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Title: Catcher Craig
Author: Mathewson, Christy
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Catcher Craig" ***

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                             CATCHER CRAIG

[Illustration: A breathless silence then. The figure on the ledge
settled back]

                             CATCHER CRAIG


                           CHRISTY MATHEWSON

                         WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
                           CHARLES M. RELYEA


                               NEW YORK
                        DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

                          Copyright, 1915, by

                        DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY


 CHAPTER                                     PAGE
      I SAM MAKES A PURCHASE                    3
     II OFF FOR CAMP                           15
    III “THE WIGWAM”                           26
     IV THE BLANKET THAT RAN AWAY              45
      V A SLIDE TO THE PLATE                   61
     VI THE TILTING MATCH                      72
    VII SAM OFFERS A SUGGESTION                85
   VIII THE “BLUES” WIN!                       96
     IX DOUGHNUTS IN THE RAIN                 109
      X SIDNEY SINGS A DITTY                  118
     XI MAKING THE NINE                       138
    XII ON CONQUEST BENT                      150
   XIII OUT AT THIRD!                         163
    XIV TIED IN THE EIGHTH                    175
     XV STEVE SCORES                          188
    XVI KIDNAPPED                             200
   XVII “GREYSIDES”                           211
    XIX HOME AGAIN                            238
     XX THE MAN IN THE PANAMA                 249
    XXI MR. HALL TALKS BASEBALL               263
   XXII BASES FULL!                           276
  XXIII A THROW TO SECOND                     295
   XXIV FIRE!                                 311
    XXV SAM SIGNALS FOR A FAST ONE            327
   XXVI CATCHER CRAIG                         339


 A breathless silence then. The figure on the
    ledge settled back (page 342)                      _Frontispiece_

                                                         FACING PAGE

 “Well, Craig, so you found us, eh?” asked the short man,
    with a smile and a firm clasp of the hand                     36

 And above the din and through the red dust-cloud sounded
    Mr. York’s voice, “_He’s out!_”                              198

 “From the ear, Sam! From the ear!”                              308




It was a window to gladden any boy’s heart. Behind the big plate-glass
pane were baseball bats of all sorts and prices, masks and protectors,
gloves and mitts, balls peeking temptingly forth from their tin-foil
wrappers, golf clubs and bags, running shoes and apparel, and many,
many other things to send a chap’s hand diving into his pocket.

Sam Craig’s hand was already there, jingling the few coins he had with
him, while his gaze wandered raptly over the enticing array. Always,
though, it returned to the display of catcher’s mitts.

He was seventeen, a sturdy, brown-haired youth with a well-tanned
face from which dark grey eyes looked untroubledly forth. As he stood
there in front of Cummings and Wright’s window his feet were planted
apart, his attitude seeming to say: “Here I am and here I stay!” And
the resolute expression of his face backed up the assertion of his
body, so that, had you for any reason wished to move Sam from in front
of that window, it would never have occurred to you to try force. If
persuasion failed you’d have let him stay there!

You wouldn’t have called Sam handsome, although, judged separately,
his features were all good. His nose was straight and short, his eyes
thoughtful, his mouth fairly wide and firm, and his chin purposeful.
What you might have mistaken for a dimple in the cleft of the chin was
in reality only a tiny scar, the result of collision with the point of
a newly sharpened pencil caused by a fall on an icy sidewalk many years
before. When accounting for that scar Sam was wont to indulge in one of
his infrequent jokes. There was, he would tell you, a queer coincidence
about it; it had happened in Faber-ary. If, through ignorance of the
brand of pencils affected in Amesville, you missed the point of the
joke, Sam didn’t explain it. He had evolved that pun all himself, and,
not being addicted to airy persiflage, thought rather well of it.
Consequently, if you didn’t catch it, Sam thought poorly of your sense
of humour and wasted no effort on you. He appreciated jokes when he
heard them, but seldom perpetrated one himself. And his appreciation
was seldom demonstrative. When others laughed Sam confined himself to
a slight lifting of one corner of his mouth and a quizzical expression
in his calm grey eyes. When others doubled themselves over and frankly
shouted their amusement, Sam merely chuckled.

He was captain of the Amesville High School Baseball Team. When, two
days after the final contest with Petersburg, a contest which had
resulted in a victory for Amesville and given the Brown-and-Blue the
season’s championship, the players had met to choose a leader for the
next year, the honour had gone to Sam. Probably had Tom Pollock, whose
heady pitching had done more than anything else to win the Petersburg
series, been in his final year at high school, the captaincy would
have gone to him by acclamation. But Tom was still a junior and it was
the custom to elect a senior, and, with Tom out of it, the choice fell
naturally on Sam. The school at large was well satisfied. Sam Craig was
well liked. It would be stretching a point to say that he was popular,
for he was quiet, unassuming, and kept pretty much to himself, and in
consequence made friends slowly. Certainly he was not socially popular
as was Sidney Morris, nor was he hailed as a hero as was Tom Pollock.
But he was liked and respected, and, if he wasn’t called a hero, few
failed to realise that his steady, always cool-headed and sometimes
brilliant work behind the bat had had more than a little to do with
the successful outcome of the season just finished. Sam’s election had
been made unanimous, Sam had faltered a much embarrassed speech of
acceptance, and the team had disbanded for the summer.

To-day, a bright, warm morning in the latter part of June and
just over a week after the election, Sam was seriously debating a
momentous question, which was whether to deplete his slender hoard
of spending-money for one of the brand-new mitts lying so temptingly
beyond the glass, or to save his money and make his old one, a thing of
many honourable scars, do him until next spring. If, he told himself,
he had a lot of money, there were many things in that window he would
buy: a new ball--his own had been several times restitched--a new
mask and--yes, by jingo, if he could afford it!--one of those dandy
black-tipped bats bearing the facsimile signature of a noted Big
Leaguer. More than once his hand came out of his pocket and more than
once he half turned away, but each time his fingers went back to the
coins again, and, at last, he entered the wide, hospitably open door of
the big hardware and sporting-goods store. If he had not done so this
story would have been far different, for more than the purchase of a
catcher’s mitt resulted from his visit that morning to Cummings and

The front of the store, to the left as you entered, was devoted to
the sporting goods. The department was only about two years old,
but already it had thrice outgrown its limit, until now it occupied
fully a third of the store’s space. There were racks of golf clubs,
shelves filled with enticing boxes, handsome show-cases over which a
red-blooded boy could hang entranced for a long time, polished counters
holding things cunningly displayed, and, between window and cases, an
oak-topped desk, at which a boy of about Sam’s age was busily writing.
He was a capable-looking fellow, with much red-brown hair and a pair of
frank and honest blue eyes and a nice smile. And the smile appeared
the minute he glanced up from the letter he was writing and glimpsed
Sam over the top of the desk.

“Hello!” he said, jumping up. “Haven’t seen you since they made you
captain, Sam. How are you?”

“All right,” said Sam, viewing him, with his quizzical smile, across
the bat-rack. “Say, Tom, I want to buy a mitt. How much do I have to

“Oh, we never tell you that till we’ve shown you the goods,” laughed
Tom Pollock. “What you want is one of these, Sam. It’s just like your
old one, I think, and you can’t beat it at any price. We’ve got them
for more money, but----”

“This is all right, thanks.” Sam thrust a hand into the black leather
mitt and thumped it experimentally with his right fist. “How much, Tom?”

“Well, you get the team discount, Sam.” Tom tore a piece of paper from
a pad and figured on it. Then he pushed it toward Sam, and Sam read the
result, hesitated momentarily, and then nodded.

“All right,” he said, “I’ll take it. You needn’t do it up.”

“Going to wear it home?” asked Tom, with a laugh. “By the way, Morris
was talking the other day about getting the Blues together again this
summer. You’ll play if we do, won’t you?”

“I guess so. I don’t know yet. I’m looking for a job, Tom. Know anyone
who wants to hire a strong, willing chap like me?”

Tom smiled and shook his head. “I’m afraid I don’t, Sam.”

“I went over to see Harper at the mills yesterday and got a sort of
half promise of a job in the packing-room later. I’m not crazy about
that, though. Maybe I’m lazy, but they sure do work you hard over
there. I worked in the stock-room one summer and nearly passed out! And

“Must be,” Tom agreed. “Wish I did know of something, Sam, but----” He
paused and glanced toward his desk. Then, “By Jove!” he muttered. “I
wonder--Look here, Sam, mind going away from home?”

“How far? Where to?”

“Indian Lake.”

“Where’s that?”

“Up toward Mendon. About a hundred and twenty miles north of here.”

“What’s up there? Say, it isn’t peddling books, is it? I tried that one
time and nearly starved to death. Sold four sets of Murray’s Compendium
of Universal History and cleared just eleven dollars and eighty cents
in a month!”

Tom smiled. “No, it’s---- Here’s--here’s the letter I got this morning.
You can read it for yourself. I don’t know why they wrote to me unless
this chap has bought goods from us. I haven’t looked him up yet.”

Sam took the brief typewritten letter and read it. It was addressed to
“Manager Sporting Goods Department, Cummings and Wright, Amesville,
Ohio,” and was as follows:

    “DEAR SIR:--Do you happen to know of a young man who will
    accept a position in a boys’ camp this summer, July 5 to
    September 13? We’ve only been running one year and can’t offer
    big pay, but we’ll provide comfortable sleeping quarters and
    plenty of good food and pay five a week. If you know of anyone,
    please drop me a line right away. Applicant must be moral,
    know something about handling boys--we take them from eleven
    to fifteen--and able to help instruct in athletics. References
    required. Thanking you in advance for any trouble I am putting
    you to,


    “WARREN LANGHAM, Director.”

The letter was typed on a sheet of paper bearing at the top the legend:
“The Wigwam; a Summer Camp for Boys, Indian Lake, Ohio. Warren Bradley
Langham, A.M., Director.”

Sam read it twice, the second time more thoughtfully. Then he looked
questioningly at Tom.

“Interest you?” asked the latter. “If I could take it I’d do it in a
minute, Sam.”

“Yes, but this man’s looking for someone a heap older than I am, I
guess, Tom, although he doesn’t say anything about age. ‘A young man’;
that’s all.”

“Well, aren’t you a young man?”

“I’m young,” agreed Sam, “but I’m no man yet. Anyway, I suppose I
couldn’t go so far. There’s just my mother and Nell at home----”

“It would be only about nine weeks, though. The pay isn’t big, but----”

“The pay’s all right, Tom, because I’d be getting my board, you see.
The only thing would be leaving my folks alone so long. Still----” Sam
thoughtfully fondled the catcher’s mitt.

“You could give him all the references he wanted,” urged Tom.

“Who from?” asked the other doubtfully. “What sort of references?”

“Why, from your minister and your school principal, of course.”

“Oh! Well, what about handling boys? I never handled any. And what
about helping to instruct in athletics?”

“He doesn’t say that you must be _used_ to handling them; only that you
must know something about it. You do, don’t you?”

Sam looked blank. “Do I?” he asked.

“Of course you do! Any fellow does who has sense and has been a
kid himself.” Tom laughed. “You’re too modest, Sam. Throw out your
chest! Aren’t you captain of the Amesville High School Nine? As for
instructing in athletics, why, all that means is that you’ll have to
play ball with the kids and arrange running and jumping stunts and----
Say, you can swim, can’t you?”

“Yes.” Sam seemed quite decided about that.

“There you are, then! You take the letter and write to Mr. Whatshisname
right off.”

“I’d like to,” mused Sam. “I’d like the job.”

“Take it then! I’ll drop the man a note and tell him I’ve got just the
fellow for him; baseball captain, all-around athlete, fine swimmer,
highly moral, and a wonder at handling boys! How’s that?”

“Pack of lies,” replied Sam, with a smile. “You let me take this letter
and I’ll think it over to-night and talk to mother and Nell about it
and see you in the morning. If they think it’s all right maybe I’ll try
for it. Just the same, I know mighty well he’ll think I’m too young.”

“In years, maybe,” said Tom, “but in experience, Sam!” Tom shook his
head knowingly. “It’s experience that counts, my boy.”

“You’re a chump,” said Sam. “Mind if I take this, though?”

“Not a bit. Let me know in the morning, Sam. Joking aside, I think it
would be a first-rate thing. You’d come back in September simply full
of health and able to lick your weight in bear-cats. We’ll miss you,
though, if we get the ball team together again. Who could we get to
catch for us, Sam?”

“Buster Healey.”

“That’s so, he might do. Anything else I can sell you, Sam?”

“No, I guess not. Did I pay you for this?”

“Not yet. You needn’t if you don’t want to. Let me charge it to you.”

“No, thanks,” said Sam hurriedly, diving for his money. “If I get that
place I’ll need this mitt, I guess. I’ve been trying to persuade myself
all the morning that I really ought to have it.”

“Another reason for accepting the job, Sam,” said Tom cheerfully.
“It’ll justify your extravagance.”

“That’s putting ’em over,” said Sam, with a chuckle. “‘Justify your
extravagance!’ Gee, Tom, that’s real language, that is!”

“Yes, right in the groove, Sam. Say, I’d like to get out and pitch a
few. What are you doing this evening? Let’s get a ball and see how it
feels. Will you? Good stuff! Drop around here at five and get me.”



Sam gave his new mitt a good try-out that evening. He and Tom and Tom’s
particular chum, Sid Morris, took possession of the alley behind the
hardware store and, admiringly regarded by a dozen or so small boys,
pitched and caught until supper-time. Sidney, a slim, lithe, handsome
chap of nearly eighteen, had been told about The Wigwam and, like Tom,
sighed because he could not accept the position himself.

“I’ll tell you what, though, Sam,” he said, as he made an imaginary
swing at the ball just before it thumped into Sam’s new glove, “if
you go up there Tom and I will come and visit you for a day or two. I
suppose they’d let us, wouldn’t they, Tom?”

“I don’t see how they could stop us visiting the place, but they might
object to our staying overnight. Here goes for a knuckle-ball, Sam.
Watch it.” But the attempt was not successful and Tom shook his head
as the ball came back to him. “I guess I’ll never make much out of
that,” he said. “What’s that, Sam? Four fingers? I can’t see very well.
All right, here she goes.” A slow ball sped across the imaginary plate
and Sidney, making believe to swing and miss, uttered a disappointed
grunt and angrily slanged a non-existent umpire, to the delight of
the gallery. It was time to stop then, and, pocketing his ball, Tom
accompanied Sam and Sidney to Main Street and, after Sidney had jumped
a car to hurry home to dinner, detained Sam a minute on a corner.

“Made up your mind yet?” he asked.

Sam hesitated a moment. “Mother wants me to try for it,” he said, “and
Nell, too, but I don’t know as I ought to leave them so long.”

“Well, you know best, Sam. Only, if you can do it you’d better. You
know as well as I do that there’s mighty little chance of a fellow’s
getting work in Amesville in summer, except at the mills; and they
don’t pay anything over there.”

Sam nodded agreement. “I guess,” he answered thoughtfully, “I’ll write
and see what Mr. Langham says. I suppose, though, he will tell me I’m
too young.”

“How would it do,” asked Tom, “to say nothing about your age? He didn’t
seem particular about that, you know. Just tell him you’re in your
senior year at high school and are captain of the nine; and that you
think you could hold down the place to the King’s taste, and so on!”

“I might, only--I’d feel pretty cheap if I got up there and he told me
I wouldn’t do. Besides, it wouldn’t be quite honest, I guess.”

“I suppose not. No, you’d better tell him you’re nearly eighteen.”

“But I’m not,” objected Sam gravely. “I won’t be until December.”

“Then tell him you’re well over seventeen,” laughed Tom. “Anyway, make
yourself out as old as you can, you fussy old chump! And don’t be too
modest. I don’t know but that I ought to see that letter before you
send it, Sam.”

Sam shook his head. “I’ll do it all right,” he said. “And you write to
him, too, if you don’t mind.”

“I’ll do it this evening. So long. You ought to get an answer by
Friday, I should think. I hope it comes out all right, Sam.”

“So do I,” said Sam soberly. “It would be a dandy job if I could get
it. Good night, Tom, and thank you for telling me about it.”

That wasn’t an easy letter to write, as Sam discovered later when, with
the assistance of his mother and sister, he set about its composition.
Nell, a pretty girl a year older than Sam, scored his first draft

“Why, you haven’t said a thing about what you can do,” she exclaimed.
“You’ve just told him what you _can’t_! The idea of saying that you’re
a fair swimmer! You know very well, Sam, that you’re a perfect wonder
in the water.”

“Pshaw, lots of fellows can swim better than I do.”

“No one around here, anyway. And you practically tell him that you
don’t know a thing about looking after young boys.”

“I don’t!”

“But you don’t have to say so, do you? Now, you write that all over
and--I tell you what, Sam! Write it just as if you were trying to get
the place for someone else!”

Finally both Nell and Mrs. Craig approved, and Sam made a clean copy
of the letter, slipped it into an envelope, stamped and addressed it,
and went out to the mail box with it so it would be gathered up at
eleven-thirty and go off on the early morning train. Now that he had
made up his mind to get the position if he could he was impatient to
learn his fate.

But three days passed without any response and he had begun to think
that nothing was to come of his application, when one afternoon a
messenger boy brought a telegram. It was extremely brief.

    “Mail references immediately. LANGHAM.”

“It doesn’t look as though he thought you too young,” said Tom when,
later, Sam dropped in at Cummings and Wright’s to tell the news. “If
he did he wouldn’t bother with your references. I guess you’ve got it,

And Sam acknowledged that it looked so. The letters of reference went
off that evening, one from the High School principal and one from
the minister of the church Sam attended. Both were, he considered,
undeservedly flattering. They bore immediate result. Just thirty-four
hours later another telegram arrived, this time not quite so brief.

    “Satisfactory. Join camp July fifth. Rail to East Mendon, stage
    to Indian Lake. Bring grey flannel trousers, blue sleeveless
    shirt, sweater, sneakers, mackintosh. LANGHAM.”

They referred to that telegram at intervals all day. Sam was a bit
troubled because it said nothing about socks or a hat, but Nell said
she supposed Mr. Langham gave him credit for enough sense to bring such
things without being told.

“He doesn’t say whether the sweater has to be any special colour,
either,” mused Sam. “Mine’s grey.”

“That thing!” exclaimed Nell scathingly. “Why, mother’s darned that and
darned it, Sam. It isn’t fit to be seen in. You must have a new one.”

“Gee, if I buy a new sweater besides all those other things I won’t
have any money left! I asked Miller, at the station, what the fare to
Indian Lake is and he said it’s four dollars and sixty cents.”

“I don’t care, Sam, you can’t take that old sweater. You can get a new
one for three dollars, I guess.”

“Can’t afford it,” said Sam decisively.

“Then I’ll present it to you. I’ve got a lot of money.”

“I think,” said Mrs. Craig, “it would be nice if Nellie and I bought
those things for you, dear. How much would they cost, do you think?”

Sam demurred, but in the end they had their way, and the next morning
Sam set out to Cummings and Wright’s with his precious telegram in hand
and laid the matter before Tom Pollock.

“So you got it!” exclaimed Tom. “Gee, but I’m awfully glad, Sam! Shake!
Now let’s see what you need. What shade of blue do you suppose that
means? Dark, I guess. Here you are, then. Eighty-five cents each.
You’ll need two of them. Sneakers are ninety-five and a dollar and a
quarter. Better pay the difference, Sam. The cheaper ones aren’t much.
What about flannel trousers? I’m afraid--Oh, you’ve got a pair? All
right. Then that leaves only the sweater. What colour?”

“It doesn’t say. What do you think?”

“Guess it doesn’t matter, Sam. Grey’s usually the best because it won’t
fade and doesn’t show dirt, but you can have blue or red or white

“Grey, I guess; and not very expensive.”

“Here’s one for two and a half and here’s a better one for three and

“I guess this three-dollar one will do, Tom. Do I get anything off on
this truck?”

“Certainly; fifteen off, Sam. That makes it--let me see--five dollars
and six cents; call it five dollars even, Sam. What about the raincoat?”

“I’ve got an old one that will do, I guess. You see, I don’t want to
spend very much, because the fare up there and back comes to over nine
dollars, and that’s two weeks’ wages.”

“He didn’t say anything about paying your fare, then?”

Sam shook his head. “He wouldn’t, would he?”

“I don’t know. Seems to me he ought to pay it one way, at least,
though, Sam. I’d mention it to him, anyway.”

“Maybe I will,” replied Sam doubtfully. “Well, I guess that’s all,
then. I’ll take these things along with me. How many boys do you
suppose there will be up there, Tom?”

“I don’t know. Maybe forty or fifty. And look here, Sam.” Tom walked
around the counter when he had finished tying up the bundle and seated
himself on the edge, swinging his legs. “Don’t do this,” he explained,
“when there’s customers around. Look here, Sam. About those kids, now.
Take my advice and start ’em off right.”

“How do you mean, Tom?”

“I mean make ’em understand right away that you won’t take any nonsense
from them. Of course, a summer camp’s different from a school, I
suppose, and there’s a lot more--more give-and-take between the
councillors and the boys, but it’s a good idea, I guess, to make the
kids understand that while you love ’em all to death you aren’t going
to tell ’em to do a thing more than once. Get the idea? Kind but firm,

“Anyone would think you invented boys’ camps,” said Sam, with a
twinkle. Tom laughed.

“Never you mind whether I did or not, Sam. You do as I tell you and
you’ll find things going easier. You aren’t enough older than the boys
to make ’em much scared of you, so you want to hold the reins pretty
tight at first. No charge for the advice. When do you go?”

“Seven-ten on the fifth. That gets me to East Mendon at eleven-twenty.
Then there’s a stage-coach or something that goes over to the Lake at

“I’ll go down and see you off, Sam, and wish you luck.”

And a week later Tom kept his promise. He and Sidney escorted Sam to
the train, Tom carrying the traveller’s old-fashioned yellow leather
valise and Sid his raincoat, leaving Sam the free use of both hands
with which to satisfy himself every two or three moments that his
ticket was safe. There was one excruciating minute when they reached
Locust Street, and were in sight of the station, when Sam couldn’t
find the ticket in any of his pockets and blank dismay overspread his
countenance. He was on the verge of retracing his steps when Sidney
patiently reminded him that just one block back he had placed the
precious pasteboard in the lining of his straw hat for safe-keeping.
Sam said, “Oh!” and looked extremely foolish, and, amidst the laughter
of his guard of honour, the journey began again.

News of Sam’s departure had spread through town and there was quite a
gathering of friends to see him off. Buster Healey was there, with a
bouquet consisting of two sprays of gladiolus, mostly in bud, which
Buster was suspected of having acquired by the simple expedient of
reaching through someone’s garden fence; and Tommy Hughes was there,
and Joe Kenny, and half a dozen more; and there was a good deal of
noise and rough-house until the train pulled into the station and
Sam climbed aboard. You might have thought that Sam was leaving for
the Grand Tour or for a year in Darkest Africa. All kinds of advice
was showered on him. He was instructed not to put his head out the
window, not to speak to strangers, not to take any wooden money, and
not to lose his ticket. Then the train moved and a cheer went up and a
much embarrassed Sam waved good-bye from a window. And at that moment
Buster discovered that Sam had left his flowers on a baggage truck, and
rescued them and raced the length of the platform before he was finally
able to hurl them in at the window. So began the journey.



Sam had never done much travelling. He had been to Columbus twice
and had journeyed around more or less within a fifty-mile radius of
Amesville, but penetrating a hundred and twenty-odd miles into the
wilds of northern Ohio was something new and not a little exciting.
There had never, particularly since his father had died, been much
money for railroad tickets and sight-seeing. Sam’s father had been a
railroad engineer, and a good one. For many years when Sam was just a
little chap Mr. Craig had held the throttle on the big Mogul engine
that had pulled the Western Mail through Amesville. Sam didn’t see
a great deal of his father in those days, for Mr. Craig “laid-over”
in Amesville but twice a week, and the days when he did see him were
red-letter days. He had been very fond of his dad, and very proud of
him, too; and it had been Sam’s earnest desire to grow up quick and
be an engineer too. When, however, in Sam’s twelfth year, Mr. Craig
returned home for the last time on a stretcher to live but a few
hours, Sam lost that desire. For once the engineer had not been held
to blame for an accident; a muddle-headed despatcher had sent the
Western Mail crashing into a through freight between sidings; and so
the railroad paid a pension to the widow. On this the family had lived
until Sam, first, and then Nell, had begun to supplement the pension
money with small earnings. Sam had delivered papers, worked in the mill
as stock-boy, and tried his hand at several other things, while Nell,
having finished school the spring before, was now a public stenographer
with a tiny room of her own in Amesville’s new office building, and was
a little more than making expenses.

The first thrill of excitement wore off after a half-hour or so, and
Sam, tired of watching the view from the car window, picked up the
magazine he had bought and settled back to read. The train was not a
fast one, and it stopped at a good many stations and seemed disinclined
at each to take up its journey again. Nevertheless, it eventually did
arrive at East Mendon, and Sam anxiously collected his belongings and
alighted. Inquiries elicited the information that the stage started
at two o’clock from the other side of the platform, shortly after the
arrival of the through express. Consequently Sam had a full two hours
and a half to wait. He checked his bag and coat at the station and
started out in search of dinner. East Mendon was a small place, hardly
more than a full-grown village, and his choice of eating-places was
not large. The Commercial Hotel seemed to be the principal hostelry,
but Sam knew that if he went there he would have to pay at least
seventy-five cents for his meal, and seventy-five cents was about fifty
cents more than he cared to spend. At last, on a side street, he came
across a small and dingy restaurant which advertised the principal
dishes of the day’s menu on a blackboard outside. Sam, his feet spread
well apart and his hands in his trousers pockets, studied the list

“Beef Stew with Dumplings, 15 cents.” “Corn Beef Hash with Bread and
Butter, 15 cents.” “Baked White Fish and Fried Potatoes, 20 cents.”
“Ribs of Beef with Browned Potatoes, 25 cents.” “Vegatable Soup with
Bread and Butter, 10 cents.”

Sam’s eyes twinkled. “Me for that, I guess,” he said to himself.
“Vegetable soup with two A’s sounds good. And maybe a cup of good hot
coffee and a piece of pie. I’m not awfully hungry, anyhow.”

The “vegatable” soup was good and there was plenty of it, and even if
the bread proved so crumbly that he found himself breading the butter
instead of buttering the bread, he made out very well. But the good
coffee didn’t materialize. There was coffee, and it was hot, but Sam
couldn’t pronounce it good. Nor was the pie much better. He suspected
the little shock-haired proprietor of having held and cherished that
pie for a long, long time!

Afterwards he wandered back to the principal street of the village and
bought three very green apples for a nickel and munched them while he
tried to find interest in the store windows. But the East Mendon stores
were neither large nor flourishing, and their window displays were not
at all enthralling. It was still only slightly after twelve-thirty
as, having exhausted the entertainments of the village, he went back
to the station, got his magazine from his bag, and made himself as
comfortable as he could in a corner of the small waiting-room. It was
hot and close in there, and smelled of dust and train smoke, but he
found a good story in the magazine and was soon lost to everything but
the adventures of the hero. That first story was so interesting that,
having finished it, he started another, after a cursory glance about
the room which was now beginning to fill up. He was halfway through the
second story when the express came thundering in with much screeching
of brake-shoes. The event promised excitement and so he slipped his
magazine in a pocket of his coat, took up his bag, and went out on the
platform with the other occupants of the room.

It seemed at first glance that everyone was getting out of the express
and Sam had to flatten himself against the station wall to keep from
being trod on. To his momentary surprise, most of the arrivals appeared
to be boys; there must, he thought, be a hundred of them! Then it
dawned on him that he was getting his first look at his future charges.
When, presently, the express went on again and the crowd on the
platform had sorted itself out, he saw that the hundred boys really
numbered only about thirty or forty. In age they seemed between twelve
and fifteen, and they were of all sorts; short boys and tall boys,
fat boys and thin boys, quiet boys and noisy boys. Each had his bag
beside him and most of them were pestering the baggage-man about their
trunks. Suddenly into the mêlée about that exasperated official pushed
a broad-shouldered, capable-looking man of twenty-two or three years.
He had a sun-browned face and wore a straw hat with a yellow-and-blue
band around it.

“Now then, fellows!” Sam heard him say briskly. “Every one across to
the other platform, please. I’ll take charge of your checks.”

In a minute order grew out of chaos and the boys, yielding their trunk
checks, went off around the station. Sam followed. Two stage-coaches
and four three-seated carriages were backed up to the platform and
the boys were scrambling for outside seats on the coaches. Suit-cases
and bags were being piled on the roofs, and pandemonium again reigned
until, as before, the man with the yellow-and-blue hat-band appeared
and took charge. “That’s enough on top now! Pile inside, you chaps.
That’ll do. The rest of you get into the hacks. Room for one more here,
though. You going to Indian Lake?”

This to Sam, who was waiting for a chance to find a seat. Sam assented
and squeezed into a rear seat of one of the stages, aware of the
other’s puzzled regard. Evidently the man with the coloured hat-band
thought Sam a bit old to be going to The Wigwam, and Sam wondered what
Mr. Langham would think! He was quite certain that this was not Mr.
Langham. First, because the coloured hat-band chap was keeping a sharp
eye on a huge suit-case marked “A. A. G.,” and, second, because it
stood to reason that Mr. Langham was a much older man.

Possibly the boys, too, thought Sam rather too mature to be one of
them, for they favoured him with many curious glances as he squeezed
into his seat. He still retained his valise and, as there was no
place on the floor for it, he had to take it in his lap and drape his
raincoat over it. That battered, old-fashioned bag occasioned more than
one amused look and whispered comment.

After they were all seated a long wait ensued. A big wagon was backed
up to the platform and the baggage-man and the drivers began the
loading of the trunks. There were a lot of them, but fortunately
many were of the small steamer variety. Sam, whose entire wardrobe
was contained between the bulging sides of his valise, wondered at
those trunks. Finally the last one was aboard, restless youths who
had slipped from their places scuttled back to them, the man with the
hat-band seated himself beside the driver of one of the carriages and,
with a cheer, the procession of vehicles set out.

Sam had never ridden in an old-style stage-coach before and he found
the experience more novel than comfortable. The body swayed amazingly
on its leather springs, and when, presently, they were on the rough
country road, bumped up and down most erratically. Sam held tight to
his bag, braced his feet against the floor, and watched the landscape
unfold. Most of the way the road was bordered with woods, although
occasionally there was a clearing and, now and then, a small farm. The
road wound and turned up hill and down and the horses kept at an even
trot. The more adventurous spirits on top of the coaches cheered and
shouted and sang, but Sam’s companions inside were more subdued. He
sat next a small boy of perhaps thirteen, who looked rather depressed
and homesick. Sam tried conversation with him, but it was not a
success. After a half-hour or so a louder cheer than usual came from
outside, and Sam, looking ahead, saw a blue, sun-lit lake below them,
lying in the green bowl of the wooded hills. Then it was lost to sight
again and they began the descent, the brakes scraping hard against the
big wheels as the coach swayed and bumped. Five minutes later they had

Sam descended before a large many-windowed wooden building, hardly more
than a shed in appearance. A wide uncovered porch ran across the front
of it. The building was so new that only the roof had weathered. Beyond
it was a second of similar size and appearance, and beyond that, again,
on slightly higher ground, was a smaller structure. The buildings faced
the lake, the shore of which was some fifty yards distant. Behind the
clearing the forest of birch and maples and oaks, with an occasional
pine or hemlock, gave enticing glimpses of shadowed paths, but about
the camp were few trees left standing, and of these, one had been
shorn of its branches and bore, floating lazily from its tip, a white
flag with a blue pyramid, doubtless intended to represent an Indian
wigwam. There was little breeze to-day and the sun beat down hotly, and
Sam looked longingly into the dim recess seen beyond the wide, open
door of the nearer building.

With the arrival of the foremost stage three men came down the
steps. One was a short, stocky gentleman, brisk and alert, who wore
knickerbockers and golf stockings and a soft white shirt, and whose
round face seemed at first glance to be all brown Vandyke beard and
rubber-rimmed Mandarin spectacles. He was followed by two younger men,
one not much more than a boy and the other somewhere about thirty.
Unlike the older man, they each wore camp costume; flannel trousers
belted over a blue sleeveless shirt, and brown “sneakers.” It was the
short man in knickerbockers who now took command. One by one, the
arrivals were shaken by the hand and passed on to the older of the
two councillors, who, in turn, directed them to one or the other of
the larger buildings. The short man knew many of the boys by name and
greeted them warmly, and these, addressing him as “Chief,” seemed
equally pleased at the meeting. If he did not know the name of a boy,
he asked it and, on being told, said briskly, “Oh, yes! Well, Jones,
I’m glad to know you. Mr. Haskins, this is Jones. Just look after him,
please.” And so Jones or Smith, or whatever his name might be, shook
hands again and was finally sent trudging on into one or the other of
the dormitories.

Sam stood aside and waited until the boys had been distributed. Then,
formulating a little speech of introduction, he moved toward where the
short man and the man with the coloured hat-band were shaking hands.
But his speech was not required. “Well, Craig, so you found us, eh?”
asked the short man, with a smile and a firm clasp of the hand. “Very
glad to see you. My name is Langham. Mr. Gifford I suppose you know.”

[Illustration: “Well, Craig, so you found us, eh?” asked the short man,
with a smile and a firm clasp of the hand]

The man with the coloured hat-band explained, however, that they had
not met. “I saw you at the station,” he said, “but I wasn’t sure that
you were one of us. Very stupid of me. Well, let’s go and get into some
comfortable togs. I suppose Craig is in The Tepee, Chief?”

“Yes. If Haskins is there, ask him to come out and show the men about
the trunks, please. By the way, I thought we’d better get them into the
water about four.”

Sam was surprised until he realized that “them” meant the boys and not
the trunks. He followed Mr. Gifford to the further dormitory, climbed a
flight of four steps, crossed the unroofed porch, and entered through a
wide doorway. For a moment the sudden change from the sunlight to the
dimmer light inside confused him. Presently, though, he was examining
his new home with interest.

The building was of a width that accommodated two rows of cots, one
at each side, and left a wide passage between. At the farther end of
the passage a second door stood wide open, framing a picture of green
leaves in shadow and sunlight. On each side of the long room were many
square openings, which did duty as windows. They were not sashed, but
were provided with wooden shutters which opened inward and hooked back
against the walls. In all the time that Sam was there the shutters were
closed but once, and then only on one side of the dormitory. There
were twelve cots in one row and eight in the other. Midway on the side
holding the fewer cots was a big rough-stone fireplace, and in front
of it a table and chairs. At the foot of each cot was a shallow closet
with hooks for garments below and some shelves above. Three large
kerosene lamps hung from the roof.

Sam’s cot was the first one inside the door on the left. Mr.
Gifford’s was opposite. At the head of each was a small stand holding
a hand-lamp, and Mr. Gifford explained that the councillors were
permitted to keep these burning after the dormitory lights were out.
Sam followed the example of Mr. Gifford and the boys and changed into
camp uniform, stowing the rest of his belongings in the tiny closet.
Many of the youngsters were already scampering about in their new

“The Chief tells me you’re going to help me with athletics,” said Mr.
Gifford from across the passage as he dragged on a pair of faded grey
flannel trousers. “What’s your line?”

“Line?” asked Sam.

“I mean what do you go in for principally?”

“Oh! Baseball principally.”

“That’s good. We play a good deal of it. The fellows seem to get more
fun out of it than anything else, except, maybe, swimming. You swim, of


“Well, we’ll have a talk this evening and map things out. Now, if
you’re ready, we’ll go out and have a look around, and see what’s to be
done. There’s usually a good deal to attend to the first day.”

Satisfying himself that their assistance was not needed in the
distribution of trunks, Mr. Gifford took Sam about the camp. They
looked in at the other dormitory, known as The Wigwam, which was
not materially different from The Tepee; and then visited the third

“This,” said Mr. Gifford, “is the dining-hall. The fellows call it the
Grubbery. There are four tables, you see. The Chief sits at the head of
this one and the rest of us fellows take the others. That doesn’t leave
one for you, though, does it? Guess the Chief will put you at the foot
of his. The fellows take turns at setting the tables and clearing them.
We have a splendid cook and plenty of good things to eat. You won’t go
hungry, Craig. Speaking of that----”

Mr. Gifford led the way across the hall and through a swinging door
into a kitchen. Sam followed and was introduced to the cook, one Cady
Betts, a tall, fair-complexioned French-Canadian whom the boys, as Sam
discovered later, called “Kitty-Bett.”

“Cady,” said Mr. Gifford, “we’re starved. Got anything to eat?”

The cook, who had been stocking the shelves with the supplies which had
reached camp a little while before, smiled doubtfully.

“There is nothing cook,” he said in his careful English, “but there is
crackers and cheeses. Maybe you like them?”

Mr. Gifford declared that he did and, assisted moderately by Sam,
consumed a large quantity of each, sitting on the kitchen table and
chatting the while with “Kitty-Bett.” The latter, Sam learned by
listening, came from Michigan and in winter cooked for a big lumber
company. He had a pair of the mildest, softest blue eyes Sam had ever
seen in a man, and a pleasant smile, but one had only to watch him
handle the cans and bags and jugs for a minute to see that he was as
deft and quick as he was amiable. Presently Mr. Gifford conducted Sam
back through the dining-hall again, pointing out the mail box which
hung just inside the doorway. All the doors at the camp were double and
swung outward, and, as Sam found in the course of time, were seldom
ever closed. Eating in the dining-hall was much like eating out of
doors, for, besides the big doorway and a shuttered opening at the
front, the two sides of the building from three feet above the floor to
the eaves opened out and up, admitting light and air and, it must be
confessed, not a few flies!

There was an ice-house behind the kitchen, with a storage space in
front for meats and eggs and milk and vegetables, a place whose
temperature was most grateful after the warmth outside. From there they
walked down to the landing. Here lay quite a flotilla of row-boats and
canoes, which a tow-headed youth named Jerry--if he had another name
Sam never learned it--was engaged in painting and varnishing. Jerry was
a sort of general factotum; carried the mail across the lake once a day
in the little naphtha launch, which had not yet been slid out of the
small boat-house nearby, washed dishes after meals, pared potatoes,
ran errands, and performed a dozen other duties. Mr. Gifford shook
hands with Jerry and formally presented Sam. Jerry observed, with a shy
smile, that he was “pleased to meet you, sir.”

On the float, which was quite large, there was a springboard and a
slide; also a covered box which held oars and oar-locks and canoe
paddles, and had a life-belt hung at one end. There was not much of
a beach there, for shore and lake met sharply. There was, however,
Mr. Gifford explained, a fairly good stretch of sand further along,
near the ball-field, which the older boys were allowed to go in from

“About the first thing a boy has to do when he gets here,” said Mr.
Gifford, “is learn to swim. We put them all into the water twice a
day, and those who want to may duck before breakfast. It generally
takes only about a month to get the most backward youngsters to a point
where they can keep afloat. They usually do their best to learn quickly
because we don’t allow them in the boats until they have; and it seems
to be every boy’s ambition to spend half his life in a canoe! I suppose
you can manage a boat, Craig?”

“I can row a little; not very well, I guess. I’ve never been in a
canoe, though.”

“We’ll have to remedy that. It won’t take you long to learn. Well, I
guess we’ve seen about all there is. What do you think of the place?”

“It’s very--interesting,” replied Sam. “I never was at a camp before.”

“Really?” Mr. Gifford was silent for a minute or two while they walked
back toward the dormitories. Then: “If you don’t mind my asking, Craig,
how old are you?” he inquired.

Sam told him and he nodded. “You look older than that,” he said.
“Better let the boys think you are older. They’ll mind you better, I
guess. You haven’t met Haskins and Brown yet, have you? Let’s find

They were with Mr. Langham in the little partitioned-off room at
the front of The Wigwam, which the Director used both as office and
bedroom. Mr. Haskins was, next to the Director, the oldest of the five
who, with the arrival of Mr. Gifford and Sam, crowded the small office
to its capacity. He was rather serious-looking, wore thick-lensed
glasses and was slightly bald. He was an instructor at Burton College,
which institution was well represented at The Wigwam, since Mr.
Langham, too, was a member of the Burton faculty and Mr. Gifford was a
post-graduate student there. Young Brown, a merry-faced boy of twenty,
and Sam were the only ones not connected with Burton. Steve Brown was
a sophomore at Western Reserve, and, like Sam, was a newcomer at the
camp. After introductions were over Mr. Langham went over the daily
schedule with the others--Sam found that his official title was junior
councillor--and explained their duties. It seemed to Sam that The
Wigwam was to be a very busy place and that time was not at all likely
to hang heavily on his hands!



Two days later The Wigwam was running according to schedule. The rising
bugle sounded at seven and breakfast was at half-past. From the time
breakfast was over until nine there was work of some sort for all
hands. Beds had to be made, dormitories swept and put in order, grounds
“policed,” lamps filled, wood piled for the evening’s “camp-fire” and
numerous other duties attended to. From nine to eleven the boys did as
they liked. A few were being coached in studies by Mr. Haskins and Mr.
Gifford, and such work came in the forenoon. Then, too, Steve Brown
conducted a class in photography which was well patronised, and once
a week Mr. Langham took those who wanted to go for a walk through the
woods or along the lake for Nature Study. At eleven there was what the
boys called “soak.” Wearing bathing trunks, the boys lined up on the
edge of the float and at the word from one of the councillors plunged
into the water. Those who could not swim did their “plunging” from the
sides of the float where the water was only a couple of feet deep.
“Soak” lasted the better part of an hour and all the councillors were
on hand in bathing suits to give instruction and prevent accidents. It
was the duty of one to sit in a row-boat a little ways off shore and
go to the assistance of any bather in difficulties. In fine weather
that morning bath was the most enjoyable hour of the day. There were
thirty-eight boys at the camp, and when they all got to splashing
around and skylarking there was much fun and merriment. Woe to any of
them who stood unguardedly near the edge of the float, for someone was
certain to sneak up behind and then there’d be a howl and a splash
and a chorus of laughter as the victim came thrashing to the surface.
And, of course, there were always upsets on the springboard, and some
boy was forever discovering a new and ridiculous manner of going down
the slide. The councillors interfered very little, and, although real
hazing was put down with a firm hand, the youngsters had to stand a
good deal of ungentle handling which did them no harm and speedily
taught them confidence.

Sam quickly proved himself the best swimmer at camp and to him was
delegated the education of the more advanced pupils, a task which he
thoroughly enjoyed and went into heart and soul. There were some eight
or ten older boys who showed real ability, and one, Tom Crossbush, a
youth of nearly sixteen years, who, before the summer was over, learned
to duplicate nearly every feat of Sam’s, whether of diving or swimming.

Dinner was at half-past twelve, and, following it, came thirty
minutes of siesta when every occupant of the camp, barring Kitty-Bett
and Jerry, the chore-boy, was required to lie on his bed and keep
absolutely quiet. The boys corrupted the word to “sister” and, most of
them, thoroughly disliked that period. At two o’clock came recreation
until four-thirty. There were two fairly good tennis courts and a
ball-field about a quarter of a mile from camp. There, too, were
set up standards for jumping and vaulting, and there was a ring for
shot-putting and a stretch of fairly smooth turf used for sprinting.
The boys were all required to take up some form of athletic endeavour
and those two hours and a half from two to four-thirty constituted the
busiest period of the day for Mr. Gifford, Steve Brown, and Sam. Steve
instructed in tennis--he was a good player--and helped at anything
else he could. Mr. Gifford presided over track and field athletics
and Sam was given entire charge of baseball. With very few exceptions
all the boys played ball or tried to. Three nines were formed, the
members drawn by lot by Mr. Gifford, Steve, and Sam, each of whom
acted as manager for his aggregation. Captains were then chosen and
practice began. Regular games were played twice a week, on Wednesdays
and Saturdays, and by the end of a fortnight the keenest rivalry had
developed and they were having some exciting, if not very scientific

The afternoon bathe, or “plunge,” as it was called, came at half-past
four and was over at five. Supper was at five-thirty. The camp-fire
was lighted at eight and boys and councillors gathered about it to
talk over together the day’s happenings, make plans for the morrow and
tell stories, sing songs and, finally, say prayers, and retire to the
dormitories at nine. At ten o’clock the big lights were put out and
after that quiet was supposed to prevail. Sometimes it didn’t, however,
for all sorts of jokes were played in the darkness and quite frequently
the councillors, at the end of the hall, would hear stealthy footsteps,
muffled laughter, the sound of struggles and, sometimes, the crash of a
cot whose wooden legs had been surreptitiously reversed beforehand and
now deftly folded up underneath by the aid of a cord pulled, perhaps,
from far down the hall. Sam was surprised to find that these larks
were seldom interfered with by Mr. Gifford. If too much “rough-house”
resulted the latter sent a cautioning, “That will do, fellows! Cut it
out now!” travelling through the darkness and the usual result was
instant quiet. “All the fun you like so long as it’s harmless” was the
rule at The Wigwam.

Being a newcomer, Sam had to undergo some initiating. The second night
he was there, after he had settled himself comfortably on his straw
mattress and was drowsily watching the stars through the window at the
foot of his cot, something at once startling and mysterious occurred.
If Sam had been more experienced with boys he would have become
suspicious at the almost instant silence which prevailed that night
after “lights.” Almost before the boys had exchanged “good night” with
the councillors, unmistakable evidences of healthy slumber came from
various quarters. Something else that might have warned Sam was the
prompt dousing of his reading-light by Mr. Gifford. The previous night
that gentleman had burned his lamp until almost midnight, as Sam, the
unaccustomed surroundings and the strange bed keeping him wakeful, well
knew. But to-night Mr. Gifford had blown out his lamp only a minute or
so after ten.

Sam was just on the verge of sinking off into slumber when the
blanket--there were no sheets at The Wigwam--suddenly slid off to the
floor. Sleepily, he reached down and felt for it, but failed to get
hold of it. Wider awake now, he groped again but with no success. There
was enough light from the open doorway and the windows to show him the
blanket lying under the next cot. Blinking, he put his legs out of bed
and reached for it. It wasn’t there! He stared in amazement. He stooped
and peered under the cot. The blanket was now between it and the next
one. Still too bemused by sleep to suspect a trick, he got up and
walked around to the next aisle. The snoring had quite ceased, but Sam
failed to notice the fact. Again he leaned down to pick up the blanket
and again it wasn’t there!

He realised then he was the victim of a practical joke, but the
mechanism still puzzled him. Up and down the dormitory not a figure
moved. Intense silence prevailed. With the breeze playing about his
bare legs, Sam stood in the passage and deliberated. Finally a slow
smile spread over his face and the next instant he had whisked the
blanket from the nearest cot and was walking sedately back to his bed!
And at that moment shouts went up from all over the dormitory and every
boy was sitting up in his cot, wide awake and swaying with laughter.
And, as Sam lay down again and drew his stolen blanket over him, he was
surprised to hear Mr. Gifford’s laughter mingling heartily with the

The boy whose bed-clothing Sam had taken in reprisal was now dodging
from one aisle to the next in wild pursuit of the elusive blanket
which, pulled at the end of a cord from the farther end of the hall,
led him a merry chase. Meanwhile the boys were calling demurely to
Sam: “Cold night, Mr. Craig!” “Anything I can do, sir?” “That was a
mean trick, Mr. Craig!” And then Mr. Gifford’s voice from across the
passage: “We all have to take it, Craig! All right now?”

“Yes, thanks,” replied Sam. “Anyone who gets this will have to fight
for it!”

At which there was more laughter and some applause and at last the
dormitory really settled down to slumber and the snores that Sam heard
were not feigned. Sam chuckled once or twice before he too dropped off
to sleep.

A day or so later he was given an involuntary bath. He was standing on
the end of the landing watching Horace Chase try to do the Australian
crawl-stroke, when there was a sudden push from behind and in he went,
heels over head, and for a moment he and young Chase were inextricably
mixed up, for he had landed squarely on that youth. When he came to
the surface, sputtering and blinking, he supposed that it had been an
accident, but the grinning faces of the boys on the landing told a
different tale, as did the smile that played over the countenance of
Mr. Haskins, who was on duty in the row-boat. Then Sam grinned too,
pulled himself quickly to the landing, and charged the miscreants. Over
they went, with shouts and squeals, striking the water every which way
and for the next few minutes giving Sam a wide berth. His good-natured
acceptance of their jokes won their approval, and, although some few
boys at first rather resented being under the authority of a fellow who
was only a year or two older than they were, Sam soon found that he had
won his place.

Every forenoon at ten o’clock the councillors met in Mr. Langham’s
little office and made their reports and talked over with the Chief all
matters concerning the conduct of the camp. Now and then, at first very
infrequently, it was necessary to discipline some too-spirited youth.
But on the whole the boys were well-behaved and little punishment had
to be meted out. Usually the council ended in a jovial give-and-take
in which even the Chief had to accept his share of joking. Sam found
himself a bit too slow at repartee to take much part in these exchanges
of banter, but he enjoyed them in his quiet way and was perhaps better
liked because he bore himself modestly.

He had plenty to keep him busy, but all the tasks were more like play
than work, and the fact that he was out of doors practically every
moment of each day, and might as well have been outdoors at night as
far as fresh air was concerned, made his duties easy, kept him fit
and gave him a most voracious appetite of which he was inclined to
be ashamed until he saw that it was no more remarkable than Steve
Brown’s or Mr. Gifford’s, or, for that matter, some of the boys
themselves! Things certainly tasted good, too. The food was plain but
plentiful, and well-cooked. Kitty-Bett disdained coal, and the meats
had a wonderful wood-fire flavour that appealed to appetites grown
out-o’-doors. Blueberries were in season and wild raspberries were to
be had for the picking. Fresh vegetables were brought every day from
a neighbouring farm. There was hot meat at noon--steak or roasts--and
cold meat for supper. The eggs were freshly-laid, and, whether boiled
or made into one of Kitty-Bett’s inimitable omelets, were delicious.
And as for Kitty-Bett’s pies and doughnuts and griddle-cakes! Well,
words would have quite failed Sam there! The doughnuts--Kitty-Bett
called them “fried-cakes”--were in such demand that he had to fry
a batch almost every day. Between meals there was always a bowl of
them on one of the tables in dining-hall, and there was no one to see
whether you took one or a half-dozen.

Fortunately, for a whole two weeks the weather was fair; pretty hot in
the middle of the day, but cool enough at night to make at least one
thickness of blanket acceptable. Life at The Wigwam was very pleasant,
and to this effect Sam wrote home to his mother and sister, and, later,
to Tom Pollock. Sam felt very grateful to Tom for having told him of
the situation, and said so in the letter which he penned one Sunday
afternoon, seated under the trees by the shore of the lake. Among other
things, Sam wrote: “You were right about the railway fare. Mr. Langham
asked me how much it was and he is going to pay it back to me at the
end of the month. I told him he needn’t, but he said it was the custom
and everybody got his travelling expenses, even Kitty-Bett, who is
the cook and a wonder. I just wish, Tom, you could taste some of his
blueberry pie. The shirts you sold me are fine, but I haven’t worn the
sweater yet. The weather has been very warm and no rain yet. Have you
started the nine again? Please write and tell me the news.”

Tom replied very promptly and told all the happenings. The Blues were
getting together again and Buster Healey was to catch for them. Sid was
to play first base. They hadn’t arranged for many games yet, but Lynton
had promised to play them a week from next Saturday. Tom was glad Sam
liked the camp, and he and Sid meant to run up some time in August and
see it.

Meanwhile Sam learned to handle a pair of oars with skill and a
canoe paddle less dexterously. There were fish in the lake and Sam
was a devoted disciple of Walton. His usual companion on his fishing
trips was Tom Crossbush. Tom pretended to be enthusiastic about the
sport, but I think his liking for Sam was the real reason for his
participation in the excursions down the lake. At all events, his
enthusiasm soon wore off after his line was dropped and most of the
fish that were caught came up on Sam’s hook. Once or twice Steve Brown
went along, but Steve didn’t pretend to know much about the gentle art
and as often as not sat for long stretches with, as he said, “nothing
on his hook but water.” Nevertheless, it was Steve who, later on in
August, by some miracle hauled in the biggest black bass in the history
of the camp. It weighed just four pounds and six ounces and Steve was
so delighted that he sent it away to be mounted. Mr. Langham, who,
could he have done so, would have been on the lake every day holding a
bass rod, threw up his hands in disgust when he saw Steve’s capture.
“Beginner’s luck!” he grumbled. “I’ve fished in that lake twenty times
and never got better than a two-pounder! What bait did you have?”

“Just a worm, sir,” answered Steve innocently.

“A worm! You mean an angle-worm?” sputtered the Chief.

Steve assented, and Sam, laughing, said: “He won’t use hellgamites,
Chief. He says they’re too ugly!”

“A garden worm!” exclaimed Mr. Langham. “Great jumping Jupiter! Don’t
you know you don’t catch bass with angle-worms, you ignoramus?”

“Sorry,” replied Steve, grinning. “I caught this one that way, though.”

“I wouldn’t boast of it, then,” grunted the Chief. “You insulted
the fish’s intelligence! Four pounds and six ounces!” Mr. Langham
subsided, shaking his head and viewing the fish enviously.

Bass didn’t always bite, however, and perch were the usual catch. But
four or five fair-sized perch make a palatable addition to the supper
or breakfast menu, and the Chief’s table, at the lower end of which Sam
had his place, was not infrequently graced with it.

Once every week there was a picnic, and on those occasions Sam’s
prowess with hook and line was in demand. Sad to relate, however, it
was at such times that his luck failed him, and very seldom did the
picnickers’ vision of crisply fried perch materialise. That fact never
spoiled the fun, though, and the weekly picnic was a favourite event.
The boys piled into row-boats and canoes, after the small launch had
been filled, and, at the end of tow-lines, were taken up or down or
across Indian Lake to one of the numerous sites. Fellows who could be
thoroughly trusted in canoes were allowed to paddle, but most of them
floated along in the wake of the little launch which, with half a dozen
boats holding her back, barely managed to make six miles an hour. Sam
suspected that one reason picnics were so popular was because there
was no “sister” on such days. To be sure, after luncheon was eaten, a
luncheon skilfully prepared by Kitty-Bett, the boys were supposed to
lie down and keep quiet for the usual half-hour, but the rule was not
rigidly enforced and the boys found many ways of amusing themselves
without actually moving around. By half-past two they were generally
back at the playing-field, for even a picnic doesn’t take the place of
a ball game!

Sam’s team was called the Mascots, Mr. Gifford’s the Indians, and Steve
Brown’s the Brownies. The councillors sometimes played, but more often
confined themselves to coaching. If they did take a hand in a game
they went into the outfield so that the boys might play in the coveted
infield positions. Mr. Gifford’s team was showing up best at the end
of the first fortnight and had won two games. Sam’s charges had won
one and lost one and the Brownies had lost both of their contests. In
fairness to the last named nines, though, it should be explained that
the Indians were fortunate in the possession of the only first-class
pitcher in camp, one George Porter, a slight, wiry chap of fifteen
who had a good curve and a fast straight ball and could mix them up
cunningly. Even Sam, who was considered a very dependable batsman back
in Amesville, had more than once failed to hit young Porter safely.
Aside from pitchers, however, the three teams were evenly matched and
when, the Saturday following the receipt of Tom Pollock’s letter, the
Mascots and the Indians met for their third game, the entire camp was
moved to a high pitch of excitement.



The minute “sister” was over the boys were hurrying toward the
playing-field, followed more leisurely by Sam and Mr. Gifford and Steve
Brown, who was to umpire the contest. The way led through the woods for
nearly a quarter of a mile, over a well-worn path that now skirted the
lake, and now turned inland to cross a brook by a log bridge. Then it
climbed up-hill through a plantation of young maples, hugged the face
of a limestone boulder and dipped again to the edge of the field. The
whole camp turned out, if we omit Mr. Langham, Kitty-Bett, and Jerry;
and Mr. Langham arrived later. Sam and Mr. Gifford set their teams to
warming up and the fellows who were to play the parts of spectators
arranged themselves along the base-lines. It was fairly hot this
afternoon and scarcely a ripple stirred the surface of the lake. The
Indians won the toss and went into the field and Steve Brown called:
“Play ball!”

George Porter disposed of the first three Mascots handily. Tom
Crossbush, who led the batting list, was the only one of the trio to
connect with the ball and his effort only resulted in an easy out at
first. Dick Barry, who pitched for Sam’s nine, was a chunky, stub-nosed
youth of fourteen with very little science but a whole big lot of
assurance. Ned Welch caught him, and Ned, a year older, was a steady
chap behind the plate and handled Dick cleverly. But to-day, as usual,
Dick was touched up pretty frequently. Ed Thursby began the fun for Mr.
Gifford’s tribe with a fly that Dan Peterson, in left field, misjudged
miserably. Ed got to second and the Indians’ third baseman bunted
him to third and reached first himself when Dick Barry threw low to
Crossbush, who played the initial sack. The next man fanned and Dick’s
friends in the audience shouted approval. But Sawyer, the Indian first
baseman, found something he liked and slammed a hit between second and
short and Thursby came home with the first tally. Another hit a minute
later scored a second run and then a pop fly descended into Dick’s
glove and made the second out and before the runner on third could
score a second strike-out was secured by Dick.

The game ran along at two to nothing until the first of the third. Then
the Mascots managed to get a run across by a combination of a hit, a
sacrifice fly, and an error by the Indians’ third baseman. But the
Indians came back in their half with a slugging fest and put two more
tallies across. Neither team was able to do anything in the fourth or
fifth. George Porter ran his strike-out total up to seven and Dick
Barry, while he only fooled one more Indian, somehow managed to escape
punishment. Steve Brown made a decision at first that dissatisfied the
Mascots, when Dick suddenly shot the ball across to Tom Crossbush and
apparently nailed Ned Welch a foot off the bag. But the umpire didn’t
see it that way and, anyhow, the decision made no difference in the

In the first of the sixth inning Sam’s team started off with a rush.
Young Fairchild dribbled a weak bunt along third-base line and the
throw to first went wild. The runner scurried to second and then,
coached frantically to go on, made an apparently hopeless attempt to
reach third. But another wild heave saved him. Third baseman blocked
the ball, but not in time to make the out, and Terry Fairchild,
immensely proud of his feat, sat on the bag and tried to recover his
breath and made derisive remarks to the baseman. Sam instructed the
next batter, Pete Simpson, to try to bunt, hoping that the ball would
be played to the plate and that Pete would get his base. Naturally, the
runner on third was not supposed to go home unless the way was clear,
for there were no outs.

Pete had a strike and two balls called on him before he found anything
he thought he could use to advantage. Then he struck loosely against
a high ball and by good luck sent it rolling along the first-base
path. Pete raced for first and Pitcher Porter raced for the ball. And,
contrary to instructions from the third-base coach, young Fairchild,
doubtless desiring to still further glorify himself, sprinted for
home. He had about one chance in twenty of reaching it safely, for
Porter scooped up the ball on the run, turned swiftly, and threw to the
plate. And Jimmy Benson, astride the platter, caught it waist-high,
and everything should have been lovely for the Indians. But Terry
Fairchild, sprawling on his back, with both legs kicking in the air,
arrived a fraction of a second after the ball and, since Benson was in
the way, Terry just naturally collided with him, knocked his feet from
under him, and went by. Unfortunately, the shock was so disturbing to
the catcher that he inadvertently loosed his hold on the ball and the
ball followed Terry into the dust. And Steve Brown, who had already
motioned the runner out, reversed his decision, and Peter Simpson slid
to second.

Jimmy Benson was disgruntled, even angry, and said unkind things to
Terry. But Terry, picking himself up with a swagger and patting the
dust from his scant costume, only grinned exasperatingly and walked to
the bench, there to be hilariously patted and hugged by his team-mates.
When, however, he glanced toward Sam, expecting praise, he got a

“Don’t do that again, Fairchild,” said the junior councillor severely.
“Mind what the coach tells you. You made it, but you had no business
making it, and if Benson hadn’t dropped the ball you’d have looked
pretty cheap. You take your orders from the coach, Fairchild, after

Terry, chastened in spirit, subsided amidst the smiles of the others
as Jones faced the Indian pitcher. Porter was in the air now, and,
although Mr. Gifford called encouragement and Benson counselled him to
take his time and “put them over,” he slammed the ball in vindictively
and Jones drew a pass. Porter steadied down then, but the team,
especially the infield, was unsettled, and, after Welch, with two
strikes against him, hit squarely to first baseman and made the first
out, Simpson and Jones tried a double steal and got away with it, the
Indian shortstop dropping the throw from the plate. Cheers and jeers
rewarded this event. Benson tried to steady the team as Dick Barry went
to bat.

“Never mind that, fellows!” called Jimmy. “Here’s an easy one! Strike
him out, George! Three will do it! Put ’em right over the middle, he
couldn’t hit a basket-ball!”

Possibly Dick couldn’t have hit a basket-ball, but he did manage to
connect with one of Porter’s curves and send it just over second
baseman’s head. When the ball was back in the pitcher’s hands two more
runs had crossed the plate, Dick was safe at first, and the score was a
tie at four runs each. But the Mascots were not through even then. Sam,
realising that now was the time to win, if ever, urged his fellows to
their best endeavours. Tom Crossbush, however, over-anxious for a hit,
struck at everything and, after fouling off two good ones, bit at a
wide curve, and retired morosely to the bench.

“Two gone!” announced the coaches. “Run on anything, Dick!”

So Dick took a chance and scuttled for second and beat the ball by
several feet. Peterson waited while Porter worked a strike and two
balls on him. Then he met the next offering fairly and squarely for
the longest hit of the game, and sent it far into centre field, at
least a yard over Meldrum’s head, and while that youth scampered back
for it, raced desperately around the bases in an attempt to stretch
a three-bagger into a home run. Fortunately, though, he was held up
at third, to score the sixth tally a minute later when Groom’s easy
infield hit got by Thursby at second. Peterson reached the plate on
his stomach, the merest fraction of an instant ahead of the ball.
Then White hit a swift one to Thursby, and that youth, retrieving his
previous error, made a flying one-hand catch for the third out.

But six to four looked good to the Mascots and they trotted into the
field with the determination to hold their advantage. And they did,
for the rest of the sixth at least. For Dick Barry, summoning all the
craft he knew, and ably seconded by Ned Welch, disposed of the next two
Indians without trouble. The third banged out a two-bagger into right,
and subsequently stole third when Welch let a delivery get past him,
but he got no further that inning, for the next batsman was an easy
out, second baseman to first.

There was no scoring in either half of the seventh, although the
Indians had two men on bases at one time, with only one out. What luck
there was broke for the Mascots; and the first double-play of the game,
participated in by Groom and Crossbush, put an end to the inning. In
the eighth the Mascots came near to scoring when Peterson reached third
on a base hit and a wild throw to second and tried to score on White’s
grounder to shortstop. At that the decision at the plate was close and
might have gone either way.

In their half the Indians set to work with vim and lighted on Dick
Barry hard. Codman hit safely, Benson got his base on balls, Porter
struck out, Thursby sacrificed, and Nettleton, with only one gone,
filled the bases by a pop fly to Dick, which that overeager youth
dropped. Things looked desperate then for Sam’s charges, but a minute
later Sawyer had fouled out to third baseman and the Mascots and their
allies breathed freer. They were not to emerge unscathed, however,
for Meldrum hit a bounder that just tipped Dick’s upstretched fingers
and was finally fielded by Groom too late to throw to the plate or to
first, and the Indians scored their fifth run. Then, after missing the
plate three times out of four, and putting himself in a hole, Dick
made a sudden throw to second and, after a wildly exciting moment, the
runner was caught between bases.

Simpson opened the ninth for the Mascots with a bunt that trickled down
the first-base line and threatened every instant to roll out, but never
did, much to the disgust of Porter and Benson, who hovered anxiously
over it. Had Porter fielded it at once he could have made the assist,
but he left the decision with the ball and the ball fooled him. Then
Jones sacrificed Peterson to second, Welch struck out, Barry lifted
a fly to left field that was an easy catch and, with two down and a
runner on second, the inning looked about over. But Tom Crossbush drew
a pass and stole second on the first pitch, while Simpson went to
third, and then Dan Peterson scored Simpson, with a hit over second

The Mascots leaped and shrieked with delight, and while the Indians
were still wondering what had happened, and while George Porter was
winding up to send his first offering to Billy White, Crossbush, who
was dancing back and forth a dozen feet from third, suddenly broke for
the plate. Shouts of warning, shrieks of excitement! Porter momentarily
faltering as he pitched! Crossbush sliding feet foremost for the
platter! Benson leaping far to the right in a despairing effort to get
the ball! Peterson rounding second like a runaway colt! And then, while
the brown dust billowed, Steve Brown announcing, “Safe!”

Eight to five then, and nothing to it but the Mascots! Shouting and
dancing and pandemonium along the lines! And, finally, White striking
out and a deep breath of relief from the Indians and their supporters.

And there practically ended the game, for the Indians failed to put
over a single tally in their half of the final inning, and ten minutes
later the camp was thronging homeward, the Mascots very cocky and
talkative, and the Indians confiding to their friends what they would
do the next time!



The afternoon’s game was talked over by all hands that evening at
camp-fire. Once or twice the argument grew warm, but it never passed
the bounds of good-nature. Mr. Gifford criticised the playing, as
did Sam and Steve Brown, pointing out mistakes and making helpful
suggestions. Mr. Gifford had played baseball all during his college
course and knew the game well. Sam, with less experience, was chary
of criticism until urged to it by the others. When he did give his
opinion, however, it was worth hearing, for he spoke of several things
which had seemingly evaded Mr. Gifford’s eyes.

“I noticed,” said Sam, “that neither of the outfields to-day studied
the batsman as they should. They played in the same positions for a
right-handed batter as for a left. Of course, it’s up to the captain
or the pitcher to see the outfield as well as the infield is where it
should be, but every outfielder ought to realise that a right-handed
batter is going to hit more to the left than a left-handed batter, and
he ought to move over accordingly. The infield the same way, only, of
course, the infield needn’t change position so much. On the Mascots,
White stood too far back for most batsmen. He was all right for a long
hit to centre, but he would have lost two out of three hits into short
centre. The--the ideal position for any fielder is where he can run
in quickly for short flies and grounders and run out easily for long
ones. Of course no outfielder can station himself where he is going to
be able to reach every ball. If he gets so far back that he can handle
three-baggers and homers he is going to miss short hits. But you want
to remember that it is a heap easier to run in for a ball than it is
to run out, because when you’re running in you can judge the ball as
you go, and when you’re running out you have got to make up your mind
about where the ball is coming down and then turn your back and scoot.
The only way to judge the ball is to look over your shoulder, and
that isn’t easy. So the best thing for an outfielder to do is to play
his position about two-thirds back. That is, leave two-thirds of his
territory in front of him and one-third behind him. And an outfielder’s
territory begins at a point where it’s impossible for an infielder to
reach a fly and extends to the farthest limits of a home run. If your
infielders are smart at running back and getting flies, your territory
is--is shortened just so much, and you can play further out than you
can if your basemen and shortstop are weak on hits outside the diamond.
I don’t know that I’ve explained this very clearly.”

“I think you have,” said Mr. Langham. “Don’t you, fellows?”

There was a chorus of assent, and Sam continued.

“Another thing was that Peterson played too far to the right in left
field. That fly of Thursby’s would have been an out if Peterson had
been in position for it. Thursby bats right-handed and Peterson was
playing as though for a left-hander. Peterson made a fine try for it,
but he had to cover too much ground. So, you see, an outfielder has
got to divide his territory in two ways, lengthwise and crosswise. Of
course, on the big teams it’s customary for the catcher, or sometimes
the pitcher, to signal to the infield what the delivery is to be
and the infielders, usually second baseman or shortstop, let the
outfielders know. Because a certain kind of a ball, if it is hit, is
pretty sure to go to a certain part of the field, as you all know.”

“That’s something I didn’t know,” laughed the Chief. “Suppose you
explain for my benefit, Craig.”

“Well, sir, of course I don’t mean that a certain ball always goes
to a certain place when hit, but it generally does. For instance, if
there’s a right-handed batter up and the pitcher sends him a slow ball,
either in the groove or with an out-curve, that ball is usually hit
before it quite reaches the plate, because the batter doesn’t judge the
speed of it in time to wait for it, and that hit goes into third-base
territory or beyond. The same way, if the pitcher sends in a fast ball,
straight or with an out-curve, the batter will hit late or after the
ball has passed the centre of the plate and it will go toward first
base or right field. A ball of ordinary speed, like a straight drop,
usually goes toward second base. Of course, some batters can meet a
slow ball just right and then these--these probabilities are upset. But
by the--the law of averages, a slow ball to a right-hander goes to
left field and a fast ball to right. And so, if the fielders know what
the pitcher is going to pitch they can either shift their positions or,
anyhow, be prepared.”

“Doesn’t shifting position give the thing away?” asked Steve Brown.

“I think it does,” Sam agreed. “But for all that some of the big teams
do it. I don’t think, though, that it’s necessary. If you’re playing
in the outfield, say, and you get the signal that the hit is coming to
your right, that’s enough. You’re ready to move that way the instant
the ball goes to the batter.”

“That’s what I suppose you call inside baseball,” commented Mr.
Langham. “It is very interesting. You must have played a good deal of
baseball, Craig, to know so much about it.”

“I’ve played several years, sir,” replied Sam, a bit embarrassed. “I’ve
always caught, though, and you have a better chance to study the game
from behind the bat than from anywhere else on the field, I guess. I--I
didn’t mean to talk so much, though, when I started out.”

“I don’t think you need apologise. I think we’ve all been very much
interested. And I dare say I’m not the only one who has learned
something. How about it, fellows!”

Hearty agreement greeted this, and George Meldrum said: “I think it
would be fine if Mr. Craig would tell us something like that every
evening. I guess all us fellows want to know about baseball; I mean
stuff like he’s told us to-night. I know I do.”

“That’s so,” agreed Ned Welch. “How about another lecture to-morrow,
Mr. Craig!”

“I’m afraid that’s what it sounded like, a lecture,” said Sam ruefully.

“No, I didn’t mean it that way,” replied Ned earnestly. “We liked it.
I always thought that stuff about a certain kind of a ball going to a
certain part of the field was just--just made up by men who write about
baseball. I didn’t think anyone could really know beforehand, sir.”

“Let’s try it the next time we play,” said Mr. Gifford, “and see how
it works out. Anyway, what Mr. Craig has said about shifting positions
according to the batter is excellent advice. And we’ll see if we can’t
persuade him to tell us some more to-morrow night, fellows. Who plays
next Wednesday, by the way?”

“Your team and the Brownies,” answered someone. And a discussion of the
probable outcome of that contest followed and almost before anyone knew
it nine o’clock had arrived.

Camp-fire was always a pleasant hour. The fire was built each morning
on a circular floor of stones some eighty feet up the hill from The
Tepee and just at the edge of the forest. About it each night the
councillors and boys gathered. At eight the fire was lighted and in
its cheery glare the day’s events were discussed, stories were told,
songs were sung, and plans for the morrow laid. Several of the boys
played instruments. When the entire orchestra was assembled there were
three mandolins, two banjos, and a violin to make music. None of the
performers save perhaps Horace Chase was very talented, but all made
up for lack of skill by their willingness to entertain. Young Chase,
who played the violin, was of different calibre, and when he took his
instrument out of its case the audience was sure of a real treat.

Sam never forgot those nights when, stretched out on the pine-needles,
or, if the evening was damp, on a blanket from his cot, he lay in the
mellow firelight and listened to Horace Chase play “Annie Laurie”
or “Home, Sweet Home.” He had merrier tunes, but those two seemed
to be the choice of the boys. Or perhaps the mandolins and banjos
would be strumming together, or fairly near together, some rag-time
tune. Or perhaps the fellows would be singing such songs as “Solomon
Levi” or “Boola” or some more recent favourite. Often a big white
moon swam overhead or played hide-and-seek amongst the branches of
the dark trees, and the lake, below them, showed a wonderful silvery
path to the farthest shore. They were very pleasant, those camp-fire
hours; fragrant with the night odours of trees and grass and pungent
pine-needles, musical with the lap of the water against the shore and
the whisper of the breeze amidst the trees and the sleepy chirp of
unseen birds; blessed, too, with a fine atmosphere of good-comradeship;
nights to be long remembered.

Sam did continue his baseball talks, although he didn’t give one every
evening, and the boys liked them and always demanded more. Not all of
Sam’s knowledge had been gained at first-hand, you may be sure. Much
of it he had read or been told, but all of it he had seen put to the
test. And, before the summer was over, much of it was put to the test
again, for the fellows profited by what they heard and, as far as it
was possible in the circumstances, followed Sam’s advice.

Some amusing incidents developed. As, on the Wednesday following Sam’s
first talk, when, in the game between the Indians and Brownies, Jimmy
Benson signalled for a fast ball and the fielders, getting the signal
from Jimmy, moved to the left, and the batter lined a hot one six feet
inside of third base, and there was no one there to even knock it down!
But the incident didn’t prove Sam’s theory at fault, since Jimmy and
Porter both acknowledged afterwards that the ball had not been what the
signal called for, but a slow out-shoot. It had been a case of mixed
signals between catcher and pitcher. Again, in a later contest between
the same teams, the Brownies, who had fixed up a most elaborate system
of signals, had a runner on third and one on second. With two gone,
a double steal was called for. The boy on second got the signal, but
the runner on third was evidently day-dreaming, and a moment later
the surprising sight of two runners each claiming third base was in
evidence! That bungle probably cost the Brownies the game and for some
time a signal code was viewed by them with disfavour.

But baseball was not the only interest at The Wigwam. The first week
in August there was an afternoon of water sports that provided lots of
fun and not a little excitement. By that time many of the beginners
had attained to quite a degree of proficiency, and in the forty-yard
swimming race more than twenty younger boys lined up and struggled
gallantly for the honours. What a splashing and gurgling and general
rumpus there was! Mr. Langham laughingly said that it reminded him of a
swarm of minnows trying to get away from a pickerel!

Harry Codman, a sturdy thirteen-year-old youth, won by a scant yard
over Billy White, and after that most of the others floundered across
the finish in a bunch and none of the judges could have told who was
entitled to third place. A twelve-year-old chap named Walters very
nearly made a tragedy of the event. Walters tired himself so in the
first dash that when, halfway through the race, one of the other
swimmers accidentally kicked him in the stomach, Walters lost all
interest in the race and tried hard to drown in three feet of water.
It was Sam who saw what had happened and dropped from the landing
and pulled a much-exhausted and water-logged youth to dry land. The
programme was halted while young Walters restored some of the water he
had swallowed.

There were many entries for the tilting tournament. The contestants
occupied canoes and were armed with ten-foot poles. The poles held a
pad at one end and the bows of the canoes were likewise protected.
The boys “had at” each other most briskly until some fortunate thrust
deposited one or other of the tilters either in the bottom of his canoe
or in the water. Joe Groom emerged triumphant from three encounters and
finally met George Porter in the final bout. Cheered by the onlookers,
the boys approached each other warily. Each canoe was paddled by a
partner in the stern, Ned Welch for Joe and Ralph Murdock for George.
Naturally, a good deal depended on the cleverness of the paddler in
manœuvring the canoe and each of the operators was well skilled. Joe
and George, poles ready, stood in the bows while the craft neared each
other cautiously and the audience laughed and jeered. Then Ned Welch
dug his paddle and his canoe shot forward.

But George and his mate were ready. Their craft sheered aside, avoiding
the bow of the other, and George, thrusting low, almost won the event
there and then. Fortunately for Joe, however, the padded pole glanced
off his leg and he recovered his balance but not in time to retaliate.
The canoes swept past each other, turned and again drew together. This
time they met bows on and a fast and furious battle ensued. Once George
went reeling backward and his canoe rocked dangerously, but steady work
by Murdock avoided an upset. Ned Welch, pressing the advantage, pushed
after the retreating craft, and Joe sought to get under the guard of
his opponent. George, though, recovered finely and defended himself
so well that in a moment he was again forcing the fighting and only a
well-executed retreat by Ned saved Joe from defeat. Ned backed away
quickly, turning almost in the length of the canoe, and before Murdock
could solve his intention, had drawn parallel and slightly to the rear.
Murdock paddled furiously and shot his craft ahead, but Ned was on his
heels and the spectacle of the two warriors, each maintaining his
equilibrium with difficulty, proceeding frantically out into the lake
almost side by side brought bursts of laughter from the onlookers.

It was a stern chase for a minute and then Ned’s muscles prevailed and
Joe drew up within pole’s length of his enemy. George, facing toward
the stern of his rocking canoe, strove to beat down the thrust that Joe
made. But Joe’s aim was good and he put all his force into the delivery
and the padded end of his pole caught George under one shoulder and
fairly lifted him off his feet. Over he went, backward, still grasping
his pole, and disappeared from sight, while a shout of applause and
laughter arose from the landing and boats, a shout which redoubled
an instant later when Joe, having lost his balance in the desperate
thrust, staggered, tried to save himself, failed finally, and, dropping
his weapon, plunged heels over head in the lake!



Dripping and grinning the two warriors were pulled into row-boats and
taken ashore, where Mr. Gifford, referee of the tournament, announced
the match a draw.

There was a senior diving contest, won by Tom Crossbush, and a junior
contest for the younger youths. And there were several other swimming
races of varying distances. And, finally, a special race of an eighth
of a mile, more or less, between Sam and Steve Brown, in which Sam
allowed his competitor something like fifty yards and beat him out

There were no prizes given, but Steve Brown recorded the events and the
names of the winners with a hot poker on a wooden panel and the panel
was hung in The Wigwam.

The ball games went on twice each week and the Indians, thanks to
George Porter’s pitching, distanced their rivals without much trouble.
It was well into August before the Mascots again won a victory from
Mr. Gifford’s team, having meanwhile lost four more games to it. The
Brownies were easy picking for both the other nines, and, in fact, won
but two games all the season, defeating the Mascots once, 12 to 10,
and the Indians, 7 to 4. In the latter game Porter was suffering, as
he later acknowledged, from too many unripe apples, and his pitching
was far from being up to his standard. Toward the middle of August
there was a noticeable improvement in the work of all the teams. The
fellows batted better, fielded better, and ran bases better, and,
too, developed not a little team-play. Even the Brownies had their
star performer, that same Ralph Murdock who had piloted George Porter
through the tilting bouts. Murdock was a born first baseman and a fine
batsman as well, and had his team-mates possessed half his ability the
Brownies would have been a nine to fear.

The councillors usually played only in practice, but once or twice, by
common agreement, they took part in a game. When they did the fielders
were busy. Mr. Gifford was the slugging kind of a batter and in one
game drove out three home runs, a double, and a single in five times
at bat. The Indians were playing the Brownies that day, and Steve
Brown, while he did not succeed in rivalling Mr. Gifford’s batting
record, always managed to reach first and then showed what could be
done by a smart base-runner. He stole second brazenly, using the
fallaway slide to such purpose that it was a hopeless matter to try
and stop him. Once on second, he had scarcely more difficulty reaching
third and on two occasions he made barefaced steals to the plate. In
one inning he reached first on a scratch hit and then stole home before
the following batsman had been retired! The Indians soon got so that
they only half-heartedly attempted to stay him in his delirious romps
around the bases, only Mr. Gifford daring to dispute his progress.
Mr. Gifford played in centre field and once, having come in almost to
the base-line to field a short fly, he conceived the idea of catching
Steve off third. Steve was enjoying a twelve-foot lead at the moment,
doubtless considering his chance of getting home ahead of the ball. Mr.
Gifford pegged suddenly to third baseman and that youth made a perfect
catch. But, contrary to expectation, Steve didn’t scuttle back to
safety at third. Instead, he dashed for the plate at top speed. Third
baseman heaved the ball to catcher. Steve turned and doubled back.
Catcher went after him along the base-line. By that time most of the
infield had gathered about to help retire the annoying Mr. Brown and
there was much shouting and confusion. But it was evidently not the
first time that Steve had been caught between bases. He ran and ducked
and doubled as coolly and craftily as if he quite enjoyed it, which he
doubtless did. And at last, just when the shortstop, who had joined the
fray, was on the point of tagging him, Steve spurted back to third,
upsetting two players on the way and slid into the bag in safety.

Much applause then from the audience of non-combatants and from the
bench where the Brownies were congregated. Much laughter, too, and not
a little “ragging” of the Indians. Out near second Mr. Gifford shook a
threatening fist at Steve as the latter arose and patted the dust from
his flannel trousers. Disconsolately and a bit sheepishly, the Indians
returned to their places. At the plate, Jimmy Benson stooped to pick
up his mask. In the pitcher’s box George Porter, ball in hand, back
to the plate, waited for the fielders to get in position. And at that
psychological instant Steve Brown trotted home!

He didn’t even hurry. There was a shout of alarm from the third baseman
and Porter turned to see the councillor halfway to the plate. Porter
raised his arm to throw, but there was Benson, intensely agitated but
helpless, struggling with his mask. And so Steve crossed the home-plate
at a slow lope and turned smilingly toward the bench. The ball reached
the plate a moment later and rolled against the backstop. The Indians
were not allowed to forget that incident for many days.

In another contest, when Sam was playing left field for his team and
Mr. Gifford was with the Indians, there was a batting contest that
was worth seeing. Sam was something of a heavy hitter himself, and he
didn’t find George Porter very difficult. Sam and Mr. Gifford, then,
vied with each other and kept the opposing outfields very busy indeed.
Mr. Gifford got no home runs that time, but he made a record of two
doubles and three singles, and his doubles might have gone for triples
if the Mascots’ outfielders hadn’t been playing well back. Sam got
one three-bagger, a double, and two singles, on the other occasion
popping a foul to first baseman. In the matter of total bases the two
councillors came off even, but it was claimed by the Mascots that Sam’s
triple had gained him the palm. As far as the game itself went, the
Indians won it easily.

There came a rainy spell in the middle of the month, that made baseball
out of the question for several days and the boys began to show signs
of fidgeting. There wasn’t much they could do to work off their
surplus animation when it rained. Not that the rain kept many of them
indoors, for it didn’t; but knocking about in wet boats and canoes
soon palled, tennis was impracticable, and there seemed to remain no
outdoor amusement. By the fourth day the fellows had begun to get into
mischief in sheer boredom and Mr. Langham realised that something must
be done; that some outlet must be provided for the stored-up energy.
The councillors talked it over in the office that morning. The rain
still pelted down and the buildings were damp and cheerless in spite
of the fires that flared all day in the big chimney-places. Sam, who
had put on his raincoat and had his pockets bulging with bait-box and
fishing tackle, hoped the conference would soon be over, for he and
Tom Crossbush were going down the lake after bass. As it turned out,
however, there was to be no fishing for them to-day.

“I suppose,” said Mr. Langham, “we couldn’t get up any sort of an
athletic meet, Brown?”

“No, sir; everything’s flooded at the field. The pits are mud-holes.”

“Well, we ought to get them busy at something, fellows. They’ll be
getting into trouble if we don’t. I thought I detected a strong odour
of cigarettes under the window yesterday.”

Mr. Haskins nodded. “Three or four of the older boys were in the trunk
cellar. I--er--I went down there, but failed to apprehend them.”

The Chief tried not to smile. They all knew that Mr. Haskins had
undoubtedly warned the boys of his approach and carefully waited until
they had hidden all incriminating evidence before he had confronted
them. Mr. Langham coughed and looked out the dripping window.

“We mustn’t have smoking, Haskins,” he said gravely.

“No, sir. If you’d like the names----”

“No, no,” responded the Chief hurriedly. “If there’s no evidence----
What we’ve got to do is to get them busy so they won’t get into any
deviltry. Anyone got a suggestion?”

Apparently no one had. At least none spoke for a moment. Then Mr.
Gifford said doubtfully: “We might let them go over to the village for
the afternoon, sir.”

The village lay across and down the lake some two miles, a tiny hamlet
boasting of three or four stores, a blacksmith shop, and a station,
from which an occasional train rambled away to the north on an
unimportant branch line. Mr. Haskins smiled.

“There isn’t much for them to do over there,” he said. “They might buy
root-beer and candy and make themselves sick, but that’s about all.”

“What we want is something they can go at hard,” said Mr. Langham,
frowning over the problem. “Something that’ll leave them healthily
tired out.” Another silence followed and then Sam asked:

“Would it do them any harm to sleep out of doors, sir?”

“Sleep out of doors? Why, on wet ground, yes, I presume it would.” He
looked questioningly at Sam.

“I was thinking that we might have a hike, sir.”

“A hike,” repeated the Chief thoughtfully. “I don’t know, Craig. You

“That’s what they need, Chief,” said Mr. Gifford. “What’s your idea,

“Well, I thought we might select a place say five or six miles away,
divide the fellows into two parties and set out with blankets and grub
and see which party could get there first. There might be some sort of
prize or reward. Of course, it would mean sleeping outdoors----”

“But if the parties started out together it would just be a race,
wouldn’t it?” objected Mr. Gifford. “Pretty strenuous, I’m afraid, Sam.”

“I thought we could set out different ways, perhaps. We could see that
the fellows didn’t overdo it. The idea would be to get there first, but
in good condition. That would mean resting along the way, taking the
easiest routes, and so on. It’s just a suggestion. And I don’t know
anything about the country around here. Maybe it wouldn’t do.”

“I say,” exclaimed Steve Brown, “isn’t there a picnic-ground or
something of that sort over at Miles, Chief? Seems to me I remember a
big open building near the railway.”

“Yes, a park they used to hold Chautauquas in. You mean we could sleep
there, eh? Not a bad idea. In fact, the scheme sounds good. What do you

“Excellent,” voted Mr. Haskins. “And I’d like it myself first-rate. My
legs certainly need stretching.”

“We’d have to take blankets and eats, wouldn’t we?” asked Steve. “And
some cooking things, too, I suppose. Or we might find some place to
feed over there.”

“It would be more fun for the boys if we cooked our own grub,” said Mr.
Gifford. “Let’s do it, Chief!”

“Well, by Jove, we will! And I’ll go along. Now let’s figure on rations
and luggage.”

And that is how the Marathon Picnic, as the boys called it, came
about. Shortly after dinner--siesta being disregarded that day--the
boys congregated in The Wigwam and the plan, of which they had already
caught an inkling, was explained to them. It met with instant acclaim.
Had the Chief suggested a trip to the North Pole they would have
welcomed it. Mr. Gifford and Sam alternately selected members for
the rival parties until every boy had a place on the “Reds” or the
“Blues,” as they chose to call them. Mr. Haskins was finally drawn by
Mr. Gifford and Steve Brown by Sam. Mr. Langham, when they set out,
elected to throw in his lot with the “Reds,” Mr. Gifford’s party. Every
fellow rolled up his blanket, tied the ends together and slipped it
over a shoulder. Then he donned his raincoat. Food and a few cooking
utensils were apportioned out and went into pockets or were slung over
shoulders, and a tin cup graced every belt. At half-past two all was
ready for the start.



Miles, a small village about four miles distant from camp in a straight
line, was on the opposite side of Indian Lake. A study of the map had
shown that if the trip was made entirely afoot the distance was nearly
seven miles, whether one passed around the southern end of the lake or
the northern. Some light advantage appeared to lie with the northern
route, since one could finish the journey over the railroad track and
so save a possible half-mile. Mr. Gifford and Sam had tossed a coin
for choice of routes and the former had won and selected the northern
way. Almost on the minute of the half-hour the two parties, shouting
good-bye, set off from in front of The Wigwam, the “Reds” hiking
briskly away toward the road that led to the Indian Lake station and
the “Blues” skirting the lake to cross the playing-field and ultimately
reach the road which led by many turns and angles about the southern
or lower end of the lake.

It had been agreed that after half of the distance had been covered
each party should be divided into a first and second group, the slower
walkers in the latter, each group in charge of one of the councillors.
This was to keep the weaker boys from straggling and, possibly, getting
lost. Filled with enthusiasm and a physical energy generated by three
days of inactivity, the “Blues” set off at a pace which would have left
them tired out before half the distance had been traversed had Sam
allowed them to continue. But once away from camp he took the lead and
made the fellows suit their pace to his.

“We’ve got seven miles to do, fellows,” he said, “and maybe more, and
the idea is not only to get there first, but to get there in good
condition. If we overdo it now we’ll suffer later. Three miles an hour
over the roads we’ll have is plenty fast enough. Some of you could do
better than that and some of you will find it a little too fast. After
a while we’ll divide into two squads and Mr. Brown will take one and
I’ll take the other. Those of you who feel the pace can take it more
slowly with the second crowd. If any of you have to stop you must tell
Mr. Brown or me, so you won’t get left behind. There isn’t any reason
why you should, though, because there’ll be a rest of a few minutes
every half-hour.”

Steve Brown joined Sam, and, turning occasionally to make sure that
none of the nineteen youths who comprised the squad was straggling, the
two councillors and the boys about them chatted and laughed and had
a very merry time of it in spite of the steady downpour of rain. The
first half-mile was across country and, toward the end of it, the going
was mostly up-hill. At last, though, they came suddenly on the road, a
narrow and ever-winding country lane just wide enough for one vehicle.
Fortunately, the soil was mostly sand and the roadway was consequently
fairly dry. At least, there were few of the puddles and muddy stretches
which they were to encounter later on. The woods closed in on each side
of them, although occasionally they had a brief view of the lake, grey
and sullen, a half-mile or so below. It was shortly after reaching the
road that Sam called the first halt after consulting what he called his
“one-jewelled watch.”

Some of the boys had not yet found their second wind and were glad
to perch themselves for a few minutes along the side of the road.
The weather was by no means chilly and those whose raincoats were of
rubber found them much too warm, especially as they also had their
blanket-rolls across back and chest. Several begged to be allowed to
remove their coats, but this neither Sam nor Steve thought it wise to
consent to. A few minutes past three they went on, some of the older
and stronger fellows inclined to grumble over the slowness of the pace.
The road presently turned abruptly toward the east and led them out on
the summit of a sparsely-wooded ridge from which they had a view of
the lower end of the lake and of the country on the other side. On a
fair day, as Steve said, they might have seen the camp very easily, for
they had reached a point nearly halfway around the end of the lake and
much of the eastern shore was visible. The councillors discussed the
advisability of cutting across near the lake and trusting to pick up
the road again later, and the boys were much in favour of the plan, but
it was finally decided that, although they might gain in distance, the
more difficult travelling would equalise matters and that it would be
best to keep to the highway even though it insisted on fairly turning
its back on their destination.

By the time the next rest was taken some straggling was already in
evidence. Several of the younger fellows showed a disposition to slow
down, and Sam and Steve decided that at the next stop the party should
be divided into the two squads as planned. It was then nearly twenty
minutes to four and they judged that they had covered about three miles
and a half, although as no one had a pedometer save young Chase, and
his was, as he explained, absolutely unreliable, this estimate was
mostly guesswork and, as indicated later, probably too great by the
better part of a mile. At five minutes past four, they having then
struck fairly westward once more, with, as they believed, the lower
end of the lake well behind them, another halt was called and Steve
recruited for his rear-guard.

Strangely, however, few of the nineteen would allow that they
were at all tuckered. Horace Chase and Billy White confessed to
blistered heels, but were all for keeping up with the first group.
The councillors had to take matters into their own hands and, using
their best judgment, relegate eight of the nineteen to the rear squad.
Most of the eight objected strenuously. They felt themselves utterly
disgraced. Mutiny was in the air and the two councillors had to be
very stern and short-spoken before affairs were finally settled. Then
Sam with his eleven started off a bit more briskly and Steve, waving a
laughing good-bye and threatening to get there first, after all, held
his overeager and disgruntled squad to what they grumblingly assured
him was a snail’s-pace.

There was less talking now in the ranks. Fellows had found it wise to
husband their breath, for the road had grown muddy and wet and the
walking was harder. The rear squad soon dropped from sight around a
turn and Sam’s party, pushing forward at a good rate of speed, began
to look for signs of civilisation. But another half-hour passed, with
its accompanying rest--only two or three minutes this time--before they
caught sight of their first house. It was a deserted cabin perched
on a gravelly hill just off the road. But even the sight of an empty
house was welcome, since it seemed to promise a settlement, near at
hand. And, a quarter of an hour later, the settlement, such as it was,
appeared. There was a country store and half a dozen houses in it, and
Sam called a halt while he entered the store to make inquiries. Several
of the boys went inside with him, while the others seated themselves on
the edge of the rickety platform outside to rest.

The only occupant of the store was an elderly man who hobbled forward
with the aid of a hickory stick. He was very deaf and Sam was forced to
twice repeat his question before the store-keeper sensed it. Then he
grinned a toothless grin and asked: “On foot, be ye?”

Sam assured him that they were and the old man shook his head.

“It’s a goodish way to Miles,” he said. “Most four miles, I guess, by
the road.”

“Four miles!” ejaculated Sam. “But, man alive, we’ve walked at least
six and it was supposed to be only seven when we started.”

“Where’d ye come from?”

“The Wigwam, a boys’ camp on Indian Lake. It’s about three miles this
side of Indian Lake village.”

“Well, if ye was goin’ to Miles why didn’t ye cross the lake?”
inquired the man contemptuously.

“We wanted to walk. Does this road we’re on now go to Miles?”

“Uh-huh, mostly. It goes to Tappenville, too, and Lower Millis. If you
keep to the right turn about a mile an’ a half beyond here and then
take the middle branch a ways beyond that ag’in you’ll likely get to

“Is there any shorter way?”

“Well, there is an’ there ain’t. If you go across that field yonder an’
find Benny James’s place likely he’ll row ye across to t’other side,
an’ then----”

“But we want to walk,” said Sam impatiently.

“Uh-huh; all right. Keep the road then, son.”

“And there’s no short cut?”

“I don’t know as there be. Still, ye might strike off across the hill
when ye reach the first fork. Likely you’d pick up the road ag’in
beyond Lower Millis.”

“I see.” Sam frowned thoughtfully. Finally, “I guess we’d better stick
to the road,” he said.

“Uh-huh; I would if I was you, son.”

Rather dejectedly then they took up the journey once more. “I don’t
believe the old codger knows what he’s talking about,” grumbled Tom
Crossbush. “How can it be four miles further when we’ve walked five or

“Five or six!” said another of the party. “I’ll bet we’ve walked ten!”

A little further on, the rain, which for the past hour had been hardly
more than a drizzle, stopped entirely, and off came raincoats. Walking
was a bit easier then. The road went up hill and down and turned and
twisted crazily. At the first fork a sign-post pointed one way to
Tappenville and another to Lower Millis, but said nothing of Miles. But
they took the right-hand road, after Sam had pinned a note of direction
to Steve on the post, and went doggedly on, resisting the temptation
to leave the highway and try the short-cut across country. The road
seemed bent on travelling in every direction save that in which they
wanted to go. There never was such a stupid, stubborn old road as that!
Murmurs of discontent began to be heard. The fellows were thoroughly
disappointed, too, because all hope of winning the hike was now idle.
It was already after five o’clock and doubtless by this time the “Reds”
were comfortably encamped and waiting for supper. The thought of that
supper encouraged them to renewed exertions.

It’s a long lane that has no turning, and at last Sam, who had been
watching anxiously for a good half-hour for their destination, gave an
exclamation of relief. The winding road turned a sudden corner, and
there, straight ahead, loomed a white triangle on which was lettered:
“Railroad Crossing--Look Out for the Engine.” With whoops of joy the
boys gained the track and set off northward, fatigue and disappointment
forgotten in the prospect of reaching the end of the journey. Only
a hundred yards or so further on a wider road than the one they had
abandoned crossed the railway. On one side, perhaps a half-mile away,
lay Indian Lake, glimpsed through a fringe of trees that bordered a
meadow. In that direction stood a red-brown farm-house, and the sun,
slipping for an instant from the wrack of clouds above the western
horizon, flashed ruddily against the distant windows. Turning their
backs on the lake, they followed the new road. A house came into
sight, a dog barked at them, somewhere a rooster crowed, civilisation
drew near. And then, without warning, the brief glimpse of sunlight
faded and the rain began once more. And at almost the same moment a
lane branched to the right ahead of them and a sign nailed to a tree
directed them to “Centennial Park.”

With raincoats thrown hastily over their heads to keep their blankets
dry the boys broke into a trot. The lane ascended a hill, a gleam of
white shone through the trees ahead, voices came to them, and a moment
later they were “out of the woods” in more ways than one. The trees
gave place to open turf and they were on a hill, the lake stretching
below in the rain-blurred twilight. In front was a roofed building,
open on all sides. To the left were some smaller structures; sheds,
booths, and so on, all tightly boarded up. Under the big roof of the
auditorium boys were lounging or moving about, and as Sam’s squad
crossed the park a shout of greeting met them.

With rather less enthusiasm the newcomers waved and answered. Tom
Crossbush turned to Sam. “They aren’t all there,” he said.

“Maybe, if Mr. Brown comes along soon, we’ll beat them after all!”

“Why, no, they’re not all there by any means,” answered Sam. “I see
only about a dozen. Perhaps the rest are around, though.”

“They’re all kids, too, sir!” said Joe Groom excitedly. “They must be
Mr. Gifford’s second squad, sir!”

By this time they were close to the building and some of the boys came
out to meet them and Mr. Haskins called from the shelter.

“That your first squad, Craig?” he asked.

“Yes. Is that yours?”

“No, second. Goodness knows where the rest are. We’ve been here nearly
an hour. Either they took the wrong road or we did. We haven’t seen
them since about four o’clock!”

Sam smiled. “How many of you are there?” he asked.

“Only eleven,” replied Mr. Haskins ruefully. “You’ve got us beaten, I
guess, unless the Chief and Gifford show up soon. I suppose your second
squad will be right along?”

Sam shrugged. “I don’t believe so. As near as I can figure it, we’ve
done about nine miles, and I guess the younger chaps will be pretty
well fagged. Queer how you got by your first squad, though.”

“Mighty queer,” agreed the other. “There was only one place----”

He stopped and gazed toward the entrance. Sam’s eyes followed. Out
from the grove moved a group of boys. “There they are now,” said Sam.

But further speech was drowned by the shout that went up from the
assembled “Blues.” Over the rail or down the steps they fled to meet
the arrivals, a small band of eight youths led by a councillor who came
across the turf with a springy, unwearied step. Sam stared in surprise.
They weren’t “Reds” at all! They were----

“You win,” said Mr. Haskins, with a chuckle.



“Why, Sam, we took a chance,” Steve Brown was explaining a few minutes
later. “I got your message all right, but that road didn’t look good to
me. So Chase shinned a tree on a hill and had a look around and said he
could see this building plainly about two miles away. And we decided
that if we were to beat you fellows to it we’d better cut across lots.
So we did. Had a bit of tough going for half a mile or so and then
found the lake and followed a sort of path that led along the edge of
it till we struck a good road down there. Came through the village,
made sure we were headed right, and--here we are! How long have you
been here?”

“Not more than quarter of an hour,” said Sam. “I wish I’d had the sense
to think of that tree business, Steve. I’ll bet you we’ve walked ten
miles this afternoon!”

Steve chuckled. “Don’t you care, Sam. We beat the “Reds” to it. What
sort of roads did you find, Mr. Haskins?”

“Very good, most of the way. Pretty wet and muddy in places, but not
half bad. I can’t imagine, though, what became of the others. We lost
sight of them about four o’clock, and----”

“You’ll soon know what happened,” interrupted Sam, “for here they come

It was a weary and footsore band that detached itself from the gloom
of the trees and approached through the drizzling rain. Mr. Langham
was limping badly and many of the boys literally dragged their feet.
Mr. Gifford’s smile was a bit grim as he waved a reply to the shout of

“Better late than never,” said Mr. Haskins. “What happened, Gifford?”

“Lost our way somehow. Don’t ask us where we’ve been. We don’t know. Of
all beastly country----!”

“It was quite all my fault,” interposed the Chief. “It came to a
question of two roads and I picked out the wrong one. Well, here we
are, anyway, and I guess we’re not all dead yet. Sam, as the defeated
ones, we ought to do the toiling, but you can see that our crowd is
pretty badly tuckered out. Suppose you and Steve take some of the
chaps and see what can be done about getting some fires lighted.” He
glanced about the building dubiously. “Not a very warm place for the
night, is it?” he continued. “Those boys ought to get their feet dry,
but I don’t just see----”

“You leave it all to us, sir,” said Sam. “Better sit down and get
rested. Sorry you had such hard luck.”

“Yes, it was tough on some of the youngsters. This place seems dry, at
least. Well----”

The Chief’s voice trailed into silence and, removing the blanket from
his shoulder, he made a cushion of it and sat down with his back to the
railing. Then he smiled up at Sam and Steve ruefully. “I’m just about
all in,” he said. “I don’t see how some of those boys stood it. By
Jove, I don’t!”

“Don’t worry about them, Chief,” said Mr. Gifford. “They’ll be as fit
as fiddles in the morning. The question now is----”

“Fires and grub,” interrupted Steve cheerfully.

“You get your breath back, Andy. Sam and Mr. Haskins and I will look
after things. ‘Blues,’ this way! Come on, fellows, we’re going to hunt
wood and build some fires. Scatter now! Bring in all the dead branches
you can find and anything else that will burn. Never mind if it’s wet,
bring it along. But don’t do any damage to anything. Remember you’re
Scouts, fellows. Carry the wood over there where you see those barrels
and boxes. Hustle now!”

Off they went with a will. Sam and Steve and Mr. Haskins crossed to
where, at some distance, a litter of broken boxes and old barrels was
piled. Here, as they expected, they found a sandy pit in which it was
evidently the custom to burn rubbish. “We can have a roaring old blaze
here,” said Steve. “Guess, though, we’d better have, say, three small
fires that we can get close up to. Wish there was a shelter near,
though. I suppose this stuff is sopping wet.”

He pulled some of the underneath boxes out and found that they were
in places fairly dry, however, and he and Sam proceeded to knock them
to pieces and store them in one of the barrels, which they turned on
its side. Mr. Haskins wandered away toward a long open shed used for
carriages. A minute or two later the boys began to arrive with armfuls
of branches, fragments of boxes and such. It was all pretty wet, but,
as Steve said, once get your fire started and they’d burn finely and
all the hotter for being damp. Then Mr. Haskins returned dragging a big
piece of canvas, evidently at one time either a portion of a tent or a
tarpaulin such as is used to cover loaded wagons.

“I thought,” he explained, exhibiting his find proudly, “that if we
could manage to spread this over our heads somehow----”

“Bully!” cried Steve. “We’ll fix it. Haskins, you’re a wonder!” And the
older councillor smiled more proudly still.

And fix it they did, finally. One side of it was laid on a row of the
empty boxes and held in place by stones. At the other corners they
fixed poles--or what answered for poles; one was a long branch and the
other an eight-foot board,--binding the canvas to them with bits of
string and wire, and sinking the other ends in the gravel at the edge
of the pit. Fortunately, there was no wind, or their improvised lean-to
would soon have toppled down. As it was it was by no means large enough
to shelter more than half their number, but it did make a fairly dry
place in which to serve supper.

Steve took Sam and they hurried off in search of birch-trees. At
first it seemed that birch was the one variety of tree which did not
grow in the vicinity of Centennial Park, but at last, far down near
the railroad track, they descried a group showing ghostlike in the
fast-gathering twilight, and it took them but a minute or so to circle
the trees with their knives and pull off strips of the bark. When
they turned back each had a good armful. Then they set about starting
the fires. Steve whittled a pile of shavings from a piece of fairly
dry pine board under the shelter, tore some of the birch-bark into
small strips, and then laid the fire on the gravel a few feet from the
lean-to and applied a match. The bark sizzled and curled and flamed,
the shavings caught, and Steve fed the blaze with the driest of his
wood. There was a doubtful minute, but at last the fire took hold with
a roar, and the boys, who had begun to gather about, sent up a cheer.
Mr. Gifford and several of the older youths appeared with cooking
utensils and food and took possession of the shelter. Two more fires
were started from the first, and soon what had appeared a half-hour
before to be a rather hopeless and depressing scene took on an air of
cheerfulness and comfort.

Kitty-Bett had provided plenty of cold meat, bread and butter, and
hard-boiled eggs. There were doughnuts, too, dozens and dozens of
them, and those the boys devoured first, last, and all the time. There
was bacon ready for the frying, but Mr. Gifford wisely decided not to
attempt to cook it under the circumstances. But three huge kettles of
tea were brewed, cans of condensed milk were punctured, sugar and tin
spoons were passed around, and a deep and all-pervading silence held
for many minutes, a silence only accentuated by infrequent remarks,
short and crisp: “Sugar, Billy!” “Pass this along, Tom.” “Meat, please!”

When the first pangs of hunger had been quieted, conversation began
briskly. At least half the boys narrated their personal adventures
and experiences, boasted of blistered heels and tired muscles. Very
kindly, the rain had decreased to a fine drizzle that was scarcely
more than a heavy mist, and the twenty or so boys who were unable to
crowd under the tarpaulin ate in some comfort, curled up on the ground
in their raincoats. From time to time the fires were replenished,
more lazily as the warmth and food and the good hot tea began to have
effect. Kitty-Bett had provided with a lavish hand. Had he not done so
the prospect of breakfast in the morning would have looked dark, for
there were never forty-three healthier appetites gathered together than
those which the “Reds” and the “Blues” finally managed to appease that

At last, when no one could hold another crumb, the fellows toppled
against each other and the talk grew fainter and fainter and ever more
murmurous, until, finally, a full-fledged snore broke forth, and the
sleepy youths roused themselves with a laugh.

“McDowell’s suggestion is a good one,” said Mr. Langham. “I vote we
accept it, fellows. Who’s for bed?”

Yawns of assent answered, and Ed Thursby, rising unsteadily to his
feet, collided with one of the poles which held up the tarpaulin. Down
came the shelter with a swish of wet canvas, sparks flew from the
fires, and some twenty boys disappeared from sight amidst shouts of
laughter from those outside. Out they came, rolling or crawling, and
the party set off for bed.

Bare boards, even when softened by a raincoat and a single thickness
of blanket, do not make a downy couch, but no complaints were heard.
One by one, with shoes for a pillow, the tired boys dropped off to
sleep. Over them blew the damp night air, and from the roof and trees
came the steady patter of rain-drops. And from forty-three motionless,
blanket-wrapped forms came evidences of healthy slumber.



Breakfast was over by half-past eight the next morning, and the
boys and councillors, fortified by plenty of fried bacon, bread and
butter, and hot coffee--to say nothing of the remains of the doughnut
crop--were ready for the return trip. Spirits were high, for sleep had
rested and refreshed them, and, to make life seem still better worth
living, the sun was out radiantly, the sky was washed clean of clouds,
and a crisp little breeze blew from the distant lake.

It was decided that those wishing to make the return journey on foot
might do so, but that Mr. Gifford should cross the lake by boat and
return with the launch and a sufficient number of the camp row-boats
to accommodate all who preferred to go home that way. Fourteen fellows
voted to foot it back to camp by the northern route, and Sam and Steve
and Mr. Haskins decided to go with them. So, as soon as breakfast was
over they started off leisurely, while Mr. Gifford made his way to the
village to secure a boat to make the trip across to The Wigwam. The
fellows who were to await his return waved good-bye to the pedestrians
and then set about amusing themselves.

That walk back was thoroughly enjoyable. They had three hours and a
half to do it in and they could loiter as much as they pleased. The
roads were fast drying off under the influence of sun and breeze and
there was just enough zest in the morning air to make exercise a
pleasure. Muscles soon forgot their stiffness, and by the time the
little party of seventeen had left the railroad track and were on
the dirt road everyone was very merry. The woods along the way were
fragrant with the odour of moist earth and fresh verdure, and every
leaf looked crisp and happy after the rain. Birds fluttered and darted,
chirped and sang, and when, presently, the party paused at a tiny brook
that crossed the road to dip their tin cups in the sparkling water it
seemed that even the brook was trying its very best to tell its joy.

There were many pauses and rests. As the sun grew warmer and the
breeze lessened a comfortable lassitude took the place of the first
eagerness, and the fellows were quite willing to stop on any pretext.
Often they had to wait for Mr. Haskins, who, it appeared, was having
a most glorious time. He was forever darting off into the woods to
look at a tree he didn’t recognise, or an oddly shaped fungus, or to
examine some lichen or moss. Invariably he returned with a trophy to
exhibit and expatiate on. His pockets were quite filled long before
they reached Indian Lake. They didn’t enter the village, but passed
it by along the lake. There was a small amusement park there; a
boat-landing and some swings and a merry-go-round and a few booths
where one could buy soda-water and pop-corn and candy and postcards;
and the party managed to spend a quarter of an hour there most
profitably for the vendors. They tried the swings and drank soda and
bought candy and pop-corn. As few of the fellows had any money with
them Mr. Haskins became banker and recorded the debts in the little
memorandum book he always carried. Then they went on again, even more
leisurely now by reason of the things they had eaten and drank, and
so, at a few minutes past noon, came in sight of The Wigwam and were
hailed by those who had returned by boat. Perhaps the pedestrians
swaggered a little as they drew near. Why not? Had they not proved
their superiority to the faint-hearted ones who had had to be carried
home? Indeed, yes! And so, gathering at the flag-pole, they raised
their voices in three lugubrious groans for “the Mollycoddles!” And Mr.
Haskins groaned as loudly as any.

Two days later the tennis tournament started. In order to swell the
number of entries, Sam had allowed Steve to persuade him to be his
partner in the doubles. Sam had never played tennis but three or four
times in his life, but Steve got him out of bed at half-past five on
two mornings and tried to teach him the game. The attempt was not
greatly successful, however, and Steve and Sam, giving fifteen, were
speedily eliminated from the contest. Even Steve’s excellent playing
couldn’t quite make up for Sam’s earnest but futile efforts. The boys
who watched the two councillors play against George Porter and Ned
Welch had difficulty in keeping from laughing at Sam’s wild attempts
and awkward blunders. Finally, discovering that Sam, too, thought he
was funny, they had their laughs and Sam didn’t mind at all. Millson
Charrit, the Indians’ clever shortstop, captured first place in the
singles, and Porter and Welch finally won the doubles championship, but
not until Joe Groom and Tom Crossbush, giving half-fifteen, had run the
last set to 8-all.

Then came the Annual Field Day, with nine events, including a mile and
seven-eighths cross-country run. There was broad- and high-jumping,
pole-vaulting, sprinting, shot-putting, discus-throwing, and
low-hurdling. There were no remarkable records established, although
Gerald Jones did better the camp record for the pole-vault. Perhaps
the surprise of the afternoon occurred when Billy White, thirteen
years old, romped in twenty yards ahead of his nearest competitor in
the cross-country run. For that Billy got his name burned on a nice
clean pine panel and hung in the “Trophy Room,” by which name a certain
section of wall in The Wigwam was known. To be sure, Billy had not
bettered the existing record, but he had come within a few strides of
equalling it, and, in view of his age, his performance was considered
worthy of perpetuation in the annals of camp athletics.

Meanwhile the Indians continued to pin defeats on their baseball
rivals, although their games with the Mascots were never certain
victories until the last man was out. The Mascots gave Mr. Gifford’s
team several warm brushes, and occasionally won a contest, but three
times out of five George Porter’s pitching decided the day. The
Brownies, ever hopeful, went down to defeat regularly and cheerfully.
That is not quite true, though, for the Brownies did win two games that
summer, beating both the Mascots and the Indians.

It was shortly after the Field Day and well along toward the last of
August that Sam received, one morning, a letter from Tom Pollock. Tom
wrote that he and Sid Morris were coming up to pay a visit if Sam could
find a place for them to sleep, either at camp or nearby. In some
perplexity Sam consulted Mr. Langham.

“No trouble about it, Sam,” was the reply. “We’ve got extra cots and
plenty of room to set them up. And there’s always something to eat.
We’re very glad to have visitors. Wish we had more of them. Tell your
friends to come as guests of The Wigwam for as long as they like to

Sam thanked the Chief gratefully and hurried off to send a reply,
and four days later Sam and Steve walked over to Indian Lake and met
the visitors on the arrival of the eleven-twenty train, which to-day
rambled in at a quarter to twelve. They came back in an ancient vehicle
obtained from the local livery stable, laughed and chattered all the
way, and descended in front of The Wigwam a few minutes late for
dinner. Each of the visitors carried a suit-case and Sidney Morris also
had with him a large bundle wrapped in blue paper, which, when Sam
could no longer restrain his curiosity, Sid informed him, contained two
four-pound boxes of mixed chocolates.

“For the crowd, you know,” explained Sid. “Kids are usually crazy about
candy. I remember last summer at the lake I’d have given ten dollars a
pound for the stuff lots of times. You’d better take charge of it, Sam,
and ladle it out to them after dinner.”

“We almost missed the train while he went after that,” said Tom
Pollock. “We had to run all the way from Budlong’s to the station.”

“It was fine of you,” said Sam, “and the fellows will be tickled to

“_Sickened_ to death, you mean,” chuckled Steve Brown.

The new arrivals caused much interest in camp, and after siesta--Tom
and Sidney, being warned of that period of enforced quiet, wandered off
into the woods--they were duly presented to most of the older chaps.
The candy was fairly distributed, one big box going to The Wigwam and
one to The Tepee, and made a great hit. For the next hour or two Sidney
was easily the most popular fellow in camp! The Brownies and Indians
held practice that afternoon--they were to meet on the morrow--and Tom
and Sidney volunteered for service, Tom with the Indians and Sid with
Steve’s team. Tom’s fame as a pitcher soon got about and some of the
boys asked Sam if he wouldn’t get Tom to pitch a little for them. So,
after practice was over, Sam donned a mask and protector and Tom walked
to the box.

“All right, fellows!” called Sam, after Tom had slammed a dozen balls
over in the warming-up process. “Who wants to knock the first home

Rather sheepishly, Joe Groom picked out a bat and stood up at the
plate. Steve Brown smilingly offered to umpire.

“Don’t knock him out of the box, Joe,” counselled someone. “I want a
hit myself.”

“That’s right, Joe. Be easy with him. A three-bagger will do!”

Sam stooped and held three fingers against his mitt, Tom wound up,
stepped forward easily, and the ball travelled to the plate. Joe,
frowning intently, swung. The ball thumped into Sam’s mitt.

“Strike!” droned Steve, and the audience chuckled. Joe grinned and
tapped his bat on the plate.

“A peach of a drop,” muttered George Porter admiringly.

“All right, Tom!” called Sam, thoroughly enjoying himself. “One more,
now, just like it!” But only two fingers lay against the mitt this time
and when the ball broke it curved cannily to the left, and Joe, backing
away from it, heard again Mr. Brown’s fateful, “Strike--two!” A howl
went up from the watchers, who now began to cluster behind Mr. Brown in
their desire to watch the breaks.

“Right over now, Tom!” Sam held his hands wide and Tom nodded, wiped
one palm on his trousers, poised the ball and shot it forward. Joe
declared that he never saw it from the time it left the pitcher’s hand
until he looked around and saw it in Sam’s mitten. “Talk about your
fast ones!” he marvelled. “Say, honest, fellows, that ball _travelled_!”

“He’s out!” called Steve, and there was a rush to take his place.
George Meldrum secured it, and after him Tom Crossbush, and then a
dozen others tried their fortunes. But not a hit resulted. In-shoot and
out, slow ball and fast, drop and floater, high ball and low, succeeded
each other, Sam changing the pace in a thoroughly bewildering manner
and Tom answering every signal. Finally Steve Brown tried his luck and,
after slamming ineffectually twice, managed to roll the ball a dozen
yards toward third base. Then Mr. Gifford, egged on by the boys, had
his inning and, when Tom had fooled him on two low ones at which he
made no offer, caught a fast one and sent it arching into right field,
so winning much applause.

“Foul!” declared Steve Brown.

“_What!_” demanded Mr. Gifford.


“Robber!” shrieked the batter, imitating an infuriated player and
brandishing his bat over Steve’s head. “You’re a bum umpire!”

“The bench for youse,” growled Steve. “Off the field!”

“How much are they payin’ yer?”

“That’ll be about all,” returned Steve, with much dignity. “You’re
fined ten dollars.”

Mr. Gifford, disgustedly hurling his bat to the ground and then kicking
it out of the way, stalked off, muttering, to the delight of the
fellows. On the way back to the camp Tom was surrounded by a guard of
admiring youths who begged him to show them how to pitch that drop or
that floater. Sidney was no longer the hero.

The visitors had a good time every minute. They joined the boys in
the water at “plunge,” ate ravenously of everything set before them
at supper, declaring themselves “strong for those doughnuts,” and
entered into everything that came along with genuine enthusiasm. Tom
conducted a class in pitching after supper until it was too dark to see
the ball. Later, at camp-fire, Mr. Langham called on the guests for
entertainment. Tom begged off, but Sidney, who appeared to be in the
most boisterous spirits, declared that if someone had a concertina he
would chant them a ditty. He finally compromised on a banjo, however,
and when he had picked at it a moment, broke out into a monotonous tune
to which he supplied words as follows:

    “O--oh, we came here on the train to-day, it was a dandy ride.
    Tom sat upon the cowcatcher, but I sat down inside.
    The train it was an hour late and we were late as well;
    The reason why the train was late the conductor wouldn’t tell.
    Sam Craig he met us at the place where we alighted down;
    He had a smile upon his face, and so had Mr. Brown!
    They put us in an ancient thing, I guess it was a hack;
    And I think I’d rather walk than ride whenever I go back!
    We met a royal welcome here and many things to eat,
    Roast beef and apple pie and such until we couldn’t speak.
    The fellows are a dandy lot, the councillors the same,
    The Chief likewise, and here’s to him; Mr. Langham is his name.
    We played baseball and swam and dived, and then we ate some more,
    And when you mention doughnuts I would like to cry ‘encore!’
    We like the way you’ve treated us, you’re all in our good books,
    But oh, the one we like the best he is the man who cooks!”

Sidney ended with a final strum of the banjo and the audience set up
a wild howl of laughter and applause and loudly demanded more. But
Sid declared that that was the only song he knew. “Besides,” he said,
stretching out and pillowing his head on Tom’s knees, “I’m too full of
doughnuts to sing. Somebody else try it.”

“I don’t think any of us could improvise as well as that,” replied the
Chief, with a laugh. “I call that pretty clever, fellows.”

“Not bad,” said Tom judicially, “but he got the last line wrong, Mr.
Langham. That wasn’t the way I taught it to him.”

“You!” grunted Sidney scathingly, “you couldn’t find a rhyme for

“There isn’t any,” piped up young Chase.

“Oh, yes, there is,” said Tom.

“What?” Sidney demanded.

“The rhyme for ‘lemon’ is ‘Sidney,’” was the sweet response. After they
got through chuckling at that bit of wit they sang songs until it was
time for prayer.

It wasn’t until the boys had retired to the dormitories that Sam had
an opportunity to hear the home news from Tom and Sidney. The three
sat on the porch of The Tepee and talked until it was nearly time for
“lights” and Sam heard all the gossip of Amesville. It wouldn’t greatly
interest, us, but Sam found it most absorbing and asked many questions
and began to feel a little bit homesick withal. At ten they went to
bed, Sidney and Tom being accommodated with cots sandwiched in between
Sam’s and Harry Codman’s, an arrangement that allowed them to lie very
close together and whisper cautiously long after they should have been

Tom and Sidney remained until the second day and then, cheered to the
echo by the campers, climbed into that same “ancient thing” that Sid
had so eloquently sung of and, accompanied by Sam, drove back to the
station. Sam felt a bit forlorn after the train had whisked them away
and he walked back to camp rather wishing that he too was on his way to
Amesville. But that feeling didn’t last long, not long enough, in fact,
to prevent him from eating a very hearty dinner!

The day following Mr. Langham made a trip to Columbus. He was away
only one night, returning the next afternoon with many packages, most
of which represented commissions from the boys. He also brought back
a piece of news which he divulged that evening at camp-fire. The
nights were getting rather cool now and sweaters and blankets were
appreciated, and the fire was bigger and hotter.

“Fellows,” announced Mr. Langham, “coming up in the train this morning
I ran into a man I used to know at college, a chap named Scovill. We
got to talking about things, old times and old acquaintances, you know,
just as you fellows do, I dare say----”

Chuckles from the circle.

“--and it turned out that Mr. Scovill has a boys’ camp, much like
this, I suppose, though a bit older and larger, at a place called
Mount Placid, just across the line in the next state. Seems they play
baseball at his camp--Camp Placid, he calls it--and he thinks he’s got
the best summer-camp ball team around this part of the world. I told
him”--Mr. Langham laughed softly--“I told him he might have a pretty
fair team, but I knew of a better one. He asked where it was and what
it was called, and I said it was located at Indian Lake and was called
The Wigwam Baseball Team.”

Fervid applause from his hearers.

“Well, to make a long story short, fellows, he issued a challenge to
us. ‘You bring your team up to Placid,’ he said, ‘and play us. We’ve
got plenty of room and can look after you overnight and give you some
real food.’ I thanked him and told him I’d talk it over when I got back
and let him know. We looked up trains and found that we could leave
here early in the morning, on that seven-forty-five express, and get
to Mount Placid at about eleven. We’d have to stay over there until
the next forenoon at about ten-thirty. The one objection is just this.
If we are to try conclusions with those folks we’ve got to make up a
team of our best players, councillors included--the Placid team has
four councillors on it, he tells me--and then get in a week or so of
practice. If we do that it’s going to interfere badly with our ‘long
hike,’ which is set for September fourth. If we postpone the hike we
interfere with Visitors’ Day, the ninth. And we don’t want to do that,
because that date is set down in the camp-booklet and parents and
friends are doubtless arranging to come then, and if we change the date
there’ll be a lot of confusion. Now, I’ve been wondering how it would
do if we all went to Mount Placid, the whole kit and kaboodle of us----”

Interruption of enthusiastic cheering.

“--saw the game and then hiked back from there. We’d have seventy-odd
miles to do and could take four days to do it in if necessary. It
wouldn’t be any trick to ship our things to Mount Placid by express a
day or two ahead. There’d be the matter of railway fares, of course,
and perhaps some of you wouldn’t feel like paying out so much money.”
Mr. Langham paused questioningly.

“Nobody’d mind, sir,” someone shouted. “We’ll all go, Chief!”

“Well, that would be the only drawback, I guess. We’ll think it over
and talk about it again to-morrow night.”

“Beg pardon, sir,” said Steve Brown, “but wouldn’t it be better to
settle it now? If we’re going to play those fellows we’ll need a lot of
practice. We ought to make up our team to-morrow and get busy. Every
day would count, I guess.”

“That’s right, Chief,” confirmed Mr. Gifford. “Why not find out now
whether they are any of the fellows who would rather not go to the
expense of the trip?”

“Then you like the idea, fellows?”

“Yes, sir!” “You bet we do!” “We’ll trim those chaps, sir!”

“All right, then. Now, are there any of you who can’t afford the trip,
or who don’t want to spend that much money? One way and another, it
will probably cost each of you nearly four dollars.”

Silence prevailed. There were whispers finally, but no dissenting voice
until Gerald Jones piped up with: “I haven’t got that much, sir, and
my folks are away from home and I don’t know where to get at them, sir,
but if you’d lend me about two dollars, sir----”

Amidst laughter Mr. Langham agreed to supply the deficiency for Jones
and for any other boy whose funds were unequal to the demand, and
enthusiasm reigned. Out of the babel that ensued Mr. Haskins was heard
to inquire mildly when it was planned to make the trip. The Chief

“This is Thursday,” he said finally. “If we say a week from to-day for
the game we will have five days for practice. Would that be sufficient,

Mr. Gifford thought it would.

“Very well, then. I’ll write Scovill to-morrow that we’ll be with him
next Thursday loaded for bear. We’ll stay at his camp Thursday night
and start the hike the next day. To-morrow we’ll get the map and work
it out. I’ll leave the matter of forming the team to you, Andy. But
you and Steve and Sam had better count on playing, I think. I dare say
they’ve got a pretty good team up there and we don’t want them to beat
us too badly.”

“With five afternoons of practice,” replied Mr. Gifford confidently,
“we can turn out a nine that will put the ‘acid’ in ‘Placid’!”

And above the laughter Mr. Haskins was heard soberly and earnestly



Busy days followed. The Wigwam fixed its mind on the following Thursday
and laboured enthusiastically. On the morning after Mr. Langham’s
announcement Mr. Gifford, Sam, and Steve walked up the slope to what
was known as the Pulpit Tree, a big beech, under whose far-spreading
branches divine service was held on Sundays when the weather permitted.
There, sitting cross-legged on the ground, they held council over the
making of the baseball team that was to represent the camp.

“Let’s start with the battery,” said Mr. Gifford. “Of course George
Porter will pitch.”

“He may not last the game, though,” said Sam. “The question is who
shall we put in after him?”

“One of us, I guess. Can you twirl?”

Sam shook his head. “Neither can I,” said Steve. “How about you, Andy?”

“A little; at least, I’ve done some of it. But I haven’t anything much
on the ball. I used to be able to pitch an out-shoot that sometimes got
over, and that’s about all, except a fairly fast ball.”

“My idea, then,” said Sam, “would be for you to start the game and hold
them as long as you can. Then we’ll put in Porter.”

“Maybe they won’t tumble to you for three or four innings,” said Steve
encouragingly. “I dare say Porter will be able to go six. You’ll catch,

“Why, yes, I suppose so. Or if you think we’d better give the fellows
all the show we can, Benson could start.”

“We need a steady catcher, Sam. Of course, we want to let the fellows
get all the fun they can out of it, but there’s no use throwing the
game away on that account. Battery, then, to start, Gifford and Craig.”
He set it down on the pad he held. “Now then, who for first?”

“Wait a minute,” said Sam. “Where’s Steve going to play?”

“Put me in the outfield,” said Steve. “I can catch a fly fairly well,
but that’s about the limit of my abilities.”

“I’ve seen you run bases quite a bit,” said Mr. Gifford drily.

“You wouldn’t want to play second?” asked Sam.

Steve looked alarmed. “Great Scott, no!”

“All right. Only I’d like mighty well to have a chap on second who
could handle throws from the plate. Ed Thursby’s a good fielder, but
he’s weak at covering the bag on a steal.”

“Why don’t you try it, Steve?” asked Mr. Gifford. “We’ve got a dozen
fellows who can play in the outfield.”

“Well, if you like,” replied the other doubtfully. “Maybe I can get the
hang of it after a few days.”

“Good. Now, first baseman: Sawyer?”

“I suppose so,” agreed Sam.

“Rot!” said Steve. “Murdock can play all around Sawyer.”

It was Mr. Gifford’s turn to look doubtful. “He’s pretty good, but it
seems to me Sawyer is steadier.”

“Look here,” said Sam. “Seems to me we’re going at this thing all
wrong. What we ought to do is to pick out three or four fellows
for each position and give them all a fair try. There’s no need of
selecting the final team until, say, next Tuesday. By that time the
fellows will have shown what they can do.”

“That’s so,” agreed Steve. “Why not make up two teams, Andy? A First
and a Second, you know. Pick out those we think are the best for the
First, and then if any of the Second team fellows show up better we can
swap them over.”

“That sounds reasonable. Come on, then. First Team: Porter, pitcher;
Craig, catcher; Murdock, first baseman. Second Team: Gifford, pitcher;
Benson, catcher; Sawyer, first baseman. How’s that?”

“All right. Now let’s go on with the First. Steve will play second. For
shortstop there’s either Fairchild or Charrit. I guess Charrit has the
call. That puts Fairchild on the Second. For third?”

“Your man is better than mine there,” said Mr. Gifford. “Don’t you say
so, Steve?”

“Yes, Jones ought to have it, unless you put Crossbush there. He plays
pretty well at first and might do better at third.”

“We’ll put him down for the Second,” said Mr. Gifford. “For that
matter, fellows, there’s Thursby. He’s going to get left out of the
game unless we put him in the outfield. We’ve got to consider batting
ability as well as fielding, haven’t we?”

“That’s so,” Steve agreed. “Better put Thursby down on the Second and
let Crossbush substitute. We’ve got to fix it so we can give them all a
fair trial. It’s not going to be so easy.”

“First Team outfield, now. Peterson? Meldrum? And how about Codman?
He’s a bit young.”

“We ought to get hitters in the outfield,” suggested Sam. “Codman isn’t
much of a batter, is he, Andy?”

“No, he isn’t. How about that centre fielder of yours, Steve? Wonson,
isn’t it?”

“Jack Wonson, yes. He’s only fair, though. Joe Groom is a good hand
with the stick. Why not put him in the outfield?”

“Might try him. That makes it Peterson, Meldrum, and Groom for the
First. For the Second----”

“Codman,” suggested Sam, “and Simpson.”

“And Wonson?” asked Mr. Gifford.

“Give him a try,” agreed Steve.

“That fixes it, then. Better have a substitute infielder, though, for
the First.”

“Temple,” said Sam.

“Right-o. Anything else?”

“Don’t think so.” Steve took the list and looked it over. “That looks
all right to me. Suppose Sam captains the First and you the Second,

“All right. I suppose some of the fellows are going to be disappointed.”

“Bound to be some,” agreed Steve. “Can’t be avoided, though. We can
take a good big string of substitutes, I suppose, and that will help

“If the game happened to go our way we might use a lot of subs,” Sam
said. “Anyway, we could take them along on the chance.”

“You and Andy work up your batting orders,” said Steve. “Put me about
second on the list, Sam. If I can get my base one way or another I dare
say I can worry that Placid pitcher.”

“He will be mighty placid if you don’t,” chuckled Mr. Gifford.

“I’ll copy your list off for you, Sam.”

“I wonder who they’ll have to umpire,” said Steve while Mr. Gifford was
busy writing. “Sometimes a good deal depends on that.”

“Oh, I guess they’ll find a chap who’ll be fair to both sides,” replied

“I don’t doubt that. Only thing is, will he know how? I’d rather play
with an umpire who knew how to ump and who was ag’in’ me than with one
who didn’t know and was as fair as all-get-out. It’s the blundering
sort who raise the dickens with a game sometimes.”

“There you are,” said Mr. Gifford. “And let’s start things up as soon
after two as possible. We’ve got good material in camp, fellows, and
we ought to be able to turn out a corking team. If we had two weeks
instead of one we’d do it, too.”

“Well, we’ve been playing steadily all summer,” said Steve, “and it
won’t be for lack of practice if we get licked.”

“Let’s not get licked,” said Sam quietly.

“Hm,” said Steve, and, “Oh, all right,” Mr. Gifford laughed. “Just as
you say, Sam!”

Five days of hard work, then, for all hands. But enthusiasm was rampant
and no one lagged. The journey to Mount Placid, the game, and the hike
back had caught the fellows’ fancy, and nothing much else was talked
about. As Mr. Gifford had predicted, there were some boys who felt keen
disappointment at being left off the teams, but they all tried their
best not to show it. “Every fellow for the Camp!” was the slogan. On
Monday the First and Second played a full nine-inning game and played
it for all they were worth. It was understood that the first selections
for the two teams were only tentative and that a player had only to
show his right to a position on the First Team to get it. And with this
in mind every fellow worked his hardest, either to stay where he was
on the First or to secure promotion from the Second. There were a few
changes, but not as many as might have been looked for. On the whole,
the councillors’ selections for the First Team proved wise ones.

That Monday game was ultimately won by Sam’s team, 13 to 10, and was
featured by a lot of hard hitting by both sides and some really fast
fielding. Mr. Gifford, in the points for the Second, pitched a fair
game and Benson caught him handsomely. But George Porter was on his
mettle, too, and had the better of the battle. Sam doubted the wisdom
of allowing Porter to pitch the whole of nine innings, but the desire
to win that game got the better of his discretion, and, besides, there
was no one to take Porter’s place.

On Tuesday there was no real game, but there was a full two hours of
the most strenuous batting and fielding and base-running, with every
candidate getting a chance. And then, on Tuesday evening, the three
councillors got together and picked the team that was to battle for the
honour of The Wigwam on Thursday. It was no light task, that, as Mr.
Gifford explained later at camp-fire.

“We all wished,” he announced to the attentive audience, “that a
baseball team comprised eighteen men instead of nine, because there
are at least eighteen of you who deserve places. It’s been hard work
making a choice in lots of cases, and we may have made mistakes.
But we’ve done our honest best, fellows, and we’ve judged you only
on performance. Some of you are going to be disappointed. That’s
unavoidable. To those who have striven and failed the camp owes its
thanks. One thing I am quite sure of, however, and that is that those
of you who aren’t chosen will hold no resentment, but will ‘pull’ just
as hard. Well, here’s the list, fellows.”

Mr. Gifford leaned forward so that the firelight fell on the sheet of
paper he held.

“Porter and Gifford, pitchers; Craig and Benson, catchers; Murdock,
first base; Brown, second; Crossbush, third; Thursby, shortstop;
Meldrum, right field; Groom, centre field; Peterson, left field;
substitutes, Charrit, Temple, Sawyer, Simpson, and Wonson.”

A hearty cheer arose as Mr. Gifford finished. Disappointed ones grinned
hard and shouted loudest. Successful candidates were pummelled and
thumped and there was a great to-do until Mr. Langham arose.

“I don’t know much about it, fellows,” he said, “but I guess we can
trust Mr. Gifford and Mr. Brown and Mr. Craig. I feel certain that they
have chosen fairly and well. A good many of you had to be left out.
They left me out, too. And Mr. Haskins. But he and I, and all the rest
of us who haven’t been selected, are going to cheer just as hard.
I hope we shall win that game, fellows, but if we don’t, let’s show
those Mount Placid chaps that we are bully good losers. In any case,
we’re going to have a good time. We’re going to stand together and pull
together for a victory, and if we don’t get it we’re going to keep on
smiling. That’s all, I guess, except that I think we ought to give a
good big cheer for the team!”

It was given with a will, not once but twice, and there were cries of
“Speech! Speech!” And that reminded someone that they hadn’t been told
who was to captain the team and the question was propounded. It was
decided that the team members should vote for captain and instantly the
names of the three councillors were proposed. But Mr. Gifford replied
that he believed the honour should go to one of the boys and in the end
the choice fell on Ed Thursby. They cheered Ed then and again demanded
a speech, but the newly elected captain firmly refused to oblige. It
was Mr. Gifford who finally came to his assistance.

“Since,” he said, “Thursby is overcome with the honour you have done
him and is blushing over there so that for a moment I mistook him for
the fire, I take it on myself to reply for him. Here’s what Ed would
say if he made that speech: ‘Fellows, I appreciate what you’ve done and
I thank you for it. Let’s all do our best from now on. For my part,
fellows, I don’t see why we shouldn’t everlastingly whale the daylights
out of those chaps up there. Anyhow, let’s try to! I thank you one and

When the laughter subsided Mr. Gifford added: “To-morrow, fellows,
there’ll be only a very short practice, for there’s going to be a lot
to do in the way of packing and getting ready. Right after siesta
every fellow must get his bag ready. Don’t put in more than you’ll
need. Remember that when we start the hike we’ve got to get down to
essentials. Those of you who were here last year will know what to
take. For the benefit of those who were not I’ll just say that the
nearer you can come to limiting your pack to a toothbrush and a cake of
soap the better off you’ll be! Now then, let’s have a song or two to
end up with. What’ll it be, fellows?”



At a few minutes before seven on Thursday morning the last coach rolled
away from The Wigwam. Everyone was in fine spirits. The morning was
mild and still, and the sun, low above the eastern hills, was burning
off the last pearl-grey wraiths of curling mist from the surface of
the lake, promising a fine day for the journey and the game to follow.
Only Kitty-Bett and Jerry remained behind to keep camp. Up the long
hill road went the coaches, swaying and creaking, while, inside and
out, filled with the excitement of the adventure, the boys laughed
and shouted merrily. At the last, since there had been a delay in
starting due to Ned Welch’s inability to remember where he had placed
his suit-case, there was a wild gallop into the town, the crazy stages
rolling like ships at sea, and an excited scrambling at the station
where the through express puffed and hissed impatiently. Then they were
off, with the rumble and click of flying wheels in their ears and the
green morning world speeding past them on each side.

They had one day-coach almost to themselves, and what few other
passengers were there were good-natured and sympathetic. Had they not
been they might have resented the noise and the pranks that ensued.
After awhile, though, the boys quieted down. Most of them had been
awake since dawn and by the middle of the forenoon many had laid their
heads back and were frankly sleeping. Later they changed to a branch
road. The new train, consisting of two coaches and a combination
baggage and smoker, was already fairly well-filled when they descended
on it, and so for the rest of the way many of them had to stand in the
aisles or perch themselves on uptilted suit-cases. Fortunately, this
phase of the journey was soon over and they were piling out on the
platform of a small station where carriages and wagons awaited them
and where three men in camp costume of grey shirts and khaki trousers
smilingly welcomed them. One of the men was Mr. Scovill, and the other
two were introduced as Mr. Phillips and Mr. Neetal. Mr. Scovill was a
very tall man with a thin face, sunburned, bearded, and kindly. The
two councillors were young college men, one stout and jovial and the
other slight and shy-looking. After introductions were over and baggage
had been rounded up the party poured into the carriages and were
whisked away over a pleasant sunlit road that ascended steeply, past
pastures and knolls and across a rattling bridge that spanned a stream,
toward where a rounded and wooded hill rose against the summer sky.

Mount Placid Camp was not greatly different from The Wigwam. The
buildings, five in number, were spread along a narrow plateau at
the base of the mountain from where one overlooked the valley below
and had an uninterrupted view of many miles of interesting country
beyond. The buildings were older than those at The Wigwam, and were
weathered to pleasing tones of grey and brown. Some eighty grey-shirted
youths had gathered in front of the mess-hall, the central building
at the camp, and cheered lustily as the visitors rolled up. The Mount
Placid boys averaged perhaps a year older than The Wigwam fellows,
and they impressed Sam, for one, as being a particularly fine and
healthy-looking lot. Mr. Scovill, for the occasion, had cleared an
entire dormitory, and to this the visitors were conducted. Three rows
of cots left the long hall rather crowded, but nobody minded and there
was a wild rush to claim beds. Dinner was served to the visitors at
twelve o’clock, after which the resident fellows had theirs. The Chiefs
and councillors of both camps ate together and quite filled one of
the long tables. Mr. Scovill and his assistants, seven in all, were
hospitable to a degree, and the food was excellent. It was quite a
merry party, and before they left the table it had been decided that
next year the Mount Placid Nine should journey to The Wigwam and play a
return game.

“We may not be able to treat you as well as you’re treating us,
Scovill,” said Mr. Langham, “but we’ll do our best.”

After the second table had been fed the fellows made friends quickly
and, in groups of from two or three to a dozen, went over the camp and
explored the trails that wound up the mountain. Shortly after dinner
a powerful roadster automobile shot into sight up the road with a
hoarse shriek of its horn and came to a stop in front of the camp. Mr.
Scovill, excusing himself, walked across and shook hands with the
man who had leaped nimbly out and brought him over to the group of

He was a solidly built, broad-shouldered, and deep-chested man of about
thirty-three or four, with a sunburned face, a boyish eagerness of
manner, and a jovial laugh. There was something very winning in that

“Langham,” said Mr. Scovill, “I want you to know Mr. York. Mr. York is
a neighbour of mine and has a small place of a few thousand acres just
below here. He has very kindly consented to umpire for us if that is
agreeable to you. Mr. York, Langham is Director of The Wigwam Camp, at
Indian Lake.”

“Temporarily removed to Mount Placid,” laughed Mr. Langham as he shook
hands. “We’ll be pleased to have Mr. York officiate this afternoon.
Very kind of him, I’m sure, to accept such a thankless task.”

“Not at all. I’m going to enjoy it,” responded Mr. York, shaking hands
with the visiting councillors. “I used to play a bit myself. You have a
fine day for your visit, Mr. Langham.”

The group seated themselves on the steps and Mr. York, observing Sam
closely, said: “I’ve seen you somewhere before, haven’t I, Mr. Gray?”

“Craig is the name,” corrected Mr. Scovill. Sam, surprised, shook his
head doubtfully.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. “I live in Amesville, Ohio.”

“Amesville! Of course! Thought I wasn’t mistaken.” Mr. York smiled in
satisfaction. “I’ll tell you where I saw you, Mr. Craig, and how. It
was about three months ago. I stopped off at Amesville to see a friend
of mine, John Holden. Perhaps you know him?”

Sam shook his head.

“Well, he’s a newcomer in Amesville; practising law; a nice chap. You
ought to meet him. When you go home drop into his office some day and
tell him John York said you were to be friends. You’ll like him and he
will like you.”

Sam murmured rather embarrassed thanks.

“It happened to be a Saturday and Johnny and I, having nothing better
to do, jumped on a car and went out to see the high school team play
ball with some visiting nine; forget who the other chaps were. Johnny
used to play shortstop when I was catching for Warner College, and
we’re both fans. So we went out and saw that game. It was a good one,
too. You were catching for the Amesville team, Craig.” Mr. York paused
for corroboration and Sam nodded.

“You fellows won. You had a pitcher who had grey matter under his cap.
Had a lot on the ball, too. What was his name?”

“Pollock, sir.”

“That’s it! I remember it was some sort of a fish. Well”--Mr. York
turned to the others enthusiastically--“that chap Pollock turned the
trick in the last inning as neatly as you please. As I recall it the
score stood something like three to one in favour of Amesville. That
right, Craig?”

“Yes, sir.”

“The visitors were at bat and there were two out and the bases were
filled. Mind you, the visitors only needed two to tie, and, with two
gone, they were desperate. This chap Pollock had pitched a fine, heady
game, and he went after the next batter as cool as a cucumber. Had two
strikes on him, I think, when the man on third lit out for the plate on
the wind-up. I suppose when Pollock got himself together that runner
was halfway to the plate. Now”--Mr. York put the question to one of the
Mount Placid councillors--“what would you have done, Williams, if you’d
been in Pollock’s place?”

Mr. Williams hesitated. “Only one thing to have done,” he said finally.
“Plug to the catcher as fast as I knew how!”

Mr. York chuckled. “That’s what I’d have done. I guess that’s what
Craig here expected. But this Pollock chap had a head on his shoulders.
When the man on third dug for the plate the other runners set out after
him, of course. Well, Pollock realised that if he threw to the catcher
the ball might go wide or the catcher might--begging Mr. Craig’s
pardon--might drop it or it might be too late in any event to make the
out. So what does he do but whirl around and slam the ball over to
third baseman, who was running back to cover the bag. Third baseman
makes a nice catch, blocks off the runner from second and--there you
are! Three out and the score three to two!”

“Clever work!” said Mr. Williams. “You’re right, Mr. York; that fellow
had brains.”

“You bet he had! Where is he now, Craig?”

“Amesville, sir. He has two more years in High School.”

“Isn’t that the same chap who visited camp a week or so ago?” asked Mr.

“Yes, that was Tom,” replied Sam. “He’s a nice fellow and we think he’s
a pretty fine pitcher.”

“Looked so to me,” agreed Mr. York. “And I want to say, too, that you
caught as pretty a game as I want to see, Craig. As I used to wear a
mask myself I always watch the catcher’s work, and you certainly played
a nice game. Are you catching to-day?”

“Yes, sir. At least, I’m going to start the game.”

“How’s your pitcher?”

“Fairly good for a youngster,” said Mr. Gifford. “Porter’s only
fifteen, I believe.”

“You don’t say?” The speaker turned, with a laugh, to Mr. Williams.
“You’ll have to watch out, Williams, and not let the kid outpitch you.”

The councillor looked a bit dismayed. “Perhaps we ought to let one of
the boys pitch,” he said doubtfully. “It doesn’t seem quite a fair
thing. We thought, Mr. Langham, that probably one of your councillors
would pitch for you.”

“Don’t let that worry you,” replied the Chief. “We have Mr. Gifford
here to step into the breach if he’s needed. Porter’s a pretty clever
pitcher if he _is_ young. By the way, what time do we start, Scovill?”

“Three o’clock. It will be a little cooler by then. Besides, it gives
a chance for the Greenwood boys to get over here. There’s another camp
on the other side of the mountain, Langham. We had a sort of a date to
play with them to-day, but they were quite satisfied to postpone it.”

“Why, I’m sorry! I didn’t know we were interfering with----”

“Not a bit! Not a bit! Greenwood’s just as well pleased to come over
and look on to-day. It takes them nearly an hour to hike around here,
and that’s one reason I thought we’d wait until three.” He looked at
his watch. “They ought to be showing up pretty soon now. I suppose your
boys will want to do a little practising before the game. Any time
they’d like to go down to the field I’ll send someone along to show
them the way.”

Mr. Gifford consulted his watch in turn. “It’s twenty past two,” he
said. “Perhaps we’d better go now, Mr. Scovill. I’d like them to put in
about twenty minutes or so to limber up.”

“Certainly. Joe, you show Mr. Gifford the way, will you?”

Mr. Phillips assented with alacrity and Mr. Gifford, Sam, and Steve
went off to get into their togs and gather the players together. When
they had left, Mr. York said: “A born ball-player, that young Craig.
I’ll be glad to see him in action again. It’s funny about catchers.
Their job is the pivotal one on the team and yet they don’t get half
the credit they deserve. I suppose the average fan will tell you
what every man on the team did in a game before he will mention the
catcher’s work at all. There’s not very much chance for spectacular
stunts behind the plate, and I guess that’s why the catcher doesn’t
get in the spotlight more. Just the same, if I had to build up a ball
team I’d start in by finding a good catcher--if I could. There aren’t
so many of them, by jingo! And then I’d build up the team around that
catcher. Someone ought to grab Craig about now and take him in hand. A
man who knew how could make a fine backstop of that fellow!”

“Why don’t you try it?” asked Mr. Scovill, with a laugh.

“Not a bad idea,” replied Mr. York soberly. “At least, I might put
someone onto him. I wouldn’t mind seeing him playing with Warner in a
year or two. Happen to know, Mr. Langham, whether he has his college
picked out?”

“No, I don’t. But”--and here Mr. Langham’s eye twinkled--“there are
three loyal Burton men at my camp, and----”

“Help!” laughed Mr. York. “Nuf ced! Still, if he did manage to escape
you chaps I’d like a chance at him. Suppose we walk down and see them

Mr. Langham remained behind with Mr. Scovill, at the latter’s request,
to meet the Greenwood party who were just then coming into sight up
the road, while one of the councillors was despatched to the kitchen
to see about a supply of lemonade which Mr. Scovill had ordered to be
prepared and taken to the ball-ground. When Mr. York and his companions
reached the field the visiting players had just started their practice
and the audience had already begun to assemble. The field was a fine,
level expanse of close turf about an eighth of a mile from the camp,
reached by a well-worn path through the woods. The foul-lines and
boxes had been freshly marked out in honour of the event and the
lime shone dazzlingly in the sunlight. By degrees The Wigwam boys
gathered together at the farther side of the diamond, making themselves
comfortable on the warm grass. Mr. Gifford and Steve Brown were batting
to infielders and outfielders respectively, and Sam was at the plate,
feeding the balls to Mr. Gifford. The fellows went at practice with
plenty of snap and the ball fairly flew about the bases. At ten minutes
to three the visitors yielded the field to the home team and at a few
minutes past the hour Mr. York called, “Play ball!”



Had you looked over Will Temple’s shoulder you’d have seen, very neatly
set down in his score-book--a brand-new one for the occasion--the
following batting orders of the rival camps:

The Wigwam--Brown, 2b.; Thursby, ss.; Meldrum, rf.; Gifford, lf.;
Groom, cf.; Crossbush, 3b.; Murdock, 1b.; Craig, c.; Porter, p.

Mount Placid--Cochran, 1b.; Benson, ss.; Smith, lf.; Walters, cf.;
Connell, 3b.; Phillips, 2b.; Hanford, c.; Williams, p.; Cather, rf.

At the last moment The Wigwam had thought it best to put its full
strength in the field at the start, and so it was decided that Mr.
Gifford should take Peterson’s place in left. In that way the line-up
would contain the best batting talent. In arranging the order of
batting Mr. Gifford started out on the assumption that Steve Brown was
the fastest man on bases and that, once on first, he would be able to
advance without aid. Consequently, Ed Thursby was to follow him, since
Ed, although not a hard hitter, was a fast runner between bags. Meldrum
was as good a bunter as the team possessed, and Mr. Gifford was placed
fourth in the hope that he would be able to score one or more of the
preceding players. Groom and Crossbush were fair hitters, while Murdock
was rather weak. Sam was to follow the latter and, if possible, clean
up. Porter was the weak man at bat.

Of the Mount Placid team, Cochran, Connell, Phillips, and Williams were
councillors, although, as The Wigwam learned afterwards, only Cochran
and Williams were players of experience.

Both teams showed nervousness in the first inning or two and the play
was rather ragged. The Mount Placid fellows were at least a year
older than their rivals, all being, probably, over sixteen, while
the visiting boys were all under that age, with one, Ralph Murdock,
only fourteen. Along the base-lines was assembled quite a good-sized
audience, representing Mount Placid, Greenwood, and The Wigwam.
Naturally enough, the Greenwood fellows rooted for Mount Placid, and,
so far as cheering was concerned, The Wigwam was bested from the
start. Mount Placid, bunched together some seventy strong behind the
third base-line, chanted: “Rah, rah rah! Who are we? We are the boys
of M. P. C.! Team! Team! Team!” Greenwood, nearby, gave less often
her, “Greenwood! Greenwood! Greenwood! Rah, rah, rah! Rah rah, rah!
Greenwood!” The Wigwam, still fewer in numbers, did its best under the
leadership of Dick Barry, and its novel cheer, short and sharp, was
applauded from across the diamond: “W! Rah! I! Rah! G! Rah, rah, rah!
W! Rah! A! Rah! M! Rah, rah, rah! Wigwam!” In spite of the fact that
there were only some thirty Wigwam supporters there, Dick Barry managed
to get excellent results.

Steve Brown started the game by striking out, and Thursby and Meldrum
were thrown out at first. Mount Placid fared no better at bat. Cochran
flied to Mr. Gifford, Benson struck out, and Smith made the third,
Crossbush to Murdock. No runs, and, so far, no errors. But the second
inning told a different tale. Mr. Gifford flied out to left field and
Groom fell victim to Mr. Williams’s slow ball. And then, with two
gone, the Mount Placid third baseman fumbled an easy attempt of Tom
Crossbush’s and that youth reached first. Murdock received an in-shoot
on the elbow and took his base, briskly rubbing his arm. Then Sam,
cheered hopefully by The Wigwam boys, lined one into deep centre and
Crossbush reached the plate a yard ahead of the ball and scored the
first tally. That gave the blue-shirted youths something to celebrate,
and Dick Barry didn’t let the opportunity get by them. A minute later,
however, the inning was over, George Porter fanning.

There was no scoring in the last of the second and none in either half
of the third. In the latter inning Mount Placid got to Porter for two
singles, but no one went beyond third. In the fourth it looked for a
while as if the visitors were going to score again, for, with one down,
Crossbush singled sharply to left and went to second on Murdock’s out,
pitcher to first. Sam was again called on for a hit, but this time Mr.
Williams fooled him badly and he struck out, and again Porter proved
easy. Mount Placid filled the bases in their half, but George Porter,
with one out, made Mr. Cochran hit into a double, and once more The
Wigwam barked its cheer into the air.

The fifth began with the score still one to nothing, and Steve Brown
tried desperately to get a start. But the rival pitcher’s skill was too
much for Steve, and when, as a last resort, the latter got in the way
of the ball the thing was so palpable that Mr. York laughingly shook
his head and Mount Placid jeered good-naturedly. Thursby laid down a
bunt in front of the plate, but he couldn’t beat the throw to first.
Meldrum made the third out, short to first. The Mount Placid shortstop,
Benson, opened the inning for the home team with a slow bunt down
third-base line that neither Crossbush nor Porter could field, and an
instant later he stole second, being aided by a poor pitch of Porter’s
that Sam couldn’t pick from between his feet in time to throw.

Mount Placid, and Greenwood too, was cheering lustily now, and the
coachers were adding their turmoil to the total of sound. With two
strikes and one ball on Smith, Porter let down and handed out a base.
With a man on first and second, Walters flied out to Mr. Gifford, who
held the runners. Then Mr. Connell, one of the councillors, and third
baseman, found Porter for a long fly into right, which George Meldrum
badly misjudged, and two runs trickled across. Mr. Connell took third
on the throw-in. Mr. Phillips scored him a minute later when he landed
a Texas Leaguer behind first base. There was still but one out. Sam
walked down and whispered to Porter. He had nothing to say to the
pitcher, for George was pitching coolly and well, but he seemed to be
planning all sorts of strategies, and The Wigwam cheered and the rivals
indulged in the usual humourous remarks held sacred to such occasions:
“That’s right, talk it over!” “Let’s all hear it!” “I’ll bet it’s a
good story!” “They’re changing the signals. It’s all up now!” “Play
ball, Wigwam! Tell him about it afterwards!”

Mr. York cautioned Sam that he was taking too much time, and Sam,
nodding untroubledly, donned his mask again and stooped behind Hanford,
the Mount Placid catcher. Hanford liked a low ball and Sam saw that he
didn’t get one. A strike, breast-high, went over. Then an out-shoot
that might have been a strike or ball, and was judged by the umpire
as the latter. Then another ball, much too high. Then a waister, that
the batter struck at and missed, was followed by a foul. Sam, pulling
his mask down again, laid one finger against the back of his big mitt.
Porter rubbed the back of his head reflectively and, had anyone been
regarding Steve Brown attentively, he would have seen that player turn
slightly toward second base. Then Porter stepped forward and the ball
whizzed to the plate. It was one of George’s fast, straight ones, and,
while it actually crossed the centre of the plate lower than Sam wanted
it to, it did the business. Hanford swung too late and missed it by
inches. It thumped into Sam’s glove, was plucked forth instantly and
sent, fast and true, to second. Steve was already awaiting it. Almost
with one motion he caught the throw, knee-high, and swept the ball to
the left. Mr. Phillips, sliding feet-first, was out by a yard! And some
thirty blue-shirted youths cheered and capered!

But Mount Placid had a two-run lead now and The Wigwam tried hard to
cut it down in the first half of the sixth. Mr. Gifford landed on a
straight ball and hit safely for two bases into far left. Then Joe
Groom fouled out to first baseman. Crossbush fanned. With two out the
inning seemed over, but when Murdock knocked a slow grounder across to
third baseman that youth, pausing to hold the runner at second, threw
wide to first and Murdock was safe. When, however, a double steal was
called for a few moments later, Hanford proved too much for the success
of the venture. Although Sam swung at the ball, the Mount Placid
catcher side-stepped quickly and plugged to third. The decision was a
close one and Sam looked sorrowfully at Mr. York when the latter waved
Mr. Gifford out. Mount Placid, too, failed to get a runner across in
that inning and the seventh started with the score still 3 to 1.

Sam was up, having been left at bat in the sixth, and Sam wanted
desperately to start something! But Mr. Williams had a slow ball
that he didn’t at all like. Twice Sam tried for it and each time hit
too soon. The first result was a foul that third baseman narrowly
missed and the second a mighty swipe through empty air and a loud and
disgusted grunt from Sam. After that, with two strikes and one ball
against him, Sam let two more go by and things looked brighter. The
next delivery was palpably bad and Sam, dropping his bat, trotted
to first amidst the acclaim of The Wigwam boys, wishing that he had
Steve’s ability to purloin bases!

As it turned out, however, Sam was not called on to steal. Mr.
Williams at once set about trying to catch him off his base. He
apparently resented that youth’s luck, and, as Sam thought, even showed
some temper in the vindictive way in which he slammed the ball across
to Mr. Cochran. Sam each time took as much of a lead as he dared, more
than willing that the pitcher should throw across. Five times Mr.
Williams attempted to surprise Sam and five times he failed, but always
by so narrow a margin that he was encouraged to try it again. Then the
pitcher disgustedly turned his attention to Porter, who was impatiently
waiting at the plate, and Sam, watching for a signal, poised himself on
his toes.

The first ball pitched was too good to refuse and Porter leaned against
it. Off it travelled, straight between first and second, and Sam,
racing for the next base, had to leap aside to avoid it. It was too
fast for handling by the infielders, although second baseman made a
gallant attempt, and Sam reached third well ahead of the throw, while
George Porter, a much surprised youth, perched himself on first. A
minute later he was sent to second and stole handily, Hanford being
unwilling to risk a throw-down for fear that Sam would score. The
Wigwam supporters were now making enough noise for twice their number,
and even Mr. Haskins was seen shouting himself red in the face. Steve,
who had sacrificed a strike when Porter had gone to second, now tried
hard to find something he could hit. But Mr. Williams, after one
attempt to catch Porter at second, settled down again and disposed of
Steve with four deliveries, and there was one gone. Ed Thursby tried
bravely to bring in a run, but only succeeded in making the next out,
second to first. Meldrum was next in order, but Mr. Gifford, trusting
to the psychological effect of introducing a pinch-hitter, called him
back and sent Pete Simpson in to bat for him. Simpson was no more of
a hitter than Meldrum, but that was something the opponents couldn’t
know. Nor did they know the new player’s batting weakness as they
now knew Meldrum’s. Pete was a small youth, rather stocky, and only
fourteen years of age, and he didn’t look especially formidable as
he walked to the plate and, with a somewhat nervous smile which he
strove to make appear confident, swung his bat invitingly. Hanford
experimented with a low ball which Pete disdained and which went for
a strike. Then came a slow one and Mr. York called “Ball!” Pete knew
what he wanted, but Hanford hadn’t yet discovered it. As a matter of
fact, what Pete was wishing for was a plain, every-day waister in the
groove, which was about the only sort of a ball he could hit! It didn’t
look as though he was to get one, though, for after teasing him with
another slow one which was just too wide of the plate to be a strike,
Mr. Williams curved one over the outer corner and the umpire announced
“Strike two!”

“It only takes one, Pete!” called Tom Crossbush from the bench. “Make
him pitch to you!”

Then Mr. Williams slipped a cog and what was meant for a straight, slow
ball went past well over Steve’s shoulder and a howl of delight went up
from the bench.

“He’s got to put it over now!” called Mr. Gifford. “Just tap it, Pete!”

Hanford glanced a bit nervously toward where Sam was taking a ten-foot
lead off third. Suddenly the Mount Placid catcher became alarmed. A hit
meant two runs and a tied score! Beckoning to Mr. Williams, he advanced
halfway toward the box and the two consulted. This was the visitors’
chance to jibe and they took advantage of it.

“You’ve got them worried, Pete!” “Up in the air, fellows! Here’s where
we tie it up!” “Play ball! Play ball!”

The coachers added their contributions, while Sam, dancing about at
third, seriously interfered with the conversation between Mr. Williams
and Hanford by threatening to steal home every instant. Finally the
Mount Placid battery returned to their places and Hanford knelt and
gave his signal, or pretended to. What followed was a pitch-out, a
quick peg to the pitcher by Hanford and an equally speedy throw to
third, and Sam, two yards from base, was caught flat-footed for the
third out!



The Wigwam was quiet and disappointed while the teams changed places.
From across the diamond came the applauding cheers of the enemy. Sam,
thoroughly disgusted with himself, donned protector and mask in grim
silence. Joe Groom, who had been coaching at third, generously strove
to take the blame.

“That was my fault, sir! I ought to have known they were up to some
silly trick!”

“No one’s fault but mine,” replied Sam decisively. “I played it like an

Benson went to bat for the home team in the last of the seventh and
cracked out a two-bagger over shortstop and was caught off second a
minute or two later by a quick return from Sam to Porter, who whirled
instantly and pegged to Thursby. The Wigwam recovered from its gloom
and cheered. Then the Mount Placid left fielder fouled out to Sam and
two were gone. But the inning was not yet over, for Walters, a thin,
freckled-faced youth with extraordinarily long legs, took it into his
head to bunt, after once trying to knock the cover off the ball, and
caught Crossbush napping. By the time Tom had gathered in the rolling
ball and sent it to first Walters was making the turn. Mr. Connell was
up next, and, profiting by Walters’ example, he laid the sphere down a
few feet from the plate and lit out for the base like a runaway horse.
By the time Sam had dashed his mask aside, got the ball and pegged to
Murdock, the runner was safe and Walters was on second, and the grey
shirts and the green shirts were shouting madly.

Mr. Phillips, the next batter, had one hit to his credit and, as Sam
had discovered, liked a low ball. So Porter fed him high ones and got
two strikes and one ball on his. Then came a foul and a second strike.
Porter wasted one then and the score was two and two. Sam called for a
fast one and Porter tried it. Unfortunately, Mr. Phillips outguessed
him and when the ball came along he met it squarely for a long fly
into left. Mr. Gifford was after it like a shot, but he had to run
back a dozen yards and when he finally got his hand on it he failed
to hold it. The best he could do was to recover quickly and throw to
third in time to hold the second runner there. Walters scored and the
game stood 4 to 1. With runners on second and third, things still
looked dubious for The Wigwam, and Porter made them more so by utterly
failing to locate the plate with the first three deliveries! Hanford,
who was up, swung his bat and stepped back and forth in the box. Sam
signalled a straight ball and got it for a strike. Hanford let it go
past unchallenged, for he had two more chances and was waiting for
the last one. Again Porter essayed a fast one in the groove, but this
time he failed and Mr. York waved Hanford to first. The bases filled,
Mount Placid cheered exultantly and the grey-shirted coachers danced
and yelped; and the base-runners too did their level best to rattle the

Mr. Williams was at bat now and Sam had what he would have called a
“hunch” to the effect that Mr. Williams was dangerous at this stage of
affairs. While Porter sent the first delivery in, a curve that failed
to win approval from Mr. York, Sam studied the runners on the bases.
At third, Walters was taking a good lead on the wind-up, but hugging
the bag safely at other times. On second Mr. Connell was watching the
baseman carefully in spite of his seeming recklessness. At first,
though, Hanford, feeling safe from attack, was leading a good twelve
feet. Sam tossed the ball back to Porter.

“Keep after him, George!” he called. Then he stooped, dropped his mitt
between his knees, and gave the signal. But it was a closed fist that
Porter saw, and that called for a throw-out. Porter walked to the side
of the box, picked up an imaginary pebble and tossed it away. Then he
tugged at his cap, wound up and sped the ball four feet wide of the
batsman and straight into Sam’s waiting mitt. One step forward toward
first, a quick throw, and the trick was won! Frantic shouts of warning
from coachers, a desperate slide to the bag by Hanford, a scurry for
the plate by Walters! But Murdock had been ready. At the instant the
ball had settled in Sam’s mitt he had run toward the bag. The throw was
perfect and Murdock caught it, fell to one knee and let Hanford slide
into the ball as he tried for safety!

The shouts of delight came from the third-base side of the field,
for across the diamond a dense silence reigned. Sam and Ralph Murdock
received an ovation as they returned to the bench. Mr. Gifford slapped
Sam on the back and many of the boys would have followed suit had they
dared. Pandemonium reigned until Mr. York called, “Batter up, please!”
When Sam, passing the plate to reach the coacher’s box at first, went
by him the umpire smiled as he said softly: “Quick work, Craig!”

Four to one now and only two innings left! The Wigwam realised the fact
that if the game was to be pulled out of the fire, and they had by no
means given up hope yet, something must be done now, that it wouldn’t
do to count on a ninth-inning rally. And so they went at the task very
determinedly, very carefully. Mr. Gifford, the first man up, showed no
eagerness to hit. Instead he allowed Mr. Williams to put a strike and
two balls over before he made his first attempt. Then he swung and a
foul-tip resulted. At two-and-two Mr. Williams chose to try a curve
and, since the batter refused to be deceived by it, put himself in the
hole. Amidst a strained silence Mr. Williams wound up again and sent
in one of his deceptive slow balls. But Mr. Gifford had profited by
experience, and guessed what was coming. The result was that he hit
slowly and caught the offering fairly a foot from the end of his bat
and the ball went arching gaily and gracefully into centre field and
Mr. Gifford went speeding quite as gaily--if not so gracefully--to
first base. That hit, for it was a hit, landed untouched between centre
fielder and shortstop, with second baseman just out of the running. It
was the fielder who scooped up the rolling ball and set himself for
the throw to second. Unfortunately for him, however, second base was
for the moment uncovered. Mr. Williams and Mr. Gifford arrived there
simultaneously an instant later, but by that time the centre fielder
saw no reason for throwing!

That was a fine opening for the inning, and no mistake! And The Wigwam
jumped and shouted and pounded each other’s backs and barked out their
cheer. And Steve Brown scuttled to third and shouted himself hoarse in
the desperate attempt to upset Mr. Williams’ coolness; desperate, since
the Mount Placid pitcher was not easily rattled.

Joe Groom went to the plate looking determined, but only succeeded
in flying out to shortstop. Tom Crossbush managed to reach first on
a scratch-hit past third baseman. Murdock struck out miserably. The
Wigwam’s hopes began to dim. But with Sam up something might yet happen
to their liking, and so they cheered him encouragingly and held their
breaths while Mr. Williams did his utmost to put him out of the way.

A strike--a ball--another ball, by a scant margin--a foul-strike! Sam
watched and waited, gripping his bat tightly, and looking as cool as if
the outcome of the game might not depend on the next delivery. Perhaps
Sam’s confidence affected Mr. Williams. At least it is probable that
the Mount Placid pitcher never intended to send across just what he
did, for the ball came up to Sam with nothing on it but the cover and
Sam smote it lustily and thirty-odd youths sprang into the air and
shrieked deliriously!

Around the bases sped Mr. Gifford, his flannel trousers a grey streak
above the turf, and behind him came Tom Crossbush. Off for first leaped
Sam, while, far out in right field, the ball was leisurely descending
to earth. Eight fielder was sprinting desperately toward the fence
that enclosed the ground on that side. If only, prayed the Wigwam
supporters, that ball would land on the other side! But it didn’t. It
came down a dozen feet inside the boundary, and Cather, with a final
plucky spurt, shot his hand into the air and--well, then fielder and
ball went down together and rolled over! There was one breathless
instant of uncertainty, broken by the triumphant yells of The Wigwam
when Cather, scrambling to his feet, searched the turf hurriedly,
recovered the ball and made a wretched throw to second baseman. At that
moment Mr. Gifford was trotting across the plate, Tom Crossbush was
past third, and Sam was rounding second. Second baseman sped the ball
home, but too late to catch Tom, and Hanford desperately pegged it to
third. But Sam reached the bag just as the ball did and had one scuffed
shoe snuggled against it when Mr. Connell tagged him none too gently.

Four to three now! Only one run needed to tie! Two out, but a man on
third! If only Porter could make good! Mr. Gifford consulted Thursby
and The Wigwam waited anxiously. Then a cheer went up, for Peterson was
off the bench and pawing at the bats! Porter was coming out! Peterson
was to bat for him! A hit would tie the game!

Dan Peterson received a veritable ovation as he hurried to the plate.
He was loudly invited to contribute a hit, a two-bagger, a home run! To
bust it! To tear the cover off! To--to----

Then quiet returned, or, rather, comparative quiet, for the coachers
had no intention of letting up on their babel. From back of first base
Joe Groom shouted at the top of his lungs to Sam on third, and back of
Sam Mr. Gifford clapped his hands and added to the noise. And then Mr.
Williams brought down upon himself ridicule and wrath by deliberately
passing Peterson! The Wigwam was incensed indeed! Mount Placid and
Greenwood, however, laughed and applauded, and Peterson, deprived of
the chance to distinguish himself as a pinch-hitter, scowled darkly at
Mr. Williams as he walked unwillingly to base.

Steve Brown was up then, and Steve had played in hard luck all day. Not
once had he been able to get to first. This rankled in Steve’s breast,
and as he faced the Mount Placid pitcher he resolved that this time,
his last opportunity, he would not be foiled! On the first ball pitched
Peterson legged it for second and Sam danced forward halfway along the
base line toward home. But Hanford knew better than to risk a throw to
second and contented himself with a motion that sent Sam scuttling back
to third. Steve had offered at the delivery and so had one strike on
him. To bring in a run he must hit safely and Steve waited his chance.
But before it came something happened.

On second Peterson, perhaps disgruntled at the trick worked on him,
was set on showing his contempt for the enemy by risking a lead that
simply cried for punishment. On each wind-up he went fully half the
distance to third. Now Hanford was canny enough, but that was too great
a temptation for him to resist. And so he gave a signal, Mr. Williams
turned quickly, stepped out and shot the ball to shortstop. Peterson
was twelve feet off base and there was but one thing to do and that was
to keep away from the ball long enough for Sam to score. So he set out
toward third and Sam looked on and watched his chance. It came when
shortstop tossed the ball over Peterson’s head to third baseman. Then
Sam set out desperately. And that, of course, was what Hanford wanted.
Third baseman turned and pegged to the plate while Sam was still ten
feet away. But, alas for Hanford’s hopes! The ball slammed into the
dust and, although he tried desperately to get it, he failed, and while
he was still groping for it with one hand and striving to block off
Sam with his body that youth slid to safety in a cloud of red dust and
Peterson romped to third!

Mount Placid listened gloomily to the visitors’ wild outpouring of joy,
saw them drag the runner to his feet and pull him ecstatically to the
bench, saw Hanford, rather pale and wrathful, slap the dust from his
clothes, recover his mask, and disspiritedly send the ball back to Mr.
Williams; saw, too, Mr. Connell on third trying his best to look as if
he didn’t know he had thrown the game away!

“W! Rah! I! Rah! G! Rah, rah, rah! W! Rah! A! Rah! M! Rah, rah, rah!
Wigwam! Wigwam!! Wigwa-a-arm!!!” And Dick Barry cavorting about like
a thing built of springs, waving his arms and kicking his legs and
shouting his voice away! And the score 4 to 4, and everyone on the
third base side very, very happy and noisy!

And then, after a minute, when one more run might have given the
visitors the victory, when Steve had still another strike to be scored
against him, Peterson, made careless by his previous good fortune, took
just that extra inch forbidden by safety--and the coacher--and slid
back to the bag too late!

That was disappointing, but there was another inning, and if only they
could keep Mount Placid from adding to her score; and could themselves
put just one other little tally across----

And so Mount Placid went to bat for her half of the eighth looking
firmly resolved to do or die, and Mr. Gifford, pulling a pitcher’s
glove on, stepped into the box to do his best. Peterson took the
councillor’s place in left field, Peterson rather chastened in spirit
now. Mr. Williams, first batter, was an easy victim to the infield,
going out at first, Steve to Murdock, and Cather followed him, the
assist going to Tom Crossbush. That brought the head of the Mount
Placid list up, and Mr. Cochran had a fearsome glint in his eye as he
faced the substitute pitcher. Mr. Gifford’s offerings were not very
baffling and the rival first baseman landed on the second delivery and
sent it speeding down the alley between shortstop and third. One base
was all he got, however, for Joe Groom, running in like a streak,
fielded prettily to second. Then Benson followed with a hit past third
and Mount Placid had runners on first and second. But the danger was
over a moment later when Smith, lifting a long fly to the outfield, saw
it settle cosily into Simpson’s hands.

Then it was the ninth, with Steve Brown up and only one run needed.
Steve and Mr. Gifford and Ed Thursby consulted a minute ere Steve
stepped to the plate. “You’ve got to get your base somehow, Steve,”
said Mr. Gifford. “Think you can hit him?” Steve looked doubtful.

“I’m going to make an awful try,” he said grimly.

“Maybe if you can get him in a hole----” began Ed.

“Bunt,” said Mr. Gifford. “That’s your best chance. Swing like fury on
one and then watch for a good one and just hold your bat in front of
it. If you connect, run like the dickens, Steve!”

“If I should get to first don’t you sacrifice, Ed. Make the bluff, but
don’t swing. That fellow Hanford’s slow on throwing-down and I can beat
him easily.”

“Batter up!” called Mr. York.



Mr. Williams motioned the infielders in and Steve’s hopes dropped.
Evidently the pitcher was looking for an attempt at a bunt. At all
events, Steve’s chance of “getting away with it,” as he mentally
phrased it, seemed pretty slim. He wished he could manage to lay
against the ball just hard enough to carry it out of the diamond,
since, with the infielders all inside the base lines, a short, low fly
would be the safest sort of a hit. But it was soon evident that Mr.
Williams had no idea of letting him so much as touch that ball! The
Mount Placid pitcher was never more deliberate or careful. The first
offering went as a ball and the second looked low, but was called a
strike by Mr. York. Mr. Gifford and Sam were shouting encouragingly.
“Hit it out, Steve!” “Choose your alley!” “All the way ’round
this time, Steve!” Mr. Williams studied the catcher’s signal very
attentively, hesitated, shook his head, looked again, nodded, wound
up, and pitched. The ball broke to the right and Steve stepped warily
back only to realise the next instant that the sphere had crossed the
inner corner of the plate and to hear the umpire fatefully announce,

Steve glared wrathfully at the pitcher as that gentleman again settled
the ball between his fingers, and tried to guess what the next one was
to be. With two strikes against him, it was probable that Mr. Williams
would waste one, but Steve wasn’t certain and so, when the dirty-white
sphere again shot toward him, he glued his eyes to it and in the scant
moment of time that elapsed tried his hardest to judge it. Then he
brought his bat around, there was a slight tingle in his hands and he
was sprinting toward first. But luck was still against him, for the
discouraging cry of “Foul!” caught him halfway along the path, and he
turned back, picked up his bat, and again faced the pitcher. Steve was
hopeless now, and a little desperate. The absurd notion of striking
at the next delivery, no matter what it might be, and so ending the
suspense, came to him, and he dallied with it while Mr. Williams,
slowly and deliberately, wound-up, stepped forward, and shot the ball
once more toward the plate. And then Steve found himself suddenly
undecided, quite lost sight of the ball for an instant, found it again
just as it came close, brought his bat around half-heartedly in a
despairing effort which he was perfectly certain was a hopeless one,
and then felt the shock of bat and ball, heard the sudden shriek that
went up from behind him and, digging his toes into the dust, put his
head down and raced!

That hit was the joke of the game. The ball would have crossed the
outer corner of the plate at about a level with the top of Steve’s
shoes had he allowed it to. Hanford had dropped to his knees to get it,
and whether Hanford or Steve was the more surprised is hard to say.
The latter’s ridiculous swing had, by some stroke of luck, caught the
ball on the tip of the bat. There had been no force in the swing, Steve
had even failed to grasp the stick firmly, but the result could have
been no more satisfactory had he studied and worked for it, for that
ball arose from almost in the dust and described a pretty arch over the
pitcher’s head and descended fifteen feet behind the base line, and a
little to the right of second. Second baseman tried for it desperately,
and first baseman went to his assistance, but the hit was never in
danger of being caught. Had the second baseman been playing his usual
position he would only have had to step back a couple of yards and put
his hand up to have caught it, but with that player well inside the
diamond the ball was quite safe. And so was Steve, one toe poised on
first base and a look of deep surprise on his countenance. Mr. Gifford
was slapping him on the back and saying, for the sole benefit of the
enemy: “No one out, Steve! Play it safe and look out for a double!”

At the plate Ed Thursby faced the pitcher and gave an excellent
imitation of a man wanting to bunt. Steve took a six-foot lead. Mr.
Williams turned. Steve slid back to base. The ball slapped into first
baseman’s mitt. The Wigwam scoffed loudly. Once more the pitcher
tried, but Steve was like a cat for quickness. Mr. Williams turned his
attention then to the batter and Steve edged further away and watched
the wind-up and reckoned his chance. Ed Thursby showed how eager he was
to hit by stepping almost on top of the plate to get that delivery,
and, apparently, only failing to swing because it was palpably a
pitch-out. Hanford, getting the ball, recovered quickly and looked more
than surprised when he saw that Steve had made no attempt to steal! One
ball to Ed’s credit then. Steve again took his lead and Mr. Williams
studied him a moment in deep silence ere he turned back, took a short
wind up and----

“_There he goes!_” shouted the first baseman.

Ed never even so much as offered at that ball, but you may be sure he
didn’t step out of the way! Hanford side-stepped, shot his arm back and
then forward and off sailed the ball to second base. It reached there
in a cloud of dust, and shortstop, covering base, made a brilliant
catch and swung downward. But Steve had one foot hooked into the bag
and was smiling sweetly as Mr. York, trotting by, spread his hands
wide, palms downward. The Wigwam cheered and capered. Then Steve was
up again, patting dust from his grey trousers and edging along the
path toward third. Twice shortstop circled behind him to base, but Mr.
Williams refused to throw. There was not in his estimation any danger
of the runner stealing third with no one out. Besides, he was already
in difficulty with the batsman, for his second delivery had been
far too high and the score was two balls and no strikes. Ed Thursby
suddenly recovered from his fierce desire to hit. He stood idle while
Mr. Williams put a fast ball over for a strike and while he tried to do
it again and missed it by an inch or two. One-and-two, then, and Mr.
Williams showing some discomfort, and the rival coachers making life
hideous with their shouts. But the Mount Placid pitcher took plenty of
time; cast a look toward Steve, dancing challengingly about on the base
path, sent him hurrying back to second with a none too fast throw to
the second baseman, got the ball back, fixed it between his fingers,
and finally sent it in.

“Strike--two!” said Mr. York.

Ed only smiled. There was still another chance and this time the
offering must be good. His glance shot across to Steve while the ball
was returned. Whatever he did, he reflected, he must not put the
ball into the infield where it could be played to third, for he knew
perfectly well that Steve meant to steal on the next delivery. And
then the ball was coming and he set his body for it. And as it came
bedlam was let loose!

“Third! Third! There he goes!” shrieked Mount Placid. For Steve was off
with the wind-up, his legs fairly twinkling along the path. Around came
Ed’s bat, the ball thumped into Hanford’s glove and, an instant later,
flew through the air to third. But once more Steve had stolen cleanly,
ending his sprint with a ten-foot fallaway slide! And again The Wigwam
jubilated riotously! Ed Thursby, trailing his bat back to the pile,
reflected that even if he had been ingloriously struck out the day was
not yet lost.

Simpson had his instructions to bunt, if he could, along the first-base
line. Mr. Williams again signalled the infield to close in toward the
plate, for they must play for the man on third no matter what became
of the batter. Simpson tried hard to carry out instructions, missed
one strike, fouled off a second and, finally, with two strikes and two
balls on him, actually bumped the sphere across the diamond in a very
good imitation of a hit. But it was an imitation only and he would have
been an easy out had not Benson, the opposing shortstop, delayed too
long to throw to first. Benson was so sure that the runner on third
was putting out for home that it took him several valuable moments to
convince himself that that player was actually only ten feet from base.
By that time Simpson, who could run if he couldn’t bat much, was almost
at the bag, and Benson’s desperate peg failed to get him.

Mount Placid showed signs of nervousness now. Mr. Gifford went to bat.
On the first pitch Simpson scuttled to second. Hanford threw quickly
to the box, but Steve was not to be fooled by so ancient a trick and
trotted back to third. There was no necessity for taking risks, anyway,
for there was but one down and any sort of a hit or a long sacrifice
fly would score him. But five minutes later the outlook was darker,
for Mr. Gifford, in spite of all his efforts, only managed at last
to hit straight at the box. Mr. Williams knocked the ball down, held
Steve at third, and tossed out the runner. The Wigwam, almost pale with
excitement, groaned and cheered together. The rivals across the diamond
found cause for rejoicing and shouted encouragingly.

Joe Groom picked out a bat and faced the pitcher, scowling intently.
At second Simpson took a long lead, but watched the ball closely. On
third Steve had grown suddenly shy and hugged the bag until the ball
was in the air. But the coachers kept up their din and the infield
still played short-field and Mr. Williams looked a little bit anxious.
The first offer was a straight ball right across the plate and Joe
Groom frowned. The next was wide and evened the score. Then a curve
fooled Joe completely and his vicious swing at it passed harmlessly by.

“Two-and-one!” called Hanford hoarsely. “Let’s have him now!”

Mr. Williams smiled grimly, began his wind-up and--faltered! For
there, running like a grey-legged rabbit along the path, sped Steve!
Mr. Williams recovered quickly, stepped forward and shot the ball to
Hanford. Some two hundred voices shrieked together. Joe Groom held his
place grimly, his eyes fixed on the ball, his bat poised. But there
was no need of offering, for that one instant of hesitation had done
the business. The ball, sent away as an out-curve, broke wildly, and
although Hanford, dropping to his knees, threw himself in the way of
it, it trickled past, and Steve, sliding to the plate in a maelstrom
of dust, had scored!

Joe and half a dozen others lifted him to his feet. Above the outburst
of joy from the third-base side of the diamond could be heard Mr.
Gifford’s reiterated ejaculation of “You old thief! You old thief!” Off
to the bench they hustled him, shaking his hand, thumping his back.
Down at first base Ed Thursby was trying hard to stand on his head and
wave his legs. Behind third Sam was absolutely grinning!

And then, order restored again, Joe Groom stood idly by and watched Mr.
Williams put two balls past, and then walked to first.

“Let’s have a couple more!” shouted Thursby. “We’ve got ’em going,
fellows! Let’s----”

But the rest was drowned in the cheer that Dick Barry was leading. But,
although Ed took second unchallenged on a passed ball, Tom Crossbush
failed to deliver the required hit, popping a miserable little foul to
Hanford, and the side was out.

Five to four was the score now, and “Hold ’em!” pleaded The Wigwam
supporters. “Hold ’em!”

Walters, Connell, and Phillips were up for Mount Placid in that last
of the ninth, and Mr. Gifford was a victim to dire forebodings as he
stepped into the pitcher’s box. Nothing he possessed, he felt sure,
would deceive the two councillors, and so it was up to the fielders to
hold the game safe. Walters was far too anxious and nervous and put
himself to the bad at once by fouling the first two deliveries. Then,
growing cautious, he misjudged the next ball and stepped aside.

“One gone!” called Sam. “Here’s the next victim, Andy!”

But Mr. Connell was not so easy. He lighted on Mr. Gifford’s second
offering and poked it well into left for two bases, to the great joy
of Mount Placid. A hit now would tie the game again. Sam called for
high ones and Mr. Gifford tried his best to send them in that way.
But he didn’t always succeed, and with one strike and two balls he
unfortunately gave Mr. Phillips just what that gentleman fancied. There
was a sharp _crack_ and off into short right sped the ball. On second
Mr. Connell poised himself to start the instant the ball landed. And
start he did, and run he did! Down came the ball into Simpson’s
glove after that youth had run halfway to the infield, and Simpson,
putting on brakes, made the throw that saved the day. Sam, astride the
plate, hands outstretched, waited anxiously. Along the path from third
raced the ambitious Mr. Connell. The air was filled with unintelligible
cries and noises. Then the ball struck the sod well in front of the
plate, bounded straight and thudded into Sam’s hands, and Sam, dropping
to his left knee, thrust it against Mr. Connell’s oncoming foot,
toppled over on the runner, rolled over and aside and held a hand
aloft, the ball still firmly clasped!

And above the din and through the red dust-cloud sounded Mr. York’s
voice, “_He’s out!_”

[Illustration: And above the din and through the red dust-cloud sounded
Mr. York’s voice, “_He’s out!_”]



“What’s the matter?” asked Steve Brown, as, helping Sam to his feet, he
heard the latter groan.

“I twisted my knee,” muttered Sam, testing his right leg and flinching
as he put his weight on it. “Threw it out of joint, I guess, when he
slid into me. It will be all right in a minute.”

“Here, come over to the bench and sit down. I’ll rub it for you. Hold
on, fellows! Mr. Craig’s hurt his knee. Don’t crowd around, please.”

“What’s that?” demanded Mr. Langham’s voice. “Sam Craig hurt?” The
Chief pushed his way to the bench where Steve was already briskly
massaging the injured limb. “Anything broken, Sam?” he asked anxiously.

“No, sir, not a thing. I just slipped my knee out of place and it’s
sort of sore. It will be all right in a minute, I think.”

“Better come up to the camp,” said Mr. Scovill, who had followed Mr.
Langham. “We can help you up there and then you can get your things
off and put some cold water on it. You can hobble up if we give you a
lift, can’t you?”

“Yes, sir, thanks. Don’t bother, please. It’s all right. Did anyone
pick up my mask?”

“I got it,” said Tom Crossbush. “I don’t know what became of the ball,
though. Did you drop it, Mr. Craig?”

Sam smiled a little and held out one hand, and the others laughed, for
there was the battered ball, very tightly clenched. Sam yielded it
then, allowed Steve to unbuckle his protector and, between Steve and
Mr. Gifford, followed the throng up the hill. Mount Placid had cheered
The Wigwam and The Wigwam had cheered its defeated host; and Greenwood
had impartially cheered both. And now, talking excitedly, explaining,
laughing, the boys were climbing the path to camp. Mr. York joined the
“ambulance corps,” as he called it, and expressed regrets for Sam’s

“I know what it’s like,” he said as he walked alongside. “I used
to have a way of putting my wrist out of joint every little while
when I was a youngster, and I still remember just how nasty it felt
when it slipped into place again and how sore the muscles used to
be afterwards. A cold compress is what you want, Craig, and then,
to-morrow, a good rubbing with liniment. Better not try to walk on it
for a day or so, though.”

“I’m afraid I’ll have to,” responded Sam cheerfully. “You see, we’re
going on to-morrow morning, Mr. York. Going to hike back to Indian

“I guess you won’t do much hiking,” was the reply.

“Certainly not,” confirmed Mr. Langham. “We’ll put it off a day. That
is----” He stopped and frowned. “Well, we’ll talk about it later.”

“I think I’ll be all right by morning, Chief,” said Sam.

“We’ll see, we’ll see, Sam. Mr. York, I want to thank you, sir, for
the service you performed for us. It was very kind of you, very kind
indeed. And I don’t believe anyone could have umpired more--er--more
impartially, sir.”

“Oh, I enjoyed it,” answered Mr. York, with a jovial laugh. “You
couldn’t have kept me away if you’d tried. By the way, Mr. Langham----”

The two dropped behind and remained in conversation until the camp was
reached. Sam was taken over to the dormitory where the visitors were
to sleep and, Steve and Mr. Langham assisting, got out of his clothes
and had a wet bandage wrapped around his knee. The knee was swollen and
lame, and Mr. Gifford shook his head over it.

“It will feel a lot better to-morrow, Sam,” he said, “but you’ll not be
able to do much walking inside of a couple of days, I’m afraid.”

“I’ll make out somehow,” replied Sam. “You needn’t think you’re going
to do me out of my fun.”

“A lot of fun you’d have,” said Steve grimly. “Best thing for you to
do is to stay right here for another day and then catch up with us by
train. We won’t make more than fifteen miles to-morrow, I guess.”

“Well, if it isn’t all right, I suppose I’ll have to,” answered Sam
regretfully. “I don’t quite see how I managed to do such a fool stunt.”

“The Chief said something about waiting another day,” remarked Mr.
Gifford, “but I’m afraid he can’t do that. In the first place, we’re
putting a lot of these chaps out of their beds--some of them are
sleeping on the floor in the other dormitories; and in the second
place, if we’re to get back in time to get ready for Visitors’ Day we
can’t afford to lose much time.”

“I wouldn’t want him to wait on my account,” said Sam. “If I can’t go
with you to-morrow I’ll catch up the next day. Hang the luck, anyway!”

“Never mind,” said Steve soothingly. “You made a peach of a catch, Sam,
and we beat ’em!” Just then Mr. Collins and Mr. Williams entered to
tell Sam how sorry they were, Mr. Collins expressing the fear that the
injury was his fault.

“I’m afraid I went into you pretty hard,” he said. “Awfully sorry.
About all I was thinking of was beating out that ball!”

“It wasn’t any fault of yours, sir,” Sam assured him. “Somehow in
trying to get the ball on you I gave my leg a twist. I--I’m sorry we
couldn’t both win that game.”

“That’s all right. The Chief has promised to take us down to call on
you fellows next summer. Then look out for us!”

“We’ll be mighty glad to see you,” said Mr. Gifford. “I’m afraid we
can’t treat you as handsomely as you have us, Mr. Collins, but we’ll do
our best; even to beating you again, if possible!”

“We’ll see about that,” Mr. Williams laughed. “You chaps certainly
played a good game, though, and you deserved to win. Mr. Craig, you’d
better stay right here with us until that knee’s all right. We’ll look
after you finely.”

“I heard the Chief say that Mr. York had invited Mr. Craig down to
his place,” said Mr. Collins. “You’d better go, Mr. Craig. He’s got a
mighty comfortable house down there and I guess he’d be able to give
you rather a better bed than we can.”

“Why, I--I guess I’d just as lief stay here,” murmured Sam, “if you
don’t mind having me. I’m hoping, though, that I’ll be all right

“Well, if you’re not we’ll be glad to have you stay here as long as you
care to. I’ll see that you have some supper sent over. And if there’s
anything else you can think of--How about having a doctor look at that
knee, Mr. Gifford? There’s one a couple of miles from here and I can
get him on the ’phone in a minute.”

“What do you say, Sam?” asked Mr. Gifford. Sam shook his head

“No, indeed, thanks! It’s quite all right now. And I don’t think
you need to send my supper here. I guess I can hobble over to the
dining-hall without trouble.”

“Better not try it,” said Mr. Collins. “Rest up to-night and you’ll
feel better for it to-morrow.”

So Sam made the best of it where he was. The knee ached dully, but
didn’t worry him much as long as he kept it quiet. Mr. Williams loaded
him with magazines and papers and for an hour and more he lay there
and read and listened to the sounds that came from outside. Now and
then one of the boys would tiptoe in to express embarrassed regrets.
He heard the cheers that were exchanged when Greenwood started back to
camp, and, later, the sound of voices as The Wigwam boys trooped past
to supper. Steve appeared a few minutes after that with a well-laden
tray, and, when he had changed the bandage on the injured knee,
helped Sam into a sitting position and placed the tray before him.
Sam discovered that his appetite was excellent and that the supper,
generous as it was, was none too much to satisfy it.

The light was too dim now to read by, so, setting the tray on the
floor, he straightened out and fell to thinking about things. He
went over the afternoon’s game again and, which was like him, viewed
his own work critically and pointed out to himself the mistakes he
had made. There was that time, for instance, when he had been caught
flat-footed off third. Sam grunted disgustedly as he recalled the
incident. Then, too, he had more than once failed to work the batter
right. That bunt of Mr. Collins’ in the sixth inning--or had it been
the seventh?--should never have been allowed him. And then----

But at that moment there were voices outside and then footsteps on the
porch and Mr. Langham and York came in. After inquiring about the knee,
Mr. Langham said:

“Sam, Mr. York here wants to kidnap you.”

Sam smiled a little doubtfully, inquiringly.

“Yes, Craig,” said the second visitor, “I want to take you down to my
place until you get ready to join your crowd. I’ve got lots of room
down there; half a dozen bedrooms standing idle, in fact. Of course,
Mr. Scovill will be glad to have you stay here if you’d rather, but
I fancy you’ll be a lot more comfortable with me. I’ve spoken to him
about it and he says I can have you. And Mr. Langham’s agreed, too.
Now what do you say?”

“Why--thank you very much,” stammered Sam, “but I guess I won’t bother
you. I dare say that by morning this knee will be all right. I’d like
to start with the others if I could, sir.” The latter part of the
remark was addressed to Mr. Langham.

“Of course, Sam, but it would be silly for you to try any walking just
yet. You’d be so lame to-morrow night you might have to lie up longer
than you will now. And I’m afraid there’d be no place to stay. You
do just as you like about visiting Mr. York, but, in any case, don’t
consider going with us in the morning. I’d wait a day for you, but it
would make us pretty late in getting home. You keep still for a day or
two and then join us by train. I’ve written down the route here and our
probable location the day after to-morrow and the day after that. If
you shouldn’t feel fit enough to join us before Monday, why, you come
right back to camp. Maybe you’d better do that, anyhow, Sam, and not
try walking.”

“I’d rather do part of the trip with you, anyway, if I can, sir. And I
should think that if I kept quiet to-morrow I’d ought to be able to
meet you the next day.”

“Suit yourself. We’ll be glad to see you when you come. Meanwhile, if I
were you I’d accept Mr. York’s offer. He’s got his car here and I guess
we can fix you so it won’t hurt much.”

“He’s very kind,” faltered Sam, not over-enthusiastically. Mr. York

“Don’t come if you’d rather not, Craig,” he said. “I only thought it
would be easier for you and a pleasure for me. If you’d rather stay
here, don’t hesitate. I’ll run up to-morrow and see how you are.”

“It would be an awful bother for you, sir,” said Sam.

“Not a bit of bother, old man! I’d be plaguey glad to have you. We
could talk baseball to our heart’s content. And there are one or two
things I’d like to tell you about.” Mr. Langham chuckled softly and Mr.
York turned to him with a laugh. “Not that at all, Mr. Langham! Still,
for that matter, you’ve given me the right of way.”

“Oh, yes,” replied the Chief, “there are no strings. But just remember
what I predicted.”

“I dare say you were right. And, anyway, I promise to play fair.”

Sam looked puzzledly from one to the other. There was something here
that he didn’t understand.

“Well, what do you say, Craig?” asked Mr. York. “Going to come along
and be company for me for a day or two?”

“Thank you, yes, sir, if you’re quite sure----”

“Absolutely certain, old man! Now, where’s your bag? And how about
dressing? Not necessary, is it, Mr. Langham? A couple of blankets
wrapped around him will do the trick, eh? All right! I’ll bring the car
up to the steps.”



Sam opened his eyes sleepily and blinked about him. Near at hand a
wide-open window, hung with blue-and-white chintz that swayed gently in
the entering breeze, admitted a flood of sunlight. Beyond the window
was a white bureau. The paper on the walls was grey with a tiny stripe
made up of blue rosebuds. Sam closed his eyes again and wondered where
he was. Then, stirring under the bedclothes, he experienced a dull,
jarring ache in one knee, and suddenly recollection came to him and he
opened his eyes more widely and stared around him.

Last night the room had been shadowed and dim, with only a little lamp
on the white reading-stand beside the bed, and he had gone to sleep
almost as soon as Mr. York and Steve had helped him between the cool,
soft sheets. Now, in the early morning light, the room looked much
larger, and so bright and cheerful that it was a pleasure to just lie
there and look about.

There were three windows on two sides of the spacious room, and through
each of them, below the shade, Sam could see blue sky between the green
branches of trees. On the reading-stand, beside the small lamp with its
pale-blue shade, lay two magazines and a book and a glass tray that
held a pitcher of water, a drinking-glass, and matches. The bed was
enamelled white and over the footboard lay a dainty cream-white puff
with blue poppies sprawling over it. Grey rag rugs with blue borders
were spread here and there on the polished floor. Two wicker chairs,
prettily cushioned in the prevailing colours, flanked a red brick
fireplace in the middle of the further wall, and a straight-backed
white-enamelled chair was half hidden under Sam’s clothes. A table
between two of the windows held his old-fashioned valise.

Sam sighed luxuriously and wondered what time it was. Not, however,
that it mattered much, he supposed, for he had been told that he was
not to get up this morning until he had had his breakfast and his
knee had been rebandaged. He snuggled his head more comfortably in
the generous pillow, inadvertently moving his knee and grimacing as
a result, and recalled last evening. The trip in Mr. York’s roadster
had occupied but a very few minutes, for which Sam had been very
thankful, since, in spite of all the trouble they had taken to arrange
him comfortably beside Mr. York, the jarring had set his knee thumping
painfully. Steve had ridden on the running-board and had helped lift
him in and out of the car. Sam remembered the big room into which they
had entered from the twilight darkness, a room of dark woodwork and red
hangings and cushions and many lamps which left the upper part of the
room in pleasant and mysterious gloom. He hadn’t been allowed to see
much down there, though, for they had at once carried him up a broad
flight of stairs and into this blue-and-white chamber, the like of
which Sam had never viewed. He remembered saying good night to Steve
and having his knee done up afresh in cool, wet cloths, and--well, not
much after that. He must have gone to sleep almost the next instant!

Somewhere downstairs a clock struck in silvery tones. He counted.
Five--six--seven--eight! Eight o’clock! It couldn’t be possible! He
must have counted wrong. Why, he couldn’t remember when he had lain in
bed, much less slept, as late as that! He began to wonder uncomfortably
if his injury could really be more serious than he had supposed, for
with Sam only real illness excused staying in bed until such an hour.
He lifted his head experimentally and turned it from side to side. It
seemed to feel all right. And he couldn’t detect any signs of fever. He
had, of course, heard of folks being internally injured, but he didn’t
know what the symptoms would be, and so wasn’t certain if he had them.
He really felt remarkably well, except that his knee hurt if he moved
it or flexed the muscles, and, on the whole, he concluded, not without
a feeling of relief, that he had mistaken the striking of the clock.

From somewhere not far off came the subdued rushing of water. Someone
was going to have a bath. Therefore it couldn’t be very late. Also,
a moment later, he was pleasantly aware of a faint aroma of coffee
and something else that might be broiling ham or bacon. He suddenly
knew that he was very, very hungry. A door slammed nearby and a merry
whistle floated down the hall. Then silence again. Sam closed his

“----Breakfast coming up in a minute,” a voice was saying, “and I
thought maybe you’d like to wash up a bit.”

Sam blinked dazedly. Beside the bed stood Mr. York, smiling, fresh and
cool in white flannels. Sam viewed him in consternation.

“I--I believe I went to sleep again!” he stammered.

“I’m sure you did!” laughed his host.

“But--but what time is it?”

“Oh, about eight-thirty. It’s not late.”

“Eight-thirty! Why, I never slept that late in my life!” exclaimed Sam
in horrified tones. Mr. York laughed delightedly.

“You have now, old chap. How’s it seem?”

“Fine, only--I’m wondering if--if I’m all right. You don’t suppose I
got hit on the head or--or anything like that, do you, sir?”

“Great Scott, no! You just slept because you were tired out and were in
a new place and, if I do say it, had a good bed. Now, how’s the knee
this morning?”

Mr. York himself attended to putting on new bandages, in spite of
Sam’s expostulations, and brought him water in a bowl and soap and a
face-cloth and found his tooth-brush for him and generally valeted him.
Sam was all for doing things for himself, even for being allowed to get
up and have his breakfast downstairs, but when, at Mr. York’s request,
he gently bent that right knee, he concluded that he was not, after
all, quite ready to assert his independence. The thing was as stiff and
lame as could be.

“Thought so,” said the other. “You keep it quiet to-day, Craig.
To-night we’ll get at it with liniment and to-morrow you’ll be up
and around again, I guess. After breakfast we’ll get you down on the
veranda. There you are, now. How’s your appetite?”

Sam smiled. “I could eat a hedgehog, quills and all,” he answered.

“Sorry we haven’t hedgehog this morning,” laughed Mr. York. “I’m afraid
it’s only the usual ham and eggs and trimmings. But I’ll see that you
get enough of that.”

An hour afterwards, attired in a dressing-gown of his host’s, Sam
was lying at length in a long wicker chair, propped up with many red
cushions, on the broad veranda. Although considerably lower than the
neighbouring camp, “Greysides,” as Mr. York called his place, was still
pretty well up in the world, and from the veranda one could look over
rolling hills and see, on fair days, the distant blue of Lake Erie.
The house was large, or seemed so to Sam, and was of field stone and
grey weathered shingle, with numerous wide stone chimneys and many
squatty gable-ends. The veranda that skirted three sides of the house
was as wide as a room, and from it, between stone pillars, one saw on
each side miles of rolling hills, wooded or meadowed. A path turned
and twisted down a little slope from the broad steps to a break in
the stone wall that lined the road. There there was a roughly-made
trellis-arch of unbarked logs on which a rose vine was showing a few
late blossoms. Behind the house the ground sloped upward again, and the
trees, well thinned out in front, closed their ranks. Sam thought the
place wonderful and perfect, inside and out, and all during that first
forenoon was sorely tempted to pinch himself to make sure that he was
really there.

Presently Mr. York joined his guest, pulling a chair near to Sam’s
and chatting as he opened his morning’s mail. Sam accepted a day-old
newspaper and idly glanced over the first page of it, but somehow
newspapers seemed of little interest up here away from the world,
and he soon let it drop and returned to his contented and dreamy
contemplation of the distant hills. After a while Mr. York tossed aside
his letters and papers and leaned back in his chair. Then they talked.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Sam talked, for Mr. York
wanted to know many things and Sam was soon telling all about himself
and about Amesville and the high school nine, with Mr. York only
contributing an occasional encouraging word or a question. Normally Sam
wasn’t very much of a talker, and he didn’t remember ever having said
so much at once or told so many intimate facts about himself before.
Afterwards he was surprised and a little embarrassed when he recalled
his loquacity.

But it wasn’t altogether one-sided, for Sam learned somewhat of his
host that morning, and more subsequently. Mr. York--John Orville York,
in full--was an architect by profession and lived in Cleveland. He was
alone in the world save for a sister whom he called Topsy--Sam didn’t
learn her real name. Topsy, Mr. York explained, was just now away on a
visit to friends in the East and he was keeping bachelor’s hall. He had
been at “Greysides” since the middle of July, with an occasional visit
to the city, and his vacation would be at an end in another ten days.
Although he did not say so, his visitor concluded that he was wealthy;
everything at “Greysides” indicated it. He had graduated from Warner
College, where he had played three years on the baseball team, and
had afterwards studied his profession in Chicago. He confessed to two
passions. One, he said, was baseball, and the other chess. Did Craig
play chess? No? Well, he ought to learn it. It was the finest thing in
the world. After dinner they’d get the board out and have a lesson, by

Almost before Sam realised that the morning had gone luncheon was
announced and they adjourned, Sam leaning on Mr. York’s shoulder, to a
screen-enclosed porch that opened from the dining-room, and sat down at
a small table laid for two.

“Hope you’ll find enough to eat,” said Mr. York. “We don’t have very
hearty lunches. I usually play golf in the afternoon and find that a
heavy meal makes me slow.”

Sam truthfully replied that he didn’t doubt but what there was more
than enough, and events proved him right. After cold meats and two
vegetables and a salad and hot rolls and a pastry and two tall glasses
of iced-tea he wondered what Mr. York would consider a heavy meal!

“If you want to do anything--play golf, I mean, sir--please don’t mind
me,” said Sam when he had hobbled back to the veranda. “I’ll be all
right alone. I can read or--or just sit here and look at things.”

“Not many things to see, are there?” laughed Mr. York.

“I mean just the view. It’s fine to be able to see so far, isn’t it?”

“It’s quite a view, and that’s a fact. But I don’t care for golf
to-day, Craig. Later on I’ll run over to the village and get a letter
off. Meanwhile we’ll chin some more and then you’d better lie down a
while and have a nap. How’s the knee now?”

“It isn’t nearly so sore, I think.”

“That’s good, but we ought to moisten that bandage again. I’ll tell
William to bring some water in a basin, and, as there’s no one to see,
we’ll perform the operation right here.”

They talked baseball while the sun travelled into the west and
the shadows began to lengthen under the trees. Mr. York had many
reminiscences of college days, some exciting and some humorous, and Sam
was well entertained. From stories Mr. York switched to the subject of
catching. “There’s one thing you ought to learn, Craig,” he said, “and
that’s to throw ‘from your ear.’ Ever try it?”

“I don’t believe I know what you mean, Mr. York.”

“I mean throwing to base without taking a step.”

“No, sir, I’ve never tried it. I don’t think I could do it.”

“Oh, yes, you could. You can learn it. It’s not as hard as it may seem.
The beauty of it is that it gives you another fraction of a second on
the runner, a matter probably of two or three feet at the base. Try it
some time and see what you can do with it. It takes a snap of the arm
instead of the long, full swing, a quick snap that’s mostly from the
elbow; like this.” And Mr. York went through the motions of catching a
ball and throwing to the base.

“It looks hard,” said Sam. “I don’t believe I ever saw anyone throw
that way.”

“Plenty of the league catchers do it. Have you seen many league games?”

“No, sir, only two.”

“Really? It’s a good idea to go to them and watch how they do things.
You can pick up a lot of good tricks that way. You’ve got the making
of a fine catcher, Craig, and I’d like to see you go right ahead.
You’ve got brains, for one thing, and I’d rather have that in a catcher
than mechanical ability--if I had to choose between the two, that is.
Another thing that’s going to make you a clever lad behind the bat is
that you’re no weak hitter yourself. There’s one criticism I’d like to
offer, though: you’re a little bit inclined to ‘slug,’ Craig. Don’t
do it. I know that the slugging hitter sometimes makes a corking good
slam, but, in the long run, he doesn’t deliver a good average. He isn’t
generally there in the pinches, Craig. Any pitcher will tell you that
he’d rather pitch to a ‘slugger’ than to a batter who shortens his
bat and his swing and ‘pushes’ the ball. A long swing is likely to
take your eyes off the pill just when they should be glued to it, for
one thing. And then, again, you can’t place your hits so well. Take
the hit-and-run play, for instance. Suppose the runner’s going down
to second and shortstop’s covering the bag, and you’ve got to poke
one between second and third. You can’t deliver the goods with a long
swing. You’ve got to shorten. If you do swing long and connect with
it, it’s dollars to doughnuts the ball will go anywhere but down that
alley. And then, the first thing you know, you’re doubled up. I dare
say you think I’m cheeky for criticising you like this, but I’d like to
see you make good. You’ve got a lot of the ear-marks of a natural-born
catcher, old man, and good catchers--really good ones--are almost as
scarce as hens’ teeth.”

“I don’t mind it at all,” Sam assured him earnestly. “It--it’s awfully
good of you to tell me. And I’d like to know how to do better.”

“That’s the stuff! No one knows it all--although maybe you think I
talk as if I did! I don’t, not by a whole big lot. When I was catching
for Warner I did a lot of the things I’m telling you not to. I was
the worst old heavy hitter on the team. I was a regular joke on the
batting list. About once in every game I’d come through with a regular
whale of a slam, usually into right field. Sometimes it would be good
for three bases, or sometimes two. More often, though, a fielder would
pull it down. Or, if he didn’t, that hit would come along with the
bases empty. When there was a man on third and the pitcher tightened
up I was a frost. I pursued that misguided course for two years. Then
one day--we were playing one of our big games--I happened to overhear a
remark made by the other team’s pitcher. ‘York?’ he said. ‘I’ll pitch
to him with my eyes shut. The man’s a “swinger”!’ That opened my eyes.
I’d always thought the reason I couldn’t hit when I wanted to hardest
was because the luck was against me or because the pitcher put a little
extra on the ball, knowing my reputation as a long hitter. But that
day it dawned on me that it was no one’s fault but my own. And the
next morning I went out to the net and I started to learn to bat all
over again. I never got into the three-hundred class, but I got where
it wasn’t necessary to pull me out of the game in the eighth or ninth
inning when a hit was needed to win.

“Mind you,” continued Mr. York, when he had lighted his pipe again,
“I’m not saying there aren’t lots of ‘free hitters’ and ‘swingers’ with
big reputations; some of them have headed the list in their time; but
sooner or later the pitchers find their weakness and then they go down
quickly. No, sir, it isn’t the ‘swinger’ who gets on oftenest, and it
isn’t the ‘swinger’ who makes the best clean-up hitter. It’s the man
who takes a short swing, not a ‘chop’; that’s poor stuff; but a healthy
short swing, who comes across oftenest. You try it, Craig. Don’t stand
back and have to reach for the ball, either. Crowd the plate a bit. Get
‘over the ball,’ as they say.”

“I will,” replied Sam. “I guess you’re right about a long swing. It
_is_ harder to judge the ball. I’ve noticed that, especially when the
ball breaks close up. On a straight ball I can generally connect, but
anything foxy has me guessing. I almost always get fooled on a drop or
a floater.”

“It stands to reason. You’ve got to watch that sort until the last
minute and then you’ve got to swing quick, and from the elbows and not
the shoulders. As far as hitting for extra bases is concerned, why, I
can point out men who can almost ‘chop’ the ball for a two-bagger. I
sort of wish we had a ball and you were able to use that leg of yours,”
added Mr. York wistfully, “and a bat.”

“That sounds like the old darky in Washington who used to say, ‘If
I had a little milk I’d have a little mush if I had a little meal,’
doesn’t it?” asked Sam.

Later Mr. York went off in his automobile and Sam lay down on a couch
in the big living-room, and, to please his host, tried to take a nap.
He didn’t succeed, however. Dinner came at seven, with the dining-room
windows wide open and the blue-black sky, a-twinkle with white stars,
in sight whenever Sam looked away from the mellow radiance of the
candles. And after that he had his initiation into the mysteries of
chess. Mr. York said he did very well, but Sam feared that he had been
terribly stupid when the chessmen were finally put away.

“That,” said Mr. York, seating himself again in a big easy-chair and
taking one knee into his hands, “almost did me out of my diploma at
college. One of the instructors and I used to play chess five evenings
a week until all hours. I just scraped through my finals. Speaking of
college, Craig, I suppose you’ve got yours all picked out, eh?”

“Me? No, sir. I--I guess I won’t go to college.”

“Won’t go! Why not?”

“Can’t afford it, sir,” replied Sam, with a twinkle. “They say it costs

“Oh, that!” said Mr. York carelessly. “You’d like to, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes, sir, I’d like to well enough, but----”

“Lots of chaps go through without a cent, or, at least, with almost no
money. There were half a dozen chaps in my class at Warner who were a
heap--er--who had less to spend than you have.”

Sam looked puzzled. “But how did they do it, sir? You mean

“Partly, in one or two cases. The trouble is with scholarships, Craig,
that you usually have to work hard for them and you can’t ever be
certain you’ll pull one down. No, the chaps I was thinking of were
fellows who were rather prominent in sports--football, baseball,
track. They found jobs waiting them. A couple were managers of frat
houses, one was a sort of assistant in the Athletic Director’s office
and had the programme privilege. There are quite a few jobs like that
to be had by wide-awake chaps with--er--athletic ability.”

“Oh,” said Sam softly, “I see.”



“It works well both ways,” continued Mr. York. “The college gets
the services of, say, a good football man, and the student gets an
education. It’s a fair exchange.”

“But isn’t it a good deal like--like paying a fellow to play for the
college, sir?”

“Oh, there’s nothing like that to it! Here’s the way it’s done, Craig.
Most graduates like to see their college stand high in everything,
athletic as well as educational efficiency. Some of them have money and
they’re glad to spend a portion of it for their college. When they run
across a fellow who--well, a fellow like you, for instance, who has a
talent for baseball, they say to themselves, ‘Here’s a chap who could
help us win our games. He can’t afford to go to college unless he can
find some way to meet his expenses. Let’s find a position for him.’ So
they use their influence and the chap gets the managership of one of
the fraternity houses, or becomes dining-hall steward, or something
of that sort. The work isn’t hard and the salary is sufficient to pay
his tuition and ordinary expenses; and he gets his room and board as a
part of his remuneration. He has plenty of time for study and plenty
of time to perform his part of the--er--bargain, which is to play on
the eleven or the nine or whatever the team may be. It’s all honest and
fair and--customary.”

Sam looked troubled. “I didn’t know that was done,” he said after a
moment. “Of course, I’d heard of such things, but I always thought it
was just--just talk.”

“It’s done every day,” replied the other cheerfully. “Lucky it is, too,
for a lot of worthy fellows who otherwise wouldn’t get the education
they need. Take your case, Craig. I don’t know what line you expect to
take up, but whatever it is, you know as well as I do that you ought
to go through college. There’s nothing like a college education to
fit a chap for his profession or business. I don’t mean only what he
learns from books; I mean what he learns from association with other
men of his own age, from instructors and professors as well; from being
part of a small and busy world in which he is confronted by just such
problems and difficulties--temptations, too--as he will meet with later
in the bigger world. He has responsibilities and duties and learns to
meet them and perform them, and in doing it he acquires self-dependence
and self-control. A college education is a sort of general massage,
Craig; it develops mind and body, brain and muscles. Don’t you think
that’s so?”

“Yes, sir, I guess it is, but----”

“Very well. Now you need college, old man. Why not have it? You have
something to exchange for your course. You have a fine talent for
baseball. Take my own college, for instance, Warner; and there isn’t
a finer one East or West. We need a chap like you to play on our ball
team in a couple of years. And in return for your services we’ll give
you an education. We won’t do it by buying you, Craig. We will do it
by finding you a position that will meet your money requirements. And
there’ll be no strings to you. We simply say, ‘Here’s a four-year
course at Warner for you, which you are to pay for by filling this
position to the best of your ability. All we ask beside that is that
you play baseball for us and do your honest best to make good.’ That’s
all. See what I mean?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Of course, if you had told me that you had selected your college I
wouldn’t have said anything about this. But you haven’t, and you tell
me you don’t believe you’ll go to college because of the expense. So,
being a loyal grad, as well as a baseball enthusiast, I make this
proposition to you, Craig, knowing that it is a mutually beneficial
one; beneficial to you, as you can’t help seeing, and beneficial
to Warner College in the way I’ve pointed out. And, lest you think
the thing is all loyalty and unselfishness on my part, I don’t mind
acknowledging that it would give me a lot of genuine satisfaction and
pleasure, as well as a new interest, to be the means of bringing you
and the college together. I don’t ask you to decide this matter now.
Take all the time you want, Craig. You’ve got a year at high school
yet, and, for that matter, if you preferred to wait another year before
entering college there’d be no objection. In fact, it might be a good
plan. You’d still be only nineteen, which is young enough, and you’d
probably be of more good to the team. Of course, though, if you did
that you’d need to keep on with your baseball work. It might be a good
idea for you to play one summer on an amateur or a semi-professional
team just for the experience. But you’d have to be careful not to
accept any money. That sort of thing gets around and you might find
yourself a professional; in which case we couldn’t use you at Warner,
you know. You mull it over, old man, and then, later on in the autumn,
drop me a line. Perhaps I’ll be down in your town before long and we
can talk it over again. I’m not trying to force your hand to-night.
Take all the time you want to decide, Craig.”

“I guess I don’t need any more time, Mr. York,” answered Sam ruefully.
“I’m very much obliged to you, and--and I appreciate your wanting to
help me like that, but--I’d rather not, sir.”

“You think it over. Don’t decide now.”

“I’d rather, please. I’m sorry. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have--have
you let you go to all this bother with me. I’m--I’m awfully sorry, Mr.
York, honest!” And Sam observed the other regretfully, apologetically.

Mr. York stared a moment. Then, “Look here, Craig,” he said drily,
“you’ve got rather a mean idea of me, haven’t you?”

“Why, no, sir!”

“Sounds so. You think I invited you down here to put you under an
obligation to me, eh? So that when I made that proposition to you,
you’d feel more or less obliged to accept it. Well, now let me tell you
something, Craig. I didn’t. I asked you down here because I liked you
and because I wanted to do anything I could to make you comfortable.
You may believe that or not, as you please, but it’s so.”

“I do!” said Sam earnestly. “I’m sorry I thought anything else, even
for a minute. If I’d stopped to think I wouldn’t have, I guess. I--I
beg your pardon.”

“You needn’t, Craig. Come to look at it from your point of view, I
don’t blame you for your conclusion. I guess it does look a bit as if
I had been ‘swiping.’ I’m sorry. But please get it out of your mind,
if it’s still there, that my--er--hospitality has anything to do with
my offer regarding Warner. It hasn’t. I’d have asked you here if you
didn’t know a baseball from a quinine pill----” Mr. York paused,
laughed, and corrected himself. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have, though,
for my liking for you began when I saw you catch that game last June.
I’m inclined, you see, to be predisposed in favour of any chap who
can play baseball well, and ready to hug one who acts like a regular
catcher. But I’d have asked you here if I’d known beforehand that there
wasn’t a chance of nabbing you for Warner, old man. That settles that.
Let’s forget it. Sorry I put myself in the position I did. As for the
proposition, why, we’ll say no more about it.”

“I think I’d like to explain a little,” said Sam. “I don’t want you to
think I’m--ungrateful----”


“Or--or goody-goody. But the thing looks to me”--Sam hesitated and
tried to choose an expression that would not wound his host--“it looks
to me too much like--like cheating.”

“Then I haven’t put it well, Craig. Now, look here----”

“Putting it well,” replied Sam, with a slow smile, “wouldn’t affect the
fact, sir, would it? It seems to me that it doesn’t much matter whether
you give me money outright to pay my expenses at Warner or whether you
pay that money to a fraternity and say, ‘Here, you give this to Sam
Craig and tell him it’s salary.’”

“But it _is_ salary!”

“But you’d be paying it, sir.”

“Someone would have to, and I could afford it. Why, hang it, the
thing’s done every day, I tell you!”

“Maybe, sir, but----” Sam paused a moment. Then, “Mr. York, if I
happened to be your son and I told you someone had made me such an
offer, would you say, ‘Take it’?”

“No, because if you were my boy it wouldn’t be necessary for you to

“Charity, you were going to say, weren’t you, sir? But suppose you
couldn’t afford to pay my tuition at college, sir. Then what? Would you
want me to accept the--the proposition?”

“Why not? It’s a fair business arrangement, isn’t it, Craig?”

“Perhaps it is, but if you were my father would you want people to say
that I was being paid to play baseball for some college?”

Mr. York’s gaze turned to the open door and a frown puckered his
forehead. Several moments passed. Sam, with that little smile that
seldom got farther than his eyes, watched and waited. Finally Mr. York
turned his gaze back to the boy and an unwilling smile overspread his
face, a smile that was more than half a scowl.

“I’ll be blessed if I would, Craig!” he said.

Another moment of silence went by. Then, “Just the same, old man, you
took a mean advantage of me, then,” he objected ruefully. “You see,
I haven’t a boy. Wish I had. If I had I’d be as cranky as an old hen
about him. Well, that’s settled, Craig, and you win. I’m sorry----”

He paused, pulled himself out of his chair, and frowned.

“Hanged if I’m sorry,” he laughed. “I’m glad of it! Langham told me I’d
fall down, and--and I guess, on the whole, I’m glad I did. Now let’s go
to bed, eh?”



Sam’s knee was so much better the next morning that he announced his
intention of joining the campers that afternoon. Mr. York pressed him
to stay until next day, but, seeing that Sam really preferred to take
his departure, studied the itinerary that Mr. Langham had left with Sam
and helped him locate the expedition.

“Take the two-fifty-two from here,” advised Mr. York, “and change
at Wickston for Norrence. Let’s see what train you can get.
Wickston--Wickston--south-bound--Here we are. Leave Wickston at
four-twelve and arrive Norrence at five-thirty-six. That’s rather late,
isn’t it? And after you get there you’ll have to find the camp.”

“I guess it won’t take long,” said Sam. “This thing says, ‘Norrence,
Lindenville road, east of village.’ That oughtn’t to be hard to find.”

“No, if they camp where they say they will you can get them in half an
hour, I dare say. Besides, it doesn’t get really dark until nearly
seven. I’d like to have you stay longer, but if you insist on going,
why, I’ll take you over for that two-fifty-two. I made a mistake in
giving that knee of yours such a good rubbing last night, Craig.”

“It certainly cured it, sir. It doesn’t hurt a mite to-day, unless
I punch it.” And Sam pressed the knee experimentally, to Mr. York’s

“You’re a regular boy, Craig,” he laughed. “I remember when I was a kid
and had a toothache I’d put my finger in my mouth and bite down on it
as hard as I could to see how badly it would hurt! Well, we’ve got four
hours before lunch, and if you want to try out that leg of yours we’ll
stroll around and see the place.”

The morning passed quickly. The subject of college was not mentioned
again until, at half-past two, they were speeding along the road to the
station in the grey roadster. Then Mr. York said:

“Craig, could you pass a college examination next fall if you had to?”

“I’m not sure,” replied Sam. “I don’t just know what the requirements
are, Mr. York. I’ve never thought much about it, you see, because
it’s never seemed I had any chance to get to college. I guess I’d have
trouble with my Latin, though.”

“Well, look here, I wish you’d try this winter and see if you can’t
get yourself ready. If nothing comes of it, it won’t do you a bit of
harm. But--well, I hope something will come of it, old man. I’d like
very much to be sure that you were going through college. Perhaps you
think I’m a strange sort of a chap to meddle so much in your affairs,
but you’ve made quite a hit with me, Sam, especially since last night;
and when I like anyone I want to see him get all that’s coming to him.
I don’t care a continental what college you go to or whether you play
ball or don’t. That’s out of it. But I would like to see you get to

“I’d like it myself, Mr. York. Only I wouldn’t want to go unless I
could do it fairly.”

“You’re right, old man. The end doesn’t always justify the means. Well,
I’m going to put my thinking cap on and see if between us we can’t
find a way. I’ll write to the secretary at Warner and see if there’s a
scholarship you could try for. I’ll write to the other colleges around
here, too. Look here, if you could get a real job next summer that
would pay you, say, eighteen or twenty dollars a week, would you take

“I’d jump at it!” said Sam. “But I don’t believe I know enough to make
that much, Mr. York. There isn’t much I can do, I guess.”

“Seems to me you can do a good many things. You told me you’d canvassed
for books, sold newspapers, and worked in a mill. And now you’re being
councillor in a boys’ camp.”

“None of those jobs paid eighteen dollars a week, though, sir.”

“No, but what I’m getting at is that if you can do those things you can
do other things. The only problem is to find something that will bring
you real money. With, say, a couple of hundred dollars I dare say you
wouldn’t be afraid to start college.”

“N-no, sir. Two hundred wouldn’t go very far, though, would it? Even at
a state university?”

“It would pay your tuition, maybe. Tell you what I want you to do, Sam,
when you get home. You go and see John Holden. I’m going to write to
him about you. He’s a fine fellow. You can’t help liking him. And he
is going to be a good man to know before very long. He’s only just
making his start now, but he’s the sort you can’t stop, and in five
years he will be Somebody in your town. You go and see him and tell
him who you are. Get to know him. John and I are pretty good friends;
have been ever since we were freshmen in college; they used to call us
the Pair of Jacks. In that way you and I’ll be able to keep in touch.
I’m a fairly busy man when I get back to work and I’m not much of a
letter-writer, but if you’ll let me hear from you now and then I’ll see
that your letters don’t go unanswered. And I’ll keep my eyes open and
see if I can’t find some job that will put some money in your pocket
when next summer comes.”

“I’d like that,” responded Sam gratefully. “I’d be willing to do ’most
anything, I guess. Only--only I wouldn’t want you to--to just _make up_
a job for me, Mr. York.”

“You’re certainly suspicious!” laughed the other. “But I give you my
word, Sam, that if I find anything for you it will be real work and
well worth the pay. Here we are, with four minutes to spare. By the
way, how about funds? All right that way, are you?”

“I have enough, thanks.”

“Quite sure? Glad to lend you a few dollars. You can return it when you
reach camp, you know.”

“I have plenty, sir, truly.”

The car swept up to the platform and they jumped out, Sam with his
battered valise. By the time he had purchased his ticket to Norrence
the train was bustling in. Mr. York went to the car-steps with him and
shook hands there.

“Good-bye, Sam. Take care of yourself, and let me hear from you,
please. I certainly enjoyed having you with me, old man, and next
summer, if we can fix it, you must come up again. Good-bye! Try
throwing from your ear and shorten your swing!”

Sam’s own farewells were drowned by Mr. York’s and abruptly cut short
by the sudden starting of the train, but he managed a more or less
coherent speech of thanks before he got beyond hearing. The last he
saw of Mr. York was that gentleman standing beside his car evoking
excruciating blasts on the electric horn with one hand and waving
farewell with the other.

Before dark Sam had found the encampment outside Norrence and was
eating a belated supper. The following three days were pleasant ones.
They broke camp every morning after an early breakfast, fixed their
packs, and hiked until an hour before noon. Then came a three-hour rest
by the road, with dinner, and at about two they were off again. They
did about eighteen miles a day, ate ravenously, slept like logs, and
reached Indian Lake the evening of the fourth day after leaving Mount
Placid, a little footsore but only healthily tired. Kitty-Bett had a
hot supper awaiting them and they more than did justice to it.

Sam found a letter awaiting him from Tom Pollock. As it was short and
concise we may as well quote it in full. “Dear Sam,” wrote Tom, “when
are you coming home? The reason I want to know is that Lynton is to
play us here on the sixteenth. She beat us the first game and we beat
her last Saturday, 5 to 1, and we’re going to play off the tie. We
want you to catch for us. I looked up that letter from Mr. Langham and
it said the camp ran to September 13th. If that’s so you’ll be back
here by Thursday, I guess. Let me know if you will and if you’ll play
Saturday. All well here and I’m very busy. Sid is kicking his heels
against the counter as I write this and wants to be remembered. Yours
as ever,


Sam answered the epistle the next morning and saw it off by Jerry the
mailman. (The boys took delight in referring to Jerry according to the
duty he was at the moment engaged in, as “Jerry the scullion,” “Jerry
the iceman,” “Jerry the woodman,” and so on. On one occasion, Dick
Barry discovered the versatile Jerry painfully inditing a letter and
promptly dubbed him “Jerry the scribe.”) Sam told Tom that he expected
to be back in Amesville the sixth and would be glad to catch for the
Blues the following Saturday, if nothing prevented.

A few days later came Visitors’ Day, and the camp took on a gala
appearance. Strings of flags blossomed along the fronts of the
buildings, pine and hemlock branches were festooned about the
dining-hall, floors were scrubbed until they shone, and no one, even
with a microscope, could have discovered a bit of paper or any sort of
litter from the landing back to the pulpit tree. The visitors were not
many in number, for parents and friends living at a distance found
it impossible to reach Indian Lake before noon, but some twenty-odd
appeared, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the programme supplied for
their entertainment. There was an aquatic carnival in the morning,
with swimming and diving competitions and canoe races, and another
thrilling tilting contest, to say nothing of a swimming exhibition by
Junior Councillor Craig. And at one o’clock there was a special dinner
for the guests, followed by one not quite so “special” for the boys.
There was no siesta that day, which alone made it blessed in the eyes
of the fellows! In the afternoon there were athletic events and a final
ball game between the Indians, “Camp Champions,” as the banner which
they displayed proudly announced, and the Mascots. True to precedent
the Indians won in six innings, thus finishing their season in a final
burst of glory. The score was 16 to 4! But then, George Porter, with
his mother and sister to watch him admiringly, pitched a remarkable

Some of the visitors stayed overnight, and for these tents were
erected. Camp-fire was an especially merry occasion that evening. Very
agreeably, the moon came up, big and mellow, at nine and, so to speak,
joined the party. The musicians were never better, and the songs were
sung with unusual enthusiasm if no more melodiously. Bedtime was set
back a full hour on this last night and it was nearly midnight when
quiet finally settled over the moonlit camp.

The next morning the exodus began and by noon only a half-dozen or so
fellows remained to bolt a hurried dinner and then tumble into the
waiting coach and disappear, cheering, toward the village.

The councillors all remained with Mr. Langham until the next day.
Shutters were to be closed and everything made ready for the winter
before they left. Supper that evening was a pleasant meal. All were
fairly tired, and they sat late about one end of the Chief’s table and
comfortably talked over the summer and their plans for winter. There
was a little impromptu speech by Mr. Langham, in which he thanked the
others for their help. And Mr. Haskins, replying for the councillors,
was quite funny in his serious way, and they finally pushed back their
chairs in laughter and strolled over to the office feeling very kindly
toward each other.

Mr. Langham, Mr. Haskins, and Sam travelled southward together the next
morning, Mr. Gifford and Steve Brown parting from them at Indian Lake.
Sam, with nearly sixty dollars in his pocket, a deep coat of tan over
most of his body, and a fine appearance of rugged health, stepped from
the train at Amesville at a little after four o’clock into the arms of
Tom and Sidney.



“Tom, do you know Mr. John Hall?”

Sam, swinging his legs from the counter at Cummings and Wright’s, had
to wait a full minute for an answer, for Tom Pollock finished writing
an order for football supplies before he raised his head. It was a
little before nine o’clock on the morning following Sam’s return to
Amesville, and the store was empty of customers. Tom signed “Cummings
and Wright Hardware Co., T. Pollock,” blotted the sheet, and pulled an
envelope toward him.

“John Logan Hall?” asked Tom then, glancing up. “The lawyer, Sam?”

“Yes, I think so. What’s he like?”

“Sort of tall and thin; clean-shaven; wears a Panama hat about ten
years old; lives at the Amesville Club, and has his office in the new
building. Why?”

“Mr. York wants me to go and see him. They’re great friends. He was
visiting Mr. Hall when he saw that game last spring, like I told you.
Is he nice?”

“John Hall? I guess so. I don’t know him except to speak to. He’s been
in here once or twice for golf balls. They say he’s one of the best
players at the Country Club. He seems a nice sort, Sam. I don’t believe
he’d bite you, anyway.”

“N-no,” answered Sam seriously, “but it seems sort of cheeky, doesn’t
it? To call on a man you’ve never even seen, I mean.”

“You used to call on men you’d never seen when you sold that ‘Popular
History of Ohio,’ or whatever it was, didn’t you?”

“That was different.”

“Yes; you were trying to do them out of their hard-earned money. All
you want from Mr. Hall is a kind word.”

“That was a perfectly good book,” answered Sam defensively. “When do
you suppose I’d find him at his office?”

Tom glanced at the little tin clock on his desk. “After nine, I guess.”
He put his clasped hands behind his head, leaned back, and viewed his
friend amusedly. “Sam, you’re an awful coward about some things, aren’t
you?” he asked. “You wouldn’t hesitate to try and sell a book to a man,
but you hate to just call socially.”

“I used to be scared to death every time I rang a doorbell when I was
selling that book,” replied Sam, with a shake of his head. “I wish Mr.
York had given me a letter of introduction to him.”

“Want me to go over with you and introduce you?” laughed Tom. “If you
feel so bashful why not take a book with you and try to sell it to
him? I’ll lend you our telephone directory. You can call it anything
you like--‘Child’s History of Amesville,’ ‘Things Every Lawyer Should
Know,’ ‘How to Tell the Trolley Cars’----”

“Dry up,” said Sam. “What about this game Saturday?”

“Why, nothing, except that we want like anything to win it, Sam. Lynton
does too. Fact is, there’s quite a little rivalry between us this year.
They beat us pretty badly the first game and so Sid got them to play us
again. Then we licked them. That was a week ago last Saturday. Then
they decided they’d have to play a third game and so they’re coming
over to-morrow.”

“How did they happen to get away with the first game?” asked Sam.

“Principal reason, better playing,” laughed Tom.

“Did they get to you?”

“Not once.”

“Then how the dickens----”

“I didn’t play. We’d just got in a big invoice of goods and I had to
stay and help here at the store. Mr. Cummings wanted me to go, but I
saw that Mr. Wright thought I ought to stick around.”

“Who did pitch?” asked Sam.

“Various members of our brilliant team--Buster, Tommy Hughes, and Joe
Kenny. I believe even Sid tried an inning. I dare say it was a lot of
fun for Lynton.”

“What was the score?”

Tom gazed at the ceiling. “Eighteen to three,” he said softly.

Sam whistled. Then, “What about to-morrow?” he asked anxiously. “Any
more invoices in sight?”

Tom laughed. “Not a one. To-morrow, Sam, we’ll everlastingly whale
those chaps! Revenge is the order of the day. By the way, they tried to
get us to agree to play the same line-up, but we told them we couldn’t
promise that.” Tom grinned. “Then I wrote to you. How are you hitting,
Mr. Councillor?”

“Not much. Mr. York says I take too long a swing. I guess I do, too.”

“Oh, never mind that if you hit the ball; results are what count.”

“Mr. York says if I take a shorter swing I’ll hit oftener.”

“Look here, Sam, I dare say this Mr. York of yours is a fine chap and
all that, but if you don’t stop talking about him I’ll throw a fit! I
haven’t heard much else since yesterday but ‘Mr. York’!”

“He thinks you’re a great little pitcher, Tom,” replied Sam, with a

Tom smiled. “Why? Because I have big ears?”

“Big ears?” Sam looked puzzled. “He didn’t say anything about your

“That was a joke,” explained Tom patiently. “There’s a saying that
little pitchers have big ears, you know, and you said he said--Oh,
shucks! Never mind, you’ll see it after a while.”

“You ought to label your jokes,” replied the other gently. “How’s a
fellow to know? How do you feel about school, Tom?”

“Full of enthusiasm,” answered Tom. “I dearly love my school. Next
Monday it’s back to the grind, eh? When are you going to call fall

“As soon as possible, I guess. I’ve got to see Mr. Talbot pretty soon.”

“Bat isn’t back yet, I think. He went out West about three weeks ago,
he and Mr. George; Grand Canyon and all that. I suppose they’ll be back
in a day or two, though. Excuse me a minute, Sam.”

A customer had entered and Tom arose to wait on him. “I’ll see you
later, Tom,” said Sam. “Guess I’ll go and call on Mr. Hall.”

“All right. The directory’s in the booth back there.”

Sam smiled gently and took his departure. Main Street had quite a busy
look now. A few blocks further along, and on the opposite side, what
Tom had called the “new building” reared its fourteen stories high
above the older structures. It was there that Mr. Hall had his office,
and Sam, as he approached, searched the signs on the lower windows. He
didn’t see Mr. Hall’s name, however, and before he could begin on the
next tier there was a collision and Sam, recovering his balance and
murmuring an apology, looked up into the smiling face of a tall man of
about thirty years of age.

“No harm done,” said the man pleasantly. “My fault, too, I guess.”

He stepped to the right and at the same instant Sam embarrassedly
stepped to the left. “Beg pardon,” muttered Sam, and stepped further
toward the curb. So did the tall man. Sam felt the blood creeping into
his face. The man laughed.

“Well, we’ll never get anywhere this way, will we?” he asked. “Now I
tell you what we’ll do. You stand quite still”--the man held up an
admonishing finger--“and I’ll carefully walk around you. Don’t move!”

Sam, very red of face, obeyed silently and the tall man circled him to
the left. “All right!” he said. “We’re off again!”

Sam looked after him. He walked with a quick, springy stride and wore
a yellow and somewhat battered Panama hat. The horrible suspicion
forced itself into Sam’s mind that the man was John Hall! Tom had said
that he was tall and thin, and wore a ten-year-old Panama. Sam couldn’t
be certain about the age of that hat, but it looked as if it might
easily have seen ten summers, and the man was tall, decidedly tall and
thin. There could be no doubt about it! Sam very cautiously moved to a
window and gazed unseeingly into it, conscious of the amused glances of
several bystanders and of the heightened colour in his face. What an
idiot Mr. Hall must think him, he mused. Well, there was no use trying
to find him in his office now, for he had disappeared in the throng
in the other direction. Sam was heartily glad of it, for he had very
little taste left for that visit. Perhaps to-morrow--or the next day----

He made his way back toward Cummings and Wright’s. He had meant to make
a purchase there and had forgotten it. He was still thinking of that
awkward moment on the sidewalk when he entered the store, and didn’t
observe that Tom was busy with a customer until he had himself reached
the counter. Even then he paid no heed to the man beside him until Tom
caught sight of him, and grinned maliciously and observed:

“Hello, Sam! How are directories selling?”

Then, following the other’s glance, Sam discovered, to his
embarrassment, that the customer was none other than the man in the
Panama hat. The latter was selecting half a dozen golf balls from a
box that Tom had presented, and had been very intent on his task until
Tom’s greeting called the newcomer to his attention. Then he glanced
up, and a smile of recognition came to his face.

“Ah,” he said, “my late adversary!”

Tom looked puzzled and Sam most unhappy. He tried to smile, but made
a poor effort of it. The man in the Panama returned to a study of the
golf balls. After a moment he completed his selection and nodded to Tom.

“I’ll take these,” he said. Then, as Tom proceeded to do them up,
he turned toward Sam, who was looking very intently at something in
a show-case, and viewed him appraisingly. Sam, well aware of the
scrutiny, felt his cheeks growing hot again.

“I’ve been wondering ever since if it was an aëroplane,” said the man
presently. Sam tried to pretend that he didn’t know the remark was
addressed to him, but something compelled him to meet the issue.

“What, sir?” he asked.

“I said I’d been wondering if it was an aëroplane,” repeated the other.
“I’m interested in aëroplanes and wouldn’t want to miss seeing one. It
was that, wasn’t it?”

“I--I don’t quite understand,” stammered Sam.

“I refer to your intent study of the heavens,” replied the other, with
deep gravity. “You seemed to be so absorbed----”

“I was looking at the new building, sir. I--I’m sorry I was so stupid!”

“So that was it? Well, I’m glad it wasn’t an aëroplane.”

Tom, handing the package across and accepting the bill proffered in
payment, was plainly nonplussed. It sounded to him as though the two
had gone quite crazy! He looked at Sam and then at the man in the
Panama, and, finally, as he returned the change, he blurted:

“You two have met, then!”

“Oh, yes, indeed--violently,” replied the man. “Still, if you can
introduce us properly----”

“Why, I thought----” began Tom. Then he laughed. “Mr. Hall,” he said,
“this is my friend Sam Craig. Sam is selling directories, and I think
he was looking for you.”

“He found me,” replied the other quizzically as he shook hands. “I’ve
been trying to place you, Mr. Craig, ever since we bumped. I remember
now that I saw you catch a game against Petersburg last spring. You’re
still playing ball, I suppose?”

“Yes, sir; that is, I--sometimes.”

“I really feel honoured in possessing the acquaintance of two such
talented players. I want to see you chaps in action again sometime.”

“Better come to the game to-morrow, Mr. Hall,” said Tom. “We’re going
to play Lynton at the school field at three.”

“To-morrow? Why, I’m afraid--The fact is, I’m playing golf to-morrow
afternoon. Sorry. Wish I might see the game. Now, what about these
directories, Mr. Craig? I don’t believe I want to invest, but if you
care to tell me what it is you’re handling----”

“That’s only Tom’s joke, sir,” said Sam apologetically. “I’m not
selling anything.”

“Oh, then you weren’t looking for me?”

“No, sir--yes, sir, I was, only----”

“The plot thickens! Only what?”

“I mean I was going to your office, but after I ran into you I thought
there wouldn’t be any use going, and so I came in here. I didn’t know
you were here, sir.”

Tom was enjoying Sam’s embarrassment hugely. “Better confess
everything, Sam,” he said soberly, “if you want Mr. Hall to help you.”

“Eh?” said Mr. Hall. Sam frowned.

“Cut it out,” he muttered.

“Look here, Mr. Craig, your story interests me strangely,” declared the
man. “You were looking for me, only you weren’t. Sounds a great deal as
though you thought I was a dentist. By the way, how did you know who I
was when we collided?”

“Tom told me that--I mean, he described you.”

“I’d like to have heard the description,” chuckled Mr. Hall. “What was
it, Pollock?”

It was Tom’s turn to be embarrassed. “I don’t just remember, Mr. Hall.
This idiot was told to call on you by a friend of yours, and he’s too
bashful to say so.”

“A friend of mine? Really?” Mr. Hall turned to Sam interestedly. “Who
was it, Mr. Craig?”

“Mr. York said----”

“John York?” demanded the other eagerly.

“Yes, sir. He said when I got home I was to call and tell you he sent
me. He said he would write to you about it.”

“Just the sort of thing he would do!” laughed Mr. Hall. “Sent you along
without a letter of introduction, eh? Well, I’m very glad to know you,
Mr. Craig. Any friend of John’s is my friend.” He shook hands again
heartily. “Where did you meet him? Hold on, though, I must get back to
the office. Can’t you come along and tell me about it? Or are you busy
just now?”

“No, sir, I haven’t anything to do.”

“Then come along. We can talk better at the office. Much obliged,
Pollock. And, come to think of it, I don’t know but what I’ll call off
that golf to-morrow and see you chaps play instead. I suppose you’re
going to pitch?”

“Yes, sir, and Sam’s to catch. Maybe you’d be willing to umpire for us?”

“Thank you for your sweet thought, Pollock, but I’m too useful a member
of this community to risk my life. I’ll yell for you, but I’d rather
not take chances.”



On the way to the office Sam narrated the story of his meeting with Mr.
York, and his companion chuckled at intervals. Sam had not concluded
his narrative when they passed through the door of the Adams Building
and entered the elevator. Up they shot to the tenth floor and there Mr.
Hall led the way to an office on the side of the building. The door
held the inscription, “John T. Hall, Attorney and Councillor-at-Law.”
The office was small, but light and cheerful, and was plainly
furnished. Mr. Hall hung his Panama on a hook behind the door and
pulled a chair forward for his visitor, seating himself at his desk
between the two broad windows.

“Now we can be comfortable,” he said. “So John said he’d write me a
letter, eh?”

“Yes, sir. Didn’t he--hasn’t he----”

“No, nor ever will,” laughed the other. “I’ve known him for almost
twenty years and I’ve never had but three letters from him! He hates
them like poison; writing them, I mean. But it doesn’t matter a bit,
Craig. I’m just as glad to know you as if he’d written twenty pages
about you. Besides, you can tell me more than he can, anyway. You live
here in Amesville, of course?”

“Yes, sir, on Curtis Street.”

“Then we’ll soon get acquainted. Your name sounds familiar to me, by
the way. Have I met your father, perhaps?”

“No, sir, he’s dead. There’s just my mother and sister and me, sir. You
might have met my sister, though. She does typewriting here. She has a
room on the third floor.”

“Of course! Miss Craig and I have had a lot of business together. So
she’s your sister, is she? Well, she’s a fine, smart girl, Craig, and
a good stenographer, too, by George! I suppose you and John talked
baseball a good deal, eh?”

“Yes, sir, quite a lot.”

“And he gave you a heap of advice, too, I’ll wager!”

“Yes, sir, some.”

“Of course! He’s as full of advice as a pudding is of plums. He’s the
sort who wants everyone to do things his way,” chuckled Mr. Hall. “We
used to have some fine old spats when we were in college together. John
not only wanted to catch, but pitch, too. If he could have had his way
he’d have played every position on the team, I guess!”

“He told me two or three things I didn’t know about catching, Mr. Hall.”

“Oh, he can tell you things, all right! He’s full of perfectly
wonderful information. He’s the sort who, if he was presented to the
King of England, would start right off telling that gentleman how to
improve his batting average!”

Sam smiled. “What he told me sounded pretty good, though,” he said

“It _was_ good; no doubt about that, Craig. Theoretically, John York
was the best catcher Warner ever had. Actually, he was the most
uncertain. You see, he was full of theories. He doped everything out
ahead and when things didn’t go the way he’d arranged them there’d be
trouble. He’d study a new batter when he came up and decide that the
man would hit a high ball over the outside corner into left field.
Then he’d signal for a low one and the batter would crack it into the
middle of next week, and John would be so surprised and grieved about
it! After the inning he’d sit on the bench and prove conclusively to
you that the man had no business hitting a low one, that he was built
for high ones! The trouble with John was that he wouldn’t practise what
he preached. He knew how a thing ought to be played, but he had a hunch
that he’d get better results if he played it differently. I used to
tell him he thought too much with his head. But in spite of all that
we loved him. He was one of the most popular fellows in college. And
you’re not to think that he always went wrong with his game, for he
didn’t. Lots of times his theories worked out like miracles.”

“I remember”--Mr. Hall picked up a paper-knife and, leaning back in his
swivel chair, played with it and smiled reminiscently--“I remember a
game we played with Michigan. John was captain that year. (We made him
captain because he’d have been it anyway and we thought there’d be no
use having two.) We were two runs behind Michigan in the seventh and
hadn’t got a run across for three or four innings. Michigan’s pitcher
had us eating out of his hand, and if anyone did start a rally their
infield cut it off. So, in the seventh John said, ‘Look here, fellows,
we’re playing too close to the ground. What we’ve got to do is cut
loose and run wild for a couple of innings. Now I want every one of
you to hit at anything you see, as long as you don’t have to walk out
of the box for it, and when you get on first I want you to go down to
second on the first ball. And when you get to second, try for third.
Those chaps aren’t used to fireworks. Let’s show them some.’

“Well, we wanted that game; we were always crazy to beat Michigan; and
it didn’t look as if we were going to get it. Michigan was playing
one of those scientific games--every man fielding perfectly; pitcher
and catcher working together like two cog-wheels; everything figured
according to the laws and commandments of baseball. There didn’t seem
to be anything to lose by following John’s scheme and so we tried
it. The first batter up for our side acted as if he’d never heard
of waiting. He whaled away at everything in sight and got a scratch
hit somehow and went to first. And then he started down the path on
the first delivery. He was thrown out, though. But you could see
that Michigan was beginning to wonder. Our next man slammed around
and knocked fouls and finally got a clean hit, the first for half an
hour. He followed instructions and stole second easily, in spite of a
pitch-out, catcher throwing low to the base. Then we had them going.
The next man drew his base and the man on second lighted out for third.
He ought never to have got it, but he did. Someone fumbled. After that
we ran wild on the bases. Even with two out we didn’t show any sort of
baseball sense. We did everything we shouldn’t have done, and Michigan
found herself as far up in the air as a balloon. We got five runs
across in that inning on two hits and a pass!”

“And won the game?” asked Sam.

“N-no, we didn’t, as a matter of fact. We ought to have, but those
chaps got to me in the ninth and knocked me out of the box. I suppose
romping around the bases and sliding on my ear sort of tuckered me.
Anyway, they hammered me to the bench and then got two hits off Whipple
and scored enough to win. Still, as John showed us, we _ought_ to have

“I’d like to have seen it,” said Sam.

“It was some game,” assented the other. “I guess I’ll have to go out
to-morrow and see you fellows play. I will if you’ll let me sit on the
bench and mix in.”

“I wish you would,” said Sam. “I dare say you could tell us some things
that might help, Mr. Hall.”

“Oh, I’m no John York!” laughed the lawyer. “I haven’t many theories,
Craig. I’ve always played the game by rule of thumb, so to say. This
close-harmony, inside stuff has always been a bit beyond me.”

“But there’s a good deal in it, isn’t there?” asked Sam. “Inside
baseball, I mean.”

“Oh, yes, I guess so. Only I never could figure it. What time do you
play to-morrow?”

“Three o’clock, sir.”

“I’ll be there.” He opened a desk drawer and dropped the package he
had brought from the store into it. “Those can wait,” he said. “I like
golf, but I guess I’d rather see a good ball game, after all.”

“I don’t know how good to-morrow’s game will be, Mr. Hall,” said Sam
doubtfully. “Most of the fellows are pretty young and we make lots of

“Well, what’s the odds, eh? It’s fun, isn’t it? Hold on, don’t run
away, Craig.”

“I guess I’ll be going, sir, thanks. I’ve got some things to do at
home. I’ve been away so long things have sort of got behind there.”

“Well, you know where to find me. And, look here, do you ever play

“No, sir, I’ve never tried it.”

“You’re not too old,” replied the other, with a smile. “Some day you
and I’ll go out to the Country Club and have a whack at it. You’ll like
it, and I’ve got plenty of clubs. Want to?”

“Yes, thanks, only it--it wouldn’t be much fun for you.”

“How do you know that? You don’t know me well enough yet to say what
my sort of fun is, Craig.” He smiled quizzically. “As a matter of
fact, I’d like it. I’ll see you to-morrow. By the way, I live at the
Amesville Club. Come around some evening and chin. There’s something
that passed between you and John York that you haven’t told me about
yet. Good-bye.”

Sam shook hands again and took his leave, descending by the stairs to
the sixth floor and making his way to a door whose ground-glass bore
the legend, “Miss Craig, Stenographer,” and from behind which came the
busy clatter of a typewriter. Nell Craig was hard at work when Sam
entered, and she only nodded and smiled until she had finished the
sheet she was on and had pulled it from the carriage. Then she laid it
aside and turned to view Sam questioningly. She was a rather pretty
girl of eighteen, with light hair and more delicate features than her
brother’s. She looked alert and capable, and quite businesslike in the
plain black gown she wore.

“I saw him,” said Sam. “He seems rather nice.”

“Of course he does. I told you you’d like him,” replied Nell. “He’s the
nicest customer I have.”

“He said you were a smart girl and a good stenographer,” answered Sam.
“Looks like a case of what-do-you-call-it--mutual admiration.”

Nell laughed. “It’s more fun working for men you like, Sam. Some of
them are rather gruff and horrid. What did he say to you?”

“Nothing much. Said he was glad to know me.”

“But didn’t you talk at all?”

“Yes, I suppose so. We talked baseball a good deal, I guess.”

Nell’s nose wrinkled. “Baseball! Is that all you could find to talk of?
Did you tell him what Mr. York said about you going to college?”

Sam shook his head. “No. I guess that wouldn’t interest him much.”

“But you ought to. Maybe he might know of someone who would help you
or--or something, Sam.”

“I don’t believe so. Anyway, I don’t want to--to know folks just so’s
they can help me, do I? He’s coming to see us play Lynton to-morrow.
And he wants me to go to the Country Club with him some day and learn

“Well, I think you got on splendidly,” said Nell delightedly. “Everyone
says he’s awfully smart, Sam, and I guess he’s beginning to get quite
a practice. I know I do three times as much work for him as I did at
first. I’m sure he will be a splendid man for you to know.”

“I don’t want to know him just because he might do something for me,”
objected her brother. “Folks can be friends for--for other reasons,
can’t they?”

“Of course, but there’s no harm in having friends that are influential,
Sam,” replied Nell wisely. “Folks who get on, I notice, cultivate
friends who can help them. That’s plain common sense, Sam.”

“Plain common selfishness, you mean,” he answered. “All folks can’t do
that sort of thing, because look at the people who have been nice to me
lately. Much good I could do them!”

“I’m not so sure,” replied Nell thoughtfully, smiling a little. “There
are lots of ways to help a person, Sam. Now, that Mr. York, I dare say
you helped him.”

“Helped Mr. York!” ejaculated Sam. “I’d like to know how!”

“I don’t know that. Maybe, though, you took his mind off some worry, or
cheered him up when he was feeling unhappy.”

“I guess he never needed cheering up,” said Sam. “But I see what you
mean, sis. It doesn’t sound so bad that way. Well, I must get along.
I asked Tom up to supper to-night. He and I are going to practise a
little for to-morrow. If you’re going home early, I’ll wait around
awhile for you.”

“I’m not, Sam, not very early to-day, thanks. I’ll try to get home by
one, though. Tell mother not to wait for me. I’ve promised all this by
twelve, and then I’ve got some letters to take for Mr. Hall.”

“Oh,” said Sam musingly, watching Nell deftly introduce a “carbon
sandwich” into the carriage of the typewriter. “Mr. Hall.”

“Exactly,” replied Nell, spacing briskly.

“Hm. I wonder, now----”

“What?” she asked as he stopped.

“I wonder whether Mr. Hall likes me. He sort of seemed to.”

“Why shouldn’t he?” she asked cheerfully.

“That’s so. Maybe I could help him, you know.”

“Of course! That is--well, in what way, Sam?”

“There are lots of ways, you said. I might”--Sam edged toward the
door--“I might say a good word for him to my sister!”

Nell tossed her head. “You can’t tease me about Mr. Hall, Sam,” she
said untroubledly. “He and I are good friends, but we’re both of

“Then what are you blushing for?” demanded Sam meanly.

“I’m not blushing, silly! Do run away and let me get to work!”

“Oh, all right.” Sam went out, but, just before the door closed finally
behind him, he added softly, “Say, sis!”

“Go away, please!”

“He’s not bad-looking, is he?”

The hurried clatter of the machine followed him along the hall until,
with a little smile around his eyes, he turned the corner and pressed
the elevator signal.



Sam was surprised the next afternoon when he reached the high school
athletic field to find that the game with Lynton had drawn together
quite an audience. Perhaps the fact that the summer weather still held,
with no hint as yet of autumn, accounted for the baseball enthusiasm.
Usually by the middle of September the fellows were far too engrossed
with football to heed the rival game. To-day the school had turned
out in force, and there was a fair sprinkling of girls in the stand.
Sam met many acquaintances he had not seen since his return and his
progress through the gate and around to the dressing-room was slow.
Frank Warner, last year’s captain of the high school team, for whom Sam
had never entertained a very great liking, was quite affable. Frank, as
he confided with studied carelessness, was off to college the middle of
next week. Sam said he hoped he’d like it.

“Oh, I dare say I’ll like it well enough,” replied the other. “It’s
not a bad place, I guess. I’m going to Warner, you know. They turn out
some pretty decent teams there. I’m going to have a try for freshman
football. I suppose college isn’t included in your scheme, Sam.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” replied the other, trying not to show his
resentment of Frank’s patronising tone. “I rather expect to go to
Warner myself next fall. May see you there, Frank. Good luck.”

He turned away with a careless nod and sought the dressing-room. And as
he went the determination to enter Warner College next year, by hook or
crook, took possession of him. Until that moment he had not viewed the
idea seriously, in spite of Mr. York’s enthusiasm and his own desire,
but now he told himself that somehow he would carry it out, if only, he
added grimly, to show Frank Warner that he didn’t own the college, even
if it did have the same name! And then he was in the dressing-room and
a shout of welcome arose, and he had to forget his great resolve and
return the greetings of the dozen or so fellows present.

There was Tommy Hughes and “Buster” Healey and young Peddie and Sid
Morris and Tom and Pete Farrar and Bert Meyers and six or seven more,
many of them just back from summer vacations and pleading with Tom
to be allowed to join the Blues for the occasion. Tom good-naturedly
accepted them all as substitutes and promised to use them as he
could, and consequently, when the team gave up the field to Lynton,
some twenty minutes later, the home team’s bench was much too small
to accommodate all the players and substitutes. Mr. Talbot, the high
school coach, appeared accompanied by Mr. George, the latter a former
league pitcher, who had helped with the team the preceding spring.
It was Mr. Talbot who drew Tom’s attention to a big, wide-shouldered
youth, who was lazily pitching the ball to a substitute catcher at the
far side of the diamond.

“You don’t mean they’re going to pitch that fellow, do you?” asked the

Tom looked and shook his head. “I never saw him before,” he said.
“Wonder where they got him. They wanted us to agree to play to-day with
the same line-up we had before, but I refused because I wanted Sam to
catch for us. I guess they thought they’d strengthen themselves some,
too. That fellow must be twenty-three or four.”

“All of that, I guess. And from the easy way in which he handles that
ball I’d say he’d done it before,” added Mr. Talbot drily. “Probably a
college man they’ve picked up.”

“I don’t see,” said Tommy Hughes, who had joined them, “why two can’t
play at that game, sir. You might play for us, Mr. Talbot.”

“I guess not. Teams don’t usually play their coaches, Hughes.”

“But you’re not our coach, sir. This isn’t the high school team, it’s
the Blues.”

Mr. Talbot laughed. “Really? But I see quite a few familiar faces! You
might get Mr. George to play, though.”

“He’s going to umpire,” said Tom. “I just asked him. There’s Mr. Hall
coming in, though. He used to pitch. We might ask him.”

“John Hall? What’s he doing here?” Mr. Talbot asked.

“He’s a friend of Sam’s and we asked him to come to the game. You know
him, don’t you, Mr. Talbot?”

“I’ve met him,” replied the coach briefly. Then he smiled. “The fact
is, Tom, we’re opposing counsel in a case that’s been running along
since last winter, and we’ve had to hammer each other pretty hard in
court. But I don’t know that need keep us from fraternising at a ball
game. You’d better go over and rescue him. He’s looking for a place to
sit down, and the bench is full.”

But Sam had seen the newcomer and yielded his seat to him when Tom
arrived. Mr. Hall, protesting, sat down and then listened to Tom’s
message. “I pitch?” he said finally. “Why, Pollock, I haven’t had a
baseball in my hand for years! I’d like to oblige you, but I’d make a
mess of it. You’ll do it twice as well as I could.”

“If Tom gets into trouble,” suggested Sam, “you might try it, Mr. Hall.
Would you?”

“Why, yes, I suppose so, if I’m really needed. But give me a chance to
limber up, fellows. My arm’s pretty stiff, I guess. Swinging a golf
club isn’t quite the same as pitching a baseball. How does it come,
though, that you’re letting them use that man? Looks to me like a
professional, Pollock.”

“Well, sir, we haven’t any sort of an agreement as to who’s to play.
It doesn’t seem quite fair to call on chaps as old as he is, but as
they’ve done it we thought we could.”

“I’d say you had every right to, but if I were you I’d see if I
couldn’t pull through with my regular players. Then if you do win
you’ll have something to be proud of. How do you, Mr. Talbot? Glad to
see you again.” Mr. Hall arose and the two lawyers shook hands in a
friendly way. “For once, I take it, we’re both on the same side!”

“That’s so,” Mr. Talbot replied, with a smile. “We’ll bury our hatchets
for this afternoon. Are you going to help these chaps out, Mr. Hall?”

“Oh, I don’t think they’ll need my help. I was just saying to them that
they ought to see what they could do without--er--legal assistance.
Take my advice, Pollock, and keep away from lawyers as long as you can.
That’s right, isn’t it, Mr. Talbot?”

“Good advice, but unprofitable to us,” was the reply. “The audience is
getting impatient, Tom. Are you ready?”

From the stand came cries of “Play ball!” and Mr. George, struggling to
fit to a rather large head a mask that was several sizes too small for
him, called, “Batter up!” The Amesville Blues trotted to their places
and Lynton presented her first man.

Mr. Talbot and Mr. Hall, left with the substitutes, settled down to
watch the game. Mr. Hall sighed comfortably. “This is what I like,” he

Mr. Talbot looked a question.

“Sitting on a bench,” explained the other, “with nothing to do but
watch a couple of teams play ball. It beats working all hollow!”

Mr. Talbot laughed. “That’s so, but for my part I’d rather be out there
playing, Hall.”

“Y-yes, so would I, except that I’m too rusty now to try it. Golf’s
about the only game left to us older chaps.”

“You don’t look so superannuated. Dare say you could puzzle them a
bit yet if you tried. One down,” he added as the first Lynton batsman
trailed his bat away from the plate.

“Wonder if I could,” mused Mr. Hall. “I’d rather like to try, I guess.
You went to college in the East, didn’t you, Talbot?”

“Yes, Pennsylvania. And you?”

“Warner. We never met you chaps.”

“No, I think not. Good work, Healey! That boy can handle them mighty
well for a youngster. That’s two down. Tom Pollock hasn’t got his
stride yet, or else he isn’t working. Those two chaps make a great

“Pollock and Craig? What sort of a fellow is this Craig boy?”

“Just what you see. Quiet, straightforward, honest as they make them.
Not exactly brilliant--Look at that for a drop!--not brilliant exactly,
but sensible and brainy. Pollock said Sam was a friend of yours, I

“He is. I met him yesterday.”

Mr. Talbot smiled. “Not of long standing, then.”

“No, the fact is we have a mutual friend, Craig and I. We’re just
getting acquainted. I like him, though, so far.”

“You’ll keep on then, for Sam doesn’t change much. That’s one thing
that makes him a mighty good catcher. He’s as steady as a rock. Plays
the same game to-day he did yesterday, except that he probably gets a
little better all the time. He isn’t the sort who have flashes of fine
form one day and then slump the next. That’s the stuff, Tom! Who’s
scoring? You, Steve? When does that pitcher of theirs come up? Fifth
on the list? I thought so. I guess he’s going to make trouble for us.
What’s his name?”

“Smith,” replied Steve Arbuckle.

“Smith! I’ll wager he has another name at home,” said Mr. Talbot. “If
he gets too gay I’ll go in there myself, unless you will, Hall.”

“I would if I thought I could do any good. We’ll see how things turn
out. There goes the last man. That’s three, isn’t it? Now then,
Amesville, show what you can do!”

The Blues didn’t do much of anything. The mysterious Smith was too much
for the first three batsmen and they all went out on strikes. The last
one, however, nearly got his base by reason of a third strike which got
past the catcher. The ball headed him off at the base, though, and the
first inning ended with only six men having seen the plate.

“That’s the only thing that may give our boys a look-in,” said Mr.

“You mean passed balls?” asked Mr. Hall. “That’s so; that catcher of
theirs is finding it pretty hard to hold the pitcher.”

As Steve Arbuckle, last year’s manager of the nine, phrased it, setting
a neat “k” in the appropriate space, “Another redskin bit the dust!”
Which, interpreted, meant that the first Lynton batter had fallen
before Tom’s curves. That brought Smith, the pitcher, up, and the
audience on the bench watched curiously. He was a good-looking chap,
but, as Mr. Hall insisted, there was something in his appearance that
suggested the professional, or, perhaps, semi-professional ball player.
It may have been the easy, untroubled, almost listless manner in which
he walked to the plate, rubbed his hands on the seams of his trousers,
swung his bat once, and then faced Tom Pollock. “For all the world,”
muttered Mr. Hall, “as if he was sure of his pay-envelope whether he
hits or doesn’t.”

Tom worked a low one over for a strike and Smith merely glanced at
the corner of the plate, over which it had passed. A curve went for
a ball. A second crossed knee-high but was too close for a strike.
Smith stood motionless, save for the incessant working of his jaws as
he chewed gum. Sam, kneeling, laid four fingers vertically against his
mitten, the signal for a slow ball. He argued that with two balls on
the pitcher, Smith would expect a fast one over the plate. Tom stepped
forward and pitched. There was a solid, resounding thud and the ball
shot across the diamond, passed like a bullet between shortstop and
third baseman and, far out in the field, struck the sod and bounded
into centre fielder’s glove. The throw to second was too late to get
the runner, however, for the redoubtable Mr. Smith slid beautifully and
hooked a foot against the bag before the ball got to him. The small
party of Lyntonites shouted delightedly and Mr. Hall and Mr. Talbot
exchanged glances.

“Looks as if he’d hit a ball before,” said the latter drily.

“Wouldn’t wonder if he’d run bases before, too,” observed Mr. Talbot.
“Lucky thing for us they didn’t have men on bases.”

“Very. Watch him take his lead now. The chap’s a regular player, all
right. Look at that!”

Tom had wheeled quickly and thrown to shortstop and Smith had cunningly
shot around back of the bag and slid out of reach of the descending arm.

“Pollock will never catch him asleep,” said Mr. Talbot.

Tom tried it again a minute later, after he had slipped one across
on the next batsman, but the result was the same. Then he gave his
attention to the plate and easily disposed of the Lynton third baseman.
With two out, the Blues breathed easier, but the trouble was not over
for the inning. Smith, who had proved his ability to take a long lead
and escape punishment, did what he was expected to and stole third so
neatly that, by the time Sam had stepped aside to avoid the batsman,
there was no use in making the throw. With two-and-two, Sam called for
a low one in the groove, hoping to fool the batter. But that youth
managed in some way to connect and the ball went bounding across to
shortstop. It would have been a simple matter to get the ball and field
it to first in time to retire Lynton, but Gordon Smith “booted” badly
and his namesake tallied Lynton’s first run. The half was over a minute
later when Sam, signalling for a wide one, threw to second and caught
the runner sliding.

Some of the Blues did a little grumbling when they returned to the
bench. The general sentiment was to the effect that Smith ought to be
protested. Either that or the home team should enlist the services of
Mr. Talbot or Mr. Hall. Tom, however, refused to consider the first
plan, declaring that if they were going to object to Smith they should
have done it before the game started.

“Then why not ask Mr. Talbot to play?” demanded Bert Meyers.

“He doesn’t want to. If we can’t lick them any other way, though, Mr.
Hall will go in and pitch for us.”

“We don’t need anyone else to pitch,” grumbled Buster Healey. “We need
someone to hit!”

“Try it yourself, Buster,” said Tom. “You’re up next.”

“That’s all right, but that fellow’s a big league pitcher. You can’t
fool me! Tom Hughes says he saw him pitch for Cleveland last year.”

“Tommy’s a fibber, I guess. Anyway, don’t give up before you get to
the plate, Buster. Try a bunt.”

Buster did try a bunt, and missed. And then he tried to hit it out and
missed. And after that he tried waiting--and missed. And, when he was
once more seated comfortably on the bench, he growled uncomplimentary
remarks about Pitcher Smith! There was no scoring in that half of the
second and none in either half of the third. Tom managed to hold the
enemy hitless, although the Lynton captain came very near to reaching
first on a smash that almost carried third baseman off his feet. The
ball and the runner reached the first sack at about the same instant,
and Mr. George’s decision might well have been made either way. He
ruled the runner out, however, and quickly quelled the mutinous murmurs
of the Lynton team. Mr. George, who seemed to be having a very good
time of it, conducted himself like a league umpire and there was
something in his “That’ll do! Play ball!” that discouraged protest.

The fourth inning opened for Lynton with the second clean hit of
the game and the batsman reached first with time to spare. Then a
hit-and-run resulted in an out at first and put a man on second.
But, although there were moments when things looked desperate for
the home team, the inning finally ended without a tally, Smith being
coaxed by Tom into hitting a fly to the left fielder, which that youth
pulled down. But the Blues fared no better; in fact, not so well, for,
although Sam, discarding his new method of short-swinging in favor of
slugging, lined out a two-bagger, he never got beyond that station.

The game had resolved itself into a pitchers’ battle, with Tom barely
holding his own against his more experienced opponent. Only the
sharpest sort of fielding behind him and a really wonderful catch of
a foul by Sam kept Lynton’s score down to that one lone tally. The
onlookers were getting full value for their money--the Blues, in view
of the more than usual amount of interest in the deciding contest, had
audaciously charged fifteen cents for admission--and were sitting well
forward in their seats most of the time. Even on the bench the suspense
was beginning to tell. Mr. Hall had dragged his discolored Panama
well over his eyes, folded his arms, and was watching events with
keen interest. Mr. Talbot, smiling as he always did smile when he was
anxious, made infrequent remarks in low tones to which his neighbor
merely nodded.

The fifth passed uneventfully into history, only three men going to bat
for the Blues and four for Lynton. Smith mowed down his adversaries
mercilessly, seldom pitching more than four balls to each. Tom had to
work harder, and in that first of the fifth had a narrow escape from
punishment when the Lynton right fielder cracked out what looked to be
good for two bases, but resolved itself into a remarkable put-out by
the Blues’ centre fielder, who ran almost into left garden for the ball
and then got it an inch from the turf, receiving from an overwrought
audience a burst of applause that quite embarrassed him.

In the sixth the Lynton catcher started things off with a slow bunt
that third baseman overran and so reached first base. Steve Arbuckle
charitably scored a hit for the batter. Then the head of the visiting
team’s list came up and things again looked bad for Amesville. But
Fortune favored the Blues. Tom deceived the next man and added another
strike-out to his credit, and then, when the third batsman hit across
to shortstop, that youth tossed to second baseman and second baseman
sped the ball to first, and the Amesville partisans warmly applauded a
very pretty double-play.

The Blues threatened in their half of the sixth, but failed to make
good the threat. A scratch hit put Tom on first and an error spoiled
what should have been a double, and the Blues, for the first time, had
two men on. But things fizzled out after that. Strikes quickly disposed
of the next two batsmen and the third flied out to second baseman with
what, aided by a little luck, might easily have been a hit.

The stand was shouting for action now. Pitchers’ battles are
interesting enough, but the audience wanted hits. It even demanded
them from Lynton, and perhaps that encouragement helped to bring about
what followed in that first half of the seventh. A stocky Lynton
fielder laid his bat cosily against one of Tom’s fast ones and went
to first. Tom tried to nail him but failed. The next batsman bunted
toward third, and third baseman, running in fast, scooped up the ball
neatly and tried for a double. But second baseman was off his bag when
the ball got to him and the runner beat him by a matter of inches,
and the subsequent peg to first was too late. That, then, was the
situation when the hard-hitting Mr. Smith picked out a bat and strolled
nonchalantly to the plate.

“He ought to pass him,” said Mr. Hall anxiously. Mr. Talbot nodded.

“He will.”

And he did, to the amusement of the Amesville supporters and the
loudly voiced scorn of the Lynton bench. Smith accepted his fate
philosophically, tossed his bat aside and walked to first.

Mr. Hall sighed. “Here’s where it goes glimmering,” he murmured.

“Looks that way,” replied Mr. Talbot. “Bases full and none out. It’s up
to Tom to show some of the real stuff now.”

“If he’s got enough of it to keep one or two of those chaps from
scoring, I’ll take my hat off to him,” was the reply.

“Well, you can’t tell. The weak hitters are coming up and there’s
always a good chance for a double when the bags are filled. Wouldn’t
care to step in there and try your hand, would you?”

But Mr. Hall shook his head most decidedly. “No, sir! I’m scared as it
is! I’d never find the plate until the bases were cleared!”

The Lynton coachers were shrieking themselves hoarse and the runners
were jumping and shouting with wild enthusiasm as Sam and Tom met
halfway between plate and mound. Sam, ball in hand and an eye on third
base, talked a moment, and Tom, a speculative gaze set on Mr. Hall,
nodded. Then Sam handed the ball to him and walked cheerfully back
to the plate, pulling his mask on, and Tom, hitching his trousers,
motioned the fielders in.



If there is any situation in a ball game which calls for coolness and
steadiness it is that in which the pitcher finds himself surrounded on
three sides by base-runners and on the fourth by an adversary whose one
desire in life is to hit the ball safely. And when that pitcher knows,
besides, that before the fracas is over he or his mates must dispose
of three of the enemy, that situation is greatly complicated. It’s a
time when pitcher and catcher must work together perfectly and when
the infield must back them up as never before. A time, too, when the
slightest miscue proves fatal.

Tom had not only to keep the next three batsmen from hitting safely,
but he must avoid allowing a long fly, since Lynton could score two
runs on as many outs if the ball went to the outfielders. And he could
give no passes without forcing in a tally. As Mr. Talbot had said, it
was up to him to show “real stuff.”

Sam crouched and gave his signal. Shortstop got it and relayed it to
the outfield. Tom wound his fingers around the ball and the shouting
died down a moment. Then off shot the sphere, the Lynton batsman
staggered away from the plate, and Mr. George announced “Str-r-rike!”

A burst of applause came from the stand. Third baseman, who had
scuttled in toward the plate, moved back again. The Blues were talking
back and forth, but their remarks were drowned by the frenzied shouting
of the Lynton coachers.

Another delivery that dropped almost into the dust behind the plate
went for a ball. A third cut the outer corner, waist-high, and the
batsman swung violently at it and missed. Sam signalled and spread his
hands wide. “Come on now! You can do it, Tom! Right over and make it

But the ball didn’t go right over. Instead it curved widely and the
batsman pulled his bat back before he had completed the swing.

“Two balls!” said the umpire.

“Two-and-two, Tom! That’s the stuff, old man! You’ve got him worried
now!” called Sam, while from the other members of the team came
cheerful shouts of encouragement. “That’s the stuff, Tom! He can’t hit
you!” “One more just like it, Tom! Let him hit!” “Give him a good one,
Tom; we’re right here, old man!”

And then, with a change of pace that caught the batsman napping, Tom
sped one over the outer edge of the plate and the swinging bat was
too late, and Amesville roared and clapped as the disgruntled batsman
turned away.

“One gone!” cried Sam, holding up a finger. “Here’s the next man,

A high one failed to prove the strike that Tom had meant it to be and
he followed it with an out-shoot that was not offered at and that also
went as a ball. The coachers redoubled their noise then.

“You’ve got him in a hole! He’s afraid of you, Sandy! Wait ’em out!
Everybody walks now!”

But Tom came back with a slow ball that the batsman struck at too soon
and fouled into the stand. Again Tom made the same offering and again
the batter was fooled. “Two-and-two, Tom!” said Sam, pawing the dust
between his knees before he laid three fingers against his glove. “Only
one more now! Cut loose, old man! Show ’em what you have!”

But the signal didn’t call for any miracles, merely for an in-shoot,
and third baseman crept in an inch or two and poised on his toes. And
then away travelled the ball, the bat swung harmlessly, Sam put up a
big mitt, and Mr. George shouted, “He’s out!”

Mr. Hall’s sigh of relief was audible the length of the bench in spite
of the deafening plaudits of the crowd beyond, amongst whom none
clapped his hands more vigourously than a late arrival, who had just
squeezed himself into a seat in the front row, and who now, in order to
give vent to his satisfaction, had let his cane slip away from between
his knees and had dropped the grey gloves he carried.

Then while the runners on bases, seeing their opportunity fade away,
shouted and leaped and scuttled back and forth, daring a throw, the
Lynton centre fielder came up, anxious-eyed under a show of assurance.
And Tom pitched, a slow ball that seemed of two minds about ever
reaching the plate. And the batsman, eager, intense, leaned forward,
swung desperately, and the sound of bat and ball meeting rang out.
Cries--commands--warnings! First baseman speeding up, Sam whipping off
his mask, Tom, with upraised hand, walking toward the plate, head back!

“_Tom! Tom!_” shouted first baseman, slowing down.

“Take it!” gasped Sam, dodging aside.

High up against the blue of the sky the ball floated, a brown speck,
and then, momentarily growing larger, down it rushed. From the enemy
came conflicting shouts of “Catcher’s ball!” “First baseman’s got it!”
“Drop it! Drop it!” “Can’t get it, Pollock, can’t get it!” And then,
standing astride the plate, the batsman grudgingly backing away, Tom
poised himself, hands waiting. A step to the left at the last moment
and there followed the comforting thud of ball against glove and the
crisp voice of Mr. George, “Foul! He’s out!”

The audience shouted loudly, applaudingly, relieving their suspense.
The men on bases strode away to their places, picking up their gloves
and showing disappointment in every action. The cheering died away and
the Blues went to bat. One run was needed to tie, but that one run
looked very far away. Smith, the only one of the men left on bases who
had appeared to accept the result philosophically--it was doubtless
all in the day’s work to him--now pulled his glove on again, swept
up the ball from the dirt and faced the batsman. Comparative silence
reigned as the Lynton catcher crouched and laid fingers against mitt.
Smith nodded imperceptibly and started his wind-up. And at that moment
a polite inquiry came from the edge of the grandstand:

“Why did Shreveport let you go, Nick?”

There was a slight falter as the ball shot away, and a quick glance
toward the stand as the umpire announced, “One ball!” A murmur of
amusement arose from the audience. Again came the wind-up and again
came the voice, clear and distinct across the diamond:

“Hard luck, Nick! Back to the bush, eh?”

Off went the ball and again the umpire disapproved, while the pitcher,
squaring himself toward the stand, searched the faces there with
curious gaze. He was smiling, but the smile didn’t look genuine. He
failed to find the speaker, for, although many faces were turned toward
a lower corner of the stand, Smith didn’t think to connect the remarks
with the smartly-dressed, gentlemanly-looking man of thirty or so, who
sat nonchalantly grasping a cane and a pair of grey gloves between his
knees. The stand was laughing and exchanging inquiries. Further away
the occupants were on foot, trying to get a glimpse of the speaker.
“The chap down there in the derby, I think.” “No, the little man with
the grey coat; smoking a pipe; see him?” “What did he say, anyhow?” “I
couldn’t hear, but whatever it was that pitcher didn’t like it.” “Glad
of it! He hasn’t any business playing ball with a lot of boys.”

Smith pitched again, and once more, although there had been no
disturbing comment, he failed to put the ball over for a strike.
Scurrying to their places, the Amesville coachers whooped and shouted.
“Good eye, George! Wait for your base!” “You’ve got him now! Here’s
where we start, fellows! Wow!”

Smith rubbed his hand in the dirt, settled the ball between his fingers
and stepped forward.

“Strike--one!” called Mr. George. Lynton applauded.

Smith got the return and walked back toward his box, and as he went his
gaze again sought the stand. Those who saw it laughed. The man with
the grey gloves watched imperturbably. Smith got the signal, poised
with upraised foot.

“What do you get for to-day, Nick?”

Away went the ball, bounded against the plate and rolled to the net.
The batsman raced to first and Amesville, players and friends, laughed
and shouted gleefully. Angrily Smith slapped the ball into his glove as
it came back, turned, and threw to first. The baseman, not expecting
the throw, tried for it and failed, and as the ball shot past his
finger-tips and rolled to the seats the runner dashed for second. He
had all the time in the world to make the bag and reached it standing
up. Smith, still scowling, got his signals, while from all sides came
the howls and shrieks of the Amesville players. He was fair game now,
it seemed, and in the stand they were kicking their feet and whistling
and shouting across at him. Whether he was really being paid to pitch
for Lynton none knew, but all were willing to believe it.

The catcher walked down and conferred a moment and Smith nodded
grudgingly and went back to the mound. But Smith was annoyed and off
his game for once. Two balls followed in succession. Then came a foul.
After that a third ball. Amesville jeered and redoubled her noise.
Smith, trying his best to regain command of the ball, took much time
between deliveries now, wound up slowly, and sped the ball away with
care. But his time had come, for there was a smart _crack_, a streak
of grey across the diamond, and the runner on second was digging for
third, while down the first-base line raced the batter. Well out of
the reach of shortstop or second baseman shot the ball, head-high, as
clean and hard a drive to deep centre as one would want to see. Centre
fielder reached it as it took its first bound, set himself, and sped
the ball to second baseman and second baseman turned and pegged it
to the plate. But the Blues had scored the tying run before the ball
reached the catcher, and, although that youth threw well and quickly to
second, the runner had taken advantage of the throw-in and was sitting
comfortably, if breathlessly, on the bag!

How Amesville cheered and clapped and pounded the boards with excited
feet! And what a scurrying and jostling there was about the bench as
Tom, conferring with Mr. Talbot, chose a hitter to go to bat for
Gordon Smith. It was Pete Farrar who was at last selected. Pete,
although a pitcher, was a pretty good hitter in the pinches, and it
was Pete who was now to prove the wisdom of his selection. For Pete
landed on the second ball offered him and sent it arching into the very
right-hand corner of the field! And, although the ball was caught after
a run, it didn’t reach the infield again until the runner from second
was sliding to third!

One out, then, and a man on third base! And one run needed to give
the lead to Amesville! And the occupants of the stand on their feet,
shouting and stamping and begging a hit! It was Sam who walked to the
plate, Sam a little bit nervous and trying to make up his mind whether
to follow Mr. York’s advice and take a short swing or follow the method
he knew best. But he hadn’t had time to learn Mr. York’s way yet, and
when, after sending a ball, Pitcher Smith sped one across the outer
corner, knee-high, Sam’s effort went for naught. Another ball followed,
one that passed the end of Sam’s nose and sent him “bucketting” away
from the plate. And then there was another that looked good and again
Sam, with shortened bat, tried his level best to connect with it and
only popped a fly behind the Lynton bench. With the score two-and-two,
Sam let his bat slide down until his hands were grasping the very end
of it and then swung it well behind his shoulder and waited. After all,
every man to his trade, he thought! Then Smith was stepping forward and
the ball was coming and Sam--well, Sam was revolving on one heel and
the ball was snugly nestled in the catcher’s mitt, and Sam was out!

Amesville howled with disappointment and, in the ardour of the moment,
jeered Sam as he walked back to the bench. Tom, passing on his way to
the plate, smiled reassuringly and murmured, “Hard luck, Sam!” Sam
thought so, too.

On third the runner was dancing back and forth along the path to the
plate, and everyone was talking as Tom tapped the end of his bat on
the ground, rubbed his hands reflectively on his trouser legs, and
then faced the pitcher. Smith was recovering now from his brief and
disastrous slump, and Tom secretly had slight hopes of success. But he
looked confident enough and smiled as he said something to the Lynton
catcher and received a scowl in reply. The first delivery whizzed
past at lightning speed and Tom knew it was a strike before the umpire
opened his mouth. Then came a drop that he refused to bite at, although
it looked good until the last moment. Again he let one go by, a high
one that might have been good or bad, and proved bad. From the bench
came encouraging cries, “You’ve got him in a hole, Tom!” “Stick to
him!” “He’s got to pitch ’em!” “Here’s the one, Tom! Baste it!”

Smith was holding the ball under his chin, watching the catcher’s
fingers. He shook his head. The catcher signalled again. Smith threw
back his arm, raised his foot, and----

“If you’re getting more than your railway fare, Nick, you’re cheating

Smith unwound and pitched, but his tormenter had settled the fate of
that ball! A foot over the frantically upstretched hand of the catcher
it flew, and Tom, having his wits about him, struck at it wildly and
raced to first, while in from third base, urged on by a galloping,
shrieking coach, came the runner with the longed-for tally!

Pandemonium reigned! Mr. Hall pounded Mr. Talbot on the back and
Mr. Talbot slapped Mr. Hall on the knee, and the other occupants of
the bench danced and capered ecstatically! And while the catcher was
recovering the ball and the pitcher was guarding the plate, Tom Pollock
rounded first at full speed and sped away to second. And he reached it
long before the ball did, and then, getting to his feet and slapping
the dust from his clothes, he smiled sweetly at the scowling baseman.

But he never got further, for a foul arched softly into third baseman’s
glove and that nerve-racking eighth inning was at last over, with the
Blues leading insecurely by one run.

“If they can hold it they’re all right,” murmured Mr. Hall.

“They’ve got some good hitters coming up,” replied Mr. Talbot
doubtfully. “Still, if they get one across that will only tie it up
again. Tom had better pass that man Smith, I guess.”

Lynton came to bat determinedly. But Tom, encouraged by success,
pitched as craftily as he knew how and the first batsman struck out
without a threat. And it seemed that the next was to follow the same
way when Tom had two strikes and one ball on him. But, although the
second man went out ultimately at first, he spoiled several good ones
before he finally hit to shortstop.

“Last man!” called Sam as Smith went to the plate. In the stand they
were on their feet, a few trickling down the aisles to be ready to
start for home. The man with the grey gloves left his seat and,
unnoticed, strolled along toward the Blues’ bench.

Perhaps Sam made an error of judgment when, instead of passing Smith,
he tried to get him for the third out, for, in spite of Tom’s best
efforts, the Lynton pitcher found one to his liking and leaned against
it. Had he hit it fairly it would have tied the score then and there,
I think; but he didn’t, and the ball, arching toward first, came down
safely behind that bag and a few feet inside the foul line. What might
have been expected then happened. Smith, taking a daring lead, stole on
the second pitch and, although Sam stepped forward swiftly and threw as
straight as an arrow, slid to the bag in safety.

That caused Tom to falter for the first time that day and, almost
before anyone realised what was happening, the next batsman was
walking to first. Lynton, shouting and dancing, saw her hopes revive. A
pinch-hitter was sent in for the next man up. He was a tall, ungainly
youth and looked anything but dangerous. But looks are sometimes
deceitful. That awkward-appearing youth soon showed himself a canny
batsman, and the first thing Tom knew he was in the hole with two balls
against him and no strikes! And then, sensing the psychological moment,
Lynton called for a double steal as Tom sped the next delivery to the
plate. Off for third scudded Smith and down to second flew the next
runner. The ball sailed to the plate, as nice a strike as you like,

“_Hit it!_” implored the Lynton coachers. “_Hit it!_”

But above their cries sounded a voice that reached Sam with startling,
galvanizing effort.

“From the ear, Sam! From the ear!”

[Illustration: “From the ear, Sam! From the ear!”]

And Sam, getting the ball in spite of the batsman’s desperate swing,
seized it from his mitt, jerked his arm back and, without a move from
his place, launched it to second.

In raced Smith from third and down at the middle base the runner was
sliding in a cloud of dust. And then it was all over. Down came second
baseman’s hand, the runner slid into it, and Mr. George, slackening up
as he trotted past, jerked a hand over his shoulder.

“_He’s out!_” he cried.



Mr. Hall and Mr. Talbot, on their feet, smiled at each other in
satisfaction as the throng surged over the field.

“Some game!” said the former.

“I should say so! Well, glad to have met you, Hall. And--er--by the
way, in regard to that Barry case. Seems to me we might--er----”

“My idea exactly,” replied the other heartily. “I’ll very gladly advise
a settlement to my client. I’ll drop around in a day or two and we’ll
talk it over. Good-bye!”

Mr. Talbot followed the players to the dressing-room, worming his way
through a crowd of enthusiastic youths, who had gathered to show their
approval of the Blues, and Mr. Hall, seeking a way from the field, was
suddenly confronted by the gentleman who carried the cane and the grey
gloves. Mr. Hall’s face expressed surprise and delight.

“Johnny!” he exclaimed. “Where’d you drop from?”

Mr. York chuckled as he shook hands. “Hello, old man,” he said. “You
look almost as flabbergasted as Sam Craig did when I yelled.”

“Was that you bellowing like a bull?” laughed Mr. Hall. “I might have
known it. You’re always right there with the advice, Johnny.”

“Well, it happened to be good advice this time. It won the game.”

“Oh, certainly,” scoffed the other. “Craig and the others had nothing
to do with it!”

“Craig did what I told him to,” replied Mr. York untroubledly. “If he
hadn’t, he’d never have nailed that man at second and the score would
have been tied at this minute--unless the other chaps had won. Come on
and let’s get out of here.”

“When did you arrive?” asked Mr. Hall when they were on the street.

“About an hour ago. Ran down to Columbus last night, got there early
this morning, and found I could catch a train over here and see you for
a few hours and still get back to Mount Placid to-morrow morning. My
train goes at nine-something, and I’ll have to change in the middle of
the night. I call that a real proof of love and affection, John.”

“Yes, but you’re a silly chap if you think I’m going to let you go on

“Sorry, but I have to be home in the morning. Topsy gets back and I
must be there to meet her. Well, how are you?”

“Bully, thanks. I needn’t ask how you are; you look as strong as an ox;
besides, I got news of you from young Craig. By the way, that was a
nice letter you wrote to me about him.”

“By Jove, I didn’t, did I? Meant to, but quite forgot it. Have you seen

“Yes, he came around one morning and we had a chat. Nice boy.”

“Yes, he is. Deserving, too. I never saw a chap his age who looked more
like a real catcher, John. I want to do something for him; want to get
him into college.”

“Hm,” said Mr. Hall. “Can’t you afford it?”

Mr. York laughed ruefully. “Yes, but he won’t let me. At least, not
the easy way. I offered to get him a college position and he turned me
down; said it wouldn’t be honest.”

“Good for him! What’s your plan, then?”

“Well--I haven’t any yet. Thought I’d consult you. That reminds me that
I invited him to meet us at your office after dinner.”

“My office? Why didn’t you have him come to the club?”

“Well, the office is on my way to the station, for one thing, and I
won’t have much time here. Thought you and I could have some dinner
together and a quiet smoke and then walk down to the office and see
Craig for a few minutes. All right?”

“Surely, but we must get there before eight or we’ll have to climb nine
flights of stairs. The elevators stop at eight.”

“I think I told him about eight. By the way, did you hear me having fun
with Nick Turner?”

“Who’s he?”

“Why, that fellow who pitched for Lynton.”

“Smith, you mean? So his name is Turner, eh? Was that you who hurled
insults at him from the stand?”

“Insults, nothing!” Mr. York chuckled. “I only asked him why he left
Shreveport and how much he was getting to-day and a few things like
that. Only asked for information, John.”

“Well, you broke up the game, you old schemer! Who is this chap?”

“Nick Turner? Pitched two years ago for Shreveport. Never was much
good, though. Knew him the minute I saw him pitch. I dare say those
Lynton boys made up a ten-dollar purse to get him to work for them
to-day. They ought to be spanked. I was glad you fellows here licked
them without any outside assistance.”

“They talked about having me pitch for them,” replied Mr. Hall, with a
smile. “I believe I agreed to do it if necessary.”

“Glad you didn’t, old man. By the way, I telephoned out to the Country
Club when I didn’t find you at your office, and they said you weren’t
there. Just by accident I heard of the ball game from a conductor on a
trolley-car and said to myself, ‘I’ll bet a million the old loafer’s
out there!’ Didn’t find you in the stand, though, and didn’t think of
looking for you below; not until you and another chap got to thumping
each other like two kids; saw you then. Those kids played a pretty good
game of ball, didn’t they? And wasn’t that fellow who pitched for
Amesville the same one we saw last spring?”

“Yes, Tom Pollock. He’ll make his mark some day, I guess.”

“Sure to; he’s a good pitcher.”

“I didn’t mean as a pitcher,” replied the other. “I meant as a man.
I suppose, though, you can’t understand judging anyone except by his
ability to play baseball, you crazy fan!”

“I like that! Crazy fan, eh? What were you doing to-day? Why weren’t
you in your office attending to business? How do you expect to get on
in the world if you go to ball games and such puerile affairs?”

“Oh, Saturday’s a half holiday here,” Mr. Hall laughed. “Here we are.
Did you leave your bag here?”

“Yes, the hall porter took charge of it. Show me a tub of cold water,
John. I’m two inches deep in train dust!”

It was a few minutes before eight when Sam, turning into Main Street
at the corner of the Adams Building, saw Mr. Hall and Mr. York just
entering the big doorway. He caught up with them at the elevator and as
they were whisked aloft past dark corridors he had to listen to much

“You played a regular air-tight game, Sam,” declared Mr. York. “And
that throw to second at the last was a marvel. What did you think when
you heard me yell?”

“There wasn’t time to think anything,” replied Sam. “If I’d stopped
to think I’d never have thrown that way, sir. You see, I haven’t much
chance to try it yet.”

“But you _had_ tried it, hadn’t you?”

“Not in a game, sir; just in practise the other day.”

“Well, you certainly pulled it off in grand style! And I want to tell
you that if you’d thrown your old way you’d never have caught him. He
had an awful lead from first and ran like a rabbit. This our floor?”

“Yes,” replied Mr. Hall, “unless you and Craig want to stay there and
ride up and down and talk baseball.”

“This man, Sam,” warned Mr. York, “is an awful hypocrite. He pretends
he doesn’t care a thing about the game, but some time I’ll tell you a
few facts about him; like the time he dented in the immaculate silk
topper of a perfectly respectable old gentleman at the White Sox park
in Chicago.”

“Well, I bought him a new one,” laughed Mr. Hall, as he unlocked his
door. “Enter, gentlemen.”

“Seems to me,” said Mr. York, pausing to sniff suspiciously, “I smell
smoke. Don’t you?”

“Smoke? No, I don’t think so. Probably from the railroad. It comes up
here when the wind’s right. Smell anything, Craig?”

“Yes, sir, I believe there is a smoky smell.”

“Well, come on. This building’s fireproof, anyway.”

“It’s what?” demanded Mr. York as he allowed himself to be urged
through the door.

“Fireproof, or what they call fireproof.”

“It’s about as fireproof as a can of gasoline,” said the architect
as Mr. Hall closed the door and turned the lights on. “You’ve got
nice brick and stone walls, but your partitions are only plaster over
lathing and your floors are the best quality of ‘fat’ pine. If this
thing ever did catch on fire and get a nice start it would go like a
bundle of shavings. Where’s your fire escape?”

“Fire escape? Why, at the back, I think; down the corridor.”

“It might be a good idea to find out,” returned the other drily. “Well,
Sam, how did the hike go?”

“Very well, sir. I found them at Norrence all right and we got back to
camp three days later.”

“And now you’re back at school, I suppose.”

“Not until Monday, sir. Will you have this chair, Mr. Hall?”

“No, no, sit still. I’m going to open these windows and get some air in
here. Wonderful how this warm weather keeps on. I suppose it’s cool up
where you are, Johnny.”

“Y-yes, but not freezing. Did Sam here tell you that he paid a short
visit to Greysides, John?”

“Yes, he told me about it. Must have been frightfully dull for him,
poor chap!”

“He didn’t say so, but maybe it was.”

“I--I had a fine time, sir,” said Sam earnestly. The others laughed.

“We had some fine old talks, anyway, didn’t we? That brings me to what
I wanted to say, Sam. About that college idea, you know. I haven’t
worked anything out yet, but---- Look here, John, I certainly do smell
smoke, I tell you!”

“Of course you do. I’ve just opened the windows. It comes from the
railroad yards.”

“It doesn’t smell like coal smoke,” Mr. York objected. “Still--let me
see, what was I talking about? Oh, about that college scheme, Sam. Ever
think you’d like my profession?”

Sam considered. Then he shook his head. “No, sir, I’ve never thought
about it,” he answered.

“No inclination toward architecture, eh?”

“I’ve never thought about it, Mr. York.”

“Ever build anything?”

“I built a hen-house once,” replied Sam, with a smile. “I like to do
that sort of thing, but----”

“Where’d you get your plan?”

“Nowhere; I mean I just--just went ahead and put it together.”

“But you planned it in your head first, didn’t you?”

“I suppose I did,” Sam confessed. “You see, there was the framework.”

“Did you do it all yourself? How big was it?”

“About twelve by eight. I did it all myself, usually after school or in
the morning. It--it wasn’t much.”

“Ever do any drawing?”

“I’ve tried to.”

“Like good pictures, handsome buildings, statuary--such things?”

“Yes, sir, very much.”

“Still you don’t think you’d care to create them, eh?”

“Indeed I would, Mr. York, but I don’t believe I ever could. I’d like
to build a real house some time, though. You wouldn’t have to know so
much to do that, would you?”

Mr. York laughed and Mr. Hall smiled sympathetically. “Why, yes, Sam,
in order to build a house you’ve got to know quite a bit. Look here,
why don’t you think it over and decide whether you’d like to be an
architect? If you would, you can start your college course with that
end in view; and in the summers there’s a place in our office you can
have. The wages wouldn’t be large, but you’d learn the business and if
you made good I guess we’d be glad to give you a real job. You’d have
to work hard, though, and study like the dickens. What do you think
about it?”

“I’d like it!” declared Sam decidedly. “If I really could learn enough
to--to be an architect----”

“Pshaw,” interrupted Mr. Hall, “it’s no trick, Craig. All the fellows
in my class at college who couldn’t make a living at laying brick or
driving express wagons went in for architecture. All, that is, except
John York. He had so much money he didn’t have to make it, and we
persuaded him to be an architect because we thought he could do as
little harm in that profession as any.”

Sam smiled obligingly and Mr. York threatened his friend with a

“You give it a good thinking over, Sam,” he continued. “Talk to your
folks about it. You don’t have to decide before you get to college.
And as to college, why, you’ll just have to make it somehow, old man.
We’ll keep our eyes open and see if we can’t find a scheme. John and
I will get our heads together”--Mr. York was interrupted by a fit
of coughing--“and work out something. Look here, John, this place
is worse than Pittsburg! Why, the room is full of smoke. Close the
windows if you don’t want me to choke to death!”

Mr. Hall started to comply with the request, then apparently changed
his mind, and walked to the door that led to the corridor. “It
certainly is smoky,” he muttered, “and it can’t all come from the
railroad.” He opened the door and staggered back before the cloud of
dense and acrid smoke that billowed in. The others leaped to their feet
with exclamations of alarm. Mr. Hall slammed the door shut again and
faced them.

“Fire,” he announced in level tones. “The flames are coming up the
elevator well, Johnnie.”

“So much for your fireproof building,” replied Mr. York, seizing his
hat and stick and gloves from the desk. “Which way out, please?”

“I don’t know,” was the reply. “We’re cut off from the stairs and the
elevators aren’t running. Couldn’t use them if they were, I guess.”

“But the fire escape, man! Where’s that?”

“We’ll try it, but it looks bad, Johnnie. I wonder--Put your head out,
Craig, and see if there’s any sign of excitement below. No? Then it
hasn’t been seen.” Mr. Hall strode to the telephone and yanked the
receiver off. “Fire department,” he said. “Emergency!” There was a
moment’s wait. Mr. York opened the door again and once more the clouds
of smoke seethed into the room, whirling and eddying as they met the
air from the windows. He looked up and down the corridor, returned,
closing the door again, and shook his head as his gaze met that of the
man at the telephone.

“Hurry up, John,” he said quietly. “It doesn’t look pretty to me.”

“Hello! Hello! Fire department? The Adams Building’s on fire. What?
I’m John Hall. Yes. I’m in my office on the tenth floor. Everything
looks to be pretty hot underneath. We’re going to try to make the fire
escape. Good-bye.”

Mr. Hall dropped the receiver back to the hook, looked about the
office, took a step toward his safe, shrugged his shoulders, and moved
toward the door. “Come on, Johnnie,” he said quietly. “We’ll have to
make a run for it. Craig, keep close to us. If we can’t make it we’ll
have to come back here and wait for ladders. All ready? Slip out and
I’ll shut this door again. Wait! How about handkerchiefs over our

“Right!” agreed Mr. York. “Got one, Sam? That’s the ticket! Now then,
hold your breath and keep together. Which way, John?”

“To the right, past the stairway. Come on!”

Sam never quite forgot that dash for safety. It was a horrible
nightmare while it lasted. Somewhere near the stairway a solitary
electric bulb had faintly illumined the gloom of the long corridor when
they had ascended, but there was no sign of it now. Instead, from the
shaft in which the two elevators were operated, a lurid glow poured up,
rising and falling as though somewhere in the depths of the building a
giant furnace was being stoked. With the light of the flames ascended
billows of dun-coloured smoke and showers of sparks, and, listening as
they crouched for their dash past the well, they heard the growling
roar of the fire, with now and then the sudden crackling of the eager
flames which, even as they looked, sent a tiny tongue licking at the
flooring. The fire escape was at the rear of the building, down the
length of the long corridor, and to reach it they must win past that
veritable crater of heat and smoke. Thrice they tried it and thrice
they were beaten back, their eyes blinded, their lungs choked with
the scorching fumes. And then, endurance at an end, they staggered
desperately back to the office, suffered torments while Mr. Hall
fumbled for the knob, and at last, gasping and sobbing, sought relief
at the open windows.

It was a full minute before anyone spoke. Then, drawing a deep breath
into his parched lungs, Mr. Hall said quietly, with a twisted sort of
smile, “Rather silly being roasted alive here, Johnny!”

“We sha’n’t be. They’ll have us out of here in a minute. There they
come now! Hear?”

From somewhere far below came the shriek of the engine siren, sounding
nearer and nearer, and the clang of the bells. And at that moment the
light in the office went out and they were in darkness.



Tom Pollock was working late that evening at Cummings and Wright’s.
Baseball activities had put him behind with his correspondence and
he was trying to catch up with it. Only the light over his desk was
burning and the rest of the store was dim and empty. As he sealed and
addressed his final letter he glanced at the little tin clock before
him. The hour was just short of nine. In the act of opening a drawer to
get stamps, he paused with outstretched hand and listened alertly. From
down Main Street came the shrill, unmistakable whistle of Amesville’s
single auto-engine. Tom gathered his letters into a pile, seized his
cap, switched out the light, and hurried to the door.

As he stepped onto the sidewalk and turned the key behind him the
whistle at the electric light plant burst on the air and, around the
corner of Alton Street, a few blocks above, a horse-drawn engine sprang
into sight, bell clanging, sparks flying. Tom joined the throng which,
springing seemingly from the very pavement, was hurrying down the main
street. Several blocks below, he could see the auto-engine spouting
red sparks into the air. The Alton Street hitch, straining at their
collars, thudding the pavement with flying hoofs, raced past, followed
in a moment by the hose-cart. Bells were ringing at every street
corner, it seemed, by the time Tom reached the place where the police
were herding the crowd back into the cross streets and where the crew
of the auto-engine were already connecting with the hydrant at the
corner. As the crowd gave back before the commands of the police, Tom
caught sight of several rubber-coated firemen disappearing into the
broad entrance of the Adams Building nearly opposite.

For the next few minutes confusion reigned. The hook-and-ladder
trundled up, more engines reached the scene, the throb of the pumps
began, fuel wagons dashed here and there, parting the crowds, a third
alarm boomed over the city. Ladders rose in air, grew in length,
swayed, and tottered against the tall building which reared its
slender front high above the surrounding roofs. But Amesville’s new
sky-scraper had been built only a few months, while her fire-fighting
apparatus was far older, and it was at once evident that the longest of
the extension ladders would not reach above the sixth story. The crowd
still laughed and joked excitedly. The Adams Building was said to be
fireproof and so the most that could happen would be the burning-out of
an office or two, scarcely serious work for the whole department, they
thought. Of course, it was right to be on the safe side, but a third
alarm seemed rather absurd, and when, almost immediately, four blasts
of the big whistle sounded, many thought the Chief had gone crazy!

So far no sign of fire was to be seen outside the building. Its tier on
tier of dark windows gave no hint of what was going on inside. Not a
light showed anywhere, save when a fireman appeared at the door with a
lantern. But at last the blackness behind the windows paled, took on a
murky-red tinge, and smoke began to billow out at the doorway. A great
gasp of surprise and horror arose from the watchers. Here, then, was no
mere incident to bring an hour’s amusement, but a veritable tragedy!

Further and further away the throngs were pushed and ropes were strung
across the streets. Tom found himself jammed against a doorway on
Bennett Street, his view of a corner of the big building almost cut
off by a broad-shouldered man in front of him. Searching backward
with his foot, he found a step and managed to ascend it, those behind
good-naturedly giving way. From somewhere came the rumour that
Chapinsville and even Bow City had been called on for apparatus.

“It would take two hours to get engines here from Bow City,” said an
excited little man at Tom’s elbow. “Anyhow, they ain’t got enough
pressure to fight that fire. And they ain’t got the ladders.”

“Good thing it didn’t start in the daytime,” said another man. “Lots of
folks would have been burned up, I guess.”

“Don’t reckon there’s anyone in there now, do you?”

“No. They stop the elevators at eight. Besides, there wasn’t a light
showing when I got here, and that was before the auto-engine came.”

“I heard,” said the broad-shouldered man in front of Tom, “that
there’s a man on the tenth floor. Don’t know how true it is. Hope it’s
not. If he’s up there he’ll have to burn--or jump!”

The voice was familiar and Tom leaned forward until he caught a glimpse
of the speaker’s face. It was Mr. George, and Tom spoke to him eagerly.

“Don’t they have life nets, Mr. George?” he asked.

“Hello, Tom! I guess so, but you’ve got a mighty poor chance to strike
a net when you jump from the tenth story. I dare say it’s just a fake.
Folks imagine all sorts of things at a time like this.”

“Do you suppose they can save the building?” Tom asked.

“I don’t know how bad the fire is. One fellow said the whole inside was
burning, but I don’t know how much he knew about it.”

“Wish I could see better,” muttered Tom.

“Well, maybe if you’ll keep close to me we can get a better view,”
replied the other. “I’ve got a badge here somewhere. Come on and keep
hold of me.”

Slowly they wormed their way through the throng that packed the street
solidly from side to side. It seemed a long time before they at last
reached the rope and were challenged by a policeman. Mr. George’s badge
was sufficient, however, and the officer raised the rope. But when Tom
started to follow he was thrust back.

“Here, you, back of the rope there!”

“He’s with me, Lieutenant,” said Mr. George. “It’s all right.”

The officer, who was not even a sergeant, looked doubtful, but Mr.
George’s air of authority, and the compliment, also, perhaps, had the
desired effect and Tom was allowed to pass. Before them the end of the
street lay well-nigh empty, and they hurried along it to the corner of
Main Street. Here engines were pumping, lines of hose stretched like
mammoth serpents across the wet pavements, and rubber-clad fighters
hurried by. About the entrance to the building a knot of privileged
persons gathered and thither Mr. George and Tom went. Leaky hose
drenched them and busy firemen shouldered them. Shouts and commands
sounded above the steady roar of the engines. Two men came through the
doorway from the smoky murk beyond. One was the Chief, the other an
assistant. They dripped with water as they paused where Mayor Kelland

“Can’t reach him from inside, Mr. Mayor,” said the Chief incisively.
“Everything’s burning around the well. We’ve got to try the
scaling-ladders, I guess. Either that or the net. Tell Cassidy, Jim,
to start up on the front. Hall’s office is on the side of the building
about halfway between front and staircase. You get on the roof over
there and see if you can find him. He hasn’t shown himself yet, and it
may be he got out, but I’m blessed if I see how he could. And no one’s
seen him around, as far as I can learn. Get a move on, Jim!”

Following the others, Tom and his companion hurried around the side of
the building, stumbling over pulsating hose, dodging spouting geysers
from leaky connections. From the further sidewalk the dark wall of
the building arose straight in air, a many-windowed cliff of stone
and brick. Eager and anxious eyes swept as best they could the empty
windows of the tenth floor. But a stone cornice at the eighth story cut
off the view to some extent, while the lights from the street failed
far short of that height.

“He said Mr. Hall,” whispered Tom troubledly. “You don’t suppose it’s
John Hall, do you? Why, he was out at the game this afternoon!”

“Isn’t there something up there at that ninth window from the corner?”
asked Mr. George, peering intently upward. “Have a look, Tom. See
where I mean? Something’s moving. It’s a man! He’s standing on the
window-ledge! Chief, he’s up there! You can see him now!”

Far up a form appeared dimly against the darkness of a window and a
shout arose from the group below, and at the moment something struck
the pavement with a crash.

The Chief darted forward and picked up a tattered sheet of white paper,
from which as he unfolded it broken particles of a glass paper-weight
tinkled. “Lantern here!” he shouted. A man held a light and the Chief
read the message aloud, “We’re cut off, three of us. Find someone to
throw a ball with twine on it from opposite roof. We’ll light matches
to give location. Hurry. Smoke bad, and fire close.


The Chief grunted. “Throw a ball from opposite roof, eh?” He looked
upward toward the top of the five-story bank building behind them.
“Where’d we get a ball and who’d throw it if we had it?” he demanded

“I’ll find a ball, sir, and twine,” cried Tom. “And--and I think I
could throw it across.”

The Chief turned and viewed him doubtfully an instant. Then, “Go to
it,” he said briskly. “Get your ball and hurry back here. Jerry, you
go with him and get him through. Come back here to the bank. Gus, tell
Murphy to break an entrance there unless the folks have opened up. It’s
a poor chance, but we’ll try it. They’ll never get up there with the
scaling-ladders, and I’d hate to see those fellows jump.”

Tom didn’t hear the last of it, though, for he was already racing
around the corner of Main Street, followed by the fireman. At the rope
he let the latter break a way through the crowd and pressed closely at
his heels. A block away they were free of the throng and Tom sprinted
to the store. A minute later he was inside and pulling boxes from a
shelf. On the way he had thought it all out. He must have balls, a
half-dozen to be on the safe side, and the strongest and lightest silk
fishing line there was in stock, and some brass thumb tacks. The
latter he had to search for, and it seemed that he would never find
them. But he did, at last, and, his pockets bulging with baseballs, he
hurried out again, locked the door, and raced back toward the fire,
the panting fireman at his heels. It seemed that they would never make
their way through the closely jammed crowd, but Tom’s guide used voice
and elbows to good effect, and presently they were again ducking under
the rope.

At the entrance to the building across from the burning sky-scraper
some thirty or forty persons awaited them; the Chief, several
assistants, two men with axes, Mayor Kelland, Mr. George, some
newspaper reporters, and many other privileged ones.

“All right?” demanded the Chief. “Up we go! Not too many, now! Don’t
get in the way!”

Tom panted up the stairs beside Mr. George. “I got half a dozen balls,”
he said, “and some fishing line. I guess you’d better try it. I’m--I’m
tuckered. Are they still there?”

“Yes, the fellow’s still standing on the ledge. The Chief tried to tell
him through his trumpet that we’d sent for balls, but I don’t know
whether he heard. They started up with the scaling-ladders, but had to
give it up. Didn’t have nerve enough, I guess. Here we are, Tom! Up the
ladder and through the small door there.”

In another moment they were out on the roof, their feet scraping over
the pebbles. It was less dark up here than it had been below, for
the stars were bright and shed a soft light upon them as they crept
cautiously in the wake of a swinging lantern toward the edge of the
roof nearest the Adams Building. The wall of that structure loomed
darkly like the side of some giant cliff, but in a moment they picked
out the waiting figure at the window, still high above them. A spark
of yellow light appeared and waved between the wide-spread legs of the
figure on the sill.

“They’re lighting matches,” said the Chief. “All ready there, young

“Just a moment,” panted Tom. He was coiling his fishing line on the
roof in wide loops while Mr. George was fixing an end of it to a ball
with the aid of a thumb tack. From across the dim canyon of the side
street and well up toward the blue-black sky the little yellow lights
flared and burned, and died away. The throng on the roof grew silent
as Mr. George, borrowing the Chief’s trumpet, advanced to the very edge
of the roof.

“Hello, there!” he shouted.

Very faintly above the noise from below came the answering hail.


“Can you catch this?”

“I think so! Aim for the light!”

“Who are you?”

“Sam Craig!”

Tom uttered a cry of surprise, and----

“Give me the ball, Mr. George,” he said steadily. “I’ll do it, sir!
Tell Sam I’ll throw it, please. And tell him not to reach too far,
because we can try again, sir.”

“Hello, there! Tom Pollock will throw it! Don’t reach for it! We’ve got
plenty of balls! Get that?”

“All right!” came the answer, clearer now. “Tell Tom, ‘One finger’!”



Tom smiled a bit tremulously as he heard Sam’s plucky answer. “One
finger, eh?” he thought. Well, it couldn’t be that, for in their signal
code one finger meant a fast ball, and it was beyond Tom’s or anyone
else’s power to throw a fast ball at the angle confronting him. Judging
the distance as best he might, his gaze on the tiny light that glowed
five stories above him, he stepped slowly backward across the roof.
Finally he stopped.

“How far is it, do you think?” he asked Mr. George.

“About ninety feet, I’d say,” was the answer.

“Just the distance between bases,” muttered Tom. “I’ll try to get it to
him coming down, I guess.”

“I wouldn’t, Tom. Sam’s used to catching them straight. Sock it right
at him. If he can see it he’ll get it.”

“Well,” answered Tom doubtfully. He fixed his fingers around the ball,
saw that the twine ran unentangled to the coil, which Mr. George had
laid beside him, and took a long breath. Now that the moment had come
he was losing his nerve, or so it seemed to him. The others drew aside
in silence, only a whisper disturbing the stillness up there, although
from below came the throb of the busy engines, the murmur of the
throngs, the shrill signalling of an engine asking for fuel. Mr. George
raised the trumpet to his mouth again.

“All ready, Sam! Get it, boy!”

There was a faint answer, drowned by the quick scraping of Tom’s
shoes on the loose gravel, and off sped the ball, grey-white in the
half-darkness, up and away toward the dimly illumined window and the
motionless form poised there. There was a quick gasp from the thrower
as he recovered. Then a moment of anxious silence broken by a murmur of
disappointment. The ball had gone three feet wide of the window and,
although Sam had been seen to lean dangerously to the right, he had
failed to touch it, and it had rebounded from the wall and fallen to
the street. Eager hands found the line and began to pull it back over
the edge of the roof.

“Pretty near,” said Mr. George cheerfully. “A little more to the left
next time, Tom. You’ve got the distance all right.”

“My foot slipped on the gravel,” panted Tom. “He’s saying something,
isn’t he?”

The Chief commanded silence and from across the darkness came Sam’s
voice untroubledly, “Three feet further to the left, Tom! I almost had
it! Make it be good! Right over now in the groove!”

“Plucky young fellow,” growled the Chief. “Got that ball yet?”

“It came off,” answered someone. “Here’s the cord.”

Mr. George quickly stripped the tin-foil from another clean, white
ball, looped the end of the cord once more and once more pushed the
thumb tack into the tough leather with a grunt. “There you are, Tom,”
he said. “Here’s luck!”

“I guess you’ll have to hurry,” said a newspaper man. “Looks as if the
fire was in there now, don’t it?”

It did, for the window, dark before, now shone dull red and Sam’s form
was silhouetted plainly against it. Tom seized the ball, measured his
distance again, silently prayed for success, stepped forward, and
threw. A breathless silence then. The figure on the ledge settled back.
The ball was lost in the shadow of the tall building. Still those on
the roof waited and still no sound came, until, suddenly, faintly,
there was a hail from above.

“Got it! Tie on your rope!”

       *       *       *       *       *

It was nearly a fortnight later. Sam, returning at dusk along Main
Street from the ball field after an afternoon of fall practice, paused
in front of Cummings and Wright’s and, one hand thoughtfully fingering
the change in his pocket, viewed admiringly the array of football goods
displayed in one big window. He had more than half promised the captain
of the high school eleven to try for the team as soon as baseball was
shelved for the winter. If he did, he reflected, he’d have to spend
quite a little money for togs, and, now that he was firmly resolved
to go to college next year, he could ill afford to part with any
of his slender horde. Ruminating, he turned his gaze up the street,
along which the lights were already beginning to flash. Against the
darkening sky the smoke-blackened shell of the Adams Building towered
empty and forlorn. A frown creased Sam’s forehead as his eyes rested on
the tall structure with its broken windows and grimy walls. He had not
yet got so he could recall that experience without a sudden sickening
sensation at his heart. He sometimes wondered if he would ever be able
to forget that awful quarter of an hour up there, the anxious period
when, held firmly by Mr. Hall and Mr. York, he had waited there on the
outer ledge and hoped against hope that Tom’s aim would be true, or the
hazardous descent by the rope with the flames almost licking at their
heels. They had made him go first, when it had seemed that there was
scarce time for all to escape. He remembered how quietly and calmly
Mr. Hall had instructed him about wrapping the rope about his leg and
lowering himself down, and how Mr. York had assured him that if he went
slowly and kept his head he would reach the ground safely. Well, it
was something to have gone through such a test with men like those,
he reflected, and now that it was over--his eyes narrowed as he gazed
thoughtfully up the busy street--well, now that it was all over he was
almost glad that it had happened. Somehow, life had seemed finer and
bigger since that night!

A tapping on the broad pane beside him caused him to look around. At
the back of the window Tom Pollock was knocking on the glass with a
hockey stick and beckoning him inside. Sam smiled faintly, nodded, and
entered. The store held few customers, and none on the sporting goods
side. Tom closed the panel at the back of the window and turned with a

“Ah,” he said, “Mr. Craig, I believe! Champion ten-story catcher of the
Sky-scraper League! What were you doing out there, Sam? Going to sleep?”

“Just--just thinking,” replied Sam soberly.

“You want to break yourself of that,” responded Tom, with a warning
shake of his head. “It’ll get to be a habit. What’s new? How did
practice go? Sorry I had to cut to-day.”

“Pretty fair, I think. I guess I’ll have to call it off soon. A lot
of the fellows are trying for the football team. Sidney left to-day;
Buster, too.”

“Yes, you couldn’t keep Sid away from a pigskin if you tied him. By the
way, Mr. Hall was in here about an hour ago asking for you. Said I was
to tell you to go around to the club this evening. Wants to see you
about something. I think he said he’d had a letter from Mr. York.”

Sam nodded. “Yes, I guess I know what it is,” he said. “I had a letter
from Mr. York this morning; or, rather, a note. He--he’s got the
contract, Tom.”

“For the new Adams Building? That’s good. Hope they’ll make it
fireproof this time. How is he?”

“All right, I guess. He didn’t say. He didn’t write much; only five or
six lines. He said his firm had got the contract and that--that he’d
have a job for me next month.”

“Really? Bully for you, Sam! Say, that’s fine! I’m awfully glad. What
are you going to do--stand on the top of the building and catch beams
and things?”

“N-no, I guess it will be something about the office. I don’t know yet.
But I’m mighty glad because I guess I’ll be able to make enough to
start college next fall.”

“Pshaw, you won’t need money, Sam! Why, I’ll bet there isn’t a college
in the country that wouldn’t be tickled to get as celebrated a chap as
you! You know, old man, you’re a bit of a hero. Mr. Hall says you had a
whole page to yourself in one of the New York papers on Sunday.”

“I wish they wouldn’t,” said Sam. Then a twinkle danced in his eyes.
“Anyway, they had you in it, too, I’ll bet.”

“Oh, yes, but I wasn’t important. He said there was a fine picture of
you standing on a window-ledge with mask and mitt and leg guards! I
must get that paper and see it.” And Tom chuckled.

Sam smiled a little over the idea of the mask and mitt. Then, soberly,
he said: “You were the real hero of that stunt, Tom. If you hadn’t
thrown that ball just right the time you did--well, you wouldn’t have
had many more tries!”

“No, that’s a fact,” agreed the other gravely. “It wasn’t any time to
get our signals mixed, was it, Sam?”

“No, and you--you certainly were fine, Tom. I don’t know whether I
ever exactly told you how--how awfully grateful----”

“Don’t mention it!” exclaimed Tom hurriedly. Then, with a grin, “It was
a pleasure, sir, I assure you,” he said gaily. “I always esteem it a
great honour to pitch to Catcher Craig.”


       *       *       *       *       *

 Transcriber’s Notes:

 --Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

 --Except for the frontispiece, illustrations have been moved to
   follow the text that they illustrate.

 --Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

 --Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

 --Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

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