The Putnam Hall Rebellionñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
My Dear Boys:
This story is complete in itself, but forms the fourth in a line known under the general title of “Putnam Hall Series.”
As I have said before, this series was started at the request of numerous boys and girls who had read some volumes of my “Rover Boys Series,” and who wanted to know what had taken place at Putnam Hall Military Academy previous to the arrival there of the three Rover brothers.
In the first volume of this series, called “The Putnam Hall Cadets,” I related how Captain Putnam came to found the institution and also told of the doings of Jack Ruddy, Pepper Ditmore and their chums. The young cadets were whole-souled and full of fun, and enjoyed themselves to the utmost.
In the second volume, entitled “The Putnam Hall Rivals,” more of the doings of the cadets were chronicled, and the particulars were given of a queer balloon ride, and of an odd discovery in the woods.
The third volume, “The Putnam Hall Champions,” brought Jack and Pepper once again to the front, in a series of stirring athletic contests. They had some bitter rivals, and one of these played Jack a most foul trick, which came close to having a serious ending.
Ever since the opening of the school the scholars had had much trouble with an overbearing teacher named Josiah Crabtree. When the Hall was left in charge of Crabtree and a new instructor named Cuddle, matters rapidly grew worse, until there seemed nothing for the lads to do but to rebel. How this was done, and what the rebellion led to, I leave for the pages which follow to relate.
Once more I thank my young friends for the interest they have shown in my books. May this tale please you in every way.
Affectionately and sincerely yours,
Arthur M. Winfield.
OUT ON THE CAMPUS
“Boys, we are to have target practice to-morrow.”
“Good!” cried Pepper Ditmore. “That suits me exactly. Just wait, Jack, and see me make half a dozen bull’s-eyes, handrunning.”
“Why don’t you make it a dozen, Pep, while you are at it?” answered Major Jack Ruddy, with a smile.
“If Pep makes one bull’s-eye he will be lucky,” came from another of the cadets gathered on the Putnam Hall campus. “The last time we had practice, instead of hitting the target he almost killed a cow in the next field.”
“Hold on, Andy Snow!” cried Pepper. “I shot straight enough, but the wind blew so hard it sent the bullet the wrong way. Now if – ”
“What a pity the wind didn’t shift the target to meet the bullet,” cried Paul Singleton. “Now when I shoot – ”
“You’re too fat to shoot, Stuffer,” interrupted a youth who spoke with a strong Irish accent. “Sure, if you had to crawl up on the inimy, like in war, you’d tip over on your nose!” And at this sally from Joseph Hogan a laugh arose.
“I’d rather be fat than skinny,” retorted Paul, whose waist measurement exceeded that of any other cadet of the Hall.
“Where are we to do the practicing?” asked another boy, who was somewhat of a newcomer, having been a pupil at the Military Academy for less than a term.
“I understand we are to go to Rawling’s pasture, Fred,” answered Jack Ruddy.
“Captain Putnam is going to make the test a very thorough one, too, for he says all of the students here ought to be first-class marksmen.”
“Well, I’d certainly like to know how to handle a rifle,” answered Fred Century. “I’ve used a shotgun, in the woods, but never a rifle. I’m afraid I’ll make a rather poor showing at first.”
“Many of the fellows will,” returned the young major. “It isn’t given to everybody to become a good shot, no matter how hard a fellow tries.”
While the others were talking, a big, broad-shouldered youth joined the gathering. He was Dale Blackmore, the captain of the Putnam Hall football team, and a general leader in all kinds of athletic sports.
“Talking about the rifle practice, eh,” said Dale. “I just heard the other fellows talking of it, too. One of ’em said he was going to show your crowd how to shoot,” and he nodded toward Jack Ruddy.
“Who was it?” questioned the young major.
“Oh, that bully makes me tired!” cried Pepper Ditmore. “Every time anything is going on he tries to push himself to the front – and nobody wants him – at least I don’t want him.”
“Nor I,” came from Andy Snow and Paul Singleton.
“Sure, an’ I doubt if he’s any better shot nor Major Jack,” remarked Hogan.
“Not half as good, Emerald,” interposed Pepper quickly. “Jack’s a soldier through and through. If he wasn’t the fellows wouldn’t have elected him major.”
“Perhaps Reff Ritter is a good marksman,” said Jack. “He has made some fair scores and he may have been practicing up for this contest. Who was he talking to, Dale?”
“Oh, his usual crowd of hangers-on, Gus Coulter, Nick Paxton, Billy Sabine, and that bunch. Coulter thinks, too, that he can make a big score.”
“Well, I’ll bank on Jack – and on Bart Conners,” said Pepper. “Bart is a good shot and always was.”
“Say, here comes Reff Ritter now,” whispered Andy, as a youth with a somewhat sour-looking countenance put in an appearance. “Gus Coulter is with him.”
“Hello, Reff!” sang out one of the boys, Dave Kearney by name. “I hear you are going to wax us all at target practice to-morrow.”
“Who told you?” demanded Reff Ritter, coming to a halt.
“Oh, I heard it.”
“Yes, Reff and I are going to make star records,” came from Gus Coulter.
“Perhaps you think you can shoot better than Major Ruddy and Captain Conners?” questioned Andy Snow.
“We can,” came from Reff Ritter promptly. “When it comes to handling a rifle I don’t take a back seat for anybody.”
“Must have been practicing a tremendous lot lately,” was Pepper’s comment.
“Never mind what I’ve been doing,” growled Reff Ritter. “I’m willing to bet anybody here a new hat that I come out ahead to-morrow.” And he gazed around with a “you don’t dare to take me up” look.
“I’d take that bet,” answered Pepper dryly. “Only a new hat would do me no good – since I have to wear the regulation cap here. Just the same, Reff, my boy, you won’t come out ahead of Jack and Bart, and I know it – and neither will you, Gus.”
“Huh! just wait and see,” grumbled Coulter.
“You fellows think that because you have won a few races and things like that you can win everything,” said Reff Ritter, sourly. “Well, to-morrow you’ll find out differently. After the shooting is over you’ll see where I and Gus and Nick Paxton stand.” And with this remark he strutted off, arm in arm with Coulter.
“Say, but he is in a bad humor,” observed Andy Snow. “Somebody must have brushed his fur the wrong way.”
“He has been behind in his lessons for over a week,” answered a boy named Joe Nelson, a quiet and studious lad. “Yesterday Captain Putnam called him into the office for a talk. When Reff came out he looked pretty glum.”
“Must have gotten a strong lecture,” said Pepper. “And lectures don’t agree with such fellows as Ritter.”
“Do they agree with you, Pep?” asked the young major of the school battalion, with a twinkle in his eye.
“Me? Not much! I’d rather write a composition in Latin than face the captain for a lecture! But, just the same, you can be sure Ritter didn’t get it harder than he deserved.”
“There is nothing like blowing one’s own horn,” observed Fred Century. “And certainly Reff Ritter knows how to do that to perfection.”
“Time for drill, boys!” cried Jack Ruddy, as a bell rang out. “Now, do your best on the parade ground, even if you don’t know how to hit the target.” And off he ran to get ready to assume command of the Putnam Hall battalion.
The bell had hardly ceased to ring when there followed the rolling of a drum, and out on the school campus poured the students, in their neat military uniforms, and with their guns and swords polished to the highest degree. Major Jack Ruddy was at the head of the battalion, which consisted of Companies A and B, under the commands of Bart Conners and a youth named Henry Lee.
“Battalion attention!” commanded Major Jack, after the rattle of the drum had ceased. “Shoulder arms! Forward, march!” And then the drums beat, the fifes struck up a lively air, and the cadets began a march around the school grounds.
To those who have read the previous volumes of this “Putnam Hall Series,” the lads mentioned above will need no special introduction. For the benefit of others let me state that Putnam Hall Military Academy was a fine institution of learning, located on the shore of Cayuga Lake, in New York State. It was owned by Captain Victor Putnam, a retired army officer, who, in days gone by, had seen strenuous military service in the far West. It was modeled somewhat after West Point, our great national school for soldiery, but, of course, on far less pretentious proportions. The school building proper, located not far from the lake, was of brick and stone, and contained many classrooms, a big mess hall, a business office, library and sitting room, and, on the upper floors, many dormitories. Besides this building there were a gymnasium, a boathouse, a barn, and half a dozen minor structures. The location was ideal, exactly suited to such a school as Captain Putnam had established.
Jack Ruddy and Pepper Ditmore were chums, hailing from the western part of New York State. Jack was a little the older of the two and was inclined to be studious. Pepper was full of fun, and on this account was often called The Imp, a nickname that did not bother him in the least.
When Jack and Pepper first arrived at the school, as related in the initial volume of this series, called “The Putnam Hall Cadets,” they found that no regular military organization had yet been effected. After some time spent in drilling and studying, the cadets were permitted to ballot for their own officers, with the result that Jack became the major of the battalion, Henry Lee captain of Company A, and Bart Conners captain of Company B. Jack wanted Pepper to try for an official position, but The Imp declined, stating he thought he could have more fun as a private.
At that time there was an overbearing lad at the school named Dan Baxter. He bribed Coulter and some others to vote for him, but nevertheless was defeated. Baxter was now away on a vacation, and Jack and his chums wished he would never come back.
It was not long before Jack and Pepper made many friends, including Andy Snow, who was an acrobatic youth, used to doing marvellous “stunts” in the gymnasium; Dale Blackmore, of football fame; Hogan, whose Irish wit was delightful to listen to; Stuffer Singleton, who much preferred eating to studying, and Joe Nelson, the best scholar the Hall possessed.
But if Jack and Pepper made many friends, they also made many rivals and not a few enemies. Baxter was gone, but Reff Ritter remained, and what sort of a fellow he was we have already seen. As Andy Snow said, Ritter frequently imagined that he “was the whole show.” His particular cronies were Gus Coulter and Nick Paxton, while he had something of an admirer in a small lad named Fenwick, usually known as “Mumps,” who was a contemptible sneak, as had been proved on more than one occasion.
The organizing of the school had been followed by hard studying, yet not a few adventures had fallen to the lot of Major Jack and Pepper, and some of their chums. In the middle of one of the terms George Strong, the second assistant teacher, disappeared. He was found a prisoner in a hut, being kept there by two insane relatives, and to rescue him proved no easy task.
The assistant teacher’s ancestry dated back to Revolutionary times, and he told the boys of a treasure buried in that vicinity by some relatives. How the treasure was unearthed had been told in detail in “The Putnam Hall Rivals.”
With the coming of summer, the attention of the cadets was given largely to sports in the field and on the water. Jack’s uncle presented him with a fine sloop, the Alice, and in this the young major sailed several races, as related in the third volume of this series, entitled “The Putnam Hall Champions.” The cadets also held a great bicycle race and a hill climbing contest, and they likewise had a bowling match with the team of a rival school, Pornell Academy. At that time Fred Century was a student at Pornell, but he became disgusted at the way his fellow students acted, and at the treatment he received from Doctor Pornell, and left that institution of learning and came to Putnam Hall.
As the time went on Reff Ritter became more and more jealous of Major Jack’s popularity. A contest in the gymnasium was arranged between the two, and then Ritter, with a wickedness which he was wise enough to keep to himself, dosed the young major with some French headache powders, putting the stuff in Jack’s drinking water. As a consequence, Jack, while on the flying rings, became dizzy and then unconscious, and would have hurt himself seriously had he not been caught as he fell. He was put to bed and was sick for some time. It was discovered that he had been dosed, but, so far, the perpetrator of the vile deed had managed to keep his identity a secret. Jack and Pepper suspected Ritter, but not being able to prove the rascal guilty, could do nothing.
PEPPER PLAYS A JOKE
As there were a great many students to take part, it had been arranged that the whole of the next day should be devoted to rifle practice. The cadets were to march to Rawling’s pasture directly after breakfast, and each youth was to carry his lunch with him, as well as his rifle and some rounds of ammunition.
“Now, young gentlemen,” said Captain Putnam, when the quartermaster of the battalion had distributed the cartridges. “Kindly remember that your cartridges have bullets in them. I want no loading or firing without permission. A rifle, thoughtlessly discharged, may do great harm, and there will be no need of loading your guns until you are called upon to fire at one of the targets.”
“Have we – we all got to do the – the firing?” asked Fenwick, the school sneak, in a trembling voice.
“Certainly,” answered Captain Putnam.
“I’ll wager Mumps is afraid to shoot with bullets,” whispered Pepper to Andy Snow. “He always handles his gun as if he was afraid it would go off.”
“He’s as much of a coward as he is a sneak,” answered Andy. His face broke into a sudden grin. “I’ve got an idea,” he whispered.
“Let me in on it quick,” returned Pepper, scenting fun.
“I’ve got a pack of firecrackers, left over from last Fourth of July – ”
“Andy, how could you keep them all this time?” cried The Imp, reproachfully. “Why, a pack of firecrackers means dead loads of fun. Let me have them, please.”
“What, the whole pack? Not much! I want some fun myself, sometime. I’ll let you have a dozen crackers, though.”
“All right – I’ll make them do.”
“Want to play a trick on Mumps?”
“Yes, keep your eye peeled for fun.”
This talk took place half an hour before the boys were to start away from the school. Having procured the firecrackers, Pepper sought out the school sneak and found him talking to Billy Sabine, a cadet who was at times a sneak and then again quite a good fellow. Mumps had his gun over his shoulder and Sabine had his firearms across his elbow. Without being observed, The Imp lit the long stems of two firecrackers and dropped one down the barrel of each weapon.
“Hullo, you fellows!” he cried, hurriedly. “Have you heard the news?”
“What’s that?” asked both of the others, while a small crowd began to collect.
“Somebody has sticks of dynamite, and some of the stuff was put in some of the guns,” went on Pepper innocently. “You want to look out, or your gun may explode and blow you to bits.”
“Gracious me, is that possible!” ejaculated Mumps, and turned pale.
“I didn’t know – ” began Sabine, and then glanced at the muzzle of his weapon. “I declare, what makes that smoke? And look, your gun is smoking, too!” he added, to Mumps.
“It’s the dynamite – ” began Pepper, and backed away as if in terror.
“Oh, dear, do you really think so?” quaked Mumps. “If I thought – Oh!”
Bang! went one of the firecrackers, and both Mumps and Sabine let out yells of fear. Bang! went the second cracker, and now both cadets threw their guns from them and ran toward the school building.
“It’s the dynamite! We’ll be blown to pieces!” screamed Mumps.
“Somebody wants to kill us!” roared Sabine, and put his hands to his ears, as if to keep out the sounds of some awful explosion.
And then both boys disappeared around a corner of the Hall. As they did this The Imp rushed forward, cleaned the guns of the exploded firecrackers, and threw the burning bits of cracker paper in some bushes.
“What a joke!” cried Andy, who has witnessed the scene, and he and a number of others laughed heartily.
“They’ll be afraid to touch the guns after this,” was Emerald’s comment. “Sure, they’ll think the old Nick is after bein’ in ’em, so they will!”
“Here they come back!” called out Dave Kearney. “And look, they’ve got old Crabtree with them!”
“If Crabtree is coming I think I’ll dust out!” murmured Pepper, and lost no time in disappearing.
Josiah Crabtree was the first assistant teacher, and he was as cordially hated by the majority of the cadets as George Strong, the second assistant, was beloved. Crabtree was a fine scholar, but he was headstrong and sarcastic, and continually “picking” at those under him, no matter how hard they studied or how well they behaved.
“What is this I hear about dynamite?” he demanded, as he strode up and glared at the assembled boys.
“Dynamite?” asked Andy innocently. “Did you say dynamite, Mr. Crabtree?”
“I did. There was an explosion out here. These boys’ guns – ”
“Why, these guns are all right,” said Dale Blackmore, picking them up. “I guess Fenwick and Sabine got scared at nothing.”
“They certainly did,” added Andy, and then, getting behind the teacher, he doubled up his fist and shook it threateningly at Mumps and Billy.
Now, if there was one thing both the younger cadets feared it was a whipping, and this suggestive attitude of Andy made each of them quail. They both realized that if they told on Pepper they would be punished for it. Each took his gun rather sheepishly.
“Fenwick, what have you to say?” began Josiah Crabtree. Just then the welcome rattle of the drum was heard, calling the battalion to get ready for the march.
“I – I guess it was a – a mistake,” faltered the sneak. “Can I go and get in line, please sir?” he added.
“I – er – I suppose so – since this is no time to investigate,” answered Josiah Crabtree; and off ran Mumps and Sabine, and the others also departed.
“Well, what did Crabtree say?” asked Pepper of Andy, when he got the chance.
“Didn’t have time to say much – the drum call broke in on his investigation. I hope, for your sake, Pep, he doesn’t take it up when we get back,” added the acrobatic youth.
It was a beautiful day for the outing, and the cadets certainly presented an inspiring sight as they marched from the campus and turned into the country road leading to the pasture where the rifle practice was to be held. Captain Putnam was on horseback, along with George Strong and an old army officer named Pallott, who was to assist in showing the boys how to hold their rifles while shooting and how best to take aim. Behind this little cavalcade came Major Jack with his sword flashing brightly, and followed by Company A and Company B. To the front were the two drummers and two fifers, making the welkin ring with their martial music.
“Hi, you look fine, so you do!” sang out an old farmer, as he drew up by the roadside with his wagon to let them pass. “You’re a credit to this section. If I had the money I’d send my son Jock to train with you, yes, I would!” And he waved a grimy hand after them.
A little later the cadets heard the honk honk of an automobile horn and soon a big touring car came into sight. It contained Roy Bock, Bat Sedley and several other students from Pornell Academy. As soon as Bock saw the young soldiers he stopped his machine.
“Hello, look at the tin soldiers!” he sang out. “Going to hunt mosquitoes?”
“No, we are going to hunt somebody who knows how to bowl,” retorted Pepper, who was near.
“Huh! We can bowl right enough and don’t you forget it,” growled Bock.
“Yes, but you can’t beat Putnam Hall,” retorted Dale; and then the cadets passed on, leaving the bully of the rival school in anything but a happy frame of mind.
“Those tin soldiers make me sick,” said one of the students in the touring car.
“We ought to get square with them for taking our trophies away,” said another.
“They did that because we stole their cannon and flagstaff,” added another.
“I don’t see how Fred Century can train with them,” added a youth named Carey.
“We’ll square it up with them some day,” came from Roy Bock. “Just wait till I think of something good. I’ve got it in for Jack Ruddy, Pepper Ditmore and that crowd, and don’t you forget it!”
“I’ve got it!” cried another boy. “The whole crowd is away from the school to-day. Why can’t we visit the place on the sly and turn things topsy-turvy?”
“Somebody must be left behind,” answered Will Carey, who was far from brave, as my old readers know.ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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