Edward Stratemeyer.

The Putnam Hall Rebellion





And what about the party at Lakelawn? groaned Gus Coulter. Dont forget that, Reff!

If we cant clean up well have to stay at home. I dont want to go looking like a bluejay, do you?

Well have to get square with the Ruddy crowd for this, said Paxton. Oh, what a mess! And he did his best to get the blueing from his face.

Just wait, thats all! answered Reff Ritter, savagely. Ill get square if it takes a thousand years!

CHAPTER IX
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE ICE HOUSE

The next morning Reff Ritter had to excuse himself, and he did not come downstairs all day. Some of the blueing had gotten on his nose and refused to come off. Paxton and Coulter appeared, and they looked blue in more ways than one.

We are going to square up some day! growled Coulter, when he met Pepper. Just wait, thats all!

Look out that you dont burn your fingers doing it, answered The Imp. Remember, we can give you as good as you send, every time!

Coulter and Paxton still had some of the blueing on them and some of the cadets not in the secret wanted to know what was the trouble.

Oh, we had some blue ink and it got spilled, answered Paxton, and that was all he and Coulter would say. When Captain Putnam went upstairs to call on Ritter and make sure he was not seriously sick the bully told the same story.

Well, be careful the next time, said the master of the Hall, and he left Ritter in deep thought. He felt almost certain some kind of a joke had been played, but he did not wish to investigate, having his hands full with other things. George Strong had departed, having received a special message of importance, and the captain himself had to leave the school the following Monday, to go to Chicago.

In a roundabout way Jack and his chums learned that Reff Ritter, Coulter and Paxton were going to attend the lawn party in spite of the blueing that still showed on their hands and faces, and they at once set to work to see what could be done toward having more fun.

This is going to be rather a delicate proceeding, said the young major. Remember, we have two crowds to deal with Ritters and Roy Bocks.

Perhaps we had better divide our forces? suggested Dale.

Ive got a plan, but I dont know if it can be carried out, said Pepper. To my mind, Ritter and Bock are quite friendly.

Yes, its a case of one bully loving another, chimed in Stuffer. They are thick, and so are Coulter and Gussic and Grimes.

Then perhaps I can get this plan to work after all, went on The Imp, and then he told the others of his scheme. This was nothing more than to send a letter to Bock asking him and his cronies to meet Ritter at a certain ice-house on the lake front, at two oclock just an hour before the party was to come off. Another letter was to be sent to Ritter asking him to meet Bock and his crowd at the same place, but a little earlier.

The letters were written without delay and a farm boy of that vicinity was hired to deliver them both at noon on the day the party was to come off.

Each letter spoke of a way to fix Ruddy and his crowd, and was unsigned.

As Pepper anticipated, Bock and Ritter and their cohorts fell into the trap readily. Each bully was more than anxious to learn of something whereby he might do the young major and his chums injury.

Ritter is a fine fellow, said Roy Bock, to his cronies. He hates Ruddy and those other chaps like poison, too. He must have something great up his sleeve. And the others agreed this must be so; and all voted to stop at the ice-house on the way to the lawn party.

On the other hand, Ritter was equally enthusiastic, and so were Coulter and Paxton.

Well work with the Pornell fellows in this, said the Hall bully. I always liked Bock, and if he will show us how to turn a trick on Ruddy Ill like him better than ever.

It was no easy matter for Jack, Pepper and the others to get away early on the day the lawn party was to be held. Yet they managed it by various excuses, and then met back of the gymnasium, and hurried at top speed to the ice house.

The structure was empty, the last of the former winters ice having been removed the week before. It was a large and gloomy place, and scattered around were many tons of wet sawdust.

Now boys, follow my directions and be quick about it! cried Pepper. Andy, you keep an eye open and let us know as soon as you see anybody. Jack, heres your make-up, and as he finished speaking he handed over a suit of plain clothes and a hat, such as Bock was in the habit of wearing. These the young major donned with all speed, and pulled down his hair over his forehead, in the style Bock affected. This done, at a distance he resembled the bully of Pornell Academy.

The cadets set to work doing various things in the ice house that Pepper suggested. Hardly had they completed their labors when Andy gave a low whistle.

Ritter and his crowd are coming! he called, as he came into the building.

It was now that Jack acted. He ran to the doorway, and seeing Ritter at a distance waved his hand wildly.

Hurry up! Youre late! he called out, imitating Bocks voice as much as possible.

Not dreaming that anything was wrong, Reff Ritter and his cronies quickened their pace and soon came up to the ice house.

Where are you? called out Coulter.

Here, inside, was the muffled answer. Come in, the place is empty.

Ritter entered, followed by Coulter and Paxton. They saw somebody move at the rear end of the building and started in that direction. Each had hardly taken a dozen steps when he found himself attacked from behind. A long bag was thrown over his head and pulled to his knees and tied fast there.

Hi, you! What does this mean? roared Ritter, trying in vain to clear himself of the bag. Then he commenced to cough, for the bag was full of dust.

Silence unless you want to be buried deep in the sawdust, commanded Jack, in a heavy, unnatural voice.

Do dont! spluttered Paxton. If yo you bury us in that we well smother to death!

Wh who are you fel fellows? gasped Coulter.

We are the Pornell Academy boys, and we mean to keep you from that party, answered Andy, in a voice that sounded much like that of Grimes.

Confound the luck! growled Reff Ritter. Say, Bock, this isnt fair. You said in the letter you would help us to get Jack Ruddy into trouble.

Ha! ha! you were nicely fooled! laughed Jack, still disguising his voice.

March! ordered Pepper.

I wont budge! cried Paxton.

Scarcely had he spoken when he felt a whip lash across his legs.

Ouch! Oh, let up! Ill march! he whined. Dont lash me again, please!

As they were absolutely helpless with the strong bags tied down to their knees, Ritter Coulter and Paxton had to do as commanded, and they were marched out of a back door of the ice house and to a grove of trees some distance away.

Hurry up, boys! whispered Pepper, to his chums. Somebody is coming down the road. It must be the Pornell Academy crowd!

In a twinkling the prisoners were tied with ropes to several trees. Then Jack led the way back to the ice house. Here Pepper went to the front, while the major resumed his uniform.

Say, you fellows! cried Pepper, as soon as he was sure of the party approaching. Dont be all day! Hurry up!

Its too warm to hurry! called back Roy Bock. Do you think I want to get all heated up? He was faultlessly dressed in his best, and so were his cronies, for nearly all of the Pornell students were rich and spent a good deal upon their attire.

They walked into the ice house just as Ritter and the others had done. It was Dale who called them to the rear, and then the others came up behind with another set of long bags and ropes.

Let up! roared Roy Bock, and began to fight with such vigor that he almost broke away. But Jack held fast and both went down into the wet sawdust, much to Bocks disgust.

Confound it, youve ruined my best suit! he cried, Ill fix you for this, see if I dont!

When you get the chance, answered Jack in a disguised voice. Glad you answered my letter, he added.

So this is what you were up to, eh? stormed the Pornell bully, after further resistance was useless. With the bag over him he could, of course, see nothing. What are you going to do with us?

Nothing, only keep you here while we enjoy that lawn party, answered Pepper, in a disguised voice.

Its a plot against us! groaned Grimes. I told you to be cautious about coming here.

Say, Ritter, I thought I could trust you, continued Roy Bock. This isnt fair at all. I thought we were going to hatch out something against Ruddy, Ditmore, and those fellows.

Not to-day, murmured Dale, and he had all he could do to keep from laughing over the turn of affairs. Andy was in a corner, holding his sides and chuckling, and all of the other cadets were grinning broadly.

The Pornell students wanted to argue, but Jack and his chums would not listen. With strong ropes they tied each of the enemy fast to a beam in the ice house.

Wll be back bye and bye, cried Jack, in an unnatural voice,

Dont leave us! cried Gussic. This bag is horribly dirty. Ive got my whole head full of it!

Come back! yelled Ritter, from his bag. Say, if youll let us out well call it square. If you dont, Ill

What will you do? asked Jack, from a distance.

Report you to Captain Putnam.

Do it I dont care, was the young majors answer, and then he and his chums departed, rolling the ice house door shut as they did so. They waited till they had covered a hundred yards or so and then of a sudden every cadet present burst into a roar of merriment that lasted for several minutes.

Its the richest ever! cried Andy, the tears fairly running down his cheeks. Weve got em all prisoners and each party thinks the other guilty!

Think of Roy Bock reporting to Captain Putnam for this! said Pepper. Wouldnt that make you scream?

And maybe Ritter will report Bock and his gang to Doctor Pornell, suggested Dale.

Sure, and its the foinest mix-up I ever seen in me life, was Emeralds comment. If only they meet some day an fight it out! And the grin on his broad face spread from ear to ear.

The crowd walked down to the lake shore and then to the place where the lawn party was in progress. They saw a dozen or more girls in the grounds, but only five boys.

Its hard luck for the girls, was Peppers comment. But it cant be helped.

I dont pity them, said Andy. They didnt invite me, and I once took two of them rowing, too.

Yes, and they didnt invite me and I once treated three of them to ice-cream soda, added Dale.

The boys watched the party from a distance, and then, when it was growing late, started again in the direction of the ice house.

Hark! what is that? called Andy suddenly.

Sounds like somebody fighting, answered Pepper.

I think I know what it is, burst out Jack. Come, follow me! And he dove into the bushes lining the roadway.

CHAPTER X
A MIX-UP ON THE ROAD

As luck would have it, Reff Ritters party and the crowd from Pornell Academy had become free at the same time, each working out of the ropes and bags in a manner known only to themselves. Each had brushed up as much as possible and started hurriedly for the place where the lawn party was in progress. The two crowds had come together on the road not over two hundred yards from the ice house. Each accused the other of being guilty of the trick, and in less than five minutes blows were being freely exchanged.

Ill show you what it means to treat me like a pig! cried Roy Bock, and he struck Ritter a blow in the nose that drew blood.

Oh, you cant bluff me! retorted the Putnam Hall bully, and hit the lad from Pornell in the left eye. Then the pair clinched and rolled over and over in the dirt of the road.

In the meantime Grimes struck Coulter and Paxton hit Gussic. Then everybody struck out, and inside of a minute the three Putnam Hall boys were down and the enemy were on top of them. Clothing was torn, collars and ties pulled off, and the general mel?e was something awful to behold.

It was in the midst of this excitement that Jack and his chums arrived.

Whow! cried Andy. Say, but they are going at each other for keeps, arent they?

Sure, an its fightin like cats an dogs they are, was Hogans comment. Tis a bit av Donnybrook Fair, he added. Oh, for a shillalah!

The Pornell crowd isnt fighting fair, said Jack. They outnumber our fellows.

What of it? demanded Dale. I reckon Ritter, Coulter and Paxton are getting all they deserve.

Ge get off of m me! came in a groan from Paxton. Yo you are crushing in my ribs!

Dont hit me with that stone! they heard Coulter scream.

They are certainly going too far, said Pepper. Enough is enough. Let us scare the Pornell fellows off.

This was agreed to, and picking up sticks and stones Jacks crowd set up a sudden wild yelling that made the Pornellites stop fighting and glance around in fear.

Come on! cried Pepper. Putnam Hall to the rescue! Down with Pornell Academy! And he looked over his shoulder, as if urging others behind him. Then Jack and the others took up the cue, and they made it appear as if a big party was approaching. Andy even ran behind some bushes and called out in as many different tones of voice as he could master.

The ruse worked to perfection, and Roy Bock and his cohorts lost no time in leaping to their feet and retreating a few paces.

I guess the whole school is coming! said the bully of Pornell Academy.

Charge them! Charge them! yelled Jack, and ran forward brandishing a big stick. Pepper was at his side, and flung a big stone over Bocks head. This was too much for the Pornell students, and turning, they ran along the road for a short distance and then took to the woods. They did not stop running until they had covered a good quarter of a mile and were sure the pursuit had come to an end.

It was a put-up job! growled Roy Bock, as he leaned against a tree to rest and catch his breath. That was Ruddy came to help Ritter and the others. It was a put-up job and nothing else!

Yes, and we walked into the trap like a lot of mice after cheese, grunted Gussic, with his hand on his windpipe, where he had been hit.

Just look at these duds! came from another lad. About fit for the ragbag! And he mournfully surveyed a torn sleeve and a hole in his trouser leg.

My collar is gone, and so is that new dollar tie I bought for the party, said Bock. I ought to make somebody buy me another tie.

Speaking of the party, said another. Are you going?

Going? stormed the bully. Are you crazy? If we went the girls would take us for scarecrows!

Its funny that other crowd didnt go to the party, remarked Grimes.

Oh, I guess theyd rather play a trick on us than go to any party, was Gussics comment. I am of the firm opinion that Ritter, Ruddy and the whole bunch was in the plot against us.

Sure thing, answered Roy Bock. And then he and his cronies walked slowly in the direction of Pornell Academy, wondering what they should say when they got there, and what sort of excuse they should send to the girls who had been waiting for them.

In the meantime Reff Ritter and his cronies had gotten up and brushed themselves off. They were considerably astonished to find that Jack and his chums had come to their rescue.

Huh! So its you! growled Ritter, with a far from pleasant look on his face.

Yes, said the young major cheerily. I guess we got here just in the nick of time, didnt we?

Maybe you did.

Whats the row about? questioned Pepper innocently, but with a side wink at Andy and Dale.

About? They tied us up in bags, and began Paxton, when a cold look from Reff Ritter stopped him. I mean er they

Never mind what it was about, growled Ritter.

Tied you up in bags, did they? said Andy. That was hard luck sure. How did you escape?

I cut my way from the bag with my pocketknife, said Coulter, ignoring Ritters look. Those fellows

Say, cant you keep it to yourself? demanded the bully of the Hall sourly. He was afraid Jack and his chums would laugh at him and those who had suffered with him.

Ritter, you neednt tell us anything, said the young major, drawing himself up, stiffly. We did what we could for you, but we dont expect either your confidence or your thanks. He turned to his chums. Come, fellows, I fancy we are not wanted here, and he turned and walked in the direction of Putnam Hall, with Pepper and the rest at his heels. Each boy wanted to laugh but each managed to keep a straight face until a safe distance was covered. Then Pepper had to roll on the ground and roar, and Andy did the same.

Oh, Jack! panted The Imp, when he felt able to speak. That was the richest yet what you said We did what we could for you, but we dont expect your thanks! Gracious, I thought Id die when you said it!

Weve got em guessing, said Dale.

Yes, and I reckon Bock and his gang and Ritter and his cronies will be enemies for life now, said Andy.

Boys, in honor of this occasion, I move we celebrate to-night, said Pepper.

Second the motion, answered Andy, promptly. But how is it to be done?

Might each do an extra example in geometry, in honor of the event, suggested Jack, with a smile.

Geometry! snorted Stuffer. Not much! Lets have something to eat!

Stuffers one idea of celebrating is something to eat, cried Andy.

Well, a feast isnt so bad, said another cadet.

Where are we going to get anything? asked Pepper. We cant go to Cedarville its too late.

I have it! cried Andy. Let us have an ice-cream festival.

Thats easy enough to say, Andy, but where are you going to get the cream? asked the young major.

If some of you will make excuses for me after supper Ill get the cream, answered the acrobatic youth. I can go to Cedarville and back in no time on my wheel. But I want some money, he added, suddenly. Poser, the ice-cream man, doesnt tick anybody.

An ice-cream party it is, said Emerald. Sure, an I could eat some now, so I could! And he smacked his lips.

When the cadets got back to Putnam Hall they washed up hastily and then some of the others turned over to Andy a portion of their spending money. Andy got a hasty supper, and then, watching his chance, stole from the mess hall on the sly. His bicycle was in the wagon house, and mounting this he spun along the highway leading to the town at record-breaking speed.

Where did Snow go? demanded Pluxton Cuddle, when he noticed the vacant chair.

Perhaps he wasnt feeling well, suggested Pepper. I noticed he had his hand to his stomach.

He eats too much, grumbled the new teacher. All of you boys eat more than is good for you. After this I shall have to keep an eye on Snow. He glared round the table. Singleton, what is that you have in your hand?

A piece of cake, sir, answered Stuffer.

Didnt you have a piece before, sir?

Yes, sir. But Im hungry and

One piece of cake is enough, Singleton. Put that down and leave the table.

Do you want me to go hungry? demanded Stuffer, half angrily. The strenuous events of the afternoon had made him unusually hungry.

I will not allow a cadet to stuff himself. I do not wonder that some of the boys have given you the nickname of Stuffer although I abhor nicknames. Leave the room, sir!

All right, old cat! grumbled Paul, under his breath, and he marched out, with Pluxton Cuddles eyes glaring after him. In the meantime Pepper calmly reached over, took half a dozen slices of cake and rolled them up in a napkin in his lap. Seeing this, Jack did the same. When Pluxton Cuddle chanced to look at the plate a minute later he stared in amazement.

Who took that cake? he thundered.

To this question all the cadets remained silent.

Answer me, who took that cake? he repeated, and looked at each boy in turn.

I didnt, answered Dale.

I ate but one piece, Mr. Cuddle! said Pepper.

That is all I ate, too, added Jack.

Only Stuffer I mean Singleton ate more than one piece, said Bart Conners.

Strange! strange! I thought the plate was full of cake, murmured Pluxton Cuddle. He glared again at the cadets. If I find out that any of you have deceived me I shall punish you severely. Now finish your suppers! And he began to munch away vigorously on the dry toast he was eating. His theory was that a person should eat very little but masticate that little well, and he sometimes chewed a mouthful of food thirty or forty times.

When the meal was over, Pepper and Jack slipped the napkins full of cake under their jackets and left the mess hall. Then they took the cake upstairs and hid the dainty in a safe place. This done they strolled down the highway leading to Cedarville, looking for Andy.

He ought to be coming soon, remarked the young major, after a half hour had passed.

They walked a short distance from the Hall and then sat down on a rock to rest. Here presently Dale and Stuffer joined them.





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