that’s a fact,
but I’d forgotten all about it till you brought it back to my benighted

"Oh, then you did have them," said Ward bitterly, not able to repress
the sneer on his face as he spoke.

"Why, yes," said Jack.  "The way of it was this, I was over by West
Hall.  The fact is, Ward, I was there to get you to go down to the ball
ground.  One of the boys wanted to get a bat which was up in my room,
but Luscious had my keys and I asked Mike for his.  There was no harm in
that, was there, Ward?"

"Who was the fellow that you gave them to, or did you go yourself?"

"No, I didn’t go myself; but I see there’s something wrong, so I don’t
believe I ought to tell you who the chap was.  I’m afraid there’s
something off color."

"Very well," said Ward; "of course you can do as you please about that.
I think, though, I may be able to get along without your information.
You’d made so many protests that you were my friend that I didn’t know
but you’d be willing to help me out in this.  But I sha’n’t trouble you
if you don’t want to tell me."

Ward could see a look of pain come over Jack’s face as he spoke, but his
own heart was hard and bitter, and apparently he cared but little for
the effect his words might produce.

"I say, Ward, old fellow," said Jack quietly, "don’t talk like that.  It
hurts me.  I was just going to say something to you, but the way you act
makes me think you wouldn’t care to hear it."

They were now at the entrance to the recitation room and the
conversation naturally ceased.  Ward was sadly perplexed.  Jack’s
astonishment and evident pain at his words troubled him greatly.

Jack was willing to enter into conversation when the recitation was
over, but Ward hastened out of the room and gave him no opportunity.
The truth was he was so troubled by Jack’s manner that he was afraid he
would give in to him and in his anger he had resolved not to do that.

When he opened the door into his room, his anger, knew no bounds when
again he discovered that the room was in confusion.  Twice during the
rest of that week the same thing occurred, and both Ward and Henry were
desperate.  Something must be done.

"Mike," said Ward sharply to the janitor, whom he met alone in the hall
on Friday afternoon, "our room is stacked every day and you’re no good
as a watch.  I believe some one has taken the key to my room from your
ring.  Look and see, will you?"

The "professor of dust and ashes" fumbled at the huge bunch he carried,
and very much crestfallen at last said, "Indade and yer right, Mister
Ward.  The key’s not here at all, at all."

"That’s what I thought.  Now see if ’twenty-three’ is gone too."
Twenty-three was the number of Little Pond’s room.

"Be jabbers and that’s gone too.  Ye’ll not be after tellin’ the
principal, will yez?" said Mike anxiously.

"I don’t know.  I’ll see about that later.  Mike, can you put a new lock
on my door and on Pond’s this afternoon?  I mean while we’re here and no
one will see you at the work?"

"Indade, and I can that," replied the anxious janitor.

"Well, do it then right away.  I’ve got a plan for catching the rascals
and I want the new lock on right off.  If you can do that now, it will
help me and I sha’n’t have to see the doctor."

Mike departed and returned with two new locks, which he at once placed
on the doors, Ward meanwhile keeping watch to see that the work of the
janitor was not discovered, and cautioning him about keeping his
duplicate key.

With a feeling of elation, Ward at once prepared to put his newly formed
plan into execution.

                              *CHAPTER IX*

                        *AN INTERVIEW WITH JACK*

Ward at once left his room and went to search for Little Pond.  He met
the lad coming across the campus, and in response to his invitation, the
little fellow immediately returned with him, and for a long time they
sat together in Pond’s room and talked over the plan which Ward had

"You see it’s this way," said Ward.  "We can’t let this thing go on
forever, for it’s beginning to tell on us already.  What with setting
the room to rights and never knowing what to expect, it doesn’t leave
very much time for studying, and that’s what I want this term.  Now Mike
has put a new lock on my door and on yours too, so these fellows won’t
be able to break in for a day or two, anyway."

"Then I don’t see what you can do," said Pond. "If they can’t get in,
they can’t do any mischief, and if they don’t do any mischief, you can’t
catch them."

"That’s all true; but what I want is to find out who the fellows are.  I
know well enough now, but I want the proof, you see.  Now, my plan is
this. They won’t have any keys to the new locks, so they can’t get in
now if they try, and I don’t think they’ll try to-day.  But to-morrow is
Saturday, and in the afternoon we don’t have any recitations, you know.
Well, I’m going off up to the glen to-morrow afternoon and I’ll take
pains to let it be known that I sha’n’t be in my room.  That’ll leave
the coast all clear, you see, and I think somebody will be pretty sure
to come up and try to get in while I’m away. Then I want you to stay in
your room and keep watch.  You can have your door just a little bit
ajar, and whenever you hear any one coming up the stairs, you can keep
an eye on them.  You can see them without being seen yourself, and if
they go and try to get in my room, or come up to yours, why, then we’ll
know who it is that’s doing the work, though I don’t think there’s any
difficulty now in picking out the ones who have been the prime movers in

"All right, Ward," replied Pond; "I’ll do it."

"You see it’s as much to your advantage as it is to mine," said Ward, as
he rose to depart.  "We don’t want this thing kept up any longer, and I
think if we can catch the fellows now, we’ll put an end to it, though it
may break out somewhere else in a worse way."

Satisfied with what he had done, Ward ran down the stairs, and just as
he was unlocking the door of his room, Henry and Jack Hobart came up
together into the hall.  Ward’s first impulse was to turn and leave the
building.  He had no desire to meet Jack then, but quickly changing his
purpose, he unlocked the door and waited for the two boys to enter.

"Hello, Ward!" said Jack.  "We’ve been talking about you, and finally
decided we’d better stop that and come straight over here and talk to

Ward made no reply, and as Henry was apparently busied in arranging the
papers and books on his table, Jack felt that the burden of the
conversation was resting upon himself.

Ward noticed that he was somewhat constrained in his manner, nor was he
displeased to see it.  For was not Jack the one who had obtained Mike’s
key? And while he might not be the one who had wrought the mischief in
his room, still he was so thoroughly satisfied in his own mind that Jack
was aware of what was going on and had lent his influence to further it,
that it was with something of a feeling of satisfaction he noted the
evident uneasiness of his visitor.

"The way of it is this," said Jack, breaking in upon the awkward
silence.  "We need you on the nine, Ward, there’s no mistake about that.
If we are going to have any show against the Burrs this fall, we’ve just
got to have your help.  There’s no mistake about that, and that’s what
I’ve come over to talk with you about."

"Did Tim Pickard send you?" asked Ward, making no effort to conceal the
sneer on his face.

"No," said Jack quietly, "and that’s where the mischief comes in.
There’s no doubt that Tim’s down on you, Ward.  You don’t need me to
tell you that."


"But Tim isn’t the whole of the Weston school. It’s true he’s got a lot
of the fellows under his thumb and they’ll do just what he tells them
to.  That’s the way he succeeded in shutting you off from the nine. He
pretended to call a meeting, but he never told Henry here nor me about
it.  He claims he had a majority there and that they voted not to have
you on the nine this fall.  He couldn’t have done it if we’d been there,
and Tim knows it too."

Ward still made no reply save to glance at Jack, who was now talking
eagerly and apparently had overcome his recent feeling of embarrassment.

"Henry and I have been talking it over," continued Jack, "and we’ve
about decided that we’ve found a way out, and that’s what I came over
especially to explain.  Now, Ward, if you’ll go in with us I think we’ll
have it fixed up in no time."

"I can’t go in when I don’t know what it is you want me to go into."

"It’s this, Ward.  Henry and I have decided that we sha’n’t play on the
nine unless you are taken on too."

"What?" said Ward abruptly.

He could hardly believe the words he had just heard.  That Jack, who had
taken Professor Mike’s key, and who plainly must be aware of the
troubles which were besetting him now on every side, should be the one
to make such a proposition as that to which he had just listened seemed
to Ward almost incredible.  It would completely change every plan in his
mind if Jack meant what he had said, and so far as appearances went, the
boy seemed to be thoroughly in earnest.

"Yes," said Jack, "that’s just what I mean.  I don’t believe that even
Tim would care to lose both Henry and me just now, for he’d know he’d
have the whole school down on him at once.  It’s bad enough to lose you,
and there are a lot of the fellows who don’t like it a little bit.  Tim
knows it, but he won’t let on.  Now, if Henry and I just quit too, it’ll
place Tim in a box too tight even for him."

"Then your plan is to force Tim to take me on the nine by threatening to
leave yourselves if he doesn’t, is it?" said Ward slowly.

"That’s it, that’s it," said Jack eagerly.  "He’ll have to come to time

"Well, I don’t think I shall do it," said Ward deliberately.  "Not that
I shouldn’t like to play on the nine.  I’m not foolish enough to deny
that, for I should, of course; but I don’t care to force myself in where
I’m not wanted."

"That isn’t it, Ward," said Jack still more eagerly. "You are
wanted--that is, nearly every fellow in the school wants you except Tim
Pickard.  Now, the question is whether you’re going to let one fellow
like Tim stand against the whole school.  Why, I think even Luscious
will go into the scheme and help squeeze Tim."

Ward felt that in spite of all his efforts his heart was becoming
softer.  Always susceptible to praise, the words of Jack were like balm
to his troubled soul. He longed, far more than any one knew, to be at
peace with the boys, and if once he were restored to his position on the
nine, he felt confident he could easily regain his popularity.

But his anger at Tim was still strong, though Jack puzzled him sadly.
Could it be that he had a share in the schemes which were then afoot?
The mystery of the stolen key certainly indicated something of the kind,
and yet with all his faults Jack Hobart would not lie, Ward felt assured
of that.  The thought of Jack’s honesty suddenly brought Ward to a quick
determination.  He would speak to him without reserve of his troubles
and see how he received his words.

"Jack," he said abruptly, "did you know that we’d had our room stacked
almost every day since we came back to Weston?"

"No," said Jack in genuine surprise; "I didn’t know a thing about it.
You’ve kept it to yourself pretty well, not even to mention it to me."

"Well, it’s been stacked, that’s sure.  I think we’ve spent more time
tacking down our carpet and setting up our beds than we have in
studying; haven’t we, Henry?"

Henry glanced up in surprise that Ward should mention their trouble, but
he smiled and nodded his head by way of reply, though he did not speak.

"Ward, that’s tough," said Jack soberly.  "I’m sorry you didn’t tell me
about it, for maybe I could have helped you.  Have you any idea who it
is that’s doing it?"

"Yes," said Ward sharply; "but I’m only waiting for positive proof, and
I think I’m close on to the track of that.  One thing I’ve found out for
sure, and that’s some help."

"What’s that?"

"Oh, nothing much.  Only that Mike has lost two of his keys and we know
who took them.  It wasn’t very much of a trick to find that out, you
know."  Ward spoke quietly, but he was watching keenly to see what the
effect of his words upon Jack would be.

Suddenly Jack looked up and his face flushed deeply.  "Ward," said he,
"was that the reason you asked me the other day if I had borrowed Mike’s
bunch of keys?"

"Yes," said Ward quietly.

"Well, old fellow, I don’t know what I can say, if you really think I’d
do such a thing.  I did ask for the loan of the keys, that’s a fact, but
I didn’t use them myself."  Jack acted as if he were about to say more,
but hesitated and became silent.

Ward was puzzled and his manner clearly betrayed the fact.  The silence
in the room was decidedly awkward for all concerned, and the boys
shifted uneasily in their seats.

Jack was the first to speak, as he said: "It looks queer, I know, Ward,
but I don’t want to tell you who took the keys.  There’s something
crooked, and I’m going to help you out of the scrape if I can.  I’d tell
you in a minute, I would honestly, who took the keys from me, but I am
just sure he didn’t stack your room.  But I’ll help you find out and
I’ll help you straighten out the fellow too."

"I think the ’Tangs’ may have had something to do with it," said Ward.

It was the first time the name of the secret organization had been
mentioned since he had left school at the close of the preceding year.
Somehow it had been a tabooed subject and neither had referred to it in
their letters or conversation.  Jack had considered it a subject on
which Ward might be somewhat sensitive, and Ward had been uncertain as
to what Jack’s plans would be.

"What makes you think the ’Tangs’ had anything to do with it?" said
Jack, after a pause of a moment, in which the uneasiness of the boys was
still marked.

"Because I received one of their gentle little epistles before this
trouble began."

"I haven’t heard a word of the ’Tangs’ since I came back to school,"
said Jack thoughtfully.  "I didn’t know they’d started up again, and I’m
sure I hoped the thing was dead.  It is dead so far as I’m concerned,
for I’ve washed my hands of the whole business.  I told Tim so before I
came back to school, and if he knows when he’s well off he’ll let it
alone too.  He’s got enough to do to keep himself straight with the
faculty without going into the ’Tangs’ again.  But, Ward, I mean just
what I say; I’m going to take off my coat and help you to find out about
this matter, and if we once catch the fellow we’ll give him a dose
that’ll cure him, I know."

"Thank you."

"You don’t appear to be very enthusiastic," said Jack quietly.

It was evident that he was hurt by Ward’s apparent lack of confidence in
him; but his affection for his friend was so genuine and strong that he
plainly was not to be put off by any of Ward’s rebuffs.

"We’ll talk about that later," said Jack as he rose to depart.  "What I
want to know now is whether you’ll come down on the ball-ground
to-morrow afternoon, and then Henry and I’ll speak our little piece to
Tim and we’ll have it out.  Tim’ll give in, I know he will, for he isn’t
over happy as it is.  He knows how a good many of the fellows feel, and
besides that he wants the nine strengthened."

"I can’t do it, Speck," said Ward at last, using the familiar nickname
by which he had been accustomed to call his friend, for the first time
in several days. "It’s mighty good of you; but, you see, I just couldn’t
go on the nine in any such way as that."

"Then Henry and I’ll quit too," said Jack emphatically.

"No, you won’t.  That would certainly spoil it all. I want you both to
keep right on.  There’s no necessity for you to give up because I can’t
go in, and besides I’ve something else in mind just now, and if you both
leave it’ll spoil it all.  I couldn’t come down to-morrow, anyway, for
I’ve planned to go and spend the afternoon up at the glen.  Honest,
Speck, I do thank you for your offer.  It’s mighty good of you, but I
don’t want you to do it yet, anyway.  Maybe a little later I’ll come in,
but not just yet."

"All right, Ward.  Have it your own way.  You always do, somehow.  Well,
I must go over and see how Luscious is making out.  He’s a fine fellow,
Luscious is, and he’s going to push you for the valedic, as sure’s you

"He’s a good worker; any one can see that," said Ward as Jack departed.

"The plot thickens," he added turning to Henry. "For the life of me I
can’t see the way out as yet."

"I feel sure of one thing," said Henry, "and that is, that Jack’s had
nothing to do with it."

"I hope you’re right," replied Ward thoughtfully; "but it’s strange
about those keys."

"Yes; but Jack can explain it, and he will before long."

Ward then explained the plan he had formed with Little Pond, and Henry
agreed with him that it would be better for him and Jack to go down to
the ball-ground, in view of what Ward had it in mind to do, and to
appear as if they were not suspicious of any one or of any thing.

Accordingly, on the following afternoon Ward started out with Big Smith
for a tramp to the glen, one of the favorite resorts of the Weston boys.
He had taken pains to speak of his intended absence in the hearing of
several of the boys of whom he had felt somewhat suspicious, and after
having conferred with Little Pond, who promised to observe all his
directions, the two boys departed from West Hall.

Ward’s heart was much lighter than it had been for several days now.
Puzzled as he was over Jack’s part in the affair, the evident affection
he had recently displayed led Ward to believe that still he was not
entirely without friends.  Even Big Smith was not to be despised, and
Ward was surprised to observe the many changes which had come over the
strange lad.  His assumption had not entirely disappeared, and his
former complete ignorance that there was any one else in the world of
quite as much importance as he, was not yet all gone.  But Big Smith was
learning some of the lessons which in another form Ward Hill himself was
also compelled to learn.

That morning Doctor Gray in his chapel talk had referred to the story of
Wellington, when at one time he had visited the great English school at
Eton, and after watching the eager crowd of boys in their struggles and
games, had said, "Here Waterloo was won."

Ward was thinking of the words all that afternoon. If Wellington had
really won the victory of Waterloo at Eton, then Napoleon must have lost
it under similar conditions, he thought, and he wondered whether Weston
might not be solving some such problems also.  As for himself, Ward Hill
fully appreciated the fact that he was in the midst of a struggle, and
to the lad’s credit be it said, out of it all came a stronger
determination that his battle should not be lost.

He had enjoyed the afternoon thoroughly, and when he returned he ran
eagerly up to Little Pond’s room to learn whether he had discovered
anything or not.

"Yes," said Pond, "I’ve found out some things. Come in and I’ll tell you
all about it."

Ward eagerly followed his little friend into his room, and taking a
seat, turned to listen to what Pond had to tell him.

                              *CHAPTER X*

                      *THE SCENE IN RIPLEY’S ROOM*

"I kept the door open a little," began Pond, "so that I could hear any
one who might come up the stairs.  Most of the fellows were down on the
ball-ground or had gone off on the hills, so there wasn’t very much
going on.  I think I’d been waiting more than an hour before I heard a
sound that was in any way suspicious, and I’ll own up I began to be a
little tired.  I thought there wasn’t any one going to come and I’d
about made up my mind there wasn’t any use in watching any longer, and I
was just about to get a book and go to reading when I heard a step on
the lower stairway.  Of course there wasn’t anything very bad in that,
for I knew some of the fellows would be running in and out on a
half-holiday, but there was something a little strange in this
particular case.  The fellow would come up two or three steps--and he
didn’t make very much noise about it either--and then he’d stop a minute
before he came on."

"Was there only one?" inquired Ward, deeply interested in what Pond was

"Only one then.  Well, the fellow came up to the floor on which your
room is and then he stopped.  I couldn’t see him of course, as he’d gone
up to your door, I judged.  I didn’t just know what to do, and when I’d
made up my mind to go out and take a peep over the railing, I heard the
fellow come back to the head of the stairs and give a low whistle. You’d
better believe I was excited about that time, but I managed somehow to
keep quiet and wait. Pretty soon another fellow came up the stairs, and
then I heard them go through the hall and stop, as I thought, before
your door."

"Go on, go on," said Ward quickly, as Pond seemed to hesitate a moment.

"Well, I crept out of my room, and I wasn’t making very much noise
either, you can believe, and as I went down the stairway a few steps,
trying hard all the time to keep perfectly quiet, I bent over and took a
peep at your hall.  There were two chaps right in front of your door."

"What were they doing?"

"They were working at the lock with a key which one of them took out of
his pocket.  Somehow the key didn’t work very well, for I’ve a notion
that Mike hadn’t told them about the new locks he’d put on your door and

"Too bad," said Ward.  "Well, what did they do then?"

"One of them happened to look up and he saw me peeking at them.  I tried
to dodge back so that they couldn’t see me, but I was too late; they’d
spied me.  They made a rush through the hall and up the stairs to my
room, but I’d got inside before they’d come, and bolted the door.  They
coaxed and teased me to open up for ’em, but I wasn’t to be caught by
any such chaff as that, and then they began to threaten me with all
sorts of terrible things. They tried too, to open my door with a key,
but it wasn’t of any use, and if they had had a key that would have
fitted the lock it wouldn’t have helped them any, for the door was
bolted on the inside, you see."

"Who were the fellows?"

"One of ’em was Ripley; he rooms over in East I think, but I didn’t know
who the other was.  I could tell him if I saw him again, though, I’m
sure of that."

Ward sat silent for a moment.  He knew Ripley well.  He was in the class
below him.  He had never regarded him as a vicious boy, and the worst
thing he knew about him was that he belonged to the "Tangs."  He also
recalled the fact that he was a great admirer of Tim Pickard, and while
he was not an intimate friend, he had seen him many times in Tim’s
company.  He was a boy Tim could easily influence and would follow any
orders the leader might give him.

The mystery was becoming somewhat cleared now.  Doubtless Tim was the
one to whom Jack had given Mike’s bunch of keys, and he had not only
gone to Jack’s room and obtained the bat they wanted, but he had taken
the keys to Ward’s and Pond’s rooms from the ring at the same time.  It
was all clear now, and Ward felt a great relief as he satisfied himself
that Jack was innocent of any knowledge or share in the stacking of his

"You’ve done well, Little Pond," said Ward warmly, as he rose to depart.
"I think we can put a stop to this particular line of fun now.  I think
I’ll go over and begin the operation at once."

"Where are you going, Ward?  Can’t I go with you?" called Little Pond
from the head of the stairway; but Ward was already in the lower hall
and made no reply.  He wanted to be alone now and while his heart was
hot within him to carry out the further plan he had already quickly

The eager boy walked swiftly across the campus toward East Hall.  He was
not at all sure that he would find Ripley in his room, but he would at
least find out whether he was or not, and as the bell for supper would
soon be rung he wished to do that much before he went to the dining

As he drew near East Hall he saw a crowd of boys returning from the
ball-ground.  Their presence in the building might greatly complicate
matters, so he increased his speed and leaping up two steps at a time he
ran up the stairs to the third floor and rapped on the door of Ripley’s

Ripley himself opened the door, but as soon as he saw who his caller
was, he tried to shut the door in his face.  Ward, however, was too
quick for him, and slipped into the room, and then he himself shut the
door and instantly bolted it.

He was thoroughly angry now.  Ripley plainly betrayed his guilt and
alarm by his manner, and as Ward looked at him a moment in silence the
first impulse in his heart was to mete out a summary and just punishment
for the sneaking outrage of which he had been guilty.

As Ward glanced about the well-furnished room and contrasted it with his
own somewhat bare apartments in West Hall, his bitterness increased.
Was it not enough that he should be compelled to go without many of the
things which such a fellow as Ripley had for the asking, without also
having to suffer all the petty annoyances which the latter chose to
inflict upon him?  His anger was clearly manifest, for the troubled lad
was in a towering rage, and as he realized that the boy he thought had
stacked his room so many times was at last in his power, his first and
natural impulse was to express his feelings in a manner which Ripley
might not enjoy, but which he would certainly remember.

Ripley evidently was alarmed.  His pale face and trembling hands plainly
revealed that.  He stood watching his caller, and not a word had as yet
been spoken.

Suddenly Ripley started toward the open window. Ward instantly suspected
that he was about to call to the crowd of boys who were then on the
ground below and stood talking together near the entrance.

Before the boy could reach the place, however, or open his lips to call
to his friends, Ward leaped before him, and standing with his back to
the window, he said to the frightened lad before him:

"None of that, Ripley; keep away from these windows. I’ll fix it so that
they won’t do you any good," he quickly added, as he instantly turned
and removed the prop which held the window up.  The sash fell and Ripley
perceived that it would be useless to call for help, and that he stood
alone before the angry young senior.

"Now, Ripley, I’ve come over to have it out with you."  Ward spoke
slowly and in a low tone of voice, but the very quietness of his manner
increased the alarm of the boy before him.

"I-I d-don’t know what you mean, Ward Hill; what have I done?"

"What have you done?" retorted Ward, his voice rising as his anger broke
forth.  "What haven’t you done?  Who’s stacked my room almost every day?
Who’s poured kerosene over my bedding?  Who’s done the thousand and one
contemptible things that no one but a sneak and a coward would ever
think of doing?"  Ward’s anger was rapidly increasing and as he
enumerated his woes, each fresh mention of them served to enrage him the

"I never stacked your room, Ward Hill; I’ve never been in it since I’ve
been in the Weston school; I never touched your bedclothes or your lamp;
I haven’t been in West Hall but once since I came back to school this
fall.  Honest, Ward, I’m telling you the truth; I am, Ward.  Won’t you
believe me?"

All the fear of the lad seemed to speak in his words and voice, and for
a moment Ward was almost staggered.  And yet had not Little Pond told
him less than half an hour before that he had seen this very lad trying
to get into his room?  Had Pond been mistaken?  No, it could not be
possible.  The very manner of Ripley betrayed his guilt.

"Ripley," said Ward more slowly, "you were seen in West Hall this very
afternoon when you were trying to get into my room.  You can’t deny
that."  He waited a moment, but the boy before him did not speak.

"If the truth was known," continued Ward, "I believe you’ve got the very
key you tried to use in your pocket now.  What were you doing there?" he
added sternly.

"I was there this afternoon, but it was my first turn--I mean the first
time I’d been there.  I haven’t been in West Hall before this term."

Ward hesitated.  Possibly Ripley was speaking truly.  He knew that Tim
was shrewd and it might be that he had used different boys to do his
bidding at various times.  The expression which Ripley had unconsciously
let slip, that it was his first turn, might understood in that light.
However, his disposition had been clearly manifest, even by his own
confession, and Ward’s feeling of anger instantly returned.

"Ripley, you’ve got that key to my room I believe in your pocket now.
Hand it over to me and I’ll let you off this time."

"Not if I know myself," replied Ripley, his courage having evidently in
a measure returned as he perceived Ward’s momentary hesitation.

"You won’t give it to me?"

"No, I won’t give it to you," replied Ripley still more boldly.

"Then I’ll take it."

And as he spoke Ward quickly sprang forward and grasped the boy by the

Instantly all of Ripley’s fears returned.  Before Ward fairly realized
what was occurring he had emitted three or four shrieks for help.

"Help!  help!  Come! come!  Help me!  Help!  Help!"

If Ward had not been so angry and startled by the unexpected sounds he
would have laughed.  He had not harmed the boy, for he had only grasped
him roughly by the shoulder.  But evidently Ripley was thoroughly
alarmed by Ward’s manner and believed that his last hour had come.

In a moment there was a rush of boys up the stairway and they were
pounding upon the door eagerly striving to open it or break it in.

Taking advantage of Ward’s momentary confusion, Ripley slipped from his
grasp and hastily drew back the bolt of the door and flung it wide open.
A dozen or more boys rushed into the room, Tim Pickard at their head,
and stopped a moment in surprise as they gazed at the two boys.

Scarcely a word had been uttered, however, before Ward heard some one
speaking in the doorway.  He instantly recognized the voice as that of
Mr. Crane, and his anger gave way to a feeling of embarrassment.

"What’s the meaning of this?" said Mr. Crane quietly, though his manner
was somewhat stern.  "I want you all to go immediately to your own

The boys started to obey at once, Ward being the last to pass Mr. Crane,
who stood holding the door open for them to go through.

"I’m surprised, Hill," he said quietly as Ward passed him.  "You will
come and explain this later to me, I am sure."

"I’m ready to explain it now," said Ward eagerly.

"Not now, Hill," said Mr. Crane, smiling for the first time as he marked
the eagerness of the lad. "Come over to-morrow evening."

"I’ll come," said Ward quickly.  "I don’t want you to think too badly of
me, Mr. Crane."

"And I don’t want to.  I hardly think I shall have to," he added, as he
noted Ward’s manner.

"May I go down to Speck’s room now--I mean Jack’s--I mean Jack

"Yes, if you think it will be safe?" said Mr. Crane quietly.  "From the
sounds that came from this room I thought that murder at least was being
committed, and I don’t want to hear a repetition of these ear-splitting

Ward left the teacher and going down to Jack’s room was speedily
admitted.  Then he soon related the entire story before Jack and his
chum Berry.

The boys listened soberly and when at last the story was ended, Jack
said: "Well, Ward, it’s a relief to me that you’ve dug the thing out.
You made one mistake, though."

"What’s that?"

"You ought never to have tried to chastise Ripley when he was in East
Hall.  Don’t you know by this time that there’s no fooling in any
building Mr. Crane has charge of?"

"I wasn’t going to chastise Ripley.  All I was going to do was to take
the key away from him.  Of course that isn’t any good, now that there’s
a new lock on my door; but it would be positive proof that Ripley had a
hand in it, you see."

"And what good would that do you, I’d like to know?  Suppose you did
have the proof; you wouldn’t take it over to the doctor, would you?"

"No, I don’t suppose I would," said Ward slowly. "I never told on a
fellow yet."

"And you’re not going to begin now.  It’s hard lines for you, old
fellow, I know that as well as you do; but it’s just one of the things a
chap’s got to straighten out for himself.  He can’t report it, you know;
that would only make a bad matter worse."

"I suppose you’re right," said Ward soberly.  He was thinking of his
evening interview with Mr. Crane. He had intended to relate the
circumstances just as they were, and felt positive that the teacher
would sympathize with him rather than blame him.

Jack’s words, however, he at once realized were true.  In accordance
with the false code of honor of the school, he could not cure his evils
by seeking outside help.  And the boys he knew were merciless in
carrying out their own ideas of justice and honor.

"No, Ward; you’ve got to look at it just as it is. Some of the fellows
are down on you, but I don’t believe it’ll last.  I don’t honestly.  How
can it with such a fellow as I know Ward Hill to be?  It’s against all

"And meanwhile I’m to sit down meekly and thank these fellows who upset
my room every day, am I?"

"Not at all.  Not at all.  But Ripley isn’t the one to blame.  You’ve
got to go to the fountain head of all the trouble, as Dr. Gray so kindly
informs us every day in the chapel."

"Well, Tim Pickard’s the one at the bottom of it all," said Ward.

"So he is, my young friend, and he’s the one to fix.  Now I’m sure, with
the help of Luscious here and your humble servant, you can do it, and do
it this very night too."

"I don’t see how," said Ward gloomily.

"No you don’t; but if you’ll listen with both ears I’ll explain the
little project I have in mind, and soon the weary valedic will put his
enemies to flight, or words to that effect."

And Jack at once began to explain his "project."

                              *CHAPTER XI*

                        *JACK HOBART’S PROJECT*

"There’s no other way out of it," began Jack, "except for you to take
the matter into your own hands, Ward.  You can’t report it to the
teachers, and you can’t be expected to let it go on without doing
something to protect yourself.  I think even Mr. Crane wouldn’t expect
anything less than that of you."

"But I don’t see just what I’m to do," protested Ward.  "Of course I
know now that Tim Pickard is the one who’s stirring the trouble up,
though I’ve been satisfied all the time that he was the ringleader. I
don’t see what I can do, unless I fight him."

"That’s one way out of it," replied Jack, who perhaps was not entirely
averse to a settlement of troubles by that primitive and brutal method.
"But you don’t need to do that just yet.  You can hold that till later,
though I’m not sure but you might save yourself a deal of trouble by
pitching into Tim now.  It may have to come to that in the end.  Still,
I think it would be better to try my plan first."

Ward smiled as he thought of Jack in the role of a peacemaker.  He
appreciated fully Jack’s spirit and life, and he well knew how he
enjoyed anything that partook of the nature of tests of physical
strength in the school.  His last words, in which with apparent
reluctance he had counseled his friend to postpone the method his boyish
heart decidedly preferred, had been spoken in a tone which made Berry
laugh aloud.

"Let’s hear your plan, Jack," said Ward.

"It’s nothing more than giving Tim a dose of his own medicine."

"What do you mean? that I’m to stack his room?"

"That’s exactly my meaning.  You grasp it quickly, as Mr. Blake
sometimes tells me--no, I mean you, Ward--in his classes.  Yes, sir,
that’s the thing for you to do, for it’s the only thing a fellow like
Tim Pickard will appreciate.  ’Hoist with his own petard.’  Isn’t that
something you’ve heard somewhere, sometime?"

"I think I have heard the expression before.  How am I to do it, Jack?"

"Just as easily as falling off a log.  Tim rooms down at Ma Perrins’, as
you know, and has a room all to himself.  Now to-night after supper, my
friend, here, Luscious, will send for him to come up to our room.  I
think it very likely that Luscious will have something to say about the
nine, and Tim won’t wait long after hearing that Luscious Berry has
something to say about that, for if he’s interested in anything it’s the
work and the prospects of the nine, you know."

"Yes, I know," replied Ward somewhat gloomily. Tim Pickard’s work and
interest in the nine was a subject on which he had very strong feelings
at that time.

"Well, Luscious will get him up here and he’ll hold him with his
glittering eye, _à la_ ancient mariner, and he’ll have so many bright
speeches to make, that Tim won’t be able to get away from him. Meanwhile
you and I’ll step down to Tim’s room and rearrange it for him, don’t you
see?  I’m going into this with you, Ward, and see if I can’t help you to
put a stop to these rascally proceedings."

"Yes, but----"

"There isn’t a ’but’ about it," interrupted Jack. "I know what you were
going to say, but it isn’t worth saying, Ward.  I know all the fine
phrases about ’stooping’ and ’belittling yourself,’ and all that sort of
stuff, but it’s no time for indulging in such nonsense.  Here you are
bothered to death by Tim’s pranks.  You don’t want to bother him, or
have anything to do with him, for the matter of that. I understand all
these things.  But you can’t study; you won’t be the valedic; you can’t
report the trouble to the faculty.  What can you do?  Just nothing, but
take the matter into your own hands and do the thing that will put a
stop in the shortest time to all this nonsense.  Do you see the point?"

"Yes, I see----"

"Well, I’m glad for once in your life that you’re able to see the

"And I’m glad that for once in your life you can make a point clear,"
said Ward with a laugh.

"Well done, my friend, I’ve hopes of you yet. Now, I say it’s all fair
to feed Tim with his own food and from his own spoon.  Why my father was
telling me the last time I was home about a trick a fellow named Bram
Martling played in the ’neutral ground,’ away back in the Revolution.
It seems that this same Bram, which is short as I understand it for
Abraham, was a young officer in the Continental army, and once when he
came home he found the Tories and British had been burning the houses
around there just for the fun of seeing ’em burn, I fancy.  Well, Bram
was pretty well stirred up when he found out what was going on, so he
just quietly got a dozen young fellows together, and they met over by
Wolfert’s Roost on the Hudson, and took two whaleboats and pulled down
to Morningside Heights in the night.  Then they crept up and set fire to
Oliver De Lancy’s great house, and got away without one of them being
caught.  They thought ’twas a great deed in those days, and made out
that the aforesaid Bram was quite a hero.  But he stopped the Tories
from burning houses after that, let me tell you.  It makes all the
difference in the world whether you are the burner or the burnee."

"And you think----?"

"Be silent, my young friend.  This fable, which I have just related for
your special benefit, teaches that in bad things as well as in good it
is much more pleasant to give than to receive.  Now, for your own good,
and for the good of Tim Pickard too, you are simply compelled to let him
know just how good it is to have one’s room stacked.  It must be done
thoroughly and at once.  Who was it that said, ’if ’twere well done when
it is done, then ’twere well if it were done quickly’?"

"I guess it was Shakespeare," said Ward laughing; "but you got the
quotation twisted a bit.  The way it reads is----"

"Oh, bother the way it reads, you know what I mean.  Now, Luscious, you
tell Ward if you don’t think what I’ve said is true."

"I think, Ward," said Berry, "that Jack’s right.  I don’t see that you
can do anything else.  You’ve got to put a stop to the racket and Jack’s
plan is a good one."

For a moment Ward did not speak.  Somehow he knew that Henry would not
go into the scheme, and he had a very decided opinion that Mr. Crane
would not approve.  Indeed, the teacher had at one time said to him that
it was a good deal better to suffer wrong than to do it.  One wrong did
not make another wrong right.  Ward needed no one to tell him that.

Yet there was the trouble all the time threatening to become worse and
it was certainly bad enough as it was, and Henry and Little Pond were
both made to suffer too for his unpopularity.  Jack’s plan might work
well.  Who could say?  The specious reasoning of boys who would not
intentionally do anything very bad also appealed to him.

But more than all was Jack’s evident friendship and interest.  Ward was
well aware of the risks the impulsive lad would be incurring in entering
into the project with him.  Tim Pickard’s enmity in the Weston school
was no light matter, and Jack, even more than Ward, fed upon the good
will of his companions.  Jack might feel hurt if he should refuse now to
enter into the project, when his only motive for proposing it had been
the desire to aid him. Ward felt that he could not refuse.

"Well, Jack," he said at last, "I’m obliged to you, and I think your
suggestion is worth trying."

"Good for you, old man," said Jack eagerly, rising from his chair as he
spoke.  "Now we’ll do it this very night.  You go right up to your room
just as soon as you’ve had your supper, and as soon as Luscious and I
have had ours I’ll have him bring Tim back with him to our room.  Then,
when the coasts are clear, I’ll make a break for your room and we’ll
soon fix Tim’s room out in great shape.  There goes the bell now.  Your
afflictions will soon be over, the wicked will cease to trouble you, and
the weary valedic will be at rest."

The boys at once left East Hall, Ward going to the dining hall and Jack
and Berry starting toward Mrs. Perrins’, where they both took their

Somehow, Ward had no feeling of elation.  Again and again he tried to
persuade himself that Jack’s scheme was all right and that now he would
put an end to all his difficulties.  But there were misgivings in his
heart all the time.  Try as he would to convince himself that he was
taking a legitimate and justifiable method of protecting himself, he
could not shake off the feeling that if he should be discovered in the
act, or if Mr. Crane should learn of it, the affair would appear in a
far different light.

However, he did not mention the plan or his own misgivings to his
room-mate, and it was with a feeling of relief he heard Henry say to
him, when together they left the dining hall, "I’m going over to Dr.
Gray’s a little while, Ward.  Will you come too?"

"No, I think not at present," said Ward.  "I guess I’ll go over to our
room and keep out visitors.  I don’t want to have to tack down carpets

"I don’t believe they’ll trouble us now that we’ve a new lock on the
door," said Henry, laughing as he spoke.  He did not urge Ward to
accompany him and soon departed.

Ward walked slowly on toward West Hall and entered his room.  He had not
been there long before Jack came, and he at once followed him out of the

"It’s all right, Ward," said Jack eagerly.  "Luscious has taken Tim up
to our room and he’ll keep him there for an hour."

"But how shall we get into his room?" inquired Ward.

"Oh, that’s all easy enough.  Ma doesn’t keep the front door locked, and
if she happens to see me come in, she’ll only think I’ve come back for
something I left.  It’ll be all right; you needn’t have any fears about

"Jack," said Ward slowly, "I’ve been thinking this thing over and I
don’t want you to get your fingers burned."

"That’s good of you," and Jack laughed.  "Any one to hear you talk would
think I was the fellow in trouble.  Don’t bother your head about me.
I’ll be all right."

"That isn’t just what I mean.  I think you’d better stay down by the
door or out in the hall and let me go up to Tim’s room alone.  There
isn’t any use in your going, and besides that, I think you can help more
if you stay there and keep watch."

"Maybe you’re right," replied Jack thoughtfully. "I’ll tell you what
I’ll do, Ward, I’ll stay in the hall and wait for you to go up and fix
the room and then I’ll come in for the finishing touches.  I don’t
believe you know how to do the thing up in the latest and most approved

The boys were now in front of Mrs. Perrins’ house, and glancing quickly
up and down the street to make sure that they were not observed, they
quickly crossed over the street and approached the door.

Having found this unlocked, they entered and stood for a moment in the
hallway.  One of the servants was in the dining room and glanced up at
them as they came in, but at once recognizing Jack, she paid no further
attention to them and went on with her duties.

"It’s all right," whispered Jack.  "Go right up to Tim’s room, it’s the
one right over the dining room, you know.  I’ll be up too in a few
minutes and help you to put the finishing touches on."

Ward turned and started at once up the stairway. A heavy carpet was on
the floor and deadened the sound of his footsteps.  The lad was excited
and his heart was beating rapidly, but his presence was not discovered
and he soon made his way swiftly and silently to the door of Tim’s room.

Suppose the door should be locked!  Ward had not thought of that, nor
had Jack mentioned it.  He almost wished that it was; but as he turned
the knob, the door opened and he at once entered, gently closing the
door behind him.

And now he was in Tim Pickard’s room.  The lamp upon the table was
burning, and the room seemed to be flooded with a soft and mellow light
which served to increase the luxurious appearance of all about him.

What an elegantly furnished room it was!  In spite of his excitement,
Ward could not fail to notice that.  Pictures were hanging on the walls,
the floor had a rich, soft carpet upon it, a little fire was burning in
the open grate, just sufficient to take away the chill of the early
autumn air.  The study table was covered with books and papers, the
chairs were beautifully upholstered, and the bed, which stood in one
corner of the room, was not much like the rude little affair in his own
room, Ward thought.

Indeed, for a moment Ward stopped and looked about him, deeply impressed
by the contrast to his room in West Hall.  And why should Tim Pickard,
with all his money and comforts, wish to torment him by a series of
petty and constant annoyances?

The thought made Ward’s heart bitter and hard. It was unjust, mean,
contemptible.  Jack was right. The only way in which he could defend
himself was to let Tim understand just what it meant for a fellow to
have his room all upset.

Hark!  What was that?  Ward stopped and listened intently as he heard
some one moving in the hall.  Suppose he should be discovered in the
room! He felt like a thief.  What could he say or do to explain his
presence if he should be discovered?

The sound of the footsteps passed and Ward breathed more freely.  What
he was to do, he must do quickly.  Where should he begin?  He started
toward the bed to tear that in pieces, but quickly changing his purpose,
he turned again to the study table.  That was the proper spot at which
to begin.

As he approached, the light of the lamp fell full upon the photograph of
a woman’s face looking up at him from a beautiful frame on the table.
It almost seemed to him as if the eyes could see him and were looking at
him with a reproving, reproachful glance.  That must be Tim’s mother, he
thought. He knew that she was dead, for Tim had told him many a time of
the fact that his father--"the governor," as Tim called him--was the
only one he had to look after him or to whom he had to report.

Perhaps if his mother were alive, Tim would be a different fellow.  It
seemed to Ward, as he stood gazing at the picture, as if the woman were
pleading with him.  For a moment he thought of another woman in the
far-away village of Rockford.  His mother was living, and he had no such
excuse as Tim had for failing to do what he knew was right. And how
grieved she would be if she knew he had been stealing like a thief into
another fellow’s room. Ward almost started, for it seemed as if he could
hear the sound of her voice.  And there was the face of Tim’s dead
mother still looking up at him.

"I can’t do it!  I can’t do it!  I’d be no better than Tim Pickard if I
did.  I’d be doing the very same thing which made me so mad when he did
it," groaned Ward.

The troubled boy quickly turned to leave the room Jack might think what
he chose; he simply could not bring himself to do what he had planned.

As he approached the door, his heart seemed almost to cease to beat.
Some one was coming.  He could hear the footsteps as they came nearer
the door.  The frightened boy looked quickly about him for a place of
concealment, but none could be found. In a moment the door was opened
and Tim himself was standing before him with a look of mingled anger and
astonishment plainly expressed upon his face.

                             *CHAPTER XII*

                          *MR. CRANE’S WORDS*

"What are you doing here?" said Tim angrily, as soon as he recovered
from his surprise.

"I came over to stack your room."

"You did?  You did?" said Tim, as if he could hardly believe what he had

His astonishment arose not from the fact that Ward should have come for
the purpose which he so calmly expressed, but from the fact that he
should have stated it so boldly.  The one part Tim could readily
understand, but the other was something he could not comprehend.  To him
there was but one explanation, and that was that Ward was somehow openly
defying him, and Tim’s anger was correspondingly increased.

With all his faults Tim Pickard was no coward, as the word is ordinarily
used.  That is, he had no fears of a physical contest, and as he stood
in the doorway before him Ward readily perceived what a fine specimen of
young manhood in its bodily form Tim was.  Tall, with broad shoulders
and with the fire and force of vigorous health manifest in every phase
of his bearing, he would not be an antagonist whom most boys would care
to meet.

Ward himself was no weakling.  Though he was not so large as Tim, his
compact and well-knit frame betokened physical powers of no mean order.
And his quiet bearing served to increase the impression of his
fearlessness too, and for a moment the two seniors stood quietly facing
each other, each being conscious of the fact that a contest between them
would be no light affair.

"Well, why don’t you stack it then?" said Tim at last with a sneer.
"Here’s the room and you’ve got my full consent to go ahead--if you

"I’m not going to stack it," said Ward quietly.

"Oh, you’re not?  Well, that’s kind of you, I must say," laughed Tim.
"Well, if you’re not going to stack it, will you leave or shall I put
you out?  I don’t want any sneaking hypocrite prowling around here."

"I shall leave, but you won’t put me out," replied Ward, his face
flushing as he spoke.

"Well, leave then, will you?  You can’t do it too soon to suit me."

Ward did not stir.

Tim’s face flushed with anger and he advanced a step nearer the table,
and Ward braced himself for the conflict which now appeared to be

Before anything could be done, however, the door was suddenly pushed
open and Jack burst into the room.  A hasty glance at the two boys
revealed at once to him the condition of affairs, and taking a position
between the two, he said:

"Here now, quit this, will you?"

"You don’t suppose I’m going to sit down quietly and let a fellow go to
work stacking my room, do you?" said Tim.  "This sneak says that was
just what he came for."

"No, I don’t believe you’d do any such thing," replied Jack; "neither do
I think you would think Ward Hill would be likely to do any such thing,
either.  If he came over here to stack your room, it’s no more than you
deserve, and he’d be only paying off old scores."

"I never stacked his room," replied Tim evasively.

"No, you never had the nerve to do that openly, but you can set such
fellows as Ripley and Choate and a lot of others up to it.  Oh, you
needn’t beg off, Tim Pickard.  I know you through and through, and so
does Ward Hill too; and if he came over here to set your room up, he
knows, and I know, and you know, and I know you know that we know,
you’re only being paid off in your own coin."

Tim was silent, and Jack quickly perceiving his advantage, went on.
"Now, look here, you fellows. You can’t get into any scrap here, not so
long as I’m in the room.  The first thing you know Ma Perrins would be
at the door, and you know she would report the thing at once to Doctor
Gray.  Then what would happen?  You, Tim, aren’t in very good shape for
receiving an invitation to come up and confer with him about ’the best
interests of the school,’ as he puts it. You know what would follow
mighty sudden.  And Ward here isn’t in just the best position in the
world for a faculty meeting, though I think he’d be in a good deal
better one than you, Tim, for he’s only trying to protect himself.  Even
a worm will turn, and I don’t believe Doctor Gray would blame a fellow
too much for taking the law into his own hands and trying to put a stop
to having his room stacked every day of his life."

"But I haven’t stacked his room, I’m telling you," interrupted Tim.

"Oh, give that ancient and antiquated aphorism a period of relaxation,
will you, Tim?  That doesn’t work here, let me tell you.  I know what
I’m talking about."

"But I don’t see what this sneak thinks he’s going to gain by stacking
my room," persisted Tim.  "I shouldn’t have to set it up again myself.
I’m no West Hall pauper.  I don’t have to take care of my own room.
Thank fortune, I’ve got some one to do my dirty work for me."

"Yes, that’s what you’re always doing, Tim Pickard," retorted Jack
angrily, as he saw Ward flush at the brutal words; "you’re always
getting some one to do that for you.  But let me tell you one thing,
this stacking of Ward’s room has got to be stopped."

"Who’s going to stop it, I’d like to know?" replied Tim boldly.

"Oh, there’s more than one way of doing that," replied Jack quietly.
"Now, if you don’t want to be sent home again for good and all, you’ll
see to it that Ward Hill’s room isn’t troubled again.  That’s all I’ve
got to say about it."

"What’ll you do?  Go and report it to Doctor Gray?"

"I’m not telling what’ll be done, but I am telling you that it isn’t
going to happen again.  I know you and you know me, and you know too
that I don’t talk for the fun of hearing my own voice.  Come on, Ward,"
he added, "you’ll not be bothered any more after this.  Good-bye, Tim,"
he called out as he and Ward together left the room.

But Tim made no response.

Neither of the boys spoke until they were in front of East Hall, then as
Ward turned to go to his own room, Jack said, "What was the trouble?
You had time enough to rip the carpet apart, to say nothing of upsetting
everything in the room."

"I can’t explain it, Jack; I don’t know just why I didn’t, but I
couldn’t do it, and that’s all there was about it.  When I got into the
room, it all came over me what a mean, contemptible thing it was, and
how I felt toward Tim for his work in West Hall; and on his table was a
picture of his dead mother appearing to look reproachfully at me.  It
seemed to me that I couldn’t do it, and if I did I’d be doing the very
thing that set me so against him.  And so I couldn’t, and that’s all
there is about it."

"You’re a queer chap," said Jack thoughtfully. "I thought I knew you
pretty well, but I’ve got to give you up, I’m afraid.  Ma Perrins came
out into the hall while I was on guard there, and as I saw she looked a
little surprised to see me, I went into the parlor with her just to
quiet her fears and give you a chance to put in your fine work.  I was
horrified when I saw Tim rush into the house like a young whirlwind, and
before I could call to him he was up the stairs as if he’d been shot out
of a gun.  You’d better believe I cut short my interview with Ma and
made a break for Tim’s room.  I was half afraid I’d find only a few
small pieces of you and Tim left, and that I’d have to beg the loan of
one of Ma’s platters to bring you home on.  But I can’t make you out,
Ward.  I hardly know now why you didn’t fix Tim’s room so that it would
have been a living monument of your ability in that line.  That’s what
I’d have done."

As Ward made no reply, Jack added: "Well, never mind, old fellow!
Perhaps it’s just as well. Tim won’t bother you again, that is, I mean
you won’t have your room stacked again.  You can rest easy about that."

"Thank you, Jack.  You’ve been a good friend to me, and I need friends

"Don’t mention it," replied Jack impulsively, as he reached forth his
hand and shook Ward’s warmly. "Good-night."

"Good-night, Jack."

When Ward, returned to his room, Henry was there and working over his
lessons.  At first he was tempted to tell his room-mate all about his
experience, but fearing that Henry like Jack might misunderstand him he
remained silent, and soon took his seat at his own table and began to
work on his lessons.

It was some time, however, before he could bring his mind to bear upon
his task.  The scene in Tim Pickard’s room kept rising before him.  His
anger and the part Jack had taken were still vivid.  What a good fellow
Jack was, Ward thought, and he appreciated his aid the more when he
realized what it might mean for the impulsive lad to bring upon himself
the anger of the "Tangs."  And yet how fearless he had been, and in what
a manly way he had taken his stand.  Even then Ward could almost hear
his words as he told Tim that the trouble in West Hall must cease.
Would Tim heed?  Somehow Ward felt that he would, at least in so far as
the stacking of his room was concerned; but in other ways doubtless he
would be made aware that Tim had not forgotten him.  And Tim was one who
never forgot.

At last he succeeded in banishing from his mind for the time, the
recollection of the scene in Mrs. Perrins’ house, and gave himself
wholly to his work. On the following night Ward started to go to Mr.
Crane’s room.  Somehow he dreaded the interview, and yet go he must.
Mr. Crane he knew would expect him to come, and that scene in Ripley’s
room must be explained to his satisfaction.

Ward had thought over the matter many times, but as yet had arrived at
no satisfactory course for him to follow.  One thing was certain, and
that was that he could not tell Mr. Crane about Tim Pickard. That was
against the school’s code of honor, and Ward’s own feelings forbade it
as well.

He was still undecided what to do when he rapped on Mr. Crane’s door and
was at once admitted by the teacher himself.

Apparently Mr. Crane had not changed, nor did he seem in any way
suspicious of the boy before him. And yet that very quietness was most
impressive to Ward, and had ever been the one element in the teacher’s
character and bearing which had most influenced him.

After a few general words Ward felt that he could bear it no longer, and
breaking in somewhat abruptly, he said:

"Mr. Crane I want to put a case before you."

"Yes?" said Mr. Crane, lifting his eyes inquiringly, but not otherwise
changing his manner.

"I want to know just what you would do.  You seem to understand boys so

"I don’t just know what I should do, if I didn’t understand a little
more clearly than I do now what was expected of me," answered Mr. Crane,
smiling slightly as he spoke.

"Well, it’s just this way.  Suppose a fellow--I mean a boy--had come up
to the Weston school, and was here a year.  Suppose too, that he hadn’t
done very well.  He’d neglected his work and was a great disappointment
to his father and mother, and to his teachers, to say nothing of
himself.  Then suppose he’d fallen in with a set of the fellows--I mean
boys--who were up to all sorts of mischief and he’d gone in with them,
though all the time he didn’t feel right about it.  Then suppose he’d
failed in his examinations at the end of the year, but that he tried to
make them up during the summer.  We’ll say he came back to school and
was able to go on with his class.  When he came back he tried to break
off with his old associates, but he didn’t find it a very easy thing to
do. They wouldn’t believe in him, and when at last they found he really
was trying to do differently, then they tried to make his life a burden
to him."

Ward stopped a moment as if he expected some kind of a reply, but as Mr.
Crane was silent he resumed his story.

"Well, if it didn’t sound too much like telling tales, we’ll suppose
these fellows--I mean students--tried to do all they could to make life
a burden for the boy. They put him off from the nine, they prejudiced
the minds of the new boys against him, and some of the old ones too.
But that wasn’t all.  They played all kinds of tricks on him, and worst
of all they began to stack his room.  I don’t know that you understand
what that means?" added Ward quickly.

"I think I understand," said Mr. Crane quietly.

"Well, this boy--I mean fellow--no, I don’t, I mean boy--would find his
room all upset every day. His carpet would be torn up, he’d find that
water had been poured on his bed, and sometimes the oil from his lamp
would be added too.  The fellow--boy I mean--really wanted to study, but
he had to take lots of his time from his lessons to set his room to
rights. Finally he went at it and found out who was doing the mischief.
He discovered that some one had a key to his room, but he found out too,
that the fellow--I mean boy--who had the key wasn’t the one who was
stacking his room.  He kept out of it himself, but set other fellows--I
mean boys--up to it. And the worst of it all was that they were picking
on Little P--I mean on a little fellow who rather looked up to this boy
for help.

"Well, finally the boy fixed a trap and caught the one who was trying to
get into his room that day. He went over to his room and started to make
him give up the key--but--but--he was interrupted, and somehow he didn’t
do it.  Then he went down to the fellow’s room--the one at the bottom of
it all--and was going to stack his room well, so as to let him know how
it felt.  But when he got there he somehow couldn’t bring himself to do
it, and while he was hesitating, the fellow in whose room he was came
back and there was a great row.

"No, there was no fight," he hastily added, as he saw the question in
the teacher’s eyes; "but the fellow didn’t know but the boy was trying
to stack his room.  Now, there’s the story, Mr. Crane.  I wish you’d
tell me what you would do if you were that boy."

For a few moments Mr. Crane was silent, but at last he said: "Hill, I’ll
try to be entirely frank with you.  In the first place, I think I should
honor the boy who had gained the victory over himself in that fellow’s
room.  He couldn’t afford to do the very same thing he despised in the
other fellow."

Ward’s face flushed with pleasure, for he felt that praise from Mr.
Crane was praise indeed.

"I’m not done yet," resumed Mr. Crane quietly. "Then, if I were that
boy, I think I should begin to question myself and see if there was any
just cause for the school being down upon me.  It may have been that
that boy was somewhat conceited, and a little selfish.  He was all the
time perhaps thinking how the school ought to appreciate everything he
did, and he did not have quite the necessary courage to face calmly the
results of his own misdeeds."

"But, Mr. Crane," protested Ward, "the fellow knew he’d done wrong.  He
wasn’t trying to crawl."

"Perhaps so, but it is also possible that he thought he ought to be
praised unduly for simply turning about and doing his duty.  In the
main, Hill, boys are just; and while doubtless injustice creeps in at
times, it is still true that if a fellow has trouble, he ought not only
to think of that, but of what he may be doing to bring it upon himself."

"Then you think the boy ought to keep still and let his room be stacked
every day, do you?"

"Not at all; I want him to cure that in the right way, but I want him
also to think not only of the stacking, but of the reason for its being

"It was stacked because he broke with the fellows he’d been going with,"
said Ward bitterly.

"In part, yes; but in part, no.  Think it over, Hill, and come and see
me again in a week."

"Good-night, Mr. Crane," said Ward somewhat abruptly, as he left the

He felt hurt and humiliated.  Somehow he had thought Mr. Crane would
speak very differently. Was that to be the reward for trying to do
better? It seemed to him that he had been abused and misunderstood, and
in no very amiable frame of mind Ward walked back to West Hall.

                             *CHAPTER XIII*

                          *A FAITHFUL FRIEND*

For two days Ward Hill continued in no enviable frame of mind.  He felt
hurt and humiliated by the words of Mr. Crane, and also felt that he had
been hard and somewhat unjust in his judgment.

It was true that he had not referred to the disturbance in Ripley’s
room, but to Ward that seemed a trifling matter now.  The struggle
through which he was passing was uppermost in his thoughts, and before
that, all else seemed insignificant and small.

And to Ward Hill it was a struggle of no small character.  The stand
which near the close of the preceding year he had taken for Henry had
brought upon him the enmity of his former associates, and they had
succeeded not only in annoying him themselves, but also in creating a
prejudice against him in the school.

Henry, it was true, remained his true friend, but he was a boy who was
never demonstrative, and Ward somehow felt the need of continued praise.
In this particular he did not differ from other sensitive and bright
lads; but in his own home and in the little village of Rockford, he had
been so looked up to by all his associates that he had come to regard
such feelings toward him as but his just and natural right.

Jack Hobart’s good will he highly prized and also prized more than he
himself was aware all the good-natured references to the possibilities
of his becoming the valedictorian of the class; but Ward Hill, like many
another when he finds himself beset with perplexities and difficulties,
was more prone to dwell upon his lacks than upon his possessions, and
consequently he was thinking much more of the words of implied blame
which Mr. Crane had spoken, than he was of the encouragement and
appreciation he had received.

And it was just because Mr. Crane thoroughly understood Ward that he had
spoken as he did at the time of Ward’s indirect statement.  He had
understood clearly that in the case which Ward had stated, he was
speaking of himself.  The disguise was very thin, and the teacher had
listened attentively and with a full sense of what it all meant to the
eager, impulsive boy.

But he had also seen, what Ward himself had failed to see, that as yet
he had not faced his situation with the true spirit.  It was his vanity
which was suffering more than his sense of justice and right.  Eager for
the praise of the boys and his teachers, he had not as yet come to
perceive that there was something deeper, stronger, better.  It was with
no lack of appreciation of the efforts Ward certainly was making to do
better work in his classes and to cut himself loose from the more
disorderly elements of the Weston school, that Mr. Crane had spoken, but
because he clearly perceived that as yet the troubled boy was governed
only by his feelings, and that deep down below all his desires to
improve there lay a motive which must be purified before anything like a
radical or permanent change in his life could be produced.

He had not failed to notice the pain his words produced, but as we are
informed that "faithful are the wounds of a friend," he had resolved for
the sake of the boy, whom he sincerely loved and whose brightness he was
in no wise backward in acknowledging, that what he needed most was not
praise and sympathy, but frankness and a true picture of himself.

Not the least of Ward’s troubles arose from the fact that in his own
heart there was a perception of the fact that the basis of all his
regard for Mr. Crane was his confidence in the teacher’s candor and
sincerity.  Ward felt that come what might Mr. Crane never said pleasing
things just for the pleasure of saying them, or for the pleasure his
praise might impart.  In all this he was in marked contrast to Mr. Blake
whose words of praise were so plentiful as to be cheap, and were
bestowed so indiscriminately that they were slightly valued. Mr. Crane,
on the contrary, was ever ready to speak a word of encouragement to any
boy whom he perceived to be doing his best, but he never praised at the
expense of truth.  And perhaps it was because of the dim consciousness
that there was too much truth in what he had heard, that Ward’s
bitterness was somewhat increased.

He could not conceal from himself the fact that in the preceding year,
when he had been received into the "Tangs" and made much of by a class
of boys whose ideals, home training, and lives had been very different
from his own, that he had been somewhat elated by the attentions he had
received and that his manner and bearing toward the other boys in the
school had gradually undergone a marked change.

He had become somewhat overbearing and condescending in his dealings
with them.  He had assumed airs that did not become him and rejected
many of the overtures of friendship that had been offered him.  And as a
consequence he had not gained them, and now he had lost the others.  Did
Mr. Crane know anything of that?  Ward almost felt that he must, but the
knowledge did not tend to increase his peace of mind at the time.  In
fact, Ward Hill wanted what he did not need, and needed what he did not

For two days, as we have said, the struggle went on in Ward’s soul.  At
times he would be bitter and hard, feeling that it made no difference
what he attempted to do, the hand of nearly every one was certain to be
against him.  Then again, his better self would assert itself and he
would be able to see things in their true light.

To Henry he did not speak of his troubles.  He worked faithfully and
hard over his lessons, and knew that he was doing well in his classes;
but somehow the knowledge did not bring him the satisfaction he had
expected.  He could not forget or ignore Mr. Crane’s words, and the
recollection of them was ever a disturbing element in his mind.

When the two days had passed, he sought out Jack, having resolved to
seek his opinion, half hoping that his friend, who ever had good words
for all, would have something to say to him which would be a comfort to
his troubled soul.

It was in his room that he found his friend and after stating, as
clearly and fully as he could recall, the conversation with Mr. Crane,
he said abruptly: "Now, Jack, I want you to tell me just what you think.
Am I a prig, like Big Smith?  Do you think Mr. Crane was right?  Am I to
blame for what’s coming to me?"

"Ward, I don’t know," said Jack soberly after a brief silence.

Ward felt hurt and somewhat humiliated by his friend’s reply.  He was so
anxious to be absolved from all blame that he had eagerly looked forward
to Jack as a consoler.  And now Jack’s manner, far more than his words,
seemed to imply that he too thought something was wrong with himself.

"It seems to me," said Ward, unable entirely to conceal his
disappointment, "that a fellow who stands up for Henry as I did when the
’Tangs’ got after him, isn’t altogether bad.  And why is Tim Pickard so
down on me?  If I’d gone into his scrapes, or if even now I’d go in
again, he’d be all right, and you know it.  I’d have my place on the
nine and the fellows in the school wouldn’t all be down on me as they
now are."

"I don’t know what to say to you," said Jack slowly.  "You know how I
feel, old fellow, and there isn’t a chap in the school who would be so
glad to have you take the place I know belongs to you as I would.  I
know Tim’s to blame, but then you know how it was with Big Pond.  He
didn’t go in with Tim and the ’Tangs,’ and yet there hasn’t been a
fellow in school for years whom every one liked as they did Pond.  Now I
know him and I know you, and for the life of me I can’t see just where
the fault lies."

"Only you know they liked Pond and don’t like me."

"It isn’t as strong as that.  It isn’t that the fellows dislike you,
Ward.  That isn’t it."

"It’s that they don’t like me," said Ward bitterly, determined to say
the words which he perceived that Jack would not.

"I think it’ll come out all right, Ward, if you’ll have patience and
wait.  It isn’t very pleasant, I know," he hastily added as he saw an
expression of pain and mortification sweep over Ward’s face, "but it’ll
all come right, I’m sure."

"And meanwhile I’m to sit still and bear it all like a martyr on a

"No, not that--not that--but----"

"But what?"

"But I wish you’d take a little more pains to make the fellows like

"Don’t you remember, though, what the doctor said about the fellows that
tried to do the popular act, how they never succeeded and the school was
always down on them?"

"Yes, I remember, and it’s true too, but that doesn’t mean that a
fellow’s not to take a little trouble to be agreeable--I mean to go out
of his way. Forgive me, Ward.  It hurts me worse than it does you, but
you asked me the honest question and I’m trying hard, honestly I am, to
see a way out of it. Now there’s Big Smith.  He’s never in a scrape. He
doesn’t know what the word mischief means, but then he isn’t over
popular, you know."

"Yes, I know; but I hope I’m not like Big Smith. I suppose I’ll have to
take it out in being respected, even if I’m not liked."

"That’s where you’re wrong, Ward.  I tell you a fellow’s got to be
respected or he’s not liked.  He’s got to have something the other
fellows don’t have or they don’t look up to him and don’t care much for
him, either.  No, sir!  I don’t believe a fellow can be respected and
not be liked.  Speaking of that, and the doctor’s words, don’t you
remember what he said about ’speaking the truth in love’?  that it
wasn’t enough for a fellow to be true, and speak the truth too, for that
matter, but that the way in which he did it counted for as much or more
than what he said?  I usually take a nap when the doctor gets to
preaching, but I was thinking that morning and so kept awake."

"Thinking of me, maybe?" said Ward, looking keenly at Jack as he spoke.

"Why, yes, to tell the truth I was thinking of you, Ward; but I fancy
I’d been in a good deal better business to have been thinking of

"Jack, what would you advise me to do?"

"I told you, Ward, I don’t know what to tell you. Still, if you want me
to, I’ll tell you one or two things I’ve thought of."

"Go ahead," said Ward, striving to appear calm, though there was a
sinking of the heart as he spoke.

"Well, to begin with, old fellow, there isn’t a boy in the class who can
learn his lessons with as little work as you can.  Why, you can see
right through a thing that takes my old head an hour to find out. But,
Ward," he added hesitatingly, "I’ve sometimes thought you were a little
quick to poke fun at the fellows who are not so quick-witted as you are.
And then you aren’t over ready to give a fellow a lift when he’s in
trouble.  Now, for example, there’s Big Smith.  I saw him come up to you
before class yesterday and say, ’Ward, how do you translate this
passage?’  And maybe you remember what you said to him."

"No, I don’t," replied Ward.  "He’s such a shirk I’ve no patience with
him.  What did I say, Jack?"

"Why you turned him off with a curt, ’How do I translate that place?
Why, I translate it right,’ and then you turned on your heel and walked

"But I don’t want to drag Big Smith through by letting him hang on to my
coat tails.  I work to get what I have, and why shouldn’t the other
fellows work too, I’d like to know?  Every tub ought to stand on its own

"That’s all true enough, but it wouldn’t cost you anything to give
another fellow a lift; you can do it too, I know, for you’ve lifted me
right out of the mire every time I asked you."

"Yes, but I like you, Jack."

"But I thought it was of the other fellows and the school you were
talking just now."

"So I was, Jack," replied Ward slowly.  Perhaps he was beginning to see
what his friend had in mind. "But go on, give me another.  I’m good for

"Well," said Jack hesitatingly, "I’ve thought about the nine, Ward.
Henry and I were perfectly willing to keep off till they’d take you on,
but you wouldn’t have that."

"No, sir!  I’d never go on the nine if I had to get on in that way."

"That’s all right and I don’t know that I blame you, though I think by a
little squeezing Tim would have come around all right.  But I did think
you might have gone on the scrub."

"Go on the scrub!" said Ward quickly.  "What? Go on the scrub when I’d
been put off from the nine?  Not much!  Not as long as the court knows
itself."  And Ward rose from his seat and in his anger began to pace
back and forth in the room.

"You don’t see what I’m driving at.  Now it looks to me like this.  If
you’d taken the thing good-naturedly and made out that you weren’t hit
so hard, I think the most of the fellows in the school would have taken
your part in no time.  As it is, you just keep away from them, and if
Tim tells them that you’ve gone back on everything, why they don’t know
but it’s true, you see.  Now if you’d swallowed your pride and gone in
with the fellows, whether you were on the nine or not, why it wouldn’t
have been any time before every one of them would be willing to swear
that you were one of the best fellows in the school, as well as one of
the best players, and Tim would be forced to give you back your place.
Ripley has it now, but he doesn’t size up to your knees, when it comes
to playing ball."

"Yes, but think what Tim Pickard would say if he should see me on the
scrub nine.  He’d think he’d got me just where he wanted me, and that I
was all cut up about being put off the nine, and was trying to force my
way back again."

"Tim might be a little disagreeable at first; but you know if you braced
up and either laughed at him or paid no attention to what he said, how
soon he’d cool off.  Now look here, Ward, how many times has your room
been stacked since we had our little interview with Timothy down at Ma

"Not once."

"Exactly.  And if you meet Tim and the boys in the same way down on the
ball ground you’d see how soon he’d crawl there.  Oh, I know Tim Pickard
all the way up and all the way down, from the top of his head to the
sole of his foot."

"But, I don’t want to get on the nine in any such way," protested Ward.

"Never mind the nine, just come down and go in with the fellows, that’s
all I’m telling you.  You can’t run off up to the glen or away off to
the Hopper, and think all the school is going to come trailing after
you.  If you’re going to catch fish, you’ve got to go where the fish
are, haven’t you?  And if you think the fellows are all down on you, you
can’t fix things straight by going off and talking with the whispering
breezes and echoing hills, and all that sort of stuff."

Ward soon departed and went to his own room. His heart was smarting from
the effect of Jack’s words, but somehow he could not feel angry with
him.  Who could?  The light-hearted, generous lad made friends on every
side, for no one could long withstand his sunny ways.

That night Ward sat for a long time at his study table, with his head
resting upon his hands and his books unopened before him.  He was
thinking of Mr. Crane’s words and what Jack had said.

At last he arrived at a quick decision, and with the decision once made
he opened his books and resolutely began the preparation of his lessons
for the following day.

                             *CHAPTER XIV*

                         *WARD HUMBLES HIMSELF*

For a long time after he had retired that night Ward rolled and tossed
upon his bed, and it seemed to the troubled boy as if sleep would never
come. The words of Jack kept sounding in his ears, and do what he would
he could not forget them.

His heart was heavy too, with the consciousness that the words were true
and that he knew he was in a measure at fault.  Perhaps that after all
was the source of his deepest suffering, for Ward Hill was one of the
few boys who could not entirely deceive himself.

Again and again he tried to persuade himself that his present suffering
all came because he had broken with his former associates in the school.
That a measure of truth lay in that fact he could readily persuade
himself to believe, but not all of it could be traced to that source.
Jack’s references to his unwillingness to aid the other boys and his
tendency to have but slight sympathy for those who did not learn as
easily as he, had touched him in a tender spot and his own conscience
accused him.

Then too, he knew that he had withdrawn from the fellowship of many in
the school, and had been accustomed to pride himself somewhat upon that
very fact.  He was not dependent upon any one.  If the fellows did not
care for him, why, he did not intend to hang his harp on the willows and
sit down and mourn over his slights.  He would show every one in the
school that he could live without his company if needs be.  With such
statements he had endeavored to bolster up his courage and by an air of
bravado, if not of true independence, he would show his own superiority.
No one should ever hear him "whine."

Yet, despite his efforts, his heart had been heavy all the time.  He
yearned for the love and good will of his companions.  No one in the
school more desired to be popular than he.  And few too would suffer
from the lack of popularity as he did.

And his heart had been heavy when he at last had closed his books when
the bell was rung that night and he had put out his light and crept into
his bed. He was tormented by a dull, heavy feeling of misery. He felt
lonely and forlorn.  Both Mr. Crane and Jack had virtually admitted that
he was not very well liked by the school, and both also evidently
thought he was not entirely blameless in the matter.

As the truth gradually came to be seen by him, he was sincere enough to
acknowledge it to be true and had sufficient strength to rouse himself
to face its difficulties.  He would follow Jack’s suggestions.

On the following morning he said to Jack as they left the chapel
together: "I’m going to follow your advice, and am coming down to play
on the scrub against the nine this afternoon.  The only thing I’m afraid
of is that Tim Pickard will think I’m crawling. You know I’m not trying
to get back my place on the team."

"That’s all right, Ward," replied Jack enthusiastically.  "Never you
mind Tim, you just go ahead. It’ll be all right and I’ll see that you
have a place on the scrub."

As a consequence of Jack’s efforts, when in the afternoon Ward went down
to the ball ground, Ford, who was acting as the captain of the scrub
nine, which was formed to give the regular nine practice every day, said
to him, "Ward, will you take a hand with us this afternoon?"

"Yes," replied Ward quietly.

"All right; play ’short’ then, will you?"

As Ward threw aside his coat and walked out upon the field to take the
position assigned him, he was conscious that many of the boys who had
assembled to watch the nine at its practice were talking of him. His
face burned, but he tried hard not to appear aware of the curiosity
which his appearance on the field had aroused.  The sneer on Tim
Pickard’s face was the hardest for him to bear; and when he overheard
the words which Tim uttered, evidently intended for Ward’s special
benefit, about "sneaks" and "trying to curry favor and crawl back on the
team," he was sorely tempted to leave the field instantly.

But catching a meaning look just then from Jack, he resolutely ignored
all that he had heard and seen, and well aware that Tim would be highly
delighted even then to have him abandon the game, he tried hard to give
his entire attention to the work before him.

It was the first game in which Ward had played since he had come back to
Weston and he felt sadly his lack of practice.  But endeavoring to make
up by his efforts what he lacked in practice, he succeeded beyond his
hopes in acquitting himself creditably.  He handled the ball quickly and
threw with all his old-time swiftness.

Indeed, he thought more than once of that long throw of his in the game
with the Burrs in the preceding year, which had saved the game and won
for him the wild applause of his fellows.  The recollection served to
intensify the difficulties of his present position.  How sadly had it
all been changed since the preceding year!  He was, however, too busy in
the game to dwell long upon the misery which the thought produced.

When it came to be his turn to bat and he stood facing Tim, who was the
pitcher of the Weston nine, he could easily perceive the expression of
hatred upon his face.  Tim exerted himself to the utmost and sent in the
ball with all the speed and curves he could summon.  Perhaps his
manifest desire to place Ward at a disadvantage served to rouse the
latter all the more.  At any rate he stood calmly facing Tim, apparently
unmoved by all his efforts to annoy him.

It became evident to others as well as to Ward that Tim in his anger was
trying to hit him with the ball.  He sent in two or three at his
swiftest speed and Ward had all he could do to dodge them successfully.

"Oh, hold on, Tim!" called Jack in a low voice from his position at
short stop.  "What are you trying to do?  You want to remember that
we’re not alone here."

Somehow Jack always seemed to have a strange influence over the captain
of the nine, an influence which no other exerted, or even tried to use.
And the effect of the words became at once apparent as Tim’s speed
slackened and the next ball came in directly over the plate.

Just then Ward obtained a glimpse of Mr. Crane, who had come upon the
grounds and taken his position in the front line of the spectators,
where he stood watching the game.  Perhaps the sight of the teacher, or
Jack’s words, or the change which came over Tim, served to arouse Ward
still more.  He never knew just what the cause was; but as he saw the
ball coming swiftly toward him, he caught it squarely on the end of his
bat and sent it far out over the heads of the waiting fielders.

As Ward swiftly cleared the bases, sending in two men before him, he was
dimly conscious that a faint cheer had arisen from the spectators.  He
gave no heed to that, however, nor yet to the words with which Jack
hailed him as he ran swiftly past him. Somehow the heavy hit which he
had made served in a measure to relieve his feelings, and as he halted
upon the third base he wiped his dripping face with his handkerchief and
for the first time turned and looked about him.

Jack’s face was beaming and Ward could easily see he had risen in the
estimation of the spectators. The sight produced a thrill of pleasure in
his heart, but he was soon recalled to the necessities of the game and
gave himself fully to that.  When at last he succeeded in stealing home,
the applause again broke out, but Ward held himself aloof from the boys,
well satisfied with what he had done.

Twice more during the game Ward succeeded in hitting squarely the
swiftly thrown balls of the pitcher, and when at last the game was
ended, the scrub nine for the first time that season had succeeded in
making a creditable showing against the school nine, and Ward knew the
success in large measure had been due to his efforts.

"Tell you what, Tim," said Jack, as the members of the nine picked up
their bats and started for their rooms, "we’ll have to put up the scrub
against the Burrs, I’m thinking.  If we don’t look out they’ll be
playing all around us."

Tim made no reply, but a savage scowl crept over his face.  He prided
himself upon his prowess as a pitcher, and indeed it was freely
acknowledged that there was no one in the school in any way to be
compared with him.  Indeed, it was this fact that chiefly enabled Tim to
retain his position as the captain of the nine, for the boys well knew
that without him they would be so sadly crippled as to be unable to make
a good showing against any team.

The fact that Ward Hill, whom he disliked so intensely, had succeeded in
successfully batting him that day was gall to the angry boy.  He made no
reply to Jack’s words, and sullenly departed from the field.

Ward did not wait for any of his friends to accompany him as he too
started from the ball ground. Jack’s beaming face pleased him greatly,
and the words that he overheard some of the boys say about it’s being "a
shame that Hill was not on the nine," seemed also to comfort him; but
without waiting to speak to any one he drew on his coat and started to

As he came to the border of the grounds he was surprised as Mr. Crane
joined him and said: "You’ve done well to-day, Hill, and I congratulate

"Thank you," said Ward simply, though his face flushed with pleasure at
the words.

"You haven’t been over to see me yet," continued Mr. Crane.  "Can’t you
come up to my room for a few minutes now?"

"I’m hardly fit for that," said Ward, glancing ruefully at his soiled
hands.  He knew also that his hair was in disorder and that his face
bore many tokens of his recent exertions.

"I understand all that," said Mr. Crane quietly. "If you can spare a few
minutes now I should be very glad to have you come.  You bear only the
honorable signs of battle, and I shall forget them.  I want only a few
minutes with you."

"I’ll come," said Ward simply, as he turned and walked with the teacher,
and was soon seated in his room.

"Now, Hill," said Mr. Crane as soon as he too had taken his seat, "I
don’t want you to think that I’m asking more than I ought, and if you
feel that I am you are at liberty not to answer me.  But I should be
glad to have you tell me why you went down to the ball ground this
afternoon and played on the scrub nine.  You haven’t done that before,
have you?"

"No," said Ward quietly.

He was silent a moment, and then, as he looked up, he felt rather than
saw that Mr. Crane was regarding him intently.  His interest was so
apparent that almost before he realized what he was doing Ward had
related all his recent troubles to him.  He did not mention any names,
but he told him of his own feelings when he had listened to his words of
the previous interview; also of what "a friend"--for so he referred to
Jack--had said to him in the same line.  He held nothing back.  His own
bitterness, his feeling that he had been misunderstood, his
discouragement and all came out.

"Hill," said Mr. Crane when Ward at last ended, "I’m greatly pleased
with you.  You haven’t done anything since you came to Weston that has
given me such genuine pleasure as that which you have done to-day."

"Why, Mr. Crane," said Ward quickly, his face flushing as he spoke and a
very suspicious moisture appearing in his eyes, "I didn’t know you cared
so much about the game.  I thought you would be more pleased over my
work in the classes."

"I am pleased with both, Hill.  I am delighted at the improvement in
your class work, and I am no less pleased over what I have seen to-day."

As Ward appeared somewhat mystified and looked questioningly at him, Mr.
Crane continued, "The class work is important.  You know I would be the
last to belittle that.  But there are many other things to be learned in
a school like this.  I have been here many years now, and I have had an
opportunity to judge of the relative success of the boys as they have
gone up to college and out into life, and I must say that many of my old
standards of judgment have been revised."

"And you don’t think that standing high in the class is first then?"
said Ward eagerly.

"Yes, with you I do, Hill; but first, not all.  I want to see every boy
do his best, his particular rank in class then becomes a secondary
matter.  There are some boys who are older when they enter, or much more
mature when they are of the same age as their fellows, and of course
they do the work more easily and gain a higher standing without much
effort. But some students show elements of growth and promise, and
although they may not stand so high as some of the others, I can see by
the very impetus they receive from working faithfully that they are
bound to outstrip the others in the race of life.  Then too, school work
only tests a man on one side of his mental make-up.  His memory may be
strong and he may also be able to perceive and receive, but his ability
to create or to carry out plans is not tested in the least, or to a very
slight degree.  So when he gets out into the world and finds that the
world is much more prone to ask of him what he can furnish or add to the
stock it already has, or what he can do in carrying out his plans, than
it is to ask him about his ability to soak in as a sponge does, he
doesn’t know just what to make of it.  Creative ability and executive
ability are but slightly tested in school life, and these are the
qualities of success far more than mere receptive power.  I don’t know
that I make myself clear, using these long words," added Mr. Crane

"I think I understand you," said Ward slowly; "but I’d never thought of
it in that way before.  I always thought if a fellow did well in school
he’d be likely to outside."

"And so he will," said Mr. Crane quickly.  "You see I didn’t make myself
clear after all.  I think success in the main is in him, not in his
surroundings, and if he has ability and exerts it in school it will tell
there as well as in any other place.  If a boy has ability and applies
himself he will succeed in school if success is in him.  But on the
other hand, because a boy has the special kind of ability to succeed in
school work it does not always follow that the same qualities will make
his life-work a success. And that is the very reason why I am always
glad to see a boy tested and meet the test on every side of his life,
even while he is in school."

"And you think I have been tested?"

"Yes; and I think you are meeting the tests. School life and school work
are two different things. I want not less of one but more of the other.
The discipline of hard study is what you need, Hill; and you need also
the discipline which only the boys can give you.  No teacher can give
it, however much he may try.  It’s life, not books.  Now no discipline
for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless,

"Yes, yes, I see," said Ward quickly.  "And you think I am learning?
Tell me honestly just what you think, Mr. Crane."

"I think you are learning and are doing well in the school life as well
as in the school work," replied Mr. Crane cordially, as he rose from his
chair, a signal which Ward at once understood.

                              *CHAPTER XV*

                           *OUTSIDE LESSONS*

"Now, Hill," said Mr. Crane, as Ward stopped for a moment in the
doorway, "I trust I have not said too much to you."

The teacher’s kindly tones and grave manner impressed Ward even more
than what he had been saying, and with a face that beamed in spite of
the marks which the dust of the ball-ground had left, the boy, far more
light-hearted than he had been for many weeks now, said: "You have done
me lots of good, Mr. Crane."

"Let us hope that it will prove to be so.  I rejoice with you that the
muskets of Lexington have been heard, now let us see to it that the guns
of Yorktown shall also be heard.  Or to put it in another way, the
victory of a Bull Run does not always mean that the same parties are in
similar conditions at Appomattox.  The declaration of independence did
not of itself make the colonies free.  They had to prove their right and
ability to be free; but still the declaration had to come first.  You
have fought at Lexington, and have declared your independence, and I
think too you have had your Trenton and Princeton.  Now if Valley Forge
and Benedict Arnold come along why you will not forget what followed
them.  But I don’t mean to stand here and croak of possible ills.  I am
confident now, Hill, that you are beginning to be master of yourself,
and that is what the discipline and training of a school course and
school life are for.  Come and see me again soon, Hill.  Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Mr. Crane," said Ward; and then he started directly across
the campus toward his room to prepare for supper.

Somehow he was feeling strangely elated.  He could not see that there
had been any radical change in himself or in his relations with his
fellows, but the trial of the afternoon on the ball-ground had been
passed, and he had played a game which certainly must have proven to all
that whether he was on the nine or not, there was no one in the school
who could do better.

And he could not fail to see too the change which already had become
manifest in the feelings of many of the boys toward him.  The surprise
with which they had first observed him when he went out on the field,
the sneers of Tim Pickard, reflected in a measure by some of his boon
companions, the remarks which his appearance had called forth, had all
soon changed, that is, all save Tim’s malice, which had given place to
an expression of intense and bitter hatred.

Still Ward thought he could endure that.  His vigorous body was still
tingling from the effects of his exercise, and the words of Mr. Crane
were still sounding in his ears.  Added to all that was the evident
pleasure of the spectators which his ability as a player had aroused,
and the cordial encouragement of the one teacher in the school whom he
most respected and loved.  Ward was beginning to feel as if life were
not such a heavy burden after all.

"Well, Ward, that was a great game you put up this afternoon," said
Henry, as his room-mate entered the room.  "The way in which you batted
Tim almost broke him up."

"Did it?" said Ward lightly, as he at once began to wash.

"It did that, and it tickled the rest of us, or rather some of us,
mightily too.  Tim will soon have to give you back your place on the

"No, he’ll not do that," replied Ward quickly. "Tim’s got enough of the
nine under his thumb to have his say, and I know he’d rather leave than
have me on the team."

"But surely, Ward, after to-day’s work you’ll not object to Jack’s

"Jack’s proposal?  I don’t know just what you mean."

"Why, that he and I should tell Tim that he must take you back or we’d
leave the nine."

"No.  I never should agree to that," replied Ward quietly.  "I’d never
want to get on the nine in that way.  I’d stay off forever before I’d do
that.  Not that I don’t thank you," he hastily added, as he saw an
expression of genuine disappointment creeping over his room-mate’s face.
"It’s mighty good of you and Jack, and I’ll never forget it, either.
But, you see, even if I were willing to go on in that way, Tim still has
the most of the nine, and I think the most of the school too, on his
side, and I think it would break up the team.  And with the game coming
on with the Burrs so soon now, that would never do, you see."

"Still, I wish you were on the nine, Ward," said Henry.  "I want you,
and the nine needs you."

"Oh, well," replied Ward, speaking far more lightly than he felt, "it’ll
all come out right in the end. Jordan’s a hard road to travel, but I’ve
got to take things as they come."

"You’re doing great work in the classes, anyway, Ward.  Dr. Gray told me
the other night that your reports were great so far in the term."

"Did he say that?" said Ward eagerly, his hunger for praise returning in
an instant.

"Yes, that’s just what he said."

"Well, that’s enough without making the nine."

Ward’s prophecy proved to be correct.  Unknown to him Henry and Jack
went and had a talk with Tim Pickard, but the captain of the nine
utterly refused to listen to any plea in Ward’s behalf.  He threatened,
if they persisted in pressing his claims, to throw up his own position
and take with him the four members of the team whom he controlled, and
with the aid of whose votes he was always able to have his own way, as
with his own vote they made a majority.

Neither of the boys informed Ward of their efforts on his behalf,
fearing that the failure might serve to dampen the returning ardor which
he now displayed.

And Ward longed to be on the nine too.  Conscious of his own ability as
a player, and eager as he was for the excitement of the games and the
applause of his fellows, it was no slight disappointment to feel that he
was shut off from it all, and that he was powerless to change the
conditions that surrounded him.

He did not go down to the grounds every day, for that seemed to him too
much as if he were pushing for his former place on the nine.  Still, he
went there frequently and willingly taking any position assigned him on
the scrub team, threw himself into the game with all his heart.

Meanwhile he did not neglect his lessons.  Come what might, he was
resolved to do well in them. As the days passed his own pleasure
increased as he saw that no one in the class was doing better than he.
Berry thus far was his most dangerous competitor, for "Luscious" was a
bright fellow and not one to shirk his work.  His influence on Jack too,
was becoming apparent, and Jack’s class work was far better than any he
had ever done in the course of his three years at Weston.

Jack seemed to rejoice in his own success too, and made many sly
references to the honors he was hoping to win.  Indeed, he was
accustomed now to refer to himself and Ward and Luscious when the three
by chance were together as the "three valedics."

"And the greater of the three--ah, that’s a secret. That’s to be
revealed in the forthcoming chapters, as the books say," he would
laughingly add.

Another change also became manifest in Ward. There was no more surprised
boy in all the Weston school than Big Smith, when one morning on his way
to the Latin room Ward overtook him and walked on by his side.

"Got your lesson, Smith?" said Ward.

"No, not all of it.  I fear I’m like the men that toiled all night and
took nothing.  I’ve been studying hours and hours on one passage here,
but somehow I can’t get it."

"Which is it?" said Ward cordially.  "Perhaps I can give you a lift."

"If you only would, Ward," said Big Smith eagerly, as he opened the book
at the difficult passage.

Ward translated the passage, and when he had finished, Big Smith said:
"I don’t understand how it is, Ward, that you can do these things and I
can’t.  My brain is larger than yours," and Big Smith removed his hat
and thoughtfully stroked his hair as he spoke.  "Now I’ve always heard
that the size of a man’s head was the measure of his ability, and I know
my hat is two sizes larger than yours, Ward.  And yet you could read
that place and I couldn’t," he added ruefully.  "How do you account for
it, Ward?"

"Quality, not quantity," said Ward with a laugh, who was light-hearted
in the consciousness of having helped another, a comparatively new
experience for him.

The consequences of that act made Ward afterward somewhat dubious as to
the real benefits he had bestowed on his classmate.  Almost every
evening Big Smith obtained permission from Mr. Blake to go up to Ward’s
room, and for a long time he would remain there and listen to Ward as he
translated the difficult passages for him.

At last his presence during the study hour became a burden.  "Big Smith
is an unmitigated nuisance," Henry declared.  The boys posted great
notices on their door which bore such alarming headlines as "Smallpox
within," "This is my busy day," "No one admitted except on business,"
"Danger," and other similar mild and suggestive devices. But Big Smith
calmly ignored them all, and every night when the study hour was about
half done would appear, and with his unmoved and benign countenance ask
for the aid which Ward never refused him now.

At last Henry declared it could be borne no longer, and as Ward knew how
hard the work was for his chum and how Big Smith’s interruptions
confused him, he uttered no protest when Henry boldly told the intruder
one night that if he wanted help he must come for it out of study hours.

"But I don’t ask you for help, Henry," replied Big Smith in apparent

"I know that; but you’re imposing on Ward’s good nature, and I can’t
study when you two fellows are talking.  Besides, I don’t think it’s the
square thing for you to take Ward’s work into class as your own."

"But I don’t," protested Big Smith warmly.  "I never in my life took his
work into class."

"Why don’t you get a pony, Big Smith?  That would be the easiest way out
of it."

"Me get a pony?  Do you think I’d use a translation? Not much.  I’m
thankful for one thing, and that is, I never have used a pony, as you
call it, yet."

"What do you call it when you come up here and get Ward to read your
Latin and Greek to you, I’d like to know."

"That?  Oh, that’s not a pony.  That’s just Ward Hill."

Both his hearers laughed in spite of their efforts to restrain
themselves, Big Smith meanwhile looking from one to the other as if he
were not quite able to see the joke.

"No, Big Smith," said Henry at last, "I don’t want to be small or mean,
but I have to work hard for all I get, and when you come up here in
study hours you just break me all up.  I don’t mind it any other time;
but it doesn’t seem to me just the square thing to break in on another
fellow’s time. I wouldn’t do it; it doesn’t seem to me that Mr. Blake
ought to let you do it, either.  What are the study hours for?"

"I’m sure I don’t want to come here if I’m not wanted," replied Big
Smith soberly.

"That’s not it; that’s not it at all," protested Henry.  "It’s only for
a quiet study hour I’m arguing. I don’t think you ought to break in on
another fellow’s work.  Now, do you?"

"But," said Big Smith in his most solemn tones, "all my teachers say
I’ve been doing a great deal better work of late.  I’m sure you wouldn’t
want me to drop back in my work or stand lower in the class, would you?"

With a hopeless sigh Henry turned again to his work.  It seemed as if it
were almost impossible to impress the conception of the needs of any one
else on Big Smith’s mind.

Ward, however, finally adjusted matters to the satisfaction of both by
promising his aid to Big Smith after breakfast each morning, in the hour
between breakfast time and chapel.  In his new desire to follow out
Jack’s suggestion and make himself familiar and helpful to his
companions, he never once thought of the harm he might be doing Big
Smith.  Indeed he went much further, and soon a number of the boys in
the class joined Big Smith each morning and listened to Ward as he read
aloud the lessons of the day.

And Ward was thinking only of the aid he was giving, not at all of the
harm the others might receive.  But then we are told in many ways
outside the realm of physics that the reaction is always equal to the
action.  Perhaps Ward Hill, however, was yet to learn that lesson--a
lesson which certainly each must learn for himself and not for another.

Meanwhile, through all these days Ward’s room not been touched.  Whoever
had done the "stacking" had now, at least for a time, ceased from his
labors.  That there was still a very bitter feeling against him on the
part of many he well knew, nor could he attribute it all to the
immediate circle of the "Tangs."

Ward felt the prejudice keenly, but he resolutely held himself to his
work, and by the aid he gave the boys in their lessons and by mingling
with them more than he had done of late, he was hoping to win his way
back to the position he had once held in the school.

Nor was this born of a weak desire for popularity alone.  That was true
in part, but only in part; but Ward Hill, as we have said, was one of
those few persons who cannot deceive themselves.

And he had realized the truthfulness of Jack’s and Mr. Crane’s words,
and was now resolutely trying to set himself right.  While he longed for
and keenly enjoyed the praise and good-will of his fellows, still unless
he felt in his heart that they were true and deserved he did not feel
thoroughly happy in receiving them.  So perhaps a dual motive was at
work at this time on Ward’s heart--the eager longing for the praise of
the school and the equally strong desire to feel that it was true and
merited. Let us not blame him too harshly.  Purely good motives are
sadly lacking in this world of ours.  And then, even a gold coin
contains some alloy, but the most of us are not inclined to reject the
use which can be made of it because of the baser metal it contains.

Little Pond was now doing nobly.  He looked up to Ward with unbounded
confidence.  Ward more than once found himself wondering whether he had
ever looked up to a senior in that way.  Still he rejoiced in the little
fellow’s success and felt strongly drawn to him, although he knew in his
heart that his days of trial were not all past.

And now the approaching game with the Burrs became the absorbing topic
of the school.  The nine was working vigorously and Ward went down more
frequently to play on the team which was to give them their daily

No one knew how heavy his heart was and with what unutterable longing he
desired his place on the team.  Still he held himself resolutely to the
line he had marked out.  He studied faithfully, tried to make himself
friendly with the boys, and apparently threw himself heartily into the
task of giving the nine the practice they sadly needed.  And no one
heard him complain, and not even to Jack did he mention his desire for
his former position, a position now filled by Ripley.  And yet somehow
he had the feeling that Jack understood, although neither made any
reference to it now.

So matters stood on the day before the great game.  The final
preparations had been completed, the last practice of the nine had
occurred, and throughout the school there was the strong though subdued
excitement which always preceded the great game.

But Ward Hill, with a heavy heart and a kind of dull misery, looked
forward to the morrow.

                             *CHAPTER XVI*

                   *THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT GAME*

The following morning dawned clear and bright, and many a boy in the
Weston school gave a sigh of relief when first he looked from his
windows.  The rugged hills, now covered with the highly tinted autumn
foliage, displayed patches of clouds resting on their summits or
creeping far up along the wooded slopes.  The sun, however, would soon
burn away all such slight affairs as these gray-colored floating clouds
or stretches of fog, and the boys were rejoicing.

The games with the Burrs were the great events of the school year.  Not
only were the schools themselves of equally high standing, and in a
sense rivals, but the advantage for a few years now in the ball games
had been with the Burrs, and the Weston boys consequently were
especially eager to win this time.  As the game was to be played upon
their own grounds they had a slight advantage, but all were somewhat
nervous and the excitement ran correspondingly high.

There were to be recitations in the morning only. It was almost
impossible for the eager lads to hold themselves to their work, but the
teachers were somewhat lenient with them, and some of the ludicrous
mistakes were passed over with a smile.

Indeed, it was whispered that the teachers themselves were not far
behind the boys in sharing the excitement which pervaded the school, and
were as desirous that the nine should win as were the players

Soon after noon autos could be seen coming along the pretty valley roads
or making their way over the hillsides.  But whether from hill or valley
made no difference, for there was one destination for them all and that
was the ball ground.  Old and young, men and women, boys and girls were
there, and the assembled crowd gave promise of being unusually large.

The great busses filled with the boys and girls from the neighboring
school began to put in an appearance, for the rival school was
co-educational in its methods, and the girls were apparently as eager
and excited as their brothers.  Long streamers and banners floated out
from behind the well-filled machines and many of the girls were waving
flags or long ribbons of the school colors, handily adjusted to a cane
or some similar device.

A crowd of the Weston boys was waiting in front of the chapel for the
Burr nine to come, for it was known that they were to have a special

Some of the members of the Weston nine, clad in their bright new
uniforms, mingled with the crowd and as a committee were waiting to
welcome and conduct the visiting nine to the dressing rooms. Their
efforts to appear calm and unmindful of the attention they attracted
provoked a smile from some of the waiting boys, but no one begrudged
them the honors which were theirs, and as they joined in the shouts and
laughter which continually arose, or stopped to converse about the
prospects of the nine in the coming game, the interest steadily

"There they are!  There they come!" suddenly some one in the crowd
shouted, and in a moment the sound of the horn carried by the Burrs
could be heard in the distance.  In a brief time the huge auto drew up
before the crowd and the Burr nine leaped nimbly out upon the ground.

"Hello, Shackford," said Tim Pickard advancing and grasping the
outstretched hand of the rival captain.  "Glad to see you.  If we have
as big a game as we have crowd, there will be something to see before
night comes."

Tim proceeded to shake hands with each member of the team and then at
once started with them to lead the way to the rooms which had been
assigned to the visitors.

The waiting crowd parted and stood watching with undisguised curiosity
the opposing nine as they filed past them following Tim.  Certainly they
were a sturdy lot, and the low murmurs which could be heard among the
Weston boys as the others withdrew were not entirely those of confidence
in the success of their own team.

Meanwhile Ward Hill had gone down to the ball ground and lay on the
grass in the rear of the field in a place from which he could easily
follow the progress of the game.

Beside him were Henry and Jack, both in uniforms, the latter sitting
erect and occasionally pounding the ground before him with the bat he
was holding in his hands.  Not one of the trio was happy, and Ward least
so of the three, although he was striving manfully to appear unmindful
of the excitement which, though subdued, was still apparent on all sides
of them.

"It’s tough, Ward," said Jack; "I want to win this game, but I never
went into one with such a mean feeling as I’ve got now.  It’s a shame
you’re not to play.  It’s worse than a shame.  The nine needs you and I
know how you feel, old fellow.  Say, Ward," he added, suddenly leaping
to his feet, "if you’ll say the word, we’ll fix Tim yet.  Henry and I
can go to him and declare that if he won’t take you on, we’re off.  And
he’ll have to give in now, with the crowd all here and everything ready
to begin."

"Yes, Ward, that’s what we’ll do," chimed in Henry.  "It can be done

"No, fellows," said Ward shaking his head.  "I told you I couldn’t go on
in that way; and then too, I’m not in practice, you know."

"Bother the practice!  You’ll do better without it than most of us can
with it.  Here they come, Ward!  Say the word and the deed’s done."

But Ward still shook his head.  He could not bring himself to do what
Jack asked.  And yet how he did long to be in the game!

The appearance of the nines upon the field was greeted by a shout and
the school cheers were almost deafening on every side.  The banners and
flags were waving, the girls were standing erect in the autos, and the
entire scene was stirring and exhilarating in the highest degree.  "Good
luck to you, fellows," said Ward as Jack and Henry started to go and
join their comrades.

Neither of them replied save by the look which they gave him and soon
were with the nine.

The ground was cleared now, and the allotted time of preliminary
practice for each team was given.  As Ward watched the boys it almost
seemed to him that he could not endure the sight.  Only a year before
and he had been one of the team.  Even now he could feel again the
thrill which he had when at the close of that famous game his mates had
borne him from the field on their shoulders.  But now no one seemed to
care whether he played or not.  And all the time there was the
consciousness in his own heart that there was not a better player than
he in all the Weston school.

Summoning all his resolution he left his place and took a position near
the end of the long line of Weston boys who were standing well back on
one side of the ground.  He had seen Big Smith and Pond there, and even
their company was comforting to him now.

"Hello, Ward," was Big Smith’s hail as Ward approached; "I should think
you would wish you were on the nine now.  Do you know, I almost feel as
if I could play well enough myself to take a position."

Ward made no response, though Big Smith little realized how his words
had stung the troubled boy. The Weston nine had taken their positions in
the field and the game was about to begin.

Ward glanced out toward left field, his old position, and his heart was
bitter toward Ripley, who now was playing there.  Ward knew he could
fill the place much better than Ripley ever could. Indeed, his heart was
so bitter that he was almost divided in his feelings between his desire
for the Weston boys to win, and that Ripley and Tim should not put up a
good game.

But everything was in readiness now and the hush which came over the
assembly betrayed the suppressed excitement.  Shackford grasped his bat
and advanced to the plate, the umpire tossed the ball to Tim and gave
the word, and the game with the Burrs was begun.

Tim settled himself into his position, drew back his arm and sent the
ball in with all the speed he could put forth.  Shackford for two years
had been captain of the Burr nine and his prowess was well known.  There
was no one the Weston boys feared as they did him.

Shackford was ready, and the very first ball Tim sent in he caught
fairly on the end of the bat and sent far down the field close to the
foul flag.

A shout of delight arose from all the friends of the Burrs as the runner
started swiftly toward the first base.

"Foul, foul ball!" called the umpire and Shackford stopped suddenly on
his way to the second base.

A murmur of disapproval arose from the crowd, and Ward, who was standing
not very far from the place where the ball had struck, shook his head.
To him the ball had seemed fair, but he said nothing and admired the
spirit of Shackford as he raised his hand toward his supporters,
betokening his desire for no manifestations of the kind which had just
been heard, and went slowly back to the home-plate and once more picking
up his bat stood facing the pitcher.

"One strike!" called the umpire as Tim sent the ball swiftly in.

"Two strikes!" he called again as the second ball went whistling past.

A low murmur could be heard as the excitement of the watching crowd
increased.  Shackford was ready and stood grimly waiting for Tim’s next
move. "One ball" and "two balls" followed and the strain on all was
becoming more intense.

The next ball, however, was apparently the very one for which the
captain of the Burrs had been waiting, for he struck it hard and
squarely, and it went far up into the air directly into the territory
which Ripley was guarding.

Again a shout of delight was heard from the supporters of the Burrs, but
it was hushed in a moment as Ripley took his stand and waited with
outstretched hands for the descending ball.

Shackford was speeding on toward the third base, but Ward was unmindful
of him.  He was watching his supplanter in left field.  The ball settled
lower and lower; but whether it was because Ripley was highly excited or
had misjudged the ball was not known; it struck his hands and bounded
out again. The fielder had squarely muffed it.

A groan arose from the Weston boys, and "Hi! yi! yi!" came from many of
the friends of the Burrs.

Ward could not lament Ripley’s failure, that would have been too much to
expect of human nature; but still he turned angrily, as he heard the
shouts, and then said to Little Pond: "That’s a mean trick! no one ought
to applaud his opponents’ errors."

"I don’t see why not," said Big Smith.

"Because it’s no way to do," said Ward.  "If you can’t win squarely you
don’t want to win at all. But keep still.  Let’s see what’ll be done

Shackford was on third base now, and as he kept dancing about, Tim, who
had the ball, threw it to the baseman, but in his eagerness he sent it
over his head among the crowd.  Shackford ran home, much to the delight
of his friends and the chagrin of the Weston boys.  The first run had
been scored with no one out.

Three more of the Burrs nine crossed the plate before the inning closed,
the success of Shackford evidently encouraging his followers even more
than the glaring errors of their opponents.  When the Weston boys came
in to take their turn at the bat their faces were glum and the prospect
was far from bright.  Tim was the first batter, and got his base on

As Jack Hobart stepped to the plate to follow him, Ward turned to the
boys near him and called: "Let’s give him a cheer, fellows!"

The cheers rang out, Ward’s voice being the loudest of them all.
Evidently Jack felt the stimulus, for he sent the ball between left and
center fields, and Tim was soon on third, while Jack rested on second.
But neither could go any farther.  The next two batters struck out, and
the third sent up a little fly which Shackford himself easily caught.

"Four to nothing," said Ward as the sides changed.  "Not a very bright
outlook."  But the inning closed without another run being scored.

On the Weston side Henry succeeded in making the circuit of the bases
and thus scored the first run for the team.  The two succeeding innings
failed to add to the score of either side.  Both nines were playing
desperately, and the interest and excitement of the spectators
momentarily increased.

"Four to one," said Ward as the fifth inning was begun.

He had led the cheering in the portion of the crowd where he stood, and
in his eagerness for the Weston boys to win, for the time he had almost
forgotten his own disappointment.  Ripley had struck out each time he
had been at the bat, and certainly his success in the field had not been
very marked thus far.

Again it was Shackford’s turn to bat, and as he advanced to the plate
the expression of determination on his face was to be clearly seen.
Four to one was certainly no small advantage, and the captain of the
Burrs was determined to hold it if such a thing were possible.

Again he waited until two strikes and two balls had been called.  The
crowd evidently was anxious, but Shackford appeared to be as cool and
calm as if nothing were expected from him.

Ward had glanced aside a moment.  The suspense of the spectators was
interesting if nothing more. He was suddenly recalled by a yell which
seemed to have arisen from a thousand throats.  Shackford had lifted the
ball high into the air, and once more it was coming directly into
Ripley’s territory.

The eager fielder started after the ball.  He was compelled to run back
and to Ward it seemed as if the ball were going far over his head.  But
having gone back as far as was necessary, Ripley turned sharply and ran
in.  The ball was settling lower and lower now, and just as the fielder
stretched forth his hands for it his feet slipped from under him and he
fell headlong on the ground, while the ball went rolling far beyond him.

When he had regained his footing and sent the ball in Shackford was once
more on third base.  A low but pronounced murmur rose from the Weston
crowd which could be heard even above the shouts of the Burrs, but in a
moment silence was restored, as the next batter took his place and faced
Tim.  The crack which resounded when he struck the ball could be heard
all over the field.  As if with design the ball went skipping along the
ground after it struck just back of Jack’s position as short stop, and
went rolling swiftly toward Ripley.  The excited lad tried desperately
to stop it, but failed, and the ball slipped between his legs and went
on far behind him.

The murmurings of the crowd were unmistakable now.  "Put him off!  Put
him out!  Hill!  Hill! Ward Hill!  Put him off!  Put him out!  Ward
Hill!" could be heard on every side.

Ward’s heart was beating rapidly, and he tried to draw back out of
sight; but for two minutes the cries continued, for boys are merciless
in their judgments. At last quiet was in a measure restored and the game
went on, but the inning closed with the score six to one against the
Weston boys.

Ward could see that a crowd of angry students, chief among whom were
Jack and Henry, quickly surrounded Tim and an animated conversation took
place, though he could not hear any of the words which were spoken.  He
was hardly prepared for what followed, however, for after a momentary
hesitation Tim started down the lines of the waiting spectators, and as
he caught sight of Ward he quickly turned and approached him.

                             *CHAPTER XVII*

                      *THE END OF THE GREAT GAME*

"The fellows want you to take Ripley’s place," said Tim gruffly.

Ward’s heart responded in an instant.  The Weston boys were to bat now
and the excitement in the crowd was increasing.  He longed to have a
share in the work which must be done within the four innings yet to be
played.  It was a marvelous thing too, that Tim should himself come and
invite him to return to his place.  It was true he was surly, and his
countenance betrayed his feelings.  The pressure of the nine and the
crowd had been too strong for him to resist; and then, doubtless the
advantage which the Burr nine had thus far won also had its influence,
for no one more earnestly desired to win the game than did Tim Pickard.

Eager as Ward was, he still hesitated a moment. He well knew that Tim’s
anger would not cease if he should do well; while if he should fail in a
time when so much was expected, his position in the school would be all
the more trying.

Tim stood waiting before him and did not repeat his request.

In a moment Jack came running toward him, and as he came up, said:
"Hurry up, Ward!  Never mind the uniform.  We won’t stop for that.  Just
throw off your coat and come on.  You can afford to spoil a dozen suits
rather than let the Burrs win this game!"

Noticing the hesitation of his friend, Jack continued: "Oh, don’t pull
off now, Ward! all the school wants you.  We’ve just got to have you,
and that’s all there is to it.  Did you ever in your life see such work
as Ripley made of it?  I don’t believe he could stop the moon if it was
rolled at him by a baby.  Come on, Ward, come on!  Tim and I have got to
go and bat, and we can’t stay any longer.  All the fellows want him,
don’t they, Tim?" he added, turning to the captain of the nine.

"That’s what they say," growled Tim, and yet Ward could readily see that
he was almost as eager for him to play as Jack was, only he could not
bring himself to urge the boy whom he had abused in so many ways and
hated with such a genuine hatred.

Just at this juncture Mr. Crane approached and touching Ward lightly
upon the shoulder said in a low voice: "I should go in, Hill.  You’ve
nothing to lose and much to gain.  Remember, you’ve had your Lexington
and the Declaration of Independence and Trenton and Princeton, and now
you’re at Monmouth.  Don’t let the British or General Lee baffle you
now.  Besides, you must think of the school too."

Ward looked at the teacher in as great surprise as did Jack and Tim, and
his hesitation was gone. He had no desire to appear unwilling or
indifferent, for he certainly was not controlled by either feeling.  He
longed to enter the game and did not wish to be "coaxed" into it.  All
his hesitation had arisen from the fear that if he should not do well
his position in the school would not be improved, and the enmity of
Tim’s special friends would only be intensified.

"I’ll come in," he said gently, "and do the best I can."

"Good for you, Ward! good for you!" shouted Jack tossing his hat into
the air and turning a somersault.  "He’ll take Ripley’s place at the bat
then, won’t he, Tim?"

"I suppose so," replied Tim.

"Come on then, Ward.  Maybe you’ll get a chance this inning.  Tim,
you’re next up," he added as he noticed who the batsman was, "and I
follow you. We’ll have to go now, Ward.  Come up and take a seat on the
players’ bench."

"I’ll be around in time," replied Ward quietly.

For several reasons he preferred to retain his place in the crowd for
the present, unless his turn to bat should come.

Somehow fortune’s wheel turned slightly in favor of the Weston boys, and
although Ward’s turn to bat did not come, the inning closed with two
more runs scored by the nine.

"Six to three," shouted the boys as the players started for their places
in the field.

Ward’s heart was beating high as he slowly drew off his coat and handed
it to Little Pond, who proudly received it, and then he started toward
his old place in left field.

His appearance was at once noted by the crowd and received with a cheer.
It was true it seemed to be wanting in the volume and heartiness of the
old-time applause, but still it did Ward’s heart good.

Striving to appear unmindful he looked away from the crowd as the game
was now resumed. What had become of Ripley he did not know.

The inning was quickly ended, without a run being scored.  Not a ball
had come near him, and Ward was not grieved over the fact, for his
nerves were in such a highly strung condition that he was fearful he
would not have been able to do much had the opportunity presented

He was the second at bat, however, and as he heard his name called he
carefully selected his bat and then tried to collect his thoughts and
appear calm, though he was far from feeling as he strove to appear.

Shackford, the pitcher of the Burr nine apparently was becoming somewhat
nervous, for he gave the first batter his base on balls.

Ward grasped his bat and started resolutely toward the plate.  The crowd
was silent, but Ward realized how eager his friends were for him to do
well.  Even a goodly portion of Tim’s sneer had disappeared, and Ward
could not determine whether his stronger desire was now for the nine to
win or for him to fail.  The task before the lad, however, quickly
banished all other thoughts from his mind. How eager he was and
determined to do his best.

"One strike," called the umpire.  "Two strikes," he repeated a moment

Shackford was doing his utmost to puzzle him and Ward began to fear that
he would strike out. The next ball, however, came close in to him and
before he could dodge it or step out of its way it struck the handle of
his bat and dropped a little ways from the plate.  In an instant Ward
flung aside his bat and rushed at his swiftest pace for first base, the
runner in advance of him of course having started for second.

The excitement and necessity for quick action apparently rattled the
Burrs, for both Shackford and the catcher started together for the ball,
and as no one called out who was to make the play, the consequence was
that they came together in a sharp collision, and were both thrown to
the ground.

Before they could recover Ward was safe at first, and the other runner
had gained the second base.

Shackford now began to play more deliberately. Every move was carefully
timed, and he guarded his nine well.  In spite of all the efforts of the
Weston boys, and the encouraging shouts of their friends among the
spectators, they could succeed in getting but one man around the bases,
Ward having been left on third.

"Six to four, and only two more innings to play," said Jack to Ward as
they walked together out upon the field to resume their positions.  "Not
a very brilliant prospect for us."

"We’ll not give up before the last man is out," said Ward.  "There’s
nothing more uncertain in all the world than a game of ball, and it’s
never finished till the end has come."

He had done nothing to warrant any special praise thus far, but he was
in high spirits nevertheless.  The increasing excitement as the game
drew toward its close was manifest among players and spectators alike,
and Ward Hill, as we know, was ever one of the quickest to respond to
his immediate surroundings.

Again the inning closed without the Burrs being able to score.  The
utmost they could do was to get a man as far as second base, but there
he was left.

"We’ve got two turns at the bat and they’ve got one," said Jack, as they
came in from the field. "We’ve got to make three runs to win the game."

The inning opened very promisingly for the Weston boys.  Both Tim and
Jack made hits, and were on third and second bases respectively.  The
next two batters were out however, and as they all realized that
everything depended upon the efforts of the next man, the crowd followed
his movements with almost breathless interest.

"One strike!" called the umpire, and the various feelings of the
spectators were at once apparent in their responses.  "One ball!" "Two
balls!" quickly followed.

Suddenly the crowd rose from their seats and stood leaning forward in
intense suspense as they followed the movements of the catcher, who had
let the ball which Shackford had pitched somewhat wildly get by him.
Tim started quickly from third, and was running as he had never run
before.  Shackford stood waiting on the plate with outstretched hands
for the ball to be thrown by the catcher, who was doing his utmost to
get it and return it before Tim could gain the plate.  Every player was
eagerly watching the movements, and not a sound could be heard from the
spectators.  Nearer and nearer came Tim, and now the catcher had grasped
the rolling ball.  With a quick movement he turned and threw it swiftly
to Shackford, who caught it just as Tim gained the plate, and running
into the player threw both heavily to the ground.

The crowd rushed in from their places eager to learn the decision of the
umpire, who had been standing close to the boys as they came together.
"He’s out!" shouted the umpire as he waved his hand for the spectators
to go back to their places. For a moment there was a scene of confusion.
In their excitement many of the boys forgot what was expected of them,
and the shouts and cheers of the schools were mingled with the groans
and cries of those who took different views of the decision which had
just been made.

Tim was thoroughly angry, and stood talking loudly with the umpire,
claiming that he had cheated him out of a run and the nine from a score
which it had justly won.

In a moment, however, several of the boys had surrounded the excited
captain, and at last, after much persuasion, induced him to return to
his place in the field.

"It was close," said Jack to Ward, "and I think we ought to have had it;
but we can’t help ourselves, and there’s no use in kicking."

The excitement was now intense as the Burrs came to the bat for the last
time.  The score still stood two in their favor, and even if they did
not succeed in adding to it, the advantage was still decidedly on their
side.  Every movement of the players was cheered now, and the nervous
actions of the rival nines betrayed their own desires to win.

Tim Pickard was sending the balls in with a speed he had never had
before.  If his own exertions could win the game, then surely the Weston
boys ought not to lose that day.

The first batsman struck out, and a fierce cheer arose from the Weston
contingent as the player flung his bat on the ground and strode back to
his place on the bench.

The next was struck by the first ball Tim threw in, and was evidently
hurt, but in a moment he pluckily started toward first base, and the
cheers of the spectators followed him.

His successor also struck out, and the din which arose was almost
deafening.  All depended now upon the efforts of the next batter, and
the Weston boys’ hearts sank when they saw that this was to be
Shackford, the heaviest hitter on the opposing nine.

Shackford grasped his bat and stood calmly facing Tim, each realizing
that it was now a battle royal.  Tim was a trifle wild now, and the
fears of his friends increased when the batter hit one or two long fouls
that went far down the field, but luckily outside the lines.  Again
Shackford hit the ball, and sent it with tremendous force down the field
directly toward the short stop.  Jack made a desperate effort to stop
it, but it was going so swiftly that it almost threw him backward, and
he dropped the ball.  In an instant, however, he recovered himself, and
quickly picking up the ball threw it swiftly to the second baseman, who
was waiting for it.  He caught it just an instant before the runner
gained the base, and the umpire shouted, "Out!"

The din on the field now increased.  Most of the spectators were
standing, and the boys were crowding close in to the lines.  Each of the
Weston players was cheered by name as he approached the plate and stood
facing the calm and collected pitcher of the Burrs.

The first man was out, and a yell of delight arose from the supporters
of the Burrs.

The second made a hit, and a louder shout arose from the friends of the
Weston nine.

The third batter sent up a high foul, which was easily caught by the
third baseman, and the uproar broke out again.  Another gained his base,
and now two men were out, two were on the bases, and two runs were
required to tie the game, and three to win, and it was Ward Hill’s turn
to bat.  Already some of the outer spectators were leaving the grounds,
for the game seemed to be practically ended.

"Now do your duty, Ward Hill!" called Jack as Ward grasped his bat and
started toward the plate. "Remember everything depends upon you."

Ward made no reply.  Was it likely he could fail to realize how much
depended upon him?  He was dimly conscious of the applause which greeted
him. Eager faces seemed to surround him, and the tension was intense.

Shackford brushed back the hair from his wet forehead, glanced coolly
about him at the runners on the bases and to see that his own men were
all ready, then quickly drew back his arm and sent the ball in swiftly
and directly over the plate.

"One strike!" called the umpire, and shrieks and calls resounded from
the crowd.

Before Ward could prepare himself Shackford swiftly drew back his arm
and sent in another ball.

"Two strikes!" shouted the umpire, and cheers and jeers alike could now
be heard.  Indeed, many more of the spectators arose to depart, for it
seemed to be evident that the end had come.  Only one more ball might be

Shackford sent in the ball again, but this time Ward was ready.  He hit
it squarely, and with all his force.  Only realizing that the ball was
going, he started swiftly toward first base.  It seemed to him that
pandemonium had broken loose behind him. Shrieks, calls, shouts, and
cheers were all mingled.

As he touched the first base and started toward second he looked at the
ball.  He had sent it far out over the center-fielder’s head, and not
yet had he caught up with it.  It was a terrific hit, and all of Ward’s
long pent up feelings seemed to have found vent in the force with which
he had struck.  On and on sped the ball, and on and on ran Ward.

Before he had gained the third base both of the runners in advance of
him had scored.  He touched the third base, and putting forth all his
speed started toward home.  The applause was deafening now. He was dimly
conscious of a mass of waving banners and flags off on his right, and
that "Hi! yi! yi!" could be heard on every side.

"Go it, Ward!  Go it!" shouted Jack intensely as he ran outside the line
to encourage his friend; and Ward was "going it" at his very best.

He bent low and rushed forward.  He could hardly breathe now, but his
speed did not slacken.  On and on he ran, until it seemed to him he
never could gain the coveted base.

Putting forth all the last remnant of his strength he obeyed Jack’s
warning, and throwing himself on the ground touched the base just as a
last, loud, prolonged yell came from the crowd.

With his hand on the plate he for the first time glanced behind him.
The ball had just been thrown in and Shackford had caught it.  The game
with the Burrs was won, and Ward Hill’s long hit had won it.

                            *CHAPTER XVIII*

                         *A PUZZLING QUESTION*

Ward at first was only conscious that there was a scene of great
excitement being enacted all over the grounds.  He had exerted himself
to the utmost and breathless and hardly able to stand he dimly realized
that a crowd of boys had surrounded him, and that the game was won.
Soon, however, he recovered, and with a beaming face looked out upon the
actions of his friends.  Hats were thrown into the air, shouts and
cheers could be heard on every side.

Silence only was to be found among the supporters of the Burrs, and they
were already departing from the field.  The treble shouts of the girls
had ceased, the banners and streamers which had been flung out were
nowhere to be seen now, but the very absence of all the signs of cheer
among the friends of the opposing nine only served to make more emphatic
the frantic joy of the Weston boys.

It was the first game they had won in more than two years from their
sturdy opponents, and naturally the long pent up feelings now broke
forth with the reserve of the time past.

For a long time the confusion continued.  The cries would die away in a
measure, and then some enthusiast would lead in a cheer, and the entire
school and all its friends would take up the response, and it would seem
that all the previous enthusiasm would be redoubled.

Boys who had not spoken to Ward since his return to Weston now rushed
forward, eager to do him honor.  He was the center of a constantly
increasing group, for those who had been foremost to praise him did not
depart when others came with their offering.

"Hill, I wish to congratulate you."

Ward turned as he heard the words, and saw Shackford, the captain of the
Burrs, standing before him with outstretched hand.

"I want to congratulate you," said Shackford again cordially.  "That was
a magnificent hit.  I never saw a heavier one.  Of course I’m sorry we
lost the game, and I know that such a hit as that doesn’t reflect very
much credit upon the pitcher of the Burrs, but all the same, I don’t
want to be the last to honor the fellow that did it."

"Thank you," said Ward, highly pleased over the cordial expression.
"You needn’t say a word about the pitcher of the Burrs.  I thought when
you caught me napping with that second strike of yours that it was
good-bye with me.  I wanted to hit you," he added laughingly, "but I was
afraid I couldn’t, so I feel all the better that it has turned out as it

"After your work last year, I was surprised when I heard that you were
not to play to-day.  At first I felt afraid that if you were off the
nine, it must be that the Weston boys had found some still better
material, and I knew if that were true we had a great contract on our
hands.  It wasn’t long though before I was chuckling because you were
not in the game, and I can tell you I didn’t rejoice very much when I
saw you throw off your coat and start for left field.  Still, I hope I’m
not so small as not to be able to appreciate a good play even when it’s
made by the other side, and I must say, Hill, that hit of yours was
great.  It just won the game, and the Weston school ought to erect a
monument in your honor; they ought to, honestly."

Shackford’s words served to increase the eagerness of the boys who had
crowded about Ward, and much as he enjoyed the novel experience he soon
began to feel somewhat abashed.  He caught sight of Little Pond looking
at him with longing eyes from the border of the assembly, and pushing
his way toward him, Ward was soon grasping his youthful admirer by the

"O Ward, I’m so glad," said Little Pond eagerly. "Everybody’s praising

"Are they?" replied Ward, laughing as he spoke. "Well, I’m glad we won
the game."

He started to depart from the grounds now, but a crowd of boys still
followed him, all eager to honor the senior who had won the day and
saved the honor of the school.

And Ward Hill was happy.  His heart was exulting over his success, and
the praise of his fellows was doubly sweet to him after his long period
of trouble.  He knew he had done well, and the consciousness that Tim
Pickard at last had been compelled to come to him for aid, was perhaps
not the least of the sources of his enjoyment.

As the boys came up to the campus and turned the corner by the chapel,
Tim and Ripley stood there talking with some of the Burr boys.  They
could not fail to perceive Ward in the midst of the crowd, but neither
Tim nor Ripley gave any signs of recognition.

Ward turned to Jack and laughed aloud, so loudly that both Tim and
Ripley heard him, and a flush of anger spread over their faces.

"Tim would rather have lost the game than have had it won in the way it
was," said Ward, as he started to leave Jack and go to his own room.

"Oh, well," replied Jack gleefully, "you can’t blame Tim for making a
wry face over swallowing his dose; but it may do him good, after all."

"Perhaps so," said Ward dubiously.

In his heart just at that moment he cared but little about Tim Pickard’s
feelings toward him.  In the flush of success and the apparent return of
his popularity he could afford to be magnanimous, and Tim and all his
petty torments seemed now to be too slight to be heeded.

For two or three days Ward’s long hit was the one theme of the school.
Not all of the boys, however, joined in singing his praises, for Tim was
not without his followers, and his influence was sufficiently strong to
hold them back; but the enthusiasm of the others more than atoned for
the failures, and Ward Hill was far happier than he had ever been since
he became a student in the Weston school.

The consciousness of having done good work in his classes was the main
foundation of it all.  The appeals of Little Pond, and the manner in
which he himself, with Jack’s aid, had met and stopped the stacking of
his room, also helped him now, and he rejoiced that he had not stooped
to retaliate in Tim’s room, as he had been sorely tempted to do.

It may be that his success, and the sudden change which had come in his
standing in the school, may have led Ward unknowingly to assume a new
air. If he did, it was done wholly unconsciously, but in some way he had
come to glance sneeringly at Tim whenever he met him.  He felt so strong
now that he could afford to condescend even to Tim Pickard himself.

One morning, three days after the game, and when the excitement which
had followed it had somewhat abated, as Ward, after passing Tim on their
way out from Mr. Crane’s room, and returning the glance of hatred which
the captain of the nine had given him, was recalled by Mr. Crane, he
stopped a moment in front of his desk.

"I haven’t seen you to speak to you since the game," said Mr. Crane
kindly.  "I wanted to tell you that I rejoiced in your success, but
perhaps you may have heard all the words of that kind that you care to

"Not from you," replied Ward, his face flushing with pleasure.

"What are you reading in your Greek now?" inquired Mr. Crane.

"Homer," said Ward, wondering what that had to do with the game with the

"Do you recall the term which Homer applies to Achilles?"

"Yes, ’swift-footed’ is one of them."

"And what is the term which is so frequently given the Greek heroes?"

"Why they’re called ’well-greaved,’ and ’great-souled,’ ’great-hearted,’
and, and----"

"That’s the word I wanted.  The great-hearted, great-souled men.
There’s a Latin word which is almost the equivalent of the term, and the
word was such a good one that it has been retained in many languages,
and has come down to us in a form but slightly modified.  Do you know
what the word is?"

Ward hesitated a moment, and then, as his mind always worked rapidly,
his face lightened up as he said, "Why, it’s the word ’magnanimous,’
isn’t it?"

"That’s the very word.  And what does that word literally mean, then?"


"That’s right.  I mustn’t detain you any longer or you’ll be late for
your Greek.  Come and see me some time soon, Hill."

Ward went out of the room, but he was somewhat puzzled over his
interview with the teacher.  What did Mr. Crane mean by asking him those
questions? Was he only trying to test his knowledge?  Ward knew better
than that.  Mr. Crane was not one to put idle questions to him,
especially at such a time as he had chosen for the brief interview.  But
what could he mean?

Ward entered the Greek room, but he only partially heard what Dr. Gray
was saying to the class. Boy after boy was called upon to recite, but
Ward was giving slight heed to what was occurring about him.  His
thoughts were upon Mr. Crane’s strange questions.  What could he mean by
them?  He never assumed that manner, his eyes slightly twinkling as if
there was some concealed joke in his mind and his grave, quiet ways
being all the more impressive, without having something more than the
mere questions in his mind.

The recitation was about half done, when suddenly Ward started up in his
seat.  His face flushed as he almost spoke aloud.

Jack looked at him in astonishment, but Ward made no reply as he hastily
turned again to his book, and apparently was only following the
recitation. And yet in a flash it had come to him what Mr. Crane had
meant by his questions.  At first he felt somewhat resentful, but as his
mind ran rapidly over the events of the past few days, he could not
conceal from himself the fact that he had given too much justification
for the implied rebuke of his teacher.

All through the day his mind kept going back to that brief interview
with Mr. Crane, and the recollection was not always a source of

That evening a group of boys was assembled in his room, Little Pond,
Jack, and Big Smith all being there, as well as Ward and his room-mate.
The conversation had been almost entirely on the game with the Burrs,
which to them at least, and most of all to Ward, was still a topic of
great interest.

"Well," Jack was saying, "we’ve got this game, thanks to Ward, and even
if we lose the return game in the spring we’re not so badly off as we
might be. The valedic will help us out then too, won’t you, Ward?"

"There’s no knowing who the valedic will be, I’m thinking.  Your friend
Luscious is making a pretty strong bid for it, and Little Pond here says
his big brother is coming back next week."

"Is that so?" said Jack eagerly, turning to the lad as he spoke.  "Is
that so?  Why I thought he wasn’t coming back till after the Christmas

"He didn’t expect to," replied Little Pond; "but it’s turned out so that
he can come next week, and I’m expecting him next Wednesday."

"That’s fine," said Jack enthusiastically.  "I tell you, Pond’s got the
right stuff in him.  Now Luscious has had a good influence on me, and
I’ve braced up wonderfully under his valuable example, and if Pond comes
back I think I shall make a try of it myself for the valedic.  ’Us four,
no more,’ will be in it then."

The boys laughed at Jack’s declaration that he was about to try for the
honors of the class, for they all knew that the impulsive boy was not
over fond of study, and that the improvement in his class work had been
almost entirely due to the efforts which Berry had made in his behalf.

"I don’t see why it is," said Big Smith solemnly, "that I don’t receive
more recognition in the school. I’ve tried to do my best, and yet I’m
left out of everything.  It sometimes seems to me that if a fellow is
wild, or gets into scrapes and then reforms, there’s a good deal more of
a time made over him than there is over a fellow who just plods on and
never does anything bad at all.  I can’t understand it."

Ward’s face flushed, for it seemed as if Big Smith meant to be personal.
Perhaps the recent return of his own popularity was the more marked
because of its very contrast with his previous record and position.

An angry reply rose to his lips, but in a moment the interview with Mr.
Crane flashed into his mind, and he bit his lips and remained silent.
"’Great-hearted,’ ’large-minded,’" he thought.  "I suppose Mr. Crane was
trying to get me to stretch my soul a bit, and I’ll try not to be petty
and small to-day, anyway."

"Big Smith," said Jack solemnly, rising and moving his right arm up and
down after the manner of a pump-handle as he spoke, "there’s a great
truth in what you say.  I’ve suffered from the effects of it, lo, these
seventeen years.  I’ve often thought if I’d fallen into evil ways or
joined in a few scrapes, that when the school saw, as the fellows all
must see now, the mighty change in me, they’d give me a good deal more
credit than they do.  But they just take it all for granted, you see,
and expect me to do well every time."

"You can laugh all you please," said Big Smith, "but it’s true.  Now
look at Ward.  He’s been in more scrapes than I, for I never was in one
since I came to Weston; but just see how all the fellows, or almost all
of them, are talking him up on every side.  They never talk in that way
about me, and yet I’ve tried to do right all the time."

The angry word this time almost escaped Ward’s lips, but before he could
speak Jack quickly replied, and as Ward looked at Big Smith again he was
glad he had not spoken.  It was evident the big fellow was in "dead
earnest," as the boys phrased it, and Ward thought he even saw traces of
moisture in his eyes.  Surprise overcame his feeling of resentment, and
he stopped to listen to Jack, who had resumed his pump-handle gesture.

"The trouble with you, Big Smith, is that you are a prig.  It isn’t that
you don’t do wrong that makes the fellows feel toward you as they do.
In their hearts there isn’t a fellow who doesn’t respect the chap who
tries to do right, and they wish they were like him too.  But you’re a
regular grandmother, Big Smith.  You’ve been a big fellow in your own
town, and when you went away to school you thought you were doing a big
thing.  Then you come up here and the first thing you do you go to
reaching out and patting all the rest of us bad little boys on our
heads.  You rebuke us; you think we’re all on the downward road because
we don’t do just what you want us to; and then you expect everybody to
do for you instead of trying to be of some use to the fellows.  Why,
from the time last Mountain Day, when you left others to carry the
luggage and then when night came took all of Pond’s bedquilt to
yourself, every fellow in the school thought you were for Big Smith
first, last, and all the time."

"But I was cold that night," said Big Smith solemnly.

"And what did you think of Pond?  And whose bedquilt did you think that
was?  Now Pond never was in any scrape, and yet the fellows all take to
him.  You’re never in any scrape, either, but you’ve got to do more than
that, let me tell you.  You heard about the man who never said a foolish
thing and never did a wise one, didn’t you?  Well, let me tell you that
a fellow has got to have something more than negative goodness to make
him count in the Weston school."

The boys looked with wonder at Jack as they heard him speak.  It was all
so different from his usual manner that not one of them could understand
him, and almost in consternation they turned to see how Big Smith was
receiving the lesson.

                             *CHAPTER XIX*

                            *JACK’S SERMON*

"I don’t just know that I understand what you mean," said Big Smith
slowly.  "Isn’t doing right the same as not doing wrong?  That’s what
I’ve been taught, that a good fellow was one who didn’t drink and swear
and steal."

"You’ve got the cart before the horse, my distinguished friend," replied
Jack.  "A fellow isn’t good because he doesn’t do those things, but he
doesn’t do them because he is good.  Now I know a place where there are
more than a thousand men living all together.  They neither drink,
swear, nor steal; they don’t even fight.  Not one of them."

"That must be a fine community, Jack," said Big Smith quickly.

"Well, it isn’t.  It’s one of the toughest places ’in all this broad
land of ours,’ to quote from Ward’s last speech.  Not much.  I don’t
think you, even you, Big Smith, would like it there, even with all the
virtues I have mentioned, and they’re not half of them, let me tell you,
either.  I could give you a catalogue more than a yard long, just like

"I don’t see, Jack.  I think you must be joking. What’s the place?"

"Never was more serious in all my life," replied Jack lightly.  "Now
listen, and I’ll give you the name of the place.  It’s the State

Big Smith looked blankly at Jack for a moment, while all the other boys
present burst into a loud laugh.  It was not so much what Jack had said
as the expression of amazement which spread over Big Smith’s face as he
heard the words.

The laughter of the boys continued for several minutes, and at last Big
Smith said slowly: "I never in all my life before thought of it in that
way, Jack.  Up where I live, when they speak of a good boy they always
mean one who doesn’t do anything bad."

"And right they are," said Jack, with a laugh; "that is, right as far as
they go.  The only trouble is they don’t go far enough.  Any old pumpkin
out in the field doesn’t do any of these things either, but they don’t
call the pumpkin ’good’ on that account, at least as far as I’ve ever
observed.  Did you ever go to a circus, Big Smith?"

"I never did."

"Well, that’s all right; I’m not telling you you ought to.  All I mean
is that if you should happen to go some time, just to take the children,
you know, of course, you’d probably see a lot of cages there. And the
cages would be full of awful beasts.  Wild animals, you know.  There’d
be the hyena, he’s a very cheerful bird; and there’d be the rhinoceros,
and the elephant, and the tiger, and the mosquito, and the lion, and all
sorts of gr-o-w-ling, savage beasts of the field," and Jack’s voice
became low as if he were trying to imitate the sounds of the animals he
named.  "Now, Big Smith, if you ever were so naughty as to take the
children to see such sights, you’d feel perfectly safe, because not one
of those monsters was ever known to devour a man, woman, or even one of
the children, for whose sake you probably had gone.  You see they’re
held back by the bars, and they can’t do any damage, no matter how
tempting your tender flesh might appear to be.  But, Big Smith,
honestly, you wouldn’t feel any warmer toward the gentle hyena, or the
mild and smiling tiger, would you? or think it any safer to leave those
tender little infants you had gotten together, and for whose sake alone
you had gone to the circus--I mean just to see the animals, of
course--there in the tent, if the bars were all taken away, although not
one of those animals had ever done any damage to any man?"

"I--I--don’t just see the point," said Big Smith, somewhat bewildered.
"What do you mean?"

"Alas! alas!" said Jack in mock despair.  "Well, what I mean is just
this.  You don’t trust a lion or a tiger in the menagerie because he
hasn’t done any harm.  So you don’t always take to a fellow just because
he’s never done anything very bad, either. He may be held back, he may
be afraid, he may not know anything about the bad, and so not do it
because he doesn’t know enough to do it.  Now, Ned Butler, who graduated
last year, you know, or Little Puddle’s big brother, why either or both
of those fellows just gripped the whole school, you see.  They never
were in any of the mean things, but there was something besides that.
They tried not only not to do wrong, but they also tried to do right.
Every fellow in the school knew that both of those boys were just doing
their level best to do the square thing every time, as well as keep out
of the mean things.  It wasn’t half so much what they did not do as what
they did do that counted, let me tell you.  They had good, red blood in
their veins every time, and the boys knew and felt it too, but it seemed
just as if they used every ounce of muscle they had to do something.
They weren’t thinking of the things they didn’t do."

"I--I--think I’m beginning to see what you mean," said Big Smith

"I’m mighty glad you are able to see the point once in your life," said
Jack good-naturedly.

"You’d better be glad," interrupted Ward, who sympathized somewhat with
Big Smith in his manifest trouble, "you’d better be glad that you were
able to make the point plain enough to be seen for once in your life,
Jack, as I’ve told you so many times lately."

The lad laughed heartily, for he was one of the few boys who was willing
to receive as well as give the bantering of the school.

Turning again to Big Smith, and noting the unusual seriousness of his
manner he said, in a far more gentle tone than he had before used,
"Honestly, Big Smith, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.  You started
the thing you know, and asked me what I thought was the reason you
didn’t stand better with the fellows, and I told you just what I
thought.  It was none of my business, and I ought not to have done it.
Who am I to preach to you?  I’m one of those who do just exactly the
opposite of the very thing I’ve been urging on you, for I leave undone
those things which I ought to have done, and do the things which I ought
not to do.  Forgive me if I’ve said what I ought not to have said," and
Jack, in his impulsive way, stretched forth his hand.

Big Smith took it, but made no reply, and in a few moments slipped
quietly out of the room.

As soon as he was gone Jack began to upbraid himself for the words he
had spoken, and in a brief time he too departed.  None of the boys ever
knew of the visit he immediately made in Big Smith’s room, nor did they
ever hear of the long conversation between the two boys which followed.

It was soon evident, however, that a change of some kind was coming over
Big Smith.  Many of his ways were greatly modified, and his devotion to
Jack Hobart became as marked as it was strange.

None of the boys, however, thought very much of the matter, for Jack was
universally popular, and no one could long retain a grudge against him,
and to that fact was probably attributed the new departure in the case
of Big Smith.

Pond returned to the school on the following week, and great was the
rejoicing among his friends. The boy had but little money, and while in
his calm, quiet way he never concealed the fact nor hesitated to give it
as a reason for not entering into many of the projects of his
companions, he never obtruded it nor referred to his poverty as if he
gloried in it.  He was one of the most popular boys in the Weston
school, thoroughly respected and warmly loved for his genuine manliness.

He had continued his studies during his absence, and had been able to
keep well up with his class, and as soon as he returned Ward at once
perceived that Pond was determined to retain the laurels he had won in
the preceding year if hard work would accomplish it.

It soon became manifest that the struggle for the first place in the
class lay between Ward, Pond, and Berry, but the three boys lost none of
their regard for one another in the contest.

Ward learned more easily than either of the other two, but he lacked the
steady, dogged, even ways of Pond.  There were occasions when he was
strongly tempted to neglect his work, and indeed did even neglect it,
but not for a long time.  He had been taught a severe lesson, and with
the higher impulses now in his heart, and the longing to carry home to
his father a report which he was well aware would give him higher
pleasure than anything else he could do for him, he held himself well to
his work in the main, and was recognized as one of the leaders in his

In the even lines of the school work there came many pleasant breaks.
On Mountain Day the summit of the great hill was climbed as it had been
in the preceding year by the most of the boys of the Weston school, and
many of the experiences which have already been recorded were repeated.

The party of friends, with Little Pond and Big Smith occasionally added,
tramped over the hills in quest of chestnuts, and never failed to return
with a goodly store.  On the brief half-holidays, until the snow came,
they would take their luncheons and start forth to explore some of the
beauties of the region in which Weston lay, and the hills would echo and
re-echo with the sounds of healthful boyish shouts and laughter, the
best sounds in all this world.

Ward Hill was happy.  The past seldom rose before him now, or if it did
come for a moment and awaken a sharp pang, it was soon put aside as the
consciousness of the efforts he was then making came to take its place.
And Ward was working faithfully.  He was doing so much more and so much
better than ever he had done before, that it seemed to him as if he was
working intensely.  He had yet to learn some of the necessities and
possibilities in that line.

The enmity of Tim Pickard and the "Tangs" still continued, but for the
most part it was expressed in sneers and attempted slights rather than
by any open manifestations; but Ward felt that he could endure all that
easily now in the knowledge he had of the regard with which most of the
boys looked up to him since the day of the great game with the Burrs.
And then too, he had the satisfaction of knowing that he was not
neglecting his work, and that results were already becoming more and
more plain.

Once, it is true, his room was "stacked" again, when he had carelessly
left the door unlocked, but he did not care so much for that as he did
that Pond’s room was also upset on the same day.  Coming up the stairs
together they discovered two of the younger boys at work in very midst
of the mischief. They administered a sound "seniorly" spanking, and made
the little fellows confess that Tim Pickard had told them to do what
they were doing.

As soon as the chastening and some good advice had been given, Pond
insisted upon going at once to Tim’s room and "having it out with him"
as he expressed it.  Nothing loth, Ward assented, and the two boys at
once went down to Mrs. Perrins’ and found Tim by chance in his room.

The presence of his visitors evidently confused the lad at first, but
soon assuming a bold manner he listened to what Pond had to say.

"We’ve come down here to tell you, Tim, that you’re not to set any more
of the little fellows up to stacking our rooms again."

"I haven’t stacked your rooms," said Tim boldly.

"I’m not talking about that," said Pond, speaking in a quiet manner,
frequently deceiving to those who were not well acquainted with him.  He
was seldom angry, but his very quietness gave the impression that it
would not be wise to push him unduly.  "I’m not talking about that,"
repeated Pond.  "All I said was that you were not to set any more of the
little fellows up to such tricks as stacking our rooms."

"Have the little imps gone and squealed?  I’ll fix----"

"Now look here, Tim," said Pond, still speaking quietly, and his manner
betrayed no excitement, "you know me and I know you.  There isn’t any
use in dodging this thing.  Ward and I caught the little fellows right
in the act, and we spanked them till we made them own up.  It wasn’t
their fault but ours if they told, and it wasn’t their fault that they
were in such petty business, either.  I don’t think they will be in it

"What’ll you do to stop it?" sneered Tim.  "Go and tell the doctor,
won’t you?"

"I’m not making any threats," replied Pond; "all I’m saying is that this
has got to stop.  You can’t afford to do it, Tim, and as for me, it
costs me too much to come up here to have anybody rob me of what I came
for.  I haven’t any time to spend in setting up my room.  I need all the
time I can get to hold my place in the class," and he turned and smiled
slightly at Ward as he spoke.  "Now you know, Tim, what I’ve come for,
and that’s all there is to it.  I’m after the work, and I haven’t a
spark of the nonsense some of the fellows talk about, putting up with
all sorts of tricks, to call them by no worse names, that any one may
feel disposed to play on them.  That’s what I came for, and now I’ve
said all I have to say.  Good-night, Tim."

Tim did not reply to the salutation as Ward and Pond turned and went out
of the room.

At the door they met Jack, who had just come down for his supper, and to
him Ward related all that Pond had said and done.

Jack whistled when he had heard all and said, "That’s what you may call
bearding the lion in his den.  Maybe it will work all right and maybe it
won’t.  They won’t bother you again till after Christmas, but my opinion
is that you’ll have to look out then."

"What’ll he do?  Why will he wait until after Christmas?" said Ward.

"Nobody knows what he’ll do; it won’t be stacking your room, though, I’m
thinking.  I think he won’t dare to stir things up before that time, for
he knows he’s on his good behavior himself; but it’ll come somehow, I’m
sure, for Tim’s fighting mad."

Jack’s prophecy, so far as nothing being done before Christmas, proved
to be correct.  Nothing occurred to disturb the quiet and harmony of the

The little flurries of snow were soon followed by heavier falls, and the
wintry winds began to be heard throughout the valley.  The crests of the
hills were the first to be covered by the snow, but soon it crept down
the sides and over the meadows, and when at last the end of the term had
come, the snow lay deep over all the landscape, one of the heaviest
falls ever known in Weston, even the oldest inhabitants declared.

Of Ward’s welcome home, of the good time he had, and the happiness which
this time was his, we cannot write here.

When his report came, Ward found that he was third in his class.  He
knew then that both Pond and Berry must be in advance of him, and he
felt somewhat disappointed.  The pride and rejoicing of his father over
the improvement, however, were so great, and as Ward himself was aware
that he had done good work, he did not refer to his own feelings, but he
resolved none the less that he would try to show both Pond and Berry
that in the coming term if they held their laurels it would be only by
the strongest kind of effort.

The "coming term," however, was to be an unusual one even in the annals
of the Weston school, but Ward’s heart was light, and not a shadow of
the future at this time darkened it.

The vacation at last was ended, and Ward and Henry departed from
Rockford in the midst of a severe snowstorm.  The storm changed to rain
before they arrived at the end of their journey, and that night there
was a sharp freeze.

In the morning, when they left their room to go to their breakfast, they
found that the crust of the snow was strong enough to bear their weight,
and in every direction they could see the boys running, sliding,
slipping, falling over the smooth surface, while all the time shouts and
laughter could be heard on every side.

                              *CHAPTER XX*

                            *DOWN WEST HILL*

"Come on, Henry, let’s go over to Jack’s room," said Ward as they came
out of the dining hall together.

The zest of the meeting with the boys was not yet gone and as they came
into the hall or went together down the steps, the boisterous laughter
still continued.

But Ward was not entirely jubilant, and as he looked about him at his
noisy companions, perhaps he was somewhat suspicious that all were not
so happy as the sounds of their laughter might lead an inexperienced
observer to believe.

The winter term was the long, hard term of the year.  In the fall, while
each boy was aware that a long stretch of weeks intervened between him
and the joyous Christmas time when he would again be at home, there were
yet the re-unions after the long vacation, and the formation of new
friendships as well as the renewal of the old ones; there was the
excitement of the outdoor athletic sports, and the long tramps over the
hills and through the valleys, to say nothing of the Mountain Day, which
was one of the features of school life at Weston.

In the spring, in addition to the fact that the term itself was a brief
one, there was also all the joy which the returning summer brought, and
the thought of a speedy return home.

But the winter term was long and sometimes dreary.  Storms swept over
the valley, the fierce winds piled the heavy fall of snow into
mountain-like drifts, and there was not very much to vary the monotony
of the school life.  It was the time when the hardest work was demanded
and done, and the natural consequence was that as the Weston boys came
thronging back to the school after the Christmas vacation time more than
one of them returned with hearts that were somewhat heavy within them.

But all the boys had a dread of even the appearance of homesickness, and
by every available method each sought to create the impression that he
at least was not suffering from that dreaded disease.

Just why this was so, no one could explain.  Surely no boy had any cause
to feel ashamed of his love for his home and his desire to look again
upon the faces of those whom he loved and those who loved him. But
whatever the explanation, or lack of explanation, it was still true that
many of the boys looked forward with anything but pleasure to the days
of the winter term, and yet few were willing to acknowledge their

Ward Hill was no exception to the general rule at Weston.  As he came
out of the dining hall that evening and the cold, wintry air struck him
full in the face, he lifted his eyes and looked at the snow-clad hills
which shut in the valley.  The towering monarchs seemed to be absolutely
pitiless and forlorn in the starlight.  Snow and leafless trees, and
cold and lifeless landscapes seemed to be all about him and even the
laughter of the boys sounded noisy and unnatural, as if his boisterous
companions either were striving to drown their thoughts by their
protests, or were endeavoring to force themselves into some kind of a
belief that they really were glad to be back together in school again.

He was sharing in the general depression, and in addition to his desire
to see Jack was the longing to be cheered, and perhaps compelled to
forget the immediate pressure by the contagious and irresistible good
nature of his friend.

Henry gladly yielded assent and in a few moments they entered Jack’s
room and had received his somewhat noisy welcome.  Berry also was there,
and Pond and his brother came a little later, and in the presence of
such friends Ward’s gloomy thoughts soon vanished.

"And how are all the good people at Rockford?" said Jack eagerly.
"That’s the best town I ever was in in my life.  I don’t see why they
need any churches or preachers there for my part; a fellow has to make a
desperate effort if he wants to do anything bad there."

Ward smiled at Jack’s words as he replied to his question.  He thought
he might be able to explain to his friend that even Rockford was not
free from all temptations, but Jack soon broke in again.

"If I didn’t want Pond here to come to New York and take charge of the
church I attend just as soon as he’s ready to begin to preach, I’d say
to him go up to Rockford.  They are awfully good up there."

"Yes, some of us ’too good to be true,’ I’m afraid," said Ward quietly.

"You don’t suppose I’m going to a place where I’d have nothing to do but
loaf, do you?" protested Pond.  "No sir!  I’m going to a place where
there’s work, and plenty of it too."

Ward glanced quickly at Henry and noticed the pained expression upon his
face at Pond’s innocent reference to the position of a preacher in
Rockford. He was well aware of the almost passionate devotion with which
Henry regarded his father, and indeed the feeling was somewhat shared by
Ward himself as he pictured to himself even then the saintly beautiful
face of Dr. Boyd.

"I don’t know about that, Pond," he said quickly. "My impression is that
Henry’s father doesn’t think he’s lying in a bed of roses with such a
scapegrace as I am to look after.  I rather think it depends upon the
man almost as much as it does upon the place he’s in whether he works or

"That isn’t what I mean," said Pond, perceiving at once that he had said
something which might better have been left unsaid.  "I know there’s
work even in Rockford, and there’s a worker for the work too.  I was
only speaking for myself, and what I meant was that the place where
there’s the most to be done is the one which appeals most to me."

"Good for you, Pond," said Jack hastily.  "My church is the place for
you.  The men there think if they give lots of money, and pay a good big
salary to the preacher they’ve done all that’s required of them. But
honestly I’m most afraid the missionary part was left out of me.  I like
a good time.  And fellows," he hastily added, "I’ve brought something
back with me just for that very purpose.  I got one and Tim Pickard’s
got one too.  He brought his up on the same train with me."

"What’s that you’ve got?" said Ward, voicing the immediate interest of
all in the room.

"I’ve the daintiest bob you ever saw.  Come out in the hall and see it."

The boys followed the eager lad, and there in the hall stood the long
sled which Jack had brought.  It was shod with slender steel runners,
and in its narrowness appeared to be even longer than it really was.  It
was beautifully upholstered and equipped with the most approved steering

"Isn’t she a beauty?" said Jack enthusiastically. "I wouldn’t dare tell
you what my father paid for her.  I just hinted that I wanted the best
affair in all the city, and behold! just before I started for the train,
this bob put in an appearance."

The enthusiasm of the boys was almost equal to that of the sled’s owner,
as they noted its good points and examined it critically.

"We’ll have some fun on her," said Jack.  "She’s like an arrow almost.
What is it we sing in chapel, ’Swift as an arrow cleaves the air’?
Well, that’s what this bob can do.  She’s a good ten feet in length, and
I think she won’t tarry very long on her way down West Hill, do you?"

"How many will she carry, Jack?" inquired Ward.

"All I can put on her.  I can pack away ten or twelve, and maybe more.
We’ll soon see.  Come up on West Hill to-morrow afternoon after study
hour, will you, fellows?"

All the boys eagerly accepted the invitation, and on the following
afternoon joined Jack and together dragged the long, slender bob up West

West Hill was a long hill with several bends in the road and a number of
very sharp descents, between which were long stretches where the road
ran downward, but in a gradual incline.  From the place where the boys
at last stopped, to the street on which the school buildings stood it
was at least a mile, and they were all eager to see in what time the new
bob could carry them that distance.

The pathway was almost like ice, for the cold weather still continued
and the recent sharp freeze had left a hard coating over all the snow.
When at last the party of seven boys halted, for both Big and Little
Smith had joined them, they were far above the valley.  The trees had a
coating of frost and glistened in the afternoon sunlight.  The pathway
was hard and firm and did not yield beneath their weight.  The air was
crisp, but the boys were clothed to meet that and no one thought of the

"Get ready there!" shouted Jack, as he took his seat in front on the
sled and grasped the little ropes by which he was to steer.  He braced
his feet against the ice to hold the sled in its position and waited for
the boys to take their positions behind him.

One after another took his place on the sled, carefully bracing his feet
and grasping the body of the boy in front of him tightly with both arms.
Ward was to have the position in the rear and was to give the push which
should start them on their long journey.

"All ready?" shouted Ward taking his place.

"All ready!  Let her go!" shouted Jack in reply.

Ward began to push, and as the sled began to move slowly gave it one
more hard shove and it had started.  Then running swiftly behind it he
leaped quickly upon it, braced his feet and tightly grasped Henry, who
was seated next before him.

The sled began to move slowly at first, but in a moment its speed
increased and soon it seemed to the excited boys as if they were almost
flying over the smooth and slippery surface.  Faster and faster sped the
long sled and the sharp air seemed almost to cut their faces like a

Down the long descent the sled swept on and soon came to the first of
the sharp falls.  It seemed then almost to leap from the ground and
shoot through the air, as indeed it did for a number of feet, then
struck the ground and swept onward with an ever-increasing speed.

Ward thought of Jack’s reference to the arrow cleaving the air, and it
seemed as if that was just what the swift-flying sled was doing.

On and on, swifter and swifter sped the party. Around one of the bends
in the road they passed, and the boys clung more tightly to one another,
for it seemed at first as if they would be flung from their places; but
Jack was doing nobly as steersman and held his beloved sled well to its
place in the road. Down another of the sharp descents they passed and
the speed was again increased.  It seemed as if nothing could move more
swiftly than they were sweeping down the long hillside.  The vision of
the fences by the roadside and of the few scattered farmhouses and barns
was all confused and indistinct so rapidly did they pass.  Down, down,
and ever downward sped the sled, and the excitement of the breathless
boys increased each moment.

Another of the bends in the road lay before them, and almost before they
were aware of it they were sweeping around the curve, and before them
lay the last of the sharp falls in the road.

As they turned the bend a loud warning cry burst from Jack’s lips, and
as the frightened boys glanced quickly before them, they had an
indistinct vision of another party of boys coming up the hill dragging a
long bob behind them.  The warning cry was heard just in time, and the
startled boys only succeeded in swiftly leaping to one side before
Jack’s sled was upon them.  It just grazed the edge of the other sled,
and then before any one could utter a word was yards away down the
hillside.  Not one of the boys spoke, but their faces were white and
drawn, and the peril they had barely escaped caused their hearts to beat

Again the sled seemed to leap and shoot through the air as it came to
the last fall, and swift as its motion had been before, it became even
swifter now. The fences and trees seemed to fly past them.  It was even
difficult to breathe in the cold and rushing air.  On and on swept the
sled with its load, until at last the long road had been traversed and
they approached the little hill which was near the village.

Up the ascent the sled plunged on its way, then down the hillside on the
farther side, then up again on its way to the last of the rises in the
ground before they approached the school buildings.

But the upward movement now began to tell even on the swiftly flying bob
and its speed visibly slackened.  Slowly and still more slowly it moved,
and when at last it had gained the high ground on which West Hall stood
it came to a standstill.

With a heavy sigh the boys leaped off and stood together facing Jack,
who was holding the ropes by which he had steered, in his hand.

"Whew!" said Jack enthusiastically.  "That’s what I call coasting,

"Coasting!" said Ward.  "That isn’t any name for it.  That’s flying,
that’s what it is--just flying. I feel as if we’d been shot through the
air and didn’t, even touch the ground.  I say, Jack, I’ve got a name for
your bob."

"What is it?"

"’The Arrow.’ ,’Swift as an arrow cleaves the air,’ you know.  You can’t
improve on that name if you try ten years.  Call her ’The Arrow,’ Jack."

"All right," said Jack laughingly in reply.  "’The Arrow’ it is then.
I’ll have her all painted up in colors in a day or two.  Come on,
fellows, and we’ll try it again."

The boys turned to follow Jack up West Hill again; but no one spoke for
a time, as the excitement following the swift ride had not yet

Ward was walking by Jack’s side assisting in dragging the sled, and when
they were half-way up the hillside they quickly called to their
companions to "look out," and then swiftly darted to one side of the
road drawing the long sled with them.  Just before them they could see
the other bob coming swiftly on its way, and as it swept past them they
discovered that Tim Pickard was steering it.  Doubtless it was his bob,
and the party consisted of his boon companions.

"I say, Jack," said Ward soberly, "this is lots of fun, but it’s
dangerous too.  You don’t suppose Tim would leave his bob so that we
might happen to strike it on our way down, do you?  It would be all day
with us if he should do such a thing."

"No, I don’t believe Tim would do that," replied Jack lightly, although
Ward thought he could see that his friend was troubled by the
suggestion.  "No, I don’t believe Tim would do that," repeated Jack.
"He’s got the disposition to upset us, but I don’t believe he’d do it.
He thinks too much of his bob to run the risk of a collision."

Nothing more was said by either of the boys, and in a brief time they
arrived at the summit of West Hill and prepared once more for the long

The party was arranged just as it had been in the preceding ride, and as
soon as Ward saw that all the boys were ready, he began again to push
the heavy load and as the sled started, he ran lightly behind it and
then leaped upon it in his former position.

                             *CHAPTER XXI*

                      *THE ARROW AND THE SWALLOW*

Again the swift descent of the long hill was made, and then once more
the boys climbed back to the starting point.

Tim Pickard and his friends were passed each time, but no trouble came,
the owner of the other bob either not caring to disturb them then, or
else, as Jack suggested, he feared the damage which might come to his
own sled from a collision.

When at last the boys returned to their rooms, they were all
enthusiastic over the sport of the afternoon and were eagerly looking
forward to the following day when the experience might be repeated.

Indeed it was not long before the entire school seemed to feel the
contagion of the sport, and sleds and improved bobs were to be seen
every afternoon upon the long course of West Hill.  Even the
towns-people came to share in the coasting, and many strange looking
sleds soon made their appearance.

One in particular attracted much attention.  It was made of two rude low
sleds such as the farmers used to draw their heavy loads of wood in the
winter. It was an immense affair, and frequently fifteen or twenty young
men would be packed together upon it, and when the rough-looking
contrivance made its appearance it was sure to have every right of way,
as no one cared to stand in its path.

Even the ladies soon joined in the sport and West Hill presented a gay
appearance, covered as it frequently was by the merry crowds.  Some of
the towns-people had horses to drag the heavy sleds back up the hill and
to enable the ladies to avoid the trouble of climbing, but the Weston
boys did not consider it much of a task to retrace their steps; and
indeed the pleasure was perhaps increased by the difficult ascent.

Jack soon had the name which Ward had suggested painted in bright colors
on his bob, and the fame and the speed of "The Arrow" seemed to increase

Among the coasting contrivances none seemed to be equal to it except the
bob which Tim Packard owned and which he had named "The Swallow,"
perhaps from some fancied resemblance between its swiftness and the
flight of that bird.

The school had "gone mad," as Jack phrased it, over the coasting on West
Hill.  The time between supper and the evening study hour also was given
up to the sport, and instead of soon tiring of it, the interest and
excitement seemed to increase with every passing day.

But among all the sleds and bobs none appeared to belong to the class of
"The Arrow" and "The Swallow," and they were soon the acknowledged
leaders of them all.  The events which followed were perhaps only a
natural outcome of that fact and a trial between the two soon came to be
talked of among the boys.

"Ward," said Jack, one evening about two weeks after the beginning of
the winter term, "Tim wants to have a race between his bob and mine.
What do you think of it?"

"I didn’t think he’d condescend to race with us," replied Ward, almost
unconsciously assuming a partial ownership in "The Arrow."  Jack
apparently did not notice that there was anything of assumption either
in Ward’s words or manner, for while the generous-hearted boy had fully
shared the pleasures of his bob among the boys of the school, his love
for Ward had led to his being a member of every party formed.  He
declared that Ward alone knew just how to start "The Arrow" aright, and
that much of its success was due to that very fact. And Ward in his joy
had not stopped long to consider the matter, and soon came almost to
regard the swift-flying bob as a joint possession.

"Condescend?" said Jack.  "It’s no condescension on his part, let me
tell you, to have a race with ’The Arrow.’  His old tub isn’t to be
mentioned with it."

"That’s all right; I wasn’t referring to the bobs, but to Tim’s present

"Well, I fancy Tim did have to swallow hard once or twice before he
could bring himself up to the point of challenging ’The Arrow.’  But,
you see, so many of the fellows are interested and have talked so much
about the two bobs that Tim probably couldn’t stand it any longer.  So
the upshot of it all is that he wants a race."

"I think we can accommodate him," said Ward. "When does he want it to
come off?"

"Next Saturday afternoon’s the time he mentioned. I suppose we can suit
ourselves about that, though.  When do you think is the best time?"

"Oh, that’ll do as well as any.  That is, if the weather holds good.
How many are to be in each party?"

"We shall have you and me, of course, and then there’ll be Luscious, and
Henry, and Big and Little Smith, and Puddle and his big brother.
That’ll be eight all together."

"Why do you take the little fellows?"

"Oh, it’ll be fun for them," replied Jack.  "Tim’ll carry the same
number, eight."

"Yes, but his load will be heavier.  Little Pond and Little Smith are
both so light that they won’t count for very much, I’m afraid."

"Oh well, never mind that.  They’ll get some fun out of it anyhow, and
that’ll be almost as good as winning the race.  But I’m not afraid, even
if Tim does have a heavier load.  I guess ’The Arrow’ will cleave the
air all right."

The race was soon arranged and at once became the exciting topic in the
school life.  Three days only intervened and the boys of the rival
parties were not idle.  Daily they went up on West Hill, and Jack tried
several new methods of steering, while Ward practised the "send-off,"
upon which they all relied.

Saturday dawned clear and bright, and the afternoon promised to be
almost ideal for the race.  Long before the time when it was to occur,
the boys of the school took various positions along the roadside to
watch the race, although many of them preferred the place in front of
West Hall, which was to be the terminus, and there they could witness
the finish and at once determine which had won.

Ward had suggested that the race should be "on time," that is, that each
bob should go over the course alone and that the time occupied by each
should be carefully kept, and the merits of the bobs be determined in
that manner.  There would be less danger by adopting that method, and he
could not disguise the fact, in spite of his excitement, that the race
was fraught with more or less of peril.  The unanimous protest of all
his companions, however, had served to do away with his suggestion, and
he had said no more.

It was arranged that the course should be gone over three times and that
the bob which won two of the three races should be declared the victor.

Much time had been spent in polishing the long, slender steel runners of
"The Arrow," and everything which was likely to add to its speed and
safety was carefully looked to.

At last the appointed time arrived and the eight boys who were to
comprise "The Arrow’s" load started up West Hill, each grasping the long
rope and assisting in drawing the bob after them.

A cheer from their friends followed them as they started forth from West
Hall, and at intervals along the road they were greeted by the plaudits
of the boys.  It was evident that most of the school desired them to
win, though Tim was not entirely lacking in supporters.

As they drew near the hilltop, it was seen that the rival party was
already there, and a crowd of boys stood about "The Swallow" admiring
her strength and speed, and talking over her various good points.

Many of the boys who were there to see the start, planned to go down the
hill after the first race and be with those who were assembled near West
Hall to witness the finish in the succeeding races. Mr. Blake was to be
the starter, while Mr. Crane was to be the judge at the end of the
course, and they had left him with the crowd in the village.

The excitement was now at the highest pitch.  Lots were soon drawn for
choice of sides in the road, and as Jack won he selected the right,
although there was no advantage in that, and the allotment had been made
only to insure perfect fairness for all. The bobs were soon in position
and Ward took his stand behind "The Arrow" ready to make the start,
while Ripley was waiting to do a similar work for "The Swallow."

The pathway was all cleared and the boys along the roadside were to see
that the way was kept clear throughout the course.  Ward could see the
eager faces of those who were assembled at the starting-place as he
glanced about him.  They stood back from the road, but were leaning
forward intent upon every movement of the rivals.

Jack and Tim had taken their positions in front, for each was to steer
his own sled.  Tim’s face betrayed no feeling, but as he glanced at
Ripley, Ward could see that in spite of his apparent indifference he
felt confident of winning.  Indeed, as he returned Ward’s glance a sneer
spread over his face, which served to rouse his rival still more. How
Ward did wish to win that race!  They must have it!  And the eager lad
determined to give "The Arrow" such a start as she never before had.

"Are you ready?" called Mr. Blake, his tall, angular form bending in the
excitement which he shared with the boys.  "When I count three you’re to

He took his watch from his pocket and then glanced once more about him
to see that all were ready for the signal to be given.

"One!  Two!  THREE!"

Instantly Ward bent to his task and "The Arrow" began to move before
him.  Harder and harder he pushed, and as the speed instantly increased
he leaped lightly into his seat and tightly grasped the body of Big
Smith who was seated directly in front of him.  Unmindful of the frantic
cheers of the boys in the assembly behind him he turned to look at "The
Swallow."  Neither side apparently had gained any advantage in the
start, and now the two bobs were speeding onward side by side.

The speed increased, but the two sleds still kept the same relative
positions.  On down the hillside swept the rivals, and soon they were
almost flying through the air.  The cold wind made their eyes water, but
as yet neither Jack nor Tim had for a moment withdrawn his attention
from the task before him.  Both fully realized the necessity of constant
watchfulness and were resolved that not an advantage should be lost.

Cheers arose from the boys waiting by the roadside, but almost before
they could be heard they sounded far away behind them.  Both sleds were
well handled and were doing nobly.

Around the first bend in the road they swept almost together, and soon
the first of the steep descents was gained.  Almost as if they were not
touching the ground the sleds shot through the air, but the increasing
swiftness apparently was equally shared by them both.  Side by side the
two sleds swept onward.  The speed increased each moment, and as yet it
was impossible to determine which was gaining the advantage.  On and on
they sped, "swifter than the wings of the wind."

Around the next curve, then on down the next fall in the road, then
around the next bend.  More than half of the course had now been covered
and still the sleds sped forward side by side.

Before them lay the last of the steep places, and as in an instant they
seemed to be upon it, Ward gave a shout as he saw "The Arrow" push
slightly forward in advance of its rival.  The advantage was very slight
but still it was an advantage, for he was nearly abreast of Tim Pickard,
who was seated in front on "The Swallow" and steering his own sled, as
we know.

Before them now there lay the two little hills. The issue of the race
would be decided by the ability to withstand the slackening of speed
which was sure to come there.

Up the first little hill both sleds went, and Ward’s shouts redoubled as
he saw that "The Arrow" was forging slightly ahead.  They were just
about a sled length beyond their opponents now, and it seemed to him
that he could almost hear the labored breathing of Tim Pickard who was
just behind him.  The lighter load was a very decided advantage now,
Ward thought, in climbing the hill, and he blamed himself for having
made any protest against the younger boys being made members of the

As they passed down the little hill "The Swallow" gained slightly, but
as they began the ascent of the last remaining hill again the lighter
weight of "The Arrow’s" load began to tell, and when at last they gained
the summit it was once more a full length in advance.

They could see West Hall in the distance now, and as the descent was
begun they all knew that the last stretch of the course was at hand.
The waiting boys had already obtained a glimpse of the racers and their
shouts in the distance could be distinctly heard.  Plainer and plainer
grew the sounds, but Ward’s heart sank as he glanced behind him and saw
that "The Swallow" was slowly creeping up on them.  Her heavier load
began to tell now as the descent was fairly entered upon.  Ward felt as
if he must get off and push the bob before him. What was the trouble?
Why was it that "The Arrow" seemed to drag on her way?  Slowly and yet
steadily he could see that "The Swallow" was gaining.  First Tim Pickard
came alongside, and then one after another was directly by his side.  On
and on moved the sleds and soon "The Swallow" was a little in advance.

The cheers of the waiting assembly redoubled now that the bobs were in
plain view and the end of the course had been almost gained.

Still "The Swallow" pushed ahead, and when at last the end had been
gained she crossed the line more than a length in advance of her rival.

Shouts and cheers greeted the outcome of the first race, even the boys
who had not favored "The Swallow" shouting till they were almost beside
themselves in their excitement.

Ward and his companions rose from their seats, but they were downcast
and disheartened.

"Never mind, Ward," said Jack lightly as they started again up the hill,
"’one swallow doesn’t make a summer,’ you know.  They haven’t won the
race yet.  It’s the best two out of three and we’ve a good fighting
chance left."

"’The Arrow’s’ the swifter bob," said Ward disconsolately.  "There’s no
doubt at all about that. They beat us by their heavier load.  We were
ahead up to the top of the hill, but when we started down then their
weight put in its fine work.  We’d have beaten them easily if we’d
carried as many pounds of weight as they did."

"Never mind that," said Jack quickly, glancing behind him as he spoke to
see whether either of the younger boys had overheard the words.  "It’s
an experience they’ll always remember, and it’s as great fun to see them
have a good time as it is to win.  Maybe we’ll win this time."

Ward made no reply, nor did he speak again before they had gained the
summit of the hill.  Many of the boys had left it now to go down to West
Hall to witness the finish of the race.

The sleds were soon in readiness for the second race, and this time
Jack’s prophecy proved to be correct, for "The Arrow" won by three full

Each had now won once and the third trial would be the deciding one.
The excitement of the spectators as well as the boys engaged in the race
became more intense now.  Nearly all had gone from the summit when for
the third time the sleds were drawn up there.

They were quickly reversed and placed in position, and then at the word
of Mr. Blake started swiftly down the long course for the third and
decisive trial in the race.

                             *CHAPTER XXII*

                       *THE MISHAP OF THE ARROW*

In spite of his excitement, Ward Hill was not unmindful of the danger
which attended the race. While the long road was kept clear of vehicles
and passing teams by the boys who were stationed at intervals along the
course, yet the speed with which the bobs swept over the smooth surface
was terrific, and any little mistake on the part of either Jack or Tim
was likely to prove very serious in its consequences.

He knew that both the boys were skillful, and their control of the sleds
had been superb up to this time, and that there apparently was no cause
for the fear which somehow came upon him when they started on the third
and last descent of West Hill.

In a moment, however, all his attention was absorbed by the excitement
of the race.  While not so many of the boys had been on the summit when
they started this time as had been there when the other two starts had
been made, their feelings were more intense, and what they lacked in
numbers they more than made up by their shouts.  Each bob had now won a
race, and the third trial would determine which should be the
acknowledged champion of the school.

It almost seemed as if the sleds themselves shared in the feelings of
the boys.  The road was in prime condition, and apparently there was
nothing to prevent a full test of the speed of each sled.

At any rate, it seemed to Ward, as he clung tightly to the body of the
boy in front of him, as if the speed had very materially increased.  And
yet almost side by side the two bobs sped on down the hillside.

Far away rose the shouts of the waiting boys as soon as they obtained a
glimpse of the oncoming sleds; but almost before the sounds could be
heard the bobs swept on and passed the scattered groups, and then again
the shouts and cheers from below would be heard.  No one on either sled
spoke, however, for their feelings were too strong for utterance.

Two of the bends of the road had been passed, and twice had both sleds
shot through the air as they came to the sharp descents in the road, and
while the speed of each had instantly been increased, as yet neither had
gained any perceptible advantage over the other.

As they approached the third bend, however, Ward could see that "The
Arrow" was slightly in advance.

Tim Pickard, who was steering "The Swallow," was now just abreast of
Little Smith, who was seated in the center of the load which Jack’s bob
was carrying.  The advantage, however, was too slight to be a source of
much comfort to the anxious boys, and the slightest mistake on Jack’s
part might forfeit it all in a moment.

Ward looked ahead of him and could see three boys standing directly in
the pathway.  They were all waving their arms and shouting together, but
Ward thought nothing of their appearance, and was satisfied that they
would do as all the others had done when the racers came nearer, and
step aside to give them a free course down the hill.

A shout arose from "The Arrow’s" load as the boys still retained their
places in the road, and as the bobs swept swiftly forward, the three
still kept their places till the racers were almost upon them. They were
shouting and waving their arms all the time, but no one thought of that,
and as they darted quickly to the side of the road, the sleds came
almost upon them.

"Look out, look out!" suddenly Ward shouted as he glanced at the other
sled for it seemed to him that Tim had changed his course and was
steering directly into "The Arrow."

"Look out, look out!" he screamed again frantically as he saw that Tim
evidently was trying to drive them off from the course.  If one or the
other did not instantly change there was sure to be a collision.

All the boys on "The Arrow" looked up at Ward’s shout of warning, and
Jack glanced backward as he heard the call.

"Look out! look out, Tim!" he screamed in his excitement, but the course
of "The Arrow" instantly was changed.

Just how it all occurred Ward never knew; whether Jack had for a moment
lost control of the sled as he looked backward, or the forward runners
of "The Swallow" actually struck the bob he never could tell.

There was for a moment a dull grating sound, as if "The Arrow" had
grated on bare ground, and all the boys on it were thrown slightly
forward by the sudden checking of the speed.

However, it instantly became apparent that Jack had lost control of the
bob.  The swift-flying sled left the road, started directly down the
bank, and before them, only a few rods away, was a low, rambling stone
wall which still appeared above the crust of the snow.  There was a
shout of alarm from the watching boys by the roadside, a feeling of
utter despair in Ward’s heart as he perceived there was to be a crash of
some kind.  But before he or any of the boys could voice their alarm, or
roll from the sled which was plunging ahead with no apparent slackening
in its speed, there was a sudden shock, and the sled struck the wall,
and in a moment Ward felt himself shooting through the air over the
heads of his companions.

He was only partially aware of the force with which he struck the hard,
smooth crust at last and slid far ahead over its surface.  He tried
desperately to check his speed, but all of his efforts were without
avail, till at last he came sharply against the stone wall which
bordered the narrow field on its farther side.

Even then he felt dull and stunned, and for a moment could not move.
Just where he was or how he came to be there was not at first apparent
to him.

In a brief time, however, he was aware of the shouts and cries behind
him and then staggered to his feet.  His face and hands were bleeding
and his clothing was torn in many places.  But all that was instantly
forgotten as he perceived from the actions of the boys, who had quickly
gathered at the place where the accident had occurred, that something
was wrong there.  Stumbling, staggering forward, he made his way back,
though it seemed to him that every bone in his body was aching and every
step gave him pain.

At last he reached the crowd, and as he approached, one of the boys
noticing his appearance, turned to him and said quickly, "Are you hurt,

"No, I think not," though even while he was speaking he was conscious of
the wounds on his face and hands.  "No, I think not much," he repeated;
"but some of the boys here are, I fear," he hastily added.

Before him stretched upon the snow lay the bodies of Henry, Big Smith,
and Jack.  The others of the party were standing about as if they were
almost as dazed as he, and certainly their appearance was as bad as his
own.  Some had bleeding noses, some showed great bruises on their faces,
and all had their clothing more or less torn by the accident.

"What is it?  What is it?" he said hastily, as he pushed his way into
the group and approached the three boys who lay stretched upon the snow.
Beneath them some of the boys had placed their overcoats, while others
had rolled theirs into rude pillows and placed them underneath the heads
of the injured boys.

"Are they killed?" he added in a low voice as be gazed at them.

"No, they’re not dead," said one in the group; "but Jack’s got it the
worst of all.  He must have fallen under the bob, for his little finger
had been almost cut off.  The runners must have gone over it.  We’ve
tied his hand up with handkerchiefs as best we could.  I don’t think the
other fellows are anything more than stunned.  Here comes Mr. Blake," he
added, as the tall teacher came running toward them.

But Mr. Blake was not able to do anything more than the boys had done,
and the confusion increased.

"Send for a doctor!" "Take them down on the sleds!" "Take the pillows
out from under their heads!" "Rub them with snow!" were among the
expressions now heard on every side, but no one seemed to be able to
take the lead and the confusion increased.

"Here comes Mr. Crane!" shouted one of the boys, and in a moment the
teacher approached the group.  Tim’s sled had gone on down the hill, and
when it arrived at the end of the course, great was the astonishment of
the assembled boys that it should be alone.

In response to the many questions Tim disclaimed all knowledge of what
had become of "The Arrow," simply declaring that he thought there had
been an accident of some kind, but that he did not know just what it

Mr. Crane had not waited to hear more, and had instantly pressed into
service one of the horses and sleighs which had been halted near the
place so that the racers might have a free course, and had started up
West Hill.

As he obtained a glimpse of the crowd which soon had assembled near the
place of the accident, he had needed nothing more to inform him that
something of a serious nature had occurred, and leaping lightly out, he
left the horse in charge of one of the boys and ran swiftly to the

The boys at once made way for him, and just as he bent over the boys Big
Smith opened his eyes and stared wildly about him.  Soon Henry too
regained consciousness, and Mr. Crane at once proceeded to make an
examination.  Big Smith was declared to be all right, but with Henry it
was impossible to determine whether his left arm had been broken or not.
The slightly movement of it caused him intense pain, and Mr. Crane said:

"We’ll have to leave that for a surgeon to determine. We’ll now look at
this poor boy," and turning to Jack he began to make a further

Jack was still unconscious, and soon it was decided to carry him back in
the sleigh in which Mr. Crane had come.  Ward pleaded that he might
assist, but one look at him led the teacher to say, "You look as if you
needed help yourself, Hill.  No, I’ll let one of the other boys assist
me.  Here’s another sleigh," he added, as he saw that others had driven
to the place.  "Doubtless Boyd and Smith can be taken back in that."

The arrangements were soon completed and the three boys were carried
back to the school.  To the offer to carry him and the other remaining
boys on the sleds, Ward said: "No, sir, I don’t want any more of that at
present.  I can’t speak for the others; but for myself I’d rather crawl
back on my hands and knees.  Look at ’The Arrow’ too, will you?" he
added.  "I guess her racing days are done."

"The Arrow" was indeed in apparently a worse plight than that of any of
the boys.  The collision with the stone wall had torn it apart.  One
runner was broken loose and the seat lay several feet away from the body
of the sled.

It was only about a half-mile back to the school buildings, and in the
midst of the constantly increasing crowd of boys who looked upon their
injured companions much as if they were heroes, the racers returned.  It
was a procession in striking contrast with that which had started out.

Just how they made the journey Ward never knew.  He felt sore throughout
the whole extent of his body, and every step caused him suffering, but
somehow it was at last accomplished, and when he went up to his room,
Henry was already in bed and one of the other boys, who roomed in West
Hall, was there.

"How are you, Henry?  Are you hurt much?" inquired Ward hastily.

"No, I think not.  It’s my arm that’s the worst. It may be broken.  The
doctor is coming soon.  But how are you, Ward?  You look all torn into

"Oh, I’m all right," replied Ward hastily.  "I got a few scratches and
bumps, but some hot water and arnica will soon fix me all right."

And he proceeded immediately to carry out his own directions.  But his
heart was heavy when he thought of Jack and he could not entirely check
the tears that rose in his eyes.  Sore and bruised as he was he decided
to go at once over to East Hall and learn how his friend was.

What a good fellow Jack was, thought Ward.  He would share anything he
had with any or all who called upon him.  And Tim Pickard!  His heart
grew bitter and hard when he thought of Tim’s dastardly trick.  He had
been the one to blame for the accident, for doubtless his threatened
collision had been the cause of "The Arrow’s" leaving the road, and the
dire events which had followed.

Ward was a long time washing his wounds and bruises, and by the time he
was ready to go over to East Hall, Doctor Leslie, the Weston physician,
entered the room with the principal of the school.

He at once began to make an examination of Henry and in a few minutes
declared, "There are no broken bones.  The left arm has had a bad
sprain, and he’ll have to carry it in a sling for a while, but I’m
confident that otherwise he’s not seriously injured and will be around
again in a few days."

"Do you think he had better go home?" inquired Doctor Gray anxiously.

"That remains to be seen," replied the physician; "but I hardly think it
will be necessary."

"You’d better look at Ward," said Henry, his face beaming in spite of
the pain he was suffering, at the doctor’s verdict.  "He’s been hurt

"Only a few bruises and scratches," said Ward hastily.  "But, doctor,
have you seen Jack?"

Doctor Leslie’s face clouded as he said: "Yes, I have just come from his

"How is he?  How is he?" said Ward eagerly. "Is he badly hurt?  I want
to go over there right away."

"You can’t see him, if you do go," said the physician quietly.  "I’ve
left orders with Mr. Crane for no one to be admitted into his room.
He’s to keep the boys in the hall quiet too, and I’ve telegraphed for
his mother."

"Telegraphed for his mother?" said Ward aghast. "Is it as bad as that?
Oh, doctor, is he going to die?"

"I trust not, but he is seriously injured.  I’ve been compelled to
amputate one of his fingers."

Ward was almost overcome by the kind-hearted physician’s words and for a
moment he could not speak.

"I think, Hill," said Doctor Gray sympathetically, "that you had better
be in bed yourself.  Doctor Leslie, isn’t there something you can do for

Doctor Leslie left a few directions and then departed with the principal
to visit the other boys who had been on the unfortunate "Arrow."  Much
against Ward’s will he was ordered to remain in his room that night and
have his supper brought to him.

The following morning, although he felt stiff and sore, he resolutely
went down to the dining hall for his breakfast.  Henry was in fairly
good spirits also, but he was not to leave his room that day.  The
reports of Jack were not very encouraging and a gloom rested over all
the school when the boys assembled in the chapel.  The accident of the
preceding day was the one topic of conversation and the subdued manners
of all the boys showed how deeply they had been touched.

At the close of the service Doctor Gray said: "It is not necessary for
me to refer to the distressing accident which occurred yesterday.  We
all may rejoice that its effects were no worse, bad as they were.  In
view of the results, which might easily have been fatal, you will all
readily understand why it is that from this time forward the use of
so-called ’bobs’ is strictly prohibited, and no coasting will be allowed
except by special permission of the house teachers.  I bespeak your
sympathy for those who are confined to their rooms and trust you will do
all in your power to aid those who are caring for them.  You may now
pass to your class-rooms."

As the boys filed out of the chapel, many were the words of sympathy
heard for Jack Hobart.  The popular light-hearted boy would have
rejoiced could he have heard the many expressions of interest and
good-will, but at that time he cared for none of those things.  Rolling
and tossing upon his bed in his room in East Hall, he uttered no sounds
except an occasional moan, and even the presence of his mother, who had
arrived that morning, passed unrecognized by the suffering boy.

Ward was passing to the Latin room and glanced up at the windows in
Jack’s room.  How he did long to go there and do something to aid his
friend! Never before he thought had Jack seemed so dear to him.  What
would life in the Weston school be without him?  He almost groaned aloud
at the suggestion.

He was in a measure recalled from his sadness by Little Pond who rushed
up to him and said: "Ward, I just heard something."

"What is it?" said Ward, only slightly heeding the boy’s eager words.

"I heard that some ashes had been sprinkled on the road where the
accident occurred."

"What?" said Ward, interested in a moment.

He stopped and for several minutes conversed with his little friend and
when he turned to enter the class-room, there was an expression upon his
face which had never been seen there before.

                            *CHAPTER XXIII*

                          *THE INVESTIGATION*

As soon as the recitations were finished that morning, Ward sought out
Little Pond and as they walked together to the dining hall, he said:

"What did you mean by what you said about ashes having been sprinkled on
the hill yesterday?"

"Brown told me," replied Little Pond.  "Brown said he overheard Tim and
Ripley talking together this morning before chapel.  He wasn’t trying to
listen you know, but they take their meals at the same place, and as
they came out of the house he heard Ripley say something about ashes and
then Tim say ’Yes,’ and that ’somebody must go up there right away.’
Then they suddenly stopped short as they looked behind them and saw
Brown so near them. Brown said they looked guilty too, and as they knew
he was a good friend to Jack, they probably were afraid he had overheard

"What did Brown do then?"

"Oh, he said that it flashed into his mind in an instant just what
they’d been up to.  He thinks that Tim had arranged with these fellows
who stuck to the road yesterday, you remember, there by the last of
those steep places till we were almost on them. Brown believes that they
had sprinkled ashes over the path, or rather over one of the paths, and
that they held their places as they did to drive ’The Arrow’ right on to
it.  Then he thinks too that Tim steered in toward us a bit so as to
drive us farther and make sure that we’d be held back."

"The rascal," muttered Ward angrily.

"You don’t really think Tim Pickard intended to force us out of the
road, do you, Ward?" inquired Little Pond.  "I think all he wanted--that
is, if Brown’s right--was to send us on to the ashes, so that we’d be
held back and he’d get a chance to gain enough to let him keep the lead
on the way down the hill.  I can’t believe he’d do anything so bad as to
drive us into the wall."

"Oh, Tim Pickard’s all gentleness!  He wouldn’t harm any one!  He’d
never take a fellow out in a baby carriage and jostle him around over
the rough ground, not he!  He wouldn’t stack a room.  He wouldn’t do
anything that isn’t just the proper thing to do!  Oh no, Tim Pickard’s
too good for this world, I mean, of course, the Weston world, you know.
For my part, I wish he was taken out of it too.  Weston would be a very
decent sort of a place without him."

Ward spoke bitterly for his heart was hot against Tim Pickard and the
"Tangs."  Not that he believed that even Tim would deliberately plan to
run the boys into such danger as the load "The Arrow" carried had
incurred, but he was well aware of his bitter feeling against him, and
to an extent against Jack as well, and also of his desire for "The
Swallow" to win the race, and that he would stop at nothing to carry his

However, he said nothing more to Little Pond, but as soon as he had
finished his dinner, he hastened over to East Hall and had a long
conversation with Brown, the result of which was that Brown and Baxter,
another of the East Hall boys, soon after dinner started up West Hill to
make some investigations near the place where the accident had occurred.

Doctor Leslie came out into the hall as Ward departed and the troubled
lad delayed for a moment to learn of Jack’s condition.

"He’s better, decidedly better," said the kind-hearted physician.  "I
think he’s going to pull through all right if we have no setbacks.  It
was a great shaking up you boys had."

"It certainly was for Jack and Henry," replied Ward.  "The rest of us
got a few bruises and scratches, but we don’t mind such little things."

"Well, I understand that a physician’s services are not likely to be
required in any similar cases very soon.  I hear the principal has
forbidden the use of bobs any more."

"Yes, but our sled’s all broken up, so we couldn’t use it if we wanted

"And that makes Doctor Gray’s prohibition more easily borne, does it?"
said Doctor Leslie with a smile.

Ward made no response as he started toward West Hall.  On his way Mr.
Blake overtook him and as they walked on together, the teacher said:
"Well, Hill, I hear that Hobart is likely to be about again soon.  That
was a very careless piece of work."

"Careless?  I don’t understand what you mean," replied Ward angrily.

"Why, Timothy Pickard tells me that you were trying to cut across his
path and get ahead of him in the race.  That was hardly fair I think,
and it ended just as all tricks are sure to end.  I’m sure honesty is
the best policy, even in a race between bobs."

"Did Pickard tell you that?"

"Yes; I had quite an extended conversation with him this morning.
Timothy has improved greatly since he returned to school this year, as
you know, Hill.  I confess I was somewhat dubious as to the advisability
of receiving him back into the school, but Doctor Gray plainly
understood him better than any of us did.  There is a certain frankness
about Timothy Pickard that I now greatly admire.  He has had many
conversations with me this year, and I am beginning to feel proud of
him.  There must be something about the Weston air which is highly
conducive to manliness.  And, Hill, while I am speaking, let me say that
I should rejoice greatly if you too were disposed to manifest a little
more friendly disposition toward your teachers.  You must bear in mind
that we are here for the sole purpose of aiding you, and yet you
apparently are not eager to receive it."

If Ward had not been so angry, he would have felt inclined to laugh.  It
was a new departure for Mr. Blake to assume the role of a helper among
the boys. Indeed, at times Ward had felt so keenly the impositions of
the boys upon him that he had been many times tempted to take his part.
The tall, awkward, ungainly teacher had never been a favorite with any
of them.  Of his scholarship no one had any doubt, but apparently he was
lacking in the appreciation of boy nature, and even then Ward recalled
the many pranks which the various classes had played upon him.  Even
Doctor Gray’s words in the preceding year, when he had almost begged of
Ward and Henry to exert their influence to see that Mr. Blake’s pathway
was not made so rough, came back to him now.

And here was Mr. Blake posing as a friend.  Ward knew that in his heart
the teacher desired to be popular in the school, but his desire had been
so apparent as to cheapen his very efforts in that direction.

As for himself, Ward had never felt drawn to him and in his heart he did
not respect him.  He had done his work in his classes, but never had he
felt the slightest inclination to go to him as he had done so many times
to Mr. Crane.

And yet now he recalled the fact that he had heard and even noticed that
Tim was disposed to be very friendly with the awkward teacher of
mathematics. Just what he had in mind by such a course of action, Ward
could not determine, but he was satisfied that Tim, to whom at the
present time he was not disposed to impute any worthy act or motive,
must have some deep-laid plans in mind.

Ward’s silence was not understood by Mr. Blake, and as they entered West
Hall, the teacher said: "I am glad to see that you have been impressed
by what I have said, Hill.  You have shown an inclination to do better
in your studies this term than you did last, but I trust you will also
conform to the spirit as well as to the letter of the Weston rules and

Ward said "Thank you" somewhat gruffly, and then hastened up the
stairway to his room.  Henry was there when he entered, and he at once
related to him the outcome of his conversation with Brown, and also told
him of the expedition of Brown and Baxter to West Hill.

As he went on to relate the conversation with Mr. Blake, even the staid
and sober Henry could not repress the smile which came at the thought of
the new air which the teacher had assumed, and with Ward he agreed that
Tim must have some deeper motive in his mind than was now apparent in
cultivating the friendship of Mr. Blake.

It had been decided that Henry was not to go home.  While his arm pained
him intensely, and he would be compelled to carry it for some time in a
sling, the expense of a journey home and the loss of lessons combined to
render his stay in the school desirable, and all that afternoon Ward
studied steadily with him in getting out their work for the following

After supper that night Brown and Baxter came over to Ward’s room to
report the result of their investigations at West Hill.  It became
evident at once by the expression upon their faces that they had
something of interest to relate, and after closing and locking the door
to prevent interruptions, Ward turned to them and said: "Well, let’s
have it, fellows.  What did you find on the hill?"

"We had a funny kind of an experience," said Brown.  "We got permission
from Mr. Crane to be excused for a part of the study hour, so we started
out right after dinner.  We didn’t want any of the fellows to see us, so
we didn’t go together till we got down by the bridge.  We met there as
we agreed upon and then started up the hill.  Well, sir, whom do you
suppose we saw when we got most up to the place where the accident

"I don’t know," said Ward.  "Maybe it was Tim Packard."

"No, Tim wouldn’t be there, you can rest your soul on that.  He never
gets his fingers scorched as long as there’s some one else to be had to
pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him.  It was Ripley."

"Was he alone?" inquired Ward eagerly.

"We couldn’t see any one else, though we both suspected some one might
not be very far away, didn’t we, Baxter?"

"Go on, go on," said Ward.  "What was Ripley doing there?"

"Well, when we first saw him he was right in the road.  Before I knew
it, Baxter had called out to him and you never in your life saw a fellow
so scared as Ripley seemed to be.  He looked up, for he was on his knees
there in the road right where ’The Arrow’ left it, you see, and when he
saw us coming he just jumped over the fence and made a bee line across
lots for home.  Oh, it was great fun, let me tell you. We called and
called to him, but every time we shouted he just let out another length
and the way he slipped over the crust then was a caution.  I don’t
believe ’The Arrow’ could have stood a ghost of a show with him.  He
never once stopped or looked behind him, and it wasn’t but a few minutes
before he was away down the hill, and pretty soon we could see him in
the valley.  But even then he never stopped to look back.  My opinion is
that he hasn’t stopped yet.  From the way he was going he made me think
of the wandering Jew and that he never would stop anywhere, only I don’t
believe the wandering Jew ever could make such time as Ripley did.  He
was in dead earnest too, let me tell you."

"Well, what then?" said Henry.  "You didn’t follow him?"

"No; after we recovered from our astonishment, for we’d never seen
Ripley in a hurry before, you see, we put straight on up the hill.
Pretty quickly we came to the place where the accident happened and then
we began to make our investigations.  We didn’t have any trouble in
finding the place, for the crust was all broken in and the holes that
Big Smith made where he placed his tiny ’footies’ remain even unto this
day.  My impression is that they’ll find some hollows in the ground up
there too in the spring when the snow is gone.  ’Every time his foot
comes down, the heel of his shoe makes a hole in the ground,’ you know."

"Oh, bother Big Smith’s heels!" said Ward quickly. "He isn’t here to
defend himself, and it isn’t fair to go for a fellow behind his back.
What we want is your story."

"That’s what I’m giving you.  Well, we went right at the road next, to
see if we could find any of those ashes we’d heard so much about."

"You didn’t have any difficulty in finding what you were after, did
you?" said Ward.

"Difficulty?  Well, I should say we did.  We searched up the road and
then searched down the road, but not an ash could we find, sir, not even
a little piece of one."

"Well, what was Ripley doing up there then? What made him run when you

"That’s the very question we put to ourselves, my patient little lad,
but the question was a good deal more easily asked than answered, let me
tell you. If it hadn’t been for my friend Baxter here we’d never have
had it solved for us at all.  But, you see, Baxter’s a descendant of the
great Baxter, and he knows a thing or two."

"Who was the great Baxter?" said Henry solemnly. "I never heard of him."

"Oh, he wrote a book, or took a rest, or did something, I don’t know
just what.  But this Baxter took no rest.  He made a great discovery.
Just when I was about to declare the expedition a failure and was going
to organize a retreat _à la_ Xenophon, my sweet-spirited friend dropped
upon his knees.  I was somewhat astonished, you may believe, to behold
my comrade in that attitude, and was about to make a few simple
inquiries as to the purpose in view, for I heartily approved of his
conduct, I have no need of assuring you.  But let Baxter tell his own
story. He’ll do it justice, a good deal better than I can with my poor
stammering tongue, you see."

"Baxter, will you tell us what you did?" said Ward.  "The trip must have
turned Brown’s head."

"Why, all there was of it, I saw that some of the snow had been dug out
from the bank and it seemed to me it had been thrown on the road," said
Baxter. "It was trodden down, but it showed that some one had stamped on
it.  Of course that made me suspicious and I just got down on my knees
and began to dig with my hands.  I didn’t have to go very far before I
found what we were after.  Ashes had been scattered in the path, and
then some one had gone up and covered it all over with snow, and had
tried to pack it down so that it wouldn’t show."

"And that was what Ripley was doing?"

"Precisely.  Precisely," said Brown.  "Your massive brain has solved the

"The rascals," said Henry angrily.  "Where do you suppose they got the

"Probably Timothy Pickard, Esquire, looked well to that," said Brown;
"and he had planned to fix you fellows on your third trip down."

"But if we’d struck the ashes fairly, it might have sent us flying in
every direction, at the speed we were going," said Henry.  "It was a
dangerous as well as a cowardly trick."

"Precisely so," responded Brown; "but you were saved from flying all
abroad by the sled taking only one direction, and somehow you boys
seemed to be inclined to follow it too."

"I think it ought to be reported to Doctor Gray," said Henry
indignantly.  "I’m no tell-tale, but such a thing as that might almost
have been murder."

"And how will you prove that Tim did it?  Or that any one did it, for
the matter of that?  As for Tim, he didn’t do it, you don’t need to be
told that, I’m thinking," said Brown.

"And then there’s Jack," said Ward.  "He’s suffered the most, but I
don’t think he’d want the thing reported.  I don’t believe we’d better
do anything before he is well enough to hear all about it. Doctor Leslie
thinks he’ll get along all right now."

"All except his little finger," said Brown.  "But I think Ward’s right.
We don’t want to report it before Jack knows all about it.  We can keep
our eyes open though, and may be we’ll find out who did it. Somebody’s
rapping, Ward."

"I know it," replied Ward.  "Let him keep on, we don’t want him in here,
whoever he is."

Nevertheless he went to the door, but he almost stumbled backward when
he opened it, and beheld Tim Pickard and Ripley standing before him.

He was too astonished to speak, but the new-comers did not wait for an
invitation to enter the room, for they at once came in, and Ward not
knowing what to make of the visit and the visitors, quietly closed the
door and again locked it.

                             *CHAPTER XXIV*

                         *UNEXPECTED VISITORS*

For a few moments no one in the room spoke, and as the boys glanced at
one another the embarrassment under which they were laboring seemed to
increase. What could have induced Tim and Ripley to visit him, Ward
could not conceive.  The intensity with which he disliked both increased
even as he looked steadily at them and waited for them to speak; for
Ward had quickly decided that they must declare their errand without any
questioning on his part.

What an evil face Tim had, Ward thought.  And yet his own face flushed
slightly at the recollection that only a few months before this time he
and Tim had stood much in the same position, had engaged in the same
pranks, and had reaped the same result at the end of the year.  But Tim
apparently had sunk even lower, and while Ward was fully conscious of
his own failures and falls, yet there was a little feeling of rejoicing
that he certainly was now trying to do better.  And his own heart
rebelled against Tim and all his ways.  Surely there was a wide
difference between them now, for while they might have started from
almost the same plane both had been moving steadily onward, but drifting
apart, with the consequence that there was now a distance between them
greater than either could conceive.

And too, in that moment of awkward silence, Ward thought of how their
positions had changed since the beginning of the present school year.
Then Tim had seemed to be a leading force in the school. The boys, even
those whose hearts were repelled by him, still outwardly acknowledged
his position, and his word had been law with them in many ways. His
wealth, his fine physique, his ability as a baseball player and a
general athlete, had all their weight, as Ward himself was fully aware.
And indeed, had he not himself felt the influence of all these things in
the previous year, and been among those whom Tim had easily induced to
follow him in his evil ways?

Now, however, it was clearly evident to Ward that to a large extent Tim
had lost in influence in the school, while he himself had risen in the
estimation of his fellows.  What had wrought the change? Was it the
winning of the game from the Burrs? Doubtless that had not been without
its influence, but it was something more than that, and although Ward
Hill could not find a name for the cause of the change, and perhaps was
not fully aware of the change itself, it was still due far more to
something within him than to anything he had done which could be seen by
his fellows.

The struggle had been a difficult one, and what the sensitive,
highly-strung lad had suffered no one but himself could know.  And
perhaps the battle was not entirely won even now, nor would it ever be
until life itself should be ended, for no matter how high a person may
rise there still lies the unattained before him.  The successful
merchant is not willing to rest on the laurels won; the statesman finds
difficulties confronting him even when he has gained the coveted
position, and even the schoolboy is not satisfied with the victories he
has achieved, but is looking out upon fields all untrodden by him.  And
all this is because life is at work.  When a man ceases to struggle he
ceases to live.  Dead men are never hungry.  They rest from their
labors, but the living rest for their labors.

The main difference between Ward Hill and Tim Pickard lay not in the
positions they then occupied, widely apart as these at the time seemed
to be, but rather in the direction in which each boy was moving.  Tim
was slipping and drifting, and his direction was downward.  Ward was
struggling and striving, falling too many times in spite of all his
endeavors, but the direction in which he was moving was after all
steadily upward.  If their relative positions were so far apart now,
what would they be at the end of the journey?

Not all of these thoughts had come to Ward in the awkward silence which
had followed the unexpected entrance of Tim and Ripley, but a dim
suggestion of some of them had made itself felt in the heart of the
puzzled lad.

In a moment, however, all his better impulses were swept away as he
thought of the troubles Tim had brought upon them.  The "stacking" of
his room, and all the petty annoyances he had suffered at his hands in
the earlier part of the year were as nothing now in contrast with the
condition of Jack and Henry, and even his own body was not without its
witnesses in the shape of bruises and sores.

When he thought of Jack, Ward’s anger quickly returned, and a harsh and
bitter taunt arose almost upon his lips, but by a great effort he
restrained himself.  After all, who was he to taunt Tim with his
shortcomings?  Possibly Tim might not be entirely without flings to give
him in return.  No, silence was the better part now, and he need not
stoop because Tim had fallen so low.

Tim was the first to speak.  Assuming an air of indifference and
bravado, and looking boldly about the room he said "Well, we might as
well have it out at the beginning as at any time, I suppose.  We’ve come
over to see what you intend to do about it."

"Do about what, Tim?" said Ward.  "Of what are you talking?"

Tim laughed noisily, as he replied.  "That’ll do to tell the doctor, but
it won’t go here.  You know as well as I do what we’ve come over here

"You’ll have to explain yourself," said Ward coldly.

"All right then, if you must have it; it’s the accident.  We came over
to see about it.  You might as well speak it right out now as any time,
and it may save a heap of trouble."

"I suppose by ’the accident’ you mean the ashes you had sprinkled on the
road on West Hill, and your trying to crowd ’The Arrow’ upon them," said

"Now look here, fellows," said Tim with an air of assumed indifference,
"it’s all very well for you to talk about my steering into you.  No one
can ever say that I did that purposely.  You can’t hold two bobs going
as swiftly as ours were right to a chalk line.  It’s simply impossible.
You happened to have the lower side, that’s all there was about it,
anyway, and when ’The Swallow’ veered a little from her course, why you
thought we were coming straight for you.  But even then you didn’t have
to leave the track, and you wouldn’t have done it, only Speck lost his
head.  He looked behind him and, like Lot’s wife, he had to suffer the
consequences of his own mistake, and that’s all there was to it."

As none of the boys made any reply, Tim hastily continued.  "And it’s
all true what I was saying about it’s not being necessary for you to
leave the track, even if we had gone out of our course a bit. We know
it’s so, because some of us have been up and examined the place again."

"Is that what Ripley was running down the hill so for?" inquired Brown

Ripley’s face flushed as he said quickly: "I wasn’t running away.  If
any of you fellows think you can go down West Hill across lots at a walk
when the crust is as hard and slippery as it is now, why just try it,
that’s all I’ve got to say, and you’ll sing a different tune.  I
couldn’t stop and I couldn’t turn around.  I wasn’t running away.  What
was there to run from, I’d like to know?"

"I’ll tell you what you were running from, Ripley, if you want to know,"
said Brown.

"What was it?"


Ripley’s face could not entirely conceal his alarm as he heard Brown’s
words, but he only laughed lightly by way of reply.

"Yes, sir," said Brown.  "We found out all about it.  We dug over the
snow you had thrown on the road and then tried to tramp down so that it
wouldn’t show.  We know all about that, my fleet-footed friend."

"No one can say that either of us put any ashes on the road," said Tim
boldly.  "We didn’t do it, we didn’t have anything to do with it--if any
ashes were scattered there, which, for my part, I very much doubt."

"No one would ever accuse you of doing it," said Ward hotly.  "You never
yet had the manliness to stand up and have a decent share in the mean
tricks you set the other boys up to.  Oh, no, you probably didn’t carry
the ashes up the hill.  No one would ever think of you as doing that.
You’d rather have some one else do all your dirty work, and then you’ll
crawl out when the pinch comes."

"Well, there’s one thing I never did, anyway," replied Tim slowly,
although his eyes betrayed the anger which Ward’s words had aroused.  "I
never went back on my friends by the ’I am holier than thou’ dodge.  I
never stooped to pose as a pious fraud after I’d been guilty of some
things I could mention.  Not much!  If ever I went over to Dorrfield and
had a supper at another fellow’s expense and got drunk, I never whined
and lied out of it, nor told of the other fellows, anyway.  If I ever
stole any examination questions, I never denied it.  If I flunked when
it came to the end of the year, I never bootlicked the teachers and
tried the ’good little boy’ dodge.  Now suppose I did know that ashes
were to be scattered on the path?  What could I do about it, I’d like to
know?  If some of the fellows couldn’t bear the thought of Jack Hobart,
with such a crowd of bootlicks as he had on his bob, coming in ahead of
’The Swallow,’ why whose fault was it, I’d like to know?  I couldn’t
help it, could I?  I’ve got enough to answer for myself, without taking
on my shoulders every fellow that is despised by the school."

The anger which Ward felt when Tim first began to speak soon gave way to
shame and mortification as the brutal lad went on.  All his thrusts went
home, and Ward could hardly speak when Tim stopped.  All his former
disgrace came back upon him, and he felt as if every boy in the room
must be regarding him as Tim pretended to himself.

But Henry, who felt deeply for his room-mate, with flashing eyes quickly
came to his assistance. Rising from the chair in which he had been
seated and standing directly in front of Tim, he said: "Look here, Tim
Pickard, you’ll not gain anything by raking up old scores, or trying to
get us off on the track of last year’s work, whether it’s true or false
what you say.  You know as well as I do that some of these things are
not true; but I don’t care anything about them, one way or the other.
And you can’t scare us in any such way, either.  Now look here, Tim
Pickard!  do you see that arm of mine? I’ve got to carry it in a sling
for weeks, and why? Just because of your sneaking trick.  Jack Hobart’s
lost a finger and no one knows how long he’ll be in bed, or whether
he’ll ever leave it alive or not, for that matter.  Now what was the
cause of it? Answer me, will you?  Where did all these fellows get their
bumps and bruises, and how does it happen that ’The Arrow’ is smashed
into pieces?  Can you tell me that?  You want to know what we’re going
to do about it, do you?  Well, I could tell you mighty quick what I’d do
if it was left to me.  I’d go straight to Doctor Gray and lay the whole
thing before him. We’d arranged for a square race with you, you know
that.  And I don’t care whether you carried the ashes up there yourself
or had some of your sneaking ’Tangs’ do the work for you; it’s all one
to me.  I don’t think the fellow who would be guilty of such a mean,
contemptible trick as that is fit to be in such a school as this.  I
haven’t a bit of fear of being called a tell-tale.  I’d think I was
doing the very best that could be done.  Yes, sir, if I could have my
way I’d even get up a petition to the doctor to have you put out of the
school.  When you set the little fellows up to stacking rooms, I thought
that was pretty small business for a senior to be engaged in, though I
didn’t think it was worth noticing; but when you come to do things that
endanger our lives, it’s another matter entirely, and I don’t believe in
mincing matters, either.  If you’d settle down and behave yourself,
there isn’t a fellow in the Weston school that would do a thing against
you; but it’s time you put a stop to some of the things you’re doing,
and if you won’t do it, then I claim the fellows themselves ought to do
it for you."

Henry ceased, and for a moment all the boys looked at him in
astonishment.  He was usually such a quiet fellow that the outburst
seemed to them all the more remarkable.  Even Tim apparently had been
affected by Henry’s righteous indignation; but in a moment he recovered
himself and said:

"That’s just what we came over for.  Then we are to understand, are we,
that you intend to report the matter to the teachers?"

"No, Tim," said Ward, who now had somewhat recovered from his
mortification.  "No, Tim, we don’t say we shall do that.  We talked it
all over and made up our minds that it wouldn’t be quite fair to Jack to
do that.  He’s suffered the most and he ought to have the most to say
about what shall be done.  We sha’n’t do anything till he is better and
can say what he wants."

"Jack Hobart never will squeal, if you leave it to him; but it won’t be
left to him, I’m thinking.  Some of these pious frauds will not be able
to keep still and wait for him.  Well, Ripley," he continued, rising as
he spoke and turning to his companion, "we’ll have to face the music, I
suppose."  And face the music they did for Dr. Gray in some mysterious
way heard of their part in the almost fatal accident and immediately
expelled Tim from school.  He gave Ripley a severe reprimand but did not
deal as severely with him, for the just master realized Tim’s mastery
over the weaker boy.

Ward felt greatly relieved when he heard of Tim’s expulsion.  An evil
genius had passed out of his life.

                             *CHAPTER XXV*

                      *JACK HOBART’S PROPOSITION*

Jack Hobart’s recovery was rapid.  The fear which Doctor Leslie had
first felt that there might be some internal injuries was soon
dispelled, and though the shock to Jack’s system had been severe, his
sturdy frame soon asserted itself, and very soon he was pronounced out
of all danger.

The spring and early summer days almost seemed to rush past Ward Hill,
so swiftly did they go.  Each day was filled with its routine work, and
as he was working hard to pass Berry in his class, he had little
inclination or time to devote to outside matters.

The boy, however, was no book-worn, or "dig," as the Weston boys
designated one who was devoted to books alone, and the class meetings,
frequent now that the end of the year was so near, the school life, and
the companionship of the boys all appealed to him strongly.

But even stronger than his desire to win a high standing in his
scholarship was his determination to carry off the prize in declamation.
In lieu of the ordinary "graduating exercises," there was each year a
contest for two prizes, in which all of the seniors and a few of the
boys in the class below them whose standing was sufficiently high were
permitted to compete.  Preliminary contests were held and the number of
contestants was somewhat decreased before the final trial occurred.

Ward and Henry already had succeeded in passing the first of these
trials and were sure of a place on the program for the final and
deciding contest. This was to occur in the evening of the last day of
the term, and many of the parents and friends of the boys, as well as a
large number of former students who came back to revisit the scenes of
their school-days and perhaps strive to catch something of the contagion
of the spirit of life and enthusiasm, were expected to be present.  Jack
Hobart was not to compete for the prize, as he had but little ability in
that line; but he was almost as much interested in Ward’s success as he
would have been in his own. Together they went almost every afternoon to
one of the secluded spots on the hillsides, and while Ward awakened the
echoes by his eloquence, Jack sat by and listened in solemn admiration
or passed such criticisms as occurred to him, and Ward found his
friend’s suggestions frequently of great value.

Only a week remained now before the prize speaking was to take place.
Ward and Jack were returning from their daily visit to the woods, and as
they walked on their thoughts naturally reflected their feelings.

"I don’t know how it is," Jack was saying, "but somehow I have a mighty
queer feeling at the close of this year.  This makes four years I have
been in the Weston school, and any one would naturally think I’d be glad
to be out of it.  Of course in a way I am, but somehow I’m broken up by
it too.  The first thing I do every morning is to take a good look at
the Hump.  The old hill is always there just the same, but I’m half
afraid every morning to look out for fear he’s hidden himself

"It’s become a part of your life, I fancy," said Ward soberly.  "Last
year when the end came, it almost seemed to me as if the mountains here
were frowning upon me, but this year they seem like steps or ladders up
to something better."

"And they are," said Jack enthusiastically.  "I suppose we’re somewhat
broken up to think the end has come and that we’ve got to scatter now.
Some of the fellows I sha’n’t feel very bad about leaving, but when I
think of some of the others, it almost seems to me as if I just couldn’t
go on without them, and that is all there is to it.  It just seems to
me, Ward, as if I couldn’t go on without you.  I don’t believe, old
fellow, you ever realized how much you are to me.  I never had a
brother; but it seems to me, Ward, that if we had both had the same
father and same mother we couldn’t be more to each other."

Jack was evidently affected, and Ward’s heart responded to that of his
impulsive friend in an instant.

"I never had a brother either, Speck, but I feel as if I had one now."
Almost instinctively the boys stopped and clasping hands looked
earnestly into each other’s face.  There was something almost sacred in
the hand-clasp, as if it were a pledge of a lifelong love.

The love between brother and sister, father and son, mother and
daughter, husband and wife, are all sacred and beautiful, but the love
between two boys or young men has in it also something that is very
nearly sublime.  God pity the man who has never known what it was to
have a deep-abiding love for another of his own sex.  Something is
wanting in his make-up to cause such a lack, and his life too will never
know the fullness of its best meaning without that experience.  Friends
and friendship! "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly,"
wrote a keen observer of men many centuries ago.  But with a friendship
once formed no true man ever ought to let anything break in upon it.

And these lifelong friendships are almost never formed in after years.
They come, if they come at all, in the days of boyhood or young manhood.
That is the seed-sowing time for friendship, as it is for a good many of
the other good things of life.

"I’ve been thinking it over a good deal, Ward," said Jack, "and I talked
with my mother about it too when she was here.  Now you’re going on to
college and so am I.  I don’t want to break up what’s been begun between
us here if it can be avoided. Now you know I did think of going away
from home to college, and of course I may do that yet, but whatever
comes I want to go with you.  You can’t tell how you have helped me by
the fight you’ve made this year.  I ought to have such a fellow with me
all the time.  There’s no telling what I might do if I had."

Ward smiled but made no other reply.  Jack’s words had stirred him
deeply, but he had learned too much in the year that was now almost gone
to put a very high estimate upon the value of the "fight" to which his
friend referred.

"What I want to say," said Jack, "if I can only get at it, is, that
rather than not be with you I’d be glad to go to the college in my own
town and have you come right there and live in our house all through the
course.  There!  I’ve managed to get it out at last, but that’s just
exactly what I mean."

"You are good to me, Jack," said Ward slowly.

"That’s not it, for you’d be the one to confer the favor, let me tell
you.  My mother would be only too glad to have you come, for she says
that then she’d be sure to have me home for a time.  She says my
absence, lo, these many years, has been the only ’speck’ on her horizon.
Now if you’ll say the word, it’s all settled, college, room, chum, and

"I hope you won’t think me ungrateful, Jack, but I can’t answer you now,
though honestly I don’t believe my father would be willing to accept
such a gift.  He’ll feel proud as a peacock that you thought enough of
me to make me such an offer, and he’ll appreciate your kindness too; but
I don’t believe you can understand just how he feels about some things.
He wouldn’t be quite willing to receive such a favor, I think, unless he
saw some way of returning it."

"But he would return it and more," said Jack eagerly.

"I don’t just see how."

"By letting you come.  Your company, and the influence of such a fellow
on your humble servant would be something which would be more than just
a mere matter of a gift.  We’d be so glad to have you, we’d think it a
great bargain, and if there’s anything in all the world, next to me, my
mother loves, it’s a bargain."

Ward laughed, but Jack was too much in earnest to be turned from his

"Let’s go over to Mr. Crane’s room and talk with him.  Will you do it,

"Yes, I’ll go over to his room, but I hope you won’t think I don’t
appreciate what you’ve said, Jack, if I say I can’t settle the matter
now, and that I am more than half afraid my father won’t agree to it,
though I know he’ll thank you."

"I don’t expect you to give in at once," said Jack. "It’s asking too
much.  But come on!  We’ll go right over to Mr. Crane’s room now."

Whatever the impulsive lad wished to do must be done at once, and as
Ward consented, in a few minutes both of them were seated in the
teacher’s room.

"We want to know, Mr. Crane," said Jack, not broaching his project at
once, "what you think about colleges.  We want to get your opinion, if
you’re willing to give it to us."

"What I think about college?" replied Mr. Crane. "I thought you
understood pretty well what my opinion about that was, long before this
time.  You know I am a strong believer in every boy going who can do so
without too great a strain upon his parents."

"That isn’t exactly what I mean," said Jack.  "We both of us know how
you feel about that.  But what college do you prefer?"

"That depends.  I prefer some colleges for certain boys and should
advise others to go to different ones. It is impossible to formulate a
fixed rule for every case."

"But which is better, a large college or small?"

"Again, that depends," replied Mr. Crane with a smile.  "If a boy has
means, and his character is fairly well developed when he goes so that
he will not be likely to be lost in the crowd, undoubtedly he can gain
certain advantages in some of the larger colleges he never could find in
the smaller.  Their larger endowments and better equipments are
certainly no small matter to be considered.  On the other hand, if a boy
is somewhat diffident and immature and needs bringing out more than he
needs to be filled, doubtless he would do better in a small college.
There is more of the personal contact there between the student and his
teachers, and his own individual needs are looked to much better.  In
general, I may say if what a boy needs is the development of himself,
the smaller college will do more for him.  If what he needs is not so
much the bringing out of himself as the filling up, the larger college
is the place for him."

"That places Jack and me in two different classes, then," said Ward.

"I am not so sure of that," replied Mr. Crane. "You have both of you
been away to school now, and have been thrown back upon yourselves.  You
have learned to depend upon your own efforts, and I do not regard it as
in the least probable that either of you would be swallowed up and lost
in the crowd in a large college.  It is no slight advantage to have had
two years at Weston before you go."

"I wish we could keep right on at Weston, and not have to go anywhere
else," said Jack.

"No, I hardly think you really wish that, Hobart. Of course, now that
you are about to leave us you forget all the unpleasant things and
remember only the pleasant ones.  I would not have it otherwise, and
trust that some of us will still be a part of your lives, even when you
are apart from us.  But when one becomes a man he is compelled to leave
childish things.  All that you have been doing has been leading up to
this time, and now you must face it."

"Of course I know that must be so," said Jack quietly, "and I suppose if
we really thought we should have to come back we wouldn’t like it a
little bit.  But what I really wanted to know, Mr. Crane, was what you
thought about Ward coming down and living with me in my home and going
to college there with me."

Ward’s face flushed slightly, and he added: "Jack hasn’t told it all.
What he wants is for me to live with him and not to pay anything for the

"That isn’t----" began Jack.

Mr. Crane interrupted him and said: "I think I understand; but it’s a
question in which I fancy others besides you boys may be interested."

"That’s just it," said Jack quickly, "My mother wants him even more than
I do."

"But there’s my father to be thought of too," said Ward.  "He may not
want me to do it."

"Precisely," said Mr. Crane.  "That’s a question I cannot answer.  You
see I am the one being examined now, and you are the examiners; and I
have failed."

"There’s some hope for me then if the teachers themselves fail," said
Jack laughingly.

"Personally I never had that feeling others describe as being unwilling
to accept a favor," said Mr. Crane.  "Few of these so-called ’favors’
are all on one side.  They are almost always a species of ’give and
take.’  However, I am no judge for others, and sometimes think I have
more than I can do to look after myself.  I shall be interested to learn
your decision."

The boys departed, and soon after went to their own rooms with the
problem still unsolved.

Ward was deeply touched by Jack’s offer and his eagerness for him to
accept it.  If he should do so, he well knew what a load would be lifted
from his father’s shoulders, but still he thought he understood what his
father’s decision would be.

The few remaining days of the term now rapidly came.  Ward was working
busily and the visits to the glen with Jack increased.  He was more
anxious than he cared to show about the prize for declamation, but his
anxiety only served to increase his labors.  Henry was to compete also,
but somehow the boys did not often refer to the contest in the other’s
presence.  The best of feeling prevailed, but both were eager to win,
although if either lost he sincerely desired the other to win.

On Monday, the visitors in the village began rapidly to increase.  "Old
boys," as the students called the former students, many of them now
gray-haired men and coming up to Weston with their own sons or
grandsons, arrived by every bus. The parents and sisters, and brothers
of the graduating class also came, and the beauty of the little village
was greatly enhanced by the bright apparel of the girls and the
interested groups of the visitors who wandered about among the school
buildings or along the wide streets.

When Ward’s father and mother came, the welcome they received from him
was far different from that he had given them in the preceding year.  He
was all eagerness, and his happiness was so apparent that it speedily
became contagious, and as he brought the boys up to meet his father and
mother his heart was overflowing as he heard the warm words for him on
almost every side.

On Tuesday night the contest for the prize in declamation was to be
held.  As the hour approached Ward’s excitement became greater, although
his outward calm was not disturbed.  A great audience assembled to
listen to the boys, and at last Doctor Gray, who presided, advanced to
the front of the platform to announce the first speaker of the evening.

                             *CHAPTER XXVI*


Ward, with the other speakers, was waiting in the rear of the platform,
but the printed program informed each when his time was to come, and so
each was striving to possess his soul in patience.

Berry was the first to be called, and as Ward peered out at him as he
advanced to the front of the platform, bowed gracefully to Dr. Gray, and
then turned to face the audience, he almost envied him his
self-possession and ease.

Soon, however, the boy was speaking, and as he went on even Ward felt
deeply interested in what he was saying.  When his declamation was ended
and a storm of applause broke forth, Ward felt as if there was little
use in trying to compete with Berry, and as he rejoined his companions
in the rear of the platform Ward was the first to congratulate him upon
his success.

And his expressions were genuine and hearty too, for while Ward with all
his heart desired to win the prize, he had now no feeling of bitterness
toward his competitors.

Ripley was the next speaker, but Ward at once perceived that he was far
below Berry in his hold upon the audience, and indeed among those who
followed only Pond seemed in any way likely to be a close competitor for
the prize.

Ward’s name was the last on the list, and when he heard his name
announced and walked slowly forward, he was somehow conscious that the
audience was becoming somewhat wearied and restless.

His appearance, however, served to arouse the younger portion at least,
and a faint murmur of applause was heard as he bowed low to his hearers.
This was quickly hushed and Ward for the first time looked directly at
his audience.

He was conscious only of an indiscriminate mass of faces at first all
turned toward him.  It seemed to him as if he must have more air.  His
breath would not come and he felt as if he were choking.  For a moment
every sentence of his declamation departed and he could not recall even
the first and opening words.

His momentary hesitation was not noticed or perhaps perceived by his
audience, however, or it may have been that they considered his
hesitancy as only a deliberate movement on his part.  It seemed to the
frightened boy as if something were clutching him by the throat.
Everything turned black before him, and he almost felt that he must cry
aloud in his misery.  Abject failure seemed to stare him in the face.

Suddenly he caught sight of Mr. Crane seated about half-way back in the
audience, and then right near him were his father and mother and Jack.
The last was leaning forward and regarding him with breathless interest,
and the sight instantly restored Ward’s self-possession.  The words of
his declamation instantly flashed into his mind and in a low, clear
voice he began to speak.

All his previous confusion which to him had seemed to cover hours, had
in reality lasted but a moment, and as has been said, was not noted by
his audience.  But as soon as he heard the sound of his own voice all
his "stage fright" was forgotten and his whole soul was in his immediate
task.  Yet out of all the audience Ward seemed to be aware only of the
presence of Mr. Crane.  To him he was speaking, and almost as if he was
to be the deciding judge he addressed himself to the teacher.  Whenever
he changed his position or faced other portions of the assembly he saw
no one distinctly and soon returned to his favorite teacher.  To him he
spoke, for him he exerted himself, his praise was to be his exceeding
great reward.

And Ward Hill threw himself without reserve into his speaking.  It
seemed to him as if every word was his own, and he must make his hearers
see what he saw and believe as he believed.  The audience became more
and more silent, and almost no one removed his eyes from the eager,
animated, manly-appearing boy.

As he went on his eagerness increased and the interest of his hearers
increased also.  Ward almost forgot every one except Mr. Crane, and as
he felt rather than saw the intense interest of his teacher, he
responded to it instantly.  There was no hesitation, no faltering, no
lack of words now.  His face was glowing, his movements animated, and
his every gesture counted.

When at last he had finished and paused a moment before he made his
final bow, there was a silence in the room that was most intense.  But
the instant he turned to depart from the platform the pent-up feelings
of the audience broke forth and a storm of applause followed him which
continued long after he had rejoined his competitors behind the scenes.

"You did nobly, Ward," said Pond eagerly, as he grasped the hand of the
flushed and excited boy. "Not much show for us, is there, Berry?" he
added, as Berry pressed forward to add his congratulations.

"I’m afraid not," replied Berry.  "I never heard any one do better,

They all instantly became silent as Dr. Gray arose to speak.  He spoke
some warm words of praise for the work which had been done that year,
and then announced the honors of the graduating class.

Pond stood at the head, and although the audience applauded heartily,
the announcement created little interest, as the popular boy’s position
had been a forgone conclusion.  Berry was second and Ward was third.
The applause which followed had hardly begun before Ward rushed forward
to congratulate the boys who had outstripped him.

"Lucky for us, Ward, that you didn’t work last year as you have this.
I’m afraid we wouldn’t have stood a very good chance if you had," said

Ward laughed as he said: "To tell the truth, boys, I should be glad to
have stood first, of course, but there was not much chance for me with
the load I had to carry.  Perhaps I learned more, though, by my failures
than I would have if I had worked as hard last year as I have this.  The
wound is healed but the scar is left, you see.  But honestly, fellows,
I’m glad you are the ones to go ahead if I couldn’t."

"Hush, boys!  Here comes the committee to report their decision," said

The suspense and interest were manifest in the hush which fell over all
as the chairman of the committee who was to award the prize for the best
declamation now returned to the platform and signified his readiness to
make the report.

As in duty bound the man first referred to his own school days in
Weston, now far back in the years, and noted the many changes which had
taken place. Then he went on to speak in glowing terms of the exercises
of the evening, and when he came to the remark which almost every
chairman had made for years, that "seldom from any college platform had
he heard better speaking," a smile crept over the faces of many who
heard him.

"And now," resumed the speaker, "we are to report on the exercises of
this evening.  If it had been in our power we should have been glad to
award the first place to every boy on the program, much as Artemus Ward
made each man in his company a brigadier general.  But as that is
impossible, we are compelled to do the next best thing and use our
judgment in selecting the speaker who seems best entitled to the award
and to the reward."

"Bother his long speeches," said Berry in a low voice.  "Why can’t he
say what he has to say and be done with it?"

The three boys were standing together just out of the sight of the
audience, and with breathless interest were peering forward and
listening to the speaker.

"As to the award of the first prize, there has not been much difference
of opinion."

The man was speaking again and the boys at once became silent and intent
upon his words.

"We have decided that the first prize, in view of the points we have
marked, namely: forcefulness, clearness of enunciation, gracefulness,
and self-possession, and the interpretation of the piece, belongs
to--Ward Hill."

The words had hardly been uttered before a loud burst of applause broke
forth from the audience. Jack in his enthusiasm stood up on his seat and
threw his hat into the air, but a quiet touch by Mr. Crane recalled him
to the proprieties of the occasion.  The applause, however, was long
continued and hearty, and showed that plainly the assembly concurred in
the decision.

Ward felt the blood surge up in his face and as Berry patted him upon
the shoulder, and Pond’s glance betrayed his feeling, Ward felt that
never before had he been so happy.

"The second prize," resumed the chairman as the audience at last became
quiet, "has been a little more difficult to award.  The nearly equal
excellence of two of the speakers has led us at last to divide the
prize.  The second prize is therefore awarded to Lucius Berry and
Frederick Pond."

Again the applause broke forth, genuine and long continued, and was
redoubled when the three boys advanced to receive their prizes.

Ward glanced down at his father and mother and as he plainly saw them
stealthily wiping their eyes, he felt a suspicious moisture creeping
into his own. How different it all was from the close of the preceding
year!  It had been a long, hard struggle, but he had been well repaid in
the happiness which had come to his parents, and in which he fully

He was only partially aware of what followed. He knew that the audience
had been dismissed and that many of the boys crowded about him with
their words of congratulation and praise.  He heard Mr. Crane’s quiet
words of praise too, and the warm grasp of the hand which was the sole
expression of his father at the time was inexpressibly dear to him. His
heart seemed to be overflowing and the long-continued effort of the year
had brought him its reward; far more than the prize he had received was
the satisfaction of having faced his difficulties and conquered in the

At last all the audience was gone, and Jack and Ward started slowly up
the street together.

"It’s been a great night," said Jack: "and, Ward, you have done nobly.
Everybody is proud of you. But do you know, I’m not thinking of the
prize you took."

"What are you thinking of?" said Ward quietly. His own mind had not been
dwelling upon the prize either.

"I was thinking of the way in which you have faced the school, the work,
and yourself, this year. I think I know something of what it has cost
you. It’s been a big price, but it was worth it."

Ward made no reply, although his heart responded warmly to his friend’s
words.  He thought he too knew what he had lost and what he had gained;
but he could not speak of either.

"Now, Ward," resumed Jack, "you’ve had a chance to talk with your
father.  What does he say about my proposition for next year?"

"Jack, old fellow, he was deeply touched, but he doesn’t think it will

"Is he afraid to have you with me?"

"No, no; not a bit.  That isn’t it, but he wants me to go to another
college."  Ward did not refer to the other fact of which he was well
aware, that his father was not willing for him to accept so great a
favor at the hands of another, when he had no means of returning it.

"That’s all right, then," said Jack; "but you haven’t got rid of me yet.
I’m going where you go, and I’m going with you too.  Wouldn’t it be a
fine thing if Luscious and Henry and you and I could get some rooms
together?  Then, if Pond and one or two of the other fellows could go up
to the same college we’d be all fixed out, wouldn’t we?  Say, Ward,
let’s fix that up, will you?"  And all of the eagerness and
impulsiveness of Jack’s nature seemed to find expression in his words.

"It would be fine," replied Ward.  "We’ll have to talk that up."

The few remaining days of the closing week passed rapidly, and to Ward
it seemed as if he were almost in a dream.  The attentions he received,
the words of love and praise spoken by nearly every one, his pride in
his success, and above all the satisfaction in his own soul, arising
from the consciousness that he had done his best, were with him all the

The last interview with Mr. Crane affected him deeply.  He and Jack went
up together for the parting, and it seemed to them as if the quiet
dignity and warm heart of the loved teacher were never more apparent.

"It’s a sad break in some ways to us who are to remain," said Mr. Crane.
"You can’t understand it, but it seems to me as if you were my younger
brothers, and the home life was being broken.  There will be something
lacking next year.  Not that we shall not have other boys whom we shall
love and in whom we shall be interested, but they will not fully take
the place of those who have left.  Weston is all the home I know and
perhaps shall ever know, and while I never may have any boys of my own,
I trust you will always let me feel at least like an older brother to
each of you."

"Mr. Crane, we owe everything to you," said Ward with shining eyes.

"If I have aided you, then pay the debt by aiding others," replied Mr.
Crane softly.  "Weston is only a stopping-place, not the end of the
journey, and there is work for you to do.  Some one else needs the
helping hand, and yours I know will not be held back. I shall want to
hear from you often and shall follow you with interest as long as I
live.  Whatever else you may become, I know you will be men!"

"I trust so," said Ward, and when for the last time he grasped Mr.
Crane’s hand and returned the pressure, his eyes were moist and his
heart went out to the noble teacher with a great love, which never

Even Mr. Blake was visited by the boys that night, and much of their
dislike for him was forgotten in the fullness of their hearts.  All the
world looked bright and there was no room for anything but peace and
good-will to all men.

On the following day, the last good-byes were spoken and they knew as
they started for their homes, that the end of their lives and work at
Weston had come.  The peaceful valley, bathed in the sunlight of the
early summer morning, smiled upon them.  Around it were the hills, the
everlasting hills, which would beam upon the coming generations of boys,
who might never know of the struggles and triumphs, the failures and
success of Ward Hill; but as for the last time he looked back upon the
familiar scenes he felt that in a peculiar sense they were his own
personal possessions.  He might not return to them, but they would not
depart from him.

"We’ll meet again," said Jack when the school cheer had been given for
the last time on the platform of the little station at Dorrfield.

Were his words true?  Certainly in the college days there was ample
opportunity to test the truthfulness of his prophecy, and as a record of
those days has been kept as well as of the visits to the old familiar
scenes at Weston, perhaps some of our readers may be sufficiently
interested to desire to follow their fortunes in----

                         WARD HILL AT COLLEGE.

           *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

                           *The Outdoor Chums

                     _*By*_* CAPTAIN QUINCY ALLEN*

The Outdoor Chums
       On the Lake
              In the Forest
                     On the Gulf
                            After Big Game
                                   On A House Boat
                                          In the Big Woods
                                                 At Cabin Point

For lovers of the great outdoors (and what boy is not?) this "Outdoor
Chums" series will be a rare treat.  After you have read the first book
and followed the fortunes of the "Chums," you will realize the pleasure
the other seven volumes have in store for you.

These rollicking lads know field, forest, mountain, sea and stream--and
the books contain much valuable information on woodcraft and the living
of an outdoor life.

                      The Goldsmith Publishing Co.
                             CLEVELAND, O.

                     *      *      *      *      *

                            *The Musket Boys

                       _*By*_* GEORGE A. WARREN*

The Musket Boys of Old Boston
       The Musket Boys Under Washington
              The Musket Boys on the Delaware

Stirring times were these--and stirring deeds made boys into men before
their time.

Against the picturesque background of the revolutionary war, George A.
Warren tells a tale of heroism and patriotism of the boys of long ago
who heard the call of their country and rallied to the colors.

What trials of valor and responsibilities beyond their years comes to
"The Musket Boys" is told in an enthralling manner.

                      The Goldsmith Publishing Co.
                             CLEVELAND, O.

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