Edward Stratemeyer.

The Putnam Hall Rebellion





This is true and I have already told Mr. Crabtree so.

Oh, then youve been to the school?

Yes.

Then then The young major hesitated.

Well thrash this whole thing out later, Ruddy. It is too serious a matter to decide now. A storm is coming and I want you to get back if possible before it breaks. Start for the school as soon as you can.

In less than quarter of an hour the cadets were on the march. Andy drove the wagon, which was piled high with the outfit. Captain Putnam walked by the young majors side, and the cadets kept step as if on dress parade. All wondered what would be the end of the affair. Would any of them be expelled?

At the entrance to the campus they were met by Peleg Snuggers, and he was directed to take charge of the wagon and its contents. Then the cadets entered the Hall. All was silent within, and neither Josiah Crabtree nor Pluxton Cuddle showed himself. The boys were told to go straight to the general assembly room.

It had begun to rain and soon it was pouring in torrents, while the lightning flashed and the thunder roared incessantly. In the midst of the storm Dale dashed in.

I went to their old camp, but Ritter and his crowd had moved, he said. I couldnt find them, and not wishing to get soaked I came to the school.

It is too bad, said Captain Putnam. But it cannot be helped. I will send for them again after the storm clears off. Then the captain left the cadets in the assembly room, telling them to keep quiet until his return.

I guess he is going to have it out with Crabtree and Cuddle, whispered Pepper. And he was right.

An hour passed, and then a side door opened and Captain Putnam entered, followed by Josiah Crabtree and Frank Barringer. The boys started on seeing the teacher for he seemed suddenly to have grown several years older. The master of the Hall ascended the platform and made a speech.

I have heard both sides of this controversy, said he. Mistakes have been made all around. It was a mistake for you cadets to become disorderly in the classrooms and in the mess hall and it was a mistake on the part of the teachers to attempt to starve you into submission. For trying to starve you I find Mr. Cuddle responsible, and he has this day severed his connection with Putnam Hall.

Good! whispered Andy. Good-bye to Cuddle, and may we never see his like again!

Mr. Crabtree is willing to let bygones be bygones, went on Captain Putnam. He realizes his mistakes and regrets them. Supposing I am willing to overlook what you have done, young gentlemen, are you willing to start in to-morrow morning as if nothing unusual had occurred? If so, stand up.

One after another the cadets stood up until not one remained seated. A smile spread over Captain Putnams face, and this was reflected on the face of Josiah Crabtree. The cadets did not know it, but their standing up saved for the teacher his position.

Had they not been willing to forgive and forget Crabtree would have been discharged.

Three cheers for Captain Putnam! cried Pepper, and though the master of the Hall raised his hand to protest the cheers were given with a will. A faint cheer followed for Crabtree and the teacher arose and very awkwardly bowed his acknowledgement. Then the cadets were dismissed and the bell rang for supper.

I reckon we wont see Pluxton Cuddle, said Andy, and he was right, that unpopular teacher left early the next morning, before any of the cadets were around.

It was not until the next afternoon that Reff Ritter and his crowd showed themselves, and they brought the mail taken from the post-office. They had heard of Captain Putnams return and had come in of their own accord. The storm had blown down their tents and they were wet to the skin and terribly hungry. There had been a bitter quarrel among the crowd, and this was kept up after they got back. One of the boys had heard Ritter speak about the exchanging of blank cartridges for those containing bullets at the target practice and immediately upon his return to Putnam Hall he sought out Captain Putnam.

Well, what do you want, Akers? demanded the master of the school, sternly.

I know I have done wrong, sir, said Akers. But, Captain Putnam, I came to speak of something else.

What is it?

It concerns Bob Grenwood, our former quartermaster.

What of Grenwood?

I suppose you remember about those blank cartridges that were dealt out to some of us when we had target practice.

Perfectly.

Well, I want to tell you positively, sir, that Grenwood is not guilty that he had nothing to do with handing them out.

How do you know this?

Because, when we were out camping, Reff Ritter got to boasting, and he told how he and another fellow got the blanks and distributed them. It was done at the time of the snake scare. There was no snake the scare was gotten up merely to attract our attention, so that the blanks could be taken from the box.

Humph! You are sure of this? demanded Captain Putnam.

Yes, sir.

Tell me all the particulars.

Thereupon Akers told his story in detail, to which the master of the Hall listened with close attention. Then several other boys came in, among them Andy and Pepper.

I want to speak to you about the time Major Jack Ruddy fell from the flying rings and came pretty close to being dangerously hurt, said Andy. I guess you remember that, sir.

Indeed I do since he was very sick at the time, answered Captain Putnam.

We know just how he got sick.

What was the cause, Snow?

Reff Ritter put some French headache powders in his drinking water. The powders made him dizzy, and that is how he came to fall from the rings.

Can this be true? And the captains face grew very stern.

Yes, sir, it is and we can prove it by several boys, put in Pepper.

It would seem that Ritter is responsible for many wrongdoings, mused the master of the school.

Hes a bad egg, said Andy. My own opinion is that he ought to be expelled.

Well see about that later. Now tell me all you know.

Andy and Pepper related what they had heard, and then several other boys were called in.

An hour later Captain Putnam sent for Reff Ritter. The moment the bully entered the office he knew that something had gone wrong.

I have had some very bad reports about you, Ritter, said the master sternly. I have a mind to expel you on the spot.

What for? asked Ritter. His voice shook as he spoke.

For doing some very wicked and mean things.

I I havent done anything, sir.

You have and it is useless for you to deny it.

Wh what er do you mean?

I am speaking of how you took those blank cartridges and used them, and of how you dosed Major Ruddy with those French headache powders.

Captain Putnam, I didnt

Stop, Ritter, dont add falsehoods to your other faults. I am positive that you are guilty. And as I said before, I have a good mind to expel you here and now.

Dont! Please dont! cried the bully, breaking down. I I didnt mean any harm it was only done in fun, sir! I er Ill never do such things again! Please dont expel me!

You might have killed Ruddy!

I er I thought the powders would make him a little sick so he er he wouldnt want to compete with me for I was afraid of being beaten. And the blanks

Made me take Greenwoods office away from him. But he shall be restored.

Please, please, Captain Putnam, dont expel me! groaned Ritter.

Are you willing to apologize to Grenwood?

Yes, yes!

And to Ruddy?

Ye yes. It was like pulling teeth for Ritter to utter that last word.

Ruddys folks may want to prosecute you criminally, continued the captain.

Oh! I I hope not. And now Ritter grew deadly pale.

After that Captain Putnam gave the misguided youth a stern lecture and then sent him to his room. Then Jack was called in.

I dont think Ill make a complaint, said the young major. Perhaps, after all, it was only a boyish prank. But I dont want him to try such a prank again.

It was a dastardly piece of business, was Captain Putnams comment.

I believe Ritter often acts before he thinks, went on Jack.

Then you want me to give him another chance?

Yes as far as I am concerned.

This is generous of you, Ruddy.

I dont want to be the means of casting Ritter out, sir. Maybe if he was expelled, hed go to the bad utterly.

That is true, too, yet this school cannot afford to suffer from the actions of such a fellow. But I will give him one more chance, concluded the master of Putnam Hall. And so the matter rested.

Andy was anxious to hear from the authorities, and one day came word that the man named Levi had been caught. In his possession were the medal and the ring taken from the acrobatic youth, so Andy got back what belonged to Joe Nelson and himself, much to his satisfaction. Levi followed the tramps to prison.

Well, I am rather glad our running away is at an end, said Jack, two days after the return to Putnam Hall. Although I did like the camping out.

We are to go camping soon, Captain Putnam said so, returned Pepper. We are to go out in true military style too, he added. How the cadets went out, and what sports and adventures they had, will be told in another volume of this series, to be entitled The Putnam Hall Encampment; or, The Secret of the Old Mill. In that book we shall meet all our old friends again, and likewise some of their enemies.

I dont think running away did us any harm, said Dale.

It was fun, put in Bob Grenwood, who had been restored to his position as quartermaster of the school battalion.

Just what I say, declared Pepper.

And then the drum rolled for the evening parade and the cadets rushed off to get their guns and swords; and here we will leave them, wishing them well.

THE END

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