ANDY AT YALE OR THE GREAT QUADRANGLE MYSTERY
BY ROY ELIOT STOKES
THE WORLD SYNDICATE PUBLISHING CO. CLEVELAND, O. NEW YORK, N. Y.
Copyright, MCMXIV, by SULLY AND KLEINTEICH
Printed in the United States of America by THE COMMERCIAL BOOKBINDING CO. CLEVELAND, OHIO
I. A Horse-Whipping 1 II. Good Samaritans 12 III. An Unpleasant Prospect 19 IV. The Picture Show 28 V. Final Days 36 VI. The Bonfire 45 VII. Link Again 51 VIII. Off For Yale 63 IX. On The Campus 72 X. Missing Money 78 XI. "Rough House" 85 XII. A Fierce Tackle 94 XIII. Bargains 102 XIV. Dunk Refuses 113 XV. Dunk Goes Out 123 XVI. In Bad 131 XVII. Andy's Despair 138 XVIII. Andy's Resolve 146 XIX. Link Comes To College 150 XX. Queer Disappearances 158 XXI. A Gridiron Battle 166 XXII. Andy Says 'No!' 177 XXIII. Reconciliation 185 XXIV. Link's Visit 193 XXV. The Missing Watch 198 XXVI. The Girls 205 XXVII. Jealousies 213 XXVIII. The Book 219 XXIX. The Accusation 230 XXX. The Letter 237 XXXI. On The Diamond 245 XXXII. Victory 256 XXXIII. The Trap 281 XXXIV. Caught 291 XXXV. For The Honor Of Yale 300
ANDY AT YALE
"Come on, Andy, what are you hanging back for?"
"Oh, just to look at the view. It's great! Why, you can see for twenty miles from here, right off to the mountains!"
One lad stood by himself on the summit of a green hill, while, a little below, and in advance of him, were four others.
"Oh, come on!" cried one of the latter. "View! Who wants to look at a view?"
"But it's great, I tell you! I never appreciated it before!" exclaimed Andy Blair. "You can see——!"
"Oh, for the love of goodness! Come on!" came in protest from the objecting speaker. "What do we care how far we can see? We're going to get something to eat!"
"That's right! Some of Kelly's good old kidney stew!"
"A little chicken for mine!"
"I'm for a chop!"
"Beefsteak on the grill!"
Thus the lads, waiting for the one who had stopped to admire the fine view, chanted their desires in the way of food.
"Come on!" finally called one in disgust, and, with a half sigh of regret, Andy walked on to join his mates.
"What's getting into you lately?" demanded Chet Anderson, a bit petulantly. "You stand mooning around, you don't hear when you're spoken to, and you don't go in for half the fun you used to."
"Are you sick? Or is it a—girl?" queried Ben Snow, laughing.
"Both the same!" observed Frank Newton, cynically.
"Listen to the old dinkbat!" exclaimed Tom Hatfield. "You'd think he knew all about the game! You never got a letter from a girl in your life, Frank!"
"I didn't, eh? That's all you know about it," and Frank made an unsuccessful effort to punch his tormentor.
"Well, if we're going on to Churchtown and have a bit of grub in Kelly's, let's hoof it!" suggested Chet. "You can eat; can't you, Andy? Haven't lost your appetite; have you, looking at that blooming view?"
"No, indeed. But you fellows don't seem to realize that in another month we'll never see it again, unless we come back to Milton for a visit."
"That's right!" agreed Ben Snow. "This is our last term at the old school! I'll be sorry to leave it, in a way, even though I do expect to go to college."
"Same here," came from Tom. "What college are you going to, Ben?"
"Hanged if I know! Dad keeps dodging from one to another. He's had all the catalogs for the last month, studying over 'em like a fellow going up for his first exams. Sometimes it's Cornell, and then he switches to Princeton. I'm for the last myself, but dad is going to foot the bills, so I s'pose I'll have to give in to him."
"Of course. Where are you heading for, Andy?"
"Oh, I'm not so sure, either. It's a sort of toss-up between Yale and Harvard, with a little leaning toward Eli on my part. But I don't have to decide this week. Come on, let's hoof it a little faster. I believe I'm getting hungry."
"And yet you would stop to moon at a view!" burst out Frank. "Really, Andy, I'm surprised at you!"
"Oh, cut it out, you old faker! You know that view from Brad's Hill can't be beat for miles around."
"That's right!" chorused the others, and there seemed to have come over them all a more serious manner with the mention of the pending break-up of their pleasant relations. They had hardly realized it before.
For a few minutes they walked on over the hills in silence. The green fields, with here and there patches of woodland, stretched out all around them. Over in the distance nestled a little town, its white church, with the tall, slender spire, showing plainly.
Behind them, hidden by these same green hills over which they were tramping this beautiful day in early June, lay another town, now out of sight in a hollow. It was Warrenville, on the outskirts of which was located the Milton Preparatory School the five lads attended. They were in their last year, would soon graduate, and then separate, to go to various colleges, or other institutions.
School work had ended early this day on account of coming examinations, and the lads, who had been chums since their entrance at Milton, had voted to go for a walk, and end up with an early supper at Kelly's, a more or less celebrated place where the students congregated. This was at Churchtown, about five miles from Warrenville. The boys were to walk there and come back in the trolley.
They had spent two years at the Milton school, and had been friends for years before that, all of them living in the town of Dunmore, in one of our Middle States. There was much rejoicing among them when they found that all five who had played baseball and football together in Dunmore, were to go to the same preparatory school. It meant that the pleasant relations were not to be severed. But now the shadow of parting had cast itself upon them, and had tempered their buoyant spirits.
"Yes, boys, it will soon be good-bye to old Milton!" exclaimed Chet, with a sigh.
"I wonder if we'll get anybody like Dr. Morrison at any of the colleges we go to?" spoke Ben.
"You can't beat him—no matter where you go!" declared Andy. "He's the best ever!"
"That's right! He knows just how to take a fellow," commented Tom. "Remember the time I smuggled the puppy into the physiology class?"
"I should say we did!" laughed Andy.
"And how he yelped when I pinched his tail that stuck out from under your coat," added Ben. "Say, it was great!"
"I'll never forget how old Pop Swann looked up over the tops of his glasses," put in Frank.
"Dr. Morrison was mighty decent about it when he had me up on the carpet, too," added Tom. "I thought sure I was in for a wigging—maybe a suspension, and I couldn't stand that, for dad had written me one warning letter.
"But all Prexy did was to look at me in that calm, withering, pitying way he has, and then say in that solemn voice of his: 'Ah, Hatfield, I presume you are going in for vivisection?' Say, you could have floored me with a feather. That's the kind of a man Dr. Morrison is."
"Nobody else like him," commented Andy, with a sigh.
"Oh, well, if any of us go to Yale, or Princeton, or Harvard, I guess we'll find some decent profs. there," spoke Ben. "They can't all be riggers."
"Sure not," said Andy. "But those colleges will be a heap sight different from Milton."
"Of course! What do you expect? This is a kindergarten compared to them!" exclaimed Frank.
"But it's a mighty nice kindergarten," commented Tom. "It's like a school in our home town, almost."
"I sure will be sorry to leave it," added Andy. "But come on; we'll never get to Kelly's at this rate."
The sun was sinking behind the western hills in a bank of golden and purple clouds. Two miles yet lay between the lads and their objective point—the odd little oyster and chop house so much frequented by the students of Milton. It was an historic place, was Kelly's; a beloved place where the lads foregathered to talk over their doings, their hopes, their fears, their joys and sorrows. It was an old-fashioned place, with little, dingy rooms, come upon unexpectedly; rooms just right for small parties of congenial souls—with tall, black settles, and tables roughened with many jack-knifed initials.
"We can cut over to the road, and get there quicker," remarked Andy, after a pause. "Suppose we do it. I don't want to get back too late."
"All right," agreed Tom. "I want to write a couple of letters myself."
"Oh, ho! Now who's got a girl?" demanded Chet, suspiciously.
"Nobody, you amalgamated turnip. I'm going to write to dad, and settle this college business. Might as well make a decision now as later, I reckon."
"We'll have to sign soon, or it will be too late," spoke Chet. "Those big colleges aren't like the small prep. schools. They have waiting lists—at least for the good rooms in the campus halls. That's where I'd like to go if I went to Yale—in Lawrance Hall, or some place like that, where I could look out over the campus, or the Green."
"There are some dandy rooms in front of Lawrance Hall where you can look out over the New Haven Green," put in Ben. "I was there once, and how I did envy those fellows, lolling in their windows on their blue cushions, puffing on pipes and making believe study. It was great!"
"Making believe study!" exclaimed Andy. "I guess they do study! You ought to see the stiff list of stuff on the catalog!"
"You got one?" asked Chet.
"Sure. I've been doping it out."
"I thought you said you hadn't decided where to go yet," remarked Frank.
"Well, I have," returned Andy, quietly.
"You have! When, for the love of tripe? You said a while ago—"
"I know I did. But I've decided since then. I'm going to Yale!"
"You are? Good for you!" cried Tom, clapping his chum on the back with such energy that Andy nearly toppled over. "That's the stuff! Rah! Rah! Rah! Yale! Bulldog!"
"Here! Cut it out!" ordered Andy. "I'm not at Yale yet, and they don't go around doing that sort of stuff unless maybe after a game. I was down there about a month ago, and say, there wasn't any of that 'Rah-rah!' stuff on the campus at all. But of course I wasn't there long."
"So that's where you went that time you slipped off," commented Chet. "Down at Yale. And you've decided to sign for there?"
"I have. It seemed to come to me as we walked down the hill. I've made my choice. I'm going to write to dad."
They walked on silently for a few moments following Andy's remarks.
"'It was the King of France, He had ten thousand men. He marched them up the hill, And marched them down again!'"
Thus suddenly quoted Chet in a sing-song voice, adding:
"If we're going to get any grub at Kelly's, it's up to us to march down this hill faster than we've been going, or we'll get left. That other crowd from Milton will have all the good places."
"Come on then, fellows, hit her up!" exclaimed Frank. "Hep! Hep! Left! Left!" and they started off at a good pace.
They reached the country road that led more directly to Churchtown, and swung off along this. The setting sun made a golden aurora that June day, the beams filtering through a haze of dust. The boys talked of many things, but chiefly of the coming parting—of the colleges they might attend.
As they passed a farmhouse near the side of the road, and came into view of the barnyard, they saw two men standing beside a team of horses hitched to a heavy wagon. One was tall and heavily built, evidently the farmer-owner. The other was a young man, of about twenty-two years, his left arm in a sling.
The boys would have passed on with only a momentary glance at the pair but for something that occurred as they came opposite. They saw the big man raise a horse-whip and lash savagely at the young man.
The lash cracked like the shot of a revolver.
"I'll teach you!" fairly roared the big man. "I'll teach you to soldier on me! Playin' off, that's what you are, Link Bardon! Playing off!"
"I'm not playing off! My arm is injured. And don't you strike me again, Mr. Snad, or I'll——"
"You will, eh?" burst out the other. "You'll threaten me, will you? Well, I'll teach you! Tryin' to pretend your arm is sprained so you won't have to work. I'll teach you! Take that!"
Again the cruel whip came down with stinging force. The face of the young man, that had flamed with righteous anger, went pale.
"Take that, you lazy, good-for-nothing!"
Again the whip descended, and the young man put up his uninjured arm to defend himself. The farmer rained blow after blow on his hired man, driving him toward a fence.
"Fellows! I can't stand this!" exclaimed Andy Blair, with sudden energy. "That big brute is a coward! Are you with me?"
"We sure are!" came in an energetic chorus from the others.
"Then come on!" cried Andy, and with a short run he cleared the fence and dashed up toward the farmer, who was still lashing away with the horse-whip.
"Here! Quit that!" exclaimed Andy, panting a bit from his exertion. "Drop that whip!"
The farmer wheeled around, for Andy had come up behind him. Surprise and anger showed plainly on the man's flushed face, and blazed from his blood-shot eyes.
"Wha—what!" he stammered in amazement.
"I said quit it!" came in resolute tones from Andy. "Don't you hit him any more! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Using a whip! Why don't you take some one your size, and use your hands if you have to. You're a coward!"
"That's right!" chimed in Chet Anderson.
"It's a blooming shame—that's what it is!" protested Tom Hatfield. "Let's make a rough-house of him, fellows!"
"What's that?" cried the farmer. "You threaten me, do you? Get out of my barnyard before I treat you as I did him! Get out, do you hear!"
"No!" exclaimed Andy. "We don't go until you promise to leave him alone," and he nodded at the shrinking youth.
"Say, I'll show you!" blustered the big farmer. "I'll thrash you young upstarts——"
"Oh no, you won't!" exclaimed Tom, easily. And when big Tom Hatfield, left guard on the Milton eleven, spoke in this tone trouble might always be looked for. "Oh, no you won't, my friend! And, just to show you that you won't—there goes your whip!"
With a quick motion Tom pulled the lash from the man's hand, and sent it whirling over the fence into the road.
"You—you!" blustered the farmer. He was too angry to be able to speak coherently. His hands were clenched and his little pig-like eyes roved from one to the other of the lads as though he were trying to decide upon which one to rush first.
"Take it easy, now," advised Tom, his voice still low. "We're five to one, and we'll certainly tackle you, and tackle you hard, if you don't be nice. We're not afraid of you!"
Perhaps the angry man realized this. Certainly he must have known that he would stand little chance in attacking five healthy, hearty youngsters, each of whom had the glow of clean-living on his cheeks, while their poise showed that they were used to active work, and ready for any emergency.
"Get out of this yard!" roared the farmer. "What right have you got interfering between me and my hired man, anyhow? What right, I'd like to know?"
"The right of every lover of fair-play!" exclaimed Andy. "Do you think we'd stand quietly by and let you use a horse-whip on a young fellow that you ought to be able to handle with one hand? And he with his arm in a sling! To my way of thinking, you ought to be ashamed of yourself."
The farmer growled out something unintelligible.
"We ought to do you up good and brown!" exclaimed Tom, his fists clenched.
"He's only playing off on me—he ain't hurt a mite!" growled the farmer. "He's only fakin' on me."
"I certainly am not," spoke the young fellow in firm but respectful terms. "I sprained my arm unloading your wagon, Mr. Snad, and I can't drive the team any more to-day. I put my handkerchief around it because the sprain hurt me so. I certainly can't work!" His voice faltered and he choked. His spirit seemed as much hurt as his body—perhaps more.
"Huh! Can't work, eh? Then get out!" snarled Mr. Snad. "I want no loafer around here! Get out!"
"I'm perfectly willing to go when you pay me what you owe me," said the helper, quietly.
"Owe you! I don't owe you nothin', you lazy lout!" snapped the farmer.
"You certainly do. You owe me twelve dollars, and as soon as you pay me I'll get out, and be glad to go!"
"Twelve dollars! I'd like to see myself giving you that much money!" grumbled the farmer. "You ain't wuth but ten dollars at the most, an' I won't pay you that for you busted my mowin' machine, an' it'll take that t' pay for fixin' it."
"That mowing machine was in bad order when you had me take it out," replied the young fellow, "and you know it. It was simply an accident that it broke, and not my fault in the least."
"Well, you'll pay for it, just the same," was the sneering reply. "Now be off!"
"Not until I get my wages. You agreed to pay me twelve dollars a month, and board me. My month is up to-day, and I want my money. It's about all I have in the world; I need it."
"You'll not get it out of me," and the farmer turned aside. Evidently he had given up the idea of further chastising his hired man. The presence of Andy and his chums was enough to deter him.
"Mr. Snad, I demand my money!" exclaimed the young farm hand.
"You'll not get it! Leave my premises! Clear off, all of you," and he glared at the schoolboys.
"Mr. Snad, I'll go as soon as you give me my twelve dollars," persisted the youth, his voice trembling.
"You'll get no twelve dollars out of me," snapped the man.
"Oh, yes, I think he will," spoke Andy. "You'd better pay over that money, Mr. Snad."
"Eh? What's that your business?"
"It's the business of everyone to see fair play," said Andy.
"And we're going to do it in this case," added Tom, still in even tones.
"Are you? Well, I'd like to know how?" sneered the farmer.
"Would you? Then listen and you will hear, my friend," went on Tom. "Unless you pay this young man the money you owe him we will swear out a warrant against you, have you arrested, and use him as a witness against you."
For a moment there was a deep silence; then the farmer burst out with:
"Have me arrested! Me? What for?"
"For assault and battery," answered Tom. "We saw you assault this young man with a horse-whip, and, while it might take some time to have him sue you for his wages, it won't take us any time at all to get an officer here and have you taken to jail on a criminal charge. The matter of the wages may be a civil matter—the horse-whipping is criminal.
"So, take your choice, Mr. Snad, if that's your name. Pay this young man his twelve dollars, or we'll cause your arrest on this assault charge. Now, my friend, it's up to you," and taking out his pocket knife Tom began whittling a stick picked from the ground. Andy and his chums looked admiringly at Tom, who had thus found such an effective lever of persuasion.
The angry farmer glanced from one to the other of the five lads. They gave him back look for look—unflinchingly.
"And don't be too long about it, either," added Tom, making the splinters fly. "We're due at Kelly's for a little feed, and then we want to get back to Milton. Don't be too long, my friend, unless you want to spend the night in jail."
The farmer gulped once or twice. The Adam's apple in his throat went up and down. Clearly he was struggling with himself.
"I—I—you——" he began.
"Tut! Tut!" chided Tom. "You'd better go get the money. We can't wait all day."
"I—er—I——" The farmer seemed at a loss for words. Then, turning on his heel, he started toward the house. He was beaten.
"I—I'll get it," he flung back over his shoulder. "And then I'll swear out warrants for your arrest. You're trespassers, that's what you are. I'll fix you!"
"Trespassers? Oh, no," returned Andy, sweetly. "We're only good Samaritans. Perhaps you may have read of them in a certain book. Also we are acting as the attorneys for this gentleman, in collecting a debt due him. We are his counsel, and the law allows a man to have his counsel present at a hearing. I hardly think an action in trespass would lie against us, Mr. Snad; so don't put yourself out about it."
"That's the stuff!"
"Good for you, Andy!"
"Say, you got his number all right!"
Thus Andy's chums called to him laughingly as the farmer went into the house.
AN UNPLEASANT PROSPECT
"Say, I can't tell how much obliged to you I am," impulsively exclaimed the young fellow with his arm in a sling. "That—that——"
"He's a brute, that's what he is!" broke out Andy. "Don't be afraid to call him one."
"He sure is," came from Tom. "I just wish he'd rough it up a bit. I wouldn't have asked anything better than to take and roll him around his own barnyard. Talk about tackling a fellow on the gridiron—Oh me! Oh my!"
"It was mighty nice of you boys to take my part," went on the young fellow. "I'm not feeling very well. He's worked me like a horse since I've been here, and that, on top of spraining my arm, sort of took the tucker out of me. Then, when he came at me with the whip, just because I said I couldn't work any more——"
"There, never mind. Don't think about it," advised Chet, seeing that the youth was greatly affected.
"Do you live around here?" asked Andy.
"Well, I don't live much of anywhere," was the reply. "I'm a sort of Jack-of-all-trades. My name is Lincoln Bardon—Link, I'm generally called. I work mostly at farming, but I'll never work for Amos Snad again. He's too hard."
"Where are you going after you leave here?" asked Frank Newton.
"Oh, I've got a friend who works on a farm over in Cherry Hollow. I can go there and get a place. The farming season is on now, and there's lots of help wanted. But I sure am much obliged to you for helping me get my money. I've earned it and I need it. That mowing machine was broken when he had me take it out of the shed."
"How'd he come to use the whip?" asked Andy.
"It was when I came back with the team, and said I couldn't work any more on account of my arm. He has a lot of work to do," explained Link, "and he ought to keep two men. Instead, he tries to get along with one, and works him like a slave. I'm glad I'm going to quit."
"When I said my arm was hurt he didn't believe me. I insisted. One word led to another and he came at me with the lash. Then you boys jumped in. I can't thank you enough."
"That's all right," said Tom. "We were glad to do it. I like a good scrap!"
And to do him justice, he did—a good, clean, manly "scrap."
"I wonder if he will bring that money?" remarked Ben Snow. "He's gone a long time."
"Oh, he keeps it hidden away in an old boot," replied Link. "He'll have to dig it out. But don't let me detain you."
"We like the fun," spoke Andy. "We'll stick around for a while yet."
And, while the boys are thus "sticking around," may I be permitted to introduce them more formally to you, and speak just a word about them?
With their names I think you are already familiar. Andy Blair was a tall, good-looking lad, with light hair and snapping blue eyes that seemed to look right through you. Yet, withal, they were merry eyes, and dancing with life.
Chet Anderson was rather short and stocky, not to say fat; but if any of his friends mentioned such a thing Chet was up in arms at once. Chet, I might explain, was a contraction for Chetfield; the lad being named for his grandfather.
Ben Snow was always jolly. In spite of his name he was of a warm and impulsive nature, always ready to forgive an injury and continually seeking a chance to help someone. Clever, full of life and usually looking on the bright side, Ben was a humorous relief to his sometimes more sober comrades.
Quiet and studious was Frank Newton, a good scholar, always standing well in his class, and yet with his full share of fun and sport. He was a mainstay on the baseball team, where he had pitched many a game to victory.
With the exception of Tom Hatfield you have now met the lads with whom the first part of this story is chiefly concerned. Tom was one of the nicest fellows you could know. His parents were wealthy, but wealth had not spoiled Tom. He was happy-go-lucky, of a generous, whole-souled nature, always jolly and happy, and yet with a temper that at times blazed out and amazed his friends. Seldom was it directed against any of them; but when Tom spoke quietly, with a sort of ring like the clang of steel in his voice, then was the time to look out.
The five lads came from the same town, as has been said, and had been friends, more or less, all their lives. With their advent at Milton their friendship was cemented with that seal which is never broken—school-comradeship. You boys know this. You men who may chance to read this book know it. How many of you, speaking of someone, has not at one time said:
"Why, he and I used to go to school together!"
And is there anything in life better than this—an old school chum? It means so much.
But there. I started to tell a story, and I find myself getting off on the side lines. To get back into the game:
Link Bardon had hardly finished telling his good Samaritan boy friends of his trouble with Mr. Snad, when the burly farmer reappeared. Striding up to his hired man—his former employee—he thrust some crumpled bills into his hand, and growled:
"Now you get out of here as fast as you can. I've seen enough of you!"
"And I may say the same thing!" retorted Link. He was getting back his nerve. Perhaps Andy and his chums had contributed to this end.
"Huh! Don't you go to gettin' fresh!" snapped Mr. Snad.
"Don't let him get your goat!" exclaimed Tom, with a cheerful grin.
"I've had enough of you young upstarts!" cried the farmer, turning fiercely on Andy and his chums. "Be off!"
"Wait until we see if Link has his money all right," suggested Andy. "He might ring in a counterfeit bill on you if you don't watch out."
"Bah!" sneered the farmer.
Link counted over his wages. They were all right.
"Now I'll get my things and go," he said, calmly.
"And don't you ever come around askin' me for a job," warned his former employer.
"I guess there isn't much danger," spoke Tom, quietly. "Come on, fellows. I'm hungry enough to eat two of Kelly's steaks."
They followed Andy, who again lightly leaped the fence into the road. Link went on toward the house to pack up his few belongings. He waved his hand toward the boys, and they waved back. They hardly expected to see him again, and certainly Andy Blair never dreamed of the strange part the young farmer would play in his coming life at Yale. Such odd tricks does fate play upon us.
The Milton lads swung on down the road in the direction of Churchtown. It was early evening by now.
"Some doings!" commented Chet as he slipped his arm into that of Andy.
"I should say!" exclaimed Ben. "Andy, you took the right action that time."
"Well, I just couldn't bear to see that chap, with his arm in a sling, being beaten up by that brute of a farmer," was the reply. "It got my dander up."
"Same here," spoke Tom.
"You'd never know it, from the way you acted," put in Frank.
"Tom is always worst when he's quietest," remarked Andy. "Well, now for a good feed. Let's cut through here, hop a car, and get to Kelly's quicker."
"Go ahead, we're with you," announced Chet, and soon the lads were in the "eating joint," as they called it.
"Broiled steak with French fried potatoes, Adolph!"
"I want an omelet with green peppers!"
"Liver and bacon for mine!"
"Ham and eggs! Plenty of gravy!"
"Coffee with my order, Adolph!"
"And say, I want some of those rolls with moon-seeds on top, Adolph! Don't forget!"
"And my coffee comes with my steak, not afterward. Hoch der Kaiser!"
"How's the soup, Adolph?"
"Fine und hot!"
"That's good! One on you, Tom!"
"Bring me a plate!"
"Oh, say, Adolph, make my order a chop instead of those ham and eggs."
"I want a glass of milk, with a squirt of vichy in it. Don't forget."
"Nein, I vunt!"
"And speed up, Adolph, we're all in a hurry."
"Shure. You vos allvays in a hurry!"
The German waiter scurried away. How he ever remembered it all is one of the mysteries that one day may be solved. But he never forgot, and never made a mistake.
The boys were seated at a table in one of the small rooms of Kelly's. They stretched out their legs and took their ease, for they felt they had earned a little relaxation.
About them in other rooms, in small recesses made by the high-backed seats, were other students. There was a calling back and forth.
"Stick out your head, Bender!"
"Over here, Buster—here's room!"
"There's Bunk now!"
You could not tell who was saying what or which, nor to whom, any more than I can. Hence the rather disjointed style of the preceding. But you know what I mean, for you must have been there yourself. If not, I beg of you to get into some such place where "good fellows," in the truest sense of the word, meet together. For where they congregate it is always "good weather," no matter if it snows or hails, or even if the stormy winds do blow—do blow—do blow!
But at last a measure of quietness settled down in Kelly's, and the chatter of voices was succeeded by the clatter of knives and forks.
Then came a reaction—a time when one settled back on one's bench, the first tearing edge of the appetite dulled. It was at this time that Tom Hatfield, leaning over to Andy, said:
"And so you are going to Yale?"
"Yes, I've made up my mind."
"Well, I congratulate you. It's a grand old place. Wish I was with you."
"Say, Andy!" piped up Chet Anderson, "if you go to Yale you'll meet an old friend of yours there."
"Who, for the love of bacon?"
Andy's knife fell to his plate with a clash that caused the other diners to look up hurriedly.
"Mortimer Gaffington!" gasped our hero. "For cats' sake! That's so. I forgot he went to Yale! Oh, wow! Well, it can't be helped. I've made my choice!"
THE PICTURE SHOW
Andy's chums looked curiously at him. Chet's chance remark had brought back to them the memory of the old enmity between Andy Blair and Mortimer Gaffington, the rich young "sport" of Dunmore. It was an enmity that had happily been forgotten in the joy of life at Milton. Now it loomed up again.
"That's right, that cad Mort does hang out at New Haven," remarked Tom. "That is, he did. But maybe they've fired him," he added, hopefully.
"No such luck," spoke Andy, ruefully. "I had a letter from my sister only the other day, and she mentioned some row that Mort had gotten into at Yale. Came within an ace of being taken out, but it was smoothed over. No, I'll have to rub up against him if I go there."
"Well, you don't need to have much to do with him," suggested Frank.
"And you can just make up your mind that I won't," spoke Andy. "I'll steer clear of him from the minute I strike New Haven. But don't let's talk about it. Where's that waiter, anyhow? Has he gone out to kill a fatted calf?"
"Here he comes," announced Ben. "Get a move on there, Adolph!"
"And don't wait for my French fried potatoes to sprout, either," added Chet.
"Yah, shure not!"
"Oh, look who's here!" exclaimed Tom, nodding toward a newcomer. "Shoot in over here, Swipes!" he called to a tall lad, whose progress through the room was marked by friendly calls on many sides. He was a general favorite, Harry Morton by name, but seldom called anything but "Swipes," from a habit he had of taking or "swiping" signs, and other mementoes of tradesmen about town; the said signs and insignia of business later adorning his room.
"Got space?" asked Harry, as he paused at the little compartment which held our friends.
"Surest thing you know, Swipes. Shove over there, Frank. Are you trying to hog the whole bench?"
"Not when Swipes is around," was the retort. "I'll leave that to him."
"Half-ton benches are a little out of my line," laughed the newcomer, as he found room at the table. "Bring me a rarebit, Adolph, and don't leave out the cheese."
"No, sir, Mr. Morton! Ho! ho! Dot's a goot vun! A rarebit mitout der cheese! Ach! Dot is goot!" and the fat German waiter went off chuckling at the old joke.
"What's the matter, Andy, you look as if you'd had bad news from your best girl?" asked Harry, clapping Andy on the shoulder. "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come."
"You're right there!" exclaimed Andy, heartily. "The worst is yet to come. I'm going to Yale——"
"Hurray! Rah! rah! That's the stuff! But talk about the worst, I can't see it. I wish I were in your rubbers."
"And that dub Mortimer Gaffington is there, too," went on Andy. "That's the worst."
"I don't quite get you," said Harry, in puzzled tones. "Is this Gaffington one of the bulldog profs. who eats freshmen alive?"
"No, he's a fellow from our town," explained Andy, "and he and I are on the outs. We've been so for a long time. It was at a ball game some time ago. Our town team was playing and I was catching. Mort was pitching. He accused me of deliberately throwing away the game, and naturally I went back at him. We had a fight, and since then we haven't spoken. He's rich, and all that, but I don't like him; not because I beat him in a fair fight, either. Well, he went to Yale last year, and I was glad when he left town. Now I'm sorry he's at Yale, since I'm going there. I know he'll try to make it unpleasant for me."
"Oh, well, make the best of it," advised Harry, philosophically. "He can't last for ever. Here comes my eats! Let's get busy."
"So Mort will be a sophomore when you get to New Haven, will he?" asked Frank of Andy.
"He will if he doesn't flunk, and I don't suppose he will. He's smart enough in a certain way. Oh, well, what's the use of worrying? As Harry says, here come the eats."
Adolph staggered in with a well-heaped tray containing Harry's order, and he and his chums finished their meal talking the while. The evening wore on, more students dropping in to make merry in Kelly's. A large group formed about the nucleus made by Andy and his chums. These lads were seniors in the preparatory school, and, as such, were looked up to by those who had just started the course, or who were finishing their first year. In a way, Milton was like a small college in some matters, notably in class distinction, though it was not carried to the extent it is in the big universities.
"What are you fellows going to do?" asked Harry, as he pushed back his chair. "I'm feeling pretty fit now. I haven't an enemy in the world at this moment," and he sighed in satisfaction. "That rarebit was sure a bird! Are you fellows out for any fun?"
"Not to-night," replied Andy. "I'm going to cut back and write some letters."
"Forget it," advised Harry. "It's early, and too nice a night to go to bed. Let's take in a show."
"I've got some boning to do," returned Frank, with a sigh.
"And I ought to plug away at my Latin," added Chet, with another sigh.
"Say, but you fellows are the greasy grinds!" objected Harry. "Why don't you take a day off once in a while?"
"It's easy enough for you, Swipes; Latin comes natural to you!" exclaimed Tom. "But I have to plug away at it, and when I get through I know less than when I started."
"And as for me," broke in Chet, "I can read a page all right in the original, but when I come to translate I can make two pages of it in English, and have enough Latin words left over to do half another one. No, Swipes, it won't do; I've got to do some boning."
"Aw, forget it. Come on to a show. There's a good movie in town this week. I'll blow you fellows. Some vaudeville, too, take it from me. There's a pair who roll hoops until the stage looks like a barrel factory having a tango dance. Come on. It's great!"
"Well, a movie wouldn't be so bad," admitted Tom. "It doesn't last until midnight. What do you say, fellows?"
"Oh, I don't know," came from Andy, uncertainly.
"I'll go if you fellows will," remarked Frank.
"Oh, well, then let's do it!" cried Tom. "I guess we won't flunk to-morrow. We can burn a little midnight electricity. Let 'er go!"
And so they went to the moving picture show. It was like others of its kind, neither better nor worse, with vaudeville acts and songs interspersed between the reels. There was a good attendance, scores of the Milton lads being there, as well as many persons from the town and surrounding hamlets.
Our friends found seats about the middle of the house. It was a sort of continuous performance, and as they entered a girl was singing a song on a well-lighted stage. Andy glanced about as he took his seat, and met the gaze of Link Bardon. He nodded at him, and the young farmer nodded back.
"Who's that—a new fellow?" asked Harry, who was next to Andy.
"Not at school—no. He's a hired man we found being beaten up by an old codger of a farmer when we walked out this afternoon. We took his part and made the farmer trot Spanish. I guess Link is taking a day off with the wages we got for him," and he detailed the incident.
The show went on. Some of the students became boisterous, and there were hisses from the audience, and demands that the boys remain quiet. One lad, who did not train in the set of Andy and his friends, insisted on joining in the chorus with one of the singers, and matters got to such a pass that the manager rang down the curtain and threatened to stop the performance unless the students behaved. Finally some of the companions of the noisy one induced him to quiet down.
Following a long picture reel a girl came out to sing. She was pretty and vivacious, though her songs were commonplace enough. In one of the stage boxes were a number of young fellows, not from Milton, and they began to ogle the singer, who did not seem averse to their attentions. She edged over to their box, and threw a rose to one of the occupants.
Gallantly enough he tossed back one he was wearing, but at that moment a companion in front of him had raised a lighted match to his cigarette.
The hand of the young man throwing the rose to the singer struck the flaring match and sent it over the rail of the box straight at the flimsy skirts of the performer.
In an instant the tulle had caught fire, and a fringe of flame shot upward.
The singer ceased her song with a scream that brought the orchestra to a stop with a crashing chord, and the girl's cries of horror were echoed by the women in the audience. The girl started to run into the wings, but Andy, springing from his seat on the aisle, made a leap for the brass rail behind the musicians.
"Stand still! Stand still! Don't go back there in the draft!" cried Andy, as he jumped upon the stage over the head of the orchestra leader and began stripping off his coat.
"Fire! Fire!" yelled some foolish ones in the audience.
"Keep still!" shouted Tom Hatfield, who well knew the danger of a panic in a hall with few exits. "Keep still! Play something!" he called to the orchestra leader, who was staring at Andy, dazed at the flying leap of the lad over his head. "Play any old tune!"
It was this that saved the day. The leader tapped with his violin bow on the tin shade over his electric light and the dazed musicians came to attention. They began on the number the girl had been singing. It was like the irony of fate to hear the strains of a sentimental song when the poor girl was in danger of death. But the music quieted the audience. Men and women sank back in their seats, watching with fear-widened eyes the actions of Andy Blair.
And while Tom had thus effectively stopped the incipient panic, Andy had not been idle. Working with feverish haste, he had wrapped his heavy coat about the girl, smothering the flames. She was sobbing and screaming by turns.
"There! There!" cried Andy. "Keep quiet. I have the fire out. You're in no danger!"
"Oh—oh! But—but the fire——"
"It's out, I tell you!" insisted Andy. "It was only a little blaze!"
He could see tiny tongues of flame where his coat did not quite reach, and with swift, quick pats of his bare hands he beat them out, burning himself slightly. He took good care not to let the flames shoot up, so that the frantic girl would inhale them. That meant death, and her escape had been narrow enough as it was.
As Andy held the coat closely about her he glanced over toward the box whence the match had come. He saw the horror-stricken young men looking at him and the girl in fascination, but they had not been quick to act. After all, it was an accident and the fault of no one in particular.
The stage was now occupied by several other performers, and the frantic manager. But it was all over. Andy patted out the last of the smouldering sparks. The girl was swaying and he looked up in time to see that she was going to faint.
"Look out!" he cried, and caught her in his arms.
"Back this way! Carry her back here!" ordered the manager, motioning to the wings. "Keep that music going!" he added to the orchestra leader.
They carried the unfortunate little singer to a dressing room, and a doctor was summoned. One of the stage hands brought Andy's coat to him. The garment was seared and scorched, and rank with the odor of smoke.
"If you don't want to wear it I'll see Mr. Wallack, and get another for you," offered the man.
"Oh, this isn't so bad," said Andy, slipping it on. "It's an old one, anyhow."
He looked curiously about him. It was the first time he had been behind the scenes, though there was not as much to observe in this little theatre as in a larger one. Beyond the dropped curtain he could hear the strains of the music and the murmur in the audience. The show had come to a sudden ending, and many were departing.
As Andy was leaving, to go back to his chums, the doctor came in hastily, and hurried to the room of the performer.
"Say, some little hero act, eh, Andy?" exclaimed Chet, as Andy rejoined his friends.
"Forget it!" was the retort. "Tom, here, had his wits about him."
"All right, old man. But you never got down the field after a football punt any quicker than you hurdled that orchestra leader, and made a flying tackle of that singer!" exclaimed Tom, admiringly. "My hat off to you, Andy, old boy!"
"Same here!" cried Chet.
The young men in the box were talking to the manager, and the one who had knocked the lighted match on the stage came over to speak to Andy, who was standing with his chums in the aisle near their seats.
"Thanks, very much, old man!" exclaimed the chap whose impulsive act had so nearly caused a tragedy. "It was mighty fine of you to do that. I had heart failure when I saw her on fire."
"You couldn't help it," replied Andy. "They ought not to allow smoking in places like this."
"That's right. Next time I throw a rose at a girl I'll look to see what's going to happen."
The theatre was almost deserted by now. All that remained to tell of the accident was the smell of smoke, and a few bits of charred cloth on the stage.
A man came out in front of the curtain.
"Miss Fuller wants to see the young fellow who put out the fire," he announced.
"That's you, Andy!" cried his chums.
"Aw, I'm not going back there."
"Yes, she would like to see you. She wants to thank you," put in the stage manager. "Come along."
Rather bashfully Andy went back. He found the singer—a mere girl—propped up on a couch. Her arms and hands were in bandages, but she did not seem to have been much burned.
"I'm sorry I can't shake hands with you," she said, with a smile. She was pale, for the "make-up" had been washed from her face.
"Oh, that's all right," responded Andy, a bit embarrassed.
"It was awfully good and brave of you," she went on, with a catch in her voice. "I don't—I don't know how to thank you. I—I just couldn't seem to do anything for myself. It was—awful," and her voice broke.
"Oh, it might have been worse," spoke Andy, and he knew that it wasn't just the thing to say. But, for the life of him, he could not fit proper words together. "I'm glad you're all right, Miss Fuller," he said. He had seen her name on the bills—Mazie Fuller. He wondered whether it was her right one, or a stage cognomen. At any rate, he decided from a casual glance, she was very pretty.
"You must give me your address," the girl went on. "I want to pay for the coat you spoiled on my account."
"Oh, that's all right," and Andy was conscious that he was blushing. "It isn't hurt a bit. I'll have to be going now."
"Oh, you must let me have your name and address," the girl went on.
"Oh, all right," and Andy pulled out a card. "I'm at Milton Prep.," he added, thinking in a flash that he would not be there much longer. But then he did not want her to send him a new coat.
"I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave now," said the doctor kindly. "She has had quite a shock, and I want her to be quiet."
"Sure," assented Andy, rather glad, on the whole, that he could make his escape. One of his hands was blistered and he wanted to get back to his room and put on some cooling lotion. He would not admit this before Miss Fuller, for he did not want to cause her any more pain.
The girl sank back on a couch as Andy went out of the dressing room. But she smiled brightly at him, and murmured:
"I'll see you again, some time."
"Sure," assented the lad. He wondered whether she would.
Then he rejoined his chums and they left the theatre. There was a little crowd in front, attracted by the rumor that an actress had been burned. As Andy and his friends made their way through the throng to a car he heard someone call:
"Dat's de guy what saved her!"
"You're becoming famous, Andy, my boy!" whispered Tom.
"Forget it," advised his chum.
The boys reached their dormitory with a scant minute or so to spare before locking-up time, for the rules were rather strict at Milton. There were hasty good-nights, promises to meet on the morrow, and then quiet settled down over the school.
Andy went to his room, and for a minute, before turning on the light, he stood at the window looking over the campus. Many thoughts were surging through his brain.
"It sure has been one full little day," he mused. "The scrap with the farmer, dousing the sparks on that girl, and—deciding on going to Yale!
"Jove, though, but I'm glad I've made up my mind! Yale! I wonder if I'll be worthy of it?"
Andy leaned against the window and looked out to where the moonlight made fantastic shadows through the big maples on the green. Before his eyes came a picture of the elm-shaded quadrangle at Yale, which once he had crossed, hardly dreaming then that he would ever go there.
"Yale! Yale!" he whispered to himself. "What a lot it means! What a lot it might mean! What a lot it often doesn't signify. Oh, if I can only make good there!"
For some time Andy had been vacillating between two colleges, but finally he had settled on Yale. His parents had left him his choice, and now he had made it.
"I must write to dad," he said. "He'll want to know."
It was too late to do it now. They had not come back as early as they had intended. The bell for "lights out," clanged, and Andy hastily prepared for bed.
"Only a few more days at old Milton," he whispered to himself. "And then for Yale!"
The closing days of the term drew nearer. Examinations were the order of the day, and many were the anxious hearts. There was less fun and more hard work.
Andy wrote home, detailing briefly his decision and telling of the affair of the theatre. For it got into the papers, and Andy was made quite a hero. He wanted his parents to understand the true situation.
A letter of thanks came from the theatre manager, and with it a pass, good for any time, for Andy and his friends. In the letter it was said that Miss Fuller was in no danger, and had gone to the home of relatives to recover from the shock.
Andy was rather surprised when he received, one day, a fine mackinaw coat, of the latest style. With it was a note which said:
"To replace the one you burned."
There was no name signed, but he knew from whom it came.
"This way, freshmen! This way!"
"Over here now! No let-outs!"
"Keep 'em together, Blink! Don't let any of 'em sneak away!"
"Wood! Everybody bring wood!"
"Look out for that fellow! He's a grind! He'll try to skip!"
"Wood! Everybody get wood!"
The cries echoed and re-echoed over the campus at Milton. It was the final night of the term. The examinations were over and done. Some had fallen by the wayside, but Andy and his chums were among those elected.
They had passed, and they were to move on out of the preparatory school into the larger life of the colleges.
And, as always was the case on an occasion of this kind, a celebration was to mark the closing of the school for the long summer vacation. The annual bonfire was to be kindled on the campus, and about it would circle those lads who were to leave the school, while their mates did them honor.
Thus it was that the cries rang out.
The town had been gleaned for inflammable material. The ash boxes of not even the oldest citizen were sacred on an occasion like this. For weeks the heap of wood had accumulated, until now there was a towering pile ready for the match.
And still the cries echoed from the various quarters.
"Freshmen, get wood!"
"On the job, freshmen!"
More wood was brought, and yet more. The pile grew.
"Gee, this is fierce!" groaned a fat freshman, staggering along under the burden of two big boxes. "Those fellows want too much. I'm going to quit!"
"Look out! Don't let 'em hear you!" warned a companion. "They'll keep you carting it all night if you kick."
"Kick! (puff) Kick! (puff) I ain't got wind enough to do any kickin'. I'm (puff) all (puff) in!"
"Oh, well, it's all in the game. We'll be out of this class next term, and we can watch the other fellows sweat! Cut along!"
"Wood! Wood over here!"
"Where's Andy Blair?"
"I don't know. Oh you Swipes! What you got!"
"All right! This'll make a flare, all right!"
"Oh, for the love of Peter! Look what Swipes has!"
Harry, otherwise "Swipes" Morton, was convoying four laboring and perspiring freshmen who were carting over the campus a big box that had ones contained a piano.
"Oh, you Swipes!"
"Where'd you crab that?"
"Say, ain't he the little peach, though!"
"Oh wow! What a lark!"
"I guess this won't make some nifty little blaze, eh?" demanded Harry. "Eh, Andy?"
"Sure thing! Where'd you get it?"
"Over back of Hanson's store. He used it for a coal box, but I made these boobs dump out the anthracite and cart it along. Maybe I ain't some nifty little wood gatherer, eh?"
"You sure are, Swipes!" came the admiring retort from many voices.
Still the pile grew apace. And with it grew the fun, the jollity, the excitement, the cries and the spirit of the school.
Dr. Morrison, the head master, and his teachers, had wisely retired to their rooms. On such an occasion as this it is not wise on the part of discerning professors to see too much. There are matters to which one must shut one's eyes. And Dr. Morrison, from contact with many boys, was wise in his day and generation.
For he knew it would be only honest, clean fun; and what matter if there was much noise and shouting? What matter if the fire blazed high? The boys never so far forgot themselves as to endanger the school buildings by their beacon, which was kindled well out on the big campus.
What if numerous rules were cracked or broken? It only happened once a year. And what if ginger pop and sandwiches were surreptitiously introduced into the dormitories? That, too, need not be seen by the authorities.
"Wood! More wood!"
"Where's Tom Hatfield?"
"Yes, and Chet Anderson?"
"Over here boys!"
"Slap on Swipes's piano box!"
"Oh, what a find!"
You could not have told who was saying which or what. It was all one happy, unintelligible jumble.
"Light her up!"
It was the signal for the kindling of the fire.
A score of matches flared in the darkness of the June night. The straw and paper piled under the chaos of wood blazed with puffs of flame. The wood caught and the tongues of fire leaped high, bringing into bold relief the faces of the lads who joined hands and circled about the ruddy beacon.
"That's the stuff!"
"Let her burn!"
"Say, that's a dandy, all right!"
"Biggest in years!"
"Well, we want to give the boys a good send-off!"
"Look at old Swipes's piano box sizzle!"
The shouting and excitement grew. The fire blazed higher and higher. The campus was bright with yellow gleams.
"Here's good-bye to old Milton!" chanted Andy.
"That's right! Good-bye to the old school!" echoed Chet, and there was not much joy in his tones.
"Now, fellows, the old song. 'Milton Forever!'" called Ben, and the melody burst forth.
Hardly was it finished than the silence that succeeded was broken by the strident tooting of an auto horn.
"What's that?" cried Andy. "Who's coming here in a car?"
"On the campus, too! It's against the rules!" cried Chet.
"It's some fresh fellow from town trying to butt in," someone called.
"Come on!" yelled Andy. "We'll upset him, fellows! The nerve of him!"
There was a rush of the celebrating seniors toward the place where the disturbance arose. Then others left the big bonfire to see the fun.
An automobile horn tooted discordantly—defiantly, Andy thought.
"Who has had the nerve to come in here, of all nights—on the one when we have our fire?" he thought. "It can't be any of the freshmen; they wouldn't dare."
"What are you going to do?" asked Ben in Andy's ear, as he trotted beside his chum.
"We'll upset his apple cart—that's the least we'll do, for one thing."
"I should say yes!" chimed in Chet. "Surely!"
They had now reached the spot where, from all appearances, was located the center of disturbance. A crowd of the freshmen, whose labors in gathering wood for the fire had now ceased, were gathered around a large touring car that, in defiance of all rules and customs, had been run to the very center of the school campus.
"Come down out of that!"
"Get away from here!"
"You fellows have nerve!"
"Puncture their tires!"
These are only a few of the cries and threats hurled at those in the auto—four young fellows who seemed anxious to make trouble not only for themselves, but for the school boys, whose celebration they had interrupted.
The campus was a sort of sacred place. It stood in the midst of the school buildings and dormitories, and, though visitors were always welcome, there was a rule against vehicles crossing it, for the turf was the pride not only of the students, but the faculty as well. So it is no wonder that the sight of a heavy auto rolling over the lawn aroused the ire of all.
"Get out of the way there, you fellows, if you don't want to be run over!" snapped the youth at the steering wheel of the auto. "I'll smash through you in another minute!"
"Oh, you will, eh?"
"Isn't he the sassy little boy!"
"Yank him out of there!"
The freshmen surrounding the auto thus reviled those in the car.
The auto had come to a stop, but the engine was still running, free from the gears. Now and then, as he saw an opening, the lad at the wheel would slip in his clutch and the car would advance a few feet. Then more of the school boys would swarm about it, and progress would be impeded.
"Smash through 'em, old man!" advised one on the rear seat. "We don't want to stay here all night!"
"That's right; run 'em down," advised his companion. "We're—we're—what are we, anyhow?" he asked, and it did not need a look at him to tell the cause of his condition. In fact, all in the auto were in a rather hilarious state, and the running of the car over the campus had been the result of a suggestion made after a too-long lingering in a certain road-house, where stronger stuff than ginger ale was dispensed.
"We're all right—noshin matter us," declaimed one. "Run 'em down, ole man!"
"Look out! I'm going through you!" cried the lad at the wheel. The freshmen in front of the car parted instinctively, but before the young chauffeur could put his threat into execution, Andy and his chums had reached the machine.
"Get out of here!" cried Andy, and, reaching up, he fairly pulled the steersman from his seat. The chap came down in a rush, nearly upsetting Andy, who, however, managed to yank the lad to his feet.
"Pull 'em all out!" came the cry from Tom, and a moment later he, with the aid of Ben, Chet and Frank, had pulled from the car the other young men, who seemed too dazed to resist.
"Hop in that car, Peterson," ordered Andy, to a freshman who could operate an auto. "Run it out to the street and leave it. Then we'll rush these chaps out to it and chuck 'em in. We'll show 'em what it means to run over our campus."
All this time Andy had kept hold of the collar of the youth whom he had pulled from the car. Then the latter turned about, and raised his fist. He had been taken so by surprise that he at first had seemed incapable of action.
At this moment the big bonfire flared up brightly, and by its glare Andy had a look at the face of the lad with whom he had clashed. The sight caused him suddenly to drop his hold and exclaim:
"Huh! So it's you, is it, Andy Blair? What do you mean by acting this way?" demanded Mortimer, the shock of whose rough handling had seemed to sober temporarily. "What do you mean? I demand an apology! That's what I do. Ain't I 'titled to 'pology, fellers?" and he appealed to his chums.
"Sure you are. Make the little beggar 'pologize!" leered one. "If he was at Yale, now, we'd haze him good and proper."
"Yale!" cried Tom Hatfield. "Yale fires out such fellows as you!"
"Mortimer Gaffington!" gasped Andy. "I rather wish this hadn't happened. Or, rather I wish it had been anyone but he. I can see where this may lead."
"You goin' 'pologize?" asked Mortimer, trying to fix a stern gaze on Andy.
"Apologize! Certainly not!" cried Andy, indignantly. "It is you fellows who ought to apologize. What would you do if some one ran an auto over Yale Campus?"
"Ho! Ho! That's good. That's rich, that is!" laughed one who had been yanked out of his seat by Tom Hatfield. "That's a good joke, that is! An auto on Yale campus! Why we bulldogs would eat it up, that's what we'd do!"
"Well, that's what we'll do here!" cried Chet, angered by the supercilious tone of the lad. "Come on, boys; run 'em off Spanish fashion!"
It needed but this suggestion to further rouse the feelings of the Milton lads, and in an instant several of them had grabbed each of the trespassers. Andy stepped back from Mortimer. Because of the already strained relations between himself and this society "swell," he did not wish to take a part in the proceedings.
"Come on! Run 'em off!" was the rallying cry.
The auto had already been steered out on a road that circled the campus, and was soon in the street. Then, heading their victims toward the old gateway that formed the chief entrance to the school the Milton lads began running out the intruders.
"You wait! I—I'll fix you for this,—Andy Blair!" threatened Mortimer as he was rapidly propelled over the campus.
"Forget it!" advised Chet. "Rush 'em, fellows!"
And rushed off Mortimer and his companions were. They were fairly tossed into their auto, and then, with jeers and shouted advice not to repeat the trick, the school boys turned back to their fire.
Andy had lingered near the spot where he had hauled Mortimer out of the auto. He was thinking of many things. He did not forget what had happened to the intruders. Indeed it was nothing short of what they deserved, for they had deliberately tried to harass the school boys, and make a mockery of one of the oldest traditions of Milton—one that held inviolate the beautiful campus.
"Only I wish it had been someone else than I who got hold of Mort," mused Andy. "He'll be sure to remember it when I get to Yale, and he'll have it in for me. He can make a lot of trouble, too, I reckon. Well, it can't be helped. They only got what was coming to 'em."
With this thought Andy consoled himself, but he had an uneasy feeling for all that. The students came trooping back, after having disposed of Mortimer and his crowd.
"You missed the best part of the fun," said Chet to Andy. "Those fellows thought a cyclone struck them when we tossed 'em into the car. They don't know yet whether they're going or coming back," and he laughed, his mates joining in.
"Yes?" asked Andy, non-committally.
"What's up?" asked Tom, curiously. "You don't act as though it had any flavor for you. What's the matter?"
"Oh, well—nothing," said Andy. "Come on, let's get back to the fire, and have a last song. Then I'm going to pack. I want to leave on that early train in the morning."
"Same here. Come on, boys. Whoop her up once more for Old Milton, and then we'll say good-bye."
"I know what ails Andy," spoke Tom in a low tone to Frank, walking along arm in arm with him.
"It's about that fellow Gaffington. Andy's sorry he had a run-in with him, and I don't blame Andy. He had trouble before, and this will only add to it. And that Gaffington is just mean enough, and small-spirited enough, to make trouble for Andy down there at Yale. He's a sport—but one of the tin-horn brand. I don't blame Andy for wishing it had been someone else."
"Oh, well, here's hoping," said Frank. "We all have our troubles."
"But those fellows won't trouble us again to-night," declared Chet, laughing. "They'll be glad to go home and get in bed."
"Did you know any of 'em, Andy, except Gaffington?" asked Tom.
"No, the others were strangers to me."
"How do you reckon they got here, all the way from New Haven?"
"Oh, they didn't come from Yale," declared Andy. "The university closed last week, you know. Probably Mort had some of his chums out to visit him in Dunmore. That was his car. And he wanted to show 'em the sights, and let 'em see he could run all over little Milton, so he brought 'em out here. It isn't such a run from Dunmore, you know."
"I reckon that's it," agreed Tom. "Well, they got more than they were looking for, that's one consolation. Now boys, whoop her up for the last time."
Again they gathered about the blazing fire, and sang their farewell song.
The annual celebration was drawing to a close. Another group of lads would leave Milton to go out into the world, mounting upward yet another step. From then on the ways of many who had been jolly good comrades together would diverge. Some might cross again; others be as wide apart as the poles.
The fire died down. The big piano box commandeered by "Swipes" was but a heap of ashes. The fun was over.
There were cheers for the departing senior lads, who, in turn, cheered the others who would take their places. Then came tributes to the industrious freshmen.
"Good night! Good night! Good night!" was shouted on all sides.
Less and less brilliant grew the fire. Now it was but a heap of glowing coals that would soon be gray, dead and cold ashes, typical in a way, of the passing of the senior boys. And yet, phoenix-like, from these same ashes would spring up a new fire—a fire in the hearts that would never die out. Such are school friendships.
Of course there were forbidden little feasts in the various rooms to mark the close of the term—spreads to which monitors, janitors and professors discreetly closed their eyes.
Andy and his friends gathered in his apartment for a last chat. They were to journey to their home town on the morrow and then would soon separate for the long summer vacation.
"Well, it was a rare old celebration!" sighed Tom, as he flopped on the bed.
"It sure was!" agreed Chet, with conviction. "I hope I have as much fun as this if I go to Harvard."
"Same here, only I think I'll make mine Princeton," added Ben. "Oh, but it's sort of hard to leave Milton!"
"Right you are," came from Andy, who was opening ginger ale and soda water.
And, after a time, quiet settled down over the school, and Dr. Morrison and his colleagues breathed freely again. Milton had stood steadfast through another assault of "bonfire night."
The next morning there were confused goodbyes, multiplied promises to write, or to call, vows never to forget, and protestations of eternal friendship. There were arrangements made for camping, boating, tramping and other forms of vacation fun. There were dates made for assembling next year. There was a confused rushing to and fro, a looking up of the time of trains, hurried searches for missing baggage.
And, after much excitement, Andy and his chums found themselves in the same car bound for Dunmore. They settled back in their seats with sighs of relief.
"Hear anything more of Mort and his crowd?" asked Tom of Andy.
"Not a thing."
"I did," spoke Chet. "They were nearly arrested for making a row in town after we got through with 'em."
"Hum!" mused Andy. "I s'pose Mort will blame me for that, too. Well, no use worrying until I have to."
At Churchtown, where the train stopped to give the boys at least a last remembrance of Kelly's place, several passengers got on. Among them was a young man who seemed familiar to Andy and his chums. A second look confirmed it.
"Why, that's the Bardon chap we took away from that farmer!" exclaimed Frank.
"That's right!" cried Andy. "Hello, Link!" he called genially. "What you doing here?"
"Oh, how are you?" asked the farm lad. "Glad to see you all again," and he nodded to each one in turn. He did not at all presume on his acquaintance with them, and was about to pass on, when Andy said:
"Sit down. How's your arm?"
"Oh much better, thank you. I've been working steadily since you helped me."
"That's good. Where are you bound for now?" went on Andy.
"Why, I'm going to look up an uncle of mine I haven't seen in years. I hear he has a big farm, and I thought I'd like to work for him."
"Where is it?" asked Andy.
"In a place called Wickford, Connecticut."
"Wickford!" exclaimed Andy. "Why that's near New Haven, and Yale—where I'm going this fall. Maybe I'll see you there, Link."
"Maybe," assented the young farmer, and then, declining Andy's invitation to sit with the school lads, he passed on down the car aisle.
OFF FOR YALE
Andy Blair had signed for Yale University. He had, as before noted, communicated to his father his desire to attend the New Haven institution, and Mr. Blair, who had given his son a free hand in the matter, had acquiesced.
Milton was well known among the various preparatory schools, and her final examinations admitted to Yale with few other formalities. So Andy had no trouble on that score, save in a few minor matters, which were easily cleared up.
He had matriculated, and all that remained was to select a room or dormitory. He had been studying over a Yale catalog, and looking at the accompanying map which gave the location of the various buildings.
"Now the question is," said Andy, talking it over with the folks at home, "the question is do I want to go to a private house and room, or had I better take a place in one of the Halls. I rather like the idea of a Hall room myself—Wright for choice—but of course that might cost more than going to a private house."
"If it's a question of cost, don't let that stand in the way," replied Mr. Blair, generously. "I'm not given to throwing money away, Andy, my boy, and a college education isn't a cheap thing, no matter how you look at it. But it's worth all it costs, I believe, and I want you to have the best.
"If you can get more into the real life of Yale by having a room in Wright Hall, or in any of the college dormitories, why do so. There's something in being right on the ground, so to speak. You can absorb so much more."
"Good for you, Dad!" cried Andy. "You're a real sport. Then I vote for a Hall. I'll take a run down and see what I can arrange."
"But wouldn't a private house be quieter?" suggested Mrs. Blair. "You know you'll have to do lots of studying, Andy, and if you get in a big building with a lot of other students they may annoy you."
"Oh, I guess, Mother," said Bertha, Andy's sister, "that he'll do his share of annoying, too."
"Come again, Sis. Get out your little hammer, and join the anvil chorus!" sarcastically commented Andy.
"No, but really," went on Mrs. Blair, "wouldn't a private house be quieter, Andy?"
"Not much more so, I believe," spoke the prospective Yale freshman. "When there's any excitement going on those in the private houses get as much of it as those in the college buildings. But, as a matter of fact, when there's nothing on—like a big game or some of the rushes—Yale is as quiet as the average Sunday school.
"Why, the day I was there I walked all around and nothing happened. The fellows came and went, and seemed very quiet, not to say meek. I walked over the campus, and I expected every minute some big brute of a sophomore would smash my hat down over my eyes, and give a 'Rah! Rah!' yell. But nothing like that happened. It was sort of disappointing."
"Well, you need quiet if you're going to study," went on Mrs. Blair. She had an idea that Yale was a sort of higher-grade boarding school, it seemed.
"Then I'll decide on Wright Hall," remarked Andy. "That is, if I can get in."
Then followed some correspondence which resulted in Andy being informed that a room on the campus side of Wright Hall, and on the second floor, was available. The only trouble was that it was a double room, and Andy would have to share it with another student.
"Hum!" he exclaimed when he had this information. "Now I'm up against it once more. Who can I get to go in with me? I don't want to take a total stranger, and yet I guess I'll have to."
"You might advertise for a roommate?" suggested his mother.
"I guess they don't do things that way at Yale," spoke Andy, with a smile.
"Why don't you wait until you get there, and maybe you'll find somebody in the same fix you are?" asked Bertha.
"I guess that is good advice," remarked Andy. "I'll take a run down there some time before term opening, and maybe I can get some nice chap wished on me. If Tom, or Chet, or some of the Milton lads, were coming to Yale it would be all right."
"Didn't any of them pick out Yale?" asked Mr. Blair.
"Not as far as I know."
"Oh, well, I guess you'll make out all right, son. A good roommate is a fine companion to have, so I hope you won't be disappointed. But there's no hurry."
The long summer vacation was at hand. Andy's people were to go to a lake resort, and soon after coming home from Milton, Andy, with his mother and sister, was installed in a comfortable cottage. Mr. Blair would come up over week-ends.
Chet Anderson and Tom Hatfield were at a nearby resort, so Andy knew he was in for a good summer of fun. And he was not disappointed. He and his chums spent much time on the water, living in their bathing suits for whole days at a time. But I will not weary you with a description of the various things they did. Sufficient to say that the vacation was like a good many others Andy had enjoyed, and expected to enjoy again. Nothing in particular happened.
The Summer wore on. The dog-days came and there loomed in the distance the Fall months. Tom had called on Andy one day, and they went out in the canoe together.
"Well, it will soon be study-grind again," remarked Tom, as he sent the light boat under a fringe of bushes out of the sun.
"Yes, and I won't be sorry," spoke Andy. "I'm anxious to see what life at Yale is like. I've got to take a run down in a week or so, to fix up about my room. You haven't heard of anyone I know who is going to be a freshman there; do you?"
"No, but I saw an old friend of yours the other day."
"You did! Who?"
"Remember that little actress you did the fireman-save-my-child act for this Spring?"
"Miss Fuller? Sure I do. Did you see her?"
"Oh, at a vaudeville theater. She remembered me, too."
"Did she ask for me?"
"Naturally. I told her you were going to Yale, and she said she might see you there."
"Why, she's playing a couple of weeks early in October at Poli's. You want to look her up."
"I sure will. You saw the mackinaw she sent me?"
"Yes, it'll come in handy for Yale. I wish I was with you, but I'm wished on to Cornell—I yell!"
"Oh, well, we can't all go to the same place, but it sure would be fine if we could."
Then they began to talk of the old days at Milton, until the shadows lengthened over the lake and it was time to paddle back to the cottage.
Andy took a run down to New Haven the next week, and made his final arrangements. He was walking about the now deserted quadrangle, looking up at the window of the room he had selected in Wright Hall, when he was aware that a youth of his own age was doing the same thing.
Something seemed to attract Andy to this stranger. There was a frank, open, ingenuous look in his face that Andy liked. And there was that in the air and manner of the lad which told he came of no common stock. His clothing betokened the work of a fashionable tailor, though the garments were quiet, and just a shade off the most up-to-date mode.
"Are you a student here?" asked the stranger of Andy.
"No, but I expect to be. I'm going to start in."
"So am I. Chamber is my name—Duncan Chamber, though I'm always called Dunk for short."
"Glad to know you. My name's Blair—Andy Blair."
They shook hands, and then followed the usual embarrassed pause. Neither knew what to say next. Finally Duncan broke the silence by asking:
"Got your room yet?"
"Up there," and Andy pointed to it.
"Gee! That's all right—a peach! I'm up a stump myself."
"Well, I've about taken one in Pierson Hall, but it's a double one, and I've got to share it with a fellow I don't take much of a leaning to. He's a stranger to me. I like it better here, though. Better view of the campus."
Andy took a sudden resolve.
"I'm about in the same boat," he said. "That's a double room of mine up there in Wright, and I haven't a chum yet. I don't know what to do. Of course I'm a stranger to you, but if you'd like to share my joint——"
"Friend Andy, say no more!" interrupted Duncan. "Lead me to thy apartment!"
Andy laughed. He was liking this youth more and more every minute.
The room was inspected. Andy was still the only one who had engaged it.
"It suits me to a T if I suit you," exclaimed Duncan. "What do you say, Blair? Shall we hitch it up?"
They shook. Thus was the pact made, a union of friends that was to have a strange effect on both.
"Now that's settled I'll call the Pierson game off," said Dunk, as we shall call him from now on. "I'm wished onto you, Blair."
"I'm glad of it!"
The final arrangements were made, and thus Andy had his new roommate. They went to dinner together, and planned to do all sorts of possible and impossible things when the term should open.
Andy returned to the Summer cottage with the good news, and then began busy days for him. He replenished his stock of clothes and other possessions and selected his favorite bats and other sporting accessories with which to decorate his room. He had a big pennant enscribed with the name MILTON, and this was to drape one side wall. Dunk Chamber was from Andover, and his school colors would flaunt themselves on the opposite side of the room.
And then the day came.
Andy, spruce and trim in a new suit, had sent on his trunk, and, with his valise in hand, bade his parents and sister good-bye.
The family was still at the summer cottage, which would not be closed for another month. Then they would go back to Dunmore.
Yale was calling to Andy, and one hazy September morning he took the train that, by dint of making several changes, would land him in New Haven.
"And at Yale!" murmured Andy as the engine puffed away from the dingy station. "I'm off for Yale at last!"
ON THE CAMPUS
Andy's train rolled into the New Haven station shortly before dusk. On the way the new student had been surreptitiously "sizing up" certain other young men in the car with him, trying to decide whether or not they were Yale students. One was, he had set that down as certain—a quiet, studious-looking lad, who seemed poring over a book and papers.
Then Andy, making an excuse to get a drink of water, passed his seat and looked at the documents. They were a mass of bills which the young man evidently had for collection.
"Stung!" murmured Andy. "But he sure did look like a Yale senior." He was yet to learn that college men are not so different from ordinary mortals as certain sensational writers would have had him believe.
There was the usual bustle and rush of alighting passengers. Now indeed Andy was sure that a crowd of students had come up on the train with him for, once out of the cars their exuberance manifested itself.
There were greetings galore from one to another. Renewals of past acquaintance came from every side. There were hearty clappings on the backs of scores and scores, and re-clappings in turn.
Youths were tumbling out here, there, everywhere, colliding with one another, bumping up against baggage trucks, running through the station, one or two stopping to snatch a hasty cup of coffee and some doughnuts from the depot restaurant.
Andy stood almost lost for the moment amid the excitement. It had come on suddenly. He had never dreamed there were so many Yale men on the train. They gave no evidence of it until they had reached their own precincts.
Then, like a dog that hesitates to bark until he is within the confines of his own yard, they "cut loose."
Taxicab chauffeurs were bawling for customers. Hackmen with ancient horses sent out their call of:
"Keb! Keb! Hack, sir! Have a keb!"
The motor bus of the Hotel Taft was being jammed with prosperous looking individuals. Around the curve swept the clanging trolley cars.
"I guess I'll walk," mused Andy. "I want to get my mind straightened out."
He managed to locate an expressman to whom he gave the check for his trunk, with directions where to send it. Then, gripping his valise, which contained enough in the way of clothing and other accessories to see him through the night, in case his baggage was delayed, our hero started up State Street.
In the distance he could see, looming up, the lighted top stories of the Hotel Taft, and he knew that from those same stories one could look down on the buildings and campus at Yale. It thrilled him as he had not been thrilled before on any of his visits to this great American university.
He paid no attention to those about him. The sidewalks, damp with the hazy dew of the coming September night, were thronged with pedestrians. Many of them were college students, as Andy could tell by their talk.
On he swung, breathing in deep of the air of dusk. He squared back his shoulders and raised his head, widening his nostrils to take in the air, as his eyes and ears absorbed the other impressions of the place.
Past the stores, the hotels, the moving picture places Andy went, until he came to where Chapel Street cuts across State. At the corner a confectionery store thrust out its rounded doorway, and in the windows were signs of various fountain drinks.
"A hot chocolate wouldn't be so bad," thought Andy. "It's a bit chilly."
He went in rather diffidently, wondering if some of the pretty girls lined up along the marble counter knew that he was a Yale man.
He heard a titter of laughter and grew red behind the ears, fearing it might be directed against him.
But no one seemed to notice him, the girl who passed him out his check making change as nonchalantly as though he was but the veriest traveling man instead of a Yale student.
"Very blase, probably," thought Andy, with a sense of resentment.
He stood on the steps a moment as he came out, and then walked toward the Green, with its great elm trees, now looming mistily in the September haze.
Three churches on Temple street seemed to stand as a sort of guard in front of the college buildings that loomed behind them. Three silent and closed churches they were.
Up Chapel street walked Andy, and he came to a stop on College street, opposite Phelps Gateway. Through the gathering dusk he could make out the inscription over it:
LUX ET VERITAS
"That's it! That's what I came here for," he said. "Light and truth! Oh, but it's great! Great!"
He drew in a long breath, and stood for a moment contemplating the beautiful outlines of the college buildings.
"Oh, but I'm glad I'm here!" he whispered.
Other students were pouring through the classic gateway. Andy crossed the street and joined them. Already lights were beginning to glow in Lawrance and Farnam Halls, where the sophomores had their rooms. Andy could see some of them lolling on cushions in their window seats. Yale blue cushions, they were.
He passed in through the gateway, his footsteps clanging back to his ears, reflected by the arch overhead. He emerged onto the campus, and started across it toward Wright Hall, with its raised courtyard, and its curtained windows of blue.
"I wonder if Dunk is there yet?" thought Andy. "Hope he is. Oh, it's Yale at last! Yale! Yale!"
He breathed in deep of the night air. He looked at the shadows of the electric lights of the campus filtering through the trees. He paused a moment.
A confusion of sounds came to him. Outside the quadrangle in which he stood he could hear the hum of the busy city—the clang of trolleys, the clatter of horses, the hoarse croak of auto horns. Within the precincts of the college buildings he could hear the hum of voices. Now and then came the tinkle of a piano or the vibration of a violin. Then there were shouts.
"Oh, you, Pop! Stick out your head!"
The call of one student to another.
"I wonder if they'll ever call me?" mused Andy.
He started across the campus. Coming toward him were several dark figures. Andy met them under a light, and started back. Before he had a chance to speak someone shouted at him:
"There he is now! The freshest of the fresh! Take off that hat!"
It was Mortimer Gaffington.
For a moment Andy stood there, not knowing what to do or say. It was so unexpected, and yet he knew he must meet Mortimer at Yale—meet and perhaps clash with the lad who was now a sophomore—the lad who had such good cause now to dislike Andy.
On his part the young "swell" leered into Andy's face, then glanced sidelong at the youths who accompanied him. Andy recognized them as the same who had been in the auto that night of the bonfire at Milton.
"That's he!" exclaimed Mortimer; then to Andy: "I didn't think I'd meet you quite so soon, Blair! So you're here, eh?"
"Yes," answered Andy.
"Put a 'sir' on that!" commanded one of the other lads.
Andy took his own time with the last word. He knew the rites and customs of Yale, at least by hearsay, and was willing to abide by the unwritten laws that make a first-year man demean himself to the upperclassmen. It would not last long.
"That's better," commented the third lad. "Never forget your manners—er—what's your name?"
"Sir!" snapped the one who had first reminded Andy of the lapse.
"You know him," put in Mortimer. "The fellow who put us out of the auto, eh?"
"Oh, sure, I remember now. Nervy little rat! It's a wonder I remember anything that happened that night. We were pretty well pickled. Oh, land, yes!"
He seemed proud of it.
"Take off that hat!" commanded Mortimer. "Don't forget you're a freshman here."
"And a fresh freshman, too," added one of his chums. "Take it off!"
Andy was perfectly willing to abide by this unwritten law also, and doffed his derby. He made a mental note that as soon as he could he would get a cap, or soft hat, such as he saw other students wearing.
"The brute has some manners," commented one of the trio.
"I'll teach him some more before I get through with him!" muttered Mortimer. He, as well as his two companions, seemed to have been dining, "not wisely but too well."
"Anything more?" asked Andy, good-naturedly. He knew that he must put up with insults, if need be, from Mortimer; for he realized that, in a way, class distinction at Yale is strong in its unwritten laws, and he wanted to do as the others did. It takes much nerve to vary from the customs and traditions of any country or place, more especially a big college. And Andy knew his turn would come.
He also knew that it was all done in good-natured fun, and really with the best intentions. For a first-year man is very likely to become what his name indicates—fresh—and there is need of toning down.
Besides, it is discipline that is good for the soul, and somewhat necessary. It makes for good in after life, in most cases, though of course there are some exceptions. Hazing, after all, is designed, primarily, to bring out a candidate's character. A lad who will give way to his temper if made to take off his hat to one perhaps below him in social station, or if he sulks when tossed in a blanket—such a lad, in after life, is very apt to do the same thing when he has to knuckle under to a business rival, or to go into a passion when he receives the hard knocks of life. So, then, hazing, if not carried to extremes, has its uses in adversity, and Andy had sense enough to realize this. So he was ready for what might come.
He knew, also, that Mortimer might, and probably would, be actuated by a mean spirit, and a desire for what he might think was revenge. But he was only one of a large number of college youths. Andy was willing to take his chances.
Andy looked over toward Wright Hall, with its raised courtyard. Lights were gleaming in the windows, and he fancied he could see his own room aglow.
"I hope Dunk is there," he thought.
"Shall we put him through the paces?" asked one of Mortimer's companions suggestively, nodding at Andy.
"Not to-night. We've got something else on," answered the society swell. "Trot along, Blair, and don't forget what we've told you. I'll see you again," he added, significantly.
The trio had come to a stop some little distance from Andy, and had stood with arms linked. Now they were ready to proceed. On the various walks, that traversed the big campus in the quadrangle of Yale, other students were hurrying to and fro, some going to their rooms, others coming from them. Some were going towards their eating clubs or to the University dining hall. And Andy was feeling hungry.
"Well, come on," urged Mortimer to his companions. "I guess we've started this freshman on the right road. Just see that you follow it, Blair. I'll be watching you."
"And I'll be watching you!" thought Andy. And at that moment he was gazing intently at Gaffington. As he looked, Andy saw something fall from below the flap of the coat of one of the trio, and land softly on the pavement. It fell limp, making no noise.
One of Mortimer's companions, who, Andy afterward learned, was Leonard, or "Len," Scott, reached his hand into his pocket, and brought it out with a strange look on his face.
"Hello!" he exclaimed, blankly, "my wallet's gone!"
"Gone!" exclaimed the other, Clarence Boyle by name. "Are you sure you had it?"
"I sure did!" said Len, feeling in various pockets. "Just cashed a check, too!"
"Come on back to your room and have a look for it," suggested Mortimer pulling his chum half-way around. "If it's gone I can lend you some. I'm flush to-night."
"But I'm sure I had it," went on Len. "I remember feeling it just as we came out of Lawrance. I had about fifty dollars in it!"
"Whew!" whistled Mortimer. "Some little millionaire, you are, Len. Never mind, I can let you have twenty-five if you need it." Andy knew that Mortimer's father was reputed to be several times a millionaire.
"But I don't like to lose that," went on Len. "I guess I will go back and have a look in my shack. If I can't find it I'll stick up a notice."
"You might have dropped it when we met that other bunch of freshmen and had the little argument with them about their hats," suggested Clarence.
"That's right," went on Mortimer, still pulling on Len's arm, as though to get him away from the spot. "Maybe one of the freshmen frisked it off you," he added, looking at Andy.
By this time the trio had turned half-way around, evidently to go back to Scott's room and look for the missing pocketbook. Andy had a clear view of the object that had fallen from under the coat of one of them.
"There is something," the freshman said, pointing to the object on the pavement. "I saw one of you drop it. Perhaps it is the pocketbook."
Len wheeled and made a grab for it.
"That's mine!" he cried. "It must have worked up out of my pocket and fallen. Thanks!" he added, warmly, to Andy.
With a quick motion Len opened his wallet. A strange look came over his face as he cried:
"Empty!" gasped Mortimer. "Let's see!"
He leaned forward, as did Clarence, all three staring into the opened pocketbook. Andy looked on curiously.
"It was one of those freshmen!" declared Mortimer, with conviction. "They must have slipped their hand up in your coat when we were frisking them, and taken out the money."
"But how could they when I still had the pocketbook?" asked Len, much puzzled.
"They must have taken out the bills, and put the wallet back," went on Mortimer, quickly. "They didn't get it all the way in your pocket and it tumbled out when you were standing here. Lucky we noticed it or we wouldn't have known what happened. Come on back. We'll find those freshmen."
And, without another look at Andy, they wheeled and hurried across the campus toward Vanderbilt Hall.
"Huh! That's queer!" mused Andy, as he continued on his way toward Wright. "I'm glad I saw that wallet when I did."
"Oh, you, Dunk!"
"Stick out your noodle, Chamber!"
"Where are you?"
These were the cries that greeted Andy as he entered the passage leading to his room in Wright Hall—the room he was to share with Duncan Chamber. Down the hall he saw a group of lads who had evidently come to rouse Andy's prospective chum. Somehow, our hero felt a little hurt that he had to share his friend with others. But it was only momentarily.
"Open up there, Dunk! Open up!"
Thus came the appeal, and fists banged on the door. It was opened a crack, and the rattle of a chain was heard.
"Get on to the beggar!"
"He must think we're a bunch of sophs!"
"Don't be afraid, Dunky, we're only your sweethearts!"
Thus the three callers gibed him.
"Oh, it's you fellows, is it?" asked Chamber, flinging wide the door, and letting out a flood of light. "I thought I was in for a hazing, so I was keeping things on the safe side. Come on in. I'm just straightening up."
The three tumbled into the room. Andy followed, and at the sound of his footsteps coming to a pause outside the portal Dunk peered out.
"Oh, hello, Blair!" he greeted, cordially! "I thought you were never coming! Put her there, old man! How are you?"
He caught Andy's hand in a firm pressure with a mighty slap, and hauled him inside.
"Fellows, here's my roommate!" went on Dunk. "Andy Blair. I hope you'll like him as well as I do. Blair, these are some luckless freshmen like ourselves. Take 'em in the order of their beauty—Bob Hunter—never hit the bull's eye in his life; Ted Wilson—just Ted, mostly; Thad Warburton—no end of a swell, and money to burn! Shake!"
They shook in turn, looking into each other's eyes with that quick appraising glance that means so much. Andy liked all three. He hoped they would like him.
"So this is your hangout, eh, Dunk?" asked Ted, when the little formality of introduction was over.
"Yes, Andy had this picked out and kindly agreed to share it with me."
"I sure was glad to!" said Andy, heartily.
"Some swell little joint," commented Thad Warburton, looking around.
"Wait until we get her fixed up," advised Dunk. "Then we'll have something to show you! I haven't decided on a bed yet," he added to Dick. "Pick out the one you want."
"I'm not particular. They all look alike to me."
"Yes, they're just the same. Fed your face yet?"
"No, but I'm hungry. Thought I'd wait for you."
"Say, where is your eating joint?" asked Thad.
"I haven't picked out one yet," answered Andy. "I was thinking of going to the Hall——"
"Oh, that's no fun!" cried Bob. "Come with us. We have a swell place. Run by one of our Andover crowd. Good grub and a nice bunch of fellows."
"I'm willing," agreed Andy.
"We could try it for a while," assented Dunk, "and if we didn't like it we could switch to the University Hall. What do you say, Andy?"
"I'm with you. The sooner the quicker. I'm starved."
"All right, then, we'll let the room go until after grub. I was going to stick up a few of my things, but they can wait. Get your trunk, Andy?"