The Putnam Hall Rebellionñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
“I don’t see how Captain Putnam came to pick him out,” said Henry Lee. “There are plenty of good teachers to be had.”
“He came well recommended,” answered Jack. “I heard Mr. Strong say so.”
“Humph! Wish he had stayed home,” growled Pepper. “If this sort of thing keeps on, I’ll rebel.”
“So will I!” cried Andy.
And several others said the same. Little did they dream then, however, of the rebellion so close at hand, and of the adventures which were to follow.
AN ENCOUNTER ON THE LAKE
“I am going out for a sail,” said Jack, on Saturday afternoon. “Will you go along, Pep?”
“Certainly,” was the ready response. “Anybody else going?”
“Yes, Dale and Stuffer. Fred Century is going out in his boat too, and take several others of our crowd.”
“Going to race again?”
“I don’t think so,” answered the young major. “He hasn’t said anything. Of course I’ll race him if he wants to.”
As my old readers know, there had been in the past two races between the Alice, the sloop owned by Jack, and the Ajax, the craft belonging to Fred Century. These had taken place while Fred was a student at Pornell Academy. In the first race a sudden gust of wind capsized the Ajax and Jack and his chums had to go to the rescue of Fred and his friends. In the second race, which included another sloop belonging to a young man who lived near the two schools, the Alice came in ahead, with the Ajax second. On this race Roy Bock and his cronies lost considerable money by betting, and they circulated a story that Fred had “sold out” to the Putnam Hall boys. This caused a great rumpus, and a fight in which Bock and several other Pornell students got a good drubbing. Then Fred had a bitter interview with Doctor Pornell, and left the Academy and came to Putnam Hall.
The two sloops, looking very much alike, now that both flew the colors of the Hall, were soon standing up the lake in a breeze which was just sufficient to fill the sails. Each carried a party of four, and all the boys were in the best of spirits in spite of another “run in” with Pluxton Cuddle over the matter of eating.
“Jack, if you don’t mind, I’ll race you for a couple of miles!” sang out Fred, who was handling the tiller of the Ajax.
“Want to get beat again?” asked the young major, with a grin.
“No, I want to prove to you that the Ajax is just as good a sloop as the Alice.”
“All right, I’ll race if you want to. What’s the course?”
“From here to Borden’s Cove, if you don’t mind.”
“Want to capsize again?” questioned Pepper.
“No, I know enough to take in sail now,” answered Fred.
“All right!” sang out the owner of the Alice. “What’s the prize for winning?”
“A quart of baked ice-cream,” answered Fred merrily.
“Add a dozen stuffed pancakes fried in ice and I’ll go you!” called the young major. “Are you ready?”
“Then go! And catch me if you can!”
“Catch me, you mean!” yelled Fred, and then both skippers settled down to handle their respective craft as best they knew how.
Each had his topsail broken out, and each made his passengers sit so as to make his sloop ride on as even a keel as possible.
It was a beautiful day for a race, warm and clear, with scarcely a cloud in the sky.
“I know what I’d like,” said Pepper, as they bowled along over the course. “I’d like to take a swim. I know the water must be dandy.”
“I’ll be with you – after this race is over,” answered Dale.
Side by side the two sloops kept on the course until Cat Point was rounded. Then the Ajax began slowly to crawl ahead.
“There! What did I tell you!” cried Fred Century. “See how we are going ahead!”
“This race isn’t over yet,” answered Jack.
They had passed the spot where the mishap had occurred to the Ajax and were now heading directly for Borden’s Cove. Soon the Alice began to crawl up and presently passed the Ajax. Those on Jack’s craft gave a cheer.
“You can’t beat the Alice, Fred!”
“If you want a tow we’ll throw you a rope!”
“Wait, this race isn’t over yet!” called Fred, and swung his tiller over a little. At once his sloop began to move faster, and soon the two craft were side by side again. And this position they kept until the Cove was gained and the race had come to an end.
“We’ll have to call it a tie!” declared the young major.
“A tie it is,” answered the owner of the Ajax. “But some day I’ll beat you yet,” he added, with a determined shake of his head.
“Well, I’d rather be beat by you than anybody else on this lake, Fred,” said Jack.
“Thank you, that’s a nice thing to say.”
“I mean it.”
“I believe you, Jack, and I’d rather come in behind the Alice than behind any other sloop,” added Fred. “My opinion is that our boats are both crackerjacks.”
“Right you are,” came from Pepper.
“If you want to give them away, I’ll take either,” said Andy, with an innocent look, and this remark caused a general laugh.
The boys found a secluded spot, and tying up the two sloops, went ashore and began to get ready for a swim. Soon Pepper plunged into the clear water and Andy and the others followed. It felt a trifle cold at first, but they soon got used to it, and they dove, splashed, and swam around to their hearts’ content.
“Come on and race!” sang out Pepper, presently.
“Done!” called Dale, and side by side they struck out for a distant rock. The others joined in, and in a few minutes all were some distance away from where they had left the sloops and their clothing.
In the meantime a large gasolene motor boat had come up the shore of the lake. It contained a pleasure party from Pornell Academy, including Roy Bock, Grimes, Gussic, Sedley, and several others. The motor boat was an easy-running affair and under reduced speed made little noise, so the swimmers did not notice its approach.
“Hello, I see two sloops in the Cove,” remarked Roy Bock.
“One of ’em is Fred Century’s boat,” said Grimes.
“Yes, and the other is the boat belonging to Jack Ruddy,” added Gussic. “Nobody on board,” he went on, after a close look.
“They must have gone ashore,” remarked Sedley.
“There they are, over by that rock, swimming,” said Will Carey, who was present.
The motor boat had come to a stop and now the wind blew it inshore behind a clump of overhanging bushes. From this point those on board watched the antics of the swimmers for several moments.
“I’ve got an idea!” cried Roy Bock suddenly.
“So have I!” added Grimes.
“We’ll tow their sloops out into the lake and cast them adrift.”
“I was going to take their clothes and hide them.”
“Say, let’s do both!” put in Will Carey.
“We want to be careful,” added another student who was present. “If we get caught – ”
“We weren’t caught the other day, when we turned Putnam Hall inside out.”
“That’s so, – but the cadets are close by now.”
“I have it. We can tie something over our faces, and over the name of the motor boat,” said Gussic.
This advice was acted on, and then two of the boys stole ashore and gathered up the heaps of wearing apparel Jack and his chums had left there. In the meantime Roy Bock got out some ropes, with which to tow away the Ajax and the Alice.
“If this won’t put them in a pickle nothing will,” said the bully of Pornell Academy. “Miles from their school and nothing to wear!”
“It’s the best joke we ever played on them,” answered Gussic.
“Hurry up, you fellows!” called Roy Bock to those who were gathering up the clothing. “Be quick!”
“Stop! stop!” yelled a voice suddenly, and from some bushes rushed Joe Nelson, a trowel in one hand and some wild plants in another. “What are you doing with that clothing? Who does it belong to?”
“Confound it, who is this chap?” muttered one of the Pornell students who had come ashore.
“I don’t know,” answered the other.
“Help!” yelled Joe. “Some fellows running off with this clothing! Cadets ahoy!” For he saw that the bundles contained Putnam Hall uniforms.
“What’s up?” called back Jack. He swam to a rock. “Well, I never!” he gasped, looking into the Cove.
“What do you see?” questioned Pepper, anxiously.
“Some fellows at our clothing! And look, there’s a motor boat!”
“Yes, and tying fast to our sloops!” gasped Fred Century. “Stop, you thieves!” he bawled.
“Let that clothing alone!” commanded Joe, and ran forward with his trowel uplifted as if it was a dagger. “Drop them, I say, or somebody will get hurt!”
His attitude was so fierce that the students from Pornell Academy let the bundles fall and ran back to the motor boat with all speed. Bock was also alarmed, both at the shouts from shore and from the swimmers at a distance, and had shoved off, so the pair had to wade in up to their knees to get on board.
“Going to leave us behind, Roy?” demanded one, angrily.
“No, but we haven’t any time to waste,” said the bully. “Here they come, like a band of wild Indians!”
And Jack and his chums certainly did look like wild men as they rushed along the shore, catching up rocks as they did so.
“Stop, or I’ll hit you with a stone!” called out Pepper, and then let fly a missile that whizzed so close to Roy Bock’s head that the bully dodged. More stones followed, thrown by Jack and the other swimmers and by Joe Nelson, and several students on the motor boat were hit.
“Don’t! don’t!” screamed Will Carey. “You may kill somebody!”
“Then leave those sloops alone!” called Jack.
“We know you, Roy Bock,” added Fred. “And you too, Gussic and Carey. You clear out mighty quick, or you’ll get into trouble.”
“We have a right to come here if we want to,” growled Bock, seeing that the chance to play the Putnam Hall lads a trick had passed.
“Perhaps. But you have no right to touch our boats,” answered Jack.
“Nor our clothing,” added Andy. “Joe, how is it that you are here?” he went on.
“I was digging plants in the woods when I heard some talking,” answered Joe Nelson. “I came to the shore just in time to see two of that crowd gathering up your clothing.”
“I see. Well, it was lucky you arrived.”
“We found the boats deserted,” said Sedley. “We were going to tow them down to your dock.”
“Tell that to your grandmother, Sedley,” retorted Dale. “You were going to run away with the sloops – and run away with our clothing too.”
“It’s on a level with the joke you played at Putnam Hall the other day,” added Stuffer.
“What joke?” demanded Grimes.
“You know well enough.”
“I don’t know anything,” retorted the Pornell student uneasily.
“Perhaps you don’t know how we found you out,” added Jack, pinching Pepper’s arm.
“And perhaps you don’t know that Captain Putnam is going to swear out a warrant for your arrest,” added The Imp, as he returned Jack’s pinch.
“Our arrest!” cried Roy Bock, in consternation.
“That’s what I said.”
“He won’t dare to do it. If he does – well, we haven’t forgotten how you came to our school one night and stole all our trophies.”
“You just wait and see what he does,” said Jack, calmly. And then he started to dress and his chums did the same. Roy Bock wanted to talk some more, but the young major cautioned his chums to keep silent, and at last the motor boat and its occupants moved away across the lake.
“Well, we’ve found them out,” declared Pepper. “They are responsible for that rough-housing right enough!”
“Yes, and we have them guessing as to what Captain Putnam is going to do about it,” answered Jack with a grin. “Maybe they won’t sleep much to-night, thinking it over!”
“We must get square on them, for that and for their attempt to take our boats and our clothing,” declared Dale.
“You bet we will!” declared Andy; and all of the others agreed with him.
STARCHING AND BLUEING
“To get square with those Pornell fellows means two things,” remarked Jack, as the boys proceeded to push off and out of the Cove. “One is to do something worth while, and the other is to keep Captain Putnam in the dark about the rough-house affair. If we raise a row about that – ”
“The Pornell students will raise a row if we do anything and are found out,” finished Andy.
“Right you are.”
“Well, I guess we can keep still, since the captain has admitted he thinks Bob Grenwood innocent of the affair,” remarked Dale.
On the arrival at the Hall the two sloops were tied up at the dock, and the boys drifted down to the gymnasium, where Andy did some wonderful “stunts” on the rings and bars. Jack drew some of his chums aside and in a corner it was discussed how accounts might be “squared up” with the Pornellites.
“I know what I’d like to do,” grumbled Stuffer. “I’d like to present them with Pluxton Cuddle. They could have him and welcome.”
“What, have you had more trouble?” questioned Pepper.
“Indeed I have! What do you think! I was eating some candy I bought in town last week and he told me to throw it away – that it would ruin my digestion!”
“That’s fierce,” said Hogan. “Sure, and where is this tyranny to stop, I don’t know! Next thing ye know he won’t let us eat at all, at all!”
“I move we give Cuddle a lesson – after we get through with Pornell,” said Bart Conners, and this suggestion was hailed with satisfaction by all present.
One of the boys had learned that a number of Pornell students were going to a party on the following Wednesday afternoon. The affair was to be given by a number of girls at a place called Lakelawn, a mile from the Academy. Among the invited guests were Bock and several of his cronies.
“And what do you think!” said the cadet who gave this news. “Reff Ritter, Coulter and Paxton are also invited and I believe they are to go too.”
“We ought to do something to spoil that fun,” said Andy.
“Let us think it over,” answered Jack.
On Monday afternoon Pepper learned through Mumps that Ritter, Coulter and Paxton had accepted the invitation to Lakelawn and expected to have a “large time,” to use Ritter’s own words.
At the time the school sneak gave this information to Pepper the latter was eating candy from a bag he had purchased. Mumps wanted some of that candy and he lingered around even after Pepper had given him several chocolates.
“Say,” he said finally. “Give me some more chocolates and I’ll tell you something very important.”
“What about, Mumps?”
“About Ritter and his crowd.”
“But you have just told me about them.”
“This is something different.”
“Well, let me have it.”
“Will you give me the chocolates?”
“Yes, – if the news is of importance.”
“All there are left in the bag.” The Imp twisted the top of the candy bag shut as he spoke.
“All right.” The school sneak looked around the hall, to make certain nobody was listening. “Ritter and his crowd are going to do you up brown to-night,” he said coarsely.
“Do us up brown? What do you mean?” And now Pepper was all attention.
“I don’t know any particulars. But I heard Reff say that, when he was talking to Coulter, Paxton and Sabine. I think they are going to visit your dormitory after you are asleep.”
“What else did they say?”
“I didn’t catch much, for Reff saw me and ordered me away. I heard them mention starch. He told some kind of a joke about putting the starch in you instead of taking it out.”
“Hum!” mused Pepper. “Is that all?”
“Yes. But don’t say I told you, please!” pleaded Mumps.
“I won’t. And here is the candy.”
The Imp held out the bag and the sneak snatched it eagerly, and looked inside.
“Huh!” he said, indignantly. “There is only one chocolate in the bag!”
“I gave you all I had left – just as I promised,” answered Pepper with a grin, and walked away, leaving the sneak much crestfallen.
Pepper lost no time in hunting up Jack and some of the others and relating all he had heard.
“We must be on our guard to-night,” said the young major.
“What do you make of this talk about starch?” asked Andy.
“I know that to-day is wash day and the wash-women in the laundry are using a lot of starch,” answered Jack. “Maybe Ritter and his gang think to steal some and use it.”
“Gracious! if they do that I know what I’ll do!” cried Pepper, struck by a sudden idea.
“If they try to starch us why can’t we blue them? We can get some of the blueing balls from the laundry, and – ”
“Good? Just the cheese!” cried Dale. “Blueing is better than starching any day!” And he laughed gleefully.
The boys laid their plans with care, and retired to their dormitory at an early hour. They had a little studying to do and got through with their lessons as speedily as possible.
“Now I am going out and play enemy,” said Pepper, when it was time to retire. “Remember, when I whistle it means get busy!” And he stole forth out of the dormitory and down the semi-dark hallway with the silence of a shadow.
When he reached the doorway of the room Ritter and his cronies occupied he paused and listened intently. A low murmur of voices reached his ears.
“Are you fellows all ready?” he heard Ritter ask, presently.
“Yes,” was the general answer.
“Everybody got his can of starch?”
“I couldn’t get any more starch so I got mucilage,” answered Paxton. “I reckon it will be just as sticky.”
The others said they had starch, and then Reff Ritter came to the door and opened it softly. Pepper was too quick for him, however, and hid out of sight around an angle of the hall.
The conspirators had scarcely left the dormitory when Pepper entered it and spent several minutes inside. Then he came out on the run, a handkerchief tied over his face.
In the meantime Ritter and his crowd had entered the room Jack and the others occupied. They were about to pour the cans of starch and mucilage over the beds, where they supposed the cadets were reposing, when something unexpected happened. From out of two closets leaped Jack, Andy and the others, each with a wet and knotted towel in his hand.
“At them, fellows!” cried the young major. And whack! came his wet towel on Reff Ritter’s head, sending the water flying into his face.
“Hi! stop!” roared the bully, taken completely off his guard.
Whack! whack! whack! went the wet and knotted towels, and every one of the intruders received several cracks on the head and in the face. The cloths were so saturated with moisture that the water flew in all directions, wetting them completely. Ritter and his crowd were so bewildered they knew not what to do and forget all about using the cans of starch. Coulter let his can drop and then slipped on the contents, pulling another boy down on top of him.
“Hi, Ritter, get back to your room! Old Crabtree is coming!” called out Pepper in a disguised voice from the hallway, and then, more scared than ever, the bully turned and darted from the dormitory and his cohorts followed. In the darkness Pepper tripped the bully up, sending him headlong on his nose. Then Pepper darted into the dormitory, and the door was shut and locked.
“That’s the time we caught them on the fly,” cried Jack, joyously. “My, but didn’t we give it to ’em good!”
“I hope you wet them all,” said Pepper.
“We did,” answered Andy.
“Then they’ll have a fine time drying themselves – if they get hold of the towels I fixed up,” grinned The Imp.
They waited and heard Ritter and his cronies enter the dormitory at the end of the hallway. Then they stole forth, Pepper leading the way.
“Who said Crabtree was coming?” they heard Ritter ask.
“Must have been some friend from another dormitory,” answered Billy Sabine. “Ugh! I’m soaked through!” And he shivered.
“Don’t say a word, I got a crack right in the nose and it’s bleeding,” growled Coulter.
“What, the crack or the nose?” queried Paxton grimly.
“Huh, this ain’t no time to joke! Where is there a towel?”
Towels were handy – Pepper had seen to that – and one after another of those in the dormitory caught up a cloth and began to wipe the water from his face and neck. They were doing this vigorously by a dim light when of a sudden Coulter let out a yell.
“What’s the matter with your face, Paxton?” he asked.
“My face? Nothing, only it’s mighty wet.”
“It’s as blue as indigo!”
“It’s as blue as indigo and all streaked!”
Nick Paxton ran to a glass and gave a look. But before he could say a word Reff Ritter gave a cry.
“My hands are all blue – and so is my nose!”
“I’m blue too!” ejaculated Billy Sabine. “Oh, what has happened to us?”
“Maybe they had blue paint in those towels,” suggested Coulter. “Gosh, if this ain’t fierce! We look like a lot of painted Indians!”
“So we do!” cried another student. “Wonder if it will wash off?”
Reff Ritter turned up the light and examined a towel closely.
“I see what it is!” he cried. “Somebody has put blueing powder all over the towels. The water has made a regular dye of it!”
“Oh!” came in a groaning chorus.
“Will the – the blueing wash off?” asked Paxton, in a faint voice.
“I don’t think all of it will – it’s too strong,” answered Ritter. “I’ll bet this is some of the Ruddy crowd’s work,” he added bitterly.
Just then a sheet of paper was thrust under the door. Coulter picked it up. A patter of footsteps could be heard in the distance.
“A note,” said Coulter. “I’ll wager it is from those fellows.”
He brought the sheet of paper to the light and read it, the others gazing over his shoulders. On the sheet was written:
“Thank you very much for the starching. We return the compliment by doing the blueing.”
“I told you so!” growled Reff Ritter. “Blueing indeed? If we can’t get this stuff off we won’t want to show ourselves in the classrooms to-morrow!”ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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